Monday, June 27, 2011

Youth Camp Heaven

When I was a kid lots of my friends' families went on beach vacations to Florida, specifically Destin. I would see their photo albums of clear blue water and white sand and long to play on that kind of beach. My father was a very intense saltwater fisherman, so our family beach trips most often revolved around fishing towns on the Texas Gulf Coast. Think Port Aransas. We always had a great time but I still longed for white sand and clear water while I rode my boogie board through murky, brown waves and checked my feet for tar before going back inside the sweet octagonal beach house we had rented.

When Curt and I were newlyweds my grandparents celebrated their 50th anniversary. Everyone on my dad's side of the family traveled to Florida to spend a few days at the beach. My dad had planned the whole thing and I felt that a childhood dream was coming true. We were going to the beach in Florida! You can imagine our shock and, thankfully, laughter when we got to our beach on St. George Island and it looked almost exactly like the Texas Gulf Coast. Leave it to my daddy to have us all come so far to something that resembled his great nation-state. Ha! It was beautiful but it was not what I had pictured. Plus, it stormed the whole time until the morning that we left. Bum-mer!

So, I have been trying to get my husband to take me to this adorable little town called Seaside, Florida, for the last few years. He doesn't just love the beach but I feel more whole when I'm there. I suppose he feels that way in the mountains. I know my mom does. So I finally got the okay from Curtis to explore planning a vacation to Seaside. I was really excited and started looking on VRBO.com right away. Then I sensed the Lord say, "Wait."

The very next day we got an email inviting Curtis to speak at a youth group's beach week in Panama City, Florida. Score! It's in moments like these that I like to say, "God loves Curtis Jones." Because he got to take his family on a beach vacation to Florida without having to pay for it. Can I get an amen?

I was involved in my first youth camp eleven years ago and have participated in some way every year since then. I have always loved it, but things changed when we had kids. It can be really hard to entertain little ones and maintain a good attitude at camp. I've gotten better over time but I've had some dark days at camp. Maybe some of you ministry wives can relate.

This, however, was like the Ritz Carlton of youth camp. I kept thinking, "I've died and gone to youth camp heaven!" It was seriously blissful. Curtis was only needed at night when the kids were already in bed. The condos we stayed in offered free DVD rental, so each night I rented something for Jackson and I to watch together. Curtis' payment was the condo rental, so the church was kind enough to allow us complete family time during the day. This allowed us to drive into Seaside two times that week. It was so much fun. We may never get to do anything like it again, but this gift was definitely not wasted on me.

Since I don't have time to post pictures right now, I'll just ask a question. What's the best working vacation you've ever been on?

59 comments:

Kelly @ Love Well said...

So many things about this resonated with me, Amanda. I love youth camp, I love the beach, I love it when God blesses his servants above and beyond we can imagine. (I still remember the Florida trip we took as a family when I was in high school. A family in our church had a vacation home on Sanibel Island and let our family stay there for a week for no cost. It was amazing.)

Anyway. My husband isn't in the ministry, but we still get to go on trips with him occasionally. The one that's foremost in my mind is the Orphan Alliance Summit that was just last month in Louisville, because it was just him and me and it was really encouraging and filling.

But in August, the whole family is going with him to his office in Seattle. I'm excited to explore that part of the country. (And for very little expense!)

Ashley McWhorter said...

So happy that y'all were able to go on this little "vacation" as a whole family! What a blessing and such great memories!

Our greatest "paid for" vacation was when Conn was asked to do a wedding in CABO!!! They paid for everything...flights, hotel, food! It was incredible! Oh, and it was for 5 days with no children!! AMAZING!!!

Elizabeth said...

Do you not just LOVE when that happens? It's like riding on a real life rainbow.

Also, I'm part of a youth ministry and we just had a beach trip to Panama City Beach, FL in March. Seaside is absolutely gorgeous. I am so glad you got to go! What a blessing!!

P.S. I always read your blog. I appreciate your openness and vulnerability so much.

Elizabeth said...

