We are a really fun-loving family that thrives off of joking with one another. In our family, if we aren't picking on you there's a problem. However, when I started thinking about Rich's 40th birthday I just couldn't stand the thought of doing the typical over-the-hill, black balloons and RIP tombstone 40th birthday party. That was not the message I wanted to send to my sweet husband. His life is far from over. In fact, as I stated in his invitation, his life is just getting started. I wanted his party to be a celebration that mirrored what God was saying about him. I wanted everyone there to see how far he has come over his 40 years. I wanted everyone there to recognize that "they ain't seen nothin' yet"! The Lord is growing him, blessing him, and promoting him. His musical abilities are still increasing. His wisdom and knowledge continue to blow me away. His preaching abilities are ever growing. The anointing of the Holy Spirit continues to flow down over him. His love for his children holds steady and he continues to refine his skills at being a Godly husband.
Simply put...he's getting better and better and better. Not necessarily "getting better with time". It's just not that simple. He's getting better because he's crucifying his flesh every day (some times multiple times a day). He's spending time in the Word. He's sacrificing selfish ambitions in order to serve within the Body of Christ. He's loving me like Christ loves the church. He's a daddy that's there for his kids and for many spiritual kids...it's not always easy when you feel like you're spread thin. He's making intentional choices to be a man that is full of righteousness, peace and joy. He's a warrior. He's a friend. He's a servant. He's an amazing man that will not be denied the promises of God.
He is clearly NOT over-the-hill...
So we decided to celebrate his roots. We threw a big ole' Mexican fiesta. Sixty of our closests friends came out to honor him. Had I opened up the party to any and everyone that loves him, I would not have been able to fit them all in the room. I'm not kidding...he is loved by so many people! Bryan and Kassie Atwood at The Woodshed catered some great food and I filled in with some side dishes. I have to give a shout-out to Bryan...the food was great as always! The sweetest part (no pun intended) is that my sister-in-law, Carolyn, made two homemade Carrot Cakes. They were oh-so-good! Kassie had another lady make a homemade German Chocolate Cake and I made a really yummy Blueberry Cream Cake with a Lemon Glaze. Needless to say, I don't think anyone left the party hungry. But that's the way we do things. We want to feed you til you pop.
My friends were so great about chipping in and helping with decorations, serving food, clearing tables and photography. Jenny worked her bottom off making sure the food stayed stocked on the buffet line. She graciously helped me serve people. She helped clean up. All of that after fighting a 2-year-old at a high school football game for 3 hours and staying up late on Friday night to help decorate. She's such a trooper. Then there's Bobby and Melanie which drove 3 1/2 hours after work on Friday, attended the football game, then showed up to help decorate until after midnight. Bobby saved me from climbing up a really tall ladder (yes, I'm afraid of heights) and Melanie did a great job directing his activities to make sure all of the decorations were just right. Ken and Jenn were also there to help put out tables after a long day at work. They've got mad set-up and clean-up skills! (They were sooo tired, but came out anyways because they just love us that much!) I can't forget Steve and Lisa who took pictures and I can't wait to see them! Steves an amazing photographer and Lisa is really great at putting them together in electronic scrapbooks. Last but not least, I cannot overlook Matthew and Chelsea. They were in charge of the "plethura of pinatas" and they delivered! Not only did they supply enough pinatas to fill up my backseat, they also brought in the best fake mustaches, sombreros and sarapes...oh, and I can't forget the chili pepper beaded necklace. They showed up decked out in their Mexican costumes and passed out the little mustaches to anyone that would stand still. All of this after driving 5 1/2 hours to be with us.
To conclude, I have to mention how honored Rich was when he was roasted and toasted by a group of men that are so special to him. Kohlten, Jerome, Ken, Chris, Bobby, Matthew and my dad. Every one of them has played an important role in Rich's life and they all hold a very special place in his heart. I think one of the greatest moments for Rich was when he had the opportunity to publicly honor my grandfather for being such a Godly role model for him. He and my dad took Rich in like their own grandson/son and loved him and taught him so much. My children and I get to reap the benefits of them pouring into Rich. "Thank you" will never be enough.
BTW...The day was rounded off with the first Razorback football game of the season. It was only fitting that they won the game...in honor of Rich's birthday of course!