As promised…but can you believe, I don’t have any!? I did not take picture one! And the ones my daughter took I can’t seem to upload. ARRUGH.
There were 900 people there! Most I did not know. It was frustrating to see so many I did know and love but was unable to talk with. Like a gigantic wedding reception…wonderful, dear friends, but couldn’t get round to them. As you can imagine the security was tight and just to go to my father’s table to wish him a happy birthday brought scowls from the security folks who did not know me. Ask me if I care.
As soon as I stepped off the elevator I was greeted warmly by Jan Karon. I hadn’t seen her in years! She looks ever prettier than ever – so warm and gracious. From then on it was person after person to hug and greet – special folks – by and large.
Lots of family but so many members had not been included for some reason – I missed the Charlotte cousins and Dallas contingent. But I was not asked about the guest list! It was fun to see the next generation of cousins enjoy each other. It is a good bunch. Yes, there is an odd ball or two (as in every family) but by and large a really enjoyable, fun group. We definitely missed the ones who were not there.
I loved having my kids with me. My son actually wore a suit!! My girls looked beautiful. All three were poised, gracious, attentive – and themselves. They don’t “put on airs”. Windsor drove all the way down from Philadelphia and Todd took “daddy duty” so she could be there. Yea Todd! Windsor drove a far as Virginia, spent the night and picked up her sister so they could drive down together. Good “sister time”.
There were many dear people there – the press mentioned the notables but there were sweet friends who quietly serve the Lord in obscure places. When we get to Heaven they will be the ones on the front row. Jesus Himself will honor them.
I was somewhat distracted as I was launching a new business that weekend in Bristol, VA. I had done 3 interviews that day. We left Bristol at 3:30 to arrive in Asheville by 5:00. I had my business partner, Bobby Griffin, and a sweet friend, Peggy Garvey, with me. We left the hotel by 10:00 and got back into Bristol at 11:30 to start the trade show at 9:00 on Friday which continued through Sunday afternoon. At one point Bobbby came up to me and said, “I want you to meet someone – let’s get a picture”. I looked up and none other than Donald Trump stood there! Bobby snapped a picture and I was able to thank Mr. Trump for honoring my Father for his birthday.
I will definitely let you all know about my new business in the next blog and give you a website. Exciting! We have been slammed with interest and orders. It is something I have worked on for 30-some years! So I am excited.
Two highlights of the evening – other than the video of my precious father and having my kids with me – was the opportunity to meet Glenn Beck and his wife. I invited them to be my guests. Along with two of his assistants. I had never met them, though we had corresponded and shared emails. (Several years ago I arranged for him to have time with my father.) What a lovely couple! He is such a gentle, gracious, humble man. I loved them both. We bemoaned the fact that Virginia voters had not seen the farce of the Libertarian candidate who, in fact, was put up and funded by the Democrats in order to spoil the election. Politics is a dirty business. But in the midst of that Glenn and Tania are warm, loving people who are passionate about this country and the direction it is headed.
Then I spotted Rick Warren who asked if I would take him to greet my father. There was security around Daddy – Rick’s plane was 2 hours late – I can only imagine how frustrated he was. I was delighted to see him and honored that he recognized me! He had a book full of signatures from Saddleback members wishing Daddy a happy birthday. About 35,000 names. After dinner he hung around. We were able to tell him how much we appreciated his candid interview with Piers Morgan on CNN about his son’s illness and suicide. He talked about what God had taught him about his son’s pain and the process of grief. How grateful I am for a man of his stature to talk about mental health – an area ignored by much of the Church.
I drove back to Bristol – adrenaline was pumping. A terrific evening that honored God and my father.
I went to Montreat on Sunday to be with him and wish him a Happy Birthday without a crowd around. He is my hero. I love him and while he did not invite the crowd back for his 100th birthday he said to me, “Maybe my 97th”! Amen!
So loved the party and seeing you with your beautiful children. And yes they were very poised. Don’t forget about your writing place and I want to order aprons for Christmas presents! Hugs!
You got it! Can that “writing place” be a “resting place”?
It was good to see you – but frustrating not to be able to visit.
I so enjoy reading your posts. Sounds like a very blessed celebration! Wishing many more of the Lords blessings for your sweet Dad!
It was through Glen Beck sharing about the party and sitting with you on his show that I found your blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Wow! I am surprised and pleased. Thank you.
Thank you for helping me to see that celebrities are just real people. Reading your blogs and hearing you preach about reality of life for everyone has changed me. It has built my confidence by seeing that we are all the same although some have more power and prestige from the world’s standpoint. I like how you said that certain people who are so important to your family will get a front row seat in heaven. This brings new meaning to what Jesus said about doing things for Him in secret so we get reward in heaven. I now have a greater sense that the sacrifices I make for Jesus are seen by Him. Media sure influences our perceptions. I love how you bring it down to earth. Your father is a hero to so many and will remain a hero for centuries to come. It was good to see him publicized once again and hobnobbing with such powerful people. It tells me that I too, can influence those I fear would never give me the time of day. You empower me to do more. Thank you Ruth.
For those of us who have grown up hearing and seeing Billy Graham it is wonderful to keep in touch with you and the family through your blog. Once, many years ago, probably around 1973, I was working at Look Up Lodge and Camp in Traverlers Rest, S.C. and your father came to the camp. Ned was a camper there and your father had come to pick him up. When I reflect on that now I think that must not have been a common occurrence because of your father’s busy schedule. I remember looking out of the window in the dining hall and seeing Billy Graham standing in front of the lodge. I regret that I did not go out to meet him. I think I was so awe struck by his presence that it didn’t occur to me that he would want to me me! I met my husband at this camp and we married in 1974. He passed away four weeks ago after almost 40 years together.
I am deeply sorry for your loss. These first holidays will be difficult but I pray God’s nearness will be especially precious to you. I am quite sure my father would loved to have met you. One dayin Heaven!
Great recap – I enjoyed reading and picturing everything! Blessings, Lydia B
Sounds like a wonderful evening! Praise the Lord for His work done through your father!!