Surrender 9: Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday. And a beautiful day it has been, from start to finish. I had the joy of spending the entire day doing things that I love. 

I awoke leisurely, and I was greeted by falling snow when I opened the blinds to let the world in. We only got a dusting, but how beautiful to sit sipping a steaming cup of hot tea and watch the swirl of snow through the windows. 


Throughout the day I received a steady stream of well wishes. My grandson Jonathan called and sang Happy Birthday, kicking off my celebratory mood. So far I have been the recipient of more than 400 birthday texts, Facebook posts, messages and phone calls. I am surrounded by love and joy.  

I replied to each post, text and message, and an interesting thing happened today, as I typed. As the words appeared on my phone’s screen I would whisper, “Thank you…(and add the name of the person who sent the message)….love and blessings to you.” I’ve never done that before. I’m not sure where the idea came from. I suddenly became aware of what I was saying. I liked sending a blessing to the giver and I surrendered to what was unfolding. Imagine how full my heart is tonight, after whispering those words more than 400 times! My joy overflows. 

I only left the house once today, and that was to attend the All-District Honor Band Concert this afternoon. Last fall 400 students from 27 different schools auditioned for honor band. Ninety-nine musicians were selected, including my grandson, Dayan. My daughter Elissa and son-in-law Josh picked me up and we made our way to the Joplin High School Performing Arts Center. I was excited to be inside this new building on the beautiful high school campus for the first time and I was in high anticipation for the concert. 
 Dayan, handsome in black, headed onstage. 

What a thrilling performance. Under the skillful direction of conductor Dr Rick Espinosa, the band moved the audience with “A Longford Legend”, “Shenandoah”, “Three Folk Miniatures” and “Pas Redouble”. We were on our feet cheering by the last musical piece. 

                      Listen to Pas Redouble here

These yearly concerts expand my heart, inspire me, and remind me of the importance of living fully as the person I am, offering my “music” to the world, while allowing everyone else to do the same. I tear up listening to these teens as they offer their beautiful gifts so soulfully. 

After only eight hours of rehearsals, playing music they have just received, joining in with other musicians and a conductor they’ve just met, they create a concert that astounds. Dr Espinosa, Director of Bands at MSSU, praised these students, saying they were the best honor band he’s ever had the privilege of conducting. He joked that he could take the band on the road and they could all make money! I was blessed to get to hear their performance today. What a birthday gift. 

Back at home I enjoyed the perfect afternoon tea…hot Scottish thistle tea, and a single piece of cake that I purchased yesterday at the market bakery. I’ve had a simple dinner, and I am content, still thanking people for their kind happy birthday wishes, continuing to send love and blessings back. I have a stack of coloring books and my jars of colored pencils nearby, and the next episode of Mozart in the Jungle ready to play. 

My birthday is my personal New Year’s Eve…a time to reflect on the last year of my life and feel gratitude for the experiences and the growth, before releasing the past. It’s a day to feel excitement for the perfect moment by moment unfolding of the upcoming year. It’s a day to be aware of my blessings, and they are many. Life is good. Happy Birthday to me!


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