Last night, Ezra and I walked to the mechanic to pick up our car.  While I talked with the receptionist and paid the bill, Ezra watched quietly as the mechanic pulled the car out of the garage.  He had his “I want to say something look,” where he tilts his head down, slants his eyes up and then swings his face back and forth.  Ezra is a boy’s boy.  He loves everything that involves tools, machines and hard work.  I assumed that he wanted to talk to the mechanic about worker-guy stuff, something like: “I have my own toolbox” or “I can fix the car for you” or maybe even “Do you have a snowblower?”

Ezra remained quiet, eating a piece of high-fructose corn syrup disguised as delicious candy.  Then, as soon as he had one foot out the door, he darted back inside to tell the mechanic his mind, “Tomorrow is my Mom’s birthday.”  The mechanic smiled and gave him another tasty, toxic treat.  At that moment, I realized how momentous Kathryne’s birthday truly is–it’s importance surpasses even worker-guy stuff.

With that, I would like to invite you all to join me in celebrating Kathryne’s birthday.  Go ahead and buy yourself some cake and ice cream on behalf of this woman.  More than other years, I am aware of how precious Kathryne’s life is.  And, I feel zealous to show her honor, like Gimli after meeting Galadriel.  Unfortunately, Kathryne doesn’t read Lord of the Rings, so compliments like that go unappreciated.

Kathryne–you gracefully endured much at age 28, facing down cancer for a second time, while raising two children and growing a third.  On top of that, you devoted yourself to preparing our family to move to the other side of the world, willingly sacrificing the rare hours of free time that young mothers normally enjoy on occasion.  This is likely the last birthday you will have in Minnesota before we depart to raise a family in an unfamiliar place, learning to function in a new language, culture and geography.

We thank God for the sacrifices you have made, the love that you have patiently shown and the woman that you have become over the past year.  May the Lord show you unique grace on your birthday and in the year ahead.  And, may you not grow weary in doing good, for in due season you will reap, if you do not give up.  Happy birthday!

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