Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Big 4-0!

I’ve always said that it’s hard to surprise me. I guess it’s that little investigative personality quirk of mine. I’m always trying to figure everything out. That’s generally not a good thing, unless I’m working on a brain teaser or something else that requires problem-solving techniques. Then, I’m your girl.

However, I have to admit – I’ve been surprised A LOT in the last week. Wonderful surprises, thankfully!

We just finished up “birthday weekend in our house”. I turned the big 4-0 last Saturday, and my daughter turned 15 on Monday (two days ago). I had mixed feelings about leaving my thirties and entering this new decade of numbers.

On the one hand, my thirties were filled with tragedy, ending with the worst one to date with my husband’s death last May. So, for my forties represent an opportunity for renewed hope and prayerfully God-given restoration. But, the forties represent aging…dreams unfulfilled…and for me, as recently as last week, a temporary decline in health. Then again – with each day I live – I’m one day closer to Heaven! I long to be Home but not one day earlier than God calls me.

But, there was another part of turning 40 that simply…well…bothered me. I met my husband when he was 42, so I wasn’t around to help him celebrate his 40th birthday. But, I’ve heard stories of that day several times. In short, he was living in Florida – had just moved there actually. He really didn’t know anyone that well yet, and he was alone. He treated himself to dinner at the local Outback, and he and the wait staff celebrated his birthday. He laughed it off a lot, but I also remember him saying over and over that my 40th birthday would not be lonely like that – he would make sure of it.

So, you can imagine when my brain actually had a moment to wrap my mind around the fact that my husband left me in this world before my 40th birthday – I was actually very hurt (and if I’m being honest, a little angry at first too). I couldn’t believe he would do to me the very thing that he vowed to not let happen…spend my 40th birthday alone. But, I know that I know that I know…he wasn’t in his right mind on May 3-4, 2011. He never would have intentionally done that.

Well, I definitely wasn’t alone. Not even close. The celebrations actually began last Thursday (the 19th) when my co-workers surprised me with an “Over the Hill” party full of gag gifts, food, fun, and love! I laughed….a lot…that morning!

My oldest friend (not in age), Kandi, came up Friday night to help me celebrate on Saturday. Little did I know what she had up her sleeve. She told me she “had something planned that she wanted to do”, but I never dreamed it would include all of this…

1) Breakfast at Cracker Barrel with Kandi
2) Pampering with a manicure and pedicure with Kandi, Rebecca, and Carol
3) Dinner at Travinia with Kandi, Rebecca, and Carol
4) A return home to a HOUSE FULL of my closest friends that had gathered for my SURPRISE 40th birthday party! And…a surprise it was indeed! One of Chris’ sisters even came down from Virginia to join in the surprise!
5) Two dozen pink roses (I LOVE flowers and the color pink), a beautiful cake (I LOVE cake too), colorful balloons, and yummy food also showed up at the party!

In addition to that, I received many cards in the mail, well wishes on Facebook and…another surprise…

My blog was HIJACKED! Yes indeed! It was “taken over” by a sweet friend that’s actually working on my new website, and she secretly coordinated putting up some precious messages, videos, and birthday greetings from some amazing ladies – as far away as Colorado!

And…just when you think…this girl has been blessed ENOUGH…God gave me another one!

Little did I realize but a sweet new friend in the state of Washington (that I’ve never met in person) contacted the Carolina Panthers (my FAVORITE football team) to let them know about the recent tragedy that touched our lives last year with Chris’ death. You know what they did? They sent a package of goodies along with a sweet letter (see below), and it happened to arrive on my birthday! Angie (my Washington friend) hadn’t even planned on that…but God did! I was stunned!

So, I think I’m finally beginning to break through the cloud of sweet shock that settled in over me this weekend. I’m so thankful for the way God chose to love on me for this first birthday without Chris! I feel VERY loved right now!

And...just to report...Anna’s birthday was a blast too! It was just the two of us, but we celebrated big time! Chinese takeout, game night, and movie night - all Anna's requests!

P.S. I'll post about my Birthday Project (40 Random Acts of Kindness in a day or two). So, stay tuned...


  1. I am so glad that your birthday was so very special! You are well loved, my friend!

  2. Fun to hear about your fun birthday! So glad it was special!

  3. ♥ My Birthday came just 13 days after my dear Rick went to Heaven . . . We were still in the "shock" stage and still in the "stage" of others being keenly aware of our loss, therefore being very attentive to our every need (and YOU know how that can "dwindle" as everyone (but you) seems to "move on"). I'm so glad that you were so WELL LOVED and cared for on your Birthday! :) I'm so happy that your 40th was memorable - in sad ways, but also in so many, many GLAD ways! :) Sounds like the weekend you and Anna had was absolutely, positively WONDERFUL! ♥ So happy for you my dear friend!