First, I apologize that it's been so long since my last blog! The last time I wrote was the day before my birthday so I'll start there...
We celebrated my birthday for almost a week. There were dinners with special friends, cake with our 40/40 group, cake with the office staff, many gifts of earrings (my favorite) and a shared fried chicken dinner with my friend Laura whose birthday was 2 days after mine. All these celebrations were filled with blessings of laughter but the most special time in that week was at my house with my Peruvian family, the Conchas.
The Conchas have been beyond wonderful to us and my birthday with them was very special. We had an amazing dinner, delicious cake (which, in keeping with tradition, my face got smashed into!), I sang/played my guitar for them and the brothers sang/played for me. But, the most special moment of the night came when Antono (the dad) had me choose a card from this box of Bible verses and prayers and then read it to me (in spanish, of course!). Before he finished reading, I was in tears because the day before I had told Mary (the mom) about how I loved the stories of St. Francis of Assisi and the prayer on the card was the prayer of St. Francis:
"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
This prayer has been a constant encouragement and challenge in my life and I believe receiving it as my birthday blessing was a reminder of the way I believe I should live. I wasn't sure how I'd feel on my birthday-- being so far away from my dearest loved ones-- but God was gracious and showed me yet again how He is always expanding my circle :)
Aloha Means Te Amo,
Melissa aka Suthee :)