Monday, April 21, 2008

A Time to Celebrate Life

Hello friends,

Today is my birthday. I'm 62 years young. It's amazing how my hopes and dreams have changed in the last 40 years. I used to want to sky dive, ice skate, become a police officer, become a movie star, and a host of other fascinating endeavors.

Today, I can honestly say that my life is full. My dreams are more direct and filled with hope. You see, I want to live another day. I want to awaken and sip that first cup of coffee with the man that I have loved nearly half of my life. I want to laugh and design gardens with my children - my beautiful girls, who are now women. I want to play with our puppies and chase them down the hall. I want to be with my family for many years to come.

It's true that I am a writer, semi-successful, yet I couldn't pay the rent with the money I earn. However, some years are more lucrative than others, and that is usually when I go wild and plan another garden. God is good. Very good. He supplies our needs on a daily basis. I don't believe in self-actualization (just trying to spell it is a challenge). I was once self actualized. That lasted about 15 minutes, and then I was crying out to God for salvation.

That's another thing. Salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus, is the greatest gift in my life. And then, to think that God would also give me the love of my life and the sweetest, most devoted daughters any woman could want. These are the real gifts of God. As the Bible says, he (or she) who depends on wealth for happiness has received their reward. He also said that with God all things are possible.

The things I don't like on my 62nd birthday are legion. Here are a few:

T.V. Hell at 2:00 in the morning; commercials that fail to make me laugh, smile, or cry; T.V. commentators, whose opinion passes for news; pornography, which assaults me and other writers on the web; liars, who pretend one thing and do another; a false either love someone, and are loyal...or you don't love at all; a thief, especially one who steals from family or friends.

The things I love: honesty; integrity; honor; and truth; a heart that is true; a mind that is centered on honor and truth; laughter, especially at myself; warm hugs; kindness; respect, both given and received; forgiveness (which, unfortunately, may happen in the heart and have to stay there for safety's sake).

There are many, many more things that I love...the birds and critters in my garden; lilies and wildflower gardens; the sounds of water gardens, the bird songs, pouring rain, and the sounds of my loved ones' voices.

There are things that I have lost, in my middle years. I've lost my sense of smell, due to neurological issues. I miss it. Think about it. Think about the scents that you love: the smell of your spouse's hair or cologne; the scent of a flower, and all of those things that make your mouth water. Chocolate. Yum. Hot bread, right from the oven; melting butter, bakeries and baked goods. Oh, I could go on and on.

Do you realize that every person has a unique scent, and someone loves that about you? It is said that memories are stimulated by a familiar scent. Walk down the hall of an elementary school, and see if you don't smell the mixture of crayons, sweat, and library paste. See if it does not take you back.

Today is the day that I officially retire. That's laughable, quite frankly, since I have been unable to do many things for a long time. However, I look at my retirement as a time of renewal. I will write more and submit more manuscripts. I'm used to rejection by now, so what have I to fear? I will trust in God more, and I will strive to put Him first in my life. I will love my husband even more, if that is possible. I will cherish my children even more than I ever have. I will close the door on my painful past, and I will celebrate life here and now. The future belongs to God, but He has given me the great gift of today. So, today, I will celebrate my life, with all my struggles and triumphs. I will thank God, today for each of His gifts.

So, look around you, in your world. See the gifts that God has given you. And, if you can only see the gift of your own life, then celebrate that. Celebrate your life. You are precious to God, and frankly, even though I don't know who you are, you are precious to me.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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