Thirty

Today I turn thirty. I had big plans for my birthday, as mentioned in my last blog. Not only are those plans not coming true, no plans are happening today. Both my son and I are sick, so celebrations plans have had to be postponed.  The one thing I most wanted to do on this milestone of a birthday, besides spending it with friends, was to thank my friends and let them know what they mean to me. So I am going to do that. This originally started out as a speech for my imagined party, but given the circumstances I thought I would share it here. The upside? You won’t see me cry as I try to get through it.

My life at thirty is totally different then I had ever planned, and it is better than I could have imagined, in large part because of the friends that have come into my life. At thirty I think I am finally comfortable in my own skin, and that is in due in large part to the people I am lucky enough to call friends. While there have been many people who have influenced my life in big and small ways over the last 7 years, these have had the largest impact on getting me to where I am now. I am going to list them in order of how long I have known them.

Justin- You are one of the few friends that carried over from my “other life” We have know each other since Jr. High, that is a long time to know someone. We haven’t always been close or even kept in touch. But you were there for me at my darkest moments. You were the only friend who walked with me through my divorce, who saw the good, the bad and the ugly. Who always listened, and never judged. For this I will be forever grateful.

Lia- You are an answer to prayer, literally. I needed a friend so desperately and I prayed and prayed for one. I wasn’t so sure about you at first, but I am so glad I took the chance. You have been the most amazing friend I could imagine. You have been with me through all the ups and downs of figuring out my new life. You always have a listening ear, encouraging words, and good advice. You always tell me how you are praying for me, and that means the world to me! I can’t imagine doing life without you.

Henry- If Lia was an answer to prayer, you were the answer to a prayer I didn’t know I prayed. For the last few years I have seen you more often that anyone else in my life, other than my family. There is something about seeing someone that often, you can’t hide. You see each other’s ups and downs and everything in between. Somewhere in the middle of nursing school you became more than just a friend; you became family. Watching out for me AND making fun of me, in true big brother fashion. You kept me from losing my sanity. Thank you for walking through life with me.

Elizabeth- When I met you I was in a lonely place in life, I felt like I just didn’t fit in anywhere. Then I met you; the crazy tattooed lady. And with some other friends we spent the summer just doing life together. No one cared that I was a single mom with a crazy kid, and for the first time since my divorce I felt accepted. I felt like I fit. You have seen me fall apart more than anyone else on this list, (which may only be twice, but still) you have seen me cry and eat Oreos off your floor. You have always been willing to watch my son when I need it, and have always opened your home to me. Thank you for being there when I need you.

Cara- Honestly, when I first met you I was a little intimidated by you. You were beautiful, funny, and confident. All things I didn’t feel I was. But as I got to know you, I couldn’t help but like you, you were real and honest and kind. As we became friends your confidence started to rub off on me, and not only was I no longer intimidated by you, I started to be less intimidated by other people and situations. You helped me learn to not take myself so seriously, to lighten up and have some fun. I needed that so much, thank you.

Aundria- When we started talking I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I have never become so close of friends with someone so quickly. But just like with everyone else on the list it was obvious that God had brought us into each other’s lives for a reason. After Baby was born, it may have seemed like I was helping you; but really you were helping me. You helped me see a purpose for my story, as I was able to use it to help you. I love your blatant honesty; it has helped me to be honest and real with you and with others. Thank for sticking with me, even when I could only be your Sunday friend.

The most amazing thing about this list is that, except one, none of these people were in my life just 5 short years ago. If that doesn’t give me hope for what the next 5 years hold, I don’t know what will.

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New Year

Twenty-Thirteen has been here for two days already and I have barely given it a passing thought. My “resolutions” instead of being introspective, hopes for a better year, consisted of random thoughts of “I hope I won’t get sick anymore in the New Year” and “I would prefer not to hack up one of my lungs in the next 24 hours”.

You see starting two weekends before my final; the boy came down with the stomach flu. Then I spent the next weekend sick in bed with the same thing, PLUS some other virus giving me a high fever. Come Monday I took my final, being grateful just to be vertical, and Tuesday I had to miss candle light caroling for a beloved teacher recently diagnosed with cancer.  The next weekend Zac came down with the fever. Recovering just in time for Christmas Eve service, and then Christmas day I started coming down with a cold, which of course passed to the boy. And then right on cue, Sunday morning I had a low grade fever again, which has developed into a progressively worse cough, requiring the commencement of a Z-pak today.

