47. I'm sure glad I don't feel it.
Yesterday was a really nice day, with the exception of learning that my sister needed to be admitted to the hospital for pneumonia.
My brother-in-law was five (5) hours away hunting, getting away from a busy, stressful time at his place of employment, and my Mom had to go help her and take her to a free-standing ER clinic first and then to the hospital.
Despite that, Waverly and I had a chance to spend the day doing things that we've grown to enjoy doing over the years.
It started with breakfast at The Egg & I in Shenandoah, our local favorite. We have a couple of favorites in Lynchburg - especially Market at Main - when I go and visit her at college.
She went to choir practice and Sunday School while I went home and worked on a few things and then we were both in church together.
It is always an incredible joy and source of pride and thankfulness to watch her worship God while singing as part of the praise and worship team.
With my Dad engaging our guest speaker, Dr. Jerry Thorpe, that she attended Liberty University before she got out of Sunday School, he took the opportunity to introduce himself to her before the service - and all of us learned that Dr. Thorpe is on Liberty's Board of Trustees' Seminary Committee with co-founder Dr. Elmer Towns.
I went to the gym to workout for an hour and completed an errand before both of us went to the monthly Sunday Night 5K, hosted by The Woodlands Running Club (nee Bill Dwyer) at Barbara Bush Elementary.
These 3.1 miles would replace those that she has ru every year with me since 2007 at the end of the Chevron Houston Marathon. If I toe the line and make it that far, I will certainly miss her not being there waiting for me.
We decided just to run the race nice and easy, but we also wanted to make sure we finished ahead of Seven Hills Running Club legend Ken Johnson, who shares a birthdate with Waverly and just finished his 100th marathon on New Year's Day.
Waverly ran nice and steady and went 21:28.42 through the first two miles - a 10:44 pace.
Even though she needed to take quick blows four or five times, and not having done any cardio in about three weeks, she delivered a PR time of 33:41.27 -- 37 seconds better than the race (Poplar Forest 5K; 34:18) we ran together in Lynchburg on Saturday, October 12.
It represented a pace of 10:50 per mile, which is in between the 10:34 per mile she ran on Thanksgiving Day for five miles (her fastest pace ever at any distance) and the 11:02 per mile of her previous 5K best.
It is really fun to see her more through an improved fitness stage. She enjoys running around campus while she's at school, just to get out of her dorm room and enjoy the beauty of the commonwealth of Virginia.
We went home, got cleaned up and then had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, a semi-expensive favorite of ours in The Woodlands. (Well, semi-expensive if you have the cheesecake, but it was my birthday.)
I enjoy having the time to discuss life with her and we talked more about some of her goals for the next three years as she wants to move into Student Leadership next year and serve as a Prayer Group Leader. Then she would like to become a Resident Assistant (RA) in her final two years.
It is great to see her set her sights on actions which will serve and meet the needs of others in their day-to-day and spiritual lives.
When we made it back to the house, she gave me a card, a Chris Tomlin CD (one further back then his most current "Burning Lights" release) and a calendar - that I have hanging in the kitchen area - where she culled together photographs that both took a look back at the past year and also looked forward to the year ahead.
I'm thankful to have her plans to travel back for Spring Break already taken care of as well as a visit from me the weekend of February 22-23 and then for her Mom to fly up on Wednesday, May 7 to help her drive home for the summer.
Forever how long she's going to be home, that is.
She wants to make a return trip to Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) in late May and early June followed by six weeks of working in church youth camps all over the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.
Am excited to watch her set out to achieve it.
All in all, it was hard to top a day like that.
The clutter was pruned away. Something I've been trying to do each and every day, and more and more, I've been succeeding. And, for that, I'm thankful.
I heard from lots of friends on the phone, in person, via text messages, Twitter and Facebook who wished me "Happy Birthday". Each one, even those that came early, was greatly appreciated - and reminds me how fortunate I am.
There were one or two that I wished I would have heard from, but there's always next year, right?