#OneWord365#thegiftofrightnow

Me and Elvis

Folks, January 8th was Elvis Presley’s birthday, too.  I had a few of his 45’s when I was a kid, watching Nipper the RCA dog spin around and around on my Barbie record player while I held my microphone, and told our Gordon Setter, Sham, that he wasn’t nothin’ but a hound dog.

Raise your hands, people!  Who else had one of these tokens of the ’70’s?

Barbie Record Player, 1976, courtesy etsy
Barbie Record Player, 1976, courtesy etsy

Anyway, in addition to our birthdate, this year Elvis and I have one thing in common.  We both have been 42.  I currently am, he was when he died in 1977.  Anyway, that’s enough about Elvis and our shared birthday.  Just a little nugget for you, really no point. And I trust God for His timing on my life, but I do selfishly hope I have more time here to treasure God’s blessings in the land of the living.

So, this year my word is #treasure.  (#OneWord365 was started by my friend, Alece Ronzino, and you can find out more about it here.)  I want to live with intention, treasuring the big and little things, and the people with whom I get to do life.

Last week I had the privilege of being taken out to lunch by my parents on my birthday.  It was inspiring to sit at a table with the 2 very people who brought me into this world, the two consistent adults in my 42 years.  I thought about how encouraging and supportive they are to me as a grown up, and I was nostalgic thinking about how it was my mom who gave me my very first encouraging push into this life, somewhere after midnight, in a hospital in Toledo, Ohio.  She still encourages me everyday!

 

The woman who gave me my first encouraging "push" in this world!  My mom, lover of God, praying machine, awesome wife, mom, and friend!
The woman who gave me my first encouraging “push” in this world! My mom, lover of God, praying machine, awesome wife, mom, and friend! (Photo credit: my dad with the shaky hand…)
Me and my Dad.
Me and my Dad and the awesome espresso flourless chocolate cake and banana gelato the restaurant gave us to share!
photo 5
Treasuring a birthday lunch with my favorite parents in the whole wide world

 

And treasuring this time with my folks is not lost on me.  Sure, January 8th, in my world, is a little bit about me and the day I was born.  But for me, except for a few exceptions you’ll read about below, my birthday is about cherishing the people in my life.  I was in awe last week thinking about people and the gift they are in our lives.  We come in all shapes and forms, have different gifts and strengths, all come with our awkward moments and quirks, but humans are gifts to one another and this past week my heart was full, thanking God for all the humans in my life.  “Cyber” humans, too, those friends I have made here on-line.

Life is short.  It’s not meant to be meticulous, lived out in a royal palace with everything just so, interactions solely based on merit, social status, levels of schooling, and financial worth.  Life is meant to be lived out with those around us, our messy selves included, sharing God’s love in a way that is outside of ourselves, because in the natural, we’re all too crusty to give or receive it without mistakes.

On the 8th I crawled out of bed to greet my Heavenly Father and selfishly soak in the quiet moments of the household, all to myself.  Then I journeyed to the basement where I met my 11 year old ‘tween at 6:15 who apparently wants to do P90X3 with me for a half hour each morning.  When we were done, sitting cross legged on the floor, she handed me a box, wrapped in bright pink paper, because she thinks of my mom, her grandma.  I scootched closer so our knees were touching, face to face, and slowly opened the box, treasuring the quiet with my girl, trying to drag out the moment a little longer so I could get it into my head and heart.  I opened and untied a little stack of coupons Em had made for me as a gift.  Coupons for time spent with her.

Priceless gift of love coupons!
Priceless gift of love coupons!

NO. MONEY. CAN. BUY. THIS. KIND. OF. LOVE.

Anyway, Jason wanted to take us out for my birthday, but here’s where the selfish part comes in: it’s the middle of the winter and I wanted an artichoke!  This is also my daughter’s favorite, her more so for the butter, me historically for similar reasons, though now I don’t always dip.  So, I boiled up a couple of artichokes, made homemade kale chips (I just updated this recipe here…believe me, you will want to check it out!) and bought a huge piece of wild caught Coho salmon that I pan seared in my new $12 iron skillet Jason cured for me a few weeks ago.  The reason this was a “selfish” meal is because I would eat this exact meal every night of my life if my family would allow it.  I mean it.  No exaggeration.  But apparently my family craves variety.  So, we sacrifice and eat variety…

Grrrrrrrrrrrr.
Grrrrrrrrrrrr.  This is MY birthday artichoke!

Then, since my little giraffe hasn’t been napping well over the last month, my birthday being no different, we had a fake “pre-party” dessert so we could get him in bed ASAP.  I scooped him a teeny scoop of sea salt caramel ice cream from Talenti (new discovery, totally indulgent, sooooo NOT dairy-free, but pretty much worth it…if you’re cool with gas and bloating.  But hey, it was my birthday…), stuck a candle in it, and told him that was the cake.  Then I let dad tuck him in while I made five chocolate chip cookies.  Yep.  Just 5.  I discovered this recipe from the talented Jenni over at The Urban Poser who has an incredible grain-free pastry cookbook coming out soon, and it is simply the very best grain-free chocolate chip cookie recipe on the Web.  Her recipe is fantastic!  Period!  I’m a HUGE fan and wish we were neighbors!  I keep thinking up a retreat I could host and have her fly in and do all the catering…I’ll keep you posted!  But anyway, Em hates coconut so I do palm shortening sometimes when she is around.  Her recipe makes more, but I’ll eat the whole pan if I make the full recipe, so I’ve done some experimentation and, unfortunately, or fortunately, I am able to make one or two or three or four or five…when I have a hankering.

"Pre-party" fake cake!
“Pre-party” fake cake!  (And, yes, we still have our tree up…and it just might be for a while…)

When Jason and I were in Spain last summer we took 1800 pictures.  I couldn’t help myself.  Everything was new and fascinating and creative and historic and beautiful and new to me.  Anyway, when siesta time rolls around the shopkeepers pull mini-metal garage door type doors over the fronts of their stores.  Here are a few for your viewing pleasure.  I took the one picture because my number when I played basketball in high school was “42”…so there you go.  Little did I know being a busy SAHM suburban housewife who never watches TV that apparently “42” was a movie from last year.  I just thought someone else liked the number…

Spanish street art.
Spanish street art.
2013-08-13 21.00.50
Spanish street art, Barcelona
2013-08-13 21.01.01
“42! Go, 42!” said my dad, back in 1989.
2013-08-14 13.18.21
Spanish street art, Barcelona

I treasure the babysitter extraordinaire, Bina, who watched Ryan while I spent time with my folks.  I treasure my husband who brought me tulips to brighten my winter day.  I treasure my children’s laughter as we had a dance party in the family room and the time I got to spend with my mom and sister and sisters-in-law and a few girlfriends throughout the course of the week, these women who are gifts, gifts that don’t fit in bags or boxes!!  The point of this post is for me to open my heart and add a bit of birthday treasure to it, capturing moments with intention.

Have you ever thought about “gifts” that way?  As in, the very people who come to your party or gathering or meet up at a restaurant on your birthday, even if they have cards or flowers or gifts in hand, those very people are the actual birthday gifts?

I’ve thought about it.  I’ve thought about it a lot.  Life is short.  Whether I die at 42 or 97 or some age in between, I’m grateful to have already learned something Elvis and I won’t ever have in common:  the one with the most STUFF isn’t the one with the richest treasure.

My heart is full!  Happy Birthday to me!

Tulips are my favorite, and my Sweetheart knows this...every time.
Tulips are my favorite, and my Sweetheart knows this…every time.

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