If  you are a Weight Loss Wednesday gal looking for our weekly check-in, scroll down. It is here….

If you are checking in to see who won the giveaway of Susie Larson’s book Growing Grateful Kids it is: Ann. Timestamp March 10th at 8:11 am. Email me at [email protected] with your home address. Congrats!


Today is my birthday.

In about an hour at 9:04 am, I will turn 46. My mom tells me I was born in the middle of a snow storm and they almost didn’t make it to the hospital.

I debated telling you that it was my birthday. It seems all self-centered and such. But when I hopped on Facebook this morning and saw that several friends (whom I know also read this blog) had already sent me well-wishes, I figured I’d better fess up.

Truthfully, I have a love/hate relationship with birthdays.

I love memories of them.

Especially recollections of taking cupcakes to my class at Delta Center Elementary School in Lansing, MI. Mom let me help in the kitchen then, mixing, baking, frosting and sprinkling those dozens of masterpieces. Then, I got to tote them all the way to school. (I was what they called a ‘walker’, meaning I lived less than a mile from school so no bus ride. I had to walk.)

As I have grown older, I have come to dread birthdays. Not because of the getting older part. You know, when everything heads south. My husband and I realize that, as my friend Debi asserts, we are all headed toward ugly. That part doesn’t bother me so much since we have committed to grow old and ugly together and have lots of fun doing it.

I dread them because I sometimes get my feelings hurt due to my expectations.

I think my kids will instinctively wake up and say, “Happy Birthday mom. You are the greatest! You sacrifice so much for us. I already got up and made your coffee for you.”

Instead, they say…”Mooooooooom……I am starving. Is breakfast ready yet?

I fancy my relatives will give me a quick call to wish me a happy birthday.

The phone doesn’t ring.

I can’t help but think of the friends I remembered to give a little something to on their big day.

I run into one of them in Walmart and she never even tells me Happy Birthday.


Oh ladies…I so desire to be a low-maintenance friend, wife and mom. I don’t want to be self-centered. Especially on my birthday.

I want to rewind to the days when what made me so very giddy every March 10th were those sweet and colorful cupcakes taken to my classmates.

So…..I have decided….zero expectations from me today.

Instead, I want to give away cupcakes.

What that looks like is this:

Leave a comment today about your most memorable birthday. (or any other birthday-related message)

I will choose five winners who will get one of the following “cupcakes” from me. :-)

  • A For Every Body brand “Birthday Cake” scented candle for you (with cute sprinkles on top) to burn at your house each time someone turns a year older.
  • A copy of the book on simple and creative celebrations entitled Homespun Memories for the Heart that I wrote with friends Kelly Hovermale and Trish Smith.
  • A bag of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Melt-Away Hearts with raspberry filling
  • A $5.00 Starbucks card
  • A box of Snapple Brand Wild About Berries Herb Tea with a heart-sheaped tea difusser

There—- I feel better already. Jesus is so right. It is more blessed to give than receive. (Acts 20:35)

Now, when you leave your comment, please tell me what ‘cupcake’ you’d enjoy winning (or simply indicate ‘any of them’) Winners announced Monday.

Oh, and in this day and age of Facebook….is there anyone out there who went to Delta Center elementary with me in the 1970’s? I’d get a hoot out of knowing!

Cupcake-coated Blessings,


  1. My most recent favorite birthday was my 30th. It happened just over a year ago and was a few days before my birthday which increased the surprise. While I was out to dinner with my husband and kids, my sister and her husband and my parents drove over to our house and filled our bedroom and bed with balloons. A bit silly, but growing up each year my mother would blow up as many balloons as we were old and would place them in our room before we woke up the next morning. All night I would periodically watch and wait hoping to catch the “balloon fairy” in the act. In all those years, I never did catch her and it was always a surprise to wake up and see my room filled with balloons. What a simple delight. This weekend at Hearts at Home reminded me that it is often the simple pleasures of life that bring about the fondest memories. It was so special for them to recreate such a special tribute from my youth and even more special to share it with my kids.

    I loved your presentation at Hearts at Home. I hope you had a blessed birthday weekend!

  2. Happy Birthday Karen…I always enjoy your postings :) My most memorable birthday was at age 16…of course, it’s a special year (for driving), but I was also a cheerleader at that time…and the girls surprised me w/ special goodies. To be sweet sixteen again…..

  3. You didn’t say it was your birthday when you spoke today at Hearts at Home. My favorite memories are just of my mom making my cake every year and I always got to say what we would have for dinner. I never had any big parties but I always, always, always felt special and very excited. Now that I am an adult I do have a bit of disappointment because that underlying excitement is still there but the presents aren’t. My husband’s experience was very different and birthdays were not as special. (which means he doesn’t get why I am disappointed…) so lame, I know. It has made it hard when I plan things for our daughter.

    Enjoyed hearing you speak today about hospitality. And to hear that your kids go to Barakel was great! I love that place!

