Monday, April 20, 2009

the eve of my 38th

First things first...

Charlie's Aunt Nancy turns 71 on 4/19. I turn 38 on 4/20. I think that it's interesting since Nancy was born in 1938 and I was born in 1971.

Happy Birthday Aunt Nancy!

(It took us two days to decipher that the inscription inside your Christmas card read that you enjoy reading my blog. It was either that or, you enjoy smoked frog?)

The winner of the PBK table and chair set as determined by the awesomeness that is Random Generator is Jill Jones!

Jill, please drop me an e-mail as soon as possible to with the address you would like your new table and chairs shipped to, along with the color selection you would like. Espresso or white and green?

Thank you to EVERYONE who participated in this contest. I am so appreciative of your contributions to this cause.

A very special thanks is reserved for Stephanie in North Dakota who has donated at least $500.00 across the three of us since the inception of these contests. And thus far, all Stephanie has to show for her overwhelming generosity is one of my hand knit scarves. But rest assured, I have a special prize I'll be mailing to Stephanie, soon. And no, it's not a four-year-old that likes to poop on the patio.

(Although I do have more than one.)

In other news...

Tomorrow, I turn 38-years old.

(Actually, it's now today. How is it so late already?!)

I've written before how in my 10th grade year of high school, a guy that was in my geometry class turned around and out of the blue said, "I just had a premonition that you are going to die in a plane crash when you are 38."

HOLY CRAP. How do you respond to something like that?

"Huh. Really? So, how about those isosceles triangles? Are they crazy or WHAT?"

I was only 16-years old at the time and thirty eight seemed like a long way away. But man, it sure got here fast. Oddly enough, although I've forgotten most of what happened in highschool, I've never forgotten the words that a shaggy haired, REM-Beatles-Violent Femmes loving, Will Brown told me.

I think about it every time I book a flight. I think about it every time I get on a plane and wonder what it would feel like to fall from the sky. I think about it every time I look up in to the clouds and watch aircraft overhead. I think about it whenever I hear stories of a plane that crashed.

Whenever I see the news clips of the crash and victims, in my mind's eye, I can see them flashing up a picture of me and the family that I've hopefully, left behind. Hopefully, because it's too painful to even imagine that my family was on the doomed plane with me.

For a girl that use to fly all the time and had once dreamed of learning to fly one day herself, suddenly the thought of being in, on, or around a plane made me nauseous.

Maybe Will Brown really did have a vision that something bad was going to happen to me 22 years down the road. Or maybe Will Brown was just pulling a teenage prank. Regardless of the case - I don't hold any ill feelings against him.

Because this much is true.

Every year that passes, regardless of whether or not I perish in a plane, I genuinely think - how much time do I really have left?

Having this little reminder in my mind that one day I will die - and it might actually happen sooner than I'd expect and/or prefer - has been an interesting stimulus.

It has made me embrace my spirituality and ponder some very deep questions about God and my purpose for being here. It has made me think a lot about how I live my life and what kind of example I am setting for my children.

It has made me very thankful that I've taken the time to keep up a blog, so that when I do bite it, my children will always have a portion of their lives recorded and will hopefully, know a little of who I was, through my writing. It has made me finalize my Will. It has made me take a lot of pictures and is the catalyst for a 6,000-mile cross-country adventure we are planning to take, this summer.

It has made me mindful of living simply and intentionally.

(Or at least, trying my best.)

I hug my children often and I consciously savor the moment, by burning it in to my memory and heart. I tell my husband that I love him dearly and that he is one of the best things to have ever happened to me.

I try to live within my means, but donate to charity in an effort to remain mindful of the world around me. Another pair of shoes for me, isn't nearly as important as a pair of shoes for someone who doesn't have any at all. Overall, I try to live my life such that my overall existence is more positive than not.

This very well could be my last year. I truly hope not.

But either way, let's eat cake!!


Now please, riddle me this.

How would you live your life if you knew that this year was your last?

Would you do anything differently? Would you do anything that you've been putting off?


  1. happy b'day jen!remember, what ever happens, it not the time we spend here but how we spend it is more important. i too am 38, and still feel 16.i am sure u r going to live long enough to see ur grandkids savouring each detail of ur writing as much as u have enjoyed lovingly writing them. thanks for taking so many of us on this truly amazing trip that is ur life and making us realise our treasures too!happy b'day once again, God bless u!

  2. I'm not sure what I would do...probably forget about any and everything but playing with my kids and loving my husband, but you already take the time to do that!

