Does someone you love have a “big birthday” approaching? One of those birthdays that ends with a “0”or with the delivery of a Medicare card? 

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve always been grateful for birthdays and for the gift of good health and for another year of life, yet the “big birthdays” always make me swallow hard and say: “Well, I certainly don’t FEEL xx!” (Hoping the immediate response from others will be: “Well, you certainly don’t LOOK xx, either!”)

On those milestone dates, it is especially sweet to receive meaningful expressions from those you love and to be told that your life truly has made a difference. 

Recently, a friend of mine turned 70, and was honored in a wonderfully uplifting way by her family. 

On the afternoon of her 70th birthday, Gail Werstlein was surprised to discover that her daughter, Kylie, and family had driven up in front of her house. As the car door opened, her grandchildren emerged with birthday balloons. Along with the balloons came an absolutely priceless gift: a poster, entitled “70 Reasons Why We Love You.” Each grandchild, her daughter and son-in-law had written their personal expressions to Gail (AKA Mom, AKA Grammy) of why she meant so much to them.

The poster is filled with beautiful words of affirmation that would humble and encourage anyone. Imagine reading some of these words from those who are dearest to you: “You are sacrificial. You are a prayer warrior. You are empathetic. You are a great hugger. You’ve always been there for me. You always listen. You are always joyful.” 

70 loving sentences expressing specific, unique and meaningful reasons she was dearly loved by those who know her best. 

Reading those 70 reasons brought tears to my eyes. My immediate reaction as I read about my friend from her family’s perspective was “Wow!  Talk about a life well-lived!” 

In addition to the poster, each family member gave Gail a personal birthday letter, expressing in more detail what they most loved and appreciated about her. She received a double blessing of written affirmation from her family!

Do you have a parent, grandparent or friend approaching a “big birthday?” Why not create a poster or list like this in their honor? This is a gift that costs little in monetary terms, but is a priceless treasure to the recipient.  Unlike a fleeting text message or email or a generic birthday card, these words can be read and re-read both by the recipient and by future generations.  And what a wonderful way to teach children, hands-on, how to be affirming to those you love. 

I'm always so grateful to see families who love each other so intentionally and so well, and hope you'll be inspired to do the same for the important people in your life.

"Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11