Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How to Celebrate a Birthday

Christina's 4th Birthday
 Christina always loved celebrating birthdays.  Today would have been her 32nd birthday and so we are celebrating in honor of her.
None of her birthdays were as special as the six birthdays she celebrated after her brain cancer diagnosis.  She was 25 at the time and her oncologist told her that an average life expectancy for someone with her type of tumor was 4 to 7 years. 

Christina's Miracle B-day
Christina did a little quick math and declared that if she made it to 30 she would consider it her miracle birthday.  If any of her friends complained about “feeling old” as their own 30th birthday approached, she would gently remind them that she was looking forward to the miracle of turning 30.

Thinking of a March 4th without Christina here to celebrate has not been easy.  Do we have a party at home?  How about a little gathering to worship?  How about some flowers at her grave?  Or maybe nothing at all?


How about doing something she really loved to do—with Doug and Isaiah?

So here we are in Hawaii—a place she loved.  There are four of us—my Doug and I along with Doug and Isaiah. Kauai is where Doug and Christina had their honeymoon so we are revisiting some of Doug’s treasured memories.  And now he’s making some new ones with Isaiah. I think Christina would be pleased with this choice for her birthday.

Christina with brother Jesse in 2008
Christina would be very happy to know that she gave birth to the perfect little beach lover.  Give Isaiah sand, bucket, shovel, waves, and lots of room to roam and he is happy for as long as we will let him play.  We wonder if Jesus has informed Christina that in honor of her, we are smiling and laughing at the antics of her little guy.  We are delighted as the roosters of Kauai have taught Isaiah what a real “Cock-a-Doodle-Doo” sounds like.  He keeps us amused as he also mimics every other bird sound that he hears--and there are some interesting ones in Kauai.

The swimming pool is another great delight.  His little swimming lessons have come in handy.  The only distraction he allows from swimming is jumping out of the pool to see if the sea turtles are still swimming in the ocean just below.

Last night we went to a luau on the beach.  Doug had not been to one and we knew Isaiah would be delighted with the colorful dancing.  It is something Christina would have loved for us to enjoy as a birthday celebration.  I mean, really, fire dancing seems an appropriate way to celebrate Christina.  We all agreed she would have been one of the audience participants learning to hula on stage.  The girl was hard to embarrass.  

So here we are. March 4th is upon us.  She was very worried that those who loved her would know only suffering after she was gone.  I think to be able to laugh and love and look forward is a great way to honor her joyful heart and her passion for life.

We love you, Christina.
We miss you.
 Thank you for teaching us how to celebrate.



  1. May the celebration continue! I love the Christina stories and being encouraged to celebrate life as she did. Her life gave me a picture of Jesus I hadn't seen before. God bless you all as you enjoy Jesus, one another, and this amazing journey.

    1. Karen, you have me really curious:) I would love to know how Christina's life enlarged your picture of Jesus. And thank you, it is an amazing journey.
      Jo Dee

  2. Beautiful! Seems like an absolute perfect celebration for Christina's birthday. She is the person who has shown me most clearly that living the daily gifts fully and joyfully is worship — lived worship rather than just spoken or sung worship. Thanks for reminding me of that again as you let us watch you celebrate her life in this beautiful way. Love, Carolyn

    1. Thanks, Carolyn. I hadn't really thought of all of those moments of joy and engagement as worship--but you are right. That really makes my heart sing. And so, today as we walked to the Hyatt to have lattes (another favorite Christina event), we worshiped. And as we showed Isaiah the wonder of the Koi pond, we worshiped. Your thoughts are so helpful!
      Jo Dee

    2. So much worship! I'm sure Jesus - and Christina - were delighted!

    3. I think so, Carolyn--little affirmations here and there:)