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.

Monday, October 5, 2015

30 Day of 30: Days 8-22

It's so hard to blog when you are having the time of your life!

The month of September was AMAZING! I literally celebrated turning 30 for all 30 days.

I felt a little silly doing it sometimes. Like how self-absorbed could I be? But honestly, each day reminding me to have joy in this life that God has granted me. To be thankful for the relationships and opportunities that have been given to me. To live without abandon and enjoy both the big and the little moments.

I have no clue what the rest of 2015 will bring. Or even what this 30th year will bring. But celebrating my 30 days of 30 was a great way to start it out, and I'm glad I did it.

Here's the recap of what else I did!

Day 8: Peter Pan Date

My sweet friend and co-worker Jess started the day out with a surprise on my desk! I am not big on flowers. But purple is one of my favorite colors, and this little bouquet was such a great start to my day... which I remember not starting out so great. I remember starting the day feeling down and a bit out of sorts (I can't remember why now) and when I saw the flowers and note on my desk, my day was instantly made better. My spirit was lifted. I actually still have the flowers... all dried up and reminding me to look for beauty even in dark moments, and that I can count on friends to always make things better.

Anyway, she had asked to be a part of my 30 Days and got us tickets to see Peter Pan 360. It was an amazing play! The theatre was in a tent, and hand a round stage. They used video and graphics to change scenery and give the feeling of us traveling through London and to Neverland. The acting was great, the few songs were fun. I loved it.

And as always, Peter Pan reminds me that growing up is a little bit overrated ;-)

Day 9: The Simple Things

I actually didn't make plans for Day 9. When I decided to do this, I didn't want each and every day to be a big production. I more just wanted each day to be a chance for me to indulge myself a bit and remember to be thankful and have some fun.

So today, all I did was buy some books from the Scholastic Book Fair happening at our school. Anyone who knows me knows that books are my greatest material love. And I especially love Young Adult novels. They might be for "kids," but honestly have just as much, if not more, truth and insight sometimes that many adult novels. I always look forward to Book Fairs--ever since Kindergarten.

And then to make Day 9 just a little more special... my Africa charm was returned to me!

While I was in Rwanda this summer, I bought some jewelry. Jewelry serves kind of like my own little tattoos, my "stones of remembrance."  I tend to buy and wear pieces that keep me grounded and reminded of some message I want to hold dear. I went to Rwanda with IF: Gathering, and during the first IF there was a spoken word performance called "The Esther Generation" that I loved. So, I bought a set of "Esther bangles" in Rwanda, and attached to one set I bought was an Africa charm.

I've worn these every day since, and then one day I looked down and the charm had fallen off. I was heart broken. So on Day 5, when I was hanging out with my neighbor Jess, we walked to 19th St and went into this cute little store in our neighborhood and I bought a new charm. One one side it said "Find Your Passion," the other side had a picture of a compass.

I was still a little heartbroken, but posted a picture of the new charm and told the story of how while it doesn't replace my Africa charm, it means just as much. Well, a co-worker messaged me after I made the post and was like, "I think my son found your charm in the hall! I'll bring it to school for you!" And sure enough... it was my Africa charm! Of course I took it as a little birthday gift! :-)

Day 10: Dinner with Friends

The whole point of celebrating anything is to celebrate with those you love! So of course, I planned a dinner with some of my sweet friends. Not all were able to come out, but I was thankful to those who did. We had a great dinner at Pondicheri (a place I discovered after I went to India last summer).

Day 11: The Little Mermaid... on Broadway

Okay... not exactly Broadway. I couldn't afford New York this year. But, we did go to see the Broadway play of "The Little Mermaid." As much as I'm obsessed with books, musicals/plays and Disney are close seconds to my heart. And so when it was announced that The Little Mermaid would return for a short engagement, and it was happening in September, of course I added it to my #30daysof30!

First, we had dinner at Coltivare. I had never been and it was delicious! And then we headed to see the show! The play was pretty much just like the movie. Just with some extra songs. It was no where as good as "The Lion King" was, but I still enjoyed it.

What I loved about the day is that I was also able to celebrate with a slightly different group of friends that I have done other things with so far this month. I realize that while I don't have a lot of super close friendships, I do have a lot of friends who I appreciate and always enjoy spending time with... but those times seem to get fewer and further way. So I loved having my birthday as an excuse to get people to hang out!

Day 12: #Sydco Wedding

Here's another day that wasn't really about celebrating me. I was initially supposed to be spending this day road-tripping to Orlando for IF: Lead, but when Sydney sent me her Save the Date for her wedding, I knew I had to change my plans.

I love weddings. But I love friends more. And I love being able to celebrate with them if it is ever in my power to do so. And considering that Sydney is perhaps the sweetest person on the planet, who I bounded with over Chimamanda Adichie and Arundathi Roy during our Seminar English class as Seniors at A&M... Day 12 was for Sydney.

Road-tripping it to San Antonio! The 3-hour drive was filled with good tunes and some good conversation!

Sydney and Marco made a BEAUTIFUL couple. And the location couldn't have been more perfect. Vineyards are like a little piece of heaven on earth. And it was also great to run into a friend from HS and college (we both knew Sydney from college, but we didn't know we both knew her. And we had lost touch really since HS, and only ran into each other once during our days at A&M).

Day 13-22: The BIG Orlando Splurge

I was in Orlando for 10 days celebrating BIG! First, I got to be involved with the IF: Gathering's conference for local leaders called IF: Lead. And then I spent 4 days at DisneyWorld and 2 days at Universal Studios. I will blog about both of those separately because they were just too epic and honestly the highlight of anything that could have happened to me during my 30th birthday celebration (well... Pentatonix was pretty amazing, too... but DisneyWorld has been my dream for FOREVER, and was supposed to be my 25th birthday celebration, but yeah...)

10 whole days of BLISS... that's all I can say about that time! Sneak Peek Below! ;-)

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