Friday, October 31, 2014

Best Birthday Ever

I realized I wrote another blog post years ago with the same title.  Okay, two best birthdays ever.  I am blessed.

A wonderful gift came Friday night.  Damien and Gretchen graciously hosted everyone for a birthday celebration for Lana.  Lana knew it was my birthday too.  She told me she wanted to sing "Happy Birthday" to me but she was a little embarrassed, so could we go into Jordan's bedroom?  We did.  But she was still a little shy about it, so she decided to get under the blanket on the bed so she could sing.  She wrapped the covers over her face and then said, "I'm going to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner"!  So she did, the whole song.  Her beautiful voice rang out while Jordan tried hard to pull the blanket off her head.  We laughed, we clapped, and it was a moment to treasure forever.

At midnight on the day of my birthday, Arielle and Liana jumped up on the bed and shouted "Happy Birthday!" Fred gave me a sentimental card with pink hearts and just the right words.  He told me he and Arielle had arranged a special day. We would go to an orchard to pick apples and then walk around a quaint town nearby and then go out to dinner.  The weather was perfect, sunny and warm.  October--it's the best, isn't it?  The glorious colors, the tilt of the sun that makes the earth glow with that golden light.  The orchard was near Steven's house so Arielle invited him to come along.  He said he had yard work to do but would meet up with us later.

The girls, Fred, and I rode out to the orchard in a truck packed tight with others enjoying this gorgeous day.  The trees were loaded with fruit, Fuji and Pink Lady apples.  We were allowed to sample first and stood among the trees eating, juice dripping off our hands.  We filled our bag and then waited for the truck to return, the girls taking the opportunity for a photo shoot.  Of course.

After returning to pay for the pumpkin we chose in the field next to the apples, there was Steven with two bouquets of flowers in his hands.  Yellow roses for Arielle and a colorful orange fall mix for me--some kind of daisies, sunflowers and mums.  Chocolates too!  I was stunned.  Arielle was delighted.  I carried my flowers around feeling like a homecoming queen.  A clerk asked what was the occasion?  My birthday! 

We headed to town, explored the old record store again, and just enjoyed the beautiful late afternoon.  Time for dinner.  We decided to head back to our area and discovered a new Mexican restaurant that serves the best tacos--my favorite food!  Could this day be any better?  We laughed all evening and enjoyed these kids.  At home Liana gave me a pencil sketch with a Bible verse and Arielle wrote me the loveliest of notes.  Who told me years ago that I would have so much trouble with teenage girls?  My daughters are an absolute joy!  

My mother called and sent great books to read, as she always does.  My boys remembered me with gifts and calls.  My heart is full.  What did I do to deserve this?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.  God's grace--it's the only way to explain it.  He has given me this wonderful family and I am forever grateful.  I'm thankful for another year of life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gift upon Gift

Autumn half over, rushing through our days, I need to take time to give thanks.  With the start of classes, our lives have been in a happy turmoil and I have neglected to quietly contemplate this wild, wonderful era we are in now.  Teenage daughters!  What a delight they are!  We have so much fun.

I'm still counting blessings and this morning took some time to add them to my list.  God is so good and so faithful to us despite my many shortcomings.  What a glorious October weekend he gave us!

2,097.  Damien's house bursting with joyful little ones as we celebrated Jordan's birthday.
2,098.  My four boys all together!  My precious grandchildren!
2,099.  Lots of laughter with two dads and three kids playing video games.
2,100.  New church with worshipful music as we give thanks to our God.
2,101.  My hard-working son takes time early morning to buy us coffee and bagels for breakfast
2,102.  Impromptu trip to West Chester with my hubby to meet Arielle and Steven at a vintage record store.
2,103.  Fred and I go back in time as we search for old albums--great finds!
2,104.  Trip back home listening to Marc Cohn's "True Companion" with my true companion.
2,105.   Family dinner with my daughter-in-law and precious grandson.
2,106.   Dark chilly night at Barnes and Noble with three teenagers blasting music as they sing "You're So Classic" while I chat with my friend, a sleeping dog on my lap. Crazy times!
2,107.  On the carpet playing 10 Days in Europe (trying hard to beat Arielle) while we watch "The Flash" on TV. Silly times.
2,108.  My biology class scaling a mountain on our fungus hunting field trip while I pray they don't fall off the cliff.
2,109.  My daughters hemming their masquerade gowns, the serger whirring away.
2,110.  Arielle and her special guy all dressed up for a big occasion.
2,111.  Reminders that life is short and will one day come to an end, more reason to capture the memories and hold them close.