January 14, 2009 marked my 35th birthday. Whew! That was a big one for me. I know, I know. People say, "35 is still so young!" But, really, it's not so young. 35 is on the cusp of 40! Don't get me wrong, I've earned my 35 years! I mean, EARNED them! It's not like I've lived a charmed life. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Far be it from me to complain. I'm just saying that if the next 35 years are anything like the first 35, I'm a little bit trepidatious, to say the least.
I am thankful for the experiences I've had in my life, though. I've always felt that way. Sure, like everyone else, I tend to bemoan my fate when things are rough. But, usually with enough consideration and prayer, I can find the lesson to be learned from the experience. Sometimes it's not immediately, but more oft than not, it comes sooner than later. One thing about being a little older is that you realize that there's an ebb and flow to life. You have enough experience and just TIME doing life to realize that all things pass. I think most of life is about endurance. You've got to endure through the trials to get to the good part. The shinning moments are few and far between (kind of like diamonds). But, when you come across one, you realize it was worth waiting for! You soak it up and treasure the moment because you don't know how long it's going to be until you find another gem! And, like diamonds, with every passing year, we grow stronger and more brilliant. It takes incredible amounts of pressure to create a diamond, but I think we all agree that the result is worth it. I have to try to remember that I'm like that...we all are. There is a purpose for our existence and God has a plan for each one of us. Though we can't always see the diamond we are meant to become, we can trust in the process and know that our experiences and TIME are what will shape us into who we need to become.
I am so thankful for this time in my life, old lady or not! In addition to a WONDERFUL husband and best friend, I have been surrounded by amazing women in my life. Nearly 2 years ago I started a scrapbooking club for local scrapbookers to gather and share our passion for creating and keeping a record. Many people don't understand how we can get so engrossed in paper, scissors and glue. But it's so much more than that! It's really about connecting with others who have a love for living. Scrapbookers care about people. They want to create something beautiful to remind themselves, their families, and future generations of the milestones and happy moments in their lives. In a way, scrapbooking is a celebration of living. Aside from the creative outlet it offers me, I love spending time with so many other positive women who "get" it the same way I do. They, too, love life and are seeking ways to enrich themselves and their families. They share their talents and experiences with one another and lend an empathetic ear when they find another who is struggling with one trial or another. I have been so blessed by the strength, beauty, and talent of the women with whom I associate. I constantly feel inspired to stretch my wings and become a more authentic me!
My husband, Lloyd, and brother and niece who live with me (Connon and Rainee) celebrated my birthday on my actual birthday. Lloyd got me a great card and CAKE! He knows I LOVE cake! He also got me this funny little animatronic dog thing that sings a song. It was silly, but fun. Chance, our dog, didn't know what to make of it! We went to a YUMMY dinner at Rafain Brazilian Churrascaria in Plano. It was delicious!
Lloyd also got me a $50 Amazon.com gift certificte so I can buy scrapbooking stuff! Yay! (I'm glad he didn't try to pick it out for me!)
I got phone calls and wonderful greeting cards from my Mom, Dad, and little sister, Casey. My older sister, Carla, TOTALLY surprised me with this AWESOME and YUMMY candy tower from Harry & David. Mmmmmmmmmmm. I wish she could visit, but candy was a good stand in!
Some of my friends went on a scrapbooking retreat with me for a weekend in January to Memory Lane Inn in McKinney, TX. We had 3 1/2 fun-filled days of cropping, eating, laughing and precious little sleeping. Essentially, it's a grown-up gals 3 day slumber party! Jenny-Bop is single (though I can't for the life of me figure out why--other than the fact that it's tough to find a guy good enough for her) and so I got her a "grow a date" guy! She named him Buck Rogers and promised to let us all see when she "grew" him in the bathtub. Supposedly he grows 600%.
Other strange and funny things occurred, which cannot be mentioned. What happens at the retreat, stays at the retreat. I had a FANTASTIC time and was so glad I was surrounded by great friends for my birthday!
On Thursday night they took me to Maggiano's Italian restaurant for dinner. It was so good and so much fun! I couldn't help but smile the whole time! It made me feel so good that so many people would come out to share a birthday dinner with me! I hope my table is always full of good friends and good food. My friend, Donna, even offered a toast in my honor. Not being a drinker, I had never had occassion to be toasted before! But, I ordered my virgin strawberry daquiri and was all set! It was great. Everyone should get to have a toast in her honor at least once in her life.
When we got back to the retreat house after dinner, I got to open up the COOLEST gift ever from my awesomely talented friend, Alisa Jane. Visit her: www.lifeisabeautifulplacetobe.blogspot.com. She knows that I have an odd affinity for all things miniature. Well, actually, it's not just the miniature items, but those that are not the right size altogether. You know, like these GIANT heart-shaped sunglasses my nephew River is wearing?!
I don't know why, but I just love these items! So, Alisa being the awesome friend (not to mention amazing life-artist) made me the cutest Matchbox Vignette ever! You probably can't see the amazing detail in the photo here, but trust me...nothing is left undone. She hand-crafted the cake, complete with frosting and a mini candle in the center! I adore the nifty banner sign (with gorgeous imported glass glitter) in the background! I couldn't have been more honored (that she would take the time to do this for moi), nor more delighted!
I can't say enough how thankful I am to feel so loved by everyone and to have had such a wonderful 35th birthday! Thank you to everyone who made me feel special!