I have many reasons to be grateful. And even rhymes too… (read on).

My birthday is this weekend and the sequence of events that unfolded were incredibly special.

Thursday night, packages arrive in the mail. I receive strict instructions from Matthew that I cannot open them.

My manager schedules an impromptu staff meeting on Friday morning and Matthew tells me that I can open my gifts then, but no sooner! With impressive restraint, I wait until the next morning and I log into the meeting and my team is there to wish me a happy birthday.

My manager and her daughter made this amazing mobile strung from a chopstick. I smile every time I look at it. Thank you Nicole and Lola!

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And then my manager and my team sent me a package filled with goodness: a piece of chocolate cake, multiple chocolate bars, hot cocoa, little notes from everyone on my team. And they also gave me this book I’ve been coveting: Saul Bass: A Life of Film and Design captures an in-depth account of one of the leading graphic artists of the twentieth century.

My sincere and heartfelt gratitude goes out to my team. From Portland to Italy, I work with brilliant people that I value and respect.

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As the day moves further on, I have a great ride on Falcon in the afternoon followed by dinner with one of my dearest friends, Erin, and Matthew. Erin’s husband Mike and her son Will were not able to join us as the little man had an ear infection. As we always do, we caught up on the week and talked horses a bit too. It was fun to see a spark in Erin’s eye about wanting to get back in the saddle again. She recently had to retire her horse due to a serious injury and it’s hard to really capture how absolutely heartbreaking that is when it happens and unfortunately her riding partner, Arrow, is no longer up for work. Erin, probably more so than any other person I know, is an animal lover. And this recent injury with her horse has been so, so difficult. I admire her resilience and I was really happy to hear her talk of wanting to ride again.

Saturday morning, I wake up to this rhyme written on my Facebook wall from my farming partner and friend, Paula. Matthew and I laughed out loud!

Our friend is named Melissa;
Her hubby wants to kiss-huh,
For she’ll be celebratin’
A birthday that’s awaitin’.

Mexican food and a margarita—
That hubby knows just how to treat huh,
For she’s a fox, she has wit, and you should see her shovel sh*t!

We all are glad that she was born;
She brings a smile and never scorn.
Her intellect is sharp and keen;
A more appreciative person there’s never been.

We hope you have a lovely day—
Ride your horse and feed him hay;
Go for a run, maybe nap
And let the dog sit on your lap.

Most of all, just keep in mind,
Your friends were really glad to find
A gem, a pearl, a coin of gold—
Melissa—you are not old!

Happy Birthday to you!
March 3, 2013

Then more gifts arrive in the mail: running socks and new PJs from my mom. Thanks mom!

Off to the barn I go for a morning ride and some stall cleaning with Paula. Our friend and fellow farmer down the road, Sergio, stops in to shoot the breeze. Sergio is an amazing horseman and I would trust him with my horse anytime, anywhere and there are very few people I would say that about. Paula feels the same way. As he’s leaving, he notices that Paula trimmed Roulette’s mane and says, “don’t worry, it’ll grow out in a couple days.” We have good laughter over his keen observation and we get back to work. This weekend, we pulled up the matts in Volkie’s stall and cleaned out the nastiness. Hard work, but very satisfying.

That evening, Matthew makes me a lovely dinner: grilled salmon, roasted potatoes, corn and a glass of wine. Good man. Good cook.

This morning, I take Emmitt for a run, talk with my mom, and both of my brothers on the phone and then off to the barn for a ride.

As I’m walking out the door, Paula calls me and says she will be delivering my birthday gift. Peanut butter pie!!! Matthew sees it moments ago and says, “that pie could be served at any of the best restaurants and people would love it!”

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In addition to the sweet heaven Paula created in the kitchen, she gave me a notepad with this saying:

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And this magnet…

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Matthew gave me this hat and I love it! It will be perfect for summer – it has a soft mesh on the backside and it’s going to look fabulous with my overalls!

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My heart is full of gratitude for the rhymes and reasons in my life.

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(Via Lisa Congdon)

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