I’m thirty-one again. Its my birthday, and I have decided to stop at thirty-one (four years ago.) The kids think its hilarious that I’m getting old, jumping on any opportunity to remind me of my delusional state of being in the “early” thirties. I think they like the idea that Dad is human too. Sometimes. There are those moments saying goodnight at Amelia’s bedside when she has thought it out a little too far and realizes that being human means being mortal. She’ll cry a little while I console her with antics of my living to a hundred and miscellaneous thoughts on heaven. Somehow 100 seems old enough. Anything less is just not fair to an eight year old. The triple-digits make it seem far enough off I guess. Such nights tend to end with an extra big hug, and I think I got one today. A good birthday present.

Renee made me a cake. Nine years ago when we were amateurs at this missionary stuff, she assembled the very same cake as she did today, a German Chocolate. Its a tricky recipe anywhere, but toss in the altitude and questionable ingredients available in our part of the world, and its a real challenge. The first one ended up rather lopsided, fitting in very well with our new Kenyan home. I think that after nine years of culinary experience, Renee had higher hopes for this one. But alas, it ended up lopsided too. She was frustrated but I think the whole thing can just be chalked up to the “Africa Factor” – a Bermuda Triangle type phenomenon with angles that add up to something other than 180 degrees… a spacial convergence of crooked lines and traffic jams that defy the imagination, a strange but undeniable force that plays havoc with every area of life. Even birthday cakes. I gave Renee a hug and told her it would be OK. Her imperfect cake was better than OK though. It was a signature creation… from the kitchen (and hands) of Renee… the woman I love, who will give half her day to make a cake for me. Because she loves me. And it was delicious too.

A good start to mid-life despite the lack of an Audi TT in the driveway.