O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy” (Psalm 63:1-5)
Tomorrow I celebrate my 50th birthday. The celebration began over the weekend with extended family. When I told my 92-year-old mother-in-law (who suffers from dementia) that it was my 50th birthday, she said with a gleam in her eye, “Wait until you turn 90!”
Thankfulness / Gratefulness / Happiness challenges are making their way across Facebook Newsfeeds. I am embracing the Nifty Fifty by celebrating 50 years of God’s blessing in my life. Twenty-five today; twenty-five tomorrow. Other than the first few, these are not listed in any particular order. They span a significant time period, but are not chronological nor prioritized. (26-50)
- Without question, the Lord is the most significant part of my life. Without Him, I am nothing. Without His saving grace, there is no telling where I would be today. Although I have been unfaithful far too often, He is always faithful and forgiving. I am a work-in-progress, and I am grateful for His loving patience with me. (Philippians 1:6)
- My husband, Tim. We’ve been married almost 24 years. He is good, kind, forgiving, and so many other wonderful things. He shows me the heart of Jesus every day. And … he is incredibly handsome. (!!)
- I’m blessed that Tim is a handyman. He repairs everything in our home. My last car lasted waaay longer than I wanted it to. 😉 But that is a good thing.
- Tim is also a craftsman, and has filled our home with many lovely pieces of furniture. My favorite is an end table that he made specifically to hold all of my quiet time materials.
- My son Max—my firstborn. Max is a guy who is purposed in everything he does. He is a lot like his dad in many ways—especially his engineering mind. Max plays the guitar and occasionally likes to surprise me by learning one of the songs that I like—especially 80s music. 🙂
- My daughter Rachel—firstborn daughter and twin to Max. Rachel is a typical teenage girl—loves to be with her friends and giggles a lot! Loudly! My favorite pictures of her are when she is rolling on the floor in laughter. Total abandon on her face. She is a color guard gal and spins beautifully.
- My daughter Abby—baby of the family—and she knows it! She is determined. She accomplishes just about everything she puts her mind to—even if accompanied by a fair amount of tears.
- The dates my children gave their hearts to Christ. Tim and I rejoice that each of our kids knows and loves the Lord. Our prayer is that they continue to love Him and follow Him all the days of their lives.
- Music—all kinds of music! Music that picks me up when I’m feeling down; music that sends my spirit soaring with praise for my God, the Creator of the Universe; music that allows me to calm down and relax. I love all of it!
- Strawberry cupcakes with strawberry icing—my daughter Abigail made these this weekend. They were perfect! Moist and perfectly sweet and tangy.
- Italian Cream Cake—this is my mother’s favorite cake, and I dearly love it as well. Last year, Rachel made this for my birthday. It, too, was rich and moist.
- Coffee! Wonderful, rich coffee. I love its warmth, its smell, and its taste. A day with coffee is always a better day than without it. 🙂
- Technology. It makes my life better, richer. It keeps me where I need to be, when I need to be there. It allows me to connect with people I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Yes—it is also a monster. But it’s a monster I like.
- Water. Streams, rivers, lakes, oceans. I love them all.
- And I love to swim. My parents taught me to swim when I was very young. In turn, I made sure my kids were strong swimmers. When I was about seven, I saw a baby drown. It changed me forever. Although still innocent and naïve, I learned early that everything can change in an instant. I dearly love water—but I respect its power. I made sure my kids knew that, too.
- I am deeply grateful to the Lord for bringing my daddy safely home from Viet Nam. I was young when he was gone, but not so young that I don’t remember what it was like without him. Meeting him at the airport, the drive home—being together again—are things I will always remember.
- The precious families in Glendale, AZ, (the Stewarts especially) who looked after us while Daddy was gone.
- My “first real job” at Gulf States Toyota. I grew up in a conservative, Christian home. Entering the workplace as young, naïve girl was an eye-opening experience. I had to grow up fast. I didn’t do it all right. But I’m thankful for each boss and every co-worker, especially Karol. She was not only my boss for a short time, but she helped me mature professionally and became one of my most treasured friends. The work was hard, but rewarding. Even the occasional drive in to work in the middle of the night had its charm.
- My front porch, my pergola, and all my plants. Whether alone or with someone else, these are places that I run to for rest—especially when the weather is good. Quiet times are especially nice there.
- Pinecrest Bible Camp in Arizona. I attended this camp in the summer of 1974. At the end of the week, I gave my heart to Jesus. I was there by myself. No friends came with me. Although I met a few people, I was relatively alone. That is when Jesus became my best friend. <3
- Bobbie Taylor—my fifth grade Sunday School teacher in Mesa, AZ. She is the first person who taught me to share my faith with a stranger!
- The women of Alliance Bible Church in Baytown, TX—who poured into my life when I was a teenager. They taught me, they prayed for me, they loved me. Not only were they mentors, they were (and remain) friends. Gay Brock, Lois Foard, Barbara Gibson, Frances Erwin, Joyce Pace, Teresa Bill, Phyllis Kester, Billie Pettis … and many others. I will always treasure the years Barbara hosted a high-school girls Bible study in her home–at 5:30 in the morning! She welcomed each of us girls into her home and loved us like her own. Her breakfasts were stellar! Especially her French toast!
- Jennifer Bishop—who taught me how to receive a compliment graciously. I use her example of “crumbled chocolate cake” to teach the same lesson all the time.
- Carol Terry and Mark and Margaret Minchew. Carol was the role model I looked up to when I was a teenager. She helped me choose a field of study that was a good fit for my mind and interests. The Minchews took me to Baylor Homecoming. I fell in love with the campus and eventually graduated from college there.
- I love hospitals. My mother is a retired RN, and my dad is a retired surgeon. Often, he took me to make rounds with him. Today, even when friends or family are in crisis, I enjoy being at the hospital with them. It’s another place I call home.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” (Lamentations 3:22-24)