Another Birthday {CELEBRATE This Week: 146}

I’m glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.


I am thirty-nine.
Although the sentence is simple and I understand each word on its own, when I squish them together, they do not make sense.

I am almost forty.
It is a true statement, but feels like it needs a question mark.

I am almost forty?
That reads more true.

I thought I was turning thirty-six. Andy chuckled and said, “You blew by thirty-six awhile ago.”
“I don’t remember,” I said.
“Probably not,” he agreed. “You’ve had more important things to think about.”

I am thirty-nine.
It gives me pause. The days vaporize, and I’m left holding thirty-nine years.

My arms are full.
How do you unpack thirty-nine years in a few words?

I scroll through my photos, looking for one of me. Maybe the story of thirty-nine years will unfold in an image.  A few weeks back, Andy snapped a few pictures of me while I was finishing the latest revisions of my book.

There I am in the middle of our living room, the dog stretched out beside me, and I’m sorting-out chapter 18, trying to make it take shape. The only way I can get it to behave was to print a hard copy, and go after the parts with scissors and tape them back together. Then rewrite in on my computer. Sometimes hindsight is the only way to make sense of things.

I supposed it is appropriate that the picture I select is one of me in the midst of revision. This is the truth of the thirty-nine years I hold. They didn’t go how they were planned. I spend a lot of time rewriting and adjusting and making sense of things with hindsight and story and a handful of souls who somehow wiggled into my heart and became closest to me, even though I’m good at holding the world at a distance.

In my thirty-nine years, I’ve learned to rewrite my story over and over in order to make it stronger when things didn’t go as planned. I didn’t plan to marry that Andy Ayres. He was too wild, and I was too practical. I didn’t plan to be a momma to a baby grown in another woman’s body. I didn’t plan to adopt daughters who started life with another momma and followed a trail of hard. I didn’t plan to be a momma to a son who lived too many years without me and now holds my hand, his dark skin against my light, and says, “I’m glad I get to have you as my forever mom.” I didn’t even think about forever families, let alone plan to become one.

I didn’t plan to become an English teacher. I didn’t plan to write a book. I didn’t plan to start a blog. I didn’t plan to walk away just when that blog was gaining in popularity.

For someone who feels she is well-planned, looking at the thirty-nine years piled in my arms, it seems like the moments leading to a well-lived life were all unplanned and the story rewritten accordingly. The stories lining up on the pages in the photo wrap around my storylines of being a momma, writer, and teacher.

I am thirty-nine.
I hold the years and celebrate a life that didn’t go as planned and a story that is reshaped again and again. This is the beautiful mess of a life well-lived.

Thanks for celebrating with me.

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  1. Congrats on living the revised life…and celebrating it. After reading your post, I think we all sort of live a revised life-you nailed it! We begin writing our story on the day we are born, we have ideas of how it might go but then things change and we tailor each chapter to fit our needs. A great celebration Ruth!

  2. Happy Birthday, Ruth! Your story is turning into a beautiful one of faith and joy. Thanks for sharing it with so many and living it for God.

  3. Life is a mess and it rarely follows the path we think it should take. We can plan, but only God knows the true path life will take. I love reading your journey of your well-lived life. You have made a difference in so many lives, not just those you live with.

  4. Happy Birthday to you, Ruth!!! I agree with elsie's comment! I'm 44. I never thought this is where I'd be at 44, but I'm grateful for the journey I'm on. I love reading about your journey. Celebrate it! I struggled with turning 39 and 40, but I must say, there's nothing better than getting older. Life keeps getting better!!! HaPpY BiRtHdAy!!!

  5. So happy to celebrate another year of living with you! It is your juxtaposition of thoughts and words that often move me and cause me to think deeper still. Thoughts put side by side, like a well lived life that is unplanned and rewritten. There is truth there that resonates to all our stories. Then these contrasting words, beautiful and mess. There is freedom in embracing what at first glance seems contradictory. God uses you to speak part of Him to me!

  6. Happy Birthday one more time, Ruth. Life indeed is an adventure, and that makes it much more exciting, right? Have a lovely holiday weekend, too!

  7. A well lived life never goes as planned and is always being reshaped – that is what comes of living with a heart open to love…as you do.Happy Birthday, Ruth!

  8. You are thirty-nine and you are here and that's awesome. Happy thirty-nine years, dear friend. So glad to be celebrating this week and (most) every week with you. xoxo

  9. Happy Birthday dear Ruth, it is always a joy to hear how you celebrate your life. Our lives rarely turn out the way we envision, do they? But as you wrote their is so much beauty in looking at the revisions.

  10. Happy Birthday, dear friend. I'm celebrating with you the beautiful mess of a life well-lived. So glad that your storylines include WRITER! I'm one who is blessed by this part of your life since I'll always claim you as the person who nudged me along this writing path. Thank you!

  11. Congratulations on unraveling your 39 years of life through deep reflection as you step into 40! Life has its way of meandering and pushing forward without a stopping point. I am glad that you found time to pause and listen to your heartbeat, milestone moments and shared them with us.