Tag Archives: Birthday

On Growing Old(er)

I remember a junior high conversation in which my friends and I calculated how old we would be on January 1, 2000. Back in 1975, that seemed like forever to us 14 year-old eighth graders. And then, seemingly in the blink of an eye, I was 38 years old, celebrating New Years Eve with a house full of friends and neighbors anxiously waiting to see if the lights would go out and the world would stop turning as Y2K approached.

Y2K was 16 years ago, and looking back, it almost seems silly to consider how scared many people were of that fateful turn of the clock from 11:59:59 12/31/1999 to 12:00:00 1/1/2000. Tech companies made millions, if not billions, of dollars helping organizations prepare their computer systems for that fateful moment in time. Doomsday prophecies abounded as many stockpiled water and other staples in preparation for the calamity that was about to befall us all. Alas, and thankfully, the calamity never came. As we moved forward from 12:00:00 on January 1, 2000 it didn’t take long for the revelry to continue and life to go on as normal.

Today is my 55th birthday. As I sit here this morning pondering the past 55 years and thinking about what I would write to commemorate my “double nickels” day, this is the memory that sprang forth first. Isn’t that interesting? Then it hit me: how often do we live life waiting for the next calamity that never really manifests itself? As I’ve grown older I’ve learned that worry and fret over circumstances I cannot control serve only to drain energy and distract me from what is truly important and worthwhile.

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Micah 6:8 NIV

I don’t have a “favorite” passage of Scripture, but there are several that I try to apply as guiding principles for how I live my life. Micah 6:8 is one of them. My ultimate goal at all times and in all things is to honor God. Even as I typed that line I cringed because I know I often fall short. But as I cringe at my shortcomings, God reminds me of His mercy and grace and I look ahead with renewed vigor. I know God is honored when I do “good” and His “good” is the standard I seek to achieve. As I ponder 55 years on this grand planet today, I am more determined than ever to avoid fret, worry, and other robbers of time and energy as I seek to honor Him with whatever time He wants to give me.

Soli Deo Gloria!

2015 Photo-A-Day 2.15.2015

Lucy, our Golden Retriever, turns 3 years old today. She is a great dog, offering ample love and affection. She’s also adopted some of Shadow’s OCD traits as she almost constantly seeks attention. That’s fine; we’re happy to give it. Happy Birthday, Lucy!

“Golden retrievers are not bred to be guard dogs, and considering the size of their hearts and their irrepressible joy in life, they are less likely to bite than to bark, less likely to bark than to lick a hand in greeting. In spite of their size, they think they are lap dogs, and in spite of being dogs, they think they are also human, and nearly every human they meet is judged to have the potential to be a boon companion who might, at many moment, cry, “Let’s go!” and lead them on a great adventure.” ~ Dean Koontz via goodreads.com

Happy Birthday Lucy

Happy 18th to our Lovely Daughter

Someone once said “time flies when you’re having fun.” That is a true statement, indeed. As I reflect on the past 18 years I am reminded of how blessed I am.

Goofing off, Thanksgiving 2012

Goofing off, Thanksgiving 2012

God has blessed my wife and me with two beautiful kids. Our oldest was born 18 years ago today. We left for Memorial City Hospital in Houston at about 10:00 on a bright September Sunday morning. I was delighted that my wife’s delivery room was equipped with a television set and a comfortable recliner, and we settled in to watch football as we awaited the arrival of our firstborn child. (Minnesota beat Pittsburgh 44-24 and my beloved and dearly departed Houston Oilers defeated Cincinnati 38-28). Although our doctor knew the child’s gender, we had elected to find out at birth.

As the Minnesota Vikings began to take control of the game in the third quarter, I noticed that my wife wasn’t cheering as enthusiastically as before. Her nurse noticed it, too. Time for me to exit the room as the merciful epidural was applied. As her labor intensified, we turned off the television and prepared to welcome our firstborn into the world. A few short hours later (well, they were short to me; my wife might disagree with that assessment) Olivia arrived and with a piercing cry took her first breath. Dr. Hansen cut the umbilical cord and laid her on my wife’s chest. We looked at her and cried tears of joy.

Olivia & Shadow

Olivia & Shadow

Although that was 18 years ago, in many ways it seems like it was last Sunday. Yes, time flies. It flies as they take their first steps and graduate from diaper to “big potty”. It flies as they board the big yellow bus for the first time and head off to school. On their own. Without mom & dad following behind in the car. It flies as we celebrate the first report card, enjoy the first slumber party, and stand strong for them through the disappointments we all face in life (we don’t let them see us cry; we do that later, in private). Next thing we know, they’re in middle school and the hormones are raging as they begin to transition from child to young adult. We survive that phase together. That freshman year in high school is exciting as the senior year seems so far off into the future. Then, all of a sudden, they’re enjoying the freedom delivered through the driver’s license, we’re touring colleges and universities, ordering the class ring, and looking forward to senior day at the football game. As we reread the university acceptance letter and watch the kids enjoy the 18th birthday surprise party we realize that our beautiful little baby has grown into a lovely young woman.

Accepted to the University of Arkansas!

Accepted to the University of Arkansas!

As I type this, I have a small lump in my throat, a tear in my eye, and a big smile on my face. Yes, the past 18 years have flown by. I tell young parents all the time to cherish every moment of every day with their children, for soon it will be time for them to leave the nest. As we celebrate my daughter’s 18th birthday we cherish the memories, celebrate the milestone, and look forward to the future. I pray that God will continue to grow and mature her faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and that He will guard and protect her as she ventures into adulthood. On her own. Without mom & dad following in the car (not close enough to be seen, anyway).

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. ~ Psalm 127:3

Birthday Wishes from a Complete Stranger

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

Candles spell out the traditional English birthday greeting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my birthday, which was yesterday, nearly 100 of my Facebook friends posted birthday wishes on my wall. This year, one post in particular made my day:

Happy Birthday, Jeff from a complete stranger. Saw this on Keith’s wall and couldn’t resist. God’s blessings!

I enjoy social media, but one aspect of it I lament is the tone that many take with one another in discussion threads. From the perceived safety of our computers we are often quick to hurl personal insults and attacks on others, especially when we disagree with them on the issue of the day. Perhaps that is why I found this particular birthday greeting so refreshing that it still makes me smile every time I read it.

Smile at a stranger

Smile at a stranger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It begs this question: what if each of us resolved to deal with everybody we meet, even complete strangers, with an attitude of love? What if we greet everyone with a smile? What if we consider that the person who most recently snarled at us or cut us off on the roadway may be having a particularly bad day or dealing with a problem of which we have no idea? What if, instead of returning snarl for snarl, we return a smile or a pleasant word? If each of us resolved to address our world in this manner, what would be the result over the long term?

There is Biblical precedent for this in both the Old and New Testaments:

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)

(Jesus said) “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)

We were created to be in relationship with God and with one another. We are empowered to choose how we will relate to those around us, both in person and online. What would happen if each of us approached our world with a smile? What would happen if we all resolved to send birthday greetings to complete strangers? Something to think about…

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