It started when I was single.  I have a propensity for loneliness and a history of depression. When my birthday rolled around both had the potential to get the best of me.  I have a friend who broke into my house at 5:30am on the morning of my birthday for 3 or 4 years in a row with bagels and singing. She celebrated me! Because of her intentional presence on that day an idea was born. Why should I wait for somebody else to celebrate my life? Why can't I plan for the same joy she was producing? Why should I get caught in the cycle of dreading my birthday, hiding my actual age and feeling sorry for myself when people didn't acknowledge the day I was brought into this world?  After all, I had A LOT for which I was grateful every other day of the year.  So began, Missy-Palooza!!  The week long (or longer if necessary) celebration of all that has made my life so amazing.  
Call it selfish if you must but at least hear me out.  I plan lunches and coffee with friends who have chosen to do life with me, often bringing them gifts to thank them for making my life so wonderful.  I always schedule time with my mother where she prepares my favorite meal and readily tells the story of what it was like to bring a baby girl home to that house filled with boys.  I take off work a day or two that week and go for walks, ride a horse, paint a picture or schedule a massage.  If it's a BIG milestone birthday I may even plan a trip!  I have a date night with my husband planned by me to assure that I will enjoy our time together. I sometimes call my brothers and say, "Hey, call me right back will you?"  When they do, I answer "Oh!  It's so sweet of you to call on my birthday!" I sleep a little later and I breathe a little deeper.  I spend more time with my God, my family and my friends because to me that is celebration.  And I do it because I believe my life, (our lives!) are worth celebrating and being thankful for.  Even though that number keeps getting bigger and my face and body are starting to rebel I have much for which to be on my knees grateful for.  Who says only children can throw parties and invite their friends to celebrate? I will continue to plan my week of letting others know how grateful I am to be here.  In some ways, it's a 'thank you note' to the One who allows me this blessing.    


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