My heart is full of thankfulness and celebration on this gorgeous May morning! While I have been MIA in the blog world lately, it is for good reason. Yesterday was spent celebrating my birthday. My family and friends made my day so special, and I feel so blessed to have been given so many gifts….not gifts wrapped in pretty paper and fluffy bows. Gifts much deeper and more important than those.

The GIFT of another year to love my family and serve the Lord.

The GIFT of a gorgeous, picture-perfect weather day on my birthday.

The GIFT of my husband who loves me deeply, even when I am not very loveable.

The GIFT of three healthy and beautiful children.

The GIFT of my family and friends who love me despite my flaws, and who are always there to encourage me along the way.

The GIFT of salvation through Jesus Christ. He alone is the reason I am able to give thanks!

Along with those priceless gifts, I was also blessed by very generous people with some fun presents. I enjoyed smelling some gorgeous floral bouquets that were given to me. It looks like I’ll be sporting a fun new necklace, enjoying several cups of coffee from Starbucks, shopping at Pier One and The Attic, and using some birthday money to purchase this fun thing that’s been on my mind lately:

Anybody want to join me for some flavored tea on my deck after I purchase this beauty?! 🙂

This morning my mind is re-living what happened one year ago today. My birthday last year was a bit heavier as we anxiously awaited news from my mom’s biopsy report. The day after my birthday one year ago she received the call we all dreaded…she did indeed have breast cancer. Nothing and no one can prepare your heart for news like this.

What followed was a year full of surgeries, doctors appointments, and plenty of tears. One year can change a lot, and this year has certainly changed each of my family members. We have been reminded in a very real way about how fleeting this life can be, and how much we don’t want to take it for granted. I’ve been reminded what a strong mom I have, and what a faithful God we serve. He has been gracious through it all, and we’re praising Him that mom is cancer-free and healthy today! I cannot tell you what good it does my heart to see this: Three weeks after my mom’s double mastectomy, Titus James entered the world, and it made my heart ache to see his “Nanny” not be able to cuddle him like she cuddled my daughters when they were born. This photo is near and dear to my heart, and I love the story it tells. One year changes a lot, and I’m so thankful she’s strong enough to snuggle my big, energetic boy!

I love you, Mom! Always have. Always will. Probably more than you’ll ever know.