S: 60 Years of Naomi
BC: Made With Love Tong/Kwan productions
FC: 60 Years of Naomi
1: This book is dedicated to Naomi Tong in honor of her 60th birthday. We love you! October 29, 2011
2: Naomi as a Sakaji...
4: Hi Naomi, Happy 60th birthday! Love, Taka | A Very Special Happy 60th Birthday to My Little Sister, Naomi! I'm one of a very select group who has had the privilege to know you your entire life! Not just anyone can make this claim! As children, who knew that my stubborn, annoying little sister would become this lovely godly woman who loves Jesus, who is my kind, loving, generous and compassionate friend who still tends to be a little stubborn at times? I have had the privilege of going through this life with you over all these years, and with the Lord's continued grace and blessing, I hope to enjoy time with you for many more years to come! I am thankful for your prayers for my family and friends, for the open honest relationship that we share, and for the special bond of friendship we have as sisters. You are loving, supportive, encouraging and fun throughout both the good times and the challenging times in our lives. I am also thankful for all the wonderful times we've shared together with our families and for the many experiences we've been able to enjoy together. Naomi, you are very dear to me and I'm glad you are the sister God blessed me with! May Jesus our Lord continue to pour out His blessings upon your life for many years to come! Enjoy this special birthday year! With love, Janice
5: Dear Auntie Na, I hope that you have a great birthday! You are an awesome aunt & I’ve enjoyed all the times we’ve spent together, especially the holidays. It’s always fun when we can get together whether at your house, my parents’ house, meeting for dim sum or whatever other excuse we find to get together. I hope that you had a great time in Hong Kong celebrating. Happy 60th!!! Love, Craig | Dear Auntie Naomi, Happy Birthday!! I hope you have a wonderful day. You have known me since I was born. I am your favorite niece(hehe). I remember when you told me that whenever I saw a palm tree, I would be in Hawaii(hahaha). I also enjoy the times we get to spend together as a family during the holidays and special events. I appreciate the love and joy you have for our family. I am so happy to call you my auntie. Love, Courtney Yokota
7: Happy Birthday, Honey. Wow. I have been with you longer than without you. You have been an amazing wife. I don't know where or what I would be if it were not for your love, support, and encouragement. Love you. ~Jason
8: Happy Birthday, Naomi! Can't believe it is a "milestone" birthday already. :) We still remember when you were little and used to want to "hang out" with Janice and Nancy. You ended up being Brian's "play buddy". We have lots of fond memories of you girls growing up. You are a thoughtful, sincere and wonderful person. Thank you for always thinking of us and calling us with family updates. May you have many, many, many more happy birthdays! Love, Uncle Tak and Auntie Hina | Dear Naomi, Happy, happy Birthday! Always great seeing all of you guys at our Sakaji Family Reunions. It is wonderful to have our families get together to catch up, laugh, eat and enjoy. We still think of all those delicious meals from "Tom's Take Out" and how Auntie Minko and Uncle Tomo treated us to our favorite food! (even Tony and his brothers used to go to "Tom's") Uncle was famous back then too. :) I remember taking piano lessons at your house (from Janice)...I don't remember seeing you there though, you were very smart not to be around to have to listen to all those mistakes and sour notes! I'm glad we have become closer as we have gotten older, and we look forward to seeing you guys whenever you want to come up and visit. Tony is always available to take Jason to the golf course! Well, take care and have a WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY! ENJOY!!!! Love, Margaret, Tony and Omar
9: Dear Naomi, You were always a quiet and shy girl and you still are. After you became a teen, we saw less and less of you. So on one visit we asked your parents where you were and they said you were out visiting. Finally we found out you had a boyfriend in Guadalupe and lo and behold, they told us his name, Jason. Now before we knew it, you were finished with school and married. This took us by surprise. As of today you have matured quite well and raised a nice family. You have a lot to look forward to. Haru and Alys Sakaji | Dear Naomi, Happy 60th birthday! We remember when you were little and would come to visit us in Arroyo Grande with your dad (the strawberry farm). Remember all the kittens we used to have on our farm? You guys thought they were so cute! :) Have a happy, happy birthday and many more to come -- Love, Auntie Yots and Uncle Sumi
