one of her wishes come true

My wife is loving, wise, supportive, beautiful, radiant, gorgeous, thoughtful, and so much, much more. She has very much been shaped as she follows Jesus. But she also very much was influenced by Laura from Little House on the Prairie. She has had a lifelong wish to meet Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura on the classic, beloved TV series depicting the famous, prairie family’s life. On Thursday night, March 4th, 2010, very much to Jen’s surprise, I was able to make that wish come true.

On the way to a ReproducingChurches.com mtg just two days prior (Tuesday the 2nd), I was passing through  Tampa. There was a billboard advertising the Little House on the Prairie Musical at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, running from March 2nd to 7th. Then, I noticed a note off to the corner of the billboard:

starring Melissa Gilbert as “Ma”

Oh…my…goodness!!! I almost had to turn around at the next exit and go back just to make sure I could believe what I had seen. Could I actually take Jen to see Melissa Gilbert live and in person(along with Katey and Abby, because they have become big fans of the old Little House shows thanks to DVDs). To be honest, I had not grown up watching Little House. However, my adorable wife had, and I wanted to make this lifelong dream of hers come true. At least try, because there would certainly be no guarantee of meeting her. But we could try!

So, I got on the web later that day and purchased tickets. About six rows back from the stage off to stage left. Got a babysitter lined up (well, finally got one after a good number of short-notice strikeouts). Thank you Katie Anderson for listening for Ella while she slept, and to Pop for hanging out with Caleb. And I kept it completely a surprise, all the way until we walked into the TBPAC!!!

What a show!!! And Gilbert was amazing as Ma. The young woman who played Laura was off the chart. I think my favorite was Nellie and Almanzo, though. Pretty amazing talent!!!

After, I asked one of the ushers if there was a place to say thanks to the cast. I was in plays growing up and have been to many, and this is a sort of tradition. Well, you can determine from the picture below what luck we had.

I guess you could say we “broke a leg,” to put it in theater terms!!!

I love you Jen. Thanks for sharing your dreams with me. I am blessed to be around to see them one by one come true!!!

a poem about redemption.

redemption. beautiful.
by jason c dukes

love that had to be given.
a selfless God.
a generous Creator.
an overflowing heart.

loneliness that had to be driven
by a relational God
for the created to know
intention from the start.

garden life.
two trees. one choice.
know all. know strife.
know life. hear His voice.

selfishness. fear.
a naked realization.
an overwhelming shame.
a place to hide.

Creator comes near.
where are you?
I am here.
come abide.

garden death.
consequences now.
history’s quest.
return somehow.

the Lover knew
yet made us anyway.
plan in place
even before the 1st day

to restore His love
back into His way.
the Son comes near.
announces the Kingdom.
commands us to love.
and dies.

restoration is here.
believe His love.
trust His enough.
ignore the lies.

the garden anew.
one day. restful.
thanks to You.
redemption. beautiful.