February is my birth month and this year marks 47 years of living for this chick.
47 Years. Holy cow!!
Some of you are thinking: ‘that’s so old!’ and others are thinking: ‘that’s young!’ (I only know this, because a few of you have told me so … you know who you are!) I'm discovering it’s just the right age: I may not easily stay up until 2 in the morning anymore, but I definitely have a broader perspective then when I was 25.
I am learning, really learning what it means to be grateful for the precious gift each day brings and that possessions, although they may be fun and fabulous, are not as important as the people in my life and nurturing the relationships I’ve been given. This is cause for celebrating!! There’s a bit of a joke between my husband and I: the older I get, the longer the celebration continues. For the past decade, I’d say the average birthday celebration lasts about a week or three. A lunch or coffee date with a friend here, a dinner out with my man and some friends there, and – if I’m lucky, a meaningful birthday card received a week or two late by my Dad (it’s how we role)…you get the idea.
You might think that’s being spoiled or self-serving, and maybe you’re right. But let me ask you this: Why is it wrong/bad/spoiled or self-serving to celebrate the precious life you’ve been given? I’m not trying to be trite, but the Bible tells us to rejoice always, and to give thanks in all circumstances, and although we are to live humble lives, does that mean we aren’t to celebrate the wonderful gift of each day? So, why not the day God gave us life?
This year, the celebrating started early! Maybe not how you would define it, but it sure was a blessing to me. It came in the way of two commissions for artwork; both are first-time purchasers of my work: one client/collector in Oregon and one in South Carolina. I was floored when I received the requests! There is nothing I want more than to make a collector (new or repeat) pleased they choose me to provide a work of art for their home (or office, as the case is with one of my clients).
So, ask me if I celebrated? You better believe I did!! I gave thanks to God for providing the work, and then I promptly went out and bought the canvases and paints I needed to start each project…as well as 25 more canvases of varying sizes for all the other paintings I want to do, but haven’t actually sold!! (I can hear financial guru, Dave Ramsey, sitting on my shoulder, scolding me as I type!) As an artist, there’s real pleasure (and fear) associated with a bunch of blank canvases in your studio/work space. But I tell you, I have embraced it whole-heartedly, even though I emptied my bank account to do it! WOOO HOOO - Happy Birthday, to me!! lol...
Every day I'm in my studio creating on those canvases since that grand purchase, I am reminded of the gift of these collectors, and another mini-celebration happens right down to my core.
It's now a couple of weeks later, and I recently returned from two days in Los Angeles with my love, attending the LA Art Show for modern and fine contemporary art, visiting museums and eating some fabulous food. I just loved every part of our little adventure! But you know what was the absolute best part of this get away? Time with my man – this is another gift to me that doesn’t require fancy dinners or extravagant nights on the town (but I will receive them graciously, my love). Yes, I missed my kids when we're away, but the time I spent with my husband: experiencing something new, laughing, talking, holding hands and being in awe at the talent and gifts of some amazing artists, was and is the best gift I could ever be given by a human being. He is my partner and best friend - truly an amazing gift! I was so thankful he was willing to invest in celebrating my birthday in a way that shows he knows me and my heart so well.
Oh, so worth celebrating!
On our way home, we made plans and talked about the next few weeks and months and were silly with each other. When we picked up our kids, the fun continued with dinner and a movie rental and conversation about all they did in our absence (although, I think they considered it a gift when we left them with their friends, too!). Yes, there were arguments about bedtime and such, but kissing those kids of ours, praying with them and tucking them in…best end-of-day-gift for this mama. Do you know what I’m saying?
Again, totally worth celebrating!
I'm not going to deny it, I like receiving gifts and flowers for my birthday. But connecting with a friend or my family over a meal or adventure?? That is my love language, people! Time invested, intentionality, face-to-face interaction...that is the best (but honey, I will still take the massage gift certificate you gave me! Thank you!! I love you...)!
It’s another week later, and I still have a smile on my face from all the breakfasts, lunches and dinners I got to share with the very important people in my life celebrating the day the Lord brought me into this world. I am so richly blessed by these humans and the fact they wanted to celebrate with me, I'm overwhelmed! Each person, individually and collectively, sharpens me: on my Christian walk, as a wife, a mom, a friend and a person. They invest time in me, encourage me and sometimes correct me when I’m making poor choices. These beautiful people are all part of my inspiration every day, especially when I am in my studio painting and creating. They are a huge blessing in my life, even when they might not always be the easiest people to be with...but let’s face it, neither am I.
I can be cranky, demanding, extremely opinionated, and on particularly bad days, rather judge-y. All pretty ugly character traits. (Do you ever act like that?) I’m embarrassed to admit these truths to you, but I would be lying if I professed otherwise. Praise God that my friends and family are so forgiving! Praise God that He forgives those behaviors when they’re directed at Him. Jesus, himself said he was here to seek and save the lost. And my friends, I was lost…but grateful I’m found. This doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly become perfect. On the contrary! Now, I’m just acutely aware of those behaviors and less accepting of them in myself, which causes me to rely more on my Savior for strength and wisdom and less on me. This truly is the greatest gift of all - His love and grace!
So, my friends (new and old), let’s live this life to the fullest measure! Let’s love those people God has brought into our lives and find ways to be grateful, and celebrate; not for the parts of our relationships we feel may be lacking (which is something I’d like to address at a later date), but rejoice in the blessings we have been given! Even though they aren’t perfect, those humans in our lives are still a precious gift and our inspiration toward our unique creative outlets, thereby worthy of our investment and a cause for celebration. Can I get an AMEN??
Seeking beauty in the every day with you,
Featured Artwork: “Blossom at Night” 2’ x 2’, acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas, available at lynhiner.com. Prints and giclees available in a variety of sizes. Please inquire, if interested.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I will now be offering limited release giclee's (a fancy name for a reproduction of an original work of art, on canvas, embellished with paint), and prints on high-quality, archival paper of some of my work, including the painting above, and some of the work below. If you are interested, please let me know which piece and what size, and I'll send you a quote...