The Day After my Birthday

This is going to be a long post..

I'm just going to warn you now...

So, for those that aren't really "word lovers"...you can skim a few pretty pictures, and then be on your way...I totally understand...

I'm a lover of words...but, I know that not all people are wired that way.

I think there is something to be said for the ways in which we all "feel" most loved.

I KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my God loves me, I KNOW that my husband loves me...they've both proved it to me in so many ways...I KNOW that I love my kids...they KNOW that I love them...I still love them when I have to discipline them, when I'm exhausted from running them from one thing to the next...however, I will venture to say that even though they KNOW it, they don't FEEL it 100% of the time...

I think that's because LIFE just demands all facets of who we are...we have to drive here, make dinner there, do laundry, write permission slips, give hugs, fix booboos, listen to stories, leave notes in lunchboxes, buy clothes & food...the list is endless and I can't do ALL things at ALL times...

However, Anthony and I discovered a long while ago that in the midst of the journey and the busyness of life, we each get a special FEELING of love...the almost ooshy, gooshy feeling...in different ways...

He is not an overly "emotional" person by nature...He's even keeled, things don't ruffle him too much and he's content 95% of the time...

but, when I realize that he's got a plan to make pasta sauce when he comes home from a long day at work and I take the time to get them all juiced and ready for him...He FEELS loved...because I've done something for him, out of the ordinary that takes a load off and let's him know that I've thought of him...

Now, for me...I love when others do things for me, and I love getting gifts from people...it's FUN...don't get me wrong...But I feel MOST loved with WORDS...cards, notes, emails, messages, talking on the phone, talking in person, words, words, words...

I have hatboxes filled with all the notes he's given me over the years...I often print out his emails and post them in my office or keep them in my journal...I"m the person that never deletes an imessage and then complains because I can't update because I don't have enough storage!!!

Knowing this...and knowing that HE wasn't going to have time to give me all my "words" for my birthday personally...he began my day with a surprise:


I've already read the inside of the card about a gazillion times...It had wonderful, special, sweet things to say and then told me I needed to be over at Panera by 9:15am in order to receive my next set of instructions by a special visitor...

THERE, I received ANOTHER card written out by him, but delivered by my heart-sister friend, Katie...We spent a couple hours talking and laughing and eating...

all the words!!!


My card then said I needed to get on the road and head back up to Delaware to another one of my favorite eateries...Amatos!  And there was ANNA waiting for me with yet, another card!  
She took time out of her hectic teaching days to meet me for her lunch in between classes...We had a hard time getting all our food eaten and I'm pretty sure we looked ridiculous to other people because we didn't stop to chew...we just kept talking through it!  But, we didn't care...and it was so, so special! 


Anna even had a gift for me...these cool canvases that I promptly hung in my new office where I can see them everyday!


I had a couple hours off before my next "clue"...so I headed to visit some nature preserves, scouting out future locations for photo sessions...I found a quaint one up north where I peacefully was able to watch this baby raccoon eat while birds flew overhead...


During my time off, taking my dog for a walk and just getting things packed up for my "next stop"...my good friend, Kathy, happened to call me...JUST to wish me a happy birthday and talk on the phone for awhile...OH.MY.HEAVENS...the day just kept giving and giving...

 I had to get to the tennis courts by 4:15pm to watch my eldest play and transfer youngest to her daddy so he could get her to her soccer game on time...I can't believe I forgot to snap a picture of my friend BRECKA who, again took time away from her hectic life & kiddos, to bring me a snack at the match and sit and chat with me for a 1/2 hour...AND deliver another card from my husband.

My "love tank" was pretty much over flowing at this point in the day...


Finally, it was all coming to a close and I had to run to pick up middle girl from drama practice and run her & my eldest over to the other side of the tracks to hopefully catch the last of youngest's soccer game...
and WHO SHOWS UP, but my longtime bestie, Anne!!! 


Anthony had arranged for her to stop by with another one of my favorite treats: caramel/chocolate covered apples (along with my last card)...There we sat on the sidelines, cheering for my munchkin and laughing and chowing down all the sugar!...laughing and talking and BEing together...


This was a day that I won't soon forget...I have all these WORDS that I can store up in my heart.  

I am reminded of Luke 2: 17-19...where WORDS were spoken and many were amazed and thought it "cool"...
but, Mary...
she treasured the words...she KEPT them in her heart and she PONDERED over them.  
I wonder if SHE was a words-lover too? 

I think sometimes that my brain gets so full of STUFF throughout my day and the words go in and out and activities come and go...so, when I have these notes and cards and blogs to look back on...to treasure them when I forget during the hustle and bustle...they remind me...

they remind me that I am "enough"...
I am loved...

The other part of all of this...
of this whole "present" that my husband gifted to me...

He reminded me that it's not JUST words...it's also FROM WHOM those words are coming...

I recently listened to a podcast by Tim Keller (I listen to him A LOT lately...he's really intellectual and reads a lot of books...and I like when people sound super smart...cuz, it makes me feel like I'm super smart too...but that's another whole blog post for another time)

Anyway, it was a podcast about Friendship...

I'm getting older...(duh, it was my birthday)
But, in the getting older, comes new seasons of life, sometimes harder choices, long investments into relationships...and it prompted me to recognize that friendship isn't just about someone with whom you have a good time...it's not just "doing life" at the soccer games or complaining about what to make for dinner...

Sure, these are funny things to reminisce about or silly, relaxing times together..

yet, the TRUE friends...

these are the ones that offer grace & forgiveness when it's undeserved, it's standing up for someone even when they've failed you, it's being REAL to the point of the ugliness of your own life and being accepted, 
it's the willing to share: "I messed up, my marriage is rocky, my kids aren't perfect, I totally screwed up, I made a bad choice" AND after saying the YUCK, you are welcomed into open, NONjudgmental arms...because it's not about appearing like you've got it all together...rather, it's saying, "I haven't arrived either...so let's just walk shoulder to shoulder through this..."

I have been given immeasurably more than I ever dreamed!
It was a wonderful day...

Thank you to soooo many of you that offered your WORDS to me during my day...









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