Posts tagged ‘celebrate’

August 13, 2010

lakeside celebration

A week ago our only girl celebrated her Sweet Sixteen with a weekend party at the lake. Because she’s amazing like this, Kiwi asked that her family come on Friday night for a beachside celebration, and then she had her two best friends stay overnight in a cabin so they could continue the party on Saturday with another group of friends who would join them. I’ll admit that my first thought was, “Lake? In August? When the temperatures have been over 100 for weeks and I don’t ever go into the water? You must be joking.” Soon after that selfish thought I realized there was hardly anything that could keep me away from the girl’s celebration. She’d been dreaming and talking about sixteen for as long as any of us can remember, so I just couldn’t disappoint her by not showing up. Not this girl. Not when family truly means so much to her. So I stuffed down my dislike of summer and headed out with the rest of our side of the fam to join in the celebration of our only princess — the original Princess of Quite a Lot.
God knew exactly what we all needed on this night, and He brought a short shower during the late afternoon that took the temperatures down almost twenty degrees… or so it felt. I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I was and how great an impact this one shift had on my demeanor. As soon as we got to the lake, I headed straight down to the water’s edge. A rarity, for sure!
By the time we arrived the waters were calm and pleasantly warm, and the sun was hiding well behind the clouds. There was even a nice breeze coming off the lake. Serenity was the word that immediately came to mind. And since it was a private beach, we had it almost entirely to ourselves.


I couldn’t resist the urge to put my toes into the slick, squishy sand. But only so far as I could still see the bottom. Two steps beyond the edge was murky and dark green, camouflaging all the little creatures who lie in wait. I don’t go there.

water's edge

Of course, D has to be held back from jumping in headlong. He’s a water-lover, but on this night his mom “forgot” (insert sarcastic tone of older brother here) their swim trunks so they were only allowed to play at the edge of the lake.

a bit of rolling tide

Of course, turn your back for one instant and off he goes!

D at play

At one point I looked down the beach and saw every single male skipping rocks into the water. It must be a guy thing.

rock skip

The dry sand of the beach was deep and loose and a perfect temperature for walking barefoot. Plus, there were various ephemera left behind by previous visitors that are perfect to spark the imagination of children.

perfect spot for D

Of course, that only works if the water holds no allure. Which is never the case for the youngest boy. All night I marveled at how deep we sank into the sand at just the very outer edge of the water. Walking in it was exactly how I imagine quicksand must feel!

D and J in the sinking sand

When the birthday girl came back to the beach to join us, both her cousins ran to her. It’s never happened quite that way before, and it’s a great reminder just how quickly they’re all growing up. A bittersweet reminder, but something to hold onto, nonetheless.


Moments later we turned to see D standing knee-deep in the water, bent forward at the waist, with his head submerged upside-down. He probably would’ve gone all the way under had we not shouted for him to get out. It really didn’t faze him. He was quite proud to have found a way to feel truly wet.

silly cousins

As the party began to pick up again, we headed back up the hill to the picnic area. D ran up the stone trail first and shouted back to me, “Follow my path!” He stopped twice along the way up to look back and repeat the instruction, making sure that I was coming along well and didn’t need any help.

follow my path

Before we left the beach, though, I had to get one last shot of that amazing sky. I said a little prayer of thanks, as well, for the clouds that shielded the blazing sun and also kept the storms at bay.

shaded sun

The party got into full swing after that, and we enjoyed grilled hot dogs and good conversation. I was thankful that there were no harsh words or hurt feelings on this night, but instead there was lots of laughter and chatting among two sides of a family that had been joined by marriage. And there were presents, too, of course! I’m pretty sure this t-shirt from my sister was Kiwi’s favorite gift that night. How a girl born in 1994 could be such an 80s music fan is still a bit of a mystery to me, but it also makes her unique among her peers. I love that it gives us aunts something to share with her. [Note: The Bret Michaels thing is all on the youngest aunt. That’s something we’ll never share. :-p]

fave b-day gift of the night

I was especially pleased to catch a small moment of the girl and her dad, and even more pleased that they both smiled for the shot. Believe it or not, this is one of their best!

daughter and father

As we hung out and celebrated being together, we were able to see the sun setting through the trees. For just about five minutes we all watched in awe as it dipped lower and lower on the horizon and displayed the most amazing colors across the water. In those final few moments both of my sisters and I headed to the clearing with cameras in hand, knowing we would all regret it if that moment wasn’t captured. It’s scenes like this that remind me how awesome our God truly is and how amazing it is that He creates these moments just for our pleasure. Glory be!