10: Dear Naomi, Happy Birthday! Stop spreading those stories about me and the milkshake machine at Tom’s Take Out!!! I remember many visits to Santa Maria and stops at W. Bunny and E. Mill, but the only time I remember all the Sakaji cousins being together was one fall when there were leaves all over the front yard. I remember collecting them in a bag and placing them in a red wagon and pulling the red wagon around with the turkey for our make believe holiday feast. We had fun growing up with the cousins in Santa Maria and needless to say this was an integral part of our lives. Walking down to Main and Broadway, was just like Main Street USA in Disneylandokay maybe no electric light parade, but the drugstore with the soda fountain, the movie theater, and my favorite comic book store; where I read all the classics (Classics Illustrated). Happy Birthday and many happy returns. Thanks for all the memories. Sand, Erin, and Rick | Dear Naomi, A wish for the kind of day that will make you smile and say, “ahh, life is good.” Birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake! More candles: Bigger Wish! Don’t think of yourself as getting older you are of course, but it’s best not to think about it! Happy Birthday!!!!! Young at heart, slightly older in other places! Age is a number, and mine is unlisted! Have a truly wonderful birthday! Love, Carol and Brian
11: Makimoto Family Reunion
12: Auntie Na, My very first pen pal. Have a wonderful birthday! My most favourite memories of you come from the letters and parcels you used to send to me. As a kid, it was always very exciting to get something in the mail. I also remember when we finally got to visit you in LA, you spent the time to show us around everywhere (making sure we had a good time - I'll always remember Disney). You have a way of making everyone feel special. I hope we can make you feel special as well for your birthday. Love, Alex | Naomi, I wish you a very happy birthday and many more to come. One of my favorite memories about you is that, when I first came to Canada from Hong Kong, you sent me greeting cards for every festivity. Before we even met face to face, you had introduced me to the fun of St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween, which I never heard of before I came to Canada. Throughout the years, your thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated. Wish we can get together more often. Love from Joyce
13: I know Naomi as a very caring person; love to share. Happy Birthday! Albert Lau
14: Dear Naomi, When I think of you, Naomi, it feels good to know you are my friend. Years may separate us but our friendship brings us close. I know I met you when you came to the church but don't recall the year so long ago. I got to see you and Jason grow in the Lord. And it's been a very special pleasure to see Shelley and Melissa grow up into the fine young ladies they are today. It's because of your great love and dedication to raising the girls through your example in the Lord. It's always enjoyable getting together for lunch or dinner. I like it when you've introduced me to new dishes like the shrimp with walnuts, which is now one of my favorite Chinese dishes. And who else can I go out with to eat ramen! You've been the one who I've been able to confide in and receive advice and mostly a hearing ear. We consoled each other when we lost our mothers. It was helpful to share our feelings about our loss. You're always encouraging others, which is a wonderful gift from the Lord. You've always been here for me when I was going through sadness and loss and joy and happiness in my life. And I know I can always count on you to be praying for me. It's only the Lord who supplies all my needs including a FRIEND! I shall always remember you as MY FRIEND. Love, Kiku Kubo
15: Dear Naomi, I met you at the Kentwood Elementary School Kindergarten Class.. Julie and Shelley were starting school together and they became fast friends, which led to you and I becoming friends as well as Jamie and Melissa and also Larry and Jason...This friendship is a true blessing from God.. I have so many favorite memories with you. We started walking together when we dropped the girls off at schools. This was a very fun, positive time for me. You and I talked about everything, we prayed for each other, we laughed and cried together.. We became best friends.. One of my favorite memories with you was when we met the Tong family in Hawaii on their return trip from China. It was a short trip, but a good time for family and friends. What I appreciate most about you is your Giving Spirit and Strong Faith. You have taught me to always trust in God and prayer. You have been more than just a friend to me, you are my sister in Christ. You have blessed not only me, but my whole family with your generous, kind spirit and we are all better persons because of you. We love you and wish you the best on this special 60th birthday.. Janet and Larry Buckley
