The Best Birthday Gift

We just got back home from three glorious days in “The City That Never Sleeps.” We stayed in the fabulous literary and historical Algonquin Hotel, applauded 4 musicals and 1 cabaret show over the course of 36 hours, ate my birthday brunch at Tavern on the Green in Central Park, gawked at two celebrities, visited with a dear friend who lives in the city, toured Teddy Roosevelt’s birthplace, shopped at the Strand Bookstore (18 miles of books!), and even rode the subway. It was quite a trip. Makes me wish I could turn 40 every year!

But the most amazing thing I discovered on this trip was how much my husband and I have matured over the past few years. We are more confident in ourselves and each other. We aren’t as uptight, aren’t as worried that we won’t meet each other’s unspoken expectations. We were able to relax and enjoy being together in spite of circumstances—perfect or otherwise. Yet this maturity, I realized, isn’t simply due to physical age. It is the work of the Lord in each of our lives—His often painful molding us into the image of Christ. We certainly haven’t arrived. This we know. And that is just the attitude we need to maintain in order to continue to grow in our relationships with the Lord and with each other.

So while I had an almost idyllic 40th birthday celebration in New York, the best present I received this weekend was from the Lord. He allowed me a glimpse into the amazing work He has done in my heart, my husband’s heart, and our marriage over the past 19 years.

And ok, I’m 40 now. I’m ready to settle down and WRITE!


Here are pictures of my party--as promised. Thanks, Debra and Cheryl.

My husband and kids who worked so hard to put it all together--and to keep it a secret!

Don't my Valentine's Day roses make a nice addition? This was just the dessert table!

My mother gave me this shirt. Quite appropriate, huh?
In about 48 hours we'll be in the Big Apple. You won't hear from me again until next week. I won't be getting any writing done, but every experience is fodder for the imagination! And NYC is a great place to people-watch. Hope y'all have a fun weekend, too. Wherever you are.



I never would have thought he could pull it off.

Friday night, I walked in my house after a dinner-and-bookstore date to find a slew of family and friends and two tables full of food! Happy 40th Birthday to me! (I hope to post a picture or two very soon.)

My husband and kids, mom and sisters did an awesome job. No one slipped once. I had absolutely no idea! I was speechless!

Then, when I thought it couldn’t get any better, my darling husband surprised me with a trip to New York City!! This coming weekend!! Oh my!! We went 6 ½ years ago and had a great time—in fact that may have been the last time we went away alone! He even pre-brought tickets for a couple of musicals so we wouldn’t have to freeze in the TKTS line!

So I’m off to find another warm sweater (my Texas winter wardrobe won’t quite cut it), a new purse, and a comfy, warm pair of shoes. And come Thursday, we’re on our way. I love my husband!

I think 40 is going to be great.


A Story Resurrected

An email popped up in my inbox late last week. It referenced a story I wrote long ago. It was a flash fiction story—less than 500 words—that garnered an Honorable Mention, along with $25, in a Whim’s Place contest.

Now, two and a half years later, they are doing an anthology and want to include my story! Isn’t that fun? Out of the blue. A story I still read and am amazed that I wrote.

This will be the second time one of my contest entry stories has ended up in an anthology. I know, not many people outside of the contributors and their families will buy it, but it’s awesome to see your name, your words in a real book.


A Great Date

I know it isn’t everyone’s definition of perfect, but for Jeff and me, it’s pretty close. This morning (Saturday), we left our kids to fend for themselves (I love teenagers!) while we drove to the local university library so I could return some books and check out others. Jeff and I both graduated from this university (me, undergrad, Jeff, law), so being back on campus was a romantic reminiscence.

After the library, we drove to a nearby mall to check out the Apple Store. We are newbie Mac owners (as of this fall) and have just discovered the wonders of the Apple Store. We picked up some software we’ve been meaning to get and headed out for a scrumptious lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (compliments of a Christmas gift card), a foray into Barnes and Noble (again with a gift card) and the obligatory stop at Half Price Books (where, of course, we found some treasures.)

We were only away four hours—about the same as a nighttime date—but somehow I came home so much more satisfied, more relaxed. A great date with a great guy. It doesn’t get much better.


Fizzled Party Plans

I’ve always enjoyed a good party. Not parties I’m in charge of. In fact, those are usually dismal failures! But the thought of my only daughter’s16th birthday put me in the party mood. I’ve been mulling it over for the past year, what to do, who to invite.

She hasn’t been much help. Now with the day fast approaching, I pushed her for some decisions.

“Have you decided anything about your party?” I asked the other day.

“Mom, I don’t want a party.”

Surely I’d heard her wrong. What 16-year-old—girl or boy—doesn’t jump at the chance when their parents offer to throw them a party? And a sweet 16 party at that! Maybe she just didn’t want a big party. Fine. We could scale down. But even as my mind whirled, she continued.

“You were the one that wanted a party. Not me.”

Yes, I did want a party. Out of my overflow of love for her, I wanted to give her more than a party. I wanted to give her memories. I loved my 16th birthday. I wanted her to be able to look back her 16th birthday with the same fondness I did. But I learn, yet again, that she is not like me in every way. We don’t always enjoy or appreciate the same things and our dreams often take divergent paths.

Of course I won’t force a party on her. But I’m disappointed. She’ll turn 16 on a day near the end of March. We’ll go get her official drivers license, have dinner and cake with the family (immediate and extended), and that will be that.