Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I remember when I was a kid I used to love when my birthday rolled around. Loved it! Loved the special attention, the parties and of course the presents! I was a typical kid and I loved everything about it. Then there’s the milestone birthdays like the sweet 16, turning 21, all of which I have such fond memories of. I even welcomed my 30th birthday with open arms and will always remember the surprise party in my honor.

Then, for many of us, something happens as we get older. We begin not looking forward to birthdays, we start to ignore them, put our hands up and say  “no thank you.” For some of us,  it’s a sign that we’re aging, or perhaps a reminder that time is slipping by and we haven’t done “all those things” that we’ve meant to do. We’ve all had the phrase “by the time I’m the age of ____  I want to be_____” and fill in the blanks with the dreams and expectations of where we think our lives are going to be by a certain age.

This didn’t start to happen for me until after I turned 40. Up until my 40th birthday, I welcomed my special day with open arms and enjoyed every minute of it. My 40’s have been very challenging for me in many ways so I started not looking forward to my birthday. I would joke around saying “oh, I’m holding out for the big 50th party” when really I wanted to just crawl under a rock on my birthday these past few years.

Maybe I was taking inventory of where my life was and wasn’t liking the results. I had gone through a lot of changes starting with my 40th birthday weekend where yes, I have the pictures of the trip to Vegas with my besties, but that was also the same weekend my ex-husband was moving out for the 2nd and final time. I’ve fallen victim to the notion of comparing myself to where I thought I was “supposed to be” in my 40’s and that started playing tricks with my head and as a result I really started hating my birthday. Even my 43rd birthday when my then boyfriend and now my amazing, sweet, adorable husband surprised me with a wonderful evening with everything a girl could want, yet when I look back at those pictures I immediately think “that was the year I lost my job and was unemployed.”

I let all of this get deep into my thoughts and take over, and as a result, I wanted to pull the covers over my head.

Truth be told, I wanted to pull the covers over my head on most days, but then on my birthday, it hit hard. The comparing, the loathing, the reminder right between my eyeballs that I’m in my mid 40’s and I was starting over with several aspects of my life. I let it rule and I let it ruin the day that I used to love. My Birthday.

I turned 46 last week. I expected to not want to get out of bed. I expected to plaster on a smile and just get through the day. But after I woke up and kids and Hubby left for school and work and I was alone with my thoughts, I noticed that I didn’t feel disgusted by the thought of my birthday. I felt elated and happy, frankly I felt down right giddy.

I took time time to reflect on where I have been this past year and it wasn’t exactly a happy trip down memory lane. The past year was tough on me and my family with continued stress about not working and then a cancer diagnosis last summer. 45 was a tough one. One that may have required an extra heavy blanket to throw over my head to try and forget.

I don’t know if its because I’ve worked really hard to get strong and recover from my surgery and radiation, or it’s just the fact that with a cancer diagnosis comes the mere thought that there may not be a 47th birthday. That my trips around the sun may now have a time limit to them that is a lot closer than I once thought. We all just assume that our birthdays just come and go year after year and we have the luxury to choose to not respect the day. We take it for granted. We put the hand up if we’re not happy with the number or where we are in our lives compared to where we think we should be. I have stopped taking it for granted.

It was these thoughts that snapped me out of the loathing of the birthday. I turned 46 and I was so darn  happy and grateful to have that day arrive. I made a commitment to myself to return to how I used to feel about my birthday when I was a kid. If you have the pleasure of being around kids when it’s their birthday, or watching your own kids on their birthday, they truly view it as a magical day. My kids start counting down months beforehand with such excitement and I’ve decided that’s exactly how I’m approaching my birthday from now on. With anticipation and excitement and gratitude.

While I don’t envision myself planning a sleepover birthday party like my tween daughters requested, (although if I asked a handful of my friends, I bet they would love it!) I will take time for myself to honor my year – good or bad – and look forward to the future.

