Last week I celebrated my 42nd birthday. If you’re familiar with the work of Douglas Adams, you’ll recognize that my age is actually the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. The answer may not be entirely accurate but it does help inspire an upbeat attitude about being this particular age.

I’m way past the age where I expect to get birthday presents from anyone except myself. But, like anyone else, I still enjoy it when others recognize the fact that God has allowed the earth to shuttle me around the sun one more time by giving me something, no matter how trivial.

My family did not disappoint me in this. My youngest son who is 11 at the time of this post, drew me an amazing picture of a bird landing on a branch. I think he is getting better all the time but this picture shows that he is already pretty good!

My oldest son (15) got in on the action as well. He gave me a coupon good for a birthday gift to be made any time I want it. The funny thing is, he couldn’t bring himself to make one then on my birthday! He’s getting good at punting things. Next, I expect him to work on his delegation skills and outsource making my gift to fiverr when I call in the IOU.

My wife is always consistent when it comes to my birthday. She knows I’m fine not receiving gifts but she always manages to find something anyway to make me feel special. This year she presented me with two books that I keep borrowing over and over from the library. If I borrow something two or three times, that’s a pretty good indication that I could benefit from owning it.

The first book is The Painted Art Journal: 24 projects for creating your visual narrative by Jeanne Oliver. It’s a great book on mixed media and creating personal stories through art journaling.

The other book is Geninnes’s art: birds in watercolor, collage, and ink: a field guide to art techniques and observing in the wild by Geninne Zlatkis. Geninne is an amazing artist and I love her bird paintings. This book is great because it breaks down the process Geninne uses to develop her work. It’s very inspiring especially since I already like drawing and painting birds. Hopefully, this book can help me take my art to a higher level.

So all-in-all it was a pretty successful birthday haul. But presents aside, I had a great time spending the beginning of my next year of life with the people I love.

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