Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weekend Gratitude Sunday Edition: Jacob's First Birthday Party

Dear friends,

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I split my Weekend Gratitude into two parts.  Here's the second half, covering Sunday!

I am always grateful to be at Lake Baldwin Church on a Sunday morning.  It is a blessing to be in what I would describe as a contemporary yet mellow, semi-liturgical setting with really friendly people and good preaching.  What's been really fun this summer is that about 140 students from Campus Outreach (mostly from Kentucky and Tennessee) are in town for 10 weeks, and about 100 of them have been joining our little congregation on Sunday mornings.  This is especially notable since our usual attendance is only about 175 to begin with!  Bring out the extra chairs, folks!

Another thing I appreciated about church on Sunday morning is that our friend Cathy got up during the prayer and praise time (which we have about once a month) and announced that she had set out a big teddy bear shaped plastic container for us to put our coins in each week to feed the hungry.  She will give the proceeds to Second Harvest, a local food bank, and hopes to recruit other churches to do the same. Within fifteen minutes of the service ending, the pile of coins -- and paper money! -- was mounting.  My kids have been scrounging around the house for spare change ever since then.  I found over a dollar helping one of my teens clean a bedroom!

Mike Tilley preached a great sermon on Colossians 1:23b-29 about the Richness of Serving: the servant's suffering (vs 24), the servant's riches (vs 25-27), and the servant's power (vs 28-29).  Here!  Read it for yourself and be blessed!
23b This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. 24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. 
Usually, I bring a folder with notebook paper for taking notes, but in the flurry of getting out the door with birthday presents, I left it behind.  So I was scribbling my notes on the back of the church announcements page instead.   Mike encouraged us to dream of ways to make a difference, just as our friend Cathy had. 

Our day wasn't over!  After a quick stop at a nearby McDonald's, we celebrated my grandson's first birthday party at a local park with about 30 family and friends.  I'll let the pictures tell most of the story...

Mommy and the birthday boy!

Jacob's aunts and uncles all adore him!  Here are the four youngest of them.  It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating Melody's first birthday, and now she's almost six!

Yes, time sure flies! Mary has known Katie since she was nine, and Catie since they were in college.  Friends forever!

"Ben, are you eating a cupcake already?"  Oops!  The other Ben, Katie's husband, thought I was talking to him! I didn't mean you!  Honest!

Mary wanted to get some natural wood blocks for Jacob, but I had trouble finding them in at Walmart and Target.  We finally went to Lakeshore Learning, but a box of 50 cost $70.  No way!  I had a huge basket of all colors of blocks at home, so I just picked through it for  a good assortment of natural colored ones, embellished for the occasion with some alphabet blocks.  Yes, I had to tape them to stay in place! 

My other presents, also wood, are a puzzle that makes animal sounds, and an abacus. We had one of those when Mary was little -- and at least that was reasonably priced at Lakeshore!  I think I paid about $15 for it.

 Naomi isn't done with her alphabet book for Jacob yet, but here is one of the page spreads!

Cake for Jacob!

And cupcakes and Middle Eastern food for the rest of us!

Those dark balls are falafel, made from chick peas!  
My son-in-law made those!  
The tan stuff is pita bread with humus.  Yummus!

I hope you enjoyed these birthday pictures.  There are more here:  My Grandson's First Birthday.

By the time we arrived home in the early evening, we were exhausted, but I still managed to play a game of chess with my son Micah.  My husband had made dinner for us before we left for church in the morning.  That sure made things a lot easier -- and I'm grateful for it!

What am I grateful for?  My family, my friends, my church -- people who care!  I'm especially thankful for my sweet little grandson, who has brought so much joy to us this year.  And now let me borrow the Sunday morning benediction, and make it a prayer for Jacob as he grows older...

"Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen."  (Book of Common Prayer)

That goes for the rest of us, too!

Virginia Knowles

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