The subsequent darkness made for a perfect cake lighting moment. I’m not sure how Kiwi ended up lighting her own candles but it made for a fantastic photo! Of course, the wind had kicked up a bit by then and she spent as much time re-lighting them as she did doing it the first time. No one really seemed to mind (except Kiwi, of course). The cake itself was a custom design by the birthday girl. She wanted fondant instead of regular icing, and she wanted zebra stripes. The ideal cake was a bit too pricey but her mom found a great alternative that kept the spirit of the cake intact and look exactly like Kiwi herself. Plus, the inner cake was marbled and tasted really, really good. So in the end, it was the most perfect cake for the most perfect of birthdays (so far).

birthday candles

During the rest of the evening we just fellowshipped together. We could see rain on the opposite side of the lake and being the country folk that we are (whether I like to admit it or not), the lightning show in the sky was too much to resist. The majority of us headed back to the water’s edge to ooh and ahh at the incredible (natural) light show. I found a solitary spot on the rocks at the top of the hill and set my camera on high sensitivity in hopes of catching one of those amazing bolts of electricity. I never did, but after holding down the shutter button for a series of 100+ photos, I finally managed to catch a single moment when the storm lit up the entire sky. Despite the grainy quality, I think this photo is the one I’m most proud of from the evening.

lightning in the clouds

Then again, this last one of the birthday girl is pretty special too. You can see her two best friends on the opposite side of the table, and our girl’s face is filled with joy. It wasn’t a spontaneous moment — this is the result of a hair toss and bright smile over the shoulder that she was demonstrating as her intended “hello” to a college guy who was due to show up in just moments — but the lack of spontaneity makes it all the better. This is Kiwi’s personality. This is her true smile and her dramatic flair and her contagious joy. This is the woman she is becoming more and more each day. What you see in this photo is her true laugh, and that’s better than anything else I saw all night.

birthday joy

April 4, 2010

a family Easter celebration

It’s not often that all of my family can get together at Easter anymore, but this year Mom and Dad are volunteering just a couple of hours away and have been able to spend several days here with us during the week. Although we always celebrate Easter at church that morning, I can’t remember the last time we shared any kind of Easter meal together. Even growing up, our focus was never on a special meal like at Christmas or Thanksgiving. For my family, the celebration was simply being together and sharing the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, plus a little egg hunting when we were young. But I don’t remember a special lunch or dinner planned just for the day. This year, though, something fun was planned for all of us.
It was important to the 3rd boy that all of us attend the Sunrise Service at church, so my sister and my mom planned a little brunch to follow. Sausage pinwheels, ham and cheese spirals, apple sticky buns and fresh fruit salad. Everything was prepared in advance, so we were able to come back after church and just warm it up and eat. Which meant more time to just hang out together and catch up, then everyone could head back home late morning with a full afternoon left. It was a really great day, beginning with a true celebration of Life.

sunrise service
The Way
Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.
— 1 Peter 1:18-21 (The Message)
sunrise service
Easter brunch
a little fun for 2 boys and 1 baby girl puppy


March 31, 2010

birthday four-one

My birthday is most definitely my favorite time of the year, and I won’t accept that I am allowed only one day. Instead, I take one birthday and 30 unbirthdays to celebrate my birth month! This year was actually quite nice, almost every day of the month. My health improved from the dreadful February days, and my family and friends made the days fun and the gifts even greater. And though I spent almost every evening continuing work that couldn’t be accomplished during the days at the office, I never felt burdened by it. Rather, I’ve been very inspired lately, full of creative energy and overflowing with story ideas. I love that my birthday occurs on the cusp of spring. It always makes the transition from winter feel like a special event. This year has been just that.
click to enlarge
Birthday 41 Birthday 41
green laptop bag, purchased for myself with gift card from my boss
my 2009 posts in book form, compiled by my best good friend, the fabulous Cerella D Sechrist
iHome alarm clock, purchased with same gift card from office folk
the cutest little piggy bank on earth, from my nephews and sister and brother-in-law
a little birthday cake, lemon-raspberry butter cream, to be precise — another gift to myself

two lunches — one celebrated on the actual day with my friend Meredith and the other solo, using one of my many free birthday coupons
the coolest flatware I’ve ever seen, from my parents, who know how I’m enticed by bright and shiny things and how much I love circles and dots

There were a few other goodies, as well, including a nifty kitchen knife that I asked everyone in my family to gift me and some fun little trinkets from Cerella that just made every day special as I opened one at a time on the days leading to my actual birthday. But the best part of the entire month has been knowing how much I am loved and cherishing the fact that every single gift was thoughtful and personal to me.
Which is exactly what my birthday is meant to be.

January 31, 2010

celebrating my friend’s success


Stop by my pop culture blog every day this week and get to know my best good friend, Cerella D. Sechrist, author of Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Cerella will be sharing personal stories, pop culture favorites, and even participating in the challenge of writing about One Word. Plus, there will be DAILY GIVEAWAYS! Check back daily to join in the conversation and celebrate the release of Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

a week with Cerella D. Sechrist
Learn more about Cerella D. Sechrist by visiting her blog at The Cerella Life.


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