‘Listen, crunchy leaves!! That means its birthday time!’ -T.

All three oFeatured imagef our children’s birthdays fall in autumn, we are past half way mark now for parties! One still to go, but this afternoon there is time for a pause. I’m tired! Celebrations are tiring in out house, even if they go incredibly well – which so far this year they have. Quite apart from the party logistics of planning, sandwich making, balloon blowing, cleaning & then cleaning again afterwards, there is the anticipation of it, the enjoying it, the being with friends and family, all of the above are tiring for us – we needed those visual timetables, and lots of repeated reassurances.

Wouldn’t want to miss it though, a birthday is a reminder to celebrate (& yes I do quite often need reminders) – a punctuation mark in the year, to prompt me to stop and think, and recognise the blessings another year has brought. In our family life pauses are hard come by!! To get this little writing moment I have my youngest in the bath in the middle of the afternoon so I am only being verbally climbed all over rather than literally being a climbing frame at the same time as writing! Once I do find a pause to think in I realise again just how much blessing God pours into our lives year on year. Standing still and looking at my children one year older, taller, more grown up, more independent, more faith-filled, gives me such a lot to celebrate. God’s loving faithfulness surrounds them closer than our prayers over them.

For your loving-kindness is great beyond measure, high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches the skies. (Psalm 108:4)

(love this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hx5i8XgDZjA)

This year our second party was planned and led by B & a friend. They started planning just before the summer holidays, deciding their theme – Teddy Bear’s picnic – and then gradually since then putting together ideas for games, food, party bags, designing invitations and then the day before making the birthday cake together.

teddy bear cake

It has been exciting to watch B taking her time carefully organising and planning (if you were a fly on the wall when we are supporting homework you would know this isn’t always easy or stress free). It all came together wonderfully, and as T’s friends arrived the party got underway it was calm (yes I know!), organised, fun, tasty – a real success. She led games with confidence, giving clear instructions – after years of leading children’s parties I know that’s not easy – and choosing winners wisely having thought through a plan for prizes beforehand. As you can tell I was so very proud. And when support was needed getting the food made and to the table on time, we had our lists and times, and A stepped up to help make sandwiches and make sure drinks were poured. It definitely made me realise how much growing has been going on in just this last year, good and supportive friendships have been made, confidence is being nurtured, and talents and gifts are being used for others. So encouraging. Some of that has been intentional on our part, making it a priority to encourage gifts and talents, most of it is sheer unexpected gift from God – the people and opportunities he puts in our way that nurture.

So we have one more birthday (and party) to go this autumn, I am glad of the opportunity to be reminded – there is so much to celebrate, so much to thank God for. I can trust that God is at work in my family life, in the everyday, the niggles, the frustrations, the tiredness, the difficulties, the anxieties – God is at work, and he wants us to grow, more truly ourselves, more like Him! (and I need to hold onto that… next for me today is supporting half term homework, the geography project!!)

2 Cor 3v18


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