16: Dearest Naomi, Happy Happy 60th Birthday! You have been such a joy and a source of encouragement to me throughout my life! It is only fitting that you are receiving this book of "blessings" from people whom you have blessed over the years. J and I so loved growing up with you. Since Meliss has always been our best friend, it was only natural that we got to have you as our "second Mom." You have always been encouraging to both J and I-with your numerous cards, letters and notes. I vividly remember you faithfully sending me card after card while I was in Japan for a month in High School. I was so homesick and knowing that, you walked me through that difficult time in your own way, with your cards that brought a smile to my face and your prayers that I know helped see me through :). I know that all of that card writing is tiresome sometimes, so I appreciate it even more when I receive a card on my birthday, or for a celebration, or the annual camp card that I always get :). J and I look forward to those every year! Just as you have faithfully covered me in prayer for my entire life, I would like to offer a prayer covering over you as you hit this milestone birthday. Dear Jesus, Thank you so much for Naomi. For her life and heart for You and for your people. I hope that she knows today just how special and loved she is and that she is encouraged by the words of those who love her that she is precious in Your sight. I pray that as she enters this new decade in her life that she would fall more in love with You, that she would encounter You in new ways. Expand her reach of compassion and encouragement to touch even more for You and Your kingdom. May you give her energy and wisdom as she continues to reach out in Your love on a daily basis. Thank you for giving her the ministry of helps and caring-as evident in her time with the infant toddlers at church as well as in the various CBS ministries that she is involved with. May she be showing each precious child the love of Jesus in each interaction that You give her with them. Lord, help Naomi to know that you have a plan for this new decade of her life! As You have declared in Jeremiah-"For I know the plans I have for Naomi's 60th! Plans to prosper her, and not to harm her. Plans to give her hope and a future." Father, wrap Your arms around Naomi today and in this moment. May she know the grace and peace and love that so abound when she runs to you. And lastly God, will you bring Naomi immeasurable joy as she steps into this new season. Joy in her faith, joy in her family, joy in her work and in her relationships...just an overwhelming joy that comes straight from you. Thank you Jesus. In Your name I pray, Amen." Here's to a most Blessed 60th birthday celebration! We love you :) Aimee & Blane
17: Dear Naomi, Happy 60th Birthday!!! I remember last year when we celebrated Jason's 60th with a big surprise birthday bash. I can imagine the look of horror on your face if Shelley and Melissa did the same for you. I was honored to be asked to contribute to your birthday book. You have been a constant presence in my life since the very beginning and through our times together through Melissa I have learned a great deal about who you are. Your heart is as big as gold. You have an amazing way of serving others. The gift of helps, if you will. In your own quiet way, you always make it a point to see how others are doing. The ministry you and Jason have to those who are sick is incredible. Ever since I can remember, the two of you have taken it upon yourselves to visit people in the hospital. I remember coming over late one night and you both were out at the hospital visiting someone. I can't imagine the number of lives you've touched and families you've encouraged over the years. You are faithful to the church. Growing up in the church, I've seen many people come and go. Some are unhappy and others unable to deal with this change or that decision. It takes a special person to weather the storm and stick with it through the storm. I am so thankful for your devotion. Your faithfulness to the Lord and His people teaches me and encourages me to do the same. On the nights when I was privileged to dine with the family, I knew a feast would be coming. I was always perplexed how such great food came out of such a tiny kitchen. =) You are a gifted cook and talented baker! And this wouldn't be complete without mention of your letters and cards. I remember when you were redoing the outside of your house and the mailbox had been moved. You made a makeshift mailbox so you could still clothespin your outgoing letters to the box. I myself have been the recipient of many encouragement notes. And it's not just a card, but also a personalized note that says exactly the right thing for the occasion. Thank you for including me in your list of people you write to. I have been blessed by your kindness and thoughtfulness. Now that I've moved away, I am more appreciative of the routine things. I grew up with you sitting on the front left side of the church. I can close my eyes and picture you there now, singing along quietly with your hands gracefully raised to our Lord in praise. I will always have that picture in my mind. I hope that these coming years will be your best, most fulfilling and spiritually satisfying time of your life. I love you, not only as Melissa's mom, but as someone I look up to as a mother and follower of Christ. Blessings on this momentous birthday! Love, J.J. Uyeda
