A Little Extra Love

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17
God loved on me a little extra last week.  It was one of those weeks that was filled with surprises and excitement, happiness and joy, peace and love.

Elizabeth Marchman Football #1
In Indianapolis November 14th for the Colts game.

And a birthday.  Last Thursday, it turns out, I have spent 40 years on this earth.  Twenty years ago, I would have thought it would surely be the death of me to turn such a old and ugly age, but I have found that with each decade that passes, things truly get better with age.  Personally all my “decade” birthdays have been excellent years, but just between me and you, I don’t remember my tenth year perfectly, but I am certain that it was good.

I don’t know when the change began, but I have noticed in the past month that I have become comfortable being me.  I have always considered myself a middle of the road kind of person.  Nothing really special or great and nothing really terrible or bad.  Just average.  Being myself has not always been an easy task.  I have never had a very high opinion of myself.  I have always thought I was somewhat like a chameleon- ever changing to blend into my surroundings.  I was happy to float under the radar.  I enjoy attention (I mean who doesn’t?), but I never know what to do when I get too much.  I feel awkward.  This past week though I was showered with attention and love and gifts.  I am going to share some of them with you.  Some may leave you scratching your head thinking – what is the big deal about that? The point, I believe you will find, is that they were all God inspired and He left His fingerprints everywhere.  It made me feel as if I was the only one He was paying attention to this week.  I felt special and, not for a moment, awkward.  This week, for the first time ever, I found God in my birthday.

It all began on Friday the 3rd.  I woke up with my husband’s cold and was unable to attend my journaling group’s monthly meeting.  However, it didn’t stop everyone else from celebrating.  A friend dropped by afterward and brought my gifts.  Everyone had given me 40 of something – mostly chocolate – (yeah!).  I even got 40 pencils so I have no excuse not to write everyday.  Then came the weekend.  I spent the weekend nursing a cold while my husband did all kinds of things for me.  He even fixed a cracked toilet seat.  For me, this was a great start to my birthday week.  In this household, I usually do these things.  Randy is a financial whiz, but construction and repairs of any kind – we will just say, I usually enjoy those projects a little more than he does.  On Tuesday, gifts poured down like rain from a summer thunderstorm.   They were little things – Logan and I went to the post office and Chick-fil-a is right next door.  Now I have been craving a chicken biscuit for weeks and my rear-end has threatened me if I so much as think about going to get one…but my craving won and I still fit into my jeans.  Of course, we were running late, it was almost 11am and I was sure there were no biscuits left from breakfast. There never are.  But on Wonderful, Glorious Tuesday, there was one.  One. So Logan graciously gave it up for a sandwich instead.  I know – little things make me happy, but it tasted soooo good.  In my change, I received a 1967 half dollar.  I have not received a half dollar in change since I can’t even remember when. When I was little, my Papa used to fill little outstretched grandkid hands with these magical coins.  I still have one in my jewelry box with a $2 bill my Granny gave to me.  It brought back all those memories of climbing around in the attic of their old house and Papa climbing up there with us to tell us ghost stories.  The dust would swirl in the light at the edges of dark corners as we listened to stories about creaking bones and footfalls on the stairs. I remembered Papa’s dog, Tiny, who would “sit like a human” right next to him on the sofa while they watched the television and Granny’s nut roll at Christmas and the perfect dressing she always made when she roasted a chicken.  She used the broth and added all those wonderful bits of moist, tender chicken.  My mouth is starting to water right now and I am thinking that soup may not satisfy me for dinner tonight.  That old worn out coin in my hand brought back childhood memories and it began a pattern of thinking about how of these little things form a shroud around me.  Each year is another layer added and my shape changes. I have accumulated scars, opinions, attitudes, knowledge and wisdom – among other things.  It all melts together and each new year of my life transforms me into this person I sometimes fail to recognize.  In the mirror, I look so different. In my stomach, I used to feel this panic.  No.  Not forty.  Not yet.  Rewind the clock.  Stop the clock.  Just stop it for a little while and let me catch up to where the year tells me I am, but my head tells me that it is still running the numbers and not to panic just yet because we must have added or subtracted something wrong.  So very wrong.  But I remember the three “wisdom” hairs I found a few months ago and my heart whispers that there has been no mistake.  I can’t see them now, but by the summer the perfect dye job will fade in the sun and the heat while I garden.  I am certain those three will have company come July.

