One of my favorite birthday-related sayings is “Love the giver more than the gift.” Celebrating another trip around the sun is truly about who you spend it with and not what is wrapped with festive paper. Birthdays are a chance to celebrate, commemorate past years, look forward to what’s to come and connect with family and friends. It’s a day to receive phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook posts, packages on your doorstep and a whole lot of laughter and love.

For Elizabeth Oliver, being wrapped in the arms of her childhood chums was the most memorable way to welcome and embrace the big 5-0. Chilmark kids including Michael Broderick, Hope Murphy MacLeod, Keith Fenner, Max Hart and more gathered to cheer her on as she made her way across that line that marks the completion of half-century. Topped with a purple tiara, the immeasurably thoughtful mom of four was celebrated so much that she will be talking about it for years to come.

A most noteworthy part of Liz’s birthday celebration was dear friend Max Hart’s willingness to travel from the place he now calls home in Madison, N.J. just to round out the Chilmark Childhood Chums Club. (I made that up, but it’s fitting.) He was there to cheer her on as she blew out 50 candles.

Another noteworthy birthday taking place this week is that of Isabella Flanders Thorpe. Bella, daughter of Julie Flanders and Bart Thorpe, transitioned from teenager to twenties. I have had the pleasure of watching her grow up over these past two decades alongside my own teen who will soon turn twenty himself. I look forward to watching her progress through her twenties with grace, laughter, kindness, success and countless comical moments.

Jan. 30 marks the day great-grandmother Elizabeth (Bette) Mayhew Flanders Carroll would have turned one hundred years old. According to the historical calendar powered by Google, it was a Tuesday that Gladys and Robert Flanders welcomed her to the world. Warren G. Harding was president and it also seems that Thomas Hart Benton may have created his painting Chilmark in 1923.

We will celebrate with her classic tar paper cake although, over the years, I’ve managed to make the cake part a little less dry. If she were still with us, I am not certain if she would be pleased by that or not. So, don’t tell.

After earning her bachelor of science degree in nursing from the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Simmons College, Augusta Dillon — daughter of Billy Dillon and Meredith Dillon — went on to earn a Vineyard Vision Fellowship. The fellowship is awarded to those who commit themselves to the Island community and Augusta is doing just that. The fellowship was side by side with her as she made her way through a year of rigorous additional nursing training. A few short weeks ago, she received her white coat from Simmons College. She will join the staff of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital as a nurse practitioner. Congratulations.

Not only is it budget season in town but the end of January is also the time that town departments are preparing their contributions to the annual Chilmark town report. Like many of you, I always throughly enjoyed Basil Welch’s write-up about the cemetery department. He typically wrapped up with something along the lines of, “Things are quiet at Abel’s Hill.”