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. Happy birthday!

    My favorite birthday was four years ago, when my daughter was about 8 months old. I was teaching fulltime and life was crazy busy and I was always stressed about not getting to spend the time at home that I wanted (I quit at the end of that year). My husband told me to pack a bag on the Friday after my birthday, and he kept disappearing all week. Turns out he whisked all three of us away to a Civil War era cabin that a friend of his owns. We spent the weekend tucked away on the farm in front of the fire. He even cooked for us! It was great. :-)

  2. My hubby threw me a surprise 30th birthday party complete with friends, family, cake, cookies etc. It was a great time and it was awfully sweet of him to go to all the trouble.

  3. Happy Birthday Karen!!!
    I love birthdays. It doesn’t matter whose birthday it is, family or friend, I think it is important to let that person know how special they are on their special day. I used to have a lot of expectations on my birthday but not so much anymore. I’m not sure what changed but I am glad that it did.
    I pray you have a blessed birthday today. May the Lord shower His love on you today in a special way.
    Love, Debbie

    The starbucks cupcake would be great!!!

  4. Karen, may your birthday be filled with lots of love and happiness.
    I remember a few birthday parties I had as a child. My birthday is June 8 and we were always out of school by then so I didn’t get to take any cupcakes to my class for my birthday. As an adult my birthday’s haven’t been all that much fun. Usually it’s just dinner with my dad and one sister. I’ve never had any parties as an adult like my sisters. This year I’m praying for something special to do on my birthday.
    I would enjoy any of the things you’re giving away.
    Birthday blessings

  5. Happy birthday! I have thoroughly enjoyed your writing (your blog and “A Life That Says Welcome”) and it is benefiting our church family as well as friends. I quickly recommend your writing whenever I can. Such Biblical insight that we all need! So I’m very thankful you were born. Very thankful God gave you the gift of writing and the ability to write with His Word as your foundation. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and many more celebrations to come!

    The “cupcake” I’d enjoy winning is “Homespun Memories for the Heart.” I haven’t been able to find it in the libraries around here (there’s 1 copy and it’s always checked out), so having my own copy would be fabulous. :-)

  6. Happy Birthday! My favorite birthdays are ones spent having a lake day with the family. Very relaxing and enjoyable!

  7. Happy Birthday Karen!

    My most memorable birthday was either my 5th or 6th birthday party. (It’s funny I can’t remember which!) I was living in Texas and it was a Saturday and we were under a hurricane watch (Houston area). So only a few friends came and all boys at that. I guess the girls’ mothers were much more protective. Ha!

    We went to Tootsie’s Birthday Hut. Tootsie was a female clown who had a hut on her property that the birthdays were celebrated in. We played games, watched a marionette show, and had cake and icecream. The marionette show was delightful…but I remember my favorite part was eating the icecream from a small paper cup with a flat wooden “spoon”. (Does anyone else remember those from the mid 1960s?)

    If I win a “cupcake” I’d love to have your “Homespun Memories for the Heart” book. Would it also improve my memory I wonder? lol

    Blessings to you on your 46th birthday! And remember, you’re not getting older…you’re getting wiser!

  8. Karen, Happy Birthday! Hope you have a fabulous day. I guess I learned the 0 expectations thing about 15 years ago when I married a man who told me up front that he was not good with date and if I wanted anything for my birthday I would need to remind him. (guess that should have been a big red flag that would have saved me 11 painful years and a divorce) lol. But I think it works out better that way. Your never disappointed and I have my own little internal celebration. I have wonderful friends who usually remember my birthday.

    I love them all. I can’t really think of one that is more special. Every year the Lord gives me is special. Thanks for all you do. I know it is a busy, stressful week, but I hope you can find a little time to relax and rest.

    Any of your “cupcakes” would be appreciated, but I’d particularly love your book. Blessings.

  9. Karen,

    A very Happy Birthday to you today! I pray that you will have a blessed day and enjoy some time doing what makes you feel loved. Your blog is such a blessing. Thank you for being you!

    May the coming year be your BEST YET and God’s blessings to you,


  10. Birthday Blessings to you dear Karen. I think we fell off the same tree because I don’t like a lot of hoopla for my birthday either. Of course any excuse to have a cake is always nice so I usually opt for a small get together with friends and celebrate with another friend who has a birthday 2 days before mine.

