Sunday, October 15, 2017

Hanging out on Klickitat Street

Towards the end of my summer, I had the chance to visit Portland, Oregon.

I started the journey in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Took the train to Chicago. And then went from Chicago to Portland over 46 hours. 

But that is the story for another blog, another day.

I loved Portland, and my friend Dam and I did pretty much everything we could squeeze in within the four days we had: The Zoo, The Rose Garden, The Japanese Garden, The Pink Trolley, Powell's City of Books, Saturday Market, Multnomah Falls... 

Dam and I in front of the Multnomah Falls

But there was one thing on my list that I didn't get to: The Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden + taking a walking tour around her neighborhood. I even bought a book to help make the experience complete! 
I was only going to get the Ramona book, but I believe very book needs a friend.
And it was ANNE... how could I resist?

I almost stole the book versus paying for it, since it says it technically isn't illegal. 

And so, because I missed getting to trace the steps of Beverly and Ramona as I wanted to, the moment I returned to Houston I headed to the public library and checked out every single book set on Klickitat Street. Not the literary pilgrimage I had in mind, but taking a walk down memory lane and revisiting an author who resonated with me as a child was rather satisfying.

I don't remember the first Beverly Cleary book I read. But I do remember the one I loved the most: Muggie Maggie. Since I moved to Nigeria after the first semester of 2nd Grade, I missed cursive instruction and felt Maggie's despair for having to learn cursive matched the despair I had of trying to learn in on my own (I still cannot actually write in cursive, although my print has a connectivity to it that tries to mimic that lost handwriting art). 

Cleary's book that I read the most: Henry Huggins. The first book she wrote set on Klickitat Street. It was one of the books that was shipped with us during our trans-Atlantic move to help make up our impressive childhood library. And since we didn't get new additions too often, it was one I revisited time and time again. 

As I re-read it in August, I couldn't help smile at Henry finding Ribsy and trying to bring him home on the bus. Or the tale about the guppies (where I first learned that not all fish make good pets), and how Henry accidentally dies Ribsy pink with talcum powder but wins a prize in the dog show for this mistake! I quickly read through the remaining Henry Huggins books, and then moved on to Ramona. 

Ramona is perhaps Cleary's most famous character. And I supposed I must have read all of them as a child too, because there were moments and scenes that read like they were a memory of my own. Ramona is quite the determined little girl. Strong-willed, stubborn, and as Henry and her sister Beezus (nickname for Beatrice; also Ramona's doing) would say, an absolute pest. 

Ramona and Beezus appear in all six of Henry's books, but Henry slowly disappears as a main cast member of Klickitat Street with each new book in Ramona's series. The last I remember of him is being a crosswalk monitor was Ramona enters kindergarten. 

What's great about the Ramona books (and why they potentially outshines the Henry Huggins series) is that she grows with each book. While you don't have to read the eight books in order, we get to follow Ramona from Pre-school to Kindergarten, to 1st Grade...all the way to 4th Grade. We see her struggles with new teachers, new friends, with an older sister (and eventually a baby sister). Even though I am no longer in the same life stage, there was something comforting about seeing the worries and struggles of being that age validated and explored.

And even though I often wanted to give Ramona Geraldine Quimby (and occasionally responsible Beezus, too) a good spanking for her behavior, she is a pretty good role model for a little girl to have. I love that she isn't too girly and a bit of a tomboy. That she is creative and has a huge imagination. That she loves her family fiercely (even if sometimes she isn't great at showing it).

And while these are definitely kid books, I loved that there was enough adult humor mixed in, too. Adults would smile or looks amused at the children's antics, and while the joke was lost on the kids, it was nice to read it as an adult and know exactly what that smile or laugh was about.

I loved that in the series, we see Mr. Quimby go back to school so he can get a better job. I loved the honesty of exploring what it looks like when money is tight in a family, or the fact that there are adults who aren't always fond of children. And even the joys of wedding, and the sorrow of a death in the family.

A lot of life is covered on Klickitat Street, and both Henry and Ramona are excellent guides to help children (and even adults) navigate the adventures and emotions that come along with life. The books are short, and easily accessible (each chapter almost works as a stand-alone short story... perfect for a bedtime reading).   And I think boys and girls would love hanging out with both kids.

