Forever 21 Favorite F-Words

Forever 21, a birthday original in stamps, maps and sheet music collage from Lynda Burch, a fellow Sandia Heights Artist and hostess for our studio tour stop in September inspired this post.

Another year. A special occasion. Celebrate. Play. Enjoy life! I’m joyful about my birthday. Indulge me as I alphabetically list 21 favorite “F-Words” about Birthdays. 

Facebook. While there are times when I hate Facebook, and swear to never again participate in social media, it’s those Facebook greetings that go on and on and on. The Facebook Birthday love is enormous. Bring it on!

Family. We’re a group of 34 in our immediate family. Loud. Rowdy. Generally pretty happy. Most of the time my siblings remember the day with a card or phone call. We used to have a rule that the birthday kid didn’t have to return a call. It was the responsibility of everyone else to get in touch.

Frosting is probably one of the 21 favorite f-words for Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.
© Mary Ellen Merrigan, Birthday Cake – Age One

Fashion. What would a birthday be without something new? I choose to buy a pair of shoes or a new blouse to celebrate and wear that item on my special day. Then, throughout the year, I’ll remember  again and again as I enjoy my choice.

Feline. Those who know me would not be surprised to know that cats are part of my birthday. They’re so special. Jasper, my forever cat, is a Norwegian Forest/Maine Coon rescue who prefers my lap to just about anyplace. Now that’s a little slice of heaven as the saying goes. Bella, the little seven-pound Norwegian Forest girl is just as sweet.

Feeling. The primary feeling I choose for my year is heart-centered.

Festivities. From age one I celebrated my birthday. Even during clean-eating years, a cake was a birthday must. As the oldest of seven children, there was always a crowd at birthday time. We made the day special for every birthday child, including two cakes for two siblings born on the same day two years apart.

Fiber. Something with fiber is always on my list. This year I’m concentrating on Indigo. Not only do I love the deep wonderful blue color, but I’m focused on the inspiration I’ll absorb as an artist assistant to a master indigo artist from Mali at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe. 

Fierce courage. When times are tough, my choice is for fierce, heart-centered courage.  Brenée Brown explains courage as “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” 

Finish. As the year comes to a close, I think about the completions I’ve managed during the past months. I make a list and celebrate the energy that contributed to those events.

Fireworks. Freedom and fireworks are nearly synonymous, given my birthday’s proximity to July 4th. (Happy Birthday America!) Fireworks remind me of visual celebrations. Presentation adds an important element to any event.

Finesse. This word reminds me to be kind, tactful and compassionate in my relationships.

Fit. Health is important, an ongoing quest for me as I age. At my birthday I choose to renew my fitness goals for the year. My choice is to exercise five times weekly with barre, Pilates and yoga classes and walk on those days when I don’t meet with a group.

Flexible. Are there ways in which I might be more flexible and honor others in the process?

Flowers. It’s always appropriate to add beauty – to a room, to an occasion, to life in general. Can I brighten someone’s day with flowers?

Focus. Are there questions I’ve overlooked? Did I put thought behind my action? Is there intention in my day? 

Food. (Especially the frosting on the cake.) I remember one time when my friend Karen made a fabulous chocolate cake and served it up on a MacKenzie-Childs cake plate. What a birthday! Yum. It tickles my senses to think about the richness of the cake and the synergy of the well-wishers.

© Mary Ellen Merrigan, Chocolate Birthday Cake Celebration

Fortunate. Gratitude. This birthday is about gratitude for all that I’ve been given and all that I aspire to do and be. I’m outrageously blessed.

Free-hearted. As a super planner, what benefit might I cultivate with spontaneity of thought and action?

Friends. I’ve always collected circles of friends: the needlepoint circle, the second Monday group, the studio gals, creative spirits, collaborheartists, pod prod, and more. Friends add a special support and nourishment to life. 

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”

– Elisabeth Foley

Fullness. The question that comes to mind is, “How can I serve others more effectively?”

Future. Birthdays are just one marker for a clean slate, a new start to the new birth year. My birthday encourages me to take time to dream about the next few months. What will I accomplish? What intentions will I be vigilant about?

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

There you have it. My 21 favorite F-words. What additional ways do you honor a birthday?

Forever 21 on display minus 21 favorite f-words

For the sixth year I will join Lynda in her home for the 16th Annual Sandia Heights Artists Studio Tour, Saturday and Sunday September 14-15, 2019. A Leo, Lynda celebrates a big 0 birthday next month! Salud, Lynda! You created a masterpiece for your special day that inspires the rest of us!

See Forever 21 during the Placitas Community Library Show, Food as Art, A Feast for the Eyes. A public reception will be held from 5-7pm on July 12, 2019. 

Full Disclosure: I love “Forever 21” so much that I bought a stack of the greeting cards from Lynda. Who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to receive one. Or, ask for “Forever 21” cards at Amapola Gallery, Old Town Albuquerque.

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