On Birthdays, Indulgences, and Praying in a Circle

It’s about 4 in the morning and I couldn’t sleep, even after going through my circle of prayer—the circle that normally finds me snoring before I get past our community. I think I’ve posted the circle of prayer before, but it’s worth a repeat.    I learned it as a middle-of-the-night-and-I-can’t-get-to-sleep-so-I’ll-fight-the-devil technique:

1) I pray for me

2) I pray for my husband

3) I pray for our kids

4) I pray for our families

5) I pray for our friends

6) I pray for our local community

7) I pray for our nation

8) I pray for the world




As you can see, the “circle” gets larger and larger. Again, I usually fall asleep before I’m finished, but it didn’t work this time.   


On yesterday, I celebrated my 43rd birthday. Often on Christmases, birthdays, and even Valentine’s Day—special days where we traditionally think of presents—I marvel at how much life changes as you get older. As a child when I’d ask my mother what she wanted for her birthday, she’d always say that she was just happy to be around another year. At the time, I thought that was pretty lame, but the years have shown me that she had a perspective that only years could provide. I recently got a prayer request in my e-mail for a family who lost their wife/mother, and among the children remaining is a baby that is only 3 months old. Being a part of a healthy, whole family was present enough for me, and my sisters’ conference call, with a harmonized “Birthday Song” medley (they sing beautifully) is a special treat every year. Even my sister who just started speaking to me again last summer (I blogged about that here) was on the line, ecstatic that her only child, my niece, is engaged to be married as of last Friday. Where does time go?




As much as I enjoyed just being around everyone, my superhero, along with the two younger kids, cooked me a fabulous meal–grilled salmon and a spinach salad. For years now, my husband and I have fasted and prayed on Mondays, so by the time they got it ready (extra little hands meant extra time), I was too starved to take a picture of it! Besides, the Food Network does it more justice:



grilled salmon with chinese barbecue sauce spinach salad




The food was excellent—a refreshingly different twist on one of my favorite meats.    I usually grill salmon after basting it with basil, lemon juice, and Nature’s seasoning, and of course, you’ve not grilled salmon until you’ve grilled it on a George Foreman grill—it takes out just the right amount of fat without drying out the meat—scrumptious.    While the food was to die for, the kitchen was a mess!    So while the superhero took our youngest to dance class, I cleaned it.   Although it was my birthday, I felt it was the least I could do to help—if nothing else, I was able to relax after the meal without stressing over the kitchen in such a state (smile).


The one thing I did ask for was a slice of one of my favorite cakes from The Cheesecake Factory.   They call it a Blackout Cake—3 layers of chocolate on chocolate with nuts and lots of whipped cream.    When I was totally out of control with sugar and food in general, we’d indulge in a slice once a month, and sometimes twice.   Now, praise God, I might get a slice 1-2 times a year. The youngest still thinks of birthdays in the traditional sense—a full cake with the “Happy Birthday” song, so she couldn’t understand one slice, but she understood whipped cream.    I let her have it, but then she started to tear into the cake.    I stopped her after the cake started to look like a mouse found it, and she insisted that we split it in half.   I told her—not in a mean way, just by way of explanation/ education– that she could finish the whipped cream, but what she left of the cake was mine.    I went on to say that the cake was a special present from Dad to me and that, just as I don’t ask her for half of her presents, it wasn’t fair of her to eat half of my cake.   Then I rationalized that she couldn’t possibly appreciate what that cake meant to me.    Not being able to enjoy as I wanted to meant that my husband made a 60-mile round-trip hike into town for an expensive slice of cake, and I’d be somewhat disappointed.    All she knew was that it was sweet—she would have been just as happy to eat the grocery store-bought popsicles in the freezer.    I’ve pondered my response ever since—was I being selfish?    Do I still need more deliverance from some issues with food?   I’m sure my introverted nature will meditate over this one far more than is necessary, but where I am right now is at peace with some earlier thoughts I had on boundaries, personal space, and not always being a “make-do” woman (more on that here).     I was given a gift that I didn’t hoard, but I also protected my own right to enjoy it for what it was.    We’ll all live, and it was a great birthday celebration.  


Anyway, it’s getting toward 6 a.m., and I’ve gotten through a 900-word blog entry and I’m going into my 2nd DVD; it will be time to get up soon.   Guess I’ll try to close my eyes once more.   God bless you today.



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3 thoughts on “On Birthdays, Indulgences, and Praying in a Circle

  1. Happy Belated Birthday! You're a year younger than me. : ) I find that I have trouble "wanting" much for myself on these occasions now, too (except for Lowe's gift cards to fix up my house. LOL!). I try to keep a running list on the frig, though, of little things I would like to have or need so that my girls have something to get. They get frustrated when we don't want anything. It is a joy to give to people we love.
    I think you were perfectly fine to eat your cake yourself. Oh, my, it made me want some! It was a special gift from your husband, who might not have been so happy that you let the children eat it, and besides, you did share it. And, no, she probably wouldn't have appreciated it near as much as you did! Also, though, we have to teach our children boundaries, and that they can't always have what belongs to others. I find it difficult sometimes within the confines of family to find the balance between teaching one to share and another to not expect what is not theirs! I understand your mother's heart, though, feeling a little guilty. Don't!

  2. I'm kicking myself over here for not wishing you this yesterday. For some reason, I thought it was the day AFTER mine. Anyhow, I'm glad you had such a wonderful day.

    By the way, I don't think there was anything wrong with denying your daughter the piece of cake. It's not like you were neglecting a poor, starving child who had nothing to eat. I'm the same way, so I understand why you'd consider that it may have been selfish, but I'm the classic "Make Do Woman", so don't mind me! 🙂

I'd love to hear your two cents!!