Don't you just LOVE when God works things out like that? It's like riding on your own rainbow!

Seaside is a beautiful place. We just had a youth retreat in Panama City in March. What a blessing!

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

Seaside is beautiful, just beautiful. We also love Blue Mountain beach not far from there. Did u drive 30 A and spot the Titanic house? I'm so sad you didn't get to.experience Luna Del Mar before it closed a few yrs back. The most amazing tortilla soup in the free world. We are on vacation as I write..St. Simons Island, Ga. Not beautiful water but atmosphere can't be beat.

Wendy said...

How fun! I was at a youth camp in Panama City...Laguna Beach, FL last week too. Glad you got to go to Seaside too. I love the little shops there.

Mrs Lemon said...

Definitely church camp for me too - I organized the music for youth camp two years running, and it was absolutely exhausting and wonderful :) Not a resort at all though. Just fun.

Buckley Family said...

My husband recently had a work related conference at the casinos in Biloxi, MS. Money is kinda tight right now, so we are not going to be able to go on a family vacation. So, I decided to join him with our kids to the casinos!! HA! We don't gamble, but I had a blast just hanging out by the pool with my kiddos. I was disappointed about not having a family vacation planned, but God provided this little trip for us and we didn't have to pay anything to go. I got to get away and swim with my kids and eat tons and tons of ice cream. His boss even gave each employee $100 to gamble with, so I took my husband's money and headed straight to the outlet mall where I bought some much needed shoes for my kiddos. Isn't God so good to provide?!

Marcy said...

I am a nanny and a couple years ago I was able to go on a working trip to New York City! I was only responsible for the 2 year old during the day. We had so much fun exploring FAO Swartz, the Today Show, Rockefeller Center, Central Park! Amazing! I even was given my own hotel room where we stayed in Times Square! I still can't believe I was fortunate enough to go on that trip! :)

Bourg Family said...

San Diego, CA hands down. Mountains & beach all in one. Perfect weather. I'm thinking this one will be the best until we head to ITALY in Nov!!! That's my dream vacay so the fact that we get to go & write it off has got to make it perfect, right?

Lydia said...

My husband travels a lot for work, but unfortunately it's usually too far away for the kids and me to come along. There have been a handful of times we could go, however. The absolute best was when I was 8 months pregnant with our firstborn and my husband had work to do at an awesome resort in Lakeway, just outside of Austin. We watched deer from the balcony of our room, his "office" was the adjoining hotel room. We had free room service and we ate some amazing food (at the resort and away from it). I've always considered that to be our "babymoon". Over spring break of this year, we tagged along with him to Paris (not France, unfortunately). That was the epitome of the worst vacation. The hotel pool was closed due to maintenance and then both of our boys caught a stomach bug. Those things are bad enough at home, in a hotel room, they're absolutely horrendous.

Allison said...

Hmmm...I may have to sign brad up to be a pastor if we could get hooked up with cool family vacations!!! We went to our friends lake house this weekend and the kids were fishing and I was really paranoid about one of them stepping on a fish hook. Didn't that happen to you one time when you came to galveston with us? Anyways, i can't think of any cool working vacations, but my old job provided lots of cool experiences while working. My favorite was flying in one of those old open air bi-planes while it did tricks as part of a promotion with red barron pizza!

The Hunters said...

My husband runs a youth ministry and this year was my first year to go with him and his students to camp in Colorado. We have 4 kids, ages 4,4,2,1. People thought I was crazy...and I had moments I thought I was crazy too! But it was worth it. A free trip to God's beautiful mountains and seeing my husband in action. Glad to hear you've been there too! Thanks for the perspective of another ministry wife:)

Gene and Annie said...

I've not sure if we have ever had a working vacation but I do the when I have been to that area of Florida! The panhandle is so beautiful!! Thank you for sharing and I can't wait to see pictures!! Isn't it awesome that God loves to bless us with our heart's desires!! So happy for you guys!

Jennifer said...

