Another year older...

Well... it's my birthday. Again. Wasn't it just my birthday yesterday? The years just seem to be flying by!

I love having birthdays! Except for the part about getting older. The aging thing isn't much fun, but the surprises are fantastic. And so far today, they've been great!

As we were getting ready to leave this morning for school and work, my darling daughter said to me, "Mom, there's something at the door for you."

SomeTHING? Not someONE?

She just smiled. I unlocked the front door to see a bouquet of flowers, with a "Happy Birthday" balloon tied to it. Sitting next to it was a card and a birthday cake, made by my sweetheart. He actually baked me a cake and left it on my doorstep early this morning! What a delicious surprise! You just gotta love a man who bakes! The day was starting off beautifully.

Then, I got to work and checked my email. In it were numerous facebook posts from my friends wishing me a happy birthday. Among them was a post written last night by my daughter that read as follows:

"Dear my beautiful Mother,

I just wanted to stop by and say Happy Birthday:) (You are going to be 25, right?) Anyway, I am listening to you laugh as we speak and thinking about how great of a mother you are to me. I want to say thank you for everything you have done for me and being on my side even though I know I have been wrong at times. You stick with me through thick and thin, and I am so grateful for that. You give me support whether I am going to perform at a piano recital or even going to Nationals. You care about me and even though we go through rough times and we argue like an old married couple, we always apologize, or I always apologize (just kidding) right after our "fight." (Even though you are right ALL of the time, which gets annoying.) I love you so much and I hope you know that. I hope you have a fabulous 25th birthday:)

'God makes miracles in places we least expect them.' - Linnea Marie Fayard

You know... hearing (or reading) things like that from your child is the reason why parenting is the best job in the whole entire world. I've messed up a lot in raising her, but I love that kid SO much. And I try to always show her that, regardless of what she's done or said. I may not love the behavior all the time, but I ALWAYS love the child. I'm so glad she knows it. And seeing it written by her own hand was a beautiful birthday gift.

Later this morning, my friend and coworker, Betsy (who I've introduced to you in previous posts) walked back to my office and brought me a present! It is a precious green and brown bag with my initials monogrammed on it. So cute! And totally unexpected! Betsy's awesome.

Before lunch, I received calls from my mom and Sweeter, and have talked to or corresponded with my brothers, Mrs. Peggy, and numerous friends. And then... the sweetest surprise of all...

My dad called! He was working in town, and wanted to buy me lunch! I don't get to see my dad much, and it was such a joy to hear from him. We enjoyed a fabulous meal and even better conversation. He brought with him a present that he tried to convince me he picked out himself (a Vera Bradley recipe box and kitchen apron... nice try, Dad! Ha!) to no avail. I knew only his wife and my friend, Staci, could have picked it out. It is so cute! I left the restaurant a little misty... it was so good to spend time with my dad, and to know that Staci went to all the trouble of picking out such a sweet gift for me. I'm tearing up a little just thinking about it now.

But you know what? God is SO very good. And I realize on this birthday that He has answered so many of my prayers. With every passing year I do grow older, but I also gain so much... God's wisdom, a little more faith, and the realization that I have at least a bit more time on this earth to enjoy all the blessings He's bestowed upon me.

Tonight I'll be treated to another meal by my sweetie, and spend time with him, my daughter and our friends. We will laugh, we will eat and we will celebrate.

And I will be thankful.


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