Friday, July 16, 2010

the number 8

Today is July 16, 2010. To most people, it's just another day in paradise. For me, it's a huge day, and for many reasons.

July 16, 2002 was the day that changed my life forever. I was the youth minister at First Baptist Church in Pine Mountain, GA, and had taken my youth group to that awesome annual event called Summer Camp. I am privileged to know some really great people in ministry, and thanks to one of those ministry heroes of mine, I connected with a really great group of other ministry heroes at Ormond Beach youth camp in Daytona Beach, FL. By most accounts, the Tuesday of camp is a huge day- it's the first full day of activities, the first morning devotional, etc. But one thing that always set Ormond Beach apart from any other camp I've ever been affiliated with was the fact that the youth ministers themselves weren't given a specific role for the week. We weren't asked to lead a small group. We didn't have to necessarily chaperone a room (though I did). We were there just to love on our kids and form unforgettable relationships with our youth as we pointed them to the greatest Love ever known. Given the free time I had, I was headed to the beach. Or so I thought.

My lily-white legs were taking me straight to the beach. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. However, I saw one of the members of the leadership team frantically talking on the phone and gesturing with her hands. "Go outside, Mary Beth. You know your mission is to get some sun." But I just felt drawn to the scene. I found out through the side of the conversation I could hear that the room we used for our big group sessions had been vandalized the night before. Someone was needed to inventory what was still in the room, which would tell us what wasn't in the room. Was I free? Sure, I guess. At least I wouldn't have to think of a Halloween costume that year- I could go as Casper's girlfriend. No sweat.

Yellow notebook and black gel pen in hand, I was told to follow the tech guy around- it looked like his stuff was hit hardest. Great. Follow some goofball around that's going to be upset about every Energizer battery that's missing. I'm sure to hear more about megabytes and video cameras than I could ever want to know. Oh, how wrong one person can be.

Lest you think I didn't meet a techy goofball, let me clarify. Yes, I did meet that guy. But he wasn't at all like I expected him to be. He was sweet, pretty funny, and extremely passionate about his role during the week. It was his responsibility to make sure that the camp attenders had the best visual experience possible. In his words, what he did or didn't do with camera shots, etc. made an impact on people's worship. Wow. I was impressed. It wasn't "hello", but he had me, nonetheless.

Fast forward to today. I met, dated, and married that techy goofball, and through God's provision, he's given me two techy goofballs in training. And they're also a big reason why today is so special to me.

Carter, aka Monkey Man, Gus Gus, and George, turns 8 months old today. I'm pretty sure I just had him yesterday, but my calendar says yesterday was 8 months ago. As I type he's shrieking and playing, rolling and smiling. He's been through alot healthwise in his 8 months, and I'm more than grateful that, at least in his world, today is just business as usual.

Saralynn is 8 days away from her fourth birthday. Since I just had Carter yesterday, I just had her last week, but again the calendar says it's been almost 4 years. As I type she's twirling in front of her dresser mirror to the joyous sound of the VeggieTales gang as they sing "Joy to the World". No, your calendar isn't deceiving you- it really is July. I just have an overly creative child. She gets that from her daddy. :)

Garrett is away tonight, using his gift of photography to enhance the wedding of some really dear friends. I was supposed to go, but am instead here, typing and taking care of our two blessings. I wish he were here so we could talk about all the crazy things we've done over the past 8 years, but I'll remember them now, and we'll discuss them at another time.

For now, I'm grateful for today and for what it means. It's a great day! Thank you, Garrett, for coming into my life 8 years ago and doing all you could to ensure it would never again be the same.

And the number 8 will always be a good number. It was, after all, my T-ball jersey number. And we all know what a famous T-ball player I became.

Friday, July 2, 2010


We are headed to Mississippi for a much-needed vacation, filled with family, fun, and a swimming pool! Pictures to come- I really promise this time! (Since thousands of people read my blog anyways...)