Aflac provided us with breakfast each morning and dinner every night except one. On our first morning though we skipped the free breakfast and instead walked down to a top rated breakfast place called The Ruby Slipper. It was funny because we ran into another Aflac couple there who are around the same age as us and we asked if they had been on Trip Advisor too ;)
It did not disappoint. YUM!
Bonus points for walking there and back...burned off some of those calories!
When we debated about whether or not to attend the trip the BIG thing that pushed us over the edge for attending was that Tim Tebow was the guest speaker for the prayer breakfast. We were both SUPER PUMPED to hear him speak. So much so that we headed back from our breakfast mega early to get awesome second row seats. Then we got settled and found out he wasn't going to be there :( We both wondered with his baseball contract if he'd still be speaking and I guess we got our answer. We were bummed but were really happy that the replacement was Mike Huckabee! We saw him in NYC SEVERAL years ago and he was fabulous.
The program also opened with beautiful gospel singing!
CEO of Aflac, Dan Amos.
We were sitting directly behind Dan and his wife and I could see him be so affectionate towards her in a natural way throughout the program. He had his arm around her, picked something of her dress, etc. It was SUPER sweet and just not something you see very often. I spoke with her in the bathroom and mentioned it to her. Her love for him shined bright as well and it's just neat to see people who are so successful stand firm in their love for their family like that!
Mike did another fabulous job! He joked about his two runs for president and had a wonderful lesson on life's detours (which was perfectly timed for our family!)
Here are the notes I took from what he spoke about:
- 3 things about detours in life: 1) we don't like them 2) we don't plan for them and 3) we don't celebrate them.
- He told a story about a helicopter he was supposed to be in that crashed and how at the time when he wasn't on the helicopter he was frustrated by the detour/change of plans but obviously now is so thankful for that detour!
- God turns our detours in life into destinations we'd never imagine
- Joseph said to his brothers "what you intended for harm, God has used for GOOD"
- No matter what the world of people do God HAS A PLAN that is better for you than whatever you had planned. You just have to wait and trust.
- He told a story about his childhood and how he played baseball and broke his finger in a way that caused him to be unable to play anymore. Feeling sorry for him they let him sit in with the radio announcer and it's how he ended up getting into radio. His entire life path was altered because of that broken finger. God used something hurtful (his finger) for something better.
- Detours take you to the places you NEED to be, not just WANT to be
- Joyfully accept the unexpected as God's plan being better than the plan we have for ourselves is the definition of spiritual maturity (whew, I am NOT there yet)
- If you take the ingredients of a cake by themselves they taste awful standing alone. But then you have a recipe (a plan!) when when you follow it exactly they come out tasting good. They also have to go through a very painful experience to get to that good tasting ending (they have to be mixed with the mixer, baked in the oven, etc).
- God wants us to be molded into the image of his son. It takes a plan for that to happen. God mixes and molds things in our lives to make that cake!
- God doesn't do evil. He is SO good and SO amazing that he CAN take the worst things and make something wonderful out of it.
- God's plan is always good. We may not get to know it until Heaven but it's GOOD!
Y'all. You may have just skimmed all of that, and that's cool. But I'm in TEARS as I type these words because how cool that we heard such a lesson just prior to getting our big life detour? This def takes on whole new meaning for me personally!
Got a couple videos of him speaking:
Ms Jean is BEYOND precious. Her husband, Paul, passed away in 2014 and was the last living of the original Amos brothers who started Aflac. She STILL continues to go on all the Aflac trips and loves visiting with all the employees. We had the honor of eating with her and Mr Paul several years ago and any time we get a chance to her I always try to (often there is a lengthy line as she's a popular lady!). She reminds me a lot of my Nana and is totally elderly lady goals for me ;) I mean that look is completely channeling Minnie right? (Which duh I told her haha). I got to spend a good bit of time with her that morning as we were sitting near her and she didn't have a lot of people nearby and I felt bad with her sitting solo so we visited awhile and I helped her in the bathroom. I truly enjoyed that time so much with such a special woman!
After hearing Mike speak we had a few minutes to visit with people and I happened to run into a family friend! I grew up with Toni and Katie (twins) from preschool age and I always knew their dad worked with Aflac but I didn't know if he was still with the company anymore or what. Georgia is split into two "states" and he isn't in our area. I ran into both he and his wife and it'd been YEARS since I'd seen them. It was wonderful to catch up for a few minutes and it was nice to be able to give them my condolences about Toni's passing. I know we have had a rough personal year but I cannot fathom the year they have had with losing their daughter.
Zach worked SUPER hard last year to earn the President's Club trip to Italy this year and then stinking terrorists caused it to get canceled. Boo. So for National Convention they put together a special awards lunch for all the Presidents Club qualifiers. Basically it was a lunch where we all complained to each other about how the whole trip got canceled haha. I met one lady who has been with the company over 20 years and it was her first qualification. I felt so so bad!!! Then another girl who was going to miss it anyway because she'd just had a baby and she lucked out b/c they gave a lot more money since it was canceled than they do if you just opt out!
We got to eat at the Saenger Theater and it was BEAUTIFUL!
They picked the perfect location for the lunch as it had a very Italian vibe!
SO proud of my MAN! And we didn't complain about the trip being canceled...we know it was just a detour in life and we had a blast in Cali :)
The South Georgia State Qualifiers!
We had an early dinner night with Aflac so we just took a couple hours to chill in the room. If you've been a reader for awhile then you know we value our chill time on vacations! We are still working through How I Met Your Mother. It's our least favorite show we've watched together but we do love Neal Patrick Harris so it's worth sticking it out ;)
Much like night one, night two was themed to the max and I was LOVING IT!
For this event we got to ride on legit Mardi Gras floats through the city of New Orleans and toss out beads to people! I was hesitant about what to expect but it was VERY cool and not inappropriate in anyway way at all. Very family friendly bead throwing ;) We did have some pretty drunk people on our float and it was funny to watch them try to keep standing up while tossing beads and being on a float haha
It was SUCH a cool ride. Not only b/c the floats and beads but because we also had police escort the whole way and had several local high school bands performing along our path!
The end of our path was our dinner destination that was located inside a place where the make the floats. Y'all. It was AWESOME!
There was an "outdoor" area that was decorated like we were in the swamps of the Mississippi! It reminded me of The Princess and the Frog
Much like night one they had activity stations set up everywhere! You could get a henna tattoo or have a butt sketch artist draw your butt. Which I thought was kinda crazy until I saw how good he made people's butts look and then I was kinda wanting one ;)
We opted to eat, walk around a bit and head back!
I LOVE the rain jackets they gave out as gifts this trip! I've been needing a jacket with a hood and this one is perfect :) Of course we were back at the room by 8:30. When we party we party HARD haha!
Yay for an Aflac-filled yet fun 2nd day!