I loved a lot of things about the Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby books, and one day, when I have kids I plan to hang out on Klickitat Street once again with them. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

On Being Black in America: A First-Generation Perspective

I do not like the term "African-American." Or at least, I do not like it when it is used to refer to my demographic or ethnic background.

Yes, I am African. My parents are Nigerians, and I am the first in my family to be born in America. But the term African-American comes with a lot of historical and cultural connotations that I do not share or carry as part of my identity, and it feels wrong to claim something that I am not.

Let me backtrack...

On Thursday, I was volunteering at a conference when my friend Latasha Morrison asked me to be a part of a racial reconciliation panel. I felt woefully unprepared and under-qualified, but I sent a quick prayer up that whatever I said would be meaningful and chose to just speak from the heart. For the most part there were a lot of high-level questions I wasn't sure I could speak to.

How can we (read: white people) invest time and resources into low-income and minority neighborhoods without causing gentrification? Should majority culture (read: white/Western) Christians plant churches in minority neighborhoods?How can I start the conversation about race with my children?

All questions that I do have thoughts on, but felt the other panelist were must more qualified to speak on and/or were actively doing the work in those areas already. And then came this question: Is there a different way to approach cultural bridge-building when it involves first generation people from other countries, as well as long-time residents of color and white?

My answer: YES! But...

As I said earlier, I am a first-generation American. And when I am asked to identify myself, I will say that I am a Nigerian before I say anything else. I am often prodded into reclassifying myself when people as about why I don't have a strong accent, or when I first came to America, etc. But regardless of how other people see me, my identify is strongly linked to my parents' culture. I was raised in a Nigerian household, went to a Nigerian church, was surrounded by a large Nigerian community in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area, and eventually lived in Nigeria for six years of my life. It is a huge part of who I am.

Because I am a first-generation American, there is a huge difference between me and African-Americans: we share a very different historical and cultural context in which we see our place in the world. My family does not have any history of slavery in our past, nor did any of my family experience the Civil Rights Movement (they were experiencing the end of colonization and the beginning of Independence). My parents came to this country strongly believing in the American Dream and having no doubt that it was theirs and mine to achieve. When I speak to many of my Black American friends, their parents raised them with the understanding that they would have to work twice as hard, that the American Dream wasn't really meant for them, but rather something they would have to fight for to get.

I grew up not even really thinking about myself as black (especially when I lived in Nigeria, where pretty much everyone is black). I saw myself as Nigerian, as a Yoruba girl. I know exactly what town my ancestors are from, and can even go visit our ancestral home. The majority of Black Americans do not know what country their ancestors were taken from, do not know what ethnic group or language was their cultural beginnings. It was stripped from them, while mine was passed down to me.

I struggle with being called an African-American, because that term carries with it the history of slavery and emancipation and the fight for civil rights and the long-standing racial injustice that have faced blacks in America. And those are all things I cannot claim. They are not part of my cultural identity.

I am the girl who can't remember anyone ever calling me the n-word. Who can't think of any major specific racial encounters that have scarred me (although if you want to get me started on micro-aggressions...).

However, even though I do not identify directly with the African-American community, it doesn't mean that their struggle is not mine.

I first met Tasha when we traveled to Rwanda together in 2015. On one of our last days there, we ended up having a discussion about race with the other women on the trip. They were all white, we were the only two black sisters. Tasha shared a lot about her heart behind racial reconciliation and shared historical accounts that shape the black experience. And I shared much of what I just typed above.

Also in those last few days, Sandra Bland was arrested and then died in prison.

I can home from Rwanda, and then had to drive 12 hours to Atlanta. I was supposed to travel with a friend, but in the end made the trip solo.

I can't think of a time in my adult life that I have been more terrified.

I prayed every time I drove through any small towns that I assumed would be mostly white. I prayed whenever I saw a cop car on the side of the road. I had friends who called and texted along the way, many of them insisting that if I got stopped for any reason (even a flat tire, or to get more gas) that I keep them on the line for my safety.

There was the acute realization that while I may identify as a Nigerian, while I cannot fully identify with the Black American experience, at the end of the day I. AM. BLACK.

And being Black in America is hard. When people look at me, they see black. They don't see Nigerian. Not until they ask my name, or get to know more about me. And that means that even though I do not share the historical context as Black Americans, I am subjected to the same injustices that continue to face the black community.

