I started the trip out by visiting with Erica and baby Gia:
Just when I thought the weekend couldn't get better, Allison told me on Sunday that she had a surprise gift coming to me at the house. I had NO idea what in the world it could be. It turned out that she had been in touch back and forth with my dear friend, Claire, about commissioning her to do a painting of Brando for me. It brought me to tears:
To receive a gift like that from my sister, painted by such a beautiful friend, is just priceless. Claire is so talented and pours her heart into her work. Please visit her website here and check out her pieces. She is terrific!
I honestly lead such a blessed life and I'm surrounded by salt of the earth people. (Matt, if you're reading this, you and Brittany shot up to the top of that list. I'm so glad I got to spend time with you!) I know in life that it's so hard at times to focus on the things that matter. We get caught up in pain, heartache, anger, frustration, what is "fair" and not; we simply lose sight of what is grounded, real, and lasting. We're human and we make mistakes but I'm at a place in life where I'm committed to keeping perspective. I may not have things that others do but you know what? They may not have what I have, either. To me, my life is deeply rich and I know that god has blessed me abundantly. My biggest prayer for people is that they would just open their eyes and see the goodness all around. I pray that I always do as well and that I will never take for granted any moment I've been given.
Thank you so very much to the people who made my birthday (and make my life!) so extremely special. I love you so much and I am so grateful for who you are. I can't wait to celebrate together in another 30 years...and I love that I can say that and know the same people will be around. :) What a joy!