It’s Time!

A year ago I declared my personal Year of Jubilee – a year of looking back and of looking forward during my 50th year as I headed toward my 50th birthday. As I reported recently, it has been a good year. I didn’t complete all the possibilities that I set out to work on…but I complete many more than I would have if I hadn’t set some goals.

This hasn’t been a “turn-around year” – reaching for the new and seeing the wide possibilities in front of me started a few years ago while our family was walking through dark places. But it has been a year to help me understand deep in my heart that it is okay for me to want more, to want to live a life filled with meaning for ME.

This past weekend was the TIME TO CELEBRATE my 50th Birthday. Unlike many people I know, I did not choose a big party. I did not choose to gather wide-flung family. (I will see many of them at my son’s wedding in October…) This was a weekend of simple joys:

On Friday, we drove up to Durango Colorado, a favorite town of mine nestled in a valley and surrounded by beautiful mountains. Randy (and at the last minute, Anna) enjoyed their first-ever zipline adventure.

zipline adventurers

Zipline Adventurers (no…not me…never…you don’t KNOW how afraid I am of heights!)

It has become a family tradition to celebrate special occasions with crepes from Michel’s Corner, a gypsy wagon/patio restaurant on the main historic square. Having food fixed lovingly “just for you” by a 5 star chef who remembers you is certainly a treat!


Michel at work

michel's crepes

Oo-la-la! …and the crepes taste even more wonderful than they look!

michel group photo

Where else does a 5 star chef give you a birthday hug and pose for photos?!

Saturday I spent much of the day working on photo-books for the 11 eighth graders who spent last week with us for a “Transition to Adulthood” retreat. There was something relaxing about choosing colors of background pages and attaching photos. A dear friend had pointed out earlier in the week that God had sent me a whole group of teens to have fun with even as I miss our son who shares my birthday but who died 4 years ago. Seen through that lens, the time with the group was indeed a special gift!

eigth graders

“my” extra kids this past week…

Saturday evening, we drove the dirt roads back to the home of friends, celebrating with them the high-school graduation of one of their sons. In this culture with so many challenges put in front of the young people, this is indeed something to celebrate! At the party I met another “gift” from God—an older, distinguished looking gentleman named James.

Sunday we went to church as usual…and I had the opportunity to spend more time talking with James. He graciously listened as I told him through my tears about how much he reminded me of the man for whom our James was named. It felt a little bit like he was sent to give me comfort and to remind me of the full life my son lived in his 15 short years…

Sunday afternoon we joined friends at their mountain cottage near Cuba NM. Is it okay to confess that I’m quite, quite jealous of where they live? And that I really want to live there too?! They and their grandkids and other friends spent the weekend camping out on their property, fishing, hiking, playing games, and having all sorts of fun. Anna enjoyed running with the other kids. Randy and I got a private tour up to an overlook with miles and miles of beautiful views. We will definitely go up there again when it is less windy so I can leisurely enjoy the scenery without being nervous about being blown off the mountain face! We brought a cheesecake sampler to share…a nice low key way to celebrate my birthday.

mountain cabin

A lovely cabin in a lovely setting, spending time with lovely friends!

soaring aspens

ahhh…beauty for my soul…
what wonderful “birthday decorations”

Finally, on Monday we drove down to Albuquerque. I’ve been desperately wanting a 4wd vehicle that can handle the off-roading style dirt roads we frequently end up on. I have been at wits’ end from the 6-8 times of taking hours to get back to a truck and push or pull it out of car-eating mudholes or of towing out a car damaged beyond driving because of the rocks and deep holes in the road. My anxiety levels have soared. So Randy took us to town to test drive a sturdy Nissan 4wd, highly rated for “off-roading.” …and guess what I drove home last night?! What a WONDERFUL gift of peace of mind!


a 4wd to vanquish the car-eating mudholes…

So the new decade begins… I’m looking forward to learning new things, continuing to work on things I’ve started this year, and enjoying adventures and quiet times to come.

50th bday photo

a snapshot of me on my 50th birthday

Thanks to all of my family and friends who have celebrated with me this year. I can’t wait to see what the coming years hold!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elsie
    May 29, 2012 @ 16:22:20

    Sounds like a perfect 50th. May your next 50 hold as many blessings.


  2. Leslie
    May 29, 2012 @ 18:36:35

    Thank you for sharing, Jill! Sounds like a wonderful weekend birthday celebration! God bless you! I’ve got another year to go, but I’m already noticing how many lessons there are just in my day to day life. How many did I miss in my younger years?


  3. Sharon
    May 30, 2012 @ 14:44:50

    Thanks for sharing your birthday with us, Jill
    Love you!


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