Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Tommy and I were in Seattle last weekend. It was raining when we left. Imagine that, rain in Seattle. :) I happened to get a window seat on the plane and watched as we took off. What started as gray skies, dark clouds, and pouring rain turned to brilliant sunshine when we broke through the clouds. It stayed that way until we landed in Salt Lake City.

I couldn't help but think that sometimes that's the way we envision God when things are not going as we planned. All we see are gray skies, dark clouds, and pouring rain and assume He's left us. But, the Son is still shining brilliantly on the other side of our worries. We've just shifted our focus a bit.

Let us always remember the words of Deuteronomy 31:6, "...the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

First Birthday Party

Surprise! Bet you were expecting pictures of a toddler. My siblings and I gave my mom a birthday party for her 75th birthday. It was a huge success, and she loved it. When it was done, she told us we would never know how much the day meant to her; because this was the first birthday party she'd ever had. That brought a few tears among the sisters. Can you imagine living to be 75 and never having had a birthday party?!?!? My grandmother tried to host a birthday party for mom's 10th birthday. But a neighbor girl went to school and invited the entire class. This was during World War II when my grandfather was away at war. The family had $25 to live on for the month, so there wasn't enough money to have everyone over. The party had to be cancelled.

We were fortunate to be able to have the party in a Victorian home in Texas City, my home town. It was a beautiful setting (and meant we didn't have to do a lot of decorating). More than 50 of Mom's friends stopped by to wish her well. Mom knew about the party but didn't know exactly what we were doing. We arranged for her to arrive a few minutes before the guests began coming so she could see the cake and table decorations and we could enjoy her reaction.

The cake served as the centerpiece and was spectacular. My sister, Diane, found a baker on Craig's List. Diane wanted the cake to represent things in Mom's life. The baker did an excellent job--and even drove over an hour to get the cake to the party. Each layer was a different delicious flavor. The bottom layer is a suitcase. Mom loves to travel. Three dice were resting on the suitcase. Mom has played Bunco for 47 years and is a charter member of her club. Dots on the dice added to 75. The top layer is a red hat. Mom has been queen of her red hat group since it began, and she loves the monthly activities. Diane and my sister-in-law, Lynn, did a great job of capturing the essence of mom--lots of fun, world traveler, loyal, and a wonderful friend.

For the table, we took a long length of ribbon and tied a knot for every decade of Mom's life. The ribbon wound around the table. Starting on one end to represent 1934, we placed replicas of things that had been invented or happened during Mom's lifetime along with pictures of her in the appropriate decade. Then, each child added something to represent a special connection between them and Mom. For example, the first overseas trip Mom made was with my dad to Germany in 1988 to visit Tommy and I when we were stationed there. I put the hat my dad bought while there and a picture of the three of us at one of the places we visited on the table. The table and the cake were huge hits!!

The next day we had a family gathering at my brother's house. He loves to cook on the grill and prepared racks of ribs, sausages, and brisket. Good friends brought potato salad and deviled eggs. Actually, several people brought deviled eggs. We had four or five dozen. I can assure you none went to waste. More than 30 people came by to visit and eat. There was birthday cake from the party for dessert.

A wonderful celebration for a wonderful mom!

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