Elizabeth Marchman Insect Art #1

On Tuesday, I also received my first Christmas gift of the year.  Before Logan and I left, he was standing outside drinking his coffee and I stepped out to tell him something.  Right next to the door was this beautiful table with a dragonfly on it.  Back in September, I met a new friend and she is an artist.  She lives across the street.  While I was working on my rock wall and garden, she would come over and we would chat.  The table is so beautiful and fits perfectly in my writing room next to my chair.  Wednesday brought the decorating of the Christmas tree.  Normally, we would do this on my birthday. It has always been tradition every since I can remember.  I really wanted to wake up to the tree decorated on my birthday so we did it the evening before this year.  I had already decided on my gift.  I had originally wanted to have a big, fancy party with all my friends and lots of cake.  I opted for something else.  I asked for something I really want…and need.

A handyman.  

Laugh all you want, but I will direct you to the above paragraph where it states very plainly that I do the construction and repairs in this house.  This is the best gift I could have been given because our house is older than I am and it needs a little extra love.  Well – love may not do it.  I have a million and one projects that need to be finished.  My husband has given me the gift of time so can write.  That tells me he believes in me, he believes in my dream, he wants me to succeed.  So on Thursday night, while Logan hung out with friends, we rang in my new year, my fortieth year, at our favorite restaurant – The Blue Iguana – and it was the best date we have had in a long time.  I felt as if I were 21 and had my whole life in front of me.  It gave me time to dream about what I would do with another 40 years.  It made me think about being 80 and all the wisdom hairs I will have then.  It made me miss my Granddaddy and Grandma.  It made me miss listening to Granddaddy reading his Bible to us and teaching us about the Roman Road to Salvation.  It made me think about the only real wisdom I have, but can not even claim as my own. Now I will share it with you…..

My grandma always said this, “Be grateful for every year you are alive and the moment you wake up dead, be grateful you were right with the Lord.”

Elizabeth Marchman Clouds #1It is the only real wisdom I possess.  I want to believe I have lived long enough to always be right, but I know that the Lord has so many more things to teach me.  I am excited to look ahead to my future.  I feel at peace with who I am.  I look forward to a whole year of being 40.  On Friday, my friend and I went to The Pink Bicycle for tea to celebrate my 40 years.  Another gift – really good Christian friends. Friends you don’t have to explain anything to because they just know you that well. Snow flurries whirled around in the wind and the clouds were thick and gray.  But it didn’t bother me a bit.  Those were the first snow flakes of the season and they floated down to earth on a perfect December day- a final little birthday gift from above, a reminder that happiness is found in the simplest of things.  Last week, I found God in every day.  I found Him in half-dollars and memories.  I found Him in my husband and my son, my birthday e-mails, cards, Facebook messages and texts.  I found Him in friends, old and new.  I found Him in my Christmas tree. I found Him in a perfect white snowflake that landed on my nose.

Elizabeth Marchman 15th wedding anniversary #1
15th wedding anniversary dinner at Oceanaire in Indianapolis

Today, I look in the mirror and I find Him in me.  I look past the crow’s feet and the dyed wisdom hairs, the scars and the rear-end that reminds me it could be just a little bit smaller.  I look past the shroud that covers and visually defines me to others at a glance.  I look deeper.  I look at my spirit and I see a soft glow that one day I hope will be a bright light.  I look forward to meeting Jesus one day.  I look forward to telling God face to face that I am so very grateful for the life he gave me.  And I hope that when he looks at me, He will be pleased with the way I lived my life, that He will be proud and count me as worthy enough.

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