Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Eyes on the Skies and Sea

Well, here we are. Our favorite beach spot...Fort Morgan! We arrived Saturday night and luckily, dodged tropical storm Debby. God's power over nature was evident! We saw some pretty impressive 7-8 foot waves Sunday from the storm as it sat out in the Gulf of Mexico and churned the water and wind. Admittedly, we were a little worried about it. One model showed the path of Debby heading this way, and forecasters were not sure which path this storm would take as we approached bedtime Sunday night. We went to bed not knowing what to expect the next morning. I assured the children that it didn't matter if the storm came ths way. "We are together, we are healthy, and there are lots of indoor things we can find to do," I explained. Monday morning brought beautiful blue skies and calmer seas. The wind was still pretty rough, and the red flag was still flying, but the tropical storm warning had been lifted for Alabama! Debby moved east. Praise the Lord, right?:) We are soaking up the sun, riding the waves, splashing in the pool, taking in the sights, eating seafood, staying up late, and just plain enjoying our time together. More posts and pictures to follow from Beach Trip 2012...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


"That's what my God is to me."
**I started this post last Friday, but time restraints and other priorities have kept me from posting this until today.**
The words above are the words to one of my favorite 2012 VBS songs! I have been leading the music for VBS at our church this week, just as I have for the last 2 or 3 years. It's a lot of work to learn the songs and choreography, but it's a lot of fun, too. And the kids love it! (I don't remember VBS songs being this fun when I was younger.)What better way to learn and remember important Biblical principles than through song and dance, right? (Well, my conservative Southern Baptist friends might say we could leave the dance part out:), but I just can't help but think that one day we will certainly dance before our Lord and sing His praises. Why not do that on Earth, too?)

Less than a week before VBS 2012 started, our sweet friend, Lucy, got sick. Really, really sick. Lucy's mommy, Kate, is one of my dearest friends. It has been painful beyond belief to watch my friend hurt. Lucy has fought brain cancer since February 2011, and she has fought like a champion! I will never be able to put into words how I felt when the doctors discovered Lucy's cancer was back last Tuesday. My heart began to grieve. And I began to grieve with my dear friend as it seemed all hope was lost. We began to hope and pray that Lucy would have no suffering and that God would show mercy.
I have no doubt that God can heal a person on Earth, if He so chooses. And, of course, I have not and will never stop praying for the ultimate healing of Lucy's cancer. The horrible and hardest part of this human existence, is that sometimes God chooses to heal a person by allowing their life on Earth to end so that they might be complete in Heaven.
As I prepared my troubled heart Sunday night and Monday morning for the start of VBS, I found myself grasping to the words of the songs I was about to teach. I prayed that my human hurt, fear, and doubts be laid aside as I faced these children who needed to KNOW and BELIEVE that our God is powerful and can do anything. Our God is amazing!!

Amazingly, Lucy has had some improvements and my heart rejoiced as VBS week came to a close and Kate sent me reports that Lucy was awake more and talking. And then 2 nights ago, I laughed with Lucy as she thought it too funny to put her rubber frog on my shoulder and then watch my overly dramatic reaction to this "yucky" amphibian touching me.:) We read a book together, and I watched with a joyful heart as she ate a little something and took some steps to the bathroom. I have to believe that God is trying to show us that He's more than A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! He has reminded me this week that I must cling to Him because He has power over all things, no matter what happens.
As I drove in my car this weekend, the words to one of my favorite Chris Tomlin songs came on and those words have been sounding off in my head constantly... "Our God is Healer, awesome in power." Why had I thought that the kids needed to know and believe it...I needed to believe it again!!
Who says VBS is just for the kids, right?:) Even the "big kids" need to be reminded of God's power and that we must trust Him even when doctors tell us there is no hope.
"Our God is greater, our God is stronger. God, You are higher than any other!"

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Tale of a 4th Birthday

Well, we did it! We celebrated Mary Claire's birthday "Princess Style" last night with friends and family. It was so much fun, the party and the planning of the party. While I physically and mentally feel somewhat "pooped" today, it was all worth it to see the story of Mary Claire's 4th birthday celebration unfold...

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful fair maiden named Mary Claire who loved to play dress up and be silly in hats.
Playing silly in the hat Mrs. Christi gave her.
Mary Claire said, "It's a hat like Mimi's!" :)

She loved strawberry cake with lots of icing and buttercream flowers.
Focused on what's important, right?! hehe

 Mary Claire loved all kinds of stories, but her favorite story was the tale of Rapunzel and her beautiful golden hair. One day, the Queen Mother asked, "My darling, Mary Claire, what would you like for your birthday this year?" Mary Claire knew right away what she wanted. "A Rapunzel party!" she replied. So the Royal Rapunzel Party plans began.
When the big day arrived, Mary Claire was so excited to share her celebration with her friends and family. Every guest came dressed in their best and joined in as Mary Claire celebrated her 4th birthday.
And a wonderful celebration it was!
There was a princess cake!
The Rapunzel doll cake!
When Mary Claire saw it Friday afternoon, she yelled, "Jonah, come look at my cake!! It's Rapunzel!"
And when she saw the hydrangeas I had arranged in the jars with tulle tied around them, she exclaimed, "Oh, those are beautiful!" It was the BEST reaction ever!:)
 And jeweled crowns for everyone!
Making jeweled crowns with friends is so much fun!

The Royal Princes enjoyed games with guests!
Boys will be boys, right?

Royal Cousins, Hardy and Mary Claire

There was food for everyone.
The cupcakes!
The Queen Mother, also known as the Royal Cook, served the food. And it was the best that "GOOGLE" had to offer for a Princess Rapunzel party! Mary Claire loved how each food symbolized special parts of her favorite fairy tale, "Tangled".

Braided breadsticks--Just like the golden braid Rapunzel would wear!
The Queen(Cook) was up until the wee hours of the night making these.

Apples for Maximus, the horse in "Tangled"
 Alas, the Queen did NOT take a picture of the Angel "Hair" Pasta and sauces that were served.
Undoubtedly, she was swept away into the arms of the handsome King as he arrived at the celebration.:) 
 The King and Queen! :)
(I wasn't comfortable in the dress, but it made Mary Claire happy to see me in it!)
 The candles were lit, the crowd of special guests surrounded the Princess,
4 perfect candles ready for singing "Happy Birthday!"
 and the Queen's father led everyone in a special "Happy Birthday" song.
There's the birthday princess!
 And as the sun began to set, the Princess and all her friends were escorted outside
 and watched with great anticipation as
(Oops! Somebody's princess gown got in the picture! hehe
But don't you just love the way she is sitting and watching for her surprise? Just like a princess...)
 the floating lanterns lifted into the sky in honor of the beautiful Princess's 4th birthday!!
Princess Mary Claire presented all of her guests with special gifts and then wished them farewell. And when the King and Queen kissed her goodnight, Mary Claire feel fast asleep with a smile on her face and a warm feeling in her heart.
The End

We love you, Mary Claire!
May all your dreams in your heart come true, and may you always find happiness in all that you do.
Happy 4th Birthday!!