    Amy Jones
    the Michigan girl who is now a flatlander…

  4. Happy Karen!! :)

    Some of my favorite memories are spending them with my twin sis and having huge parties rollerskating! (This was in the 80’s). Ahhhh, brings me back! :)

    I’d love to win any of the “cupcakes”.


  5. Happy Birthday Karen! 46 is so young! I am a firm believer in celebrating birthdays as is my daughter, a young mother herself. One year a few years back, our son-in-law was serving in Iraq. Our daughter still baked a cake for his birthday and the boys (who were 1 & 2) blew out the candle and enjoyed the cake for daddy. Now, since they live far from family, they celebrate family birthdays by having a cake that day in honor of the one growing older.

    As far as my favorite birthday, I have two that remain high on the list. For as long as I remember I have had a “bucket list” and my husband delights in doing things on that list. For my 40th birthday, he gave me a hot air balloon flight. That was so much fun. For my 42nd birthday, he set up a skydiving flight for me. Fun again. This past year when I turned 50, he had a family picnic and no one was to give me any “nice” gifts, so I received geritol, denture cream, depends, etc… but also all the love of having family celebrating my day with me.

    I hope your day is filled with love and memories that warm you years later.

  6. It’s a day late…but Happy Birthday!

    My most memorable birthday would be the one I celebrated last month…nothing too exciting…just time with family.

    I would love the book!

  7. Happy Birthday. Thanks for celebrating with us. I’d love to win any of the above mentioned cupcakes. Thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  8. Karen, I hope you had a wonderful birthday! I just love birthdays! I love to celebrate the life that God has given to us. At our house we love to go way out for our kids birthdays – not in a material way, but we love to come up with creative ways to let them know that they are loved (some new traditions have been taken from one of your books:) Thanks for that!) My favorite birthday memories have been the ones spent with my husband. He knew I never really like my birthday when I was a kid, so he goes out of his way to make sure they are all special in their own way. We got engaged on my birthday, have been in Disney World twice on my birthday, and now go away every year for my birthday weekend, just the two of us. Now that you mention it, I’m sure the reason I never really liked my birthday was because of my own expectations that were never met. Thanks for you insight today! I hope you had a blessed birthday – I’m thankful you were born, and for your ministry!

  9. Oh Karen, I know EXACTLY how you feel. My birthday and Christmas this last year was spent taking care of others and without any presents or pomp. Of course we all want a day to be appreciated. Like you are doing, this last year I decided to be happy with the blessings in my life instead of expecting more. Kudos to you. I remember when we made cupcakes in elementary school. In middle school and above, my parents would let me pick out a bag of candy at Sam’s club to pass around in the hall way! Happy birthday and I hope you have many more exciting ones!

  10. Happy Belated Birthday Karen!
    I also relate to your story and what an amazing way to turn it around and celebrate with others by giving on your bday!!!
    One of my favorite bday celebration’s was a surprise bday party my parents threw for me when I came back from school for Thanksgiving break! I was so delighted to see them plus a celebration with family and friends it was great!!!
    Any of the “cupcakes” you are giving away will be sweet to win! Thank you !!
    Have a great week and continue celebrating what the blessings God showers upon you. Enjoy !

  11. Happy Belated. I can so relate to your story I will try to adapt the same routine… give instead. :) The 9th was my Granddaughters and Today the 11th is my hubby’s Birthday So now I know someone inbetween. Hope you had a great one.

  12. “Happy Birthday to You
    Happy Birthday to You,
    Happy Birthday to Karen,
    Happy Birthday to You!”

    I hope your day was a great one!

    I really enjoy birthdays and try to make them special for my family and friends throughout the year. They do the same for me, which I love!

    My hubby started a tradition whereby if your birthday falls on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, it’s your “Birthday Weekend Extravaganza” whereby you get to celebrate your birthday all weekend long with meals out, going fun places, and taking it easy!

    I found websites where they list free things that restaurants give to you on or around your birthday. My husband, son, and I usually spend the week of our birthdays using all the free meal and dessert coupons that we get from these places. It makes celebrating our special day all that much more memorable and FUN!

    My favorite birthday treat growing up was vanilla or white cupcakes with vanilla icing that my mom made for my birthday every year. In fact, when I recently turned 40, she made those very same cupcakes for the occasion. It brought back such great childhood memories!

    Speaking of which, any of the “cupcakes” you are giving away would be a sweet treat to win! Thanks Karen!

  13. Happy Birthday Karen!

    I have lots of good birthday memories. My mom always made angel food cake. The first year I was away from home and didn’t have it I was so sad!

    Today, though, my hubby and kids always make my birthday special.

    I always love sharing my birthday with Easter too!

    I’ll stop rambling. I hope I win something in your giveaway. I’ve never won a blog giveaway.

  14. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! Unlike you…I LOVE birthdays and I think it is because they were made so special to me when I was a kid. All the way into my mid-20’s my grandparents would be sure to make the 4 1/2 hour drive to be in town for my birthday. One year, though, no one told me they were coming…I didn’t find out until the bonfire we were having on Sunday and I was upset because I had missed the entire weekend with them! My grandma died about 14 years ago (and I still miss her SO much) but I still have a wonderful relationship with my grandpa and even his “new” wife now. Obviously, we try to make birthdays special for our kids too and hope to pass on wonderful memories to our grandkids someday.

