The date was Sept. 5, 2008 when Marley Rose Gripka made her entrance into the world and added a new dynamic to our family.

The date was Sept. 5, 2008 when Marley Rose Gripka made her entrance into the world and added a new dynamic to our family.
Not only did she represent Isaac and Tiffany’s first child, she also was the first granddaughter born to Tami and I following a covey of seven consecutive grandsons! Even before her arrival, she had acquired the title of “Princess”! And, on the eve of her 9th birthday, the family was summoned to attend a dinner in her honor!
At Marley’s request, the aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents readied themselves to rendezvous at the appointed time and place in Monett. As the bottom of the hour approached, it was clearly evident that the family members had made their best effort to honor her wishes!
All seven of the grandsons that preceded her in the birth order and three that followed were in attendance. Her aunts, Brandi and Jami, and uncle Tim (via Skype) plus her parents and Tami and I enjoyed the birthday meal.
     She was presented with cards, big and small, homemade and store bought just before she was encircled by her clan for the singing of “Happy Birthday”! But as the meal neared an end, a very interesting blessing occurred. Tiffany began by reminding us about what happened in the few hours immediately prior to Marley’s birth. We cheered.
Then, the floodgates opened and “Remember when…” stories started from nearly each one of the family members present. After each recollection, we cheered! The stories spanned events from the past 30+ years and included happenings from Appleton City, Warsaw and Newtonia! All of sudden, I became aware that we were giving an invaluable gift to the younger generation.
 The youngest listeners kept pleading to hear stories that involved them. They were eager to hear about events that has shaped this group of people into a family! I left that place full. My stomach was full of food and my heart was full of memories!!!! Marley IS the Princess but each one of our grandchildren are so special!
Lord, thank you that my quiver is full! God is so good, He’s so good to me!!!!!

Doug Gripka is the pastor of Newtonia Baptist Church and writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.