The best working vacation I have ever had (and actually the only one) was when I went to Washington D.C for a conference. It was in April so we got to see the cherry trees in full bloom. Also, my sister was allowed to come with me and we had a blast! Everything was paid for except her plane ticket and I so enjoyed getting to experience all of the sites with her along.

Church Lady said...

Mine would probably have to be the mission trip we took to Virginia. It was a wonderful week of fellowship. We camped out the whole week working on a childrens camp. There is something about a mission trip, you get to see the church work like the body of Christ. I always said that it is a little taste of heaven on earth.

Stephanie said...

You don't know me, but I found your blog thru a friend. Sorry for being a stalker. :) I just wanted to say that I love how God worked this out for you so much and I love Seaside! So glad you got to go there. We are getting to go to Destin in 2 weeks and we always make a night trip to Seaside. Such a neat place.

Nancy Mon said...

When Roy and I were joint venture aduitors, we had a 2 week job in Westchester, Conn. It was an awesome work/vacation. We toured up and down the East coast and all but admission prices to events were paid for. It was cheaper for us to stay up there than fly home and then return.

Seaside rocks! Hope you got to go to Rosemary Beach too.

Tara G. said...

We're military and home on leave from Ukraine for 2 weeks. One of the pastor's wives at my parents' church asked if the 5 of us would get some time alone and when I replied that it just wasn't that kind of trip, she said, "Oh- so kind of like a missionary home on furlough!" Yep! Thankfully, though, we were able to tag along with my husband to a conference he had in Germany in April/May. We stopped in Krakow, Vienna, and Strasburg along the way to Bavaria and then we had the most amazingly peaceful, relaxing stay in a resort at the foot of beautiful mountains with a lake we could walk around. Forget cruises- I'll take Bavaria any day! :)

Sharae said...

That's an easy answer: CHICAGO! My husband had to go to attend a print expo there and the whole family ended up going! It was our first family vacation ever - my daughter was 4 years old and my son 18 months old. It was the best thing we ever did - it forced me to stop everything and just play for a week! I am so excited that soon we leave for another working trip - this time to Pennsylvania. Deeply grateful for the Lord blessing us with trips we could not have afforded otherwise!

So glad you enjoyed your trip. And, on another note, I enjoyed seeing your mama for the first time ever in person this weekend in Lincoln. Such a sweet time!

Blessings to you and your family!

jamie b said...

I grew up a youth minister's daughter so most of our vacations growing up were youth camp. :) Thankfully many of them were on the beach.

My family always went to Panama City or Seaside/Seagrove, but after I met my husband I found out his family always goes to St. George every year. And, they have done that for 35+ years. I have grown to love St. George, but I do miss the white sands of Seaside. (I met your mom & Melissa at St. George one year. I bet it was that same trip.) :)

Glad you got to enjoy the white sandy beaches! :)

Sunni said...

I was about 7 years old and my parents took us to stay at the Hilton in Destin. The room had bunk beds and my parents let us each buy a can of Pringles from the gift shop. Haha! It's the little things that make childhood vacations so special.

Stephanie said...

I'm loving this post Amanda, as I'm a junior high Pastor's wife and actually at summer camp right now! It's "free time" and I've got one baby napping and I'm hoping to put my two year old down in a few minutes too...I can totally relate to "dark days" at camp...Some days are lived more gracefully than others, right?? Ha ha! Praising the Lord for a great start to our week and praying for victory over those moments that sneak in and want to rob me of any joy or peace with my husband :) What a blessing that camp was for your family! Love the gifts (like that) God gives ministry families. Excited for you and your Church plant!! You are a blessing to me in many ways, as is your Mom and sister too. Here's hoping I can squeeze a nap in too before the dinner bell rings!

Ashley said...

That's so fabulous! I cannot imagine anything other than sugar white sand...what a treat for y'all! We got that and y'all got the best Tex Mex, which I one day hope to experience!

Ashley said...

Oh, and the best freebie trip we had was a free trip to Disneyland with our then 5 year old.

michael and anne said...

