Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

36

I turned 36 yesterday, just four days after Ben's 11th birthday! It's been a great week. We celebrated Ben's birthday on Thursday as a family. Since his birthday and Christmas present this year is the soon-to-be-released Nintendo Wii (thanks to all who offered advice), he only received one actual birthday present from us - a Razor scooter (the human-powered kind). He loves it and has used it nearly every day since. He chose Sonic for dinner and we watched a very interesting movie with the homemade dessert of his choice - a chocolate bundt cake.

Friday night was his official birthday party, which for the third year in a row was at a local hotel. We love the hotel sleepover. The hotel has a very nice indoor pool that we've been blessed to have to ourselves every year. After an hour or two in the pool, we head to the room for party favors or fun activities of some kind, then eat pizza, open presents, have dessert, and watch a movie. Ben chose The Princess Bride for the movie - I love that boy! We get to enjoy the free breakfast the next morning and maybe one more trip to the pool, then it's all over by 9am. The kids love it, Ben gets to feel like the king of the world for a night, and you can't ask for a simpler experience for Lori and I.

This year's edition went very well, though it will probably be the last one. I think these parties work best between ages 7-11. Any younger and you'd need more parents to help with the kids. Any older and you start running out of room and it gets more and more difficult to choose a date that doesn't conflict with someone's schedule.

We celebrated my birthday on Sunday with a wonderful breakfast, presents, and a great dinner. Ben bought me a book (with his own money, of course) by one of our new favorites, and then presented me with a homemade book of his own that was probably the most amazing thing I've ever received. It featured a portrait of me, a haiku, two acrostics, and more sweetness than should be allowed in this life.

B - Benevolent
R - Really cuddly
I - I love him a lot
A - Academic
N - Neat

Lori gave me some fantastic clothes, a great book, and a chai gift card, along with an absolutely brilliant gift. A year ago, they got me a bike odometer, which I love, but the manual was lost through a series of unfortunate events before I ever mastered the numerous settings. She managed to track down another copy of the manual and photocopy it for me, something I've been hoping to do for months. Thoughtful gifts are the best gifts.

September is always a month of reflection for me. Not only do Ben and I celebrate our birthdays, but September is also the month I started working at Fellowship Church, now six years ago! It's truly breathtaking to look back over these years and see all that God has done in my life and at Fellowship. I can't wait to see what comes next!