March 1st, 1975

Today marks the anniversary of the day I was born. While this may not be big news for the masses, birthdays are my time to evaluate, turn inward and unpack various facets of my journey thus far. I also make a point of celebrating. Life itself should be celebrated, and what better occasion than on the anniversary of our arrival here. Birthdays being akin to a personal holiday in honor of our part in this world, albeit quite small, are deserving of celebration.

gratitudeOn this particular anniversary, my reflections orbit around one significant word: Gratitude. Like most of you, my journey up until now has been a mixture of difficulties and struggles, blessings and opportunities; mistakes and losses, successes and triumphs; fights and confrontations, truces and surrenders. And what I’ve come to understand is that I must treasure all of it.

2015 was an extraordinarily trying year for me. I lost so much last year: Love, home, security, a lifestyle, and the ability to have children. The most troubling factor was that I came frighteningly close to losing hope. I experienced many moments where this one little four letter word was so far out of reach it may as well have never existed for me. Today, as I ponder 41 years here, I am nothing but grateful.

Blessings come to us in a surprisingly vast array of forms. As I begin to emotionally unpack last year’s struggles, I am astonished to find a freefall of blessings accompanying them; the most significant of which is a restoration of hope. This did not come in the form of an unexpected windfall of money, or a promotion at work or a new love interest. It came as an acceptance, contentment and appreciation for the simple beauty and love in the every day. I sensed a nudge to cultivate my longing for beauty while turning my eye to the small, the forgotten and the seemingly insignificant. With this slight adjustment, I have begun to recognize that love and beauty abounds throughout my journey from its very genesis, giving rise to a flood of hope overflowing to the outside world. For this, as well as a plethora of additional blessings, I am grateful.

I love the lyrics in the song, Through all of it, by Colton Dixon. This song is meaningful in a couple of ways. The most compelling being that I see it as a love song to my God, Creator and Savior. The following verse is especially significant because, in a very ordinary and authentic way, it expresses my view of God as a steady throughout my journey. And this, this alone should be enough to earn unending gratitude.

And this is who You are
More constant than the stars up in the sky
All these years of our lives
I look back and I see You
Right now I still do
And I’m always going to



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