Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's Brodaway, Baby! Although...She isn't a Baby Anymore...

I know.  I know.  Where are the Africa Posts?  I promise.  They are coming.  There has had to be a decompressing from there and I need to get my thoughts in complete order to even BEGIN to convey it all.  Plus, still waiting on the pics to all make it in.

In the meantime, we had a little birthday party.  Well...if you call bringing the NYC to the ARK  little LOL!

When I asked My Girl what she wanted her party to be for the big 1-1 she said she knew she wanted it to be Broadway but "wasn't sure how to make that happen".  Has she ever met me?!?!?  I got this baby girl.  So...out the invitations went:

And this past Saturday was the day!  I could hardly contain myself as the days drew closer because I KNEW this just might be the best party yet!  So, Alison and I set to decorating while she was at school.  I borrowed most of the big decorations from her voice teacher and her church.  

Welcome to NYC baby!  And what is NYC without having a yellow taxi cab in your way?  We even roped off the other side as the VIP Entrance.  Oh.  Yes!

Of course, upon entering what was the first thing everyone saw?  Graffiti, trash, pizza boxes, torn down buildings...that's right.  The alley ways of the NYC.  The only thing missing was that smell!  And if you have ever been to the know what that smell is.

What is a Broadway premier without a pap booth, huh?  As all of the "cast of characters" (aka friends) began to arrive, they all go their pics taken with My Girl on the red carpet.

I can't even talk about how long this took me to make...I might cry...

Welcome to the NYC everyone!  

The gift table was out on Ellis Island apparently.

My Girl helped make the cupcakes and iced them, but my friend Micki made the toppers.  SUP-A CUTE!

Look at the taxi cabs!!!

We even threw in a tree for that "Central Park" feel.

Every one's goodie bags awaited them as they left.  In addition to the candy on the inside was a small "tony" award for their acting skills and a CD with all of My Girls favorite Broadway tunes.

But for now...let the party begin!

Presenting My Girl as "Tracy Turnblad" from Hairspray!

And there's me as "Ms. Hannigan" from Annie.  Sad that this look becomes me.

Here's the whole family on stage, including My Man as "The Baker" from Into the Woods and My Boy as "The Cowardly Lion" from The Wizard of Oz.

And who could forget my partner in crime..."Truvy" from Steele Magnolias.  She secretly wants to BE her!

Here's the whole gang ready for their next performance.  It's the meet-n-greet before the show I guess.  LOL!

I had 3 bags full of 'props' I found laying around the house.  Things like black beans, scarves, pencils, cookbooks, a picture of My Girl, etc.  I drew names out of the name bag to put kids onto different teams.  They then had 15 minutes to come up with a play.  Complete with a name and possibly a musical number.  

Here's my Girl rehearsing being shot

This was Team #3...they did a play called "Christmas Dinner" complete with a lion killing someone in the end.

This was Team #1...they did a play called "Black Bean Tuna".

And Team #2...they did a play called "The Murder of Bobby McGee".  They all did sooooo fantastic!

After My Girl opened all of her other presents from her friends, her family had one more gift up their sleeves.  She was getting to go see Wicked the next afternoon!

Time to blow out the candles!

And here she was at Wicked the next day.

Baby Girl,

Even though you aren't exactly my 'baby' girl anymore, you will always be mine.  I have adored watching you turn into one amazing young lady who already stops hearts when she walks into a room.  Not only are you breathtaking but your spirit is something to be reckoned with!  Whew!  There is something so special about you that draws people in.  You aren't like your friends.  Most of your friends are loud and attention seekers, but you, Darling Girl...are mesmerizing.  I'm blessed to get the privilege to walk along side God as He works out His perfect plan for your life.  Sure, there are spots along the way that I may have to yank you back on the path, but its worth every minute of it just to see that smile of yours...that countenance that is something I could only dream of.  

I love you, Baby.  Happy 11th Birthday.  Stop growing now please.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

T'was the Night Before Mozambique

It's 27 hours away.  I am packed.  I am emotionally ready.  I am spiritually ready.  I am ready.

Even though I don't think I know exactly what it is that I am ready for, I know...beyond any doubts...that I am supposed to be on this trip.

I want to have this story recorded for my children:

Two years ago the Lord began to prick my heart about foreign missions. We had just started going to oneChurch in Conway and they had a mission team just returning from a trip to Brazil speak about their trip.  I literally sat their stunned as I leaned over and told My Man that wherever, whenever...I'm going next. 

Now, trust me … I have had lots of questions like “Well…isn’t there work you can do here?” Absolutely! And I have been. My family I have partnered with a local church in Conway and do mission work not a few blocks from where they are. I have had the humbling honor of helping to plant a church in Vilonia and see that community reached by meeting those folks, most who might never set foot in a church building, right where they are. And I by no means am saying that to “toot” my own horn but rather to say that I am fully aware that my mission field is right where I am! But still … that constant stirring was always there. The “and He said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” It wouldn’t let up. For two solid years.

In February, I was able to help Pizta42 in Conway actually make Manna Packs of protein fortified meals to be sent to feed the starving children (via the organization Children’s Cup and Feed My Starving Children). Through that process an opportunity was put before me … to travel with Children’s Cup to South Africa and be the hands and feet of Christ there. I immediately said, “Yes, Lord! Here am I, send me!” But then, as the financial piece of it was laid before me, I began to pray one thing … “Lord, please either supernaturally provide the funds or remove the burden from my heart.” That very evening, not 3 hours after praying that agonizing prayer, one of the very few people who knew about my desire knocked on my door with a check for $750. Ok Lord. I get it. You are bigger than money and when YOU put the mission in my heart, who am I to try and let circumstances change that?

