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Last week my mother rose early, while we slept and the world outside changed slowly to the gray light of morning. When I emerged she was just slipping a carrot cake into the oven that she had made from scratch–including peeling and grating the carrots. Cream cheese frosting was in a bowl nearby. We stayed with them last week and despite the heartache and the schedules that called for another rushed departure, it was my DH’s birthday with mine the next day. She had gotten up to make us our favorite cake so that our days would not go by without some form of celebration.

We waited for the cake to cool so she could frost it, then sat my DH down, took pictures, and sang “Happy Birthday” to him. Then he rose and told me to sit there. Thinking he wanted me to cut the cake, I did, only to find it was my turn for pictures and a song! Too funny!

We had birthday cake and orange juice for breakfast before hurrying off, but we were also fed by the love of my mother’s gift.

Some other highlights were: when my neighbor stopped by to bring me a gift and sat and listened while I shared with her about some of the best parts of this last week; friends that have sent prayers, messages, and phone calls; a neighbor that dropped by with an apple and warm carmel sauce (yum); the time when the school vice principal stopped to express her condolances and left me with a needed thought; and this morning when the school principal tracked me down (he finally found me on a couch in the second floor library, hidden around corners) to bring me a card and wish me a late happy birthday.

Then today my son and daughter-in-law took me to lunch. My son even put gas in my car for me. 🙂

These gifts of self are what brings beauty to life. They cheer and strengthen a weary heart, affirm a friendship, and bring light into a dull day. And heaven tips it’s vessel and pours blessings down.

May you all receive when you are in need, and give whenever you can.