  3. Happy birthday! It is my son's 4th birthday tomorrow (21st)This is definitely a great time of year to be born! :-)

    This time last year I started dating someone who was in remission from Leukaemia. Unfortunately, about a month after we met he had a re-lapse, and at the beginning of the summer went into hospital to fight the disease a second time. He fought long and hard but sadly he passed away in October having lost his battle and we never got to do any of the cool stuff we planned to do together when he got better. Meeting him and having him in my life taught me that you really shouldn't take time and your health for granted as you never know what is going to happen. These days I make the most of everything and to a certain degree, I do live life as if this year was my last. Two years ago I made some massive changes in my life (left my lying cheating in the closet husband, moved from my home in Japan to London, basically started life from scratch) and I can honestly say that if I were to die tomorrow, my only regret would be not having more time with my son, and that I would be leaving him behind. Like you, I take nothing for granted and it isn't a bad way to be as everyone in my life knows how much I appreciate them.

  4. Happy Birthday!! And what a fantastic month April is - I will be 21 on the 22nd.
    This year is my last year of university which means not much time for anything other than study. But if it were my last year full stop...
    Well. You have inspired me to exercise more, not just to keep fit, but because it is fun. The crippling pain the day/s after is FUN!! This past week I've been on a 6km run/walk chasing 14y-o cross-country-training twin girls, and a 10km bike ride (with a chocolate fudge brownie icecream interlude). We go past a "rope grid climbing frame thing" on our route (next to the river) which we climb up and hang off. We usually hang off this talking about boys, school, what I remember the twins being like when they were babies, etc., until we get sore, and it such fun!! Who would have thought something so simple could be so much fun?
    Several months ago I was asked what I like to do for fun and I couldn't answer. So, this year I plan to have as much fun as possible, whatever that may be.

    I hope you have a bucketful of fun in this next year of your life!!
    Taylor (Australia)

  5. Happy 38th! I turned 40 in December and think it is the best age ever! If I have only a year to live I will make sure that I spend it loving a lot and not sweating over the small stuff.

  6. Happy birthday to you.
    I like your blog seeing what happened each day. Thank God let me come here. By the way, my birthday has just passed in 3/31.
    I am trying to understand every chapter and thank you recording you and your family's daily life here.
    Yumei from Taiwan

  7. Like you are planning to do I would travel cross-country. My husband and I did it once but we were in separate cars so it wasn't much fun. I'd like to go and visit CHEESY stuff like the World's largest frying pan. :)


    don't worry about crashing in a plane. If I had a year to live, I certainly would NOT be running a marathon!!!!!

    I didn't realize we were born in the same year.

  9. Happy Birthday :-) I hope you have an uneventful, fantastic day.. (and that the kids don't poop anywhere least for today)

  10. Happy Birthday Jen! I remember oh-not-that-long-ago on this day in April, my mother wrote on the back of a white paper bag, "It's a Girl" with your weight, length and time of birth. She hung it on the back door on Walnut Street so everyone would know that you had arrived! You were just about the cutest baby I had ever seen. I remember asking my mother if I could skip school so I could push you around in the pram all day. That wasn't 38 years ago.....that was just yesterday.......wasn't it?

    Happy B-Day "Tweet"!!



  11. Happy Birthday Jen! Have you Facebooked Will Brown yet and tracked him down???!!! You should!

    We've lived every year like it's our last since my mom died. That's why we sold our business and drove around the country in a motor home and have spent these years at home raising the kids.

    My birthday is on Saturday! I'll share that cake with you!

  12. Happy Birthday! Ha, I've met very few people with my same birthday. :)

  13. Happy birthday, my good friend! Miss you guys!!!

  14. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!! You are going to have a fabulous year!!


    I would eat more ice cream (and peanut butter cups).
    I would definitely travel more.
    I would get more up to date on scrapbooking and telling our family stories.

  16. Happy Birthday Day to you! Happy Birthday Day to you! Happy Birthday dear Jennnn! Happy Birthday to you!

    Today is the Boston Marathon! Perhaps we can "qualify" for it and be there next year!! ;-)

    Hope your readers "donate" in honor of your day! Now cash that check I sent to you and celebrate!!

    Love, Marg

  17. Happy Birthday MAMA- enjoy the day and let the kids help you frost something fun.

  18. What a wonderful day for you. People from all over the world celebrating your birthday. Gee, you are famouse. Stay off the plane for anouther year, make everyone come to see you. Happy Birthday, is it true that you and Hitler had the same day????

  19. Thanks Everyone!!

    Auntie: YES. It is true, Hitler was also born on 4/20. Charles Manson was born on Charlie's birthday (11/12) and we were married on 8/6 (WWII, atomic bomb - Hiroshima, Japan.)

    The kids have made up for our "bad" dates though. The triplets were born on Grandpa's 125th birthday & Henry was born on Independence Day.

    Now, we're off for some kind of "surprise" Charlie has planned!! Yay! I love surprises!!

  20. HAPPY 38th! The best is yet to come! (I know - I am 58!)
    Your pictures this time a precious!

    Me? I'd pretty much live it the same as I have - maybe say "I love you." to all those I love...know I might not get another chance. But pretty much the regrets.

    Keep writing!
    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

  21. Hope you're having a wonderful birthday! Happy Birthday!

    If I thought it was my last year, I don't think I'd change too much about what I'm doing now. I would add a few more hugs to my family. And some phonecalls to old friends. But mostly I'd want to just keep being who I am.