18: Naomi, Happy birthday! Your birthday happens to fall on the same day as one of my favorite people in the world, my Grandma. Maybe it's not a coincidence, since you share many of the same qualities. You're both so selfless and your care for others is evident to everyone who knows you. You both have a way of making people feel special by doing special little things like the way you wrote us a card the first year we attended camp. It's our only camp mail to this day! We also appreciate the way you love on our kids. They just adore you and I know you're going to make an amazing Grandmother. You always make us feel so welcome when we come over and I'll never forget the time you and Jason took us out for tofu soup. You got me addicted! Jason, not so much... That's just one example of how sweet and caring you are. Next time, our treat! We just want to wish you a happy birthday Naomi, or Auntie Nay, as you've been dubbed by Grace. We hope that your day is filled with as much love and blessings as you are. We love you! Jason and Dawn Dohrmann | Auntie Nay, Happy birthday. She's generous, helpful and nice. She likes a heart and a princess. Does she like Rapunzel? It's her birthday and I love her. Love, Grace and Luke Dohrmann
19: Dear Naomi, Happy Birthday! I really appreciate this opportunity to tell you how much I admire you. One of my favorite books of the Bible is 1 Peter. In 1 Peter 3:1-4, Peter extols the beauty of a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit. It was a quality that always seemed to elude me, but which I recognize, appreciate and admire in the few women I know who exhibit it. You are one of those women...and it is a rare quality! I know that you often go and visit the sick and infirm...encouraging them. I know that you care for little children...loving them and helping them. You are an example to me of a Godly woman....thank you so much! Although you are very humble and you don't brag about all the good things that you do, you encourage me and inspire me to be a more Godly person. Hey...we should hang out more!!! haha! Maybe you will rub off on me! Thank you for the beautiful person that you are! I hope that you will enjoy this special birthday. May God continue to bless you and your family. Love, Denise Huang | Dear Naomi, Happy birthday! Thank you for being such a special part of our children's lives and our lives/ Your gentle kindness is such an example of God's love to all of us. Thank you for being such a shining light for Jesus with all the children you touch and their families. We love you so much!! Love, The Kuwatas - Todd, Emiko, Heather, & Ethan
20: October 23, 2011 My dear friend Naomi, I apologize for not being able to handwrite this but I know you will understand. When I received Melissa’s email, I was so thrilled because she thought to include me as one of your close friends. It is indeed an honor and pleasure to help make your milestone birthday extra special. I still remember clearly the day I met you, Na. It was the Mommy and Me class with Nick and Melissa. The year was 1983 and it was springtime. I could barely get a word out of you and you could not even look at me because you were so shy!!!! But I shamelessly kept at it and talked your ear off since that day. I must say I can always count on you to be a great listener, thank goodness. I remember Carol Wong and Kevin in the class with us. You probably thought what kind of crazy Chinese woman was that? She talked so much and she still does!! By December of that same year, I discovered I was pregnant with Melinda. I still recall what a difficult time I had with the pregnancy and who was there by my side the whole time? WONDERFUL YOU!!! Your unrelenting words of encouragement, your patience in listening over and over again how miserable I was and that I “could not possibly go on that way” will always remain with me for the rest of my life. You provided the most unselfish love with the way you would take Nick sometimes even overnight so that I could face life day to day the best way I could. Without you, my life could have been greatly altered and with much regret. Thank you my dearest friend for being there for me when I needed you most. I will treasure all the handwritten recipe cards you so lovingly wrote out, not to mention all your handwritten notes and cards and family pictures over all these years. How you used to bring over casseroles during my bad days will never be forgotten. You have a way of doing the kindest and sweetest things for people and I am so proud to have known you. I have no doubt you are a devoted wife, mother, friend, daughter in law, daughter, sister, etc. and as such you set a stellar example for your lovely daughters. I have yet to know another person who is as kind, thoughtful, non-judgmental, considerate and loving as you.
