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How To: Wish Someone Happy Birthday

By Kellie Purcill

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I believe in the importance of birthdays. Not birth (space) days, although those are wondrous and terrible and astonishing all in their own right.  No, I believe in the importance of celebrating each subsequent birthday, especially after the age of about 26.

I hope you are spoilt with brilliant books, exceptional friends, fantastic food and the inescapable evidence of how awesome you are, told by everyone around you (and people on other sides of the planet). I hope your year is counted in kisses, and laughter, and an abundance of cake/joy/satisfaction/everything. I hope this year tackles you with enthusiasm, sincerity and random acts of spectacular. I hope this year is as wonderful as you are!

Why 26? Because usually by that age you have more than enough going on to realise that you may have to celebrate it on the following weekend, or maybe after tax season, or who really cares, you have kids to clean, a job to get to, a deadline to meet, dog hair in the hallway, a loved one who will never see you older than you are right now…, and cake is the LAST thing you need right now thanks anyway.

I know it’s your day but I’m still delighted it’s been another year I’ve had to know you, read your words and be cheered by your encouragement. C, I hope this year smears wonder and beauty all over you face and home, beside and amid the hugs and kisses of your loved ones. I hope no hand smaller than yours finds a permanent marker, no run attempted without staggering you with beauty, no day leaving you without some measure (however hard fought) of satisfaction, victory or heart song.

I disagree. I don’t just disagree, I hugely disagree, hugely as your worries and as stubborn as a stain on your favourite shirt. The idea that we grow too old for birthdays is stingy, stale and mean-hearted. I refuse to wait until someone hits an age with a zero on the end to make a big deal of them, and – as sure as I eat cake for breakfast whenever possible – I am not going to wait until someone has left the world before I tell anyone how amazing they are to me.  I don’t even want to wait a year between love notes to be honest.

Happy birthday H! May the year ahead have really short lines to the best BBQ, a ready availability to Mountain Dew (unless you’re avoiding each other, in which case may there be an ocean between you), may your nails never crack, split or have smudged polish, and may every room reno you do take half as long and look twice as good as you hoped! May your sass continue and shine ever brighter, your lippy never fade or dry out, and may your year ahead be as brilliant, fantastic and gorgeous as you are!

Because isn’t there a wonder to birthdays? The thrill that hopefully most people have, given way back in miniature history, when you were celebrated? As we get older, I think there should be more festive carry on and jubilation. Hooray! You made it through another 365-ish days of routine, chaos, dreaming and constant breathing in and out! Let’s have cake, or ice-cream, or a bunch of kale and play your music and realise even for 10 seconds that there are people who are glad that you exist, right now in this point in time.

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How To: Get a Degree Online

By Jessie Christensen

Five years ago I had no plans to go to college ever again, and I thought I would just work part-time until my children were mostly grown. Those plans changed when I got divorced and needed a full-time job. Thankfully I was blessed with some great opportunities and found a career path that I love—working in libraries. The only problem? If I want to move forward in my career, I need a master’s degree in library science. I love school but my life is much more complex than it used to be—I own a home, I have a full-time job, and my kids are well established in their neighborhood school (plus being divorced complicates moving anywhere else). Enter an online degree program to save me! I am about halfway through earning a master’s degree online, and while the work has been hard, it has also been extremely fulfilling. Every year, online education becomes more readily available, and it can be a great option for you if you want to go back to school and can’t physically move to a new location. I would like to share some things I have learned about getting a degree online, both from my own experiences and those of family and friends. Obviously I don’t know everything about continuing education and I urge you to do even more research—I also highly recommend perusing Aspiring Mormon Women for some excellent advice about education and careers.

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