As adults, we are the only ones who truly know what we need and want on our birthdays. Therefore, I’ve instituted what I now call “My Birthday Ritual” – and if you’ve been treating your birthday poorly like I have,  I invite you to try this with me. My birthday is now my day to take time for myself to honor, indulge, contemplate, celebrate and reflect. It’s my day to celebrate in grand style in exactly the way I need to. A time for new beginnings and personal closure as I start day 1 of another glorious trip around the sun.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Tracie Cornell

Tracie is a writer, blogger, and corporate sales and leadership trainer. A native of Buffalo NY, she lives there with her husband and 15 and 11 year old daughters.   She has been a facilitator for 19 years while also pursuing her passion for writing, coaching and sharing her story of divorce, loss, and a cancer diagnosis all with the goal of connecting with other women to help them through all of life transitions. When she is not writing, traveling for work, and carpooling, she can be found at yoga, on a bike trail, or sitting in a local cafe sipping a latte while on her laptop.  She loves dinners out with her husband and friends and is constantly thinking of where their next vacation will be. Along with being a regular feature writer on HER VIEW FROM HOME - a lifestyle magazine that connects your view to the rest of the world, she is also a contributor on the Huffington Post Lifestyle and Divorce sections. Tracie has an essay, "Getting Back to Me" in the anthology "EAT PRAY LOVE MADE ME DO IT", the follow-up book to Elizabeth Gilberts's bestselling novel where she describes how she found the strength to start taking care of herself as her marriage was falling apart. The book is available now on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Find her at tracielynncornell.com where you can also find how to connect with her on social media.

I Am Not My Child’s Death

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Faith, Grief
I Am Not My Child's Death www.herviewfromhome.com

We are NOT what has happened to us or what this world says we are. That is not what defines us. While we are grieving parents, that is not what our whole story has to be about. Although, at times, we feel that our story is over. We ask, how do we go on and live full lives without our sweet Sophie with us? I’m still not 100 percent sure I know the answer to that. BUT the Lord says I am beloved. I am redeemed and accepted. I am holy and chosen. I am righteous and complete. I am...

Keep Reading

I’m Not Sure How Long I’ll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal…and That’s OK

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Grief, Mental Health
I'm Not Sure How Long I'll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal...and That's OK www.herviewfromhome.com

I tried to wean off of Zoloft and couldn’t. And that’s OK. I had never really been aware of the world of antidepressants. My life has been relatively uneventful—with the normal ups and downs that most of us go through. I knew people on medication for depression but never understood. How can you be THAT sad that you can’t just be positive and make the best of your circumstances? How can someone be THAT unhappy ALL the time to need medication? I didn’t get it. I felt bad for people going through it. Then my 2-year-old was diagnosed with Stage...

Keep Reading

To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes

In: Cancer, Child, Child Loss, Health
To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes www.herviewfromhome.com

Most people never get to meet their heroes. I have, in fact—I have met many heroes. These heroes didn’t set out for greatness; they fell victim to a terrible disease and faced it with courage, might and bravery like I have never seen before. And when we talk about this type of battle, there is no such thing as losing. whether the battle ended in death, life, or debility, each of these heroes defeated. My heroes are the innocent children who battle cancer. I high-fived, hugged, wept over, laughed and played with my heroes for 10 years as a nurse. And you better believe I...

Keep Reading

Cancer Can’t Take That

In: Cancer
Cancer Can't Take That www.herviewfromhome.com

“Hi, I’m Martha!” A lady around my mom’s age with tightly curled blonde hair approached me at my boyfriend’s church softball game. “I’m Jen,” I said, awkwardly waving though she only stood three feet from me. Martha pointed. “That’s my daughter, Stacey, and her kids, Brady, Harleigh and Boston is the baby.” I saw a chunky baby in a baby carrier. “Harleigh is a cute name,” I said. “It’s spelled H-A-R-L-E-I-G-H,” she announced. “Interesting spelling,” I said, bemused. That is how I met Martha. I’d been to my boyfriend’s church once and was then attending one of their softball games....

