Tuesday, February 28, 2012


It's in the books. But I haven't quite recovered. Our UMY state conference was held in Rogers this year. If you aren't familiar with Arkansas cities and towns, just picture our state...in the top left hand corner next to Oklahoma and Missouri is Rogers...now cut the state in half diagonally from that corner to the bottom right hand corner...back up just a bit and there you'll find us. It's a long, long, long drive. On a bus. In hurricane force wind gusts. With no radio. Well okay, maybe the wind wasn't quite at hurricane speeds, but it was blowing really hard.

Friday around lunch the kids and I checked out of school and met Brooke and Caleb at the park for lunch. We thought it would be a good idea to eat outside - you know, let the kids blow off a little steam before enclosing them in vehicles for four hours. Not such a great plan. That hurricane wind was cold. And it would blow you lunch away if you weren't careful. It just hurried the kids along with their eating - didn't take them long to finish and get back on the bus.

We hoped to drive to at least Conway before stopping for a bathroom break. We made it to Little Rock. We made it to Mayflower. We made it to Conway. But around Morrilton, I had to stop. My shoulders were killing me from fighting the wind while driving. We found a truck stop just off the highway, and everyone unloaded for a quick trip to the restroom and stretching of the legs. Everyone had a good laugh at the boys who found the bathroom cologne - a quarter a squirt. Of course, Chan comes out with a big wet circle right in the middle of his chest, and Caleb laughing that Chan smelled like an old man. Turns out that Caleb put up the quarter for the squirt, and Chan stood directly in front in the machine not leaving any room for the spray to spread at all. The way it smelled; it's a wonder it didn't burn a hole in his shirt and scar his chest!

Then we loaded the bus to discover that it wouldn't start. Turns out the starter had been recently replaced, but not connected properly. An easy fix, if the mechanic remembers to disconnect the battery before reconnecting the starter. We sat in that parking lot for about 3 1/2 hours.

Long enough to take naps, play cards, wrap hair, have snacks, nap again, lose phones, and eat dinner.

Finally we were on our way again. We reached Rogers much later that planned, checked into our hotel, and headed straight to the convention center where the conference was held.

We got there just in time for Funzies.

And our kids made sure to get front row seats.

This is only our second time to go to this conference, and we had several who were going for the first time. And our kids were front and center for an amazing praise and worship session.

It was pushing midnight by the time we got back to the hotel and ready to do our group devotional. And probably around 2 a.m. by the time we got to sleep. Saturday was an early morning - we had 8:00 duty at the district booth. Then morning worship, workshops, lunch, shopping, workshops, dinner, worship, and breakout sessions.

Take a close look at some of those eyes...

These kiddos were TIRED. And they still had a few hours to go that night.

Can your tell that smiley there in the middle is about to cross the silly border.

She crashed for a few minutes just before we went back to the hotel.

But this one just got plum goofy! These are her self portraits.

She had us all rolling. Everyone was ready to head back to the hotel, but somewhere along the short route they caught a second wind. And it was another late, late night.

Sunday morning we headed back to the convention center for our final worship and communion. Have you ever taken communion with 1500 people?

The drive home was quiet. Very quiet. But they are ready to go back again. And I'll happily pack my bags and go with them. When they talk about feeling the Spirit move within them, when they run to be at the front for worship, when they come out of worship wiping tears, I am more than happy to give up a few hours of sleep, and I'll drive around the world to help them feel that again.

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