I’m 40 today.

Today I turn 40 years old. I’m going to make chicken salad with chipped grapes and chunky celery, potato soup and apple pie. This afternoon I’ll feed the apple skins and hunks of celery stalk to my chickens and turkeys. I’ll collect flowers around the homestead for my birthday bouquet and I’ll spend this evening surrounded by nature and the love of family. The thought of creating a delicious, plentiful meal in my own well-equipped and fully functional kitchen brings me such joy and it settles my spirit to know that our scraps from that very meal will feed our flock this afternoon. A small glimpse of permaculture, even in the most simplistic form brings about such bliss for me these days. I couldn’t be more thankful for these immense blessings in my life.

Josh goes to work before the sunrise each morning. He always feels his way around in the dark as to not wake anyone up. This morning before he rolled out, he leaned over our bed to give me birthday snugs and accidentally bashed me in the face with the bill of his hat. He said, “Well there’s your birthday wake up call this morning! Happy 40th!” We laughed and laughed and laughed. It probably wasn’t that comical, but we are typically in complete goofball mode at 4:30am. How grateful I am to have a partner in this life who can playfully put a smile on my face and wake me with a giggle even before the sunrise. Is there a better way to start a day?

I drove Keely to the end of the driveway this morning to catch the bus. She was running late, which is a rare occasion for her. She’s the most punctual teenager I’ve ever known. She couldn’t find her lunchbox. I said to her, “Keely you have money in your lunch account at school. Just buy school lunch today.” She didn’t like that idea, so she found an old lunchbox and threw some fruit and a protein bar inside. She made it to the bus stop with a few moments to spare and we watched the most beautiful blush colored clouds dance across a hazy morning sky. My oldest child reminded me today that we do not go without in this life. As a matter of fact, we often have more than we need. If we lose our lunchbox, more than likely we have another lying around somewhere. We are not hungry. We have enough food in our cupboards to pack a lunch each day and thankfully we have the money necessary to purchase lunch at school if we don’t allow enough time to pack. Nutritional sustenance, material possessions, financial comfort, quality education, free transportation to and from school… How many people in this world would love to know that sort of security and privilege? And to top it all off, we stood together in the glorious expanse of morning’s lovely and soft-light glow. I’ll cherish the memories of moments like this once she is off on her own someday.

Teagan still goes to the middle school, so her day starts significantly later than her sister. The grandparents are visiting from up north this week. They agreed to honor Teagan’s request for a before-school breakfast venture and took her to the local smoothie shop this morning. Teagan has always valued one-on-one time with her favorite people. What a gift it is for these children to grow up with grandparents on both sides of the family. More than ever, I am acutely aware of the countless ways my grandparents have impacted my choices, my values and my interests in my own life. I’m so thankful to be here to witness this same process unfold as our children learn and grow from the devotion and love bestowed upon them by their Grands.

Jasper is still snoozing as I sit here clacking away at the keys. I went up to the kitchen for more java a few moments ago and I peered in on him. It’s striking how his once chunky baby thighs and dimpled ankles have stretched, seemingly over night into these unfamiliar elongated little boy legs. His once round, chubby cheeks now beginning to dissipate as his facial structure is extending from forehead to chin in such a remarkably profound way. Our baby turned toddler is transitioning to a busy little boy now. What an honor it is for me to raise this child, to have a hand in helping him foster his sensitive side and encourage him to experience the fulfillments associated with generosity and a peaceful approach to life.

I can’t imagine a better way to begin my 40th year here on earth, surrounded by the abundant gifts of family and nature and blessed with more than enough. Gratitude.


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