Jun 25, 2016

A Beautiful Birthday

I don't even know where to begin… I am the most blessed and favored person on the planet.  My birthday was on Wednesday this last week and my family made certain that I had a most memorable day.

We started celebrating Wednesday with a walking tour at the botanical gardens. I had a wonderful time with my family and I throughly enjoyed the beauty of the plants and architecture.

Then we headed to the art museum… Another one of my favorite places to go. I knew it was going to be good when these beautiful hydrangea's greeted us at the front desk.

The Salesman taking a little rest...

The Mona Lisa made from spools of thread...

Welcoming areas...

And of course, the art...

Two self portraits...

One of my favorites by a school age child.  I love the colors and the combinations...

I think this is exquisite...

We then headed to Market Square for a snack and shopping at one of my favorite stores…Bliss.

Art and fashion meet...

Then we headed to Willow Creek Antiques…I could comment about every picture; but I will spare you.  There is so much beauty here. So many delightful pieces. 

Then we headed to dinner at Paula Deen's restaurant and guess who was there?!?  Paula Deen!!!

God gave a beautiful sunset to the end of a beautiful day...

I'm not sure how these pictures got out of order…This one Victoria Leigh took of me at the Botanical Gardens.  She has such a creative eye...

 The cardboard Paula and me:

So, I think the day has been wonder filled: family, friends, beauty, nature, art, antiques, good conversation, numerous text messages, calls and all sorts of love and gifts and Paula Deen.  I felt full-to-the-brim with my day. 

We had a party at the house last night and got in bed late and full of thanksgiving. I'd planned to go thrift store shopping with Victoria and her friend Tessa this morning, and we went and had such a good time.  I dressed as I'd normally dress for a hot day out having fun with my family - very casual.  When we drove down our street to come home to eat lunch, there were vehicles lined up before, in front of, and after our home. I commented about the vehicles and Victoria stated that a neighbor must be having a party… Didn't think a thing about it, until… there were also cars lined up in our back yard and back drive way. My family and friends pulled off the most spectacular surprise party ever. I am on overflow. I was so surprised! The family. The friends. The love. The joy. The surprise. The food. The time. The people. The tears. The blessings. The cards. The words of blessing.  

So, I feel like God's favorite. I am so thankful for my family and friends. I cried so many times today.  I am so keenly aware of the blessing and gift that people are to me.  My family decided to honor me in a unique and fun way and it blessed me beyond - beyond.  Friends made a choice to be here. Many friends that had just been here last night. Many friends drove a distance to be here. Many that had busy schedules and other obligations were here.  And I want you to know that meant something to me.  I can still see their sweet faces tucked in the living room and dining room smiling back at me with such delight as they cheered surprises when I came in oblivious to the party!  

I'm crying again.  

Life is short you all. Life is a gift.  Friendship is a gift. Relationship is a gift.  I don't take lightly the fact that you came to celebrate.  

 I have loved and I've lost. I miss Lilly Belle. I miss my dad. I miss my mom. I mourn the loss of relationships. 

 I have cried more from sadness and loss in the last eleven months than I believe I ever have in my life; but:

There is a new season beginning
And, Hallelujah, no matter what we've encountered, in the end - we are winning!
So LORD, I embrace a new beginning!

To a new year,
I cheer!

I will not look to the past, to hurt or pain
Eternity is ahead, heaven our gain!

I have loved and lost
I have paid a high cost
I have loved, and lost.

I am grateful today
For new days!

I am grateful for family and friends, 
I lift my glass and say, Let's begin again!