St. Paul {Guy Penrod} Weekend, Part 1

Guy Penrod Concert, St. Paul, MN, May 20, 2012

Three weeks ago exactly, as I begin this post, I was sitting in a hailstorm in Burnsville, Minnesota, with my friend Jodie and my three girls.  Somehow in the 1200 photos I took on our almost-66 hour whirlwind trip, I neglected to get a photo of the monsoon-type rain we encountered as we entered the Twin Cities Metro area, or of the hail that pelted us as we sat less than an hour away from our hotel.  Never, we thought, had the expression "so close, and yet so far" been so true.  

Entering the Twin Cities area on a rainy Saturday night...not sure if this was before or after the downpour/hailstorm. 

It's hard to believe it's been three weeks.  In some ways, it seems like just yesterday, and in others, it seems like it's been years!  And in still yet others, it seems like a dream...as Jodie and I occasionally still say, "Do you believe we really did that??"  

All the way home that Monday, I anticipated the blog series I was going to post.  I couldn't WAIT to get home and start uploading and editing photos, and typing the story of our amazing weekend.  But the emotional and physical intensity of the trip hit hard, and between trying to catch up from three days away and the rest my body demanded at that point, there was little time or energy left for blogging.  It took over a week to even get all 1200 photos uploaded to my hard drive, convert from RAW to jpg, and get the best of the bunch edited.  During that time, VBS and camp preparations also began to take over all of life, as they seem to do this time every year.  

So it's been three weeks, we are on the verge of camp and VBS, and I still haven't posted about our amazingly marvelous weekend.  I am determined to at least get started this weekend, so without further ado...

"Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start..." 

(in the words sung by Maria in The Sound of Music. :))

I think that has been part of the difficulty in posting as well.  There is SO much to tell from that full-to-the-brim three-day weekend that I had a hard time knowing where to begin.  But I suppose that I need to go back to last August to really tell the story right...or perhaps even the preceding winter...

That winter, my friend Jodie was unexpectedly given tickets to see a southern gospel concert in a nearby town.  One of the singers was Guy Penrod, a singer my friend was somewhat familiar with due to his time with the Gaither Vocal Band, and the fact that her mother would mention him to her every so often, telling her, "he has 8 children, and he homeschools!"  More of the story of that concert, and what came after, can be found here.  

Guy's message, in word and in song, ministered to my friend in a special way during an extremely difficult season in her life...the years in which she was the primary caretaker for her mother-in-law, who suffered from dementia.  After watching Mrs. Jodie's "The Best of Guy Penrod" dvd, Bayley became a "fan" as well. When Jodie discovered that Guy was going to be in concert at FBC, Lavaca, on the weekend of Bayley's birthday last year, she decided that would be an excellent birthday present!  Bayley was thrilled with her big surprise, and we all had a wonderful time at the concert, which was like a worship service and concert rolled into one.  

Bayley discovering her birthday surprise last August

After the concert, I blogged here about Bayley's wonderful birthday surprise and what a huge blessing the concert was to those of us who went.  Despite the fact that concert photography is extremely challenging, and I had neither the equipment nor the skill to do it well, I took a ton of photos.  

Guy Penrod Concert, Lavaca, AR, August 2011

According to my blog stats, that post gets more hits than almost any other on my blog.  One day, however, I noticed it was getting LOTS of hits, from the same two referring URLs.  I called Jodie and said, "I'm getting a whole lot of hits on that Guy Penrod post from the Guy Penrod Facebook page and this other website."  "This other website" ended up being a group of Guy Penrod fans.  We began exploring the site and discovered that the group's head, Heidi, had run across my blog in a Google search and posted the link to the birthday/concert post on both sites.  Little did we know....

(Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 to hear how a "random" blog hit from a Google search morphed into a 15-hour trip across four states for Jodie and the girls and me...:))

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