I am leaving TOMORROW for Mozambique, South Africa. There I will have the opportunity to love on a forgotten people, meet them where they are and ultimately share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. Granted, everywhere we go will have the potential to be with armed guards, but for some reason I am not afraid. At all. I just want to be used and come back a forever changed woman for God.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Weekend to Remember

What an amazing weekend it was too! 

I had been planning this for months.  I bought the tickets back in April.  But I didn't tell him.  Told lots of other people, but not him.  Not My Man.  Hee hee...

See...we led worship together for years.  He is Worship Leader again at our current church.  I remembered that one of the best times we had together was when we went to see Chris Tomlin, Louis Giglio and Matt Redman in concert...just the two of us.  We got to worship together and not worry about kids or responsibilities or if the sound board was working correctly.  We just sat back and enjoyed!

So when I heard that the Hillsong United Welcome Zion tour was coming to Oklahoma City...realizing how close it was to our FIFTEENTH anniversary...I booked it just that fast!

So his parents came in to keep the kids and we took off Saturday morning.  The funny thing was...I made him drive.  I programmed the address into the car and it told him turn by turn where to go.  It was kind of fun knowing it all him knowing nothing.  He said he liked it too.  He didn't try to snoop and find out, he just sat back and enjoyed this little adventure I had planned for us. 

HAHAHAHA!  I LOVE this picture.  He has no clue!

The 'car' took us right to our hotel.  I went and checked in and even told the ladies behind the desk what I had done.  They loved it!  So much so that when we walked in with our stuff the ladies told him "I know where you are going!" 

After getting settled in and getting dressed up, we headed to Bricktown.  I never knew OKC was so cool!  I would like to go back when I can spend some major time in Bricktown. we are at The Spaghetti Warehouse! 

We used to have one in Little Rock that I used to eat at all the time when I was a kid.  And let me just STILL does not disappoint!  It was just as good as I remember!

The arena we were headed to was just a couple blocks walk.  As we were standing outside I kept telling My Man to keep his eyes forward and not on people tickets that were in their hands.  We got inside and sat down.  And that's when he saw the signs.  He now knew what we were here for.  And he was just as excited as I was!

My Man and I spent the next 3 hours worshipping with over 15,000 other people!  It was one of the most amazing nights of our marriage.  There was absolutely nothing like this and I'm sooooooooo glad I planned this all those months ago. 

And I'm telling you...if this is what it felt like to worship God with 15,000 people...I can only IMAGINE what heaven will be like!

Monday, June 17, 2013

We Went to See the Wizard

I still can't believe this season of her life came...and went.  It seems like a blur, but was one of THE most special times of our relationship.  I know that may sound odd, but I got to watch her her fall right into something that many have known she was gifted and destined her bring down the house every single her come into her own. 

I can remember the first night in Leslie, AR.  It was the first time I ever saw her do the entire show.  I literally sat there.  In the middle of a room of 348 people who had paid to come and see this show...348 who I didn't know yet...348 people who likewise didn't know who I was...people who didn't know that I was the Lion's mother...

I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY!  She was amazing!  I couldn't believe this was my shy wallflower!  I mean...I knew she had it in her and everyone who spent more than 10 minutes with her knew she had it in her, but man oh man!  I went back to see her during intermission and told her how blown away I was and she says "Momma...I don't know what happened!  I stepped into that lion costume and just transformed into THE LION!"

We had 6 more shows after this one.  And it only got better and better each time.  We spent an hour getting her hair that way, then hours up at the church helping everyone get into hair and makeup and costumes, an hour and a half for the performance, then another hour at least after greeting folks for autographs, pictures and after show notes.  Here are just a few of my favorite parts!

Here she is a Zeke...the farmer back in Kansas.

When she busted onto the scene with her "PUT'EM UP PUT'EM UP!"...the place went wild!  And so did I.  Every.  Single.  Time!  From backstage.

At first, she had a little trouble with understanding that SHE was the comic relief of the entire play.  But by the end, her comedic timing was SPOT ON!

By the time she sang "If I Were King of the Forest", we were all on the edge of our seats just waiting to hear her.  It was amazing!

Ha!  Look at her face!  This was when the Lion pulls his own tail and gets skeert!

During the curtain call every night...she came out and did a little Lion pounce.  She solicited the most thunderous of applause from the crowds.

The entire cast on stage.

Here are just a few of her adoring fans!

One of her BIGGEST fans though...was yet to come.

Aunt Becky...who has been her biggest advocate for being "a star" since the day she was born lives in Wisconsin and was so beyond proud that she had scored this role.  So she and I plotted.  She was going to make the trip down here to one of her shows and surprise My Girl. 

Just as Aunt Becky always did on show days, she called to tell My Girl to 'break a leg' and let her know how much she wished she could see her perform. 

Here she was back stage...waiting for the show to start.  When all of the sudden she spotted her Aunt Becky...and she ran across the room crying.  It was by far one of the sweetest moments.  One we will never forget and I am SURE made her 14 hour drive worth it even to her. 

With her Aunt Becky (and me of course crying)

My Girl reading the sweet note that Aunt Becky gave her with her flowers.  It was definitely a treasured memory for all of us.

Oh...can't forget to slip in our hard work for the cast party.  We won FIRST PLACE! 

Baby Girl...

I am so stinkin proud of you!  You knew deep down you wanted to do something like this but were always so scared to do it.  It was a journey of self discovery the whole way thru but watching you come into your own...into something you were obviously meant to something I will treasure as my greatest memory with you.  I can't wait to see more of your life story unfold as God walks you into everything He has for you.  I'm just beside myself to get to be a part of your journey. 

I love you, you little lion you!