The first one is that of a lustily squalling infant laced into a Navajo cradle board. (No, the child is not of that Native tribe, just born in their territory).
The second is of three grinning little girls dangling legs out the barn hay bay window. She with her cousins of close age.
She then is a glorious, elegant bride by her handsome groom. Then a beaming mom with her little China dolls.
It sounds the perfectly illustrated dream story.
Yet in this pictured life there have been griefs of the deepest, most devastating sort. There has been loss and gain, struggles and victory, ill health and so much more. And from all the unseen there has formed a woman of amazing grace and charm. There is also a ready wit and incomparable sweet spirit.
If a ballot was handed to relatives far and near regarding "Who is the dearest, the kindest and best?, "Who has never forgotten your birthday?" and "Who would you most want at your holiday table?" her name alone would appear.
She is that and more. She is a most treasured kindred spirit and correspondent.
She is one of the Heavenly Father's best 'good gifts' to us all.
So this day we say loudly, with balloons and banners flying:
A very Happy Birthday to you, dearest Niece.
"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble;
May the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
May He send you help from the sanctuary,
and strengthen you out of Zion;
May He remember all your offerings,
and accept all your burnt sacrifice,
May He grant you according to your heart's desire,
and fulfill all your purpose...."
from Psalm 20