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On the 5th of May I had a birthday. I asked my family not to make much of it, mostly because it seems I have been the recipient of lots of graciousness, love, kindness. Sometimes it feels like its more than my fair share.

My husband always knows how to make me feel special in the mornings of my special day. He  bought me a wonderful tapestry that’s probably going to cause me to redo our bedroom. (He will handle this generously, he always has.)

I hope his sons have watched his example.

And of course my mother always seeks to tell me in ways that  surprise me how much she treasured that I was her first and most wonderful first Mother’s day present. She gave me two 7 foot cypress trees and watched me as I planted them in the water logged soil in the little lake at the farm. They will be majestic one day.

I was more than happy to spend my day reading Facebook posts. Many touched me with clever humor, sincerity, spoken blessings, and love.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

A friend had remembered I said I mentioned at one time how much I’d like to have an old wine barrel. One showed up at my backdoor.

Another friend organized hers and my friends from my favorite theological library for a lunch. Knowing how much I love plants, my birthday cake was a flowerpot filled with cake dirt and I now have two beautiful mint plants sweetening the ground at the back of the run in barn, their square stems soaking up a morning sun. They are companioned by a variegated sage whose home is in a black pot by the farm kitchen door.

The Famous Quilt Group met me for dinner and we talked, sharing our lives like we have for almost 25 years. Their friendship made my heart feel joy that night.

Another day, with friends who are the newest lead by a teacher who shows me how to pour my emotions in to a lump of clay and call it a pot, brought a cake and a hug as we sat and ate lunch, gray clay clinging to my arms and hair.

And then an innocuous “You didn’t tell us about your birthday,” from the women I play tennis with two days a week. I know them differently than my other girlfriends, most often through exchanges on the tennis court, but even from that vantage, I’ve grown to know their hearts. “Come to Pappasitos” they said. Secretly, I’ve always wanted a tiara and who doesn’t want to think about a sash that says ‘awesome’ across your sweaty, just won tennis matched shirt. They bought both.  They also  showed up on the restaurant patio with the biggest balloon I have ever seen, wrapped with feathery boa wishing me “another year of fabulous”.
And then my brother called and we planned our own day at the farm, he, me and Mother. He made me a dinner and as I watched his hands, capable of flying an airplane, leveling the farmhouse stove, or draping an arm across a sister who he has seen through grief, he decorated it with flowers he’d gathered from my gardens and told me I reminded him of our father.
I still find no reason to explain why I deserve any of this. Except that all of it, as I think about it today, reminds me that it is a case of humanity exhibiting grace, the perfection of that commodity found in the unmerited favor I have elsewhere.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.