The Family Love Built

Front row, L-R: My dad Rod, Jordynne, Phillip, Ayden, Carly, Cadence. Second row: Jeffrey, Rich, me, Sawyer (in my arms), Rachael,  Ryan. Third row: Elaine, Rebecca. Fourth row: Rob, Jeff, Rich’s parents Beth and Rick, Kevin.
14 Blessings
Sunday we gathered the family to celebrate two birthdays. My bonus son Ryan turned 23 on January 25; Sunday I turned 52. We expected 25 family members and friends to join us. 
We live in a smallish, empty-nester home. We planned that our guests would spill out from our house onto our spacious rear deck, an inevitability here when we invite a large crowd. Our mild climate rarely fails us when we plan a big party.
We experienced climate failure on Sunday. It rained. We set up folding chairs and brought an extra table into the kitchen. Tray tables transformed the living room into an overflow dining room. Some of our kids ate in shifts, taking turns supervising their children.
All the same, it was cozy. Prevented from playing outside, the young ones claimed the staircase as their playground. Two distinct sounds filled the house: the melody of children playing overlay the quiet hum of adult conversations.
It was blissful. It was chaotic. Every time I turned around, another one of my grandchildren darted by. At one point Cadence charged into the kitchen and smacked his face on a dining room chair.
In my youth I’d prayed for a big family: six children seemed like a good number. As it happened, I gave birth to only one, my daughter Elaine.
Then in 2007, I married Rich. He came with three more children: daughter Rebecca, son Ryan, and Rachael, the widow of his firstborn, Sean. Now our girls have grown our family. Rachael has brought us Kevin, Rebecca has brought us Jeff, and Elaine has brought us Rob. Seven beautiful grandchildren round out the collection. Someday Ryan is likely to increase the diameter of our family circle when he marries and becomes a father.
Sunday, as several little people gathered to help Ryan and me blow out the candles on our cake, I was startled by unexpected tears.
I heard a familiar whisper in my heart, a small, still Voice murmering. “Remember all those children you asked Me for, all those years ago? Here they are.”
3 Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,

The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Psalm 127:3 (NASB)

Clockwise from Front: Grandson Ayden, his Cousin, Joey, Grandson Phil, Bonus Son Ryan, Granddaughter Carly, me, Grandson Cadence.


  1. What a wonderful birthday celebration.

  2. It sure was, Red!