When my husband was a youth pastor, we took our kids to Lake Forest Ranch in Macon, MS. The adults have their own Bible study time, and didn't have to do much "chaperoning" at all. We spent a week going tubing, doing the ropes course and having a blast. On the other end of the spectrum, after he had to go back to engineering (his choice so I could stay home, we're praying to go back into ministry very soon!) he had a conference in Nashville a few years ago. I got to go and I sat by the pool for four days. I read three books, took long naps, and was basically a bum while he slaved away. I was a bit lonely, but I had not been by myself in years, and it was nice to be quiet for a while. Your trip sounds incredible!

3girlsmom said...

LOVE love love Seaside. It's a fave destination - actually anywhere between Seaside and Destin are faves for my family. We love Seaside for the quiet and the gorgeous beaches and water, and we love Destin for the entertainment and shopping!
Spencer (husband) is a pharmaceutical rep and his territory is all of Alabama as well as the Florida panhandle from Pensacola to Panama City. So in the summer, we go with him a lot. While he works during the day, we play on the beach. Then he's with us at night. Not exactly a work vacay for me, but still counts, right? :)

Lauren johnson said...

Glad you had fun! i have vacationed near 30a, panama city, destin my whole life. We only live in al 2 hours away so at times i have took it for granted. However, we love those vacations and there are some really nice areas. If you ever go back check out inlet beach...it's along 30a and a hidden gem...right in the middle of everything yet a private little beach...so glad you got a chance to go!

Amy said...

I love those moments when I'm so aware that ministry is a blessing and not a burden (not that it takes a trip to Florida to make me realize that!) And, I'm a total beach girl as well - we're in San Diego and pray that God's call allows us to stay here a long time!

I rejoice with you that your family got to enjoy an amazing and refreshing gift!

Carrie Beth said...

Seaside is beautiful! One of my favorite vacations was with my sisters and mom and some friends in Panama City back in college.

I don't know that I have ever had a "working vacation". My husband travels with work, but it is always to China, Brazil, Europe, etc. and I haven't been able to go with him.

One of my FAVORITE vacation spots is Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We took our honeymoon trip there and then returned again when our first two boys were younger. It is so refreshing and beautiful. Greg loves to ski and we took a snowmobile tour of Yellowstone - breathtaking! I cannot wait until we can take our kids there.

So glad you had a fulfilling week!

R said...

before i became a mama, i worked for a US Congressman in his texas office. he used to send us to DC individually at least once a year to work in his office up there, but we also got to see so much that the general public doesn't. i know...it't not appealing to everyone. but to a political junkie like me, it was heaven!! i miss it. :0)

Jennifer said...

The best work vacation we've been on was a cruise in February 2008. My husband does the sound for Phillips, Craig and Dean and they gave us the trip instead of giving him a Christmas bonus. We got to go to the Bahamas, Aruba and Curacao. The only time he had to work was when they were performing at night.

Kelli@MoreBangforYourBucks said...

As a pastor's wife, the best working vacations for me have been mission trips, and of course youth camps when we were in youth ministry. The best mission trip was last year- we took our church from Houston to Albany, NY at the end of July/beginning of August for a mission trip. 75 degrees in July- can I get a hallelujah? It was also a great time for bonding for our young church, as well as helping out the church plant in Albany.

BarBQ Mom said...

The best work vacation for me was Belgium. While my husband worked during the day, I got to explore the towns around where we were staying. At night, he was off and we could go to dinner, etc. Then, after the work part ended, we spent 5 extra days in Brussels and Brugge. Fantastic!

The Martins said...

Isn't it cool how the Lord totally knows what you need but also will SO bless you when you aren't even expecting it! My husband is a youth pastor and we just got back from a great vacation in Florida that a family in the church gave us! And we came home with sweet sweet memories!

Sarah said...

It was the only one I've ever been on and it wasn't a vacation - but it was a treat. I was in NYC (live in Dallas) and got to see my (fave) Aunt & Uncle whom I hadn't seen in many years (nor have I since). Just a lunch together, but those couple of hours were precious to me, all because of a boring conference. God's gifts are sometimes disguised...but He does give good gifts!!!

