41 and 16 in the Bag!
A big thank you for all the birthday and anniversary wishes yesterday. Jen and I had a wonderful day with the girls. We went to the national aquarium in Baltimore then came home and made a dinner of crab cakes, steamed shrimp, and corn-on-the-cob. Perfect in every way.
And now that 41 and 16 are in the bag I have another whole year to make every day a celebration of life and marriage.
The Greatest Birthday Gift Ever!
Today is my birthday and my anniversary. I’m 41 and Jen and I have been married for 16 years.
I’m not one to put a lot of emphasis on birthdays. Really, for me it’s just another day. It’s a special day, don’t get me wrong. I took off work and we’ll do something special as a family. But it’s special more because it’s our anniversary than because it’s my birthday.
16 years ago I received the greatest birthday gift anyone could ask for: a wonderful woman as my wife. The woman God wanted for me. Like He brought Eve to Adam, God brought Jen to me. This was part of His great plan.
Every birthday I do a little reflection on my life thus far. And every year I come to the same conclusion: I’d be as dumb as a rock and blind as an earthworm if I didn’t see God’s fingerprints all over my life.
To sum it up in three words . . . I’ve been blessed.
Raised by wonderful parents; a full-time job I enjoy; survived cancer; overcame stuttering; published author; best friend for a wife; four beautiful daughters. Saved by God’s grace and promised eternal life in paradise. None of it deserved. All of it a free gift. A blessing.
For me, today is not a celebration of how many years I’ve been on this earth and how many years Jen and I have kept our promise to each other. It’s a celebration of God’s goodness, His faithfulness, His patience and love and kindness. He is the focus of the day!
Winner of Books Announced
First of all, thank you so much for your birthday and anniversary wishes both on this blog and Facebook and Twitter. We had a wonderful week on Maryland’s eastern shore just relaxing and spending time together as a family. It was one of those vacations you don’t want to end but reality knocks on the door and won’t be turned away. Life, with all its responsbilities and bills and schedules and duties will not be ignored.
Enougt of that, though, and on to the winners of the books.
The winner of a copy of Frantic is Whitney!
The winners of Rearview are Kyle W. and Ryan K.!
Congratulations to each of you. I’ll be contacting you shortly for you information. Thank you everyone for the kind comments you left. You uplifted me . . . again!
Two Major Landmarks, Cause for Reflection
When I was a kid, 40 years old seemed ancient. It doesn’t seem so old anymore. It’s funny, mentally, I swear I’m still in my twenties, and most of the time, physically, I feel like I’m spot on, but there are times (and they’re becoming more frequent), where I know my birthdate is wrong, someone screwed up my birth certificate, my parents lied to me . . . because this must be what fifty feels like.
I think 40 is an age where most people pause to take stock of their life. To reflect on where they’ve been, what they’ve accomplished, and how much more living they want to do. I’ve been doing a lot of this lately.
Looking back I can’t help but feel incredibly blessed and humbled. I have four beautiful daughters, six published books, and beat colon cancer. I’ve been married to a wonderful, loyal, faithful, loving wife for fifteen years (today is our anniversary as well as my birthday). I’m still amazed by how patient and tender Jen was during our battle with cancer. I’ve had the opportunity to work in a field where I touch people’s lives every day. I’ve worked with and met some of the best and most interesting folks you can imagine. And I still wake up every morning anxious to see what the day will hold.
But looking forward is when I feel the anxiety begin to creep in. I’m a restless person by nature, always wanting to push myself, to cover new ground, expand, progress, conquer new challenges, and to me, the future looks fuzzy. And that makes me uncomfortable.
There’s so much more I want to accomplish, so many goals that have yet to be reached, and forty is a reminder that time is running short. Half-time is over and the second half will rush by faster than the first half did.
So where do I go? Well, I set aside my own agenda, my goals, my plans, and follow God’s. After all, my life is his, not my own. He’s calling the shots. I need to align myself with his will, not the other way around. I may not get to do all the things I’d like to but I’ll give my all to the things I am called to do. And every day I’ll continue to pray three things:
- Bless me
- Use me
- Keep me from evil
So to celebrate my birthday and anniversary I’d like to give a way a couple things:
- a signed copy of my latest full-length thriller, FRANTIC,
- and 2 copies of my recently-released novella, REARVIEW.
All you have to do is leave a comment below to be entered. This contest will run through Friday night and the winners will be announced on Saturday.
Celebrating Some Milestones
Milestones come and go in life, some we stop to celebrate, some we rush right by. Today, I reach two milestones, and I’m gonna stop to celebrate them.
One, Jen and I celebrate our 13th anniversary. Yes, it was 13 years ago today that I said those two words that would forever change my life. Do you ever think back and wonder what your life would be like today if you hadn’t made the choices you made all those years ago? What kind of a person would I be today if I’d never made a choice to follow Christ? Where would I be if I’d given up on my writing after the umpteenth rejection? What would I be like if I said “I don’t” instead of “I do”?
Obviously, I don’t know the answer to that last question, but what I do know is that I wouldn’t be where I am today. Jen is such a huge part of who I am and where I am today. She motivates me, encourages me, chastises me (when I need and deserve it), keeps me grounded, keeps me pointed in the right direction, and keeps me happy. For 13 years she’s kept her promise, through better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health.
The second thing I’m celebrating today is living to see another birthday. Yes, we got married on my birthday. I turn 38 today and I’m going to finally prove I’m a real pistol, a .38 Special!
We’re going to celebrate my birthday and our anniversary here in Maine by taking a cruise on a lobster boat and stuffing ourselves with seafood afterward. The weather here is sunny and in the low 70s and I wouldn’t want to celebrate this day any other way. The last time we were in Maine was three years ago, a year before we found out I had colon cancer. It’s odd to think that even then that monster was growing in me and I had no idea. But it’s gone now and we can celebrate . . . celebrate life!