Sunday, December 09, 2007

I found renewal...both physical and spiritual...while soaking in a marble tub....

I'll get to my title later,...first I want to talk about Christmas For Kids (a.k.a., C4K). This has been an amazing weekend! It's hard to believe that this program I've been working so hard on for 5 months is finally over! This week has been such a whirlwind and the past 3 days especially have been a blur, but I'll do my best to share with you how everything went. I started working on C4K very early Friday morning and got everything prepped for delivery....let me just tell ya' - I was completely unprepared for the agencies reactions when they saw the amount of gifts and bicycles they were receiving. I had grown men crying in the sanctuary when they saw all that the children from their foster home program were going to be getting from "Santa" - I think Friday was actually the most rewarding day for me throughout the entire C4K experience simply because of the reactions of the Agency Employees! One man asked about our church and was actually there this morning simply because of the outpouring of love that he witnessed through this Christmas Program!! Trust me when I say that my pictures don't at all do it justice - the lighting was bad and I had only about half of the sanctuary full when I took these pictures...I also had about 50 volunteers serving on my team that I didn't get pictures with but unfortunately, it was WAY to hectic to stop for pictures! We did have a professional photographer from our congregation photograph for us and once she gets them developed, she will be submitting those pictures to the newspaper to go in to the article. :) Saturday (the official delivery day) went very smoothly (thank God!) and was another very rewarding experience...I heard so many heart warming stories from the volunteers who personally delivered the gifts to the seniors and children's homes - one man received a recliner and it turned out to be one of the only pieces of furniture in his home...another woman received a full tank of gas (around a $230 value) and will now have heat and working kitchen appliances in her home for the first time since May!...another foster family that had adopted 6 children (yes - 6) received 8 HUGE bags of gifts along with 5 biciycles - there were a lot of tears of joy coming from that momma!!! Obviousely I can't share every story with you all considering that there are 186 individuals that received gifts this year from this program, but I can assure you - scripture is correct where it says that: It is more blessed to give then to receive!!!

About 1/2 of the bicicycles we received and assembled (and purchased helmets for)...the bike assembly team stayed VERY busy!

1/4 of the gifts had come in at this point...

Saturday evening, Chad and I were invited to attend a wedding on Amelia Island. The bride and groom were good friends of Chad - Brandi and Corbie Crawford. The wedding was at the Amelia Island Plantation Chapel and it was such a sweet ceremony - they kept it very intimate and simple and you could tell they were both very loved due to the fact that there wasn't a dry eye in the house when they announced them man and wife! The minister took a moment and prayed for all the marriages in the room and asked us all to renew our vows - that was really a special moment for Chad and I! Afterwards, we headed back over to the Ritz Carlton for the reception and I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like it! They had a symphony orchestra, open bar, unending amounts of shrimp, caviar, smoked salmon...you name it - it was there and it was delicious!! But the best part by far was when Brandi made the announcement that I will never forget...this is what she said. "There have been 3 couples in my 32 years of living that have been a beautiful example of a Godly marriage and a successful union and those are: My parents who have been married for 38 years, my in-laws who have been married for 40 years, and THE EASON FAMILY who have been married for 5.5 years!". She tearfully went on and on about how our marriage and Godly example has impacted her and Corbie and how Chad has shared so many pearls of wisdom with them on how to make a marriage last...she quoted him as saying "Failure is just not an option". She then went on to say that our children were safely tucked away with Chad's parents and as a token of appreciation for the example we had been to them, they bought the BRIDAL SUITE - which is the CLUB OCEAN VIEW SUITE and were giving it for us to use that night!!!!! At this point, Chad was tearing up just because of the wonderful things Brandi had said about our family and I was tearing up because of the fact that they were giving us that amazing room!!! lol!!! We danced and celebrated till around 1am and when we finally made it back to our bedroom, we couldn't believe what we saw! Our suite was filled with rose petals in every room on the floor....there were two living rooms, 3 bathrooms, a marble encased tub, robes, slippers, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, a beautiful balcony that overlooked Fernandina Beach...oh, I could go on and on about this room! We got about 5 hours sleep before I awoke to the marble tub calling my name (ok...I think it was actually God beckoning me, but it was in the form of a beautiful marble tub)....I slipped out of bed and took the best bubble bath I've ever had and while I soaked, I praised God for his goodness...scriptures just kept coming to me - "For your mercies are new every morning", "Those who trust in the Lord will have strength renewed.", and I sat there alone for an hour just thanking God and marveling at all the ways He's provided for us and refreshed us just when we needed it! It's amazing how God knows what we need and I believe He truly wants to give us His best - all I could think was "if this place is this nice...I can't begin to imagine how wonderful Heaven will be!!". Later that morning, Chad and I walked down the beach and again, just talked about how thankful we were for God's control of our lives and how he had brought us through so many trials...we are excited to see what the next few years hold in store for us!

