My Grandmother’s 90th Birthday Party

This past weekend we had a family reunion.  It was my Grandmother’s 90th Birthday.

Here’s my mom and her three younger brothers with grandma. 

 

Grandma has a been a rock to the whole family. She loved her husband till the day God took him home, despite some very hard times including my grandpa being too weak to walk and an invalid for years. She truly is the most grace-filled and hardest working woman, I have ever known –a real life Proverbs 31 woman!  Grandma loves Jesus and loves her family.  

To get to the reunion, some family traveled from far away and others live just up the road.  There is NOTHING as wonderful as having family all together in one room.  And like all families –we are very quirky!!!  We are loud.Loud.LOUD.  This was an adjustment for my husband when he entered the family! 

I have one Uncle {ahem Richard} who never comes for a visit without mentioning how HUGE our hair is.  What can we say? My sister’s and I grew up in the 80’s and we love BIG hair –notice in the pictures I wore my hair straight?  I knew the “huge hair” comment was coming – and it did…and we laughed at our family’s signature ways.

One of the gifts to Grandma was a memory book my mom put together for her (using Snapfish.com). 

 

It had pictures from the past.

And the memory book included pages and pages of handwritten letters and photos from everyone in the family.  I read the book cover to cover and started crying on page 1…I was a mess by the end of the book! Grandma is SO deeply loved by her family. 

The world defines success by fame and fortune…

but Grandma–

Grandma’s success is defined by faith and family.

 And so Dad opened our dinner in prayer –turning toward the author and perfector of our family’s faith. 

 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2

 

 And I look at the pictures of our family praying and I see a little boy at the head of the table.  

That’s my Alex –about to turn 10 in just one week. 

And my heart melts…my boy,

–at the head. 

It was just how the seating arrangement worked out (not meant to be significant) but for this mommy, that’s my heart’s longing —

that one day God would raise him up to be a Godly head of his family.

That he would always remember that success–

 is not defined by fame or fortune…

 but by faith and family.

 

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” ~ 3 John 1:4

 

 

 Dear Grandma, I know my sister Jen is reading this to you {my sister reads my blog posts to grandma}, thank you so much for following Jesus.  I think of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, when I think of you. 

Long ago there were two roads ahead of you — one would take you towards God and truth, the other would take you away from God and His truth. You chose the road less traveled and THAT has made all the difference in my life.

My mom followed you down the path you chose –on this road less traveled.

My sisters followed my mom, and I followed them down this path behind YOU.

And now our children are following us on this road less traveled.

Faith.

Family.

Success.

Grandma – you have affected generations to come and I pray that we will perpetually pass on your faith to future generations until Jesus returns. 

“His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.” ~ Luke 1:50

I pray that one day when I turn 90 years old (Lord willing), there will be a room full of love gathered around me just as you had this weekend.  Thank you for being a role model to me.

I love you!

 Walk with the King,

 

**Chime In: Are you a first generation Christian or has your Christian faith been passed down from generation to generation?  Who in your life, took the road less traveled, and made a difference in your life?

 

 

Comments

  1. KellyK(@RNCCRN9706) says

    I was born and raised 3rd generation Catholic. Was confirmed in the Catholic faith but no longer practice that religion because of many different reasons but mostly because I don’t agree with their theology.
    Great pics! My MIL turns 90 this summer. She has but one sibling left and he lives in CA and would NEVER fly to OH to celebrate his only living sibling’s 90th birthday. Funny dynamics in my hubby’s family.

    Anyway…great pics! Looks like everyone had a fab time!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Nora says

      Kelly,

      You do know that Catholic’s are Christians, right? Catholic were the very first Christians. For over 1000 years there was only this one Church – the Catholic Church.

      In the year 1054, a schism occurred in the Church. The “eastern” part of the Church split off and is known today as the Eastern Orthodox church.

      And it wasn’t until almost 1500 years after Jesus founded his Church that any “denomination” appeared on the scene. This was what is known as the protestant reformation, where some Catholics decided to break off from the Catholic Church and start their own churches.

      Protestants are “protesting.” That’s where they get their name. So what are they protesting? They are protesting the Catholic Church – the original Church that Jesus founded.

