My eldest daughter is absolutely beautiful. She always has been. Ever since the moment I laid eyes on her there on the sonogram monitor. There she was, the daughter I have prayed my whole life that I would have. AliBeth. See? Even her name is beautiful. But I digress.

This is the story of planning AliBeth’s fourth birthday party. And a fine example of how she teaches me things I didn’t know I needed to learn.

AliBeth’s fourth birthday was fast approaching. She and I were discussing what type of decorations we should have for her party. A few months ago she said that she wanted a “dress-up princess party.” We had been planning it for several weeks. I had even found princess skirts on sale in January! So, you can imagine my surprise when she declared, “Mommy, I want snakes, frogs and iguanas at my birthday party.”

Excuse me?

“Yes, I want there to be lots of snakes, frogs, and iguanas at my birthday party.”

“You mean, you want these creatures at the dress-up princess party? But AliBeth, they won’t go with the theme.”

“Oh no, Mommy, they won’t match the dress-up princess party. So we will have bugs and spiders instead.”

I think my left eye started twitching. It was literally 5 days before the party. How on earth was I going to pull off a creepy crawly UGLY reptile party? I would have loved nothing better than to create a nasty reptile party for my sweet baby BOY. But my gorgeous baby GIRL???? She couldn’t be serious?

Actually, I knew from the first moment that she looked at me deadpan with those searing AliBeth eyes that she was in fact, quite serious. I didn’t even try to talk her out of it. (Much.) Once she announces something she wants (or doesn’t want, for that matter), you might as well give in or tell her no right quick like. There is not a whole lot of debate with her. She knows what she wants and means what she says. There may have been one occasion on which I was able to talk her out of something, but if I ever have it’s just a faint recollection now.

“Ok.” I decided to jump right in. What else could I do? “Well what kind of cake should I make for this party?” I asked, as my dreams of a 3D castle cake flew right out the reptile window.

“A fly cake,” came the immediate response. (Well at least the girl can coordinate!)

And so the journey began to throw together a wonderful, magical birthday party that would make all her creepy crawly dreams come true. In 5 days, mind you.

I have been a Mama for over 5 years now. And during that time, I have been snatched through a lifetime of lessons. There is a recurring theme. You have to go through some ugly to get to see any beautiful. There are some folks who say that childbirth is beautiful. Those poor idiots are delusional. Now, don’t get me wrong. Seeing each one of my babies’ faces after long months of worrying and waiting is one of the most beautiful sights I will behold this side of Glory. But the actual process of getting them here? Come on, people. There ain’t nothing pretty about it.

I know some blended families that have been through a lot of ugly stuff. You do too, I bet. But thanks to the grace of God and some dogged determination on their parts, they now enjoy a beautiful, happy family.

My son Logan exclaims, “WOW! IT’S BEAUTIFUL IN HERE!” every time we enter the dollar store. Did I mention his voice isn’t quiet and carries well?

The poor crippled man outside the gate called Beautiful in Acts chapter 3. He had suffered his entire life, not being able to walk or work. Then Peter and John encountered him and in the name of Jesus healed him. How beautiful life must have been for that man every day from then on.

Let us never forget the ultimate example of Jesus having to endure an ugly, ugly death on the cross of Calvary just so that we might inherit the most beautiful gift of all- eternal life.

See, in the eyes of AliBeth, all God’s creatures are beautiful. She loves snakes because they have nice tails. (How’s that for seeing the good in everyone?!) The child doesn’t see the ugly that the rest of us are so lightening quick to point out. And I pray she never does.

AliBeth and I have had many ugly moments. There have been nights of wet beds, days of continuous vomiting, hours of lost tempers, lost time and sometimes hurtful words. But I dare you to find a love stronger than the love that I have for this precious girl. This morning, my beautiful girl woke up and was a cat. I mean, she literally opened her eyes, stretched in a cat-like manner and instantly began licking her “paws.” Before she ever said a word or acknowledged me standing by her bed. Her imagination knows no bounds. She is deliriously happy at almost all times. She loves nearly all she encounters. So who am I to call her beloved critters, “Ugly?”


We ended up with “dirt cake” cups instead of a full blown fly cake, but sadly, my camera broke!!! These pics are before we set the cake cups out and are really not “finished.” My aunt took some pictures, though so maybe some of those turned out better.


The table was a grass/pond scene. It was really cute!!! Even if I do say so myself!


Our “chandelier” was made of cut outs from an Ellison machine. Courtesy Granny Beth!

I wish I had better pictures, but life happens! You will have to take my word for it that it turned out really cute. Way to go, AliBeth! Happy fourth birthday, baby girl!





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6 Responses to Beautiful…

  1. Katsminis says:

    It was a beautiful party, in a creepy, crawly way! You did good Mom. I love the way you listen to your children and allow their imaginations to grow and flourish.

  2. Bethany says:

    Super cute party! What a wonderful mother you are, to fulfill your daughter’s wishes so close to the party date. 🙂 I completely agree that life often takes “ugly” to create beauty. Pearls start out as irritating sediment. Sometimes, though, it seems beauty requires no ugly precursor. Your daughter is truly a testament to such. 🙂 ❤

  3. Meg the Mama says:

    LOVE the decor!! And….she does have a beautiful name! 🙂

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