51 candles….

glad for etsyedited

I’m deep down ridiculously glad and grateful for:

~warm winter sunshine pouring through clean windows,
~the free and airy feeling  of  stretching  your legs
after being scrunched up cramped in a seat for too long,
~ taking a mug of steaming hot goodness into cold hands,
~the peaceful feeling of watching a river flow,
~chocolate melting slowly in your mouth,
~whenever someone brings you flowers,

~the smell of freshly bathed dog,
~kind,  balmy words that feel like a shot of courage,
~the simple  joy of making lists,
~soft,  clean ice that “poufs” when you crunch it,
~a pillow that fits your neck just right,
~the relief of a faraway flashlight signaling
“we found them!”

~winter-shy feet sinking warm into sandy beach,
~days when you can go turtling along….just mosey,
~tattoos,  even when they’re only on your heart,
~the smell of good hamburgers cooking on a grill,
~the smell of sunshine in towels and clothes
fresh from a clothesline,
~throwing out books that used to tie your heart in knots,


~an open window,  even in the wintertime,
~those times when you can feel it,  that God is sweet on you,
~cornfields and rolling hills
~when a song just seems to drop right from heaven
deep into your secret heart,
~that “it’s alright now,  I’ve learned my lesson well
…you see you can’t please everyone so you’ve got to please yourself”

~all the next steps,  fresh adventures,  and divine connections
still waiting around new bends,
~the feeling of getting lost in the flow of something satisfying,
~all the ways that poetry happens,
~dancing while you work,
~un-scratchy,  comfy clothes that feel like childhood,

~friends that love you even when you don’t always answer the phone
and sometimes let texts lapse,
~when sleep is sweet and finds you easy,
~shoes that are good to your feet,
~the pain that presses hard things into words so they tumble into the light
and let the bad air out,


~ the little triumphant thrill that happens
when you re-purpose or recycle something and it just works,
~when you  remember to look up and gaze at the stars,
~the feeling that you know you couldn’t earn it but you
get a golden ticket anyway,
~the feeling of looking  fear in the face
and it backs down,

~favorite movie lines….ones you’ll remember and quote,
~the way stress puddles at your feet like sawdust
when you give yourself over to creating,
~for night sounds that comfort and soothe,
~when your heart feels peace where questions rattled around before,
~the willowy way you feel after working out,
~the sound of moving water,
~ full circle moments,

~reading glasses and ringtones,
~the feeling when someone just lets you be,
~the way it feels when someone says your name fondly,
~the nourishment of wild places,
~when people pull together to help in a crisis,
~the strength of gentleness,
~and bubbles in your drink.

~and YOU,  of course,  my blogging friend
…I  love sharing this journey with you .
(and wish you could help nibble my cake,  too)

Two years ago I wrote down 49 reasons
I love this wonderful messy business of living.
This year I challenged myself to dig up 51 completely new reasons to celebrate this delicious life of mine.
I thought it’d be hard because I already counted the
really good stuff.
Turns out there are plenty of pickins’ still left in the field!

“I’ll have no trumpets,  triumphs,  trails of glory.
It seems the woman I’ve turned out to be
is not the heroine of some grand story.
But I have learned to find the poetry
in what my hands can touch,
what my eyes can see.”
-Judith Viorst

I’m sharing this over at Vision and Verb today,  too
….I love this creative bunch of writers.



  1. Just Be Real on January 12, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Awwww, awesome post Jen. Love your picture. So much joy. Off and flying with you dear one. Great Grads list. Blessings.

  2. Catheirne ( on January 13, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Happy Birthday honey! I celebrate with you and am encouraged by your list…..ah yes it’s the simple pleasures!

  3. Catheirne ( on January 13, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Happy Birthday honey! I celebrate with you and am encouraged by your list…..ah yes it’s the simple pleasures!

  4. Marcie on January 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    It really is a wonderful life – isn’t it?? Love your list of 51 – YES!!! And – happiest of birthdays to you..:-)!

  5. Julia Bourque on January 13, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    The picture of the little girl must be you jennifer. I love the sweetness of that genuine smile on her 5th birthday. How innocent and precious.

    Wishing you a wonderful birthday. I love your way of celebrating your 51st birthday with 51 reasons to be grateful. Awesome.


  6. S. Etole on January 13, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    So many wonderful reasons to celebrate and embrace.

  7. Barbara on January 13, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Love all these pieces of sweetness you thought of. I love how easy it is when I put my mind to it. That quote is beautiful and so true. Thank you for sharing it. Happy 51st birthday, my sweet friend!! Sending a big virtual hug!