21: When I think back to those days, I get sort of embarrassed with the wallpaper incident but in spite of the havoc I wreaked on your kitchen wall, you took it in its stride and simply smiled. But I was only trying to help!!! I don’t know what I was thinking but my intention was to get you “started” on your much talked about kitchen remodel, hahaha It seems funny now how “bold” I was but maybe my training days with Pan American World Airways make me do strange and spontaneous things?????????? Thank you for being you. I so enjoy how after that yawning chasm of absence, we picked up where we long ago left off and being the ever-loving and understanding Naomi, it has been nothing short of beautiful. I enjoy our frequent chats just keeping each other abreast of our family goings on. I love hearing about your perfect life, how serene and peaceful you seem with everything. Your words of wisdom, your honesty always has a way of lifting my spirits no matter how dark my days seem to get. I appreciate how your whole family came to visit me and provided moral support and love when you first heard of my Sjogren’s diagnosis. In that respect you have also provided me reasons to go on no matter how bleak and hopeless I would feel. You are a constant source of comfort for my existence. My life is so blessed and enriched because of you. I wish you the most wonderful 60th birthday celebration with friends and family for God knows you truly deserve everything great and wonderful. I wish you continued great health, happiness, peace and the time to enjoy your life. Dear, dear Naomi - thanks for the memories. I will always remember you with love and gratitude and I look forward to remaining close to you for the rest of my life. With Lots of Love Always, Julie (Rodriguez)
22: Dear Naomi, I’ve known you from IT house, mainly, I taught for many years, and you were/are a faithful helper at least 2 times a month. I always appreciated your dependability and faithfulness. Many of the other helpers needed to be told what to do--- with you, you obviously know how to take care of kids/babies, and you were always ready/willing to help out in any capacity. You were always punctual, dependable, and would take the lead if the teacher or leader were late, or didn't show up....I always wondered why you didn't want to be the lead teacher yourself, since you are so good with the kids....Naomi, you have a wonderful servant's heart, willing and ready to serve, never wanting/needing any type of recognition or acknowledgement in return.... Terry Sayama | When we went on a family missions trip to Fresno in 2006, I was one of a only a few people who was not part of a family, so Naomi and Jason adopted me for the week and always made sure I was doing okay. This exemplifies what I think of when describing Naomi, which is her thoughtfulness. She is always very motherly towards me. She always makes it a point to say hi to me when she sees me, sends me birthday cards, sends me mail at camp, and other things that no one else does -except my own mother (and even my own mother doesn't send me mail at camp). -Shin Furukawa
23: Dear Naomi, Happy birthday! It has been a blessing having you n my life. The first time being introduced at church with my family I felt a sense of worry about not connecting with the people there. But I remember you and Jason giving my family and I a warm welcome and from t hat moment on, the worry slowly went away. You gave my family, as well as myself, the chance to feel a part of this church and for that I am thankful. Now I enjoy seeing you and Janet most Sundays and just catching up on life! Though I have many fond memories with you, the one that sticks out to me the most was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2003. You were there to support me, comfort me, and pray for me. The multiple cards that you sent me, the hospital visits, the meals and and everything else you provided meant a lot to me. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with such a thoughtful and loving friend in you. I appreciate you for being the person you were when I met you and to the person you are now. Your sincerity and selflessness is something that I admire. I treasure the friendship that we have together. I just want to say thank you for being so supportive and for being a true friend to me. Wishing you good health, happiness and God's blessings in your life and your family. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I love you, Merli | We first met Naomi when we started at Venice in the late 1990's. Always a smile and a gentle greeting. Little did I know at the time what a very big heart she has. When Marion became ill with ovarian cancer Naomi and Jason were always regular visitors to the house and especially the hospital. She was truly displaying God's love for us and we so much appreciated our church family. When I was in Mexico and Camden called to let me know her mother died, I told her to contact Naomi and Jason. They were the first to come into my mind. I thank the Lord for your friendship and will always appreciate what you have done for me and my family. Love and blessings to you, ~ Randy Yumori
