She’s 14 Already?

Hayley on her first trip to Africa with me. (June, 2014)

Hayley on her first trip to Africa with me. (June, 2014). Note our little monkey friend lurking in the background.

This is the question that I find myself asking this week as Hayley, my second oldest child, celebrates her birthday. Wow! Time sure does fly when you’re a parent! I felt old enough back in February when my oldest daughter, Cassidy, turned 16. But Hayley is 14 already? Yikes!

In honor of Hayley, I wanted to post something appropriate to celebrate the occasion. Earlier this week, I thought I had what I needed by posting the song I wrote for her back in 2005. But then I discovered that I already did that a couple of years ago (By the way, you can revisit that post and listen to the song HERE). So that idea was out.

Next, I thought I would post this great video of her and I performing at a church talent show back in 2009. She and I sang together and she sang so good! However, as I was starting to put that post together, my lovely wife beat me to it by re-posting that very video on Facebook with a sweet note about her birthday (By the way, if you haven’t seen that video, you can watch it HERE). So that idea was out, too.

So… 2 strikes. What’s a proud father to do? Well, I started thinking back over the past few years and I remember a couple of big things that Hayley and I got to experience together: 1. We went on a couple of mission trips to Malawi, Africa together in 2014 and 2015, and 2. I got her in the studio to record some background vocals on a song I was working on in 2013, thus making her real recording studio debut (Her singing on the song in 2005 was recorded without her knowledge!). So, in honor of Miss Hayley who turns 14 this week, I present two reminders of how cool she is.

First of all, Africa. In 2013, I got my first opportunity to travel to Malawi on a medical mission trip. When I came back from that trip, Hayley was so absolutely fascinated by my adventure that she wanted to go with me the next time. We talked about it, prayed about it, and decided that if she could raise the money needed, she could go with me.

Before I knew it, she had done chores, babysat, helped put together a huge yard sale, and managed to raise almost all her money before I was barely started raising mine! So, in June of 2014, Hayley got on a plane for the first time in her life and went with me to Africa. While we were there, after a week of working at the Blessings Hospital, we went on a real African safari, where the picture above was taken. This picture, by the way, is one of my favorites of Hayley, as the look on her face tells you just how exciting the trip was for us!

In 2013, while I was in the studio working on the title track for “A Place to Belong“, an EP that I recorded for a local faith-based ministry, I knew I wanted a distict voice in the background, especially during the intro and various transition sections throughout the song. Hayley loves to sing, and she has a great voice, so I decided to get her to sing the parts. Although she had to deal with a tough taskmaster of a producer in her dear old Dad, she came through with fantastic results. Hers is the first prominent voice that you hear on the recording. Check it out:

 

It’s been an exciting 14 years with Miss Hayley, and I look forward to many, MANY more!

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