“The pursuit of pleasure ultimately involves the suffering of pain” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Kara Exner by © Lori Maloney

“It is with enormous privilege that I introduce you to one of the kindest people I’ve ever known.  Kara and I first met on our sons’ baseball diamond and, because life is beautiful, I now have a seat at her ‘boardroom table’!  Something I most admire about Kara is the level of generosity she shows to every person with whom she crosses paths – she’s fair, and honest, and genuine, and her integrity is unmatched.  They say ‘silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone’ and I agree…Kara, I am so grateful for your friendship and mentorship!  My heartfelt thanks to you for participating in our project and especially for all the ways you have enriched my life!” – Lori M

Image © Lori Maloney

An Interview with Kara

Q. What is the best memory you have from a previous birthday?

A. One of the best birthdays I ever had was when I turned 40. My husband planned a surprise party. The morning of the party he told me that he had arranged a party for that night, but he would not tell me who was coming. So people arrived throughout the entire evening and every time the doorbell rang, it was this wonderful, squealing moment where I was so surprised and happy to see who was there. I loved that night.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I can’t ever remember a “worst” birthday. I’m lucky that they’ve all been pretty good, I guess!

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that surprised you most?

A. I was surprised to get a brand new bicycle for my birthday a few years ago. All I wanted was for my old bike to get a tune-up, but my husband and kids surprised me with a brand new, beautiful bicycle. They brought it right into the house. And as soon as the snow melted I started riding it.

Q. Is there a food or dish that you insist on eating on your birthday?

A. Easy: Chocolate cake or cupcake with chocolate icing.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. It’s important for the person to feel loved and valued and appreciated.

Q. Do you have any traditions or thing you always do to celebrate a birthday? What is it?

A. In our family it’s been a tradition – for as long as I can remember – for the person to choose what they want for their birthday dinner.