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Touch of Love For Your Birthday
By Howard Books
Howard BooksCopyright © 2001 Howard Books
All right reserved.
Chapter Eight -- Youthfulness
Youth has very little to do with age and much
to do with state of mind. Whatever marker your birthday celebrates this year,
take a moment to remember some of the symbols of your youth:
running barefoot through the prickly grass in your backyard
catching lightning bugs in a jar with a friend
recording your heart's secrets in your diary and locking it with
a tiny key
riding a bike for the very first time without training wheels
dreaming about what you would be when you grew up
Now, take that same spirit and apply it to
some new adventure you've been leery of trying or a secret you've not yet
ventured to realize. You really can do it -- for youthfulness is a state of mind.
Those who hope in the
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Now faith is being
sure of what we
for and of what we do notsee.
One can never creep when
one feels an impulse to soar.
-- Helen Keller
"Mom, puh-leeeeze," Lauren groaned, her eyes rolling.
The mall would close in ten minutes, and her mother, Beverly, was desperately
seeking a new skirt. With time running out, she was forced to try an old trick
her sister had taught her. She held the skirt to her front and wrapped it from
side to side to see if the seams lined up with the outside of her legs. Then she
held it to her backside and did the same. Beverly knew that mirrors and seams
"We would like to inform all shoppers that the doors will
close in fifteen minutes," the voice over the loud speaker said. Lauren was
thrilled. She had shopped all her twelve-year-old body could shop. Besides that,
Lauren was always a bit embarrassed by her mother's unconventional behavior.
Beverly knew her daughter had to put up with a lot from her. Their personalities
were direct opposites. Lauren was quiet and laid back, just like her daddy.
Beverly, on the other hand, sang along with songs on the car radio with the
windows down. She often requested extra chocolate chips in her scoop of
chocolate chip mint from puzzled teenagers behind the counter at the local ice
cream shop. And worst of all, she drove Lauren to school in her bathrobe. Who
would ever know, her mother reasoned. Lauren had made her promise never to get
out of the car.
But today was Beverly's birthday, and Lauren was trying to be as patient as she
could with her mother, who had a few years earlier decided that she wanted to
stop growing up. "I don't mind growing older," she would say, "I just don't want
to grow up." Celebrating her birthday always included something "goofy," as
Lauren put it.
Lauren had decided to try being a little "goofy" herself to help her mom
celebrate her thirty-fifth birthday. It wasn't easy for a "non-goofy" kid to be
"goofy," but she did have a plan.
Once they got home from the mall, Lauren told her mom to go put on some jeans
and a sweatshirt. As Beverly returned from her bedroom, she noticed Lauren
putting something in her pocket.
"Follow me," Lauren ordered, and they headed behind their house to a hill that
overlooked a canyon. Lauren's head moved back and forth as if she were searching
for a buried treasure. Soon she said, "This is the place. Sit right here. It
might be a little damp, but we'll be OK."
"OK, this is a great place," Beverly replied and plopped down Indian style next
to her daughter. "Now what?"
Fifteen minutes of silence passed while the sun sank lower in the sky. Together,
mother and daughter watched as gold fused into pink and, finally, purple. There
on the side of a little hill, they shared a sunset. At that moment, Lauren took
a bottle out of her pocket and blew bubbles toward the horizon. Beverly watched
each bubble emerge as they shimmered and floated against the sky.
"Now make a wish," Lauren said quietly. "Happy birthday, Mom."
Beverly was filled with love for a daughter whose nature would be to put candles
on a cake but whose love told her she needed to do something more.
God's gifts put man's best
dreams to shame.
-- Elizabeth Barrett
Put on the new self,
which is being renewed in knowledge
in the image of its Creator.
Excerpted from Touch of Love For Your Birthday by Howard Books Copyright © 2001 by Howard Books. Excerpted by permission.
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