      So the answer to the question is a resounding yes. And not only are Catholics Christians, they were the first Christians.

      More Info: http://www.catholicscomehome.org/salvation/

      • Kelly(@RNCCRN9706) says

        I’ll disagree with you. I didn’t like having to confess my sins to a Priest. That was a big sticking point with me. And the worship of the Virgin Mary, didn’t agree with that either.

        • says

          I am glad the Bible doesn’t tell me to confess my sins to a priest. We have ONE Priest, and He is Christ Jesus. We have ONE god, and we worship no other … not saints or any others. You’ll be glad to know, Kelly, that the Bible, God’s Word, wouldn’t want you doing those things you weren’t happy with :)

      • Daniela says

        Nora The syrians in antioch were the second christians after the Jews. Then there were Greek Christians in asia minor( ephesis,philipi laodecia) Then the roman orthodox christians.

        I was raised Roman catholic too (family is all Italian) but like Kelly I also disagree with their theology.
        Priests DO NOT absolve us of our sins only Christ can forgive us of our sins. Jesus Never gave anyone that authority. The Bible teaches we are saved by grace through faith see Ephesian 2:8 . We can not earn our salvation with good deeds like the Roman catholic church teaches. We need to trust in Jesus alone for forgiveness of our sins and NOT the Catholic sacraments, words of the priest or pope, indulgences, or the rosary. Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life John 14:6.

      • Valerie says

        I disagree about the Catholic Church being the first church. The Bible tells us that Jesus built His church through His followers, preaching the Good News everywhere as Jesus commanded. After Christ’s ascension into Heaven, His message was being spread throughout the nations. The Roman Empire tried to destroy the teachings of Christ by persecuting the Christians. (Note: remember how the Roman governor – Pilate – tried to keep the Jewish crowd down during Passover when Christ taught them but they would not stop worshiping The King!!!). The Roman Empire realized that they couldn’t “beat” the message so they decided to stop the persecutions and to “join” them. But they incorporated their pagan laws and practices and made a few of their own changes and that is why the Roman Catholic Church worships the Virgin Mary, rosary beads, etc… After all, God “rent the curtain from top to bottom” to let us know that Jesus bridges the gap between God and man. We are now reconciled back to God through Jesus and do not have to confess our sins to man but directly to God our Father through Jesus. Hallelujah!!!

  2. Deborah Cook says

    Love reading this….this is my hearts cry as well to see our children living and serving the Lord. I am a 3rd generation Christian as is my husband…both sides have many prayer warriors both men of God and ladies.

    • Erin says

      Out of all the beautiful sentiments that Courtney wrote, THIS is what you chose to comment on? As long as the kids aren’t drinking it, it’s fine. Even Jesus drank wine. And made some at a wedding.

    • Courtney's Mom says

      Many thanks to all of you for your kind comments and good wishes to my Mom on her 90th birthday. She indeed is a Proverbs 31 woman, has created a godly legacy, and we are the blessed recipients of her many years upon this earth and her ministry to us.

      Amy, I appreciate your concern about not having alcohol at a family gathering, especially where children are present. Had the party for my mother been held in my home, that would have been my preference also, and no alcoholic beverages would have been served. However, we chose to celebrate at a restaurant, and most of the nicer restaurants have bars in them.

      In this area, we chose to follow the example of Jesus (please read Matthew 9:10-12). Salvation is available for all, but some in our family have not yet chosen the path leading to God and righteousness. Would you please join us in praying for our family members who are still struggling to find their way to Jesus? We love them and desire to show them grace and mercy while trusting the Holy Spirit to do a work in their hearts.

      Remember Amy, we are all on common ground at the foot of the cross.

      Bev (Courtney’s Mom)

      • says

        Bev, thank you for this and for defending Courtney! I would imagine that none of us have perfect families anyway. Happy Birthday to your mother. Courtney, my grandparents were all deceased by the time I was 16 years old so how awesome to be able to celebrate like this. Great post as always – I appreciate you.

    • Amy Johnson says

      Are you serious, Amy? Be careful of that judgemental, critical spirit. It could get you into some serious trouble.
      Thank you Courtney for sharing your heart with us and for giving us a peek into some wonderful family moments. You are a blessing to each of us, even those who don’t realize it. HUGS!!

