Today is the big day!   The past several days have been filled with celebration and many expressions of love from family, friends, and students.  My heart is full and humbled at this moment.  Before I share about some of the fun of the past few days, I am well aware that birthdays can sometimes be painful and disappointing.  Such as the year I was sick with the flu on my birthday.  I have had fights with my husband on my birthday, and have also been disappointed by unrealistic expectations on my birthday.  I share this not to be a downer, but to acknowledge that life doesn’t always acknowledge birthdays and holidays the way we would like.  Sometimes really bad things happen on special days like birthdays.

However, today I am relishing the celebration and enjoying a truly wonderful birthday.  The celebrating actually started this past Friday when Brad and I were able to enjoy twenty-four hours without children.  We dined well at a local restaurant called 1424.  This was our second visit to the restaurant, and it was even better this time.  The restaurant recently expanded their dining room so instead of being cramped into a small space we had plenty of room.  Our waiter was appropriately attentive, and I thoroughly enjoyed my beef tenderloin with sautéed mushrooms and gorgonzola cheese.  Brad enjoyed his stuffed orange roughy too.  For dessert, we split white chocolate bread pudding drizzled with white chocolate.  Yum! 

On Saturday, we headed down to Austin for the day.  The weather was perfect—sunny and crisp.  We enjoyed window-shopping and eating well at the salad bar in Whole Foods.  Austin is home to Whole Foods so their flagship store has everything!  Dessert came from their gelato bar, and I enjoyed biscotti-flavored and coffee/espresso gelato.  Perhaps the best part of our time together was not what we did, but the chance to be together without feeling rushed.  I enjoyed being able to talk about whatever came to our minds, rather than feeling like we had an agenda to cover because of limited time. 

More celebrating occurred on Sunday evening as we hosted a champagne and dessert open house for friends.  Even though our living room was full to over-flowing, it was a blessing to have friends together to celebrate.  Brad made a fabulous flourless chocolate cake with a crème fraiche topping.  In addition to the cake, there were lemon sugar cookies, a trifle, and mini pumpkin cheesecakes.  Of course, there was lots of good champagne too.  I love opportunities to host friends in our home.  It also doesn’t hurt that projects that need to be done around the house amazingly get finished when company is coming!

Today is a school day so I have celebrated with my students.   My thoughtful sixth graders all wore something orange to accessorize their uniforms so my classroom is filled with orange scarves, orange jewelry, and orange sweaters (not to be confused with the Longhorns!)  I am also enjoying some beautiful flowers from dear friends in Vancouver and in Chicago, and from my parents who are in Israel at the moment.  As I mentioned earlier, my heart is full.  I am reminded of the words of James in his letter to the Jewish Christians, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all he created.” Amen.

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