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Becoming an Octogenarian this week brought with it a lot of surprises for me.

My children had asked me at the beginning of the year how I wanted to celebrate my birthday. I suggested having all of my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren coming together for a dinner and fun time visiting and left it at that. I gave them an idea of where we might gather and was told they would take care of everything.

I was certain it would all come together in grandios fashion and waited for the day to come. As many of you know, my children are all "take charge" individuals, so there was nothing else for me to do. My son flew in from Florida a few days before the event and he and his sisters created a celebration of monumental proportions.

I was driven to the party destination, escorted into the building, and greeted by all of those attending. My sister-in-law had also flown in from Texas as an additional surprise so I was surrounded by family. As I was greeting each one, much to my total shock and surprise were my two grandchildren from Florida. They had flown into St. Louis, spent the night, and driven down to Fredericktown to the surprise of everyone; even their father. Only one person knew of them coming and not one word was leaked.

Everywhere I looked, there were more and more surprises. The table decorations and flowers were beautiful. The color scheme was perfect. The personalized touches in everything made me tear up, and the hours spent in complete organization and preparation made me so very grateful for a loving family who care for one another.

I am so grateful and blessed and continually surrounded by those in my family who give over and above in their individual lives. The Holy Bible says that children are a blessing from the Lord and I totally agree. Mine certainly are. Because of them I had a FANTASTIC 80th birthday. One that will never be forgotten.

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