    Oh, and any of the cupcakes would be wonderful!

  15. Happy birthday to you! Growing up, birthdays were not a big deal at all. Just like any other day, except the expectation was that you thanked mom for giving birth to you. I don’t know anyone else in all my 45 years who grew up with that expectation.
    However, as an adult, two birthdays stand out in my mind. One was when I turned 30. I was a divorced mother of one and my co-workers threw me a surprise party – complete with a re-creation of me sitting in my chair when I got to work – a decorated balloon head “wearing” my lab coat. They made a sign, bought a cake decorated with Snoopy (I love dogs) and every single person gave me an individual gift and card. I really felt loved – and I surely did need it!
    The other birthday that is memorable was the year I turned 40. I was pregnant and my birthday was my due date with my third child. Due to my age and other health issues, she was to be born by planned Cesarean, and the doctor wanted to do the delivery on my birthday (which is right between Thanksgiving and Christmas. My husband was out of town for a work conference and due home that night, and I wanted her to have her own birthday, so it was scheduled for the following day. I spent the whole day doing things I wanted to do, and spending quality time with my two other children. Obviously, at 40 I was not the oldest mother that ever lived, but I still reveled in the miracle inside me – especially given the pregnancy problems. When my husband got home, he made a steak dinner for us. We had chocolate cake (that I made). Four of the five people in our family have birthdays around Christmas, so needless to say, generally mom and dad’s birthdays are rarely celebrated with much fanfare.

  16. Oh Karen,

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I so hope you have a special moment in your day today! It seems that expectations for those around us always set us up for disappointment, and others for failure. I am awful about having unrealistic expectations for my birthday. Most years I have been disappointed. There was one Birthday that will always remain tremendous and after reading your post I am going to remind myself every year that my one birthday was enough for a lifetime and no need to ever be disappointed. I’m also going to take your approach and give to others instead of expecting something for myself. I’m getting excited just thinking about the possibilities. . . Bravo to you that you are giving to others as a way of staying positive and making us, your readers, see things in a much more Godly light!!!

    The unbelievably stupendous birthday was when I turned 30. My husband knew that I was really dreading it so he fixed up a whole day of celebration. He sent me to a spa for a 4 hour multi-treatment session, picked me up and took me to a hair salon to have my hair cut and colored, had a limo pick me up from the salon and take me to an upscale boutique where he bought me a dress, then on to a shoe store to buy matching shoes and then to the Grove Park Inn to have dinner. The day was fabulous to say the least. We don’t really have that kind of money but he had saved and planned to do it. The fact that he had taken that much time to plan was the BEST part. Made me feel so loved.

    Remembering this also is helping me to see that I often let little daily disappointments get in the way of my relationship with my husband. I am going to try and remind myself of all the wonderful things that he has done for me in the past and that he continues to do for me, rather than the things that disappoint. I can’t even begin to tell you how much your post has impacted me today! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!


  17. My mom and hubby tag-teamed to throw me a surprise birthday party last year. I’ve always wanted one of those and it was so special that they did that for me.

    Happy Birthday to you and I hope you have a blessed day!

  18. Happy birthday Karen! I agree 0 expectations are the way to go… I’m learning that when I remember that my expectations are truly met only by God then I am less disappointed when things don’t go the way I had hoped. He provides all I really need and He knows what’s best for me… which often looks very different than what I expect for myself! I realize that’s easy to write and hard to do, but it’s the goal anyway!! I don’t remember childhood birthdays really… my mom did send a singing banana once to me in middle school, I have a picture of it! Other than that my husband always takes me out to dinner to celebrate my birthday which I love and this last year he surprised me by having my best friend and her husband join us! That was wonderful :) Many blessings to you on your very special day!! Thanks for you cupcake give-away… very sweet of you

  19. Happy Birthday Karen!

    Last year my husband and children bought me a cake and took me out to eat!!! there have been years where they don’t remember. (I’ve learned that they love me even when they have forgotten)…I am so thankful for last years! though:)

    the Bible does say love others as yourself. So do something nice for Karen. Even if it’s a pep talk. Remind her how wonderful she has been created and how much she is loved by God. Take out pictures of you when you were a baby and take a close look at God’s special and unique creation, you.

    Thank you for inspiring me to give on my birthday!
    All the cupcakes sound great! Thank you.

  20. A Very Happy Birthday to You Karen!

    I love birthdays too (not just mine!). My favorite birthday (combined with my anniversary as they are only 6 days apart!) was when I was pregnant with my firstborn. I had been super sick for 4 months and didn’t get to enjoy the summer at all. My hubby suprised me and took me to Prince Edward Island (I’m a HUGE Anne of Green Gables fan!). Even though we left when Hurricane “Juan” hit, and Halifax was w/o electricity for awhile and it took us an extra day to get there, it was a great suprise and last “trip without kids” for a while:)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *