I'm 42 today. I kind of skipped my birthday last year, but that is NOT happening again. My pastor did this cool thing on his birthday where he wrote a corresponding number of things he is thankful vis a vis how old he is. I'm gonna do that, too. Some are huge, some are small, some are serious, some are silly. And they certainly aren't in any order, and I also know I've got way more than 42 things for which to be thankful. Anyway, here goes.
1. Right now in my quiet time, I'm reading Warren Wiersbe's Jesus in the Present Tense. I'm thankful that Jesus is everything to me, and He never changes.
2. Darren. He's an awesome husband and father. He never says that he wanted a son. He patiently reads Nancy Drew books to the girls at bedtime. The only thing he doesn't do is fix hair.
3. My firstborn, Lucy--who, multiple times a day, throws her arms around me and says, "I love you, Mom!"
4. My spunky monkey baby, Elaine--who gives me bear hugs and cat kisses. She's kind of like a friendly dragon who just wants to say hi but ends up catching your braids on fire.
5. PG Tips tea.
6. My dishwasher.
8. My job--I get to talk to a captive audience about books and writing. It doesn't get better.
9. PBS--home of Masterpiece Theatre.
10. Peacocks--the most beautiful bird in the world and robins--the most cheerful bird in the world. Really, I'm thankful for birds in general. Except crows.
11. Vintage shops and courtyard gardens.
12. My two cats--Yo-Yo and Tuppence. Love those pets.
14. Lizbet Denisse--our lovely Compassion International 17-year-old in Ecuador.
15. Mary--our beautiful Compassion 11-year-old in India.
16. Gleramil--our darling Compassion 9-year-old in the Philippines. These three girls are our extra daughters, and I love hearing my little girls pray for their "sisters" each day.
17. My crockpot.
18. My favorite stores, "the T's": TJ Maxx and Target.
20. The incredible array of Bible studies there are out there for me to do: Beth Moore. Kelly Minter. Kay Arthur. Priscilla Shirer. Anne Graham Lotz. God's Word is like a garden or like deep-sea diving (not that I've ever done that, but...)--the more you look, the more treasures you discover.
21. Flip-flops. The ultimate in footwear.
23. Cadbury caramel eggs.
24. So many good mystery novels.
25. The awesome school where my kids go.
26. The best friends in the whole world. I've still got friends I made in pre-school, grade school, high school, summer camp, college, grad school, and each job I've worked and church I've attended, and friends I keep making, including online. Plus, and here's the key thing: my friends are nice. Some people are all, "My friends are so honest! Iron sharpens iron, you know." Whatever. My friends all have the good sense to tell me what I want to hear. Can't beat that. (I'm being slightly tongue-in-cheek; I know, Proverbs and all that. Still. They're super nice.)
27. My bed.
28. Victoria magazine--a little piece of serenity that drops in my mailbox every other month.
30. My Swiffer and Lysol wipes.
31. Church. Currently we attend the Red Brick Church, and I am so thankful for it. But over the years I've attended any number of churches I've loved and that have served as bricks in my character. Wheaton Bible Church. College Church of Wheaton. Chicago Fellowship of Friends. Calvary Memorial Church of Oak Park.
32. Cool Whip.
33. Door County, WI.
34. As Our Own. Right now as my wallpaper, I have a picture from As Our Own of a group of little girls, coloring. It makes me smile every time I see it--that these tiny little ones were rescued from prostitution and are now coloring out of Hello Kitty coloring books, just as little girls should.
36. Monical's pizza, even though you have to go downstate to get it.
37. My extended family--dad, brother, sister-in-law; a great in-law family; and cousins who are like extra siblings.
39. The Art Institute of Chicago. My happy place.
40. Keats' House. My other happy place (not that I'm there often, but still).
41. K-Love radio. We took the 30-day challenge in January and have been listening ever since. It has made a noticeable difference in our family.
42. I'm at 42 already?! I could keep going. I am thankful for this truth I discovered in my 42nd year--that when I am going through trials, Jesus prays for me. Blows my mind. Jesus Himself prays for me. I can't get over it.
So, happy birthday to me, I guess! If you are in my neighborhood, stop by and have a piece of cake. Otherwise, I will eat it all myself. Also, here is the song that is really speaking to me right now, on my birthday and this year: