Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Birthday Candles

 Birthday Candles


I had a twinge in my shoulder the other day. 

“I wonder what caused that,” I said to Mike.

“Birthday candles,” he replied with a grin.


He’s probably right. We are the same age. Almost. His birthday is in February and mine is in May. We married in April so he could always say he married a younger woman. At least that’s the story.


This week I celebrated my birthday and caught up with him. He may tease me about the growing number of birthday candles, but he has a loving heart. 

Mike and my late husband, Tom, were childhood friends. He knew Tom well. He also knows me. This year, my sweet Michael surprised me for my birthday in a most tender way.


Some of my readers will remember the story of the palm tree. A few weeks after Tom’s sudden death in 2014, my oldest daughter and I attended an event called “Grieving Through the Holidays.” 


It was much too early for us to wrap our heads around the grief we experienced. We were about to leave when a volunteer from the church caught up with us. 


“May I pray with you?” she asked. The woman prayed words of comfort over us and asked God to bring to mind the image of a palm tree when the pain was great or when we felt torn up inside. We lived in Ohio so the image of a palm tree seemed unlikely. Shows what we know. If you want to read how that has played out, click HERE


Those palm trees have shown up everywhere. But the message has changed from one of comfort to one of strength. Throughout it all, is the image of a “deep-rooted faith…a trust in God that is flexible enough to bend and not break during the storms of life.” The palm tree has morphed into a sign of strength and beauty.


When Mike gave me a charm bracelet for Christmas, it had as its centerpiece… a palm tree.


“Did he know?” my youngest daughter asked when she came by that day.

He didn’t, but when she left, I shared the story with him. 


Mike was surprised, but embraced the moment. I wear the bracelet every day. It is beautiful. 

A couple of days before my birthday, Mike slipped away to run an errand. The errand was real, but he used the time to return to the jewelry store where he bought my bracelet. 


Mike walked in and handed me a bud vase with three beautiful roses. “Those aren’t for your birthday,” he said. “Those are just because I love you.” He then handed me a card. “That is for your birthday.”


“Should I open it?” I asked. My birthday was still a couple of days away.


“It says, ‘For My Wife’,” he said with a grin. My wife… The first birthday card of it’s kind.


I read the card carefully, knowing he had spent time selecting just the right one and thinking through the personal message accompanying his signature. Tears threatened to spill from my eyes. He is so sweet. 


But the best was yet to come. I looked up after reading the card. Mike had a gift in his hand. A small box wrapped in gold paper and tied with a creamy satin ribbon. It was from the same store as my bracelet. 


I drew in a deep breath and pulled at the ribbon.


The gold chain on the necklace matches the bracelet perfectly. And hanging from it? You guessed it… a beautiful palm tree. 


What was first intended as an image wherein to find comfort, that palm tree came to represent a deeply rooted faith…a source of trust. 


And now? Now the palm tree represents a full, beautiful circle of life. A connected life of comfort and care; of faith and trust; of love and beauty. 





  1. WOW my dear Becky. What a beautiful heart felt story.

  2. I love this….made me teary in a good way.


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