  22. Jen - That Will Brown dude had no idea what he was talking about. Don't worry, you're going to be just fine!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    What would I do ... geez, I don't know. That's serious stuff. I think I would write. I would write as much as I could, every chance I had. My friends and family would have something to flip through and learn how their love and respective relationship made me who I am. I'd have a separate notebook for my daughter - she's only 20 months now and wouldn't remember me so I would write her stories about myself in case she later wonders what I was like. I would tell her how much I love her. Over and over again.

    And I would learn how to ride a motorcycle. I've always wanted to, and don't know why I've put it off ...

    Again, happy birthday. May you share many, many more with your beautiful family.

    Linda Olivo

  23. HaPpY HaPpY BiRtHdAy!! I hope you are having/had an AMAZING day!
    Wishing you many, many more birthdays!

  24. Happy Birthday Jen! If this year was my last, I would regret spending the year finishing my master's instead of throwing it up and moving across the country to be with my boyfriend. It's only one more month though, and then I certainly will be making that move, so hopefully I have a long life left. :)

  25. Happy birthday! I'm only two months less a few days behind you in age--1971 was a great year to be born! And all those number coincidence things...that's just strange and fun!

    I sometimes think it would be easier to know when you were going to die. Spending every possible second with my family and writing letters to my kids for the future...that's what I'd do. And I'd share the gospel less timidly. And take pictures and blog. I don't rhink I would travel or need to do exciting things. Home is where it's at.

  26. Happy Birthday. Wishing you a FABULOUS year.

    Lorraine (Carolyn's Boards)

  27. Happy Birthday!

    I think if I knew this was my last year on earth, I'd stop trying for a baby (as I don't want to leave my child motherless virtually from birth), I'd sell everything I have, and borrow what I needed to go to the UK and Ireland. I'll be sure to make it back before my last day so I can be with my family to say goodbye. I'd have them throw me a huge party where we can all have fun, get wasted, and laugh.

  28. Happy Birthday. Have a great day and a wonderful year.

  29. Happy Birthday!!!

    A gothic chic told me in HS that I was going to die by being hit by a train, too. But she never did tell me when...

    I think I would live in fear if I knew I was going to die in a year. Dying is my biggest fear. I seem to have anxiety attacks when I think about my light being snuffed out.

  30. That's right!!

    Happy Birthday ....CUZ!

    As for the prediction......If you dance around a pole,@ 6:02 pm in the front yard of your house, on the left side, in a pink Princes costume, holding a green feather in your teeth, then spin to left 6 times, the whole time singing "Happy Birthday to ME" you should be okay.

    Really it's true;)


  31. First of all HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

    I'm so very sorry you were born on April 20. Do not EVER, EVER let Uncle Bobby know that or you will rue it the rest of your life. (I've had a tough time because I was born the day before!)

    Karin said you had an interesting mathematical key to our birthdays. She's right! It is intriguing.

    Have a great day! Nancy

  32. Happy, happy birthday, sweet Jenn!

  33. Happy, happy birthday, dear Jenn!!!

  34. A from your Mother, Thank You, for coming into my life.
    I am so proud of you! And, my grandchildren are so cute I could take a bite out of them.

  35. oh girl, I don't know about any of that but that first picture, the blues! Oh, I do so love the blues in that pic! And I'm guessing teenage prank.

    Happy of the Happiest Birthdays to you!!!

  36. Angela (niece)4/20/09, 9:25 PM

    Hey Jen!! Happy Birthday!! That story about the high school boy still spooks me.
    As for being overprotective of your kids (I had some time and have been reading up on your blog), you do a wonderful job of parenting them. They are beautiful, well-behaved, and seem perfectly content believing clown fish can talk. I can imagine raising kids these days is tough because more and more kids are being exposed to things younger and younger. It sounds like there's a time and place for children to learn certain things. I know there are still things about the world I have no idea about and I'm okay with that (this is coming from the girl who believed in Santa Clause until middle school).
    Have a great birthday and good luck with the kids! It was so much fun hanging out with you guys!!!

  37. Happy Birthday!!!!!

    Keep on being awesome. That's all you need to do for the rest of your life. :-D

  38. Awe man I missed it! I had every intention to make it back to wish you happy birthday on your birthday. Oh well I am sure it was fantastic and you are still very much living life to the fullest alive and well.

  39. Happy Birthday! Hope you had a great one!

    And I've got the perfect solution: just don't go on any flights this year!

  40. One of many cuzzins'!4/25/09, 1:33 PM

    Oh Wow, I missed your birthday.

    HaPpY BeLaTeD BiRtHdAy!!!

    Hope you had fun and got to lick the frosting spoon.

    About your mortality question....I always give my kids a special little present on my birthday and tell them if I die before my next one, they'll know I always put them first.

    Have a great year and I'll be on time with my wishes for your 39th!!