Blue Sky

the hunts in prague

The Birthday Girl


It was almost ten years ago. Every Saturday night, my roommates and I would watch Austin City Limits at midnight, and friends were welcome. This night it was either Willie Nelson and Family or George Strait– accounts vary. Some of the girls who lived two doors down were coming over. We’d been hanging out with them for a couple of weeks, and there was one of them in particular I was enjoying getting to know. I had sort of forced her into going to a show downtown with us a couple of nights before and we had a lot of fun.

After Willie (or George) finished, the crowd gradually thinned out, leaving me and the girl in the living room. We sat and talked for a while. Then we went to the kitchen for something to drink, and talked a while there. Then back to the living room. Talked a while. Then some more. I was doing whatever I could to keep her from leaving, so Lord only knows what I talked about. At one point we were just rolling a baseball back and forth across the floor.

We talked and laughed and hung out until 7:30 Sunday morning. We’ve been talking and laughing and hanging out ever since. And she is still as enchanting and funny and alluring as she was then. She still commands my full attention.

If you’re reading this, you probably know that Melissa is great. You know that she’s beautiful and kind and easygoing and creative and fun to be with. You might have seen how passionate she is about sticking up for the underdog, and how well she cares for people. You might know how seriously she takes the Bible and that she’s a really good teacher. You’ve almost certainly seen what a great mom she is, and how she pours herself out for her boys (all three of us).

But there’s a lot you don’t know. You don’t know how much she pushes our family to live for the kingdom of God and not our own comfort. You might not know that she got excited about Prague before I did, and that even though we doubted that it would happen, and even though all these changes terrified us, she never blinked about bringing our family here. You haven’t seen her pray for a child like I have, or seen how completely she devotes herself to loving our boys. You haven’t seen how deeply she hurts when others hurt, or how she rejoices when they rejoice. You don’t know her like I do.

She’s even better than you think she is. She is a gift to the world, to everybody who knows her, and especially to me. And today her husband loves to “sing her praises in the city gates.”

Yesterday was M’s first birthday in Prague, and it was as typically crazy as every day is for 1) a family with 2 small kids and 2) a family who just moved to another country. But we did get to do some celebrating, and there’s more to come.

The artists working on their cards.

The stage is set.

Breakfast for a Queen: Blueberry-lemon scones, quiche and kid-friendly mimosas. (Real life intrudes: this was actually eaten amidst 2 cabin-fevered children and a husband who was sidelined by sudden and really awful neck pain. But the picture is very serene, yes?)

Later in the day, my assistant and I prepared Cake #1, using the only kind of cake mix available in Prague.

And the big moment:

We do like to spread out a birthday around here, so there’s probably more to come. Happy birthday Melissa!

12 thoughts on “The Birthday Girl

  1. Nice, appropriate touch… and YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO EMBELLISH ONE BIT!!

  2. she is awesome, and so are you for singing her praises to the world!!!

  3. You're killing me!!! I am crying at my desk at work. This is the sweetest thing I have read in a long time and so very true.

  4. Such a beautiful tribute…I have to ask – are those tea-light candles on the cake?

  5. Happy Birthday Melissa!Great celebration Jake!Great singing Sam!Great grabbing of the card, Foard!

  6. I love Melissa too Jake, but for reasons you don't know either or can't understand or however you said it…so there (tongue sticking out). Yeah yeah that was really sweet and oh so true, but it makes me so jealous that you have her there with you because you speak such truth about Melissa. Miss you guys and HAPPY birthday Dekalb general/almost same birthday/ buddy.

  7. That is such an awesome testimony to how your wife lives for Jesus…and how you love her like the church. Praying for you guys!

  8. Crying, right now, crying… Jake, that was so sweet and SOOOO true and it makes me miss you guys. Remember when yall were my adopted parents? (which is funny when you consider that M is only one year older than me, and you are younger :))

  9. I know I don't need to tell you this , but I will anyway! You don't deserve her. But then if we guys got what we really deserved we would be most miserable. Happy birthday Melissa.

  10. Such a loving post — and to think our sweet Lord has even more wonderful thoughts toward us. Keep up the good work looking like Jesus!! God bless you.

  11. Great job with this Post, Jake!!I'm leaning more toward Willie, because that's one of the few ACL's I remember watching in E-2. 🙂 I DEF remember the midnight serenade, though!

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