Today is my birthday. But, in all honesty, it’s been a pretty typical Tuesday.

My colleagues took me out for breakfast, and there were some special snacks during our H2O Staff Meeting. But there was also a lot of regular ministry work to be done. So a significant part of the day was “business as usual.”

I really didn’t start to feel “birthdayish” until I got home, after work. Marci took the time to make a special birthday meal. My food was served on a red plate (which is a birthday tradition in our family), and it was delicious.

After dinner, Marci and the kids brought out some birthday presents, which were lovely. But the best part of it all was the written words of affirmation that accompanied the gifts

Olivia made me choke up — drawing a beautiful portrait of the two of us as puffins and writing that I have helped her feel “seen and loved” during a difficult season of transition into high school. Elliot came up with a creative way to affirm my quirky habits of hiking, running, broadening my musical horizons, and making a fool of myself with lame attempts to relate to my boys by playing soccer. He said, “I appreciate all you do, and I love you.”

Cor made me a special, self-designed sticker for my journal, and Marci hearkened back to the early days of our relationship, reminding me that we’ve spent 26 of my 42 birthdays together, as a couple.

I feel so grateful for the love in my life, and I’m especially glad that I got to feel so loved on my birthday.

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