A Most Amazing Birthday!

McCormick & Schmick's is a must try experience if you ever visit the Kansas City area. Though I may be a little partial to the place as that is where we celebrated my birthday with three other couples. It was a night full of precious and priceless memories. The night was cool and crisp with the stars sparkling in the night sky. It could have only been made more perfect if the Plaza lights had already been lit. The friends that went with us, David and Jennie Smith and Keith and Carrie Hanson had decided that as a small group we needed to do something a little crazy and have a night out without kids - I know shocking! We started talking about going to the Plaza a month earlier and finally decided that the only night we could all go would be Friday night, the 20th, my birthday. I was soooo excited. Not because we were going out on my birthday but just that we were going out. Wow, a night without cutting up someones dinner before I eat mine. A night without taking someone potty in the middle of dinner. A night without interruptions from squabbling kids.... a night with the man I love and our friends. WOW... Yep, I was pretty excited. Don't get me wrong. I love my kids with all my heart and wouldn't trade a moment with them - even the late night calls. Their little hands and precious faces pressed close to mine is a potent mixture for falling in love all over again. They are worth soooo much more than I could ever pen. But it is nice to get out and talk with friends if even for an hour or so.

The night of my birthday everyone was coming over to my house where we would car pool together down to the plaza. That week I had been feeverishly painting almost every room in my house so when my friends arrived I naturally showed off my new colors and upon my return trip back down the stairs thought I was seeing a mirage. My two girlfriends, Jennie Smith and Carrie Hanson, had arranged with our mutual friends Gary and Carrie Farris to show up for my birthday weekend. I saw her and SCREAMED! Then I flew into her arms and hugged her until I was sure the tears would flow and not stop. We stepped away just in time for the tears to NOT turn into Niagra Falls and then everyone started talking at the same time. I was so overwhelmed. It was such a blessing to have so much thought put into my birthday and here I wasn't expecting even a card from anyone. It was an awesome surprise. I spent a great protion of the night just running the moment of seeing Carrie standing in my door through my head - it sure beat pinching myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming! So, off we went down to the Plaza where we ate at Panera Bread and ended the night at McCormick & Schmick's. It was perfect. We went to McCormick to experience their special dessert, the Chocolate Sac. Talk about chocolate heaven! It is a chocolate sack shaped like a real brown bag and filled with creamy lucious white chocolate mousse and topped with fresh cut strawberries, raspberries blackberries and blueberries with a little cookie roll and raspberry sauce drizzeled over the top. DELICIOUS!!!!!!  We were given menues that even had Happy Birthday Martha written across the top. We spent the next hour and a half talkig, laughing and eating our dessert. Fun doesn't even begin to describe the time we had together. Jonathan and I are so blessed to have friendships with the Smith's, Hanson's and Farris's. God has richly blessed our lives in so many ways through them. It really was a perfect night. 

The night was over all too soon, but the fun did not stop. Gary and Carrie stayed until Tuesday afternoon. We spent as much time together as a group for the next three days. My house has so many more memories now than it did a week ago. We added four little giggling girls to our two girls and one boy. The Farris's stayed at our house Saturday thru Monday. When we were all together we had a total of four boys and eleven girls. Yep the girls rule!!! On Saturday night the guys watched a movie and the girls kept the kids. On Sunday the guys kept the kids - yep all 14 kids - we kept the baby with us - and the girls went shopping and for some girl talk. It was so wonderful. The time to say good bye came all too soon on Tuesday afternoon. It was a good thing it was such a blustery day (to borrow a Poohism) or I would have been crying as I hugged Carrie good bye again. As it was, I was so cold all my energy was going towards keeping me warm and I didn't have the energy to cry... then... later I shed a few tears. I know with all my heart that God will direct them and bring them to a place of rest. When that day is I don't know, but He does and until then I will pray earnestly that He will show Himself to them in mighty ways as they are in their wilderness journey.

If you are a believer then you are on a journey to become more Christlike. If you know that Jesus came to Earth as a baby and yet was still 100% God. If you know that He lived a sinless life and then chose to lay His life down for you and take your punishment on the cross. If you know that Jesus Christ also rose again on the thrid day and had victory over death and sin. If you not only know but believe with all your heart that Christ rose from the dead, you will be saved - eternally. The journey you are on will not always be easy. In fact I can promise it will be paved with many heartaches and joys. Ahhh, but those heartaches are when God carries you even if you can't see Him or feel Him. He has promised to never leave you or forsake you and He is God and can never break His promise. There is nothing more comforting to me than to know that I never have to face anything on my own - sometimes - in the hard times I just have to repeat it over and over again because I have a weak sinful heart and forget the awesome power of Christ who lives in me.  So on your journey, I pray that with each step you take you become more like Christ every day because when you do, even the heartaches become jewels in your life.

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