Well, today is my birthday. I don't normally shameless plug things about myself, but I've got the beginnings of a good blog entry here I can't pass up. My friends threw me a grand party last Saturday night for my birthday, even though it didn't occur until today. My friend, Kevin, donned it "Rosie-Gras" - a weeklong birthday celebration. This birthday wasn't an easy one, but my friends have made it much better.
I was challenged by my friend and mentor, Sharon, to take today to write down 40 blessings in my life (Ok, you quick ones can figure out why 40). So, here they are, in no particular order.
1. My eternal security in knowing I'll live forever in Heaven - this one gets top billing. Without it, daily living is really a drag.
2. A godly mother who I miss dearly that impacted my life in ways I may never truly grasp. Every birthday I remember her in a special way because 5 years ago today, I watched her slip into eternity.
3. A rock solid godly father - My Dad wasn't a Christian when my Mom married him, but accepted Christ shortly after. Today he still stands as an awesome example of what I long for in a mate. His love for my Mom was unbelievable.
4. A Stepmom that gave my Dad hope - After the passing of my Mom, my Dad found someone to share his life with. Although it was initially hard for me, I'm certain my Dad wouldn't still be with me today without her companionship.
5. A Wise Granddaddy - I was his only grandchild...and we'd go on walks and talk about life. And, he was the funniest, wittiest man I knew as a child. I didn't realize until he was gone that I inherited his talent for writing.
6. A loving Granny - She secretly painted my fingernails the first time when my Dad thought it made me look like a streetwalker. She always dressed like a model, and could cook a dinner to die for. I miss spending time at her house...I loved going there.
7. My best friend, and NOK, Christie - Without any siblings, she has been my "next of kin." God truly knew I needed a sister who understood me and loved me unconditionally. In many ways our lives have paralleled and our friendship is certainly timeless.
8. A home I love - I am blessed to have a beautiful home. As much as I love to be social, I'm completely content to be at home with my books and the comfort of the place of refuge where I live.
9. A job I love - My career path has definitely been interesting. After leaving the world of technology publishing, I realized it truly was my first love. I adore my job and being back in that field working with people who are like family.
10. My church - Being an only child, my church is like an extended family. Our church has been through a lot over the years, and I have the war wounds to prove it. But, God is so faithful.
11. My OPCs - Christie, Amy, Tracy, and new member, Beth - The five of us are very different, yet have a bond that many people are lucky to get with one person in their life. I'm so thankful God brought the five of us into our "Ya-Ya" sisterhood of OPC.
12. The mentors in my life - My Mom was the greatest of these, but other women, Carol, Alisa, Sharon, Jessica...are all women I look up to with great respect and hope to emulate in many ways.
13. My friend, Kevin - His first response will be, "I'm not in the Top 10??" Kevin and I became friends at a time when I needed to see that there are still wonderful guys out there. He knows all my faults and still loves me.
14. My car - A practical blessing, but without it, I'd be trapped at home.
15. My health - Even with the health issues I have, I am able to have a fairly normal functioning life - for that I am blessed.
16. Women's Ministry - I serve with one of the greatest women's ministry teams on earth.
17. Gift of writing - I never knew that all that English would one day pay off...not just for pleasure, but even in my vocation
18. College Ministry - I recently agreed to work in this ministry of our church. As I age and realize what a pivotal time that was in my life, my heart turns more towards that age group.
19. Those I have discipled - Amber, Tracy, Lydia - All three of these young ladies have been married in the past year. I'm so proud of what God has done in their lives.
20. My first job at the Cobb Group - I didn't know in 1991 that accepting that job would forever change my life - almost every job since then has had a Cobb Group connection
21. Dr. Beach - He was my pastor when I accepted Christ. I had such a fear of the water and being baptized, and he was so supportive in helping me through that.
22. Dr. Bryant - The doctor that delivered me. After many miscarriages and the loss of a premature son, he encouraged my Mom and Dad to keep trying. After 18 years of marriage, his encouragement paid off. Had I been a boy, my middle name would have been Bryant.
23. Car accident when I was 7 - As tragic as that was, none of us lost our lives, but my understanding of death became very real and led me to make a life-changing decision at the age of 8.
24. Mr. Downing - My elementary school principal, and OPC Amy's Grandaddy. He made it fun to come to school. I never did forgive him for retiring a year before I left elementary school.
25. Books - I love to read....I hope the written word never goes out of style
26. Paige - We became best friends in such a unique way that only God could orchestrate it. In many ways, we share so much in common, and though many miles separate us, we remain very close.
27. Failed Relationships - Being single at this point in my life is NOT what I expected. But, each past realtionship has taught me more about myself.
28. A diverse career path - From accounting to payroll - from PR to marketing - to insurance agent - back to marketing - I've experienced a lot in my short life.
29. Gift of encouragment - I love to encourage people..it truly makes my day brighter
30. A love to talk - I enjoy great conversation - and not just talking but listening. Conversation is one of the greatest schools in the world.
31. Sense of humor - Although sometimes wacky, laughter is one of my favorite things
32. A great memory - I'm blessed with the ability to remember dates, times, events, really well. I've always feared if Alzheimer's hits, I'll go crazy.
33. Gift of discernment - This one is truly something I never really saw in myself until others had to point it out. I can only hope my counsel is beneficial and not detrimental
34. Church friends - So many to name, so little space. They are what makes up the family I love at my church
35. Work friends - A different group of people entirely, but people you pioneer with you always stay close to.
36. Rita Hall Shourds - My Marketing professor in college that, in the midst of one major, she enlightened me to the wonderful world of marketing where I truly had strengths
37. Television - May seem shallow, but as an only child, my books and television were my eyes to the outside world.
38. Mr. Springs - My junior english teacher who challenged me about writing my research paper on a topic he thought was impossible. He knew better - and that I'd be up for the challenge. He chose me as his Senior Aide, and taught me never to back down on a challenge
39. My time on the high school newspaper staff - For two years I served on that team. I loved it and never realized I'd end up in the publishing industry.
40. My age - I've really dreaded this birthday, but I know with age comes some wisdom and lots of life experiences. I can't wait to see what the next 40 look like!