a birthday thank-you

Whether you’ve been a part of my life for just a little bit or the whole 35 years, THANK YOU. My life is richer and fuller and bigger and better and sweeter and sassier because of you, my friends.

Now, let’s have a little PARTY! (Yes, I realize it’s Sunday AND Halloween, so most of you are either taking a break from the internet or planning your costume for tonight, but the 5 of you who are here, listen up.)

Unlike a good hostess who says, “Don’t bring anything but your sweet self,” I’m going to ask you to “show up at the party” with one of the following:

1. An Expecting book donated to a pregnancy center.

2. Your favorite memory of us (me and you) which you can share in the comments.

3. A prayer for me for the year ahead–that I will be completely surrendered to Christ and bring him much glory.

Thank you, friends!! You really, truly have blessed my life more than you could ever know.

40 thoughts on “a birthday thank-you

  1. Amy

    My favorite memory would be watching you slide down the stairs at my house on a mattress. Pure joy, friend! Just for giggles, you should pull up those pictures. I hope it was a great birthday!

  2. Kelli

    1. Did it.

    2. Um maybe when you confessed that you thought I had some foot rash and it was really just splattered toe nail polish. You still wanted to be my friend. Just kidding… I think my favorite is spending a rainy day with you at the zoo and then coming home to relax and dry off!

    3. Lord, I will continue to ask that you bring Marla to her knees and providing her a clear path to your will! She LOVES YOU SO.

  3. Holly

    My favorite memory is watching you drive up to my house with envelopes FULL to the brim with letters for the kids you fell in love with during your summer trip to Cambodia. Watching your face all lit up in serving someone else was awesome.

    Praying for you as you continue to follow God’s leading for continued ministry here in the US and abroad. Love you, friend. Happy Birthday!!! 🙂

  4. Claudia Porpiglia

    Father, Thank you for creating Marla and for allowing her to be an instrument in Your hands. Continue to allow Your Spirit to work in her. Help her to yield to You moment by moment. Open her eyes to all the opportunities you are giving her to bring glory to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.


  5. Sarah M

    Fave memory…….well only (in person) memory 🙂 Philly Zoo trip!!!

    Just prayed for your year ahead that God would richly bless you and your efforts and may even provide enough for you and your family to head back to Cambodia!

    Happy Birthday Marla!!

    1. Marla Taviano

      Thank you, Sarah! That’s my favorite memory too! And my least favorite memory is walking in your house and realizing how much trouble you went to fix all that food and we almost went to BURGER KING. Love you, girl!

  6. Elizabeth

    I’m donating as many books as I can as soon as I can get to a computer! I think they are the best birthday gift I’ve ever given anyone.

    Since we’ve had so little tome together in real life I don’t have a lot of memories. But I can tell you that I will never think of the zoo the e way. It is so much more special to me now!

  7. Nixie

    I don’t have any real life memories yet but we are praying that would change!!

    I just love you, your sense of humour esp as it is so similar to mine, your honesty and your passion for God and to live a life which honours Him!! These are the memories I have plus fun chats on the phone babbling about this and that and I love love chatting to you Skype, we must do it soon’n

    Love you Bday girl. Hopefully see you one day 😉 and not on Skype but in RL!!!

  8. Gail

    I have such warm fond memories of hanging with you at zoos, both mine and yours. But my favorite memory is sitting at my kitchen table together, just chatting late into the evening, like long-lost friends, even though we haven’t really known each other long. Followed closely by standing beside you singing our hearts out to the God who loves us both at the Living Proof Live we went to together.

    Prayed just now for your upcoming year, your surrender, His glory.

    Love and birthday joy to you, sweet Marla!

      1. Gail

        It’s open door policy around here, though we are a little bit BYOBCOSAYOR around here. (Bring your own bathroom cleaner or shower at your own risk.)

        In other words, come on down any old time!

  9. LS

    sweet Jesus,

    i pray for marla. i pray Lord that you will give her a heart of surrender. a heart that submits itself to You daily. a heart that keeps a ‘yes’ to you on the table – no matter what you ask of her. Lord, i pray you would bless she and gabe and their girls. that You would give them vision. that you would show marla where You want her to be radical. Lord, i ask that this will be a year of “exceeding, abundantly” from You. thank you for sharing her with us. in Your precious Son’s name…amen.

  10. Sheree G.

    Happy Birthday, my New Friend!

    I love it when Jesus makes it so apparent that He is all over something, like me hooking up with you. We met through your blog and the reading of Radical (of which I am a couple of chapters behind, but don’t give up on me :); we are also FB friends, whoop. But the really neat part is that I just discovered your passion for pregnancy centers, and down here in lil’ ole Texas, I am the new Executive Director of Hope Pregnancy Center in Canton (TX). We, all of us PC’s, covet your support and prayers as we walk this path that has been set before us. Soooo, my gift to you is praying for you in the coming year. I can’t wait to see what He brings to you and through you. Much happiness to you on this special day and throughout the next exciting year.

    Love to you,

      1. Sheree G.

        Oh my, I’m overwhelmed. We would LOVE a box of Expecting books, I’ll message you on FB with the shipping address.

  11. Rachelle

    Happy Birthday!!

    Purchased 10 Expecting from Ama, to donate to our local Pregnancy Center.

    Even though we haven’t met, my favorite memory is when you posted about the Birthday party in Cambodia! Well, also the burger place…

    I am praying for you!

  12. Amanda Rae

    I’m totally praying for you..that’s a given.
    I have quite a few memories with you..but I tend to favor our more recent reunion in your drive way. I loved that moment with all my heart. Happy birthday ‘Mrs. T’. You’re so wonderful 😉

  13. Stephanie your sister

    I know this is kind of a dumb one, but….

    One time when I visited you your freshman year in college (that would have made me 9ish?), you sat down with me (and Bethany, too, if I remember correctly) and shared some stuff that was going on with you and some of your friends. It was grown-up stuff, at least more grown-up than a 9-year-old can grasp. I’ll never forget the way you made me feel, like I was older than I was and more mature than I was. I still think of that whenever I talk to a girl who is younger than me.

    I know you do the same thing with your girlies and I think it’s wonderful!

  14. Krysten

    I’m not sure you could call it a memory but I am very thankful for the books you write. I know that Blushing helped my marriage and me to start off on the right foot.

    1. Gail

      I *think* I’m the one who gave you that book, Krysten! So glad that it was helpful to you, and that now you can call Marla “friend” like I do!

  15. Jackie

    How about two of three? Praying for you, both giving thanks and praying for your upcoming year. Just sent my $10 to share a book. Our stories are still in the future.

    Happy Birthday to You! Wait, Happy Birthday to me, too.

  16. Jen Hanson

    Happy Birthday Cousin!!! I don’t know that I have a favorite, specific memory to share…’cuz, well… yeah.

    I’d probably pick the moment I started to realize that we were becoming peers/friends and not just obligated cousins. I have no idea when that was exactly, but I like it a whole lot!

    Love you and Happy Birthday!

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