All in all, a wonderful little getaway! I had intentions of taking real camera pictures the entire day, and was so busy and wrapped up in everything (and so, very tired) that I only took maybe a dozen. Wonderful memories in my head though!
We had the incredible opportunity to visit Newspring Church last month for the release of Pastor Perry Noble’s newest book The Most Excellent Way to Lead. He hosted a one day leadership conference with all my favorites: Lysa Terkherst, Pastor Steven Furtick, Dave Ramsey (and Mark Driscoll and Newspring Youth Pastor Brad Cooper, too– I didn’t really know who they were until the day of). The conference was intended for business or ministry leaders– of which I am neither– but it was super affordable, close and I could not pass up the chance to hear from these people live all together. I listen to Lysa, Steven, Dave and Perry on a weekly (if not, daily) basis via podcast and I am totally open to being in some sort of leadership position in life (you know, other than raising my own kids and motivating other people’s to do their Spanish work) should that be something God puts in my life. Absolutely everything that was taught during the conference was applicable to regular life, parenting, my job, our involvement as volunteers in church, etc. It was a total joy and privilege to learn from some of the smartest people of our generation, that is for sure.
On a personal note, Marshall and I loved the chance to get away together somewhat spontaneously, just the two of us. A few years ago for Christmas Eve Eve we decided to go to Newspring for their Christmas service and spend the night in hotel just for fun, and it was one of my favorite memories of our life together before we were parents. We did stuff like that all the time, just go to the mountains or the beach for the weekend, decide we want to do something and go. Obviously, having dogs and now a child makes that a bit more logistically difficult (and expensive, because dogs have to be boarded), but it was such a perfectly timed getaway.
It was also totally exhausting as we stopped in Hillsborough the night before to get a little bit of a head start in the morning and leave Lincoln there (he woke up and partied until midnight, then slept sideways between us in bed until we overslept…) and then got up before 5am to drive to Anderson. After the conference ended we drove immediately to Charlotte to meet up with the campus photography leaders, they happened to meet the day we were passing through so I wanted to go and meet them which was absolutely an amazing opportunity. It’s such a unique thing to serve with a whole group of people in a different city that you’ve never met, and then get a chance to hang out with them and have this feeling of total and complete belonging. What happens at our church is not normal. Although, I think having our shared vision and shared desire to see people come to know Christ unites and bonds us in a way that is totally supernatural. Not normal for this world, no way, no how.
That meeting was so awesome, we got to hear from the graphics and design teams about what kind of photos are useful for them and what things to focus on when shooting worship experiences and other campus events. The way that we are able to document what God is doing at our campuses and share it all together via Smugmug/Photostream is just amazing. Technology is such a blessing. Marshall and I learned a ton, totally geeked out during the whole thing (he does graphic design/motion graphics on the side for a church in Durham) and were able to get a tour of the Matthews campus and see where all the creatives work and it was just super the coolest.