Yesterday was my birthday. My husband Ray’s gift to me was my recent week-long trip to Destin beach, Florida for a week alone (August 15-22, 2022). I’ve been praying for over 3 years to travel there. One day I found a reduced plane fare online and Ray said, “Book it!” so I did immediately!
Destin beach is gorgeous with soft, white sand and clear, blue-green water. I desperately needed this time of relaxation on the beach and to work on my speaking and writing biz. You can see my recent vlog, My Happy Place, here at YouTube. It is my 11th vlog about the trip.
Ray also gave me a pretty card with a Starbucks gift card and took me out for supper to a Japanese restaurant in Lee’s Summit, MO, called Siki.
We got dressed up to go out, a rare occasion. I found a pretty teal, inexpensive dress on Amazon and an elegant but cheap necklace and earrings from Paparazzi. I already had my bracelet and black shoes with a slight heel. The dress had high reviews on Amazon and was soft and comfortable. Ray wore a charcoal-grey, button-up shirt and beige slacks.
We had a nice, funny chef who cooked us delicious food.
He couldn’t put on the usual great show of fire, because there was a toddler girl there at the hibachi table, who screamed and cried when he first made the flames appear. I’m sure this was a disappointment to the chef. Everyone else at the table was related to her, so they understood. Ray and I are parents so we got it, too. We remember those days! They grow up so fast!
Ray got lobster, scallops, and steak, and I ordered the grilled chicken. The entrees come with hot Miso soup (soybeans, sea salt, rice koji, vegetables, and seaweed), salad, fried rice, and a tiny cake for dessert. Ray also ordered California rolls sushi, for us to share. (I ate one and took most of my meal home for leftovers.) It was all so good!
A little girl at the hibachi grill table was celebrating her 11th birthday. The chef joked with her that it was his birthday, too, and that he was 12. She said, “No, you’re NOT! You’re way older than me!” and everyone laughed. She and I got a yummy cheesecake free for dessert, with the chef and everyone at the table singing happy birthday to us both!
My sweet daughter Heather shocked me by showing up at my back door yesterday morning with a pretty red rose and baby’s breath and a “Happy birthday” balloon. She treated me to breakfast here in town at Quik Dine restaurant and got us both a blended frappe afterward at The Carpenter’s Cup Christian book store here in Butler, where she’d never been before.
I was so surprised and happy to see her! I had just finished weeding my gardens and had come inside, when she knocked on the door after texting me to say “Happy Birthday” (to make sure I was home, without giving it away!). What a great start to my birthday!
On the way to supper last night, my beautiful sister Maria and our lovely daughter Eden called me to wish me a Happy Birthday and to tell me they loved me. Maria also sang “Happy Birthday” to me, and my sweet friend Liz did too earlier in the day, haha! That was so thoughtful of them!
After Ray got off work, we headed to our beautiful daughter Leah’s apartment to drop off applesauce and Panera Bread broccoli cheddar and chicken noodle soup to her, because she recently had some dental work done and is on a soft diet this week. She had bought me a pretty, colorful card and a Starbucks gift card for my birthday, which was so sweet of her! Leah has a dry wit like Ray’s, and she joked, “Thank you for bringing me gifts on your birthday!”
Ray’s card had pretty, colorful hot air balloons and a beautiful field of flowers on it and the verse Psalm 129:8 with a blessing, which I received, as well as other prayers and blessings from friends on Facebook: “The blessing of the LORD be upon you.”
On the way to Leah’s and then to the Japanese restaurant, Ray’s truck cut off 3 or 4 times. I was worried that we were going to break down on the highway! He stopped by O’Reilly’s before Leah’s apartment to have the staff test it. It is possibly 3 or 4 different things causing the issue. The truck is going into the shop next week, so please pray for God’s provision and that we can get it fixed quickly–and inexpensively!
I’m so thankful that the truck made it to Leah’s apartment, to the restaurant, and safely back home. Although it was stressful with the truck cutting off, I still had a great birthday! There was a pretty sunset on the way driving home.
I won’t share my age (or my weight!), but I’m thankful to God for life. He has been so good and faithful to me and our family through the years. Jesus saved and delivered me out of His love, mercy, and grace.
I now have more weight on my body, more grey hairs (coming in faster the last several years!), and less head hair, but I believe that I have more of God’s wisdom and agape love. Like the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:11-13, I’ve learned (most of the time, at least!) to be content in all circumstances, neither very rich or very poor (again, at least most of the time!), having to depend on God (and Ray) from week to week to pay our bills and meet our family’s needs.
God has been so good to bless me with our beautiful, precious three daughters and our six grandchildren as well.
I also have a beautiful adopted black cat with green eyes, Natalya, who follows me everywhere. She makes me laugh.
God has also been so good to send me to other nations to speak, do mission trips, and for pleasure as well. I love traveling! Some of those places I dreamed and prayed about going for years, and other places that He sent me I was terrified–but I obeyed and He was with me and amazing things happened! My life Scriptures are Isaiah Chapter 61.
God has also helped me to write 25 books (and I’m still writing!) and to encourage other aspiring speakers and writers to share their hearts’ powerful, unique messages with the world.
God has given me a husband, Ray, who has been with me for almost 30 years (despite myself!). He should get a huge reward from God for hanging in there so long! (I think I should get one, too!)
I’m so grateful for God’s presence and abundant blessings in my life. I’ve gone through a lot of painful things in my life, some from others doing me evil and other things from my own sin–and a lot of the enemy satan’s attacks because of my high calling from God. I’ve needed all the lessons. God has never left me through it all.
I’m certainly no spring chicken any more; in fact, I never was one. God created me to be an eagle, to soar. (Isaiah 40:31) I’ve had to face many storms in life, many from satan. God allowed them and Jesus spoke, “Peace, be still” (Matthew 8:23-27) to my soul in the midst of them to teach me to trust Him, to rise above the storms, and to fly free in Him.
Some storms are still going on right now, but each day I learn to keep my eyes on Jesus and follow Him. He is the LORD, the King of Kings, my Savior, Deliverer, and Friend.
Today I thank God for one more birthday here on Earth, one day closer to Heaven, and for the gift of my loved ones, friends, and life.
This new year, “Let new (exciting!) adventures begin” and may I become more transformed into the image of Jesus.