hooray for being born!!

Friends. It’s finally my birthday!! After counting down for 40 days!! Yay!!!

coverthestormThis has been a BIG DAY (4+ hours of hair & make-up & costumes for a traditional Khmer family photo shoot–whew!) AND a BIG WEEK.

On Wednesday, we got some BIG NEWS, which led to this post and this post and a Part 3 coming later today (woot!).

On Thursday, we celebrated FOUR YEARS since Gabe’s heart attack and launched an e-book.

And today? I TURNED 40. (so wild!)

And Monday we start “work” (which I will explain in Part 3 of our Big News Series… or Part 4).

We came home from our photo shoot today, ate lunch (I ordered fried rice & noodles from a restaurant over the phone, and Gabe went to pick it up, only to find out I’d accidentally ordered it from some other random restaurant–oops! Then our sweet friends at the restaurant sent him home with spicy mango and a whole birthday cake for me!), then fell asleep for two hours, because we were EXHAUSTED.


The girls at Precious Women did our photo shoot (which just made it all the more awesome), and I’ll write more about them soon when I’m not so super tired. THANK YOU, LADIES!!

And THANK YOU, Gabe, Livi, Ava, and Nina, for being so sweet and patient and beautiful and AWESOME. I will remember this birthday FOREVER and EVER.

givejoyI’m busy posting pics of the shoot on Instagram & Facebook and writing this blog post, then we’ll wind down my birthday with a trip to the airport to send off our friends (Alli, Panha, and 3 awesome guys from Punlok Thmey Tours) to America.

But I want to give you all something on my birthday to thank you for being so awesome.

Speaking of awesome, my friend, Krysten of Fancy Freedom Designs is AWESOME. If you’ll recall, she has already given things away on THREE separate days of our 40 Days of Birthday Gifts.

crossBut she couldn’t stop, so she made this GORGEOUS BRACELET in honor of me turning 40.


(Thank you thank you thank you, Krysten!!)

To be honored to win this special, gorgeous piece, you just need to choose ONE THING on this list, DO IT, and report back here.

1.) Do something kind (big or small) for someone in your real life. 

2.) Tell someone you love them (someone you haven’t said this to in awhile–or ever).

3.) Make a tax-deductible donation of ANY size to The Hard Places Community in honor of my birthday. In the memo, write “Siem Reap Center.” (yes, this is a spoiler of sorts–all of this money will go toward helping us buy supplies to decorate/stock this brand new center with books, toys, posters, etc.–so exciting!!) (see this post)

4.) Buy my new e-book (if you bought it before today, you have to do something else on the list).

5.) Decide to trust God for something BIG today (you don’t have to share details–unless you want to).

And, for EVERYONE who comments, I’d like to offer you a FREE E-BOOK of your choice (that I’ve written). Your choices: The Husband’s Guide to Getting Lucky, Once Upon the Internet, The Wife Life, We Dream of Cambodia, An Unschooling Manifesto, or The Storm.

(just tell me which one you want in the comments)

AND, in honor of my birthday, sweet Krysten is offering 10% off any Fancy Freedom order placed by Nov 30th (use the code MARLA40JOY). 

Thank you, friends, for being so awesome and loving my family and making my birthday so special! So, so, so thankful for each one of you!!

21 thoughts on “hooray for being born!!

  1. Pingback: f-f-f-forty was f-f-f-fabulous! – Marla Taviano

  2. Deb M.

    Missed telling you happy birthday on the day. Following along as the adventure unfolds. Hope this year is the best yet for you! Love you, friend.

  3. Leaksmy Pok

    You all look very beautiful when dressing Khmer dress. It is amazing to see beautiful women and handsome man dressing nice dresses!!

  4. Charise

    I read your list and have to go with the last. I’m not being cheap. I have something huge unfolding at work and when I read that item, my heart slammed against my ribs (or whatever it is anatomically). So that’s what I’m doing. Very excited about the center and how your life has unfolded. Happy Birthday!

  5. Amanda Buss

    You are such a blessing! I did several of these d. Praying you had a totally awesome birthday! So excited for you guys!

  6. Carissa

    Choosing to trust God with my full healing. Even though I can’t see how some things will be changed in me, I’m choosing to trust that He who began a good work will see it through.

  7. Glennell Strawn

    I ordered your book The Storm and am looking forward to reading it! I will be praying for your new ministry.

  8. Kristin Perry

    Happy, happy 40th birthday, you amazing woman! <3 I am eagerly following your updates about Siem Reap!

    I am sending a hand-written card to a dear friend, to express my intention to BE with him in the messy, fearful, uncertain space of waiting for his father's cancer prognosis and treatment plan. And to be present in all the days after, whatever they may hold.

  9. Sue Oda

    I will do something kind for my neighbor who blows his leaves in my yard where the leaves have been raked even when I want to send them back to his yard😀 I’m remembering, “Do unto others…”

    Marla, what a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday. Love and prayers

  10. Sharon

    Happy Birthday!!! Told someone in my family that I love them. We’d hit a rough patch for too long and hadn’t said those words in months.

  11. Nancy

    Just donated. I keep looking for Part 3…!!! The awesome Khmer family photo makes up for it, though. You guys look amazing! Maybe I need to hire a team of people to work on me for 4 hours…

  12. Denise Layman

    WOW I am speechless.. that picture!! WOW!! Happy Birthday!!

    I already planned to do something kind for a friend today so I will not forget to let her know I love her while I do it! mwah hahaha

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