Saturday, September 7, 2013

Briarpatch Birthday Brunch and Ten Thousand Villages

I turned 50 today!  Woo hoo!  Five decades and counting!

My kids decided to make this milestone birthday extra special, so it's been quite the day already. Five of my daughters took me out to brunch at the Briarpatch, a beautiful restaurant on Park Avenue in Winter Park.  (That's the ritzy section of town!)  Too bad my fourth daughter is in Australia right now!  We would have loved to have her join us!

We ate outdoors under 
a cheery yellow and white sun umbrella.

I couldn't decide between 
the raspberry lemon cream pancakes
and the kitchen combo (pancakes, eggs and bacon)
so I asked them if I could combine the two.
This is the SHORT stack of the raspberry pancakes -
the full one has four!
Why yes, I do have leftovers 
in the refrigerator for the morning...

After brunch, I asked if we could step into the 
My oldest daughter had bought some
beautiful Mother's Day presents for me there,
including the necklace I'm wearing today. 

Ten Thousand Villages is 
a fair trade organization in partnership 
with the Mennonite Central Committee.

Everything in the store is made by 
artisans in different Third World countries, 
providing those who might live in poverty
with a decent income for self-sufficiency.

This is the sequel cookbook to 
More-with-Less, a Mennonite cookbook 
that my sister gave me over 20 years ago.
Mine is dog-eared and spattered with food ingredients...

A gift from my fifth daughter 
from Ten Thousand Villages.
I picked it because I need strength of all kinds
for my next 50 years.

I didn't see her buy the mini dark chocolates, too!

It's not just around the world...
It's down the street.
People are needy everywhere.

I was talking to my second daughter 
this afternoon about the homeless ministry 
she and her husband organize 
every other month,
and how they are thinking 
of expanding what they do.
I can't tell you how much 
this blesses a mother's heart.

My two oldest, ages 24 and 26, are both married.
Back at home again, my third daughter 
supervised a small army of younger siblings 
to prepare a late lunch - a pasta and salad buffet.
They grated parmesan cheese, chopped tomatoes,
set out the silverware...

Eclairs for dessert!
Yes please!

 The birthday celebrations aren't even over yet...
My husband is out of town right now, 
and he's taking me out for dinner on Monday night.
In the meantime, he sent flowers!

And next week,
my daughters are throwing me
another birthday party with some ladies 
we've known for a long time.

So here I am, 
thinking about my first 50 years
- and my next 50 years.
I may be over the hill now,
but now that I'm past the foot hills,
I still have mountains to climb...

My life goals from here on out?

To love, worship and serve God.

To nurture each member of my family, 
whether they live in the same house as me or not.

To cultivate excellence in writing and teaching.

To work for justice and mercy
in the world and in my own community.

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

P.S. #1: 
Please visit the 
Ten Thousand Villages web site.

P.S. #2:
Years ago, I had decided 
that for my 50th birthday,
I would compile a memoire 
of my life story (in vignettes,
photos, poems, and essays)
and call it Pilgrimage and Jubilee.
It didn't happen. Yet.
What I'm going to do is a blog series
I don't know what all I will include yet.
Stay tuned.


  1. What a wonderfully fun 50th party... and your girls are beautiful. Happy Birthday. I am close to my 60th in two years, looking forward to that actually although my son will be 40 too. egads could I really have a 40 year old??
    Your blog is nice, welcome to the Sunday community.

  2. Thank you for your dedication to nurture. I respect your commitment to your family and the Lord. Happy 50th! I'm joining you soon at the hill!


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