Yesterday was my 50th birthday. I give a big “Thank You!” to all who sent birthday greetings recently. I have been really touched by all the kind words.

Ten years ago, on my 40th, I was alone in a flat in St. Petersburg. I had moved to Russia a couple of weeks before and no one was there to celebrate with me.

I remember thinking that my 40th birthday should have been somehow more ‘eventful’, but looking back I see that it was an appropriate way to start my life in Russia — alone, with an unknown future ahead.

Ten years later, I celebrated my birthday surrounded by new family and friends in my new home. Several generations were in attendance, from Olga’s grandparents to the twin daughters of our good friends Sergei and Christina.

Olga cooked GREAT Mexican food (home-made tortillas, fajitas, refried beans, rice, guacamole), and Olga’s grand father played the piano; the very piano he started playing more than 80 years ago.

I am very thankful for this life. God is very good.

And I look forward to the next chapter —

click on thumbnails to see full-sized pictures

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4 Comments to “A Grand Birthday”

  1. leah mann says:

    wonderful!!! great post!

  2. Mike says:

    Thanks, Leah. It was a very good day.

  3. Rose Cantrell says:

    Hi Mike, a little late on wishing you a very belated happy 50th birthday,but just saw this (Jan 10, 2011,just a few days late and a few more dollars short as the saying goes). This message was very dear. Love the description of your 40th, alone, in a new land but with an open heart. And at 50…a beautiful wife, warm home filled with family, children, and now your own Valerie. It doesn’t get much better than that except to continue to press “onward” with that great storehouse of love you and Olga are passing on to so many in need. Well done, Mike, well done and bless you all. Much love, Rose

  4. Mike says:

    Thank you very much for your kind note. I am VERY blessed and looking forward to the coming good years.