Each of the kids showing off the gifts they picked out just for me. I LOVED THEM!
I celebrated a birthday on Saturday. Everyone has them and mine was no more special than anyone else’s. However, there were a few things that made this one stand out this year.
The first thing that I figured out (and I’m not sure why I even thought about it) was that I was now the very same age my grandma was when she asked me to go on harvest with her in 1974. Wow…she seemed SO OLD. She was a pretty special figure in my life. She’s the one who did the little things that made me feel like I was important. She encouraged me. She taught me life lessons that I would (unknowingly at the time) use for most of my life. A strong woman. I can only hope that I can be that sort of influence on my own grandkids’ lives as they grow up. And…I’m certain that I will look pretty old to them when they realize what age is all about. Until then, I’ll try not to show that my back sometimes hurts, or I run out of steam easier than I used to, or that my knees hurt when I’m on the floor with them. 🙂
Blowing out candles and singing, “Happy Birthday”, made my day!
The next thing I realized is the time I spent with my girls in the past was taken for granted. They surprised me by setting aside an entire evening to spend with me. Something we used to do all the time and felt like would always be. Little did I realize just how fast the time would go and getting everyone together would be so difficult. We painted pottery together…around a table, sharing ideas, talking and laughing. And then we went out for supper and did the same thing all over again. Like we used to do every day. I tried so very hard to soak it all in…not wanting the evening to end. And words I recently read explains what I’m trying to say, “Don’t miss this. Don’t rush through your life. Make time to stop and breathe it all in.” (This was taken from a book I’m using for an online Bible study, Finding I Am by Lysa TerKeurst.) I’m pretty sure I was so busy living life while the girls were growing up, I didn’t soak it all in as I should have. If I can give you any advice, it would be to “stop and smell the roses”. My grandma once told me this but it wasn’t until recently that I understood what the heck she was talking about!! Those girls gave me the best darn present they could have given me – their time!
I am so not good at taking selfies!
We have to wait an entire week to see how our painted beauties will look once they’ve survived the firing process. I can’t wait!
Another thing I realized that day was just how special two words are – happy and birthday.
When these words are said separately, they really have no meaning. But when said together…it means the world to the receiver. Silly right? How words can mean so much? I’m not sure why this year (the 55th anniversary of my being alive) is any different from previous years. Although, the household is different. It’s just me and Jim again. Lots of thinking has taken place in the quietness of this house. Things that were taken for granted are now viewed special. Like the words happy and birthday.
How many of us say these words to people when it’s their special day not realizing just how important they are? I never really thought much about them, to tell you the truth. And then it happened. On Saturday, I started receiving texts, Facebook posts, Messenger notes, tweets and phone calls. I felt pretty darn special. Someone took time from their busy day to specifically reach out to me and tell me they were thinking about me by simply typing or saying, “happy birthday”. A few of my notes included more words which brought tears to my eyes.
One particular text I received was from Molly. I don’t know Molly except through her stories she shares via the online community I began a year ago, HarvestHER (on Facebook and website). She doesn’t know just how important what she said to me was. Not for me, per say, but for HarvestHER. I have been struggling recently with knowing what to do with this “project”. Lies were being whispered in my ear, “this is going nowhere”, “what makes you think you’re making a difference?”, “others are going to make this bigger than you”, etc. Unfortunately, those words were being listened to and digested. The passion to continue doing something I felt important (celebrating the women involved with the harvest) was beginning to fade. The desire to continue was becoming less and less. And then these words came on my birthday…
Hi Tracy!! Happy happy birthday from Montana!!! I’m so blessed to know you!! Hope you have a super great day!!
But I DON’T know you. Not really. We’ve never even met in person. We’ve never talked on the phone. Our paths have never even crossed along the harvest journey (that I’m aware of). The only common thing we have going for us is Montana. It’s because of the connection we have with HarvestHER that I “know” her. And it’s not just Molly. There are other gals whom I feel are now friends of mine because of this “project”. The community of women who have come together to be there for each other through HarvestHER is there because of something that I have been struggling to keep alive. And that’s when it hit me – I haven’t been keeping it alive…they have. They are blessings to me! And so what if I feel it’s not making a difference because it doesn’t have 100,000 followers. So what if I’m not doing things fast enough? So what?! What matters to me is the women who are making a difference in each other’s lives by sharing and caring with their whole hearts. And becoming a blessing to each other. That’s what words can do.
It seems we have a tendency to focus on the words that hurt and tear down. Why? Why are those the words we hear the most? Maybe because they rip a piece of your heart out and it hurts? Maybe it’s because those words are the ones that TRY to define who we are even though we know they are untrue. My birthday was the day I needed to make me realize just how truly blessed I am (beyond measure)! Those two very simple words mean so much more to me today than anyone can even imagine. While the world is trying to tear us down and the lies are being whispered, it’s the words of encouragement, love and happy birthday that can put you back on track!
So, I thank each and every one of you who took time out of your day to simply send me a note that included those two words. You did more for my day than I ever expected and I will never think of them in the same way. Happy and birthday now mean “I’m thinking of you and am taking time to let you know” rather than just a simple expression of defining a day. My heart is full!