Wow, What a full week! Preparations for The Ball have really escalated and each time we've thought that absolutely everything has been thought of, another heaven sent opportunity has arisen.
On Monday our contact from Shaohannah's Hope offered us the gift of 3 tickets to the sold-out United Tour concert featuring Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman in nearby (?) Bethesda, MD.
Not only that, there was the hope given that S. could meet with Steven to present him with an honorary invitation to The Cinderella Ball! Most opportunities come with challenge, and ours was to sort out which members of the family would go to the concert. It worked out well that in the minds of some young ones not even the United Tour can compete with trick-r-treating at Mom-Mom and Poppy's and going to the church Harvest Party.
The Banker is much more fun for the kids on Halloween night, and I am much more the road tripper, so S., N. and I headed south on 95 with great anticipation while the candy fiends set off for their quarry.
Funny thing is, I had a little mental lapse, because I thought that I remembered that about 20 years ago a friend of ours had moved to Bethesda, about an hour away. No problem. Thing is, as we sat in Baltimore rush hour traffic 2 hours into the trek I had a revelation: Keith had moved to Aberdeen, not Bethesda. Oh well, we were committed. Turns out the whole event was well worth the nearly 3 hour trip down, but what is with that Beltway traffic?! I think they need a committee of women to address the situation. Anyway.
We got to the venue later than intended, and needed to find our contact people quickly. Quick prayers were being sent up as we rushed through the building looking for the right people. The Strathmore Music Center is a gorgeous labyrinth of a building. Unbeknownst to me, my friend Michelle from our homeschool co-op whas volunteering with her husband at the Shaohannah's Hope table and seeing her put us on to the lead volunteer, who texted SCC's assitant and road manager that we had arrived.David Trask, road manager extraordinaire.
We begged posterboard from someone in the coatroom and S. made a sign to get SCC's attention during the concert. S. got this tip from a little friend of hers who was once invited on stage with his homemade poster. Thanks Kyle!
Next we flooded the concert hall with Ball fliers and settled into our seats for the big show.
SCC and MWS did not disappoint. Each sang old and new selections. I had a moment when MWS sang "Friends", remembering that my forever friends Beth and Heather and I sang it at our childhood pastor's farewell dinner. Hmmm...quick computation....25 years ago. We thought we sounded really good.
SCC's verse which he added to "Cinderella" after Maria's homegoing is very poignant. The dance will go on.
Once the concert wrapped up we met up with our group of fellow meet-and-greeters and headed backstage. On the way, N. picked up an official t-shirt at the merch table.
All along the way, we talked with great people and saw many friends who offered their help with Ball things. S. will definitely be calling on some of those offers in the coming days. It does take a village.
In our brief time with SCC, S. explained the concept of the Cinderella Ball and showed him the beautiful invitation which has gone out to so many families in these last weeks. He received our thanks for his music and the opportunity to serve Shaohannah's Hope through it.
As an aside, I've seen Steven in videos, etc., but as I stood there talking to him face to face, I had the worst time trying to focus because his every mannerism is that of our friend and pastor. It was unreal. Like some weird scene form an alien movie. I wanted to stare through his eyes and ask, "Phil! Are you in there?! I'll get my ray gun and we'll have you out in no time!". I guess my boys' love of science fiction is really beginning to effect me. My point is, he really acts like our friend.
We said our goodbyes and set out on our long odyssey back to NJ with lots of affirmation that this Cinderella Ball has been and will continue to be a blessing to so many. One new friend we met at the volunteer's table had even written her thesis on the significance of the father-daughter relationship to our society and reinforced the need to promote it. (Wish I had gotten her Email, would love to read her paper.) Other friends carried their fliers home with promises to spread the word of The Ball.
When our heads hit our pillows at 2 AM, we were so thankful that these unexpected blessings have come our way. And that we don't live near the Beltway.