Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Dad and Mom!

A couple of weeks ago, our wonderful, amazing, fantabulous, stupendous, godly, blessed, loving and well-loved (any other adjectives?) parents celebrated their wedding anniversary.

On April 21st, our parents, David and Kris, were united in marriage and vowed to remain faithful and committed to each other no matter what. And that's exactly what they have done for many years.

We truly appreciate our parents. Dad and Mom have been wonderful examples to us children of committment and faithfulness. They take their wedding vows seriously ("till death do us part") and do truly love each other. Yes, they are not perfect, and they often tell us of the realities of marriage, sharing that while it is one of the greatest blessings, it is also one of the most difficult relationships to keep strong along the journey of life. They know the truth in God's Word stating: "Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him, and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." (Ecc. 4:12)

The night of their anniversary we watched a video of their wedding ceremony (actually the first time for many of us to see the video and "attend" a true, godly wedding), and some of us had a hard time holding back the tears. We had not realized all the precious and significant ceremonial aspects of the wedding before, like the father (Grandpa) of the bride (our radiant and beautiful mother :) ) transferring his authority to the groom (our happy and handsome father:) ) and the gravity of their vows. It really opened the eyes of us kids, especially us older ones, to how sacred marriage really is.

During their wedding sermon, their former pastor said some amazingly prophetic things that none of us had remembered or heard before. For example, he kept mentioning the "journey" of faith (using Hebrews 11 as his basis for the sermon). As you probably have picked up on, that word means so much to us, as we are truly on a journey of joy and faith - a "great adventure". Then, the pastor also talked of Dad's singing, and he kept saying, "Keep singing, Dave". How we laughed at the irony, considering our family's present life situation! :)

Oh, our dear parents, we are so grateful for you. Keep on this journey of faith, and yes, keep singing. We love you dearly, are thankful for your godly guidance and unconditional love, and we treasure you deeply. Words cannot fully express what you mean to us, and perhaps we don't know the extent of your worth to us kids. Keep loving each other as Christ has first loved you.

"Two are better than one, because they have good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him, and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Dad and Mom's wedding verses)

Blessings and Joy in the Journey!
Taylor for the Garms Kids

Happy Easter/Resurrection Day!

Hello Friends!

We hope and pray you had a wonderful Easter/Resurrection Day!

After a long and stressful week, we were looking forward to a nice, quiet day at home after Easter Sunday morning worship. But we kids were surprised by Dad and Mom announcing they were taking us up to one of our favorite spots in Minnesota: Gooseberry Falls and the Northshore! We hadn't visited the Duluth area as sightseers since 2005, and since Sam, Jayme, and Caleb barely retained any memories from the trip, being so young, the most excited were Ben, Leesha, and I. But our excitement quickly rubbed off on them as we told them all about the beautiful scenery and memories. The LAs grabbed backpacks, binoculars, bird books, hankerchiefs, and Sam even brought a compass along. They were ready to go!

The long trip was filled with lots of fun and laughter (as most trips are, praise the Lord!), and we finally arrived at our destination. Gooseberry Falls is a gorgeous state park and highlights the natural waterfalls which cascade into Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world.

The lower and middle falls.

I personally would have enjoyed our time more if I wasn't so worried about Sam, Jayme, and Caleb getting too close to the drop-offs and rushing water. :) Ben would have liked it more if we didn't go across the high bridge (see above picture) - he felt it move, he assured us as he ran across...but he only ran once his frozen legs started moving again! :) Ben is petrified of heights...well, at least certain heights like extremely tall bridges over running water and hard rocks. But, all that aside, we had a blast and enjoyed God's marvelous creation found right in our wonderful state, Minnesota. We also enjoyed being "normal" tourists and taking a trip for the sake of taking a trip. :)

Walking around the park was good exercise!

Most of the family (Mom's taking the picture) at the falls in 2005. Look at Jayme's pigtails! And baby Caleb! And the rest of us are so young!

2011 - my, how we've grown OLD!

After our visit to the Falls, we stopped along the shore of Lake Superior, just to breathe in the fresh lake air and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of the mammoth lake. Most everyone found some special rocks (in fact, Mom spent most of her time rock hunting for agates!), and of course, our cameras were busy taking pictures and video (unfortunately, I haven't transferred my photos yet, so you just have to imagine the beauty!). The waves reminded us older ones of the Pacific Ocean in California, and made us all long to go on the "Great Adventure" again. Someday, Lord-willing!

On the way back, we stopped for a non-traditional supper at our favorite restaurant, Arby's. The irony of our stop is that, last Easter, our family made a trip up to Duluth to visit our foster sister in a hospital, and stopped at the very same Arby's for supper! :) It isn't quite your typical ham-and-cheesy-potato meal, but it sure was good!

The fellowship with each other was sweet, the glories of God's creation were clearly evident, and the joy of Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead was vibrant in all our hearts. We appreciated our time to regroup and decompress, and can't wait till our next trip up there!

Blessings and Joy in the Journey!

Taylor for TGF

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy 19th Birthday Taylor!