    As for my most memorable birthday! I don’t know if I have one but there is one birthday that definitely stands out in my mind. I am born on the 13th and occasionally it falls on a Friday. I don’t believe in superstition but I can remember getting teased about as a kid. I was in second grade- the day had gone pretty well and I was heading home from school in my birthday outfit to have a party with my friends. It had rained at some point and as I crossed our street- I slipped and fell right into a big puddle of mud and water. Well you can imagine what my coat and birthday outfit looked like. I don’t remember what I had to change into or even how the party was except for pictures that show smiling faces and lots of missing teeth.

    You are a unique creation of almighty God. He is celebrating you today and I am too. My life has been blessed by knowing you this year. You have an amazing beautiful spirit and I appreciate your encouragement. I know it is Weight Loss Wednesday but I once heard that calories don’t count on your birthday. I think God gives us a pass. It’s the other 364 days we have to watch out for.

    If I win a cupcake then I would say Coffee or Tea for me.

    Blessings and a Birthday Hug-

  11. Karen–

    Happy Birthday!! What a wonderful post to read this morning. I have birthdays on my mind too. I’m turning 40 in about 2 weeks. It’s really bothering me too. I didn’t think it would at all.

    I think it’s all about expectations too. I expect every minute of my birthday to be special…and like you said…it doesn’t exactly happen. The day mostly goes on as usual. No one bows to me. ;) You are not alone in your feelings.

    I really do hope your day is fabulous.


  12. I woke up and my husband has a fun gift of pjs and perfume waiting for me that he had picked out HIMSELF! I was wonderful and fun and I liked it better and got more use out of it than any other gift ever, including jewelry:)

    I have the book, so if I win, any other thing will be fine:)

    Happy Birthday!:)

  13. Karen, I’m right there with you on the expectations thing. Thanks for the reminder to start giving more!
    Have a terrific birthday!

  14. My most memorable birthday would be any while my dad was still alive. he would always be the first one to call me no matter what. Since he passed away in June of 07, I haven’t received a call from any of my family. Not my brothers or mom. I sure do miss my dad…

    It would be an honor to win any of your cupcake giveaways. Just to be thought of is just precious. :)

  15. Happy birthday!

    Last year, my older girls (5 and 3 at the time) told me that since it was my birthday, they were going to let me play dolls with them. So, I did! We stayed in our jammies all morning, and I even got to use the best dollhouse. It was such a sweet gesture on their part to include me in their favorite thing.

    I’d love any of your birthday cupcakes!

  16. Happy Birthday Karen.
    I sometimes feel the same way you do especially on special occasions. I would love to win any of the cupcakes you are giving away today. Have a great day.

  17. I’m a single mom so to avoid disappointments I pretty much “plan” my birthday so there are no letdowns. I even take my two kids to the store and give them money to spend on my birthday. It’s really fun to see them whisper and giggle about choosing a gift. Then they sneak around when we get home to wrap their treasure. I plan an entire menu around the letter “P” the first letter of my name. We even design a menu. We usually make a pink cake (pink for the letter P) to go along with dinner. (I do this for each of them on their birthday as well.) I have no choice but to be frugal but at the end of the day I’m not disappointed. Yes, there are no surprises but there is a celebration and I have to believe that I’m sowing seeds. Don’t you agree that life is too short for disappointments? I’d love a copy of your book if I’m one of the lucky ones chosen.

    By the way, happy birthday!!

  18. Happy Birthday. I have more than 10 years ‘ugly’ on you! But, it is wonderful.
    I don’t remember birthdays as a child. So, my favorite ones now are every year when my children and their spouses treat me to a dinner at their house. Warms my heart.

    I have looked for that Happy Birthday candle after I saw it at a friend’s house.

  19. Happy Birthday! I hope you have a blessed one!
    And like you and many of the ladies above, I struggle with expectations on birthdays (and holidays too).

    I think one of my most memorable birthdays was my 16th birthday party- my parents and friends threw a surprise party for me at TGIFriday’s. The surprise certainly made it memorable, but so did the fact that some of the wait staff tied balloons to my hair. Oh the pictures are mortifying but funny- I have them hidden away. And they shall stay that way! :)

    Oh, and I would love the copy of your book!

