Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Rambling But Sincere Thank you

OKAY, Odie, That will be quite enough from you young lady! I think you went over board with those 50th Birthday posts just a tad bit, but it was fun while it lasted!

Birthdays in our family tend to get pushed to the side at times. It is not that we do not acknowledge them or buy card and such but we just have not taken the time to make a big deal out of them and we are fine with that.

We have always made a big deal out of Odie's birthdays and we still kind of do. She is our baby. We put on big family birthday parties for her every year until she was 10. We did another at 13, a surprise party in Wichita at 16, a surprise party in Joplin at 18 and a few more along the way.

Not so much with my birthdays and Kelly Jo's birthdays. We married when we were young and real life has a way of smacking you in the face and letting you know what things are really important and what things are kind of important and what things are not important at all.

Birthdays for us, fell way down the list. For me, I remember 10, 13, 16 and 18 were pretty special. I do not even remember the actual days of those birthdays but those were pretty big years. 10 is big because your finally 10. 13 is special because your a teenager. 16 is awesome because you can get your driver's license. 18 is cool because you are now an adult. All of those were a pretty big deal to me and I suppose they should be.

Oh, I also remember my 14th or 15th birthday because Dad and Mom surprised me with a party at the restaurant where Steve and I worked. That was way cool!

Beyond that, birthdays are just another day on the calendar and really not much more than that. Well, one purpose my birthday serves is to remind me that my car and bus license tags are expired and to check to make sure my driver's license is still valid.

I always got a kick out of the young people I worked with at GM in the 90's. They were so upset when the boss would not let them miss work on their birthday. They would say, "But it's my birthday, I HAVE to be off work on my birthday. You can't make me work on my birthday." 

I think that is so funny, especially when the supervisor did not even answer their childish demands. It might have been the first time in their life that they realized the world did not revolve around them. That is a good lesson to learn early in life.

I always wanted to say, we only get off work for the birthdays of dead presidents and Jesus. You are none of the above!

So birthdays kind of took a back seat for us. I do remember my 36th birthday in 2003. It was our first month back on the road and we were in revival in Weir, Kansas. Bro. James Fellers and his church gave me surprise party after church with cake and ice cream and gifts and money. I remember it because it overwhelmed me emotionally for some reason. I cried for hours, honestly.

I know there was one birthday (In the late 1990's probably) we went to Burbank's BBQ in Sharonville, Ohio and ate Fribs (Deep Fried Smoked Ribs, WOW!) and then went to hear the Isaacs in a little church in Cincinnati. I know it was very extremely cold, snowing hard, the ribs were tremendous, the crowd at the singing was small and the music was awesome. I do not have a clue which birthday it was. 

I have tried hard to remember specifics of my 20th birthday, my 30th birthday and my 40th birthday. I can not recall them a speck. The 50th birthday would have followed them swiftly into my fading memories without so much as a backward glance, except for Odie's efforts to pull friends and family together to make this one memorable. 

Because of your very kind and generous words on Saturday's post and Monday's post, I will never forget this Birthday. I do realize you are prejudiced. I do understand that your perception of me is clouded over by love. I know that. 

I know the people that love me freely and sincerely are a small percentage of the population in the world, of the USA, of Ohio and even the small town I am in this week. In the grand scheme of things, your the opinions expressed about me the last Monday and Saturday do not matter one iota to the world.

That is OK. Your words matter to me. Your kindness matters to me. Your love matters to me. Your respect matters to me. Your friendship, kindness and love affects me deeply.

Thank you, friends. You made me laugh. You made me cry. You made me weep very hard. You made me laugh again. You made me bow my head and thank God for His grace, His mercy, His love and for His people.

Thank you as well for all the texts, emails, phone calls, cards and comments. I appreciate them all. I think I responded to each one of them as they came but I want to make sure you know that I mean thank you.

Among the cards and letters and Acapulco gift card and gifts, I did receive a few things I will share with you here.

My brother Steve had this print made for me and gave it to me before we left home. This is the tent during City Reach Richton. It is awesome!

My mother purchased this print in Jerusalem in 1987. It is a sketch of King Herod's Temple in Jerusalem that replaced Solomon's Temple. It is amazing. She had it framed and presented it to me for my 50th birthday while we were still home in December.

The special words from my close family and friends are dear to me. You all covered me up the last few days. My mother sent me several texts yesterday that built and built on emotions of the day.

I will have to say that Kelly Jo takes the top prize. I told Kelly Jo many years ago that I would never step in a pulpit to preach without her respect. How can I have an ounce of hope that I will influence others if the one I live closest to and knows me best does not have confidence in me? 

Kelly Jo's words yesterday gave me confidence to run on for a while! I know that all of you are in my corner but knowing that girl is on my side makes me 10 feet tall and bullet proof! 

I love you, Kelly Jo. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Finally, my dear friends, Bro. Kenny and Sis. Joan Morris called me yesterday. Mama Joan sang to me and then Bro. Kenny gave me The Great Birthday Paradox: 

Here it is.

Birthdays are obviously hazardous to your health. If you have enough of them, they will kill you.

Yet, Birthdays must be good for you because, the more birthdays you have, the longer you live!

I will leave you with that. Thank you for reading.


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