Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Best Gifts and a Photo to Prove It


Birthdays come but once a year but if you do some finagling, you can make it last a little longer - a week or two at least. Maybe even a month. While you might not get those gifts stuck in amongst bright-colored tissue paper in gift bags or wrapped up with ribbons every day, you might get plenty of gifts if you look around for them. The sunshine. The birds. A good dog. A loving family. A letter in the mail from a friend. A Scripture verse to touch your heart. An e-mail from a reader. An encouraging comment. Good news about a book. A good read. To name only a few.

I got a gift today. My nearby grandkids came out with their parents to help me do some of that extra birthday celebrating. Then they even took a picture with me - all smiles - so I could count my gifts. While my granddaughter's little dog escaped the camera in this picture, my dog, Oscar, stuck his head in there with us. Some of my very best gifts. The other grandkids don't live close enough to come visiting very often, but it would have been fun to have had the whole crew around me under the apple tree. Enough for a baseball team.

When I think back on my birthdays, I don't remember the presents. I remember the people who helped me celebrate. When I was a child, my aunt always brought me a birthday cake. She never married and she doted on us girls. She loved making our birthdays special, and my mother gave her that gift - allowing her to be the one to bake and decorate the cakes and sew us dresses for our birthdays. 

My aunt died the year I got married, and so birthdays changed. Now the family celebrated birthdays by getting together for dinner. Mom treated us by making our requested favorite dessert. As the years passed, the kids came along and I did my best to make their birthdays special so they'd have good memories of their birthdays the way I did. We did have one disastrous party where we invited 10 or 12 boys. And they all came!!  Quieter parties but just as much fun were when we invited their cousins over. We had candles and cakes that I decorated much the same as my aunt had decorated mine. Nothing fancy. Just shaky writing in pink or blue or yellow icing of "happy birthday" with whichever child's name. Then the kids had so many birthdays that they grew up and got married and had kids of their own to have birthday parties. Now they get to make their children's birthdays special and I go and enjoy. 


I enjoy my birthdays too. Everybody at church sang happy birthday to me this a.m. We have a tradition of giving money to the Children's Homes on our birthday. Then we sing and pray blessings down on the birthday person. What more could anyone want for their birthday? Blessings and joy. And when I got back to the house here, a few hugs and smiles from the grandkids and a little slice of Key lime pie. 

What do you like best about your birthdays? And do you have one birthday you remember better than the others? 

Me, I remember turning 13. Not because of anything that happened or that I got as a gift. I just remember thinking that now I was a teenager. It seemed like a magical age that was going to change everything for me. And you know what? I guess it did. Now here I am all these years later but I still like celebrating birthdays. 

Remember that one way I'm celebrating is by giving away some books and things in my birthday giveaway. If you haven't signed up for the drawing, you can do that by sending me a message from my website, www.annhgabhart.com or leaving a comment here (with contact info if I don't have your e-mail already) before the end of the month. That's when I'm picking the winners - four of them.

Thanks for reading. Tell us about a birthday you remember or a gift that was special for you. I enjoy hearing from you.

8 comments:

  1. So glad to hear you had a nice birthday! I've always thought that birthdays provided an excuse to relax and celebrate a little, even as an adult. :)

    One of my favorite memories includes when my mother gave me a surprise party on my 13th birthday. I decided to continue the tradition and gave my daughter a surprise party on her 13th birthday too.

    Have a wonderful week!
    Blessings,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Ann,
    I know my comment has nothing to do with your blog post, but I just had to tell you that I finished "The Blessed" yesterday.
    It was awesome!! Like all your books, I never want them to end.
    I always get sad when I'm done reading them.
    I was SO, SO, SO excited when I read "Owensboro" on page 389. I ran to show my husband. I used to live in Owensboro and moved here 33 years ago. This past June my husband and I took a trip home to Owensboro just to see the city again and reflect on great memories...we spent the night there.
    You sure do bless us all with your amazing books....keep on writing my friend.
    Blessings to you,
    Cathy

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Birthdays are the best, Karen. I quit counting, but I hope to never quit enjoying them.

    And what a great traditon - those surprise parties for the 13 birthdays. My church family sprung a surprise party for me when I turned 50 - black cake and everything. Only surprise party I ever had. It was fun. Everybody's teeth looked black. You'd have thought we were celebrating Halloween.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Cathy, for letting me know you enjoyed The Blessed. It's always fun to hear from you after you read one of my books. You're the best.

    And your comment was more on topic than you thought. It was a gift to me. One of those best gifts - an encouraging message.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Ann...what sweet words to me.

    Have a blessed day and enjoy this autumn season.

    Hugs,
    Cathy

    ReplyDelete
  7. Happy belated bithday to you. Richard

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks, Richard. Good birthday wishes are never too late.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for joining the conversation. I like hearing what you have to say. Thanks for dropping by.