    • Amie says

      I’m sure there is at least someone in Courtney’s family that smokes ciggarettes or cigars… It may even be someone who drinks alcohol…. So what? You cannot condemn people based on their vices. And children are exposed to much more than seeing a couple of drinks on a table, every single day. Please do not pass judgement on people you do not know and may never meet.

    • Amy says

      It DID surprise me to find such beautiful pictures of a family table headed by a child (which obviously was so meaningful to his proud momma) with beer bottles on it. I apologize. Mea Culpa. I am trying to figure out this approach to Christianity, and perhaps trolling the Internet and reading all of the linked web sites is the wrong approach for me. It’s too casual and impersonal except for when people choose to take umbrage at a 15-word, poorly worded, question. Thank you, Mrs. Bev, for being kinder than is necessary; for choosing to instruct rather than to cast a stone. I am sorry. Amy

  3. ESTHER says

    I love reading this.. it just bought tears when I read about your baby boy..That should be every moms longing..to see her children love and serve God.
    Love u

  4. Heather says

    We just celebrated my grandmother’s 99th birthday in Feb. and this rings so true to me. Thanks for posting. Just beautiful.

  5. says

    I’m a first generation Christian — well, members of my family claim that they are Christian, but none attend church and don’t seem to be too interested in the Word.

    Anyhow, this looks like a wonderful celebration of family & faith! My husband and I are hoping for a big family so that we can have dinners like this with our children and their families. :)

  6. says

    What an amazing lady and a testament to how much we can pass on to our own children and families!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Stephanie says

    My family is Catholic as far back as the eye can see (probably a good 10-12 generations…if not more…my family is from Rome). I’m a practicing Catholic and so are my kids (my husband is a non-practicing Luthern, and has chosen to attend Catholic Mass with us instead).

    This post is so beautiful. I loved seeing my grandmother live her faith, and I hope my kids appreciate that their relatives live their faiths as well. God is so powerful in family legacies.

  8. Karen says

    Sadly, I am a first generation Christian. I am sad because I won’t be spending eternity with my Mom or Grandma (well, you never know….). My precious husband led me to Christ! I can say that I will be spending eternity with him and all three of my girls and I am so grateful! What a precious legacy your Granda will leave……Blessings!

  9. says

    Although my Mother was saved later in life….Praise Jesus that she came around…..after me at age 12. I am 4th generation at least. Not sure about my great-great-great grandparents. lol

    Thanks for sharing. So sweet. I teared up like another reader did when you talked about your son. ;)

    Blessings,
    The How to Guru

  10. Esther says

    Both my grandmas have passed away recently. I never met either of my grandfathers. They were absolute rocks in our family. I spoke at my nana’s funeral and I remember everyone saying (including myself in my speech), “look what she has achieved by being such a Godly woman. Look how many people she has affected. Look at all her huge Christian family who are all here praising God for her.” I hope I can have the same effect on my family I hope to one day have. We don’t value the elderly enough, they make such a huge difference and if it weren’t for them we wouldn’t be where we are today and they have so much great advice to give us! I know just what God would’ve said to them when He took them home. Well done good and faithful servant!!

  11. says

    I am one of the few Christians in my extended family and I struggle to persevere in prayer for the redemption of my family. God has blessed me with eight children who are rapidly growing up so I am already feeling surrounded by a big, like-minded family but I do hope and pray to leave a wonderful legacy of love and faithfulness from my life just like your grandparents did! Praise God for godly heritages!

    Jill

  12. Amanda Cross says

    I consider myself a first generation Christian. My mom and I came to know the Lord the same day. My grandmother (her mother) was a believer long before either us, but divorce played out in her and my grandfather’s marriage. I think there were huge losses and Christ was not represented well. I did not know my father’s side of the family growing up since he left my mother while she was pregnant with me. His mother was also a believer. My mother remarried and my dad’s side of the family were all unbelievers. Many of them came to know the Lord after us. My husband’s grandparents and great grandparents were believers. His grandmother has been a wonderful example to him. His parents are not believers and sadly I think they have been the most influential in his life. I pray for him to grow in his faith, to grow in God’s Word, and to take his role as spiritual leader of our family. I started reading “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” the other day and am seeing the strong influence his parents have had. I’m hoping he will read the book with me because I can see we have already made so many mistakes in our parenting. God is wrecking me through the gospel shown in this book. I so long for our 3 year old to know the Lord early on and for us his parents to take the narrow road of serving the Lord and to show him a godly example.