  8. Rainfield (雨田) on January 14, 2013 at 7:54 am

    The only thing we are sharing is the same age.

    Happy Birthday to you.

  9. beth on January 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    happy birthday jennifer….fifty one looks marvelous on your grateful self !!

  10. Susan on January 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    What a wonderful list of pleasures, so many I felt right in my heart … but we are both Capricorns so, of course!! Sending you a big birthday hug and many good wishes.

  11. rachel awes on January 16, 2013 at 7:17 am

    happy birthday, dearest.
    i ADORE your list.
    every single item
    our hearts beat
    to the same drummer.
    big hugs to you
    in your special day!

  12. Judy Hartman on January 16, 2013 at 8:04 am

    How did I miss this post?
    Happy Birthday to a very wonderful, poetic, artistic and warm-hearted soul! Your beauty and exuberant words and photos spread joy and hope.
    A belated Happy Birthday, dear Jennifer!

  13. Cathy on January 16, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Beautiful words from a beautiful lady! I was nine years old when you were born and remember what a pretty baby you were. I always enjoyed staying with you and Janet when you were little. I know Aunt Joan is proud of both of you girls. I hope you have a great day remember your journey for the past 51 years. Happy Birthday to one of my favorite cousins!!!!
    ((((((((( BIG HUGS)))))))))

  14. Janet on January 16, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I get to add one because I’m one year older than you. (1 1/2) Happy Birthday, Jennifer!

  15. Bren on January 16, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Perfect! What a way to celebrate your day, and I love that you are publishing it at V&V, how cool is that! Have a way happy B-Day!

  16. Sandra L. on January 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    That is a most wonderful list.
    I have been feeling so down lately…it helps to remember the many things that are here in this world that make it wonderful to be alive. I wish I didn’t have so much trouble remember them, though. 🙁

    Wishing you a very very Happy B-day!

  17. Suzanne McRae on January 16, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Wishing you the most joyful and happiest of birthdays ever Jennifer. Loved your 51 blessings on your birthday… wishing you many more. Lovely photo of you as a young girl. xo

  18. jeanie on January 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    What a wonderful list of glad! Pollyanna looks paltry compared to you — and that’s why it’s so joyful to visit you! Happiest of birthdays — a person such as you deserves many, many more!

  19. Susan on January 16, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Happy birthday, dear Jennifer! I thought I woud pick my favorite line from your list but I can’t possibly limit it to one. Or ten. Fifty-one sounds about right…xo

  20. Missing moments on January 17, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Life truly is grand and your words capture it so well! Happy birthday!

  21. Amy Kelsch on January 17, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    What a briliiant post!!!!!!! I absolutely LOVE IT!!!! Each and every thing on your list was soooooo thoughtful! I think my favorite is: “the simple joy of making lists”. 🙂

    I am sharing this post with my friends and family on Facebook! I think they will LOVE it too!!!

    Wonderful work!
    Amy Kathleen

  22. Relyn on January 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Happy, happy birthday, my darling-dear friend. This year I wish you joy. Joy, and laughter, and belly laughs, and great movies, and time with family, and good weather, and only happy surprises. Love you you, my friend.

  23. Behind The Smile on January 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    It is always good to reflect on the reasons to be thankful or what we enjoy in life. Thank you for sharing in your beautiful way as always. Smiles.

  24. Dagmar on January 19, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Hey ya birthday gal. Happy day my friend. Do enjoy 51 and all the goodies that come along with it.
    Hugs Dagmar

  25. Connie Smiley on January 21, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Jennifer, you made me smile from my hair to my toes. Happy Birthday!

  26. Lindsay on January 22, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Oh my, I missed this post! The email subscription still doesn’t do it’s work lol. But I’m here now, sending you 51 wishes for your lovely birthday, for every week one which will come true. You are such an amazing woman and your list is brilliant!! I hope you had a wonderful Birthday. 🙂

  27. Lynn on January 24, 2013 at 5:54 am

    Oh happy day! Happy, Happy Birthday Beautiful!

  28. Kathy Anne on January 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Love every one of your 51 things, lovely lady.
    Wishing you a happy and healthy year full of wild adventures.
    Hugs, Kathy

  29. Christina on January 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I hope so much beauty came your way.
    I send you love. lots of heart fluttering love.

  30. Mary on May 1, 2013 at 1:31 am

    I am doing some LONG overdue back tracking, reading, catching up. L-O-V-E this list!!

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