Introducing...Mrs. Brandi Crawford!...all of the pictures of me crack me up because I feel like I look like a walking zombie - I was soooo tired!




My wonderful comfy slippers!

View from our balcony this morning...

Relaxing in front of the fire while we drank our coffee....

Fernandina Beach...
The first gingerbread sailboat I have ever seen...it was about 20 feet long and 15 feet tall,...the ingredient list was hysterical - it took 3000 eggs and many pounds of other ingredients to make this thing!! It was in the entrance of the Ritz.

We had to leave Amelia Island around 10am due to a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at our church that we were invited to attend...yes, I know, this was a very rewarding weekend! I felt so undeserving, and SO grateful and I know that this weekend will be remembered always! I hope you all had a blessed weekend as well and I'm now going to bed!!! :)

16 comments:

jkbaber said...

Your blog entry gave me chills the whole way through! I am so glad Christmas for Kids went so well! It is so neat how your friend honored you and Chad at her wedding! It's like God was giving you the wonderful gift of relaxation after a full week with Christmas for Kids.

Hicks Family said...

Wow, what a weekend...I am glad you got some much needed relaxing. I can only imagine how some of those people felt receiving those gifts. Hope to see you soon.

Sara said...

It is so neat to read all the ways in which God continues to work through you and also through you and Chad's marriage. I love seeing the way he blesses your lives.

kristy patterson said...

Linds,
I think your weekend takes the cake, for sure! :)
I am so glad that Christmas for Kids went well. What a blessing to get to be directly involved in touching so many lives! And reading all the kind words that your friends said about you at their wedding brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful that, again, God has used you (and Chad, of course) to significantly impact someone else's life (and marriage). You are a beautiful, kind, compassionate and loving person and are to be commended for allowing God to accomplish his good work through you. I think the Bridal Suite was His little way of saying "job well done!"
;) So glad you were able to relax with Chad and enjoy such beautiful surroundings at The Ritz.

tleaf10 said...

WOWZAS! That sounds like a GREAT weekend! I'm glad you got something good and you did something good. Congrats on a successful weekend!

Page said...

How awesome, Lindsey! It sounds like all your hard work has paid off! It sounds like you and Chad enjoyed every moment of the Bridal Suite and that was such an amazing gift from the bride and groom! Congrats on finishing the Toys for Kids program!!!

Mom said...

What a living testimony to how having God in your life shows up in impacting the lives of others. You are such a giving, loving, hardworking soldier in His kingdom. It was neat how you got to be on the receiving end of such a great blessing - time out with Chad in such a neat setting! Glad you guys had such a good time and congratulations on a job well done on the Christmas for Kids project!

Angela said...

Oh my gosh! What a wonderful weekend! And such a wonderful surprise- just goes to show, you never know who you will be an example for. Congratulations on showing others a great example of a wonderful Christian marriage!

Rachael Smith said...

Lindsey, that is such an awesome story! There are so many times in life when we're called to do something that my never be noticed or appreciated. But sometimes God just lavishes us in reward. What a great God to bless you guys in that way (Bridal Suite...at the Ritz!!!!!) He is so good!

Michael and Hannah said...

I can't think of a higher comliment, a more honorable tribute, or a better legacy... the world needs more good marriages like yours!

Kimberly said...

I love this blog entry, too! IT is true what she said. You guys are an awesome couple and your blog encourages me every time I read it. I am so happy to see and hear how the Christmas for kids event went and so proud of your involvement and success. You truly deserved a "Calgon moment"

emily said...

wow, what a blessing of a surprise! wow. as your jaw dropped to the floor when you heard about your bridal suite treat, you probably were able to understand a little more how the foster mom felt when she saw those 5 bikes and several bags of gifts for her kids! such a blessing and such a humbling moment all at once... how neat for God to combine the culmination of your months of work with a night of pampering and luxury. He is so good. bubble bath or not, i know you'd agree that God is good. but i'm glad you got to enjoy the bubble bath as well. :)

Ezell Family said...

What a great gift. What an honor it was to find out how much your Godly marriage impacted someone else. That is very awesome! And I love big bath tubs! I have to take a "swim" in my MIL every time we go there. And I am also happy for you that your Christmas of Kids was a great success! Way to go!

Kate said...

WOW!! Let me just say, for the record, if anybody out there who has lots of money wants to thank me for anything, that would be the way to do it!!! Ha Ha!! I'm so glad your weekend went so well! I would love to be by the ocean right now. Have a good rest-of-the-week. Love ya!

Jane said...

We do a similar project at our church and it is so fulfilling. Great Job!

I love Amelia Island Plantation. We have been there several times......... one of my favorite vacation spots.

Whitney said...

I'm speechless! Just catching up on all my favorite blogs after a few busy weeks. I am completely touched by your stories! Looks like y'all are doing great. I hope you have a merry Christmas!