  13. Rebecca Miyashita says

    Thank you for sharing this. It was a blessing. I, too, am thankful for a Godly Grandmother and Godly mother.

  14. Ruth says

    Courtney, thank you for sharing the pictures of your family. I, too, was caught by your grandmother’s beautiful hands. They have worked hard and loved well. What a blessing you have in her.

  15. says

    Dear Courtney’s Grandma
    Happy Birthday! May God bless you at this very special time. Your witness to your family is such a tremendous blessing, what an inheritance you are leaving. The blessing doesn’t end with your family, it is being extended even to the Highlands of Scotland. I don’t have a Christian heritage but I am so thankful to godly women that I can learn from to imitate godliness in the home. Courtney has impacted my own family in many ways and I am sure that much that I have gleaned has come about through your witness and example.

    Every blessing to your family
    Julie

  16. says

    Courtney,
    I just loved this post! My grandmother will be 90 in September. She and my grandfather were married 60 years and he passed three months after their 60th anniversary. They had 12 children, 11 of which are still alive and thriving and yes, our family is also LOUD. :)

    When you said your husband had to get used to that, I just laughed. My high school boyfriend was the very same way. Honestly, I think he was terrified of all the laughter, debates, and roo-haa-haa that went on as we all kindly participated in 5 conversations at once.

    Just this past Friday, my great aunt Sadie went home to be with the Lord. She was my grandmother’s baby sister. My grandmother is now the only one left of her 5 siblings and she mentioned to my mom today that she thought she would “go” before Sadie did. So, please say a prayer for her. She is full of life and her health is fantastic for someone who has almost lived an entire century.

    So, thank you for sharing portions of your life with us. It let’s us know that we all share some of the same human experiences and have the same hopes, desires, and dreams for our families.

    ~ Blessings,
    Kellie

  17. marie says

    I consider my self first generation Christian. My family is Catholic and though there are few who have relationship with Christ, many including my immediate family didn’t have a relationship with Christ. (I don’t think Kelly means any malice about Catholicsm with her comment. I understand the issues she is talking about).
    My son is turning 10 in a couple of months. I pray everyday that the Lord will draw him and his brother to Himself despite the lack of Godly men in our lives. Sadly at gatherings, I am like the awkward boring one who have to keep reminding people children are present or I have to drag my kids out of the gathering(and be the bad guy) because things are getting too rowdy.

  18. says

    Courtney, this is such a precious post, with wonderful photos and thoughts. Oh, what a blessing and a privilege you have :) . I have been blessed with similar blessings to you, and like you, my only longing for our children is that they grow up ‘walking in His ways’.
    Such a tear-jerker seeing your 10yr old at the head of table and thinking of what, God willing, will be, one day.

  19. Kristen Yost says

    I am not a first generation Christian. My great grandmother used to take me to church with her almost every Sunday until she died when I was a child. Then I didn’t go to church any more until I was an adult. My grandparents and parents are not Christians. So sadly after my great grandmother passed I didn’t get to go again until I married into my husbands family. Once our daughter was born I felt something missing in my life and started going to church with my in laws, even though my husband wasn’t going! I was then baptized and my life changed forever! Then after a few years my husband decided to start going back to church and was baptized a short while later! My hope is that because of my wonderful great grandmother I will be leading my family to Christ for years to come. Seeing your sweet family celebrating brought tears to my eyes. And I totally get the emotions that came with you seeing your son at the head of the table. I have two sons and I pray that they will grow into Christian men at the head of their families too. Thanks for sharing such a special time!

  20. Martine says

    This was a beautiful post! It brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful family you have. I love you Courtney! God Bless! Martine

  21. Tami says

    Beautiful post. You and your family are so blessed that your grandmother chose faith and lived it in front of her family. I am a first generation Christian and this post gives me such hope. It shows me how one person, who is open to and follows the prompting of the Holy Spirit, can lead generations to Jesus. Thank you for your continued encouragement through your examples.