24: Dear Naomi, Happy, Happy Birthday! Wishing you every happiness for this special day. We are so happy to send you this birthday greeting and let you know how much you are appreciated and loved. You always think of other first and you are always there helping out. May the Lord continue to bless you, your family and your loved ones for all that you do for Him. God Bless you. Love, Rosemary Your sister in Christ | Dearest Naomi: Happy Birthday to a Wonderful Neighbor, Adopted Big Sister, Sister-in-Christ, and Friend!!! I thank God that we were both placed on Denrock Avenue and that He finally got us together through church. I hope that the weekly hours we spend together, not only helping our own health in our walks but also helping others through our fellowship, will continue for a very loooooooong time....and, at some point in time, with a grandchild or two in our strollers! I wish you, on this special 60th, continued blessings of good health, good fortune, loving family and friends; and, lots of good food and memories during this trip to Hong Kong. And may you continue to bear much Fruit--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control--in your walk with our Father! Sincerely, Kiyomi
25: Dear Naomi, Happy “Special” Birthday to you! You are truly one of God’s most loved people. Your heart for serving him is evident in everything that you say and do and your faithfulness to Christ is a great example to me! It has been a special pleasure for me to come to know you through Agape these past years. Your gentleness of spirit and wonderful smile always brightens my own heart – and your concern for my mom is much appreciated. I hope that your special day brings you much joy and happiness. May our Lord and Savior continue to bring blessings into your life, and may you enjoy and celebrate many, many more “Special” days!! Joy and Love to you in Christ! Susan S. | AGAPE
26: Dear Mom, Wow, I can’t believe you’ve reached your 60th birthday already!! You definitely do not look that age. =) You have touched so many lives and been such a blessing to so many people, hopefully this book allows you to see just how much you are loved! I am so thankful that God gave me you as a mother. I know that I complain a lot of the time that you are nosy and that you always ask me the same questions over and over again, but I appreciate the fact that it means that you care. You care about me and the things that are going on in my life, and you want to be involved, even the littlest bit to just know what I’m up to. I feel lucky because a lot of my friends did not grow up having the care and concern that I got from you. | Beyond that, even though I try to kick you out of the room when my friends come over, I seethe love they have for you and the willingness they have to share with you as well. I appreciate the hospitality you offer to everyone who comes over. Hopefully when I have my own place, I will be able to serve others as you serve, as I have you as a role model. I think it says a lot because you have a lot of friends of all ages, who trust you, come to you for advice, and look to you for support. When I look at you as a mother and a wife, I see the attributes that are listed in Proverbs 31. You are worth far much more than rubies and are highly valued for bringing only good and not harm to us. You work with your hands and provide food for the family, you have a heart for the needy, are clothed with strength and dignity, and speak with wisdom. Most of all, you fear the Lord and honor Him with all that you do. You are encouragement to me because you desire to know the Lord and stand firm in your decisions to make Bible study a priority. You work not just for any day care, but serve young mothers as you watch their kids so they can be in the Word too.
27: We always talk about how when I was little I only wanted to be carried byand be near you. Thanks for providing me with security when I needed it, yetencouraging me to become independent as well. I have a picture in my mind of uswhen we were at church, me standing up on the chairs so I could be as tall as you aswe shared a hymnal. I also remember running into your bed early on Saturdaymornings, snuggling between you and dad. I remember you staying up late with mein my bed when I had a hard time falling asleep. I remember growing up, thinking Ihad one of the coolest moms not only because you came to all my games, but youbrought snacks too! Best of all, you have been an example of Christ to me. Youtirelessly drove me to piano lessons, classes at the park, friends’ houses, tennisgames, and church. You passed onto me a love for cooking and taught me how tomake yummy things to survive on my own in college. You have faithfully andselflessly served me as you cooked dinners, washed and folded my laundry, tookcare of me when I was sick, and even continue to drop stuff off for me at work whenI forget it at home! You also have the gift of encouragement as you are known forthe letters and cards you send just to let people know you are thinking of them.Thank you for teaching me how to be a woman of faithevery good attribute I haveis definitely in part because of youso thanks =)“May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine uponyou, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, andgive you peace.” Numbers 6:24And as you always say to me, “Wisdom in your brain, strength in your body, couragein your heart, and a smile on your face!”I love you and hope you enjoy this year and all the rest to come!! Love, Melissa
