Birthday!

So, not to brag or anything, but today is my birthday.

Yep, “beware the Ides of March,” because that’s the day that I was born!

Aren’t birthdays interesting? Like any holiday, we celebrate them every year, but each year brings something different, depending on what age we are, what day of the week the birthdate falls on, heck, even what the weather is like that day. Being born in March, the weather could be a balmy 70 degrees, or a freezing 28. This year, March is going to stick to it’s “lion-like” weather on the 15th.

I was thinking back to some of my most memorable birthdays and thought I’d share a few of them.

Age 5- My cousin Jamie and I were born three weeks apart, so the year we turned 5, our parents arranged for us to have a joint birthday party together, complete with clown, cake and lots and lots of kids. Probably the biggest party I’ve ever had to celebrate a birthday, although my parents tell me I was pretty cranky due to getting my kindergarten shots the day before.

Age 16- Other than the fact that I was finally old enough to drive, this birthday is memorable because it was the last birthday I celebrated with my Grandma Queen. She had been in declining health for some time and recently ill, but on my sixteenth birthday, she was feeling good. She spent the evening with my family, having dinner, eating cake, and giving sass back as good as she got. She passed away 11 days later, and I will always treasure the last memories I made with her.

Me and Frodo in my college dorm room.

Age 19- My first birthday in college and away from home was made special by the efforts of my friends. I really into (re: obsessed) with Lord of the Rings at the time, so my group of friends banded together to get me a cardboard cutout of Frodo. Since I had an 8 a.m. class that day, my friends waited until I left, then snuck the cardboard  hobbit into my dorm room. However, they neglected to open my curtains, so upon stepping back into my room later that morning, all I could see was the dim outline of a person! I screamed, causing several people to come running, only to turn on the lights and realize I had been terrified of nothing more than a four-foot tall paper man with a flimsy sword. Yeah, that was humiliating. On the plus side, Frodo accompanied us on lots of adventures throughout the rest of my college career, including a trip to the local drive-in theater to see the next installment of (what else?) Lord of the Rings, and a starring role in one my student films, “When Your Date Falls Flat.” Frodo is now happily living out his golden years in my office at the symphony.

Age 21- Spring Break. Mexico. Not nearly as epic as it sounds. I had accompanied my campus ministry to Mexico for a mission trip that year, and unfortunately, caught a terrible cold the day we left. After doing manual labor all day in the hot sun, wiping my nose until it was raw, all I wanted to do was crawl into my sleeping bag and pass out for a few hours. My group had other plans, however. To celebrate my birthday and another guy’s, they had purchased a piñata, and made he and I take turns trying to break it. Blindfolded, no less. I was less than enthusiastic to make a fool of myself, and after several attempts, finally hit the stupid thing. It didn’t break! After the guy took a turn and it still didn’t crack, we realized the piñata was empty! I could have cried (and I think I did, a little) from exhaustion and disappointment. At least some candy would have helped sooth my weary soul!

There have been a lot of fun birthdays since those formative years, such as the time my coworkers decorated my office with streamers and hid Reese peanut butter cups all over it (truth– I literally found one two years later…and I plead the fifth on whether or not I are it [I did]). I usually have a celebratory dinner with my parents and brother’s family each year, and a bouquet of daffodils, my favorite flower. This year, I’m going to have lunch with one of my best friends, and see the new Beauty and the Beast movie in the theater on Saturday with my love.

What has been a memorable birthday for you?

Why I love Friday the Thirteenth

Happy Friday the Thirteenth!

When did Friday the thirteenth become an “unlucky” day? According to WikiPedia, it didn’t become a widespread superstition until the 19th century, although some trace it back to the Middle Ages, when someone linked it to Jesus’ Last Supper, in which there were 13 attendees on Maundy Thursday before Good Friday.

lastsupper The fear of Friday the thirteenth is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (meaning “thirteen”).

I never really thought about being fearful of a particular day or number – I mean, God made each day, and He tells us to “Fear not” more than anything in the Bible!

ellen-gina1995-001There came a day, though, that I learned to love Friday the 13th. It was 1994, and I was expecting my second child, Ellen. They calculated the due date, and guess what? The estimated date of birth was to be Friday, January 13, 1995. We laughed about it the whole time.

But guess what? She was right on time. On Friday, January 13, 1995–exactly 22 years ago, today–Ellen Priscilla Merrick was born.

ellen2-001On that blessed date God blessed us with a healthy, beautiful, compact bundle of energy with a head-full of dark hair and the ability to sleep anywhere but her car seat. Really.

dreamy-ellen

Ellen will be graduating from college this May, with a degree in vocal performance. She’s all grown up, but still my little girl in whom I am exceedingly proud.

2016-11-11-21-09-23-hdrHappy Birthday to my Friday the thirteenth blessing!

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.