Samuel Has a Ball Bowling

For any of you who’ve read my blog over the past few years, you may remember we have a grandson living in Grand Rapids who was a micro-preemie. His survival was in question and the source of unceasing prayers for months. Three years later, Samuel is still almost off-the-charts small, but the doctor has signed off on his needing any more speech assessments and says Samuel has completely caught up intellectually and physically (as far as coordination and skill go), for which we are all deeply grateful to our merciful heavenly Father, who loves us all even more dearly than we can imagine loving one another! Samuel has a passion for “Dude Perfect” and anything that has to do with balls, and so he asked if he could have a bowling party for his birthday. I haven’t been to many parties for three year olds (since all our other grand kids live pretty far away), but I can say that this is one of the most fun birthday parties I’ve ever attended where a small fry was center stage! Sammy carried his own ball and learned how to roll it down a little ramp to give it enough momentum to make it all the way to the end of the lane. I’d never seen one of these contraptions before, but what a great way to get toddlers going!  We had four lanes’ worth of family (Brianna’s family also lives in town), and everybody got to bowl a couple of games, but I think we all enjoyed watching Sammy, who was so excited he was practically ecstatic the whole time!Sammy’s mother was a heroine that day, carrying Baby Sister the entire time to keep her content and then making sure Sammy was happy even when it was someone else’s turn now and then (although I think he not only had his own turns, but he got one of his mom’s and one of his dad’s each round as well).Brianna’s dad handily beat the rest of us, although her brother-in-law Sam had unbelievable power!             Most importantly, everybody had a ball…including sweet Samuel!                             He even got a few balls among his birthday gifts!  🙂              Samuel wanted a carrot cake shaped like a ball for his birthday.  The cake was moist, full of carrots and walnuts, and had cream cheese frosting. We all loved it (at least, those of us with teeth), but it made me consider the fact that Sammy is very unusual! However, isn’t every child unique and wonderful?!?In a day and age when fewer people are investing in children and more people are lavishing their love on pets, I’d like to encourage married couples who are considering whether or not they want children to go ahead and take the plunge! Sure, they’re a huge amount of work and life will never be the same, but it will be better! Through all the sleepless nights and struggles, you’ll become less selfish and emotionally richer. Most parents I know wouldn’t trade their kids for anything, even if they do roll their eyes at times and tease about it! In fact, I don’t think there’s anything more precious on earth than a home with children.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” (Psalm 127:3-5).

(P.S.—I took the photos from the bowling alley, but the three portraits of Samuel were taken by his mom and used by her permission. Thank you, Brianna!)

Labor Day Celebrations

Did you have a happy Labor Day weekend? We did! All our Michigan kids came home to help celebrate both Labor Day and Kathy’s birthday.Brianna made one of her famous carrot cakes (with two cups of fresh, grated carrots in it) to supplement the raspberry cheese cake Kathy had ordered. As usual, there was not shortage of desserts for the weekend! 🙂Happy 29th birthday, Kit! How time flies.What is it? What is it??At our house, holidays have a lot of favorite pastimes. One is the wedding ring spinning contest, to see which brother can make his ring spin the longest. Another is playing various games. Here Stephen is using his “Emperor’s” disguise so that no one can guess what he’s thinking as he plans his next move. (All in fun, of course. Note his smirk!)  The late night favorite (after Alan and I have gone to sleep) is usually Rook, but a new favorite is “Up and Down the River,” which can be played with any group of 2 or more people, is easy to learn, fun, and full of surprises. Carl learned it down in Haiti last year while filming for a mission trip with his church.Our kids must have Alan’s great metabolism, because they eat like horses and somehow manage to stay pretty thin. In the evenings, hot chocolate, popcorn, and other snacks (like banana splits) somehow appear in the kitchen!Breakfast times are special too. But, the other thing we like to do on holidays is be outside. We took a great hike through a pine forest not far from homeand enjoyed some tennis.Kathy and I took a walk on the nature trail at the township park while the guys battled it out on the courts.Having a 7th son in the family has sure been a joy and blessing for all of us!We also savor “evening constitutionals” down the lane after dinner.The simple, quiet, happy life of a family is such a blessing!

“That every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:13).