HONOR {Counting Gifts} & My Birthday

As a mama, it is my greatest joy to witness my family loving one another.


Even so, I fail to be their example, at times. I still have days where my volcano named control awakens and exasperation erupts and spews ruinous molten lava in words spoken towards an unsuspecting brood, devastating to the moments filled with joy and peace and love that I crave. It may be normal for siblings to bicker, but it pains me to see my reflection in them and hear my voice in theirs, as they pierce and stab, with words that are my own.


I read this book, and then I read it to them. This book with a title that does not disclose the true essence of its message. This book that revealed my selfish heart. Its subject–HONOR. A few years have passed since we have read it, but on my shelf, visible to remind me. Its message still working on my soul.

Honor thinks of what would please someone else and gives more than expected.

It’s putting someone else’s needs above your own.

Honor values others in tangible ways.  (Scott Turansky)


In endeavoring to use control in a futile effort hold on to peace, in times passed, I filled my home with the shaking of my finger, and RULESNO’s and DO NOT Do’s, with little room left for grace. But I had to learn and even still, I cannot pressure them for outward conformity with no loving empowerment for true, lasting, inner growth and change. “For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.” Galatians 3:21 It is by grace, only by grace.

So, finding this new way of relating, valuing and enjoying each other by showing honor, summed up the rules of the household, like the law was summed in two imperatives, love God withholding nothing, and love others as we would like to be. 

So, we memorized it. We practice it.

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As motherhood has required more sacrifice than I ever imagined, and it has also revealed the selfishness in my soul. Honor counteracts my selfishness. Honor continues to change how I treat my husband and children. Honor continues to change the way we think about and respect each other.

But, if I only teach respect, than I am narrow in my understanding of what honor is. Respect in the Greek is phobos and at its root, it means to “fear”. Generally, respect is holding high regard for a person’s position or achievements, and this is outward. Honor comes from timae, which means “worth” or “value”, and this goes much deeper. (Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes… in You and Your Kids)

We made a decision, this passed Christmas. We decided gifts will be for Christ, celebrating the birthday of our Lord. In giving to the least of these, we give to Him. Whom He loves becoming our priority. Birthdays are for celebrating a person’s birth into this world, valuing the gift they are to us, showing their worth to us, by showing them honor. It is so much more than gift giving and getting.

So what about our birthdays?
They would be special this year, with mine being the first. This passed week, by my husband’s leading, my family celebrated me. I long so much for us to show each other honor, and they gave this great gift. They showed me HONOR. For this, I give God glory for the working of His Spirit in our lives and in our home. For this I give thanks.

I am thankful for…

167. My first birthday greeting of the week, from Pre-teen Beauty on crutches.

168. Husband cooking dinner. He could be called a Gourmet. (Tuna steak, topped with mango salsa, served over fresh spinach)

169. My help-meet doing household chores, so I don’t have to.

170. Our new cook in the kitchen, cooking dinner, again.

171. Waking up to a scavenger hunt of love notes from Eldest Beauty.

172. Finding love up and down and all around.

173-184. A few of my favorite, of 34 notes love. {#20 deserved to places :)}

185. Another dinner I did not have to cook, thanks to my mama.

186. Eldest Beauty taking baby girl early morning, so I may sleep in a while.

187. A morning greeting that found me running and squealing and Son chasing and giggling, around the table we go.

188. A spontaneous night out with Eldest Beauty.

189. Driving home to find a fire truck leaving our driveway, and walking in the house to smell the remnants of a birthday cake burnt, and Husband trying so hard. The only physical evidence to find is hanging, disconnected, as smoke alarm would not turn off, and ending with us all laughing. LOVE’S JOY.

190. Birthday card, created with love, from Pre-teen Beauty.

191. Husband’s words and writing with his own hands.

192. An afternoon spent away for time alone.

193. Coming home to a surprise prepared.

194. Husband hearing when I remarked, “Turquoise and red, that is my favorite combo right now.”

195. Eldest Daughter capturing a precious moment, filling out birthday cards while I am away.

196. Husband’s beautiful back-up plan for burnt birthday cake.

197. A surf-and-turf dinner prepared by my own Gourmet.

198. Discovering Pre-teen beauty worked so hard helping dad and even ironed the beautiful linen tablecloth that once belonged to Husband’s mama.

199. Seeing the same daughter’s relief when Daddy told her she did not have to clean-up because she worked so hard already.

200. My little cupcake trying to steal mine, and candle before it’s lit.

201. Lighting candle and finding a blue flame.

202. Birthday singing.

203. Luck having nothing to do with it, ever. Every good gift from from above, coming down from the Father. James 1:17

204. I am thankful for GRACE and FORGIVENESS, from my husband and children, though I fail daily. His strength is made perfect in weakness.

I hold-on and will never let go of the vision of walking out the rest my days with my family, all dwelling in His Presence, walking in His Love, serving Him, honoring one another, while the children abide here at home and then when they are growing their own. I purpose to live every moment today, for His glory, and the thought of tomorrow and the legacy I will leave, never far away.