So yes, please recognize that bridge building will look differently with first-generation people. There is so much historically that we are not aware of, we have not been taught or directly experienced. Our "baggage" and pain looks different. We may share a skin color, but we do not share the same stories. But also keep in mind that once in America, first-generation people are expected to fit into the systems and structures that already exist here. And those systems and structures are full of injustices that hurt all minorities--long-time residents and us first-gen people, too.  

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Rwanda Musings: Where is the Church?

Note: This post was written after my first trip to Rwanda in July 2015. For some reason, I never posted it. I returned to Rwanda in June 2017 and have been asked to share about my trip for church. The thoughts from this blog post continue to swirl in my head as I reflect on my time in that beautiful country, so I felt it was time to finally send these thoughts into the world! 

I can't get the image of Nyamata out of my head. The church doors still have the hole from where grenades were thrown. The walls are filled with holes from bullets and stained from people's blood. Small rivulets of light flow in through the tin roof because of holes left from shrapnel. The cloth covering the altar is almost completely a reddish-brown color--not colored by age or the red dirt Rwanda is known for, but rather by the blood of its people.

Around one million Rwandans were killed during the 1994 genocide. No place was safe. Not even the church.

As we entered the church, it felt like you were seeing the one million who had been massacred. The wooden benches that once acted as church pews, and the floor between and behind, were stacked with the clothing of Nyamata victims. Dirty, torn and bloody--these were the ones the church did not protect. In fact, the priest was the one to call the Hutu extremists and alert then of the masses who had sought refuge within the church walls.

The church not only failed to protect, it actually gave them over to the enemy.

As we walked through the church, past the mass graves behind the church building, and into a crypt that held what was left of those killed, I felt overwhelmed by two emotions: Anger and Conviction.
Anger at the church. As the body of Christ, we have been tasked with a sacred responsibility--to welcome all, offer a safe haven, stand up for justice, to overcome evil with good.

The church at Nyamata definitely failed to do so. We were seeing the evidence of that. But here's where the conviction came in...

Is The Church (the people, not the building) doing much better today? How often do we fail to offer a safe haven when those who are different or who we don't agree with see it? How often do our words, our actions, or worse lack of action, pushing people from the One who can save? How often do we allow the enemy easy access to those we should be protecting?

You and I, we are this church, this body of Christ. So I can't help but ask: How can we be less like the church in Nyamata and more like Him?

Friday, March 25, 2016

If This is True, Then...

One of my favorite times of year is Easter.

It wasn't always like this. As a kid, Christmas took the cake. Decorating the tree, presents, Christmas carols and pageants. It's all joy and gladness.

And Easter? It just felt a little more doom and gloom--especially on Good Friday. I mean, what's happy about The Cross? And while I learned and understood that the Sunday was coming, and the tomb would be empty... it just never felt as exciting.

But, as I've grown older, I've spent time in Lenten devotionals that have really brought Easter alive for me. Spending 40 days reflecting on my sin and depravity, and truly grasping me need for Christ and His sacrifice has made Easter so special.

This year, IF: Gathering, which hosts one of my favorite devotional resources, launched a study on the Nicene Creed at the beginning of Holy Week. Initially, I felt it was ill-timed. Every other study was going through a real-time journey to the Cross and Resurrection, and they wanted us to spend the week thinking about the existence of God?  But over the last four days, I realized how perfect studying this creed was.

A creed is a statement of belief. And the first section of the Nicene Creed reads as follows:

We believe in One God, the Father, the Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and all that is seen and unseen. 

It all starts here.

Before we can believe in the Cross, before we can be thankful for the Resurrection, we have to first believe that God exists. And understanding who God is, makes me long for the redemption of the Cross even more.

He is power. He is beauty. He is splendor, glory and greatness. He is our Good Father. And He is "three-in-oneness." All these attributes makes Him so much bigger and greater than I am. And, ultimately, I am unworthy.

Hence, The Cross.

And through the Cross, we have access to God. God who is our Father, and  adopts us into His family. God who is the Son, who sacrificed His righteous self for our unrighteousness. And God who is The Spirit, who guides and comforts us through this life.

Studying the Nicene Creed has made me stop and intentionally think about why I believe what I believe. Why I celebrate Easter. Why I am so thankful for the Cross. But even more of why I am thankful for the Resurrection and anticipate His Second Coming.

Because I believe in God.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Greatest Desire for 2016

At the beginning of 2015, I tried something new.

