Kim and I arrived in Lexington, Kentucky last night. Very shortly, we will board an airplane and head to Israel.

Desiring to get a good night’s sleep before the very long flights, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Lexington – for free.

That in itself is a story but there’s more…

When Kim and I were in our first year of marriage, we signed up for a FamilyLife “Weekend to Remember” marriage conference. It was so enjoyable as we continued to learn biblical principles that would help us make the most of our marriage.

That marriage conference took place in this hotel – the Hyatt Regency.

However, many of the friends that we made at that conference over 20 years ago went to the marriage seminars during the day and stayed at the Hyatt at night. Since we began our marriage financially strapped, we wished we could stay here but couldn’t. We made our way home each evening, feeling like we were missing out on some of the experience of “getting away from it all” for a few days.

Also, during that first year of our marriage, Kim kept telling me that she would love to go back to Israel and take me with her. A few years before we got married, Kim went to Israel with a group from her church here in Lexington. But, that seemed like a far-fetched dream to us as struggling newlyweds.

Well, fast forward 20 years. A couple of friends suggested that Kim and I go to Israel and they said they would make it possible. We couldn’t believe it! Might God actually grant our desire to go to the Holy Land?

Without going into the details that caused us to make the following decision, we decided to fly out of Lexington Bluegrass Airport. Before leaving our house in Murray, Kim called to reserve a hotel.

She called Hyatt to see if we could redeem some of our points. We had secured a Hyatt card two years ago when we stayed in Washington DC when Kim worked at the National Gallery of Art. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving…

The Hyatt representative on the phone said that there were no empty rooms in the local Hyatt Place but that the downtown Hyatt Regency had a room on the 12th floor. She also informed Kim that we had enough points to get the room for free!

So, as we prepared to go to Israel, something Kim has wanted us to experience since our first year of marriage, we also got to stay for free in the luxury hotel that we couldn’t stay at in our first year of marriage.

All we could say to each other was – “God is so gracious!”

In the following picture I took from our room, you can see the parking lot where Kim and her family used to sit to watch Lexington’s Fourth of July fireworks show. You can also see Rupp Arena on the far right.

In the following picture, you can see UK’s campus from our hotel window.