Today, in honor of my 43rd (yikes!) birthday, I am back on blogger and doing my best to write a COMPLETE entry.
It's my birthday gift to me.
It's been difficult for me to get back here because, honestly, I don't know what to say.
But I still hurt every day.
I have a long way to go and I don't really want to talk about it.
Not today, anyway.
Today I am 43.
How'd that happen?
I thought I'd share some of my favorite birthday gifts over the years. Fun for me, and I need fun.
(Note: these are not listed in any particular order. Don't want to hurt anyone's feelings...)
- When I turned 8, my parents gave me a simple, but beautiful birthstone ring. I loved it. And I still love it. You'll see it sometimes on my one of my pinkie fingers. It's super special to me for many reasons.
- When I turned 25, exactly one week from our wedding day, Mark presented me with a new NIV Study Bible... with my new name engraved on the front. I still use it. And it still makes me smile.
- Last year Molly and Ronna gave me an uber cool To Kill a Mockingbird t-shirt. Love, love, love it! And I love that they know how much I love that book. And I love that there even is such a thing as a To Kill a Mockingbird t-shirt.
- For my 40th birthday, just three months after our little David was born, Mark and the children gave me a Willow Tree collection of figures to represent each one of us in our family. I love it. And I love that Morgan, Jackson and Charlie chose the figures. It's a centerpiece in our family room.
- In the summer of '05, I miscarried our fourth baby (yes, Davy-boy is #5). It was a devastating loss that so many women suffer and I was wholly unprepared for the aftermath of grief. For my birthday the next month, my precious sister-in-law, Ann, gave me a simple, but beautiful heart necklace from James Avery to represent our baby in heaven. I wear this necklace ALL THE TIME. It is so very special to me.
- Last summer, the kids and I dropped by Mark's office one day to have lunch with him and, like we always do, we popped by "Uncle Jeff's" office to say hi. As we stood there talking, I noticed he had a series of Van Gogh paintings scrolling on his computer screen and I admired all of them, but one in particular. A couple of months later, on my birthday, he surprised me with an oil painting replica of that painting, beautifully framed. Wow. Just wow.
- Several years ago, in the midst of a difficult season in my life, Mark and my friends put their heads together to plan a special day where the main gift was TIME. Time with people I love. And time to breathe a bit with those people. The day began with a massage, then I was surprised every couple of hours when one person would drop me off to be with the next person. The day was filled with pedicures, yummy food, shopping, coffee, more yummy food and then a party! What a day. I will cherish it always.
The truth is, these are just a few examples. Mark is an amazing gift-giver... extravagant, really. He's taught me so much about giving and receiving gifts.
I was never that good at either. I gave with hesitation (not from stinginess, but with doubt that my gift would be special enough), and I received with a sense of guilt because I just knew the money could or should be spent another, better way.
Now, though there are still these hovering tendencies to sort through at times, I have learned the value of a gift. Not the monetary value, but the value that comes when someone who loves you expresses that love in a thoughtful, meaningful way.
And through this, I am drawn even more to the One who is the best gift-giver of all.