Turn up because today’s my day. This is what the cool kids say, and I’m sure if there is anyone under 25 reading this, he or she is LOL that I said, “turn up.” I probably didn’t even use it correctly. Today I will probably turn up the radio a little louder on the way to the dermatologist for my annual check. So there young’uns. I’m turning up! A former student texted me this morning that I had reason to party tonight, so I guess I can watch not one but two episodes of Friday Night Lights tonight while eating cake with a tea light candle because that’s all I could find. I’m cool like that.
This is a big year for me, actually the year before the big year. 49. As I think about turning 50 next year, I want to devote this year to doing some type of weekly activity to help me prepare for being 50. I have considered several things: eating a different type of cheesecake for 50 weeks, running 50 races (didn’t take too long to dismiss this idea), reading 50 books, taking 50 trips (Scott vetoed this one), or doing 50 random acts of kindness all entered my mind¸ but God whispered something else in my soul over and over.
If you haven’t realized yet, I am a type A personality. I don’t sit still well. I am a doer. If you tell me I can’t do it, I will try all the harder to prove you wrong (unless it’s running a sub 5 hour marathon in which case I will raise the white flag while eating a bag of chips). My ushering in 50 project is a very type B project because it requires more noticing and thinking than doing. This will be a great exercise and challenge for me in preparation for the big 50.
50 Glimpses of Grace. For the next year I plan to take time for 50 weeks to stop and reflect on God’s grace in my life. Trust me, I would rather be doing 50 great things to make a difference in the world, but the older I get, I am feeling the need to step back and be cognizant of how blessed I am by the grace of God in my daily life. I’m not talking about the Lord blessed me with a new car (which he hasn’t) or a Facebook perfect family (which I don’t have) or tickets to see Luke Bryan (sorry Brandon, I know this embarrasses you) this weekend (which must be lost in the mail). I’m talking about grace when life is not picture perfect. This is when most of us overlook God’s grace and pray that the trials in our lives will be removed, but God’s grace is there just as when life is good.
I plan on writing a reflection for each of the 50 glimpses of grace that I see. I may or may not post some of these reflections, and if I do, it will only be as an encouragement to look into the daily grind for grace as I am reminding myself to do this year. I do, however, want to finish this post with glimpse #1.
Glimpses of Grace #1 – A 49th birthday.
Some friends have trouble with their birthdays but not me. I love birthdays! When I was younger, I use to say, “Having birthdays is better than the alternative.” However, now that I’m older and because of my belief system, I now realize that is not true. Seeing many of my friends cross over to real life as opposed to earthly life, I know the best is yet to come, but while I am here and continuing to have birthdays, I want to make every year count more than the year before.
According to the CIA, people born in Chad, Guinea-Bissau, and South Africa have a life expectancy of 49. Afghanistan barely edges out these countries with life expectancy of 50. I am blessed to be celebrating a 49th birthday. I also have the privilege of eating cake1, opening presents, and having a lovely dinner with my family. God’s grace. The year ahead is full of opportunities to love people, invest in the next generation, and live loudly (this is both literal and metaphoric). God’s grace in another year of life.
Happy birthday to me!
1For the last several years my birthday cake has come from Dean’s Cake House in Andalusia, Alabama. The seven layer caramel cake is divine, but her red velvet is also outrageous! You can buy these cakes in gas stations across Alabama, so if you are ever heading on 85 South, you must get one!! Here’s a link to the website because I know this sounds like some Alabama joke, but it’s not. http://deanscakehouse.com/