Last night, when I got to Game Night, my sweet angels – Ari and Cielle – were waiting for me at the top of the stairs, so excited to tell me that they had a birthday gift to give me that was, “so very beautiful!” Their enthusiasm was contagious and I followed them up the stairs and into the living room where they danced about, giggling with anticipation until they handed me the gorgeously handcrafted gift waiting for me.

Tears filled my eyes as I looked at the lovely writing on the envelope and then pulled out the art inside. Their mama, Sissy, has taken to creating hand-lettered artwork for those she loves and I was so touched to see that she had felt me deserving of one of these thoughtful gifts that she invests so much time, love, and energy into.

I read the words and my heart squeezed as Sissy said, “You ARE Belle, Angie! When I watched that movie (Beauty and the Beast) last night, all I could think was ‘Angie IS Belle!’ and so I felt like these words fit you perfectly. I hope you don’t think I meant you are ‘peculiar’ in any sort of negative way. I only mean that you are that amazing peculiar that IS Belle.”

To be Seen with such clarity as Sissy had seen me was breathtaking. In that moment, she and her girls understood me unlike anyone has understood me before. She saw within me how I experience this world.

I am Belle. I do love a Beast. And that love has caused transformation unlike anything I could have imagined without being witness to it myself.

I am grateful I AM peculiar because it is that peculiarity that provides the foundation for me to feel everything to such a profound depth that I cannot help but sing praises to the magic, majesty, and mystery that IS this life.

What a delicious way to begin Birthday Palooza!

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