I will have to die another day. I recently lived to celebrate yet another candle on my birthday cake. Dimming the lights proved to be no problem for the picture takers. The candles provided plenty of illumination.

My wife does a great job making everyone feel special on their birthday. Everyone is honored with their favorite meal. It was time for my annual fried chicken feast, with mashed potatoes, milk gravy and corn. Throw in a biscuit with honey and butter, and I am fit to have my belt loosened another notch. Top it off with strawberry-banana Jell-O and chocolate cake with white powdered sugar icing, and it is time for a nap! Keep your caviar. For me, there is nothing like good southern cooking.

As if eating like southern royalty was not enough, everyone wanted to know how I wanted to celebrate my day. At my age, you have pinned the tale on the donkey, busted a pi¤ata and lived through a surprise. What I wanted was more time with my family. What better way than to have a coloring book contest.

The same coloring books were purchased for everyone. We bought a fresh set of crayons. There is something special about the smell of a crayon as it brightens the image on the page. There is an almost velvet texture that massages your fingers and engages your senses as the lines are filled with color. Coloring is therapeutic.

Coloring alone is fun, but coloring with a group sparks great crayon conversations. The coloring session with my family was killing two birds with one stone. We decided everyone would compare artwork at the end of the party. In addition, we set two topics for discussion: 1.What do we hope to accomplish in the future? 2.What have we learned about life? The responses were enlightening, to say the least.

Careers were a popular topic. I heard from an aspiring surgeon, fashion model, TV producer, missionary, ballerina and medical researcher who hoped to discover a cure for diabetes. If everything works out as planned, I should live comfortably during retirement!

Discussing what we learned about life took longer, but the wisdom was rich. Everyone participated, but the answer of my next-to-youngest child gained everyone’s attention. “What have I learned about life?” asked Emily Rose. “I have learned that sometimes life is like the sun and the moon. Sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down. But during the moon times, you have to keep on shining.” Not bad advice from a child who has suffered from type-one diabetes since the age of 3.

Life comes with plenty of ups and downs. You win some and lose some. But as Matthew 5:15-16 says, “… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.”

Shine on baby girl. Thanks for making Daddy’s day brighter than a cake full of candles.