I had given up resolutions many years before, and decided to try picking a word for the year instead.

My word was intentional. It felt like a good word.

I wanted to be more intentional about my career, and so in 2015 I pursued different opportunities to get back into writing and the editorial world.

I wanted to be more intentional about my creative hobbies, like writing and photography, and so I looked at a lot of different class options and made some new contacts.

I wanted to be more intentional about my relationships--mostly friendships, but also in the romance category. And so I said "yes" to things I was tempted to say "no" to, and signed up for things at church and beyond in order to get involved and meet more people.

I wanted to be more intentional about my health, and did a barre class once a week for a while. And drank more water, and ate healthy in general.

I wanted to be more intentional at home... cooking, cleaning, hospitality. And well... I did host a jewelry party, put together a lot of new bookshelves.

Basically the goal for the year was to take life by the horns, to not be as reactive to things in life, and ultimately pursue the things I felt would make my life better, happier, richer.

By the end of 2015, I had done a lot of cool things that wouldn't have happened if I had not been a bit more intentional. I traveled to Haiti, Spain, France, Italy and Rwanda. I got involved in a few different Bible study groups and began to build some new friendships. I have an awesome new apartment with a great landlord and great neighbors. I started a new romantic relationship. I had the BEST month-long 30th birthday celebration, which included finally fulfilling my dream of going to Disney World and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If my year could be told in Instagram pictures alone, 2015 was a year that would be hard to top.

But Instagram only shows the best of things. As the last few months of 2015 began to pass, I felt more and more listless. Even with all that went right, a lot still just felt wrong. Or not a fulfilling as I thought it would be.  I still felt really empty. I felt the same way I felt at the end of 2014, like my life was going nowhere in the direction I desired or dreamed. Being intentional didn't make me happier, and I was (or am) still without direction or a sense of control over my life.

While I was more intentional with my career, I didn't get either of the jobs I applied and interviewed for. And so I went in for my 5th year of teaching, which started with so many changes that I felt unbalanced and off-kilter for the first 2 months. I was miserable. I also was still working long hours and days, which meant there was no time to take any of the writing or photography classes I wanted to do, or even do the side projects I thought I'd have time for.

And relationships? Many of the friendships I started to build either stalled, or just didn't develop to be as deep as I hoped they would be. I still spend most of my time alone, and often felt alone. And the new romantic relationship? Crashed and burned a few months in.

Cooking, cleaning, working out, entertaining... all that fell by the wayside. Especially since I was "homeless" all summer, was traveling a lot, and then I'm still trying to unpack my new place.

It was like being back at square one. Expect because I started the year with an expectation that being intentional about my desires would make things better and make me happier, there was now the taste of bitter disappointment growing stronger as the year wrapped up.

I debated not picking a word for 2016. Why set myself up to be disappointed again? But there was a word that kept coming up in my devotions and Bible studies and in church sermons was JOY. The idea of being content with my lot, good or bad, because I have the joy of the Lord.

I settled on the word, but didn't really think about why it would work for 2016 until today.

I wasn't happier after a year of intentionality because I spent the year pursing desires that were worldly and temporary. And not that any of those things were bad. And not that I don't still have all those desires. But I think pursuing them was more important that just pursing the Lord. Leaning into Him. Trusting His plan. Finding my joy (happiness, bliss, excitement, contentment) in Him first and foremost.

So in this new year, that's what I am seeking to rest in: His Joy.

I've chosen Psalm 40 as the scripture to help guide the year (or at least thought it). Here are some verses that remind me to rejoice in the Lord!

Psalm 40:3... "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God."

Psalm 40: 16a, 17b ... "But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you...but the Lord takes thought for me." 

And one more verse, not from chapter 40, but that also really stood out to me as one to hold on to:
Psalm 4:7 ... "You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound."

Ultimately, in reflecting over 2015 and looking into 2016, I realized that nothing I do will bring me joy. Only the Lord can make my heart glad. So I'm giving Him my desires, making Him my FIRST desire and I believe that the best thing I can do is to "delight [my]self in the Lord, and he will give [me] the desires of [my] heart." (Psalm 37:4)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

You Don't Have to Remember, if You Know...

In some Christian circles, it is the "thing" to ask people their salvation story. How did you come to know the Lord?

It is often on mission trip applications, volunteer forms, and it might even comes up when you're meeting your new boyfriend's friends, mentors or family. Someone, somewhere is going to ask.

