Birthday Thoughts

Do you know who is exactly one day younger than me? A certain reality star mother with 8 children. No, not her. The other one. Yeah, the one who dances now. Anyway, here is a list of the reasons I’m REALLY thankful to be me on my own 35th birthday:

1. My husband. Still here, still cute, still talented, but so much better than all of that because he also does laundry. All of it. Had I known this, I would have married him sooner.

2. My children. Even though it takes a lot of work to parent, it is totally worth it. I’m learning that it also takes a lot MORE work to parent well, but I love starting to reap the rewards of all that work. Cute kids are a dime a dozen, cute kids with good manners are slightly less common.

3. My job. We live in a celebrity crazed culture; everyone wants a piece of it. I’m starting to think it gives many of us a mixed up idea about what it means to live a valuable life, a worthwhile existence. My job as a Bible College teacher reminds me everyday that God knows where I am and what I’m doing. Everyone else is secondary. I wouldn’t trade that security for a million hours of fame.

4. My education. A few weeks ago I spent the evening at a jazz concert. Last year I made dulce de leche in my own kitchen as a chemistry experiment. I’ve read wonderful books and stories I never would have found time for if they hadn’t been assigned. In my first round of college credits, I went to class to get it over with. Now I go to class to learn. And I love it. Perspective gives me appreciation. Appreciation for the small gifts of knowledge or inspiration gives me contentment.

5. My Hope. I’m planning to write more about this, but I’ve never been more thankful for the hope of Eternity. I’ve never been more certain of its usefulness to the peacefulness of my heart today. This life, no matter what it holds, is fleeting. Nothing like the feeling of surprise that your birthday has come back around already to remind you of that! We sang an old song today at church that reminded me of the simple faith that sustains:

Oh, I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace;
On the streets of glory let me lift my voice,
Cares all past, home at last, ever to rejoice.

*photo of yummy cupcakes from Quintanaroo on Flickr

Irish Thoughts

Dan’s mother grew up in O’Neill, Nebraska, home of the World’s Largest Shamrock, so he was aware of his Irish heritage (as if his gorgeous red-haired cousins aren’t proof enough). And my Mom has always told me that Grandpa Adair told her his people came over during the Great Irish Potato Famine. Still, neither Dan nor I have spent much time researching our family trees.

That changed on Friday night after we watched the new NBC program “Who Do You Think You Are?” This is reality TV that I get – no challenges or games or edited drama. Although the show is sponsored by Ancestry.com and its accompanying product placement, the premise is straightforward and fascinating.

The program helps celebrities use Ancestry.com and professional historians to trace their genealogies. We watched Emmitt Smith discover a relative named Mariah, a slave and mother who found a way to keep her four children together even within the slave trade in Alabama. By the time Smith visited a charity school full of children in the country of his origin (discovered through DNA swabbing) – children who would otherwise be sold into slavery today – I was completely hooked.

But that’s not all. Dan signed up for the free 14-day trial membership at Ancestry.com and guess what? My family tree traces back to Ireland pretty quickly.

Our people were the Divine’s from Dublin. How charming is that?

A Silent Blog Means . . .

I’m completing homework.

I’m cooking food. Actual meals. Occasionally.

My sister is visiting and I’m staying up too late solving the problems of the world.

I’m learning about the needs of Brazil’s children and how I might be able to help.

I’m writing and revising a memoir. Well, that’s homework.

I’m listening to Miles Davis. Also homework.

I’m reading poetry. (Sorry to say it but, yeah, also homework.)

I’m thinking but not finished processing.

I’m dreaming but not ready to share.

I’m taking sick day duties screen free.

I’m making dates with my husband out of ordinary grocery shopping.

And hopefully many other things!

(Including – UPDATE – spending the week with missionaries!)