  • http://sixinthehickorysticks.blogspot.com Nacole

    oh wow, Michele. you are so *beautiful* in Him–just shining Him so radiant!

    made me cry again, reading the card where he marked out “lucky” and wrote “blessed”. as i look forward to a birthday coming soon too, and many more years with my man, this is what i hope for us as well–filled with hope–that only comes from Him–yes, all good things.

    how your family loved on you with such overwhelming kindness–i am amazed. all your pictures–gorgeous, and the ending–sweet poetry–truly, an encouraging thought for this Mama! they forgive us everyday, don’t they? God redeems all things–I lean hard on this.

    blessings, friend!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Your comments are always so tender and heartfelt… I love your heart… it is so full of passion and love. Perhaps there is a work of God here, joining 2 mamas from different places, yet whose walk is so similar, to bring encouragement and life and love… I want to believe with you, to see those dreams you hold in your heart.. come to pass… and watch Him do it 🙂

      Blessings to you… and walk each moment in His grace… I am too!

      With love… lots of it <3

  • http://JessieGunderson.com Jessie Gunderson

    Beautiful reminders! Thank the Lord it was just the cake. Happy birthday and thank you for your vulnerability. It helps the rest of us who blow it often to not feel alone but to remember to press into Jesus.

    We too did a family mission statement this. The greatest commandments, Love God and love others.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Yes, just the cake 🙂 Thank you for stopping by, and for your encouraging comments, sweet friend…

      All for Him, right? 🙂

  • http://apoemlife.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Hello, Michele! I am so glad to meet you 🙂 What a beautiful post. I love how your family honored and blessed you for an entire week. What a lovely tribute 🙂

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Thank you for stopping by… it is great to me you, also! And thank you for your kind comments 🙂 I know I am truly blessed… although, it has been a challenging road, I am beginning to see it more naturally… that we choose love…

      Only by His grace… blessings to you 🙂

  • http://www.positivelyalene.com/ Positively Alene

    Your husbands own handwriting! I totally love that gift. Happy birthday. God laid the word Honor on my heart this year so I love your words here. Blessings.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Thank you 🙂 and yes, I try to take pictures to save all of his mirror notes to me… I have been reading a lot about honor… it seems I still need a few lessons! Thankful God will complete the work He began…

      Only by His grace… blessings to you!

  • http://deepintoscripture.com Craig

    and of course that’s a typo – it’s God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours – not “I” bless – maybe it was a Freudian slip of pride – pride is sneaky that way. God bless.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Too funny… 🙂 I didn’t even notice that!

  • http://deepintoscripture.com Craig

    I’m here today from Ann’s. I think this is my first time here. Your site is a feast for the eyes – your words are full of awesome. I had a father – one who taught me the “fear” part of respect. That was insightful – your Greek spoke volumes. Thank you for that. And the way you change for your family – thank you for that. And my favorite from your list of thank you’s this week, it has to be the very first one – that card on crutches is amazing. Second place goes to the last one, an admission of human frailty, and gratitude for grace. I hearted this! thank you, and I bless and keep you and each and every one of yours Michele – and

    ☆.•*¨*•.•*¨`*•.¸.•*¨`*•. .•*¨`*•.☆
    Happy Birthday
    ☆.•*¨*•.•*¨`*•.¸.•*¨`*•. .•*¨`*•.☆

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Welcome… Thanks for stopping by and taking time to leave your thoughts… and thank you for words… they encouraged me and made me smile at the same time 🙂

      I understand about the “fear” part… but it is so easy to outwardly show respect while hiding disrespect in your heart… it is the attitude of the heart that I am concerned about…

      Blessings to you!

  • http://www.multitaskingmama.com Melissa

    I love your thankful list..especially that your husband heard and remembered your turquoise and red comment…sounds like a keeper 🙂

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Thank you 🙂 Yes… this counting of gifts… it has opened my eyes to the gift I have in my husband… I am thankful for that…

      Blessings to you…

  • http://www.kathleenbasi.com/blog Kathleen Basi

    This sounds like the most a.maz.ing birthday EVER. I love this idea!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      It was so wonderful… and I am so looking forward to new ideas for Hubby and the rest of the brood… I think I will have to start a new board on Pinterest 🙂 Thanks for stopping by…

      Blessings to you!

  • http://byhisdesign5.com Amy

    What a beautiful week! Even the firetruck and burnt birthday cake. Belated happy birthday to you! Thanks for sharing

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Yes it was! Thank you.. and the firetruck, which I am still laughing about, was the best part… He tried so hard 🙂 … Love him for that… thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Blessings to you, this Multitude Monday…

  • http://www.pohlkottepress.blogspot.com tara pohlkotte

    oh wow. so great! all of that honor, all of those lessons being taught well. happy birthday, you’re doing great mama!!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Thank you for the encouragement… I am still learning… we all are… but I am grateful for His grace and what sticks 🙂

      Only by His grace…

  • http://seejamieblog.com See Jamie Blog

    Loved that book, and we’re still implementing (or trying to!) those ideas of how to better honor one another. Your photos are beautiful — and happy birthday!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Jamie (is that your name :),

      Yes! The book began, which contains such practical application, began a whole new way of parenting for me… there is so much more, too! Thank you for stopping by and for your kind remarks…

      Blessings to you!

  • http://salaknlemonlade.blogspot.com Mrs.B

    This is so sweet. Happy Birthday!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Mrs. B,

      Thank you and thank you… I am looking forward to our other birthdays this year 🙂