Tell us your testimony.

This has always made me a little uncomfortable, or sometimes even rubbed me the wrong way. And then I'd feel guilt. Shouldn't I be excited to share my story? To shout from the rooftops the story of how God saved me, redeemed me, made me whole?

So why do I feel a little bit of discomfort or shame when I think of my story? Of the place where I first met the Lord? It's taken me a while, but I realized it boiled down to one thing: I don't remember it. 

I don't remember the day, the time, the moment where I first surrendered to His call and embraced the message of the Gospel.

I grew up in a Christian home. When I was born, my dad was in the middle of one of many Seminary degrees. He was in the process of starting an African Mission church with two of his close friends. I was the first baby born in that church. And as I grew, that church was my family. The men where my uncles, the women were my aunts, the children were my cousins.

I was raised with praises songs on my lips, scripture in my mind. Church was my favorite place. And it was my home. I was taught to love Jesus. I was taught He loved me. And I had no reason to ever doubt it. In a sense, you could argue that I have always known the Lord.

But... at some point, my faith had to have become my own. At some point, I had to clearly recognize my personal depravity and see my undeniable need for a Savior.

But... I don't remember what that point was.

I often tell this story:

It's a little memory that I have in my mind. I am not even sure how real it is, or if it is more imagined. But I remember being between 5 and 7. I know it is around this age because we were at the Beddell house and no longer living in Seminary housing. I know that my sisters and I shared the back room. And it was when we were really into puzzles. We had just gotten a 5,000 (or was it 10,000 piece) puzzle of a cabin in the woods. Most of the puzzle was composed of leaves. Lots of shades of green. That looked very much a like and was very hard to piece together.

The puzzle was being put together on a desk or table in our room. The desk sat right under one of the windows in the room. In my memory, the puzzle is mostly completed except for the top left quarter. All those dang green pieces we couldn't quite get. And in my memory, I walk into the room and see sunbeams streaming in, shining directly onto our incomplete puzzle.

I remember being struck by the beauty of it all. And I remember thinking... I want to belong to that light. I want to belong to The Light.

And if you grow up in church or a Christian home, then you are bound to have been led, or heard people being led in the "salvation prayer." And if you're like me, you probably have already said it at some point, maybe every Sunday, but not really understood what it meant.

Either way, in my memory, I said the prayer then.

And that would be my story. Except... like I said earlier, I don't even know if it is real.

I do know that not a whole lot about my life changed. Church remained a central part of our lives, serving in the church and community was my family's M.O. I continued to learn about the Lord, be taught to love the Lord, and taught that the Lord loved me.

And while I have no doubt that I understand the Gospel. That I understand the sacrifice made for me on the Cross. That I have a relationship with the Almighty God, the Great I AM. When I hear a Christian ask me, "So what's your testimony?" I cringe and feel a little bit of fear. That maybe they will see me as a fraud. They will doubt that I am legit. I will not be counted as one of them.

Isn't that horrible?

Somewhere along the line, I learned to believe that my story didn't matter. It wasn't cool enough, groundbreaking enough, a testimony of God's power enough.

But recently, something changed that for me.

I was starting a relationship with this guy, and happened to meet some of his friends. And the question came up... "So, how did you come to know the Lord?" I took a deep breath and told the truth that I know: I grew up in the church, my dad is a pastor, I was taught to love the Lord and that He loved me. I don't remember the exact day or time, but I know that with each year of my life I have grown more aware of how real God is, and I daily surrender my life to Him.

And then I waited for the deeper, probing questions. The ones laced with doubt and concern. Did I really know the Lord? Or am I a fake? But what came instead was some insight that changed everything for me.

As a parent, your greatest hope and desire is that your child(ren) know your love. Without doubt. Unconditionally. And you would rather have your child know you loved them from the day they were born versus spending most of their lives feeling lost, alone and empty and then discovering you loved them as a teen, a young adult, at middle age. We'd hope to protect our children from the pain of poor choices, or from any kind of despair. Right? Wouldn't that be the dream of all parents?

And if that is our desire as mere human beings, how much more would that be God's desire for each of us? My story is exactly what God would want for any of His children. To know they are loved by Him from Day 1, and to live a life protected by that love.

