Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Celebrating 41

November 11th is dear to me for a few reasons.

One.  It is Veterans Day.  A very heartfelt thank you to all the men and women who have served and are currently serving our country in the armed forces.  Thank you, also, to their families who sacrifice so much.  You make our country great and allow my family to enjoy the liberties and freedoms you fight to preserve.  God bless you all!

Two.  It is the feast day of my patron saint; St. Martin of Tours.  Martin was born in 317 to pagan parents.  Later in life, he became a soldier in the Roman army.  One evening, as he was traveling back to the city, he encountered a scantily clothed man who was cold and hungry.  Martin dismounted his horse, shared what food he had, and took his sword and cut his cloak in half, giving half of it to the man.  That night as Martin slept, he had a dream that the man he shared his food and clothes with was Jesus.  Jesus told him to become His follower.  When Martin awoke, his cloak had been restored. Shortly after, Martin was baptized.  St. Martin is the patron of the homeless and soldiers.

Three.  It is my birthday.  This year I turned 41.

I celebrated my birthday over two days.  On Sunday, my sisters treated me to a benefit outing in downtown Minneapolis at "The W."  Sissy #1 is a culinary coach, and her team had been invited to serve at a fundraising event for Pro-start.  It was an elegant gathering, the food and wine were divine, and I rubbed shoulders with some big-wigs in the restaurant/hospitality industry.  It was an absolutely lovely evening. When I went to bed that night, I found this on my nightstand from Cucumber.

On Monday, the kids woke up and shouted, "Happy Birthday!"  Later in the day, I had a lunch date with Monkey's sister, Silly.  We were gifted with a few hours to just catch up on life.

Honey Bunches and Gummi helped prepare my Birthday supper:  salad, pasta and Italian bread.  For dessert, Grandma treated us to Pumpkin Pie Blizzards at the DQ.

Serious deliciousness in a waffle cone. 
My gifts from the Love Bugs:  scented lotion, an angel plaque, a fairy headband (this actually belongs to Sweet Pea), and a travel Scrabble game in which Gummi spelled out, "I love you Mom."
One silly photo at the end of the evening.

My most treasured part of the day was a message that Monkey posted on Face Book.

A bunch of years ago, God put into motion His plan for me. I still do not know what the outcome will be, but He sent me a gift to help along my way. I was not a Christian at that time, I was not thinking that I would be sent this Gift, and as a matter of fact, I was not even born at that time. Besides his son, Jesus, who I am Grateful everyday for his sacrifice for my salvation, it was a gift just for me!

I did not receive this gift until about 13 years ago, give or take a couple of months. This gift has guided me to becoming the father, husband and disciple of Christ I am today. I strongly believe that some 20 years ago, this gift was presented to me, and I chose not to notice it at the time.

Today is the day I celebrate my wife, Shelly's Birthday. She has given me 6 beautiful children, a lifelong companion and she is my best friend. "Soul-mate" if you will (inside joke). I am thankful every everyday that God chose her for me.

Happy Birthday Shelly. I Love you, and love the person you inspire me to be!

I read this message with tears streaming down my cheeks as I waited to pick my kids up from school. I was moved by not only Monkey's honesty and testament to God's plan, but it also reminded me of all the blessings in my life.  My life is not perfect and it is not always easy, but I too have been gifted with a faith I hold dear, a loving husband, beautiful and creative kids, and a wonderful and supportive family.  Sprinkle all of this with a lovely circle of friends and I feel like the richest person in the world.  For me, celebrating my birthday is a celebration of life and all of its beauty.  God is good all the time!

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