29: Dear Mom-in-Law, First and foremost, thank you for raising such a wonderful daughter! Haha! If it wasn't for Shelley...well, if it wasn't for Denise who introduced me to Shelley, I wouldn't have gotten into your cool family! Haha. I still remember sitting down with your whole family in your living room and getting to know one another the night of our first date. I don't think Melissa liked it all that much but I think the rest of us had a good time. Okay, well, at least I thought it was exciting. From that night I could tell that Shelley had a very kind and caring family, one that would be cool to be a part of. And by God's grace, I did become a part of it! It's been a privilege to be your son-in-law these past three years and four months. You have many virtues that are very becoming of a mother and a person in general. (Thinking of examples...10 minutes later....Haha! Just kidding!) Most importantly I know you love God and it is demonstrated in the way you love people. You are thoughtful and generous and care about others more than yourself. You are always looking for ways to make people feel special. You remember facts and details about people such as birthdays, the things they like to eat, the places they like to go, and so on. You also show you care about people by being there for them. Whether it's a birthday or funeral, a wedding or a hospital visitation, picking up people at the airport or sending them off you want to share God's love by being there for people. I know this has been the pattern for your life because I see the same virtues in Shelley and I know a lot of it is due to your godly example. You truly are a servant of God and you can make a pretty tasty meal too. Thank you for all your kindness to me. Thank you (THANK YOU!) for letting me marry your daughter! I wish you a happy 60th birthday. May it be the best ever and may there be many more. In God's grace and love, Ray Col 3:1-4
30: Dear Mom, Surprise! Happy 60th birthday! As you celebrate this milestone year, we wanted to make sure you know how much you are loved and appreciated. You have been an encouragement and blessing to so many people, and we thank God for your life! While I appreciate all the typical “Mom” things you did – carrying me for nine months, giving birth to me, feeding me, changing me, bathing me, and caring for me – what I am most thankful for is your lifelong example of a woman who loves the Lord. My earliest memories of you are of you sitting in the rocking chair in our living room, reading your Bible, praying, or walking around the house singing praise songs. Thanks to you, Melissa and I grew up listening to Wee Sing Bible Songs, Psalty the Singing Songbook, Joni and Friends, GT and the Halo Express, and other Christian music that encouraged us from a young age to trust in the Lord and praise Him! Throughout our lives, you encouraged us to grow in faith. When I was about five, you shared the gospel with me and prayed with me as I received Christ as my Lord and Savior in our living room. Two years later, you took Dad, Melissa, and me to the Billy Graham Crusade where Melissa accepted Christ and I confirmed that I was a Christian. That year, you also arranged for our baptisms at Venice Santa Monica Free Methodist Church. Dad often says that it’s because of your influence that we are all believers. God has used you tremendously to shape us all into who we are today in Christ! Growing up, I could always count on you to drive me to piano lessons, volunteer at my schools, help me with Girl Scout projects, arrange play dates with friends, and prepare fresh-baked cookies, rainbow jello, chex mix, and other delicious snacks and meals. You were the model supermom, and I appreciate all the sacrifices you made for me to have such an ideal home life.
31: I also appreciate your precious example of a faithful, loving wife. I remember how you always gave Dad a kiss before he went off to work, and when he came home, you greeted him with another kiss. Although it has not always been easy, your marriage now is an encouraging reminder to me of God’s grace, love, patience, and faithfulness. Speaking of marriage, I appreciate how you not only prayed for me every day of my life, but you prayed for my future spouse as well. God totally answered your prayers in Ray! I pray that I will be as good a wife to Ray as you have been to Dad! Thanks also for your heart of service (cooking for people, helping at church), compassion for the hurting and lost (visiting the sick, spending many hours listening to people on the phone, driving Mrs. Shineberg, our neighbor across the street, to medical appointments), hospitality (hosting Bible studies, including friends at dinner, inviting people to spend the holidays with us), and generosity. Whether I was in Redwood at church camp, Claremont for college, Japan for JET, or now in Westwood with Ray, you always showered me with cards, emails, phone calls, and other thoughtful reminders of your love for me. Thank you for all the manju, seasonal fruits, interesting newspaper clippings, and more! I love you and am so thankful that you are my Mom! As you celebrate 60 years of life, we also look forward to the future and all that God still has in store for you! I pray that you would continue to trust in the Lord, that you would be certain of the hope to which He has called you, and that you would continue to grow in your knowledge and love for Him. May God continue to be glorified in your life! Love, Shelley
32: You Are My Heart