Chronicles of Sadie

Sadiefest: Birthdays, Pianos, and a Father’s Heart


When I set out to write this, my goal was to capture and reflect upon enough events and observations in Sadie’s first year that I and others could have one for every week of the year. Therefore, I find it appropriate to write about the much-anticipated, highly-celebrated, and greatly-animated first international birthday gala known as Sadiefest.

Yes, despite the vast experiences we lived out that first year, the birthday ship came to port and we all embarked for new seas of Sadie adventures. Now there are two extremely obvious characteristics one must observe about birthday parties for babies. First of all, babies themselves have no idea  said parties are even happening. The party is really about us—the parents—and our elaborate attempts to shower our children with love and joy.


Secondly, there is no—I repeat—no item in this world that would be desired by a one-year-old that my little Sadie Bell does not already possess. Between two sets of grandparents and a mommy who’s no stranger to shopping in both live and online environments, Sadie could play with a new toy every day for the next month and probably still not get to all of them. As far as clothes go, she has so many that she usually ends up growing out of them before we can get the tags off and her “breeches” on (a token southernism.)

But we did not let those minor details stop us. Sadiefest must go on! Thus Sadie was indulged with birthday presents, cakes, and surprises from all parties (meaning both people and events) involved on both sides of our family. Toys galore poured forth from all the family and the “papa”razzi (that would be the overly verbose daddy who follows Sadie around with his camera—please, no flash photography.) In all cases, Sadiefest involved multiple birthday cakes into which she was allowed—scratch that—encouraged against all the usual logic to dig her hands and partake of with reckless abandon. At one point, she even bypassed her hands altogether and just went for the lesser attempted mouth-to-plate approach. She came through with flying colors.

100_2000 100_2012 100_2057 100_2066

We ended up spending a few days with Laura’s family in Gatlinburg, Tennessee when the second birthday coronation—I mean—party occurred. In the beauty of the Smoky Mountains, we celebrated Sadie’s big day in all its glory. It was in Galtinburg that Sadie really began becoming more comfortable with taking “real” steps. Before we had returned, she was walking… mostly.

It was also there in the mountains that I gave Sadie my gift for her first birthday: a little piano. It was not as high-tech or as gadgety as most of her other presents, but it meant something to me. Now I am not attempting to mold Sadie into my image. Just because I play the piano does not mean she has to do the same. At this point, we’re not so sure Sadie isn’t turning out to be a lefty, which may complicate the whole issue of teaching her to play anyway. Who knows? I’m not left-handed, so I’m not sure how it would work.


At any rate, Sadie loved her little piano—actually, it was really a plastic tiger with a xylophone built in. When she pushed the keys, an internal hammer hit the xylophone keys. She played it for minutes at a time, which for her was a pretty big deal. I was thrilled to see the beginnings of some similar passions we may one day be able to share together.

At the heart of this whole faith conundrum is a similar truth. The Father is gifting us daily with shadows of his glory. Glimpses of his passions. But his purpose is not to reproduce carbon copies of himself; it is rather to see us grow in our own individuality, yet retain the brilliance and passion of his image. Just like children, we share a similar reflection with our Father. As Colossians 3: 9-10 (NIV) says, “… you have taken off your old self with its practicesand have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Sadie shares my image. My eyes. My skin tone (poor child.) My propensity for ice cream eating. Yet she is her own person. Such is the mystery of faith: the growth of one’s individual self in the midst of the reflection of God’s image. That is the goal. That is the process.

I am so glad God is in this for the long haul. There are still many traits I have yet to reflect very well, but just like a child, my Father is patient in providing creative gifts and overflowing love so that I may one day play a tune which sounds something like his. We’ll see.

The first year came and went faster than I had anticipated. I know, I know—that’s what everybody says. But in this case, I’m beginning to realize how it is possible to allow life to be lived at such a maddening pace that you shoot right past the most important things. The things you should have stopped to notice. The roses that were worth the smelling. For one of the first times in my life, I feel pretty at peace with the fact that I’ve given one of my best efforts to treasure in the moment that which is most valuable. These Chronicles of Sadie—along with the advent of the iPhone and thereby a great camera/video camera always at my fingertips—have produced untold treasures to me as a father. I pray they have enriched you as well—especially as we each learn the intricacies of walking with the divinely Paternal One.

If it is true, as God has said, that he cherishes us as a Father does his children… that he thinks of us constantly. Protects us. Guides us. Even disciplines us. If all of that is true, then my first year as a father has sealed the deal on my faith. Not that I’m impervious to falling away or to doubt; rather, I mean that if God truly has an exponential version of what I feel for my baby, then I am confident that I am loved beyond the bounds of this universe.

In light of this truth, I choose to pursue the passion to please the Father. I pray you will too, even if this passion has been ignited via the unlikely medium of a blog. That’s right! If you know the true love of God is being revealed to your heart in this moment, don’t hesitate. Reach out for him and see just what kind of loving Father he really is.