  22. Betty says

    Her children will rise and call her blessed………..I can see in these photos that there is lots of love for Christ and for each other. Thanks for sharing!

  23. teresa says

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you – God’s timing is so wonderful! We are a first generation family. My side of the family has abandoned me, as they believe we have joined a cult. Ugh. So great to hear stories like yours, keeps us going and reminds us that it is worth it! Much love <3

  24. Karla Smith says

    May I be a part of your family? :) Loved your grandma
    And Mother. You are blessed! My grandpa lived
    to be 99. I have a feeling she will be around a very long time!

    Blessings to you all and invite us all to the next party!

  25. Jen says

    Courtney – this is such a beautiful post all around. Thank you for sharing it. Last week you blogged about the 1st blog you ever read and followed. Your blog is the first I read and followed. I seek your posts each day both here and on FB. They are a light in my life. I definitely see Jesus in you, and hope others see Him in me. I went a little off topic here, but had to share that.

    You grandmother is leaving such a legacy, and you will make it live on through your children. PTL. I’m honored to know you and your grandma are my sisters in Christ, and we’ll one day dance in heaven together <3

  26. Samantha says

    The love you have for your grandma, sounds like the love I have for mine. I always tell my grandma how beautiful her hands are, as they are the hands of years of hard work. She laughs and tells me I’m silly. I don’t think my grandma fully understood the depth of my love for her until my daughter was born three weeks ago and we named her after my grandma. She said that now she will live on after she leaves to be with grandpa. Maybe it is the hormones, but I sat and cried. It broke my heart when he passed away in September and to think of her being gone does it all over again. May God bless you with many more years with your grandma.

  27. Em says

    Good Morning Courtney!

    I grew up in a large, loud Hungarian catholic family and attended catholic church every Sunday. However, like most European families the church was centered around tradition, and that’s all it became. We were catholic only on Sunday, Easter, Christmas and on any of the holy days of obligation.

    It wasn’t until I met my husband (2nd generation christian) at 28, when he began witnessing to me, that I realized that I hadn’t been living the kind of life God has intended for us. Within a few months the Holy Spirit really worked within me and I realized that I was sinner and needed a Savior. It’s been two years since I’ve been saved and bittersweet parts of the way. Although walking with King is the most glorious decision I’ve made, it’s sad and sometimes hurtful when your own family thinks you’re “weird” for believing in Jesus and following His Word.

    However, I “lift my eyes to the Maker” (Bebo Norman song…great song!) and like your Grandmother, by traveling down this “road less traveled” I know that He will only bring great things. My husband and I have a 4month old and we’re excited to see what God has in store for our little family. :)

    Thanks for posting! Your blog is the first I’ve ever followed!

    God Bless!
    Em from New Jersey

  28. Julie says

    Courtney. ..I was thinking about your post where people would say ugly things to you and it’s funny because I was just thinking how beautiful you are! I know this has nothing to do with this post, but you are such a beautiful person not only in your heart, but you have a gorgeous smile and it’s always genuine. Ignore the haters…

  29. Lorie says

    Courtney, I have been following your blog for 3 or 4 years. I have never commented before, but this post prompted me to. It is a beautiful post! Thanks so much sharing such a precious time with your readers. God is so good!

  30. Rita says

    I loved reading these comments. These are not hateful comments, they are merely concerns christians have for each other. My mother turned 90 in October, we got the born again baptism together in 2009. I love that your family got together for this milestone, Congratulations to all of your beautiful family!

  31. Marilyn Kok says

    I covet your family, united in faith. Beautiful gathering. I would love to see the memory book, what a treasure for your mom to read and re-read. Thank you for sharing.

  32. says

    Love this! I am from a family of legacy, too… not riches materially, but a legacy of faith that has endured. Love family gatherings. Thank you for sharing yours!