Here's something I don't normally have the chance to do - I get to write a blog!

Which one of our children was an absolute model baby in the hospital? One who didn't cry and spent most of her time with her mom in the room, and not in the nursery? (And who within an hour of getting home couldn't stop crying? - Mom)

This is none other than our dear high-descant, mandolin-fiddle-and-piano-playing blonde Taylor. (She was born with lots of blonde hair!) Her 19th birthday was Friday, April 8th. What a delight it was to celebrate with this sunshiny young lady. Grandpa even came with a special homemade chili as a treat!

Heading to the hospital to deliver Taylor seemed like just a few days ago. What a gift she is to Kris and I.

Happy 19th Birthday, Taylor!

-Dad for TGF

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Booth Brothers Concert Highlights on SGBlog

Good morning friends!

Just a quick post to inform those of you who enjoy blog-hopping, video-watching, and Southern Gospel Music that a concert highlight video of our experience with the Booth Brothers has been posted on Ben had fun slicing up and editing about an hour of footage to create this five minute video last week; good job, Ben!

Click here to watch it, and post a comment if you'd like! :) (Go's not too hard, and it doesn't hurt! ;) )

Have a wonderful, God-blessed day!
Taylor for the Garms Family

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Booth Brothers Concert Review

Good Afternoon Friends!

It is almost 70 degrees here in our town of Braham, and the humidity is wonderful! At last we can open the windows and let the fresh spring air flow through the home!

This concert review is overdue (I'm a poet, and ya'll didn't know it!), but life has been busy around the Garms Family home. Forgive me for my tardiness and procrastination!

I left you hanging on a countdown for the Booth Brothers in my last blog, and yes, the day finally arrived on Saturday, April 2nd. I awoke to Sam, Jayme, and Caleb saying: "Hey! This is Sam, Jayme, and Caleb Garms. We are the Little Adventurers reporting for" But more about that later...

The day was filled with joyful and excited preparation. We gathered cameras, gummy bears, and pillows for the trip (but let me assure you, no one fell asleep on the way home!).

The family, all ready to go! (Note the nametags: the suspense is building, isn't it?) Whitney unfortunately had to work, but otherwise, she would have joined us for the concert.

Almost there! We finally made it to Maplewood, MN and stopped at a favorite site - Arby's! - for a restroom stop. :)

We were the first people at the church, other than the Booth Brothers and the promoters (go figure for arriving two and half hours early!). We sat and waited, enjoying each other's company in the sunshine and greeting people as they came. :) Caleb (above) proudly displays his nametag. Yes, we brought questions and Leesha's and my new video camera for gathering some blog material during the concert, and did we have fun with that! (I cannot tell you how many people asked, "What's a blog?") Keep scrolling for a video result of our on-the-site reporting.

Waiting, waiting, waiting. :) This was Sam, Jayme, and Caleb's post during the waiting process.

Yes, after much waiting, the concert began! It was such a wonderful time to listen to Ronnie and Michael Booth and Jim Brady share from their heart and God's Word through their music and message. We were uplifted and encouraged, and inspired to be better performers ourselves. They are so polished, so relaxed on stage, and so ministry-focused.

Part of the Front-Row, Full-Pew Crew.

Jim Brady saving money on car insurance. :) Yes, he "supposedly" answered his phone during the concert. (And yes, we have been guilty of answering phones on stage as well - just once, mind you! It was an important phone call! But Jim had no excuse! :)

Caleb during "I'm Feeling Fine". :) Michael later told Caleb, "If I forget the words, I know exactly where to look", as he was singing along with almost every song. We heard many of our favorite Booth Brother songs...even a song I was hoping they wouldn't sing, "All Over the World". :) Leesha loves the calypso beat, but I don't necessarily appreciate it. But I admit, they had a lot of fun with it, and so did we!

Michael talking to the audience at intermission. (We like this picture!) :)

Ronnie talking with the family.

After the concert, Ronnie and Michael just infused our family band with wisdom from a group who has traveled many more years and miles. We were overwhelmed with all their insight - in a good way - and we greatly appreciated their time and stories. We learned A LOT!

Speaking of time and talking, here's one of the most exciting highlights of the concert! Sam, Jayme, and Caleb had the privilege to interview Michael Booth for What a special moment and piece of history for our family. Michael was as witty and hilarious as ever, but just as serious and open-hearted. The lessons also contained in the interview are very pertinent to everyone, and we learned much from his transparency.

Watch the video below, and if you like, you can read a transcript of the interview (thanks YGG!) on SGBlog by clicking here. But you don't want to miss this video! The hilarity and spontaneity of Michael, and cuteness and response of the LAs is a must-see, plus the added footage is fun as well. Ben and I put much time in preparing this, and we hope you enjoy it!

We are still reliving memories! We treasure the time we had together as a family, the fellowship and catchin' up with many friends we've met along the way, making new friends, and of course, the ministry of the Booth Brothers. We were very blessed.

And yes, we were asked if we were related to the Booth Brothers...again. :) (And the answer is still "no".)

Blessings and Joy in the Journey!

T for TGF