Today is my fortieth birthday. And it has been the best birthday I’ve ever had.

There are many reasons, but the biggest one is that last night my wife threw me a wonderful surprise birthday party. The surprise was complete. 36 friends had dinner at our house, representing nearly every important part of my life. Many of them my wife had never met, but managed to contact through other friends or sheer resourcefulness. Several people helped her plan and execute the deed, including a few who couldn’t make it themselves (but they helped Deborah find other friends, or made sure I was free last night, or provided cover stories for some of the weird things that happened as part of the planning, or sent cards or gifts). One friend drove up to Dallas from San Antonio. And to top it all off, Patrick Linskey (one of my NFJS buddies) flew in from Boston. Thank you all very much.

I got some cool giftsbut the night wasn’t really about gifts, except the tremendous gifts of the presence of my friends and the amount of work that had gone into making this milestone a special one.

God has blessed me with a big group of wonderful friends who care about me, two handsome, terrific boys, and a wife who is beautiful, smartnot to mention more devious than I knewand who made it clear that she loves me very much.

How could turning forty be anything but fabulous in the midst of all that?