April said...

While I've never been on a working vacation, I did love the opportunity I had last summer and the summer before to go to Daytona Beach for youth camp. Louie Giglio was the speaker, Chris Tomlin led worship, and the David*Crowder band gave a concert! Add in the beach during the afternoon, and it was the best camp ever! It even made the all-night bus ride worth it!

My husband and oldest daughter went to camp, too, but the younger ones stayed with my mom.

We weren't able to go this year, but I hope we can be there next year!

Jennifer Lyell said...

I never comment, but it would be wrong to not take this opportunity to acknowledge how incredibly gracious God has been to me in this regard. I've been to every conference center in the country, I think, for various women's conferences. However, the prize for best work trip I've had definitely goes to my trip to London last year when one of my authors was speaking at an international women's conference and I definitely, most assuredly, needed to see how her message connected internationally. It was a blast. A book concept was actually born out of the event, so it bore tangible fruit...and then I was able to stay over for several days of full on vacation.

Next year that same author as well as a certain blogger's mom are doing a conference for that organization in Australia and I'm already working on a list of all of the crucial needs that I can fulfill by making the sacrifice to head to Sydney...

Yep, my job definitely has perks. God is so gracious. I really just deserve to supervise the broom stacking in a convention center's closet. Thanks for this post- good reminder of the good on a crazy Monday.

JayCee said...

The church sent us to Anna Maria Island for Pastor Appreciation Week. It is also in Florida. The island is quaint, and the water is clear blue - with white, sandy beaches. We rode bikes on the island and ate at a little restaurant right on the beach - watching the sunset every evening over the water. It was wonderful. Thanks for helping to bring back some fond memories.
So glad you got to finally experience what you had waited for so long. And isn't it great that the Lord prompted you to wait so you could experience it much cheaper! :)

Terrie and Carley said...

I hope this counts as working vacation. My sister who travels 30 plus weeks out of the year allows me to tag along with her a few times. I loved Amelia Island near Jacksonville, Fl. It was just me having to decide if I wanted to hang out at the pool or the beach while she worked 8 hours.

Since I am from NW Florida, I don't get very excited over the beach. Amanda I hope you come to Pensacola with your mom in December. We have nice beaches here too. Destin has the absolute best beaches in the world.

I met a friend of yours, Roger Cullins and his brother, while attending Student Life Camp at Louisiana Tech University. Unbelievable worship band! I think the entire youth group bought at least once CD if not both. Hope to get to hear him in person again. If not, I will hear him heaven.

Stacey said...

We were actually in Houston for a work vacation about a week ago. It was so much fun. The kids and I swam at the hotel in the mornings, napped in the afternoon and played with Daddy in the evening. It was so much fun! Also, we were introduced to Crave Cupcakes - Out. of. this. world! Wish I had one near by. The Italian Creme was awesome!!

Katie said...

ITALY!!! I got to tag along with my husband when he had a meeting in Milan last fall. We stretched it out to a 10 day vacation.
God is so gracious in providing us times of refreshing when we need them.
-Katie

Bobbie said...

We spent three weeks in Ft. Walton Beach on a business trip for my man! Three whole weeks! It was awesome-several trips to Seaside!!

The white sugar sand is the most beautiful sand I've ever seen. I'll never forget walking along the beach in a dense fog, picking up 'star fish' by the dozens. and not being able to tell where the sand stopped and the fog began! It was a little erie, but awesome at the same time!

Great memories!

Mary R Snyder said...

Ooh, I grew up going to youth camp in PCB! I love that place. I remember it back in the 1970s and 80s. So much fun. I just got home from Gulf Shores, Alabama -- just up the way from Destin. It was a girls trip for me and my two daughters -- one grown and one almost grown (at 18)!
Precious fun!!

Spicy Magnolia said...