  20. Happy Birthday Karen! Hope your day is full of surprises for you and special blessings beyond your expectations. You are so sweet to share your “cupcakes” with us. They all sound so delicious! I would enjoy any one of them. The one birthday for me that stands out in my mind was my 21st when my husband surprised me with roses.First time I ever got roses! The most fun birthday was not mine, but when I surprised my husband with a party on his 50th!!
    I like your idea of giving on your b’day and not expecting gifts. I plan to start this tradition next b’day.
    Have a great day, and celebrate big everyday, all year long!!

  21. Happy Birthday Karen!!!!

    I love birthdays. I would have to say my most memorable birthday was my 30th birthday when my husband planned a surprise birthday party for me with a bunch of our friends. We had a great time.

    As a mom I try to make my kids birthdays special but I never feel I do enough. I want all their birthdays to be memorable.

    I would love a copy of your book “Homespun Gifts…”

    Hope you enjoy your special day.

  22. When I was a kid, my mom would always wake me up on my birthday by climbing in my bed and giving me a kiss. Growing up, my mom was not overly affectionate in this way, so it made it all the more special.
    On my 18th birthday, I woke up on my own and walked out into the living room. My parents sat there watching the morning news, No one said a thing about my “special day” until the date was mentioned on the TV. It’s not that they really forgot. We had a birthday dinner planned for that night, but it had just slipped their minds that morning. Nevertheless, I was crushed. I cried and pouted and even convinced my mom to let me skip school that day. What a drama queen!
    I like to think that I have grown up a little in the past 17 years, but in truth there is a part of me that expects the world to stop and take notice when May 3rd rolls around. I think I will try your idea this year. I will start looking now for gifts I can give to my family and friends to thank them for making my life special every day.

  23. My most memorable birthday was my 30th. My birthday is right before Christmas and my husband told me we were hosting his office Christmas party at our house. I should have suspected something because they never do a Christmas party with spouses – they always do their own thing during the work week. At any rate – I spent days getting our house ready and helping fix food. The night of the party my friends and family start showing up and I am totally stressing out – because we are supposed to be entertaining my husband’s co-workers in a few minutes! Well, what do you know the party was for me! My husband still gets congratulations from guys who hear that story and admire his creativity in getting me to help out with my own surprise party! We had a great time with family and friends once I relaxed and realized what was going on! We still chuckle over this fond memory toether!

    Karen – Happy Birthday to you today! Thank you for sharing and giving on your special day! I too often have pity parties for myself because of my expectations. I read something in the Love Dare that I try to remember when these thoughts creep in – It said you must choose to live by encouragement rather than by expectations. So True! I hope you have a great day full of surprises!

    If I am lucky enough to receive a birthday cupcake – I would choose a copy of your book Homespun Memories! :)

  24. Happy Birthday, Karen!!! :o)

    I completely understand exactly what you are saying. My first son was born 2 days before my birthday, and I could not have asked for a more special and wonderful present than HIM! But for every birthday since then, it has focused on his special day and I, too, have been guilty of feeling overlooked and have had unmet expectations. So next month, as my day rolls around, I will join you in your 0 expectations and give to those around me. Thanks!!!

    As for my childhood memory…I remember with fondness the year Cabbage Patch Kids came on the scene. ;o) I wanted one sooooooooo badly I could taste it. My mom had put me on the list at Toys R Us and EVERY day after school, I would rush to the car to ask if she had received a phone call. Every day my disappointment would mount with each, “No, not yet.” Then on the day of my birthday, I brought a couple friends home from school with me knowing the disappointment that lay ahead. But much to my surprise, when I came inside, there stood a wrapped package in that signature Cabbage Patch box shape and I nearly fainted. I got her!!!! Could third grade be any more perfect???? ;o)

    BTW…I would enjoy any “cupcake.”

    Thank you for ALL you do. May the Lord bless you especially today and may this weekend bring glory to His name as your share your heart with these moms!!!!


  25. Happy Birthday! I struggle with the same things you do when it comes to birthdays. Wish I didn’t, but it’s the truth. My favorite birthday was 3 years ago. My husband, kids and i celebrated my birthday early that day. I was quite happy and thought that all the celebrating was complete. My husband suprised me with reservations to a hotel complete with a fabulous brunch the next morning. (He had received a bonus at work, and not told me about the extra money.) He had childcare and everything handled. it was awesome!

    Thanks for your generosity. Have a great Hearts at Home weekend!

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