Hopeful Living

Thoughts From an Incredibly Ordinary Birthday…

(First, an update on my #write31dayschallenge!)

Every October I try to undertake the #write31days challenge, and every year I fail to post something every day! Ha! I still love the challenge and have benefited from it tremendously this year. I’ve even had a few epiphanies of sort from the challenge this go round…

  1. I really, really love to write, and I think I am finally beginning to find my voice and have some direction and purpose in this world wide web place. It has only taken me a few years. So, you know, no big deal! Ha!
  2. I really, really DON’T love trying to write and post things every.single.day! I’ve got 3 little kids, homeschooling full time, and somewhere in there I need to do some laundry and clean the kitchen and vacuum and…you get it.
  3. I do want to write everyday, in some capacity. It has been helpful in so many ways. Writing everyday and posting something on my blog everyday are two VERY different things, and I’m going for the former!
  4. I love, love, love talking about homeschooling and encouraging others on this journey or those headed in the homeschooling direction. Your kind words of how my series has been encouraging so far have been an absolute blessing. I can’t wait to share more with you about my story and things I have learned…

But, that’s not what I’m going to share about today!

In addition to the #write31days challenge that happens every year, another event happens every October, my birthday! October is birth month around here. It’s a time where all the free meal/treat/drink coupons come flood my email, and I dream and get excited for all that’s to come!

But, I’ve noticed something over the past few years.

Birthdays as an adult can, how should I say it?? They can kind of stink.
They can feel like just another day.


My birthday was last Wednesday, October 19th, and it was pretty much an incredibly ordinary day, except with some hilarity and lesson learning/reminding thrown in.

My Incredibly Ordinary 34th Birthday Tale

The day started out with me waking up at 8am, when I was supposed to wake up at 7am for a conference call with other leaders of Classical Conversations in my area. Starting out my birthday with a clear reminder that I am a mess and prone to making mistakes was not how I had envisioned the day beginning.

Next up, I cleaned. Not my house, but a friend’s house she and her family had just recently moved from. There was lots to do and she needed help. I was so happy to serve her in this practical way, but cleaning is maybe the most ordinary of ordinary things in life. (But again, I’m so glad I got to help!)

Speech therapy for Nathan was next. I did get a shower in before we left, so that was a win! After speech we went to Chick-fil-A where I got a free birthday cookie! Another win!

Grocery shopping at Walmart came next. Normal, normal stuff. Nathan, the almost 5 year old, announced he needed to go to the bathroom on our way home.  I told him to hold it as we were almost home.

We got home and Nathan didn’t seem to need to potty anymore and was just playing with his brother outside. Sometimes the urge passes, I get it. I was getting ready for our small group to come to our house when mr. Nathan came to me in his cute little Nathan talk and said,

“Umm, mom. So, I was playing bean bags with Owen and I had one more blue bag to throw, so I threw it, and then I pooped in my pants. And here is some on my finger.”

Wait, what?!?

In my head I was thinking, “Kid!!! Don’t you know it’s my birthday?!? Don’t you know I’m not supposed to clean up poop from an almost 5 year old on my birthday?!?” Not at all what I would have planned for this day. Not.at.all.

Nathan was a mess, so into the bathtub he went. After he was in, I heard the door open and my husband walk in, and then I heard my daughter oohing and ahhing over whatever it is that he has with him. I’m thinking it’s a bouquet of flowers, balloons, or a big thing of chocolate! I step out to greet him and see…


Yep. Definitely didn’t see that one coming!

My husband thought it would be fun for my birthday and to use when our community group friends came over that evening, and it actually was! It’s not what I would have planned, but it ended up being really great and so hilarious!

See, it’s huge! Huge piñata! 

I woke up late, I cleaned, we went to an appointment, we went grocery shopping, I cleaned up after my kid, I fellowshipped with friends. Other than the giant piñata, it was a completely ordinary day.

34 years on this earth have taught me a thing or 2, and some big reminders came on my birthday last week.

1. Birthdays, in all their glorious ordinaryness or even extraordinaryness, are evidence of God’s grace in giving us life. That fact is something to celebrate and cherish! So what if my day didn’t go exactly like I would have planned? My heart was beating, my lungs were breathing, my eyes saw beautiful things around me, and my hands were able to serve. None of those things should be taken for granted, and each should deepen my awe and wonder at the God who created me and everyone.

2. As much as I would like to make my birthday “all about me!” That’s not what it should be about, just like my whole life should not be “all about me!” I have a friend who is not a fan of celebrating birthdays. He likes to say something along the lines of, “what did you do on the day you were born? Nothing! It makes no sense to celebrate birthdays.”

Now, I don’t go as far as my friend does, but there is definitely some truth to it to consider. What should the focus be during our days, including birthdays? I am all about celebrating birthdays, but my heart was prone to complaining last week when things didn’t go the way I wanted. I’m a selfish mess sometimes, and that was made clear on my birthday. Spending time last week serving my friend, serving my son (even if it was a gross job), and just doing our normal things was actually really good for my heart. When I take the focus off of myself I am then much more free to think of others and consider their needs. I can love others with the love of Jesus and follow the example that He gave us:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Philippians 2:3-7

3. Getting older brings a realization of what is truly important. Calls and messages from family and friends and simple gifts from the kids have taken the place of big parties and elaborate gifts, and that’s ok! Cultivating relationships with the people God has placed in my life and being intentional there is so important. My favorite “gifts” on my birthday were the handmade cards from my kids, the phone calls, the text messages, and the recounting of sweet memories from dear friends. The people God has put in my life over the years are by far my greatest blessing and most undeserved gift.
Yes I love celebrating and parties, and you best bet when I turn 40 there will be some kind of big deal thrown! The difference now is that I don’t need those things to feel loved or to celebrate. No, simple and sweet will always be enough. For I’ve learned I’m learning to be content with the good things I already have.
Sometimes the unexpected, and even the unwanted, can end up being more wonderful and incredible than we could ever expect! I have SO many examples of this in my life (like being an unlikely homeschooler, right?!?), and I’m sure you are thinking of several instances of this from your life too! This birthday of mine was a rather simple, ordinary day, but it ended up being sweet in many ways. I will never forget the joy that huge piñata brought to the kids in our community group, especially to my Karis! I will never forget how excited Nathan was to give me 4 quarters and a dime! I will never forget how excited Owen was to show me his picture he drew of me drinking a huge cup of coffee! Those little things were so sweet and so meaningful.
My day started out with a reminder of my desperate need for God’s grace in my life still, and it ended with a reminder of the beautiful grace of God I already have in my life. He’s so good to give us Jesus, so good to give us His example, and so good to give us the life that He has.
May we never take one bit of it for granted.

martin luther canva quote.jpg


One thought on “Thoughts From an Incredibly Ordinary Birthday…

  1. Nice post, and a good reminder that, much as I might like to be queen for a day, real life can (and does) intrude, even on my birthday. This year was my father-in-law’s funeral the day before; needless to say, my own day got lost in the shuffle and I just had to keep reminding myself it’s not about me. At heart I think I’m still that little kid, waiting for Mom to show up at school with the cupcakes.

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