Keep Reading

I Wish My House Was Messy

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Grief
I Wish My House Was Messy www.herviewfromhome.com

My house is always clean. The laundry gets done quickly. The dishes are rarely stacked up in the sink. My counters are hardly ever sticky and nothing gets spilled. Everything gets put in its place and there is no clutter. My floor rarely needs sweeping and I never step on or trip over toys. My house is usually in perfect order . . . and it’s infuriating. You see, my house used to be a wreck a lot of the time. We had diapers, wipes, blankets, books, applesauce pouches, Cheerios, toys, movies, and any other number of toddler paraphernalia strewn...

Keep Reading

How This 10-Year-Old Is Helping Save Lives From Inside the Oval Office

In: Cancer, Inspiration
How This 10-Year-Old Is Helping Save Lives From Inside the Oval Office www.herviewfromhome.com

The world of childhood cancer is one you aren’t familiar with, until you have to be. It’s a world where more than 40,000 children undergo cancer treatment each year. In this world the average age at diagnosis is six years old, and one in five of those kids will die. It’s the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the U.S. No one wants to be a part of that world. Childhood cancer is not one disease–there are 16 major types of pediatric cancers and over 100 subtypes. The causes of most childhood cancers...

Keep Reading

I Knew I had Cancer Because I Trusted my Intuition

In: Cancer
I Knew I had Cancer Because I Trusted my Intuition www.herviewfromhome.com

Today marks the anniversary of having my cancerous thyroid removed. This day always makes me think about the power of intuition and, how you should trust it. It’s real. Maybe because my dad was only 50 when he died, I was able to entertain the idea: I might get cancer, too. I knew. Breaking into tears on a run surrounded by girlfriends, a year before my diagnosis. I feared. I had it. Something wasn’t right. Months passed. But with gentle nagging from my accountability partner, I finally made an appointment. It wasn’t until the end of that meeting, I casually...

Keep Reading

Having Problems is a Privilege

In: Cancer, Faith, Journal
Having Problems is a Privilege www.herviewfromhome.com

The smell of smoke alerted me to yet another mishap in our morning mayhem. I wanted to provide some sort of breakfast to my eldest son as he returned to college after the holiday break. Each school morning begins with such chaos at our house. Between my daughter’s tangled hair and her brother’s missing socks, I realized I had burnt the cheese toast (the only thing I could find as some sort of parting breakfast for our firstborn). You know when cheese toast is the best you have to offer, you are already in dire straits. Not only was our...

Keep Reading

The Question No Grieving Mother Wants To Hear

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Faith
The Question No Grieving Mother Wants To Hear www.herviewfromhome.com

  My name is Shelby, and I’m a mom without a child. My two-year-old daughter, Sophie was diagnosed with Stage 4 T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma in May 2017. We had 12 weeks of her responding well to treatment when she unexpectedly had a MASSIVE relapse in August. Our doctors had never seen a child relapse so soon in 40-plus years of practicing. We were in the club that even cancer families don’t want to be in, the “rare disease” club. We spent nine days in the ICU getting 15 doses of adult “rescue chemo” that saved her life and knocked her...

Keep Reading

Cancer Warrior, Your Star Will Never Fade

In: Cancer, Inspiration
Cancer Warrior, Your Star Will Never Fade www.herviewfromhome.com

How do you stand so tall? How do you walk so proud? How do you smile easily? How do you laugh so beautifully? How do you comfort others? How do you shine with such grace? With such class? With such dignity? I use to ask my wife those questions. The ultimate Cancer Warrior. She fought so hard. So bravely. With a spirit that left the World in awe. And now, I’m asking you. You:  The Cancer Warrior. How do you do it? To say that I admired her, well, that would be the ultimate of understatements. To say that I...

Keep Reading