The busy week has ended.  Blessings have been poured out in abundance this past week, as  they have in all the those leading up to this one.  I woke up every morning to give God praise for another day.  He allowed me to experience the aromatic smell of coffee and feel the  warmth of the coffee cup as I wrapped my hands around it each morning while  filling out my crossword puzzles.  And as always there was the Word of God on the kitchen table that held His  Precious Word to me for the day.  I must never forget how blest I am that I live in a country where the Holy Bible is available to me.

As usual, there was a lot of work to do this week.  I didn’t worry too much about the dust that had gathered on table tops, nor the scattering of books and paper that I  would be referring to off and on as I worked on my novel. There were more important things to do than fret the small stuff.  One of our best friends would be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and I could hardly wait to be a part of it.  That celebration was yesterday at our church,  Center Point Church of the Nazarene,  and it culminated in adding more joy to my life.

You might ask how their celebration could add more joy to my life, when after all, it should be all about them.  Well, I learned many years ago that when we invest ourselves in the lives of others, it comes back as a blessing to us.

Here are a few examples of how their anniversary party added to my joy.  It was a thrill to have one of my granddaughters spend the biggest part of two days with me while we baked cakes and decorated them, together for the event.  What a joy to a grandmother to be able to share and teach a grandchild, one of the skills that she has used through the years.  Yes, we worked hard…….but we laughed long as icing bags tore and I panicked over a spill of cake batter and had to get her to my rescue.  We swore off cake icing and cupcakes for a while as she totaled the number of cup cakes  to be about 215. She learned techniques of stacking a wedding cake, decorating it, and how to mix colors and to make chocolate icing.  Our hands might be a little dry, due to keeping them in the hot soapy water to make sure everything was clean, clean…….but they can always heal with a good hand lotion, and nothing can take away my joy from those two days of us working  together.  Oh, and I might add, that I put her to use in helping me understand more of computer technology while we were waiting for cakes to bake.

Now let me go back to the Saturday before this week began.  Our church’s head Trustee and our Pastor called a church work day.  We needed to spruce up for the upcoming celebration.  Our faithful turned out to pull weeds, mow grass and trim hedges.  Blowers were used to clean off the parking lot of debris. Hot, and peacefully tired, we had fellowship together as we ended our church work day with hotdogs and good chocolate cake. I is amazing how working together to build God’s Kingdom, even if it is with a broom, mop, weed eater, lawnmower or dustrag can draw a people together and bring us joy.

Time is drawing near and it is time for the celebrated couple’s family to arrive from Virginia.  They have a truck load of supplies on board in order  to put a party together for the parents they cherish.  I couldn’t wait to see them and get started on the fun of preparing for the party that was to be held in our fellowship hall at the church.  This fellowship hall has become the sanctuary for the Center Point Hispanic Nazarene Church. What a wonderful group of worshipers gather there for worship several times a week!  Sweetness fills the air on Wednesday evening as they so humbly remove all of their musical instruments and sound system in order for us to use the facility.  They remove all the chairs and sweep the floors for us and all in a sweet spirit.  It is a joy to see them work together happily.

Friday finds us in that fellowship hall, turning it into party central.  It had to be right.  White linens on tables that had been washed down by two church ladies on Thursday. Serving tables arranged to be pleasing to the eye and offer the best presentation of the foods that would be served.  The honoree’s family bringing in all the beautiful decorations and working like bees to get the job done, while us church folks were doing all we could to help. It was sort of fun ordering the men to clean windows, which I must say they did without too much grumbling.  Actually the groom of 50 years and his bride ended up finishing that chore!

Saturday morning came……..it’s the day of the party.  Flowers were brought in to add color.  Balloons were filled with helium to line the not so attractive walls to make the room more festive.  At last came the colorful fruits and vegetables, cup cakes, tea, punch coffee chicken croissants, pigs in a blanket, swedish meat balls, and Chick-Fil-A nuggets all displayed in a festive way on mirrors, silver trays, silver warmers, and crystal platters.

Finally, the time has come to celebrate.  The honorees come, and the room is filled with happy, smiling faces.  Joy fills the room as people meet and greet and extend their congratulations to a couple who have stayed together for 50 years as husband and wife.  The room quietens as their son-in-law formally introduces them.  Food is served and people mill around again.  Their precious daughter quiets the party goers again as she pays tribute to her mother and daddy.  Then, the granddaughter stands before the microphone to sing to her grandparents and their guest. She had prepared to sing  a country song and one or two more songs of the 50’s or 60’s.  The room got quiet…..she held a church hymnal in her hand.  I knew when I saw that, that her plans had changed.  She had slipped out during all the hurry-scurry of last-minute preparations in the fellowship hall and found her way to the little sanctuary.  Spending some time alone with God, she decided to change her decision to sing secular songs to a song that would  represent the fact that the Love of God  is the real glue that can hold love and a marriage together.

After a while, the cake was cut, pictures were taken and guests were saying their good byes.  The honored couple departed and the clean up began.  Packing away of all the decorations, washing of the serving pieces, distribution of left over party food and taking down of balloons was underway.  It was all over.  All the work that had been planned for months by a loving daughter and her family was soon to be over………….but what was left, besides tired bodies could never be duplicated.  The remnants of a celebration is the joy of celebrating and memories that last forever.  It is the joy of melding family and friends into a spiritual bond.  It is the joy of members of a church working together in a labor of love.  Wow, it has been a joyful week and I will go to church to worship Him for His many blessings and the Joy that He and only He can give.

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