I've got to have a personal relationship with God for so long, and even if I can't remember it, I know it. I know that an infinite God seeks me out. That an infinite God became a man, lived and dwelt among us, wounded and bruised for me, nailed on a cross, died... and rose again. I know that I can have a personal relationship with that God because the veil had been torn, sin has been defeated, His righteousness has cleansed me from my unrighteousness.

And so even though I can't remember... I KNOW. 

And that's what matters beyond anything else. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

30 Days of 30: The Last Days

Well... after spending 10 days in Orlando, wrapping up my #30daysof30 took some effort. I was exhausted, but every second felt worth it and I'm so glad I had been able to go. And while not all the remaining days were as exciting, they were just as meaningful in helping me start out this new year of life in the best way possible.

Day 23: Coke Float

I had just flown back in from Orlando the night before and had to go straight to work. I had barely slept the whole time, so I was dragging just a little bit. But of course, there was a surprise on my desk. From sweet Jess again. And it was Inca Cola! My favorite drink from my trip to Peru last summer! And later that night, I went to my favorite ice-cream place for a coke float. All-in-all, it was a good way to come back home and keep on celebrating.

Day 24: Got My Hair Did

Goal... look good as a 30-year-old. So of course that means getting my hair done. My cousin came over and worked her magic on me.

Day 25: When Plans Change

I was supposed to be heading to Dallas on this day. The plan was supposed to be dinner with my family and friends that evening, and then the next morning tackle the State Fair before celebrating my aunt and uncle's wedding anniversary/vow renewal.

But sometimes, things don't work out as you plan. I missed my MegaBus (slightly my fault since I went to finally renew my driver's license and then traffic ended up being horrendous), all of my friends seemed to be too busy to actually make plans, and I felt... sad. But then I went to go hang out with my sister and cousin, we ordered some pizza and binged out on TV... and I had a plan to redeem the weekend. I felt better.

Finally getting a new driver's license! With a much better picture! Great way to start out 30!
And how can pizza not make everything better?
Day 26: Surprising Natalie! 

So initially, the plan was Dallas for the 25th and 26th, and then take a flight to Amarillo to spend the day with Natalie and Cheryl before heading back to Houston. But with the Dallas plans falling through and me missing my bus to Dallas, I rearranged my flight (with some help) and decided to head to Amarillo a day early. I didn't tell Natalie this, just Cheryl. We both had our layover in Dallas, caught up for like 5 hours and then flew to Amarillo together.

Nat was just expecting Cheryl... and her face when she got both of us! It was the BEST!

We pretty much just hung out and talked a lot. Went shopping, got our nails done, ate dinner.

These two ladies were some of my closest friends during college, and life has spread us out a bit and the three of us hadn't been together since about 2008.

Day 27: Amarillo 

We went to Nat's church and she preached (it was so good), and then we went to watch Nat's son's football game, before getting some ice-cream and making sure I caught my flight back to Houston.

It was a good weekend, and we just relished in the fact that no matter how much time passes, and no matter how much distance is between us, we will always be the best of friends.

Day 28: Called to Change the World

Over the days I was in Orlando, a Bible Study started at my church called "Called." So I planned today to go to this Bible Study and learn. Start out this 30th year with some clear perspective on who God is and what He has called me to do.

My friend, Serena, met me there and caught me up on the weeks I missed. And then she gave the sweetest gift ever: A map of the world on wood. We had seen a painting of this on a wall in IKEA and she had mentioned she could get a friend to make it for me. And she did.

It sits on the entertainment center in my living room, in place of a TV. It represents my love of travel, and the fact that I teach World Cultures. But I think it also serves as a reminder of The Great Commission: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Day 29: Just one more day left... and I'm sick

I think I ran myself into the group trying to celebrate for 30 days. But Day 29 started with me feeling horrible, and by the end of the day I just wanted to find my bed.

I had bought myself some books that came in the mail that day, so I counted that as the birthday gift for Day 29. And then a friend ordered me some dinner and had it delivered to my home. So I spent Day 29 in a calm and quiet way. Alone, coloring in my new adult coloring book, and eating some good food.

Day 30: Last Day

#30Daysof30 officially ended with family. I started the month celebrating with my siblings, but didn't get to see my brother-in-law or the kiddos. So we all met up for dinner at a Thai restaurant, and they got my a cupcake from Oh La La (which is becoming our new family tradition on birthdays).

I couldn't have dreamed of a better ending.
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