  33. Maria W. says

    Hi Courtney,
    Beautiful post today! I’m a first generation Christian and I was lead to the Lord by my dear Mother-in-law just by her example! I wanted her peace, her joy, her love for others, her kindness when she spoke not only to her husband but to anyone else. Her life wasn’t easy but she walked in these things! When her health failed and she faced the death of her own husband, taking in an elderly aunt because of her love for her, facing into cataract operations and recovery, facing the diagnosis of cancer invading her body and a mastectomy and a triple-by-pass heart operation, too—-I couldn’t stand it any longer yet she still radiated these attributes!! How come?? What was the source of all this peace? I asked her and she gently said, “It’s Jesus! It’s Jesus!” That was the first I heard of Him as One who could really touch our lives in a personal way. I asked Jesus into my heart and now, I’ve been walking with Him since the early 1980’s. My husband and 5 children all have a passionate relationship with Jesus, too. I am always mindful of HOW I walk through this life. My life is a message to others! Obviously, your grandmother, mother and now you and your family are enjoying the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness, also. Blessings to your family. Your grandma’s life is celebrated by all your readers!! Congratulations!!

  34. says

    This is such a heartwarming post and exactly what I hope my legacy will be. I want to lead my family toward the Lord so they can then lead their families to Him. My dad’s parents loved Jesus and lead my dad toward Jesus. My mom and dad were both Christians before they were married and had my brother and I. Their faith in Jesus is rock solid and they help build a solid foundation of faith in my life. I can only pray that God continues to guide me as I lead my own children closer to Jesus every day. Thanks so much for sharing. Happy birthday to your Grandma! She is a blessed woman!

  35. Teresa R says

    My Nana was the rock in our family. Every morning she prayed for each member. One day as I was leaving our home, I heard her speak my name – she was praying for me. I stood listening til she started praying for someone else, then tiptoed away so she wouldn’t know I was there. Remembering that time spoke to my heart, and eventually led to my salvation. My Nana died in 1997 at the age of 103. A few months later I wrote a poem about “Nana on her knees.”

  36. Maggie says

    I am a faithful Catholic who has been incredibly blessed by your blog, Courtney. I have also been enriched immensely in my faith walk by some wonderful friendships with Baptists. Although we all can have disagreements on theology, I am thankful that we are here, in this forum, trying to bless our families and live lives of faith by supporting one another, offering encouragement and wisdom, and trying our best to build up the body of Christ together.

  37. Irene says

    Courtney! what a beautiful story!
    I was found by my Lord 18 years ago when my daughters were still little children. I am the first generation and my daughters are the second one.
    Still waiting the time of the Lord for my whole family to come to Jesus: parents, sisters, nephews, nieces… aunts, uncles, etc. As His Word says: believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your house will be saved! Amen
    Also, waiting for my grandchildren who will be the third generation, and so on until our Lord Jesus Christ returns!

  38. says

    I love your writing and heartfelt stories. Generational teaching toward Christian love and family is absolutely a necessity. Celebrating your grandma was fabulous through your pictures and story.

    May God Bless you beyond… your imagination.
    I am an author, speaker and blogger and I admire your site, your mission and your commitments.

    Have a beautiful day. bloom on…. Jan R Miesse, author, speaker

  39. Heather says

    Thank you for sharing this, my grandmother just passed away this week and this post is just what I needed! It really made me look back on my grandmothers life and the great woman of faith she was and the legacy she left for future generations including myself and my children. I am actually going to include one of the scriptures you shared in her eulogy. Thank you again!!

  40. Samantha says

    Courtney,

    You are a beautifully talented writer. Myself and a group of girls at work just started doing your Proverbs 31 bible study and are already learning and growing in the Lord together (after the first study). I love reading your blog and this one is very special. What a beautiful picture seated around the table. God is good and what a testimony you have! Bless you.

  41. says

    Hi Courtney,
    I loved your post today. I take such inspiration from you – and you are so Blessed to have such an amazing family who has followed your Grandma. I was not so Blessed to have a family who followed Christ. But I have found the road that Christ took on my own, of my own accord. In so doing, I take faith that I am breaking generational sin and spiritual apathy. I am setting a righteous example for my own children. And hopefully generations to come. Within my family, it definitely is the road less travelled but for no longer — as for me and my house, we will follow the Lord.
    Thank you for continuing to inspire me, Courtney.
    …candice snider

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