Ok, I'm smiling really big at this post! First, I think I tweeted you that were in FL around the Destin area in late May with Matt's family. Well, Panama City/Beach to be exact...just like you. And it was AMAZING! And I'm laughing at your tar comment because not only have I ended up with it all over my body, it's stained some swimsuits, too. I'm gonna have a really hard time wanting to go to the TX coast again after our experience in FL. The drive wasn't too bad either...or at least it's worth it. Yep, blissful!

jst said...

Just left PCB. We live 3 hrs away in Montgomery Al. I cannot imagine a beach without our sugar white sand. Yes it is the BEST beach vacay by far. Oh you are just going to have sooooooo much fun. It can be a little overwhelming because it is the home of MTV Spring Break and well that just may say it all. Destin will be 50 miles west and has a great outlet mall. But you just cannot go wrong at our lovely beaches. If you do plan a nonworking trip look into Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area. Same sugar white sand but maybe more family-oriented. Also have a Great place to eat called Lamberts. Country cooking. The servers walk around w/ buckets to replenish your plate and they throw the rolls. No lie...known as the Home of the Thrown roll.....everybody catches 'em. So fun. Use lots of sunscreen the white sand reflects the sun very well.

jst said...

Just left PCB....cannot imagine a beach without sugar white sand. We live 3 hrs north of PCB and go often. It is the home of MTV Spring Break so be prepared. Destin will be 50 miles to the west...great outlet mall. If you plan a non working trip look into Gulf Shores/Orange Beach in Alabama. More family-oriented and same sugar white sand. Best to take pics of your kids late around 630pm-7pm out on the beach. Pack white
shirts and blue jeans. They will look perfect. And the quiet time early in the morning makes one so love and appreciate our Father's creation. Take a flash light and hunt for sand crabs after dark ! Have fun !

destinmimi said...

So glad you got to enjoy the beautiful white sand and gorgeous water of northwest FL. We have been going to Destin for the past 18 years and it is my favorite place in the world.. I feel whole there too!! For the past five years my husband has had a work convention at SanDestin for a week in May...love it!!! Love reading your blog post and those children of yours are adorable!!

Cheryl said...

I grew up in N. Ga. area and every.single.summer we went to Panama City aka the Redneck Riviera. There is absolutely nothing like the Gulf.
Now that I live as far east in Ga. as you can get, I'm not far from the Atlantic but it just doesn't compare.
I love Seaside too! Can't wait to see your pics.

My favorite working vacation was a few years ago when our church sent us to the SBC in San Antonio. It was my 1st trip to Tx ever and I loved it!

Jill_in_AL said...

We love the 30A part of the panhandle and go there every year -- so wonderful.

If you ever go back to South Walton.....just past Seaside (biking distance literally) is a little place called Grayton Beach. It has the best restaurant, Picolo's. A very funky vibe and unbelievable dishes with Eurpeoan flair.

Seaside is fantastic, quaint and like another world. I remember youth trips to PCB and now we've graduated to the adult world of Destin and 30A. Nothing like the sugar sands of the Gulf.

Fran said...

Oh Amanda...this post makes me so very happy!! You got the best of both worlds!!

We leave Friday for Panama City Beach...and you better believe we will head to Seaside while there. Don't you love it there? There is nothing like that place!

The beach and white sand bring me complete peace and happiness. We went to Cabo for our 10 year anniversary many years ago, but honestly...I'm a gulf girl through and through. There is no place I would rather be.

So happy y'all got to go! I will think of you while there. Hope you got to experience The Pier. We loved hanging out there.

Betsy said...

awesome! my husband and i live in panama city and we LOVE going to seaside and of course, eating at the red bar {best.crab.cakes.ever!}

happymcfamily said...

