Highlights from Staff Conference!

Staff conference (now called Connect) was really great this year! Here are some little tidbits about the trip that you should know about!

We stayed at an amazing hotel that had swimming pools and beautiful woods and nice rooms and good food and a spa! I didn’t get a massage though because I am still not so comfortable with a man giving me a massage and the woman at the front counter of the spa told me, “Man or Nothing!” So nothing it was. Oh well. Maybe next year. I am glad I chose nothing because another woman got the man and he had her undress in front of him and then didn’t cover her with a towel! This would have been devastating for me (even after all the nudity and exposure of having a baby in France).

I had some amazing conversations with new and old friends. We work with some pretty amazing people! Not only did I have great conversations, but so did Maisie! There were two babies there that were two months older than Maisie and she had a blast chatting it up with them. It seriously was like they were having a conversation! I am so bummed we didn’t get it on video! She will miss her little friends Alleke and Gabbie!

I got to use Maisie as an excuse to skip out if I got bored. I know this is really bad, but I have the shortest attention span, so this little tool called Maisie came in quite handy at times. But I do have to say that sometimes it was difficult for me to miss out on so much, especially staying up late talking with everyone! I tried on someone’s sling and this is a picture of little Maisie’s head sticking out. I think she liked how comfortable it was, but not how she couldn’t see, so she had her head straight back the whole time she was awake!

Maisie crawled for the first time! It is fun that her first little crawl was in Hungary! If I am remembering correctly she crawled to a little piece of paper (surprise surprise my little paper eating baby). She is practically a pro at crawling after a week and has now crawled to cell phones, cords, chapsticks, etc. She is amazing.

Justin and I had an amazing talk as we walked around the woods. This was probably my most favorite time of the whole week. I love connecting with him! He is the best husband ever. Seriously, he is. He is always striving to grow. I love that about him! He found this little fort that some kids had made and was so excited because it reminded him of the forts he used to make as a boy! Little nerd.

Maisie was dedicated! Justin and I have wanted to get her dedicated (as this is a very traditional thing to do in the Christian church) and were unsure of where to do it in the states. We decided that it would be really cool to do it at our staff conference where we really feel like the people are our family in Europe. It was really sweet. I don’t know if we will get pictures or not. I am sure SOMEONE took a picture!

One of the most ridiculous times of the whole trip was when I tried to drop Maisie off at the childcare area. Lets just say I had a meltdown. On my way to dropping her off, my heart started to pound harder and harder. When I got to the room I think I was beginning to perspire. I totally freaked out and stumbled on my words, face bright red, trying to explain how I do things with Maisie and finally just said, “sorry I am a freak parent” and left. I walked about thirty steps and then tried to hold back the lump in my throat. I have NO idea why I almost cried (especially since I took Maisie with me when I left), but I was able to hold back the tears. So I still haven’t left Maisie. Don’t pressure me. I will do it when we are both ready. Or at least when I am ready.

The last day we spent the day in Vienna, Austria. We had a long layover at the airport, so we went into the city with friends and ate at a famous cafe that is on the terrace of some famous building. I mostly talked with people while walking around the city, so I didn’t really see so much of it. Oh well. Next year maybe. Here is a picture of us in front of a fountain in Vienna. We both feel like we look extra chubby in this picture, so just deal. But Maisie looks cute and was actually smiling!!!!

We had a great time and are already looking forward to next year!


  1. Justin Powell on August 20, 2007 at 4:13 am

    yes I am a nerd…but that was exactly like the forts we used to make at my grandma’s house in Virginia! I hope that you don’t get busted for admitting not being in all the sessions…shame on you…:)

  2. Mom on August 20, 2007 at 6:05 am

    ooooh. I love hearing about your time away! I didn’t realize you had Maisie dedicated! Very cool and hopefully someone will have some pictures because that is such a precious time. Honestly, I have to say that you (all three) look so happy. There is an aura about you. Can’t wait to see you in a few short months! Love you SO much!

  3. tony sheng on August 20, 2007 at 7:30 am

    Hi Jen,

    I’m Tony Sheng, one of the team leaders for the kids team. I wanted to apologize to you – I had promised you that parrot that we used, but after the last night of the program ended, I couldn’t find it. I suspect that one of the older kids snagged it since a few of them were *really* into the whole pirate thing…
    Anyhow, sorry about that…. It was great meeting you and Justin, blessings on you guys and thanks for making an impact in Europe!

  4. Jen Powell on August 20, 2007 at 7:58 am

    Hi Tony! No problem about the parrot!!! I am a nerd for even wanting it! I am glad you had a great week! Thanks for all your work at conference!

  5. Megan on August 20, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Jen…I hope you don’t ever feel pressured to leave your sweet baby. They are gone soon enough-hang on to her while you can! It was so good to meet you and Justin, and I will be praying for you guys during this time of transition!

  6. Rogier on August 21, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Jen, fun post!
    Pictures of the dedication are here:

    Justin leading worship:


  7. Jen Powell on August 21, 2007 at 2:04 am

    Thanks for the pictures Rogier! You are always great at capturing EVERY moment!!!

    And Megan, I appreciate your thoughts on leaving Maisie! I hate feeling guilty no matter what I decide! It was great meeting you as well!

  8. Nick on August 21, 2007 at 11:44 am

    By the way, the last picture of you was taken outside the Hundertwasser House (on Löwengasee/Kegelgasse), a project of the Viennese painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser (born Fritz Stowasser in 1928), where we had lunch in the sunshine (in fact, Justin ordered twice, but only because he liked the look of my pizza-topped baguette when he had already ordered soup. I won’t tell anyone). This 50 apartment building was constructed following Fritz’s original design, where there was no place for regular forms. Some of its decoration were done by the author himself while the work was in progress – take a look on the internet for some of the pix as it’s fab (as we say in the UK). There was a tourist shop in which I bought a fantastic silk scarf for Jan featuring Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” – anyway, it’s one of Vienna’s major tourist attractions. And you’ve been there. So now you know 🙂

  9. Jen Powell on August 21, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Wow! Thanks for all the information Nick!!!!! How did Jan like the scarf??? I thought it was soooo beautiful!

  10. Svest on August 26, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    I seriously feel like I am a thousand light years away. I am missing out on a life with you, my brother in law and my neice!!! And that makes me sad. But other than that…I really enjoyed checking out your guys’ trip. And the videos of Maisie. And you don’t look chubby in that last picture, but Maisie’s legs are in a weird position! Little super baby! Love you so much!

  11. Kate Fretland on October 9, 2007 at 12:42 am

    hahaha- You are such a bonded mother, nothin’ wrong with that. (maybe because I can totally relate!) Love you, mommy friend!

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