Today is my birthday. My husband asked me what I wanted a couple of days ago and I couldn't think of anything to tell him. Sure, if I went to the mall, I'm sure I could find a new pair of shoes or some earrings that would go with an outfit. I'd love to, say, have a waist again, and I've always wanted to have concave ankles. Like beauty queens all over the world, I'd love it if I could blow out some candles and make a wish for world peace that would come true. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how blessed I am and that I truly don't "need" much of anything.
I live in paradise where God paints the most beautiful sunsets in the world. I have a home where I keep my stuff and I have my clean house, our vacation rental that I can escape to. I have my dream job. I am a writer. I write stuff and people read it, and sometimes they even send me fan mail. And dear little Edna in Oklahoma sends me letters in shaky handwriting wondering if I have written any new books. I have coordinated the timing of my columns and my menopausal mood swings so that my fan mail comes on the days when I need a lift. I am my own boss, set my own schedule, and as the title of this blog states, I don't even have to get dressed if I don't feel like it. I get opportunities to speak to people, which is so much fun. I get to teach classes at schools and see the sparks of future writers being lit.
Today I am going to sign a contract with Cedar Fort to publish my novel, Heaven Help Us! I decided to sign the contract on my birthday, even though it came in a couple of weeks ago, because it is a gift to have someone taking a chance on me. I hope this is the beginning of a long and wonderful business association.
I have six great kids and someone else gave birth to five of them. I look forward to the time I get to spend with each of them. All six of them are caring, kind, funny, unique people. They have brought other wonderful people into my life, their spouses and their children. Having grandchildren reminds me that it is not a bad thing to have to slow down as you get older, because you have time to look at a potato bug and read a story. I know that when my grandchildren grow up, they may think I am lame because I don't know who the latest singing group is and because I don't text (or whatever the kids will be doing by then), but right now, they love me with that wonderful unconditional love that you can only get from a little kid or a dog. I love being ten feet tall in someone's eyes. When I want to be fault-free, I go see my grandbabies.
My extended family is full of some of the most awesome people I know. Though I live far away, they are often in my thoughts, and I am even more grateful for the time I am able to spend with them because it is so rare. I have been blessed to still be close to many friends from my youth, and through my writing, I have the opportunity of making new friends all the time. I rejoice in opportunities I've had lately to reconnect with old friends, and even though I don't have the time to keep in touch with everyone the way I would like to, I figure that is part of what eternity is for.
I am blessed to have something I believe in, a religion that gives me reason to strive harder, hope for the future, the ability to survive difficulties and gives reason to my choices. It has lit the way when my own path was dark and allowed me to shine my light for others. Part of the reason most of my writing is to the LDS community is because that is what I know, but the other part is that then I have the hope that I am doing good in the world. I may get busy and spend a day wrapped up in mundane chores, but maybe somewhere my words are out there in the world, behind the scenes giving some small measure of help to someone.
I am blessed to have lived to be 54. I'm too old to die young, I know, but I've had a brother and a husband who left us sooner than we expected, and I am grateful for every year that God allows me to live and for the numerous guardian angels that have been on duty and kept me from being a candidate for one of the Darwin Awards. Every day I am grateful for the good husband by my side for the duration of this life. I thank God for bringing Thom into my life and me into his. I thank Him for the time we have already had together and ask that we'll have many more years together. I want to live to be a hundred if I can be with him.
They have a word for this. They call it happiness. I used to be afraid to use the "H word," to admit that I was happy. Because of difficult things I have endured, I worried that if I admitted I was happy, something bad would happen to balance it out. There are likely still all kinds of unsettling things to come, but not being happy now because they are coming is like not eating ice cream because it is going to melt.
So I want for my birthday the same thing President Monson wanted. I want people to go do something nice for someone and then tell me what they did. I want a jar of warm fuzzies. Sure, I won't be asked to talk about it in General Conference, and it will just be a little jar, but a few warm fuzzies go a long way, especially in Hawaii.