That was probably more than you wanted to know; I could have just said we have been sick on-and-off, back-and-forth for a month…but where is the fun in that? The point I wanted to make is that it was ALWAYS on the weekend, which means no church. Now I don’t like missing church, but when those misses add up to a whole month, well, I REALLY don’t like that. It doesn’t seem that big of deal, but that weekly worship and teaching really encourage and ground me.

I have a half written blog on Christmas traditions, that I started before the sickness started. I had intended to be intentional, present and introspective this year and really look at what I love about Christmas and the below the surface roots of why I love those things, and what they mean. Obviously that didn’t happen. It wasn’t just the sickness; it wasn’t just the missing church; although those played a part.  It was more like the weight of what was not, overpowered what was.

Being alone at the holidays is always hard, but this year it seemed harder that usual. No particular reason, but maybe because I figured that by now there would be someone; maybe because I live in a shoebox; maybe because change is so close I can taste it. Maybe all of the above.

This is it. I have one more semester left. I am excited. I am already picturing moving into my own place by this time next year. I try to tell myself not to get my hopes up, but I am already planning my 30th birthday dinner party with the friends who have made these past 5 years amazing. I am already planning decorating and a tree. So maybe you can understand why the Christmas decorations in my little house seemed slightly dull.

I am also terrified. This is it. I have one more semester left. This is the big year. This is the year where things are going to start happening, graduation, working, moving, making actual, big, life decisions. School is easy, the choices are made for you, take these classes, I have no choice of where to live or what to do, I have to live here, I have to study, I have no other choices. But once I am done, the options are infinite. And I have to make the choices, alone.

So 2013 I am looking forward to you. But be kind.

 

Little Things

So I started this blog with the hope that it would encourage me to write more often…because I need to. So now, instead of thinking “I should write” and going about my day not doing it, I think, “I should write” then go about my day feeling guilty for not doing it.  Mission accomplished.

I have several things I started writing, but wasn’t sure exactly where to go with it, or wasn’t sure how vulnerable I really wanted to be. I will finish them. Soon. I hope. But for today I thought I would throw out some random small thoughts. And ask you some random questions.

1. I hate snakes. We killed one in the yard today. I dreamt about snakes during my afternoon nap.

Is there anything worse to dream about than snakes?

2. I love Fall. A week into October, here in the Central valley, and the weather is finally starting to agree with the calendar, just a little bit. I have worn jeans the last two days. I ate pumpkin bread this morning. I am planning on wearing a new sweater (albeit short sleeved) to church in the morning. Next weekend we are going to a pumpkin patch with a steam train, our favorite October activity.

What is your favorite Fall activity?

3. I love this quote.

“For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.” – Andy Rooney

I choose happiness. I choose happiness by delighting in all the little things about Fall (see # 2). I choose happiness when I snuggle with my boy and listen to him chatter about his latest crazy idea. I choose happiness when I go to Starbucks and catch up on my favorite blogs, browse Pinterest, and waste time on Facebook. I choose happy when get to spend time with a friend, when I find something totally awesome on clearance at Target, when I enjoy a delicious meal or an incredible dessert. If I waited for the big things I would be miserable, but instead I “live with quite a bit of happiness”

What makes you happy?

4. This morning I went to a Fostering & Adoption 101 workshop at my church, presented by City Without Orphans. It was an awesome morning; they presented great information, shared amazing stories and gave many people a jumping off point to decide what is right for them and their families. I am in no position to do either. Why would I go to this? Because it has always been in my heart. For a long time, in the back of my mind, I have thought that I would have a couple children of my own and then foster adopt a couple more. So I went to hear the information for myself, and also to know what the processes are so I can support those I know who are going through the process themselves, and as a nurse I feel like it is good to know what options and services are out there and how the system works.

Have ever considered fostering or adopting? I encourage you to pray about it, and don’t be afraid to seek out information. The need is great, and the rewards are eternal.

5. Christmas is coming. I know, I know, I just said Fall finally hit 2 days ago! I HATE that the stores already have Christmas decorations, right next to Halloween decorations. I like to enjoy my seasons one at a time. BUT shopping for the children in my life is done. (yes, yes, I know, you hate me.) But I jumped on some great deals at the JBF sale, and ordered a few things off Amazon. My budget is next to nothing this year, so I am trying to think ahead and get as much bang for my buck as possible. I started on my annual craft project (usually an ornament) for my family members this week. I wanted to get an early start while I have the time off from clinicals for the next few weeks. I don’t want to be cramming for finals and cramming for Christmas at the same time. I still want to come up with some special projects for gifts for my parents, and other in town family, but I have a little more time on those since they don’t have to be mailed.

Have you started thinking about Christmas yet?

6. I am restless.

Are you?

That is it for today. Next time I promise will be a more complete thought.