Yesterday was a really special day and I felt very blessed and appreciated by my sweet friends and loved ones. So many loving gifts and messages that I feel truly overwhelmed with gratitude! I have forgotten the source now, but somewhere I read that Henri Nouwen said Christians should always celebrate birthdays because it is like saying, "It is good that you exist. It is good that God made you and I love that you are alive and in this world." It is such a perfect expression of love.
I woke up to some great e-cards in my inbox from Will and Cynthia and my dear Mother-in-love. Angie sent me a gift certificate to spend at my favorite crafty store, eHandcrafts. I am going to love using that! Karen and Dave had already blessed me with a generous Amazon gift certificate on Monday (thanks again, you two!). As if that were not enough I had an email stating that I had WON a drawing I entered at a British stitchy magazine for this fabulous needlework kit! Imagine that! I don't think I've ever won anything, and to win on my birthday was such a delightful surprise!
I spent most of the day in New Jersey as Tuesdays are my counseling day. Mike said, "Treat yourself to some Starbucks on the way in," so I ordered an Orange Mocha and got a bran muffin for the drive. My mum called on the way and sang a jazzy happy birthday to me. :) I also received phone calls from my brothers and sister-in-law Sarah. Mom and Sarah say they have some special treats on the way. :)
My first counselee of the day, a dear woman named Michelle that I care for very much, had very thoughtfully remembered the day and gave me two beautiful jar candles, in Black Cherry and Lily of the Valley. Yum! She also spoiled me terribly by making the most delicious homemade bruchetta and a cheesecake for me to take home.
I spent my lunch hour with Greta, a Mennonite woman I've been counseling for several months. She took me to their Mennonite market which was stocked with beautiful Garden State produce: fat tomatoes, gorgeous strawberries, fresh asparagus and greens, and the most amazing hanging baskets of begonias and all sorts of flowers. I could not resist bringing home a tray full of fresh potted herbs, which now line my windowsill: Sweet Marjoram, Thyme, Basil, Rosemary, Sage, and Lavender. This may have been the highlight of my day!
Check out this lavender!
Upon arriving home, I was greeted by all sorts of messages in my email and a few lovely packages. My kind friend Mindy had sent the sweetest sterling silver brooch in the shape of a lovely pair of scissors. Our best buds the Nielsens, who unfailingly remember our birthdays, had selected a book from my wishlist: The Forgotten Sayings of the Desert Mothers. Thanks, guys! I am really looking forward to reading this one.
Dad Vendsel sent another Amazon gift certificate, so I will really have fun selecting some books from my wishlist. All my dear friends in the online stitching groups I belong to had posted messages to say happy birthday, which was very touching.
We got changed and went to my favorite neighborhood restaurant where we had a delicious meal. I ordered my favorite bottle of beer, Newcastle, and fried asparagus with lemon horseradish sauce for an appetizer. Karen told me I should "eat something fattening" for my birthday, so there you go, Karen! We also got my all time fav-o tuscan bruchetta salad and I had garlic-herb cream cheese stuffed chicken breast with rosemary mashed potatoes and green beans! By the time dinner arrived I could only eat a few bites so I have most of that left over for today.
We then walked around Barnes and Noble and I picked out a couple of bargain books I have admired by Susan Branch. One is a pretty book of days, and I thought it would be an appropriate birthday activity to start a private journal about the next year of my life. My mum said this morning that she predicted "29" would be one of the most fulfilling years of my life ... so, we will see, Mom!
Mike's very special birthday gift to me was two tickets to see Harry Connick, Jr. in concert here in Philadelphia. He is coming next month and I am so thrilled. I adore his music and saw him in concert years ago at A&M and he gives a wonderful show. For those who might not be familiar with him, he is an amazing jazz musician from New Orleans. I belive this concert helps to benefit Hurricane Katrina rebuilding.
We came home and watched a movie, and I put the final stitches into a project I have been working on since January.
I received my last birthday greeting of the day at 11:30 pm by my friend Mignon, shortly before turning in to sleep soundly. What a day. Thank you for ALL the love!!!!!!!