Anyway, we filled the baskets and went to bed and all was good and right in the world. The girls slept through the night and woke up cheerful and sweet. They enjoyed digging through their baskets, eating jelly beans for breakfast, and hunting for the eggs that the Easter bunny "hid" around the room in the most obvious of places.
Amazingly we were all up early enough to make it to the sunrise service on the beach. We dressed in sweats, packed up some blankets, poured some coffee and headed out. In St. Augustine you can drive onto the beach. It was a very well organized event. There were hundreds of people and the cars were directed by volunteers with orange lights to perfect rows on the wide beach. There was no wind and it was the warmest Easter morning I can remember in a long time. The service was wonderful, the sky was beautiful, and I was reminded of the significance in scripture of the sun and the son rising in the east....I was also reminded that the tide was coming in and our van was parked precariously close to the edge. Jeff ran back to move the van and was able to move it right next to an exit, much closer to where we were sitting. So when the service ended, we were one of the first ones off the beach and one of the first ones to arrive at The Oasis for breakfast. The Oasis is a great little bar/restaurant just off the beach that has great cheeseburgers. This was my first time to eat breakfast there. We weren't quite quick enough to get a table downstairs in the restaurant area so we ended up sitting upstairs at the bar. Yes, I had my two young children sitting on barstools at 8:00am on Easter morning. We were served breakfast by the bartender. Do you have visions of "Sweet Home Alabama"? It wasn't as bad as it sounds I swear. We had a great breakfast and a great morning all the way around. Basically, for the first half of the day we were batting a thousand. Our plans were to hang out back at the house until 2:00pm when we would take the girls to the clubhouse for a big Easter Egg Hunt.
That's where we had our first strikeout. We got all gussied up in our Walmart dresses (yep, Walmart) and emptied the Easter baskets so the girls could fill them up at the big hunt. When we got to the clubhouse we realized something wasn't quite right. There was a curious surplus of older people eating a quiet meal and a curious lack of screaming young children scrambling for eggs. Turns out, the big event was on Good Friday. Suddenly, my heart started pounding as I had visions of two small girls in pink dresses with empty baskets being drug kicking and screaming back to the house. Thankfully, the manager had a box of about 20 leftover eggs. I assume these were the eggs that were hidden a little too well and were left on the lawn to be discovered over the next couple of days. She let the girls grab them up and they were left thinking this was the easiest egg hunt in the history of the world. We played on the playground for a few minutes, and then headed to the cheesy beach shop to buy Big Sister some flip flops. So I'm thinking, "Wow, we spent an hour getting everybody dressed up and hair fixed just right to go buy flip flops at WINGS." Anyway, everyone was happy in the end. We had a great Honey Baked Ham for dinner, a great visit with some friends, and went to bed early.
With all the fun and craziness that comes with two little girls and any imaginary holiday character I think they are starting to get what it's all about. We did the Resurrection Eggs with them a couple of times at home and by the time we got to Florida, Annie was able to go through them with my mom and tell her the whole Easter story. The sunrise service was my favorite part of the day. There's something about that very literal sun rising that stirs your soul to the meaning of the literal SON rising. The sun rising in the east is such a significant picture all through scripture so I will leave you with Ezekiel 43:1-5 because it perfectly describes those moments on the beach with my family.
1 Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, 2 and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. 3 The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he [a] came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. 4 The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. 5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.