Friday the 31st of October arrived, with a feeling of freedom and lightness of heart, as there would be no more competing for us, no wondering, just engaging our hearts with the semifinalists as they competed for the finals.
At breakfast, Christianna and I were seated at a lovely table in a breakfast/lunch restaurant, enjoying a hearty breakfast buffet (a special treat for her birthday) when I remembered I'd received an email the day before informing us that the Fall Festival held at a church family's farm had been postponed a day. It had originally been scheduled for Saturday night (while we were in Orlando), but because of inclement weather, they would hold it the next day. Christie had been a bit sad to have to miss it, as the hosting family does such a lovely job of putting it all together, and it is such a sweet time of fellowship. So, I thought I'd bring it up and give Christie the good news that, as we would be arriving home a couple of hours before the festival, we could attend!(Thank you Lord!)
Well, one could have heard her squeal of delight and her loud "Yes!" from Dan to Beersheba, had it not been for her even louder slap on the glass table-top! As it was, all the other patrons around us looked up and grinned (they must have been used to us by this time) as Christie turned a sweet shade of fuschia and obviously felt like slipping under the table! Had it been covered with a cloth, she very well may have done so. ;-)
Portending of things to come, we giggled together like schoolgirls and thoroughly enjoyed our time of talking and planning the day.
Christie watched all the semifinal rounds, as I wandered in and out for most of them. Sitting for long periods of time is not in my repertoire of things I can do anymore.
In my wanderings, I decided to visit the vendor tables. At one, I had the privilege of meeting Timothy Botts (http://www.timbotts.com/) and his business manager, and spent quite a bit of time poring over his work (http://www.inkwellgreetings.com/) and learning about both of them. How they both blessed me and the many people who stopped by! (Yet another gift from God!)
Then I went to the Bible Bee table and thought I would get some Bible Bee shirts for the boys at home, maybe to inspire them!
As I looked around, one design caught my eye, and I began looking for all the sizes I'd need. I found 2 out of the 4 that I needed, and was sorry to see I might not be able to get all 4 in the same pattern. I was just about to ask the lady behind the table, when alongside me, another contestant mother came up and asked the vendor if she could return 2 shirts she had ordered online and had picked up at the Bee.
Her boys didn't care for them and she was wondering if she could get her money back some how. As the vendor lady left to ask her superior if they could take returns on internet orders, I sensed an uncanny nudge: "Excuse me! If they can't take the return and if the sizes are right, I'll buy them from you." Yes, they were the very same pattern I was looking at! Now, what are the chances that they would be the exact sizes I needed? With 8 sizes to choose from, the Lord chose just the very two I needed to complete my set! The mother was thrilled, I was thrilled, and the vendor was thrilled, and all of us went away praising God for this kind providence! (Yet another praise!)
The semifinal rounds were very exciting, and tense! After much anticipation, the senior rounds were over and we knew all the finalists who would compete on Saturday!
|In front of our hotel|
An exciting and very entertaining and inspirational evening concert/family fun night was planned for 7:00, so we had a little bit of time to have dinner before it started. As it was Christianna's 18th birthday, I thought we'd do something a little unusual and dine at Benihana. We did not have reservations, so we had to wait at a table for more people to join us. An older couple joined us, after a while, who turned out to be with the Bible Bee as well. They were vendors at the competition, and we had such a warm and heartening conversation over a very unusual dining experience. As they learned more about us, such as how it was Christie's 18th birthday, and we learned many things about them, shared many common interests, favorite authors, and ideas regarding Biblical counseling, we felt our hearts knitting together with this couple who felt to me like my long lost Christian parents! Isn't it marvelous how God gives the spiritual orphan parents/aunts/uncles/brothers and sisters in the faith? And we recognize each other as such!
As I waited to pay my tab, Christianna informed me she would run up to the room to get our tickets to the concert, and freshen up as it was growing late, and we still had to wait a bit for the waiter to get back to us. While she was gone, our lady companion informed me that the Lord wanted them to do something unusual: they felt led to pay for our dinner, as a way of wishing Christie a happy birthday and of being a blessing to us as we were without our family on this trip!
Through tears and covered with goosebumps, I stammered some incredulous remark, after which they assured me that the Holy Spirit was really prompting their hearts to do this. I could only thank them again and again... I was still shaking when Christie returned and I informed her of what had transpired. We were both a bit dumbstruck, and giddy with thankfulness. They told us to run along and they'd see us at the concert! (His lovingkindness is over-the-top!)
Coming off that experience, C and I were walking a little above the ground as we handed our tickets to the gentleman at the door to the Grand Ballroom where the concert had just begun.