My husband is a youth pastor... but he refuses to take the students on beach trips ;-p

However, last June was the SBC Pastor's Conference and Convention in Orlando FL for which the church paid our travel down, the hotel room, and the conference fees. The pastor's conference was chock full of fantastic speakers (Tony Evans, Francis Chan, Ravi Zacharias, CJ Mahaney, Matt Chandler, Andy Stanley, David Platt, worship by Travis Cottrell, etc). There were so many dimensions that made this a wonderful work-cation. I was able to go to the Pastor's Conference with my husband. Our then-4-year-old daughter had a kids' camp to attend throughout most of it, which she loved. So during "business" convention time for the hubs, I got quality "me" time.
We have some precious friends that were involved in various capacities at the conference and convention, so it was extra special to get to see their smiling faces, hug their necks and grab a bite with them as we don't get to see them often enough.
Probably the most "special" time during the conference for us was when they had an adoption emphasis and prayer for adoptive families. At that point in time we were done with all of our paperwork but were waiting for the official approval to be placed in the domestic adoption waiting pool. They brought a family on stage who had just adopted twins, shared their story via a touching video, and surprised them with paying for all of their remaining fees. It was tear-jerking to say the least, but I mostly held it in. THEN much to my surprise, my very precious mentor appeared on stage singing the "No Orphans of God" song... yeah it's safe to say I pretty much lost it. Then another friend who was adopted herself and who had been there for me throughout the whole adoption experience was present in the room & txted me some precious words of encouragement and prayers in the midst of the song... and also the lady who performed our home study was there working a booth for a different organization that she is involved in and got to witness the whole adoption emphasis thing. It was pretty special. (We got our son about 4 months later).

After the convention was over, my sister and her fam and my parents met us at Disney World for a day at the Magic Kingdom, and we went back to my parents' house to spend a few days before heading home. (My parents had just moved to FL the previous November).

Even though it was a work-cation, we haven't really been able to afford a "real" family vacation, so it was such a huge blessing.

Marc and Charity said...

That is stinkin' awesome! Yes, the Lord loves y'all! :)

Catrina said...

How FUN!! My husband was invited to be a lead worshipper at a youth camp in Panama City Beach a few years ago. We were able to tag along with him as well! We were new to ministry (an awesome story! My husband was a janitor before God unexpectedly opened up a door) and I pinched myself the entire time. Not only was my husband there to lead worship, but the Lord was so tender to us in giving us time to glory over His creation! We would not have been able to do a family vacation otherwise...all this and Jesus too?! It's too much!! :) I'm so glad you guys got to spend some time at the beach together & that it was free ha!

Kim B. said...

After being married 17 years & 4 boys later we were able to spend a week in a beachfront condo in Maui!! AMAZING!! We normally beach camp in our motorhome (which we LOVE), but this was hands down the best :)

The Wootens said...

Cincinatti was our favorite "working vacation" for my husband ever...we're glad to be moving there next week! For these first 30-something years of our lives, however, we've lived just 2 1/2 hours away from PCB, just over the GA line. We've had, many, many, many vacations there--PCB is for us what the cactus ranch seems to be for your mom and dad. I love the smaller beaches on 30A between Destin and PCB, too, though! They're so quiet and relaxing. We like to stay in PCB when we're with a crowd, though, because there's more to do. I hope you got to go to Wonderworks (a.k.a. "The Upside Down House") while you were at the beach. It's a blast! Pier Park is also amazing! We were just there for the week leading up to Mother's Day--found some GREAT deals while shopping there, but blew the difference in my savings on the Miracle Strip rides for my kids! :) Was the camp at Laguna Beach Christian Retreat Center, or did they actually rent out condos? We like Laguna for whole-church beach trips, especially in the fall when it isn't over-run with youth groups, and our smaller kids can play together. But when I'm REALLY vacationing and don't want to have to haul all my linens from home, they do have lots of great condos, too.

Lauren said...

Wow, Amanda, that is awesome! So glad y'all got to have some extended family time! That's wonderful!

Traci said...

Absolutely, every "working" vacation for my husband is a favorite of mine. I love to travel and getting to do if for free (or even half price) is a huge plus! One of my favorites was actually Austin, TX, I guess because it was all new to us. I also LOVED D.C. and San Diego.

Sadly, his company only sends him to China now and we are not really invited anymore :-(.