The Annual Gift We Love

I don't think I've said this on here for a long time, but we have an amazing church family! We've been here for nearly 10 years! Wow!

We're not perfect; they're not perfect (close though!) - but we are growing together, and we love our family in Christ.

Every year our church gives us an amazing gift. Well, actually they give us lots more than one, but the one we just enjoyed is so, so awesome!

Every year they send us to a conference...can be a pastor's conference, Bible conference, etc. We get to choose, and they send us!

This year we went to Chicago. Matt attended Moody Bible Institute's pastors' conference, and I tagged along to enjoy the city! We love going back to our college-era stomping grounds whenever we get the chance.
These conferences and time away always do so much to refresh us, give us new ideas, provide lots of uninterrupted time together, etc.

Maybe it's because I never stayed in a hotel as a kid, but I get so excited to stay in a hotel as a grown up! This time around I tried to save money and book our hotel on priceline.

When we arrived, we were informed we had the petite room! Gulp! What did priceline give us?
It was definitely petite, and to be honest, it had a crazy smell, but the rest of the hotel was full, so we stayed in the tiny room, and the smell wasn't noticeable after a few minutes. Next time I think we'll try Airbnb! We did have an awesome location right on Michigan Avenue, so that made up for the cramped quarters! Unfortunately, our room looked out at the air conditioning unit, so not exactly picturesque, but the fitness center had an excellent view of the city!
While Matt went to the conference sessions, I went to coffee shops, or sat in the hotel lobby when it was raining, and got to write to my heart's content! Such a nerd but that's my ideal vacation! Oh, and I read some, too! Perfection!
It was so nice to have hours and hours together to talk and reflect on ministry and go over the sessions Matt had just attended and try new restaurants!
We were gone for five days, and Matt's mom stayed with the kids. They all had a great time (although I got lots of I-Miss-You emails from Tweety!), and we're so thankful to mom for keeping the kids in their normal routine. Aunt Jenna popped in a lot, too, to help the kids not get too lonesome for us!