Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 26: Friends and Birthdays:)

There's no way to capture the blessing my birthday was. No. Way.

I'm in a tough season in my life- well this one is especially tough, but I think God equipped me through that day with the strength and a reminder of the love all around me to get me through. Praise God for his blessings and all he's done for me!! 24 was a very tough year, and I imagine 25 won't be much easier, but it's full of possibilities, and I'm so excited to see what God's got in store.Our God is a healer, and I think that's a lot of what I'll be seeing this year- hoping to come into year 26 as a much more whole person:)
Which is a real cookie and which is my AWESOME NEW COOKIE CHANGE PURSE?!

We celebrated our tails off yesterday. We went to see my kiddos, after I made myself birthday cake tea and ate a muffin for the first time in 20 days... I'll admit, while sugar can be a good thing- I think I'm still paying off the sugar... I've felt car-sick all day and I think it might be the overload of sugar:) I was cautious, but did have quite a lot:) I adored my time with my babies, and got to meet the newest addition- Elisa... I want to know her story- she's 2 months old and so beautiful. Her parents clearly cared for her, as she has her ears pierced(twice!!) and she was healthy(both signs of care here), so I wonder what happened. Sure to break my heart once again. Praying these precious ones bind together as family as they grow. Got time with all my 'favorites'(I know we're not supposed to play favorites, but it happens naturally), and just soaked in the glory of the place I was in. During the story time, I was able to watch the kids' faces(normally I'm sitting with them, but this time I was looking at them) and I saw such beauty before me- it was also a delight seeing my dear friends in their nitsch. Amazing time of seeing God's love in the face of children and my friends.

We got back and I was like 'hm... I didn't pack lunch.' Soon after,  I got a call saying there's an avocado if I want one(I'd been saying I wanted one), and I ran into a friend who had cheese and ham crepes baked with some mango for me... PERFECTION. I sat up by the TVs and 2 of my little friends came up with a scheme(one 12 and one 9) to watch some TV for a while, then go up to the pool for an hour, then come down with just enough time to shower and get ready for the festivities. We had a blast- lots of laughter and I hadn't gotten much time with my two precious blondies lately, so it was perfect:)

I got ready for dinner-unsure of what was going to happen. What did happen, I was surprised by and really just had to let go of:) I had told a friend I hate planning birthday parties, so she said last week she was going to plan something awesome for both of us(her birthday is 2 days ahead of mine), and so I said 'cool'. Told her the ESSENTIAL people, but she had invited more people, which was much to my delight as we gathered together:) My youngest friend on the ship- Hailey- now 7 months today- woot woot- was there and we had a ton of fun together last night.

Knowing me, you know I like to plan things, and this was a bit of chaos, so it was hard for me to sit back and take a deep breath and let my friends plan it out.... people asked me things and I was like 'I have no idea... honestly... I didn't even know you were coming!' haha:) We wound up going to this awesome Vietnamese place, which I'd requested(we needed to get directions, but found them... long story short... we got there 1/2 hour before it opened.) I have to say, it was quite funny... the family who owns the place pulled up in their car, their youngest ran out with one of the moms to get the stoves ready as the dad parked the car... it's always reassuring though when eating Vietnamese to see Vietnamese making it:) Hehe. Sorry... I know.. but ... it's true.

Dinner was great... delicious food, I got to have coke... African Coke no less, which FARRRR exceeds the American stuff... I'll never go back to it...and good friends and it was great- I even got a snuggle with my 7 month old 'niece' Hailey- we're all family here;) :) OH... I almost forgot to mention- I ate frog legs for the first time!!!!!!!!!! Crazy!! My amazing 8 year old buddy ordered them for herself and offered me one... surprisingly good.... I wasn't in my right mind apparently, but I'm glad I did it;)
Seems about right...;)

We got back and played our version of spoons, which involved people becoming Rats and if you look at them or say their name you get a letter in 'rat'... definitely a spin I'd never played, but it turned into one EPIC battle between my dear friend and her husband:) We had cake, popcorn, tea, mango guacamole, enjoyed eachother. Can't say I ate much because 1)I ate more at that restaurant that I normally eat in a day and 2) with kids around... nothing really stays....... there was an 8 year old., 9 year old, 10 year old, and 12 year old... good luck keeping any food anywhere, not to mention about 7 other adults..:)

Then we did presents... really... I'm in love with African jewelry, but only certain kinds,but my friends have it DOWN:) One was made by my friend and it includes a bead her daughter made out of melted down glass at the Cedi bead factory in Ghana. Amazingly sweet tokens to remember these friends by when I go home, as well as some great cards and yummy smelling body wash!!:) Thankful they remembered I'm leaving soon and can't acquire new things that are bulky:)

One of the gifts- the one I saved for last, was from one of my families... as I opened the gift bag, I found a box... they know I like to actually unwrap things... a lot:) At Christmas, they gave me an awesome gift of a necklace and a little purse in a after dinner mint box and when I opened it was like 'OH GREAT.. THANKS FOR CHOCOLATE' but said... 'um... open it...' So I already knew the box would probably be a fluke... and it was a preparation H box.... I DIED laughing, but 1/2 the room... well 3/4 of the room had no idea what it was...  I did though and just lost it- it was so funny... I'm 1/4 century now... I might need it..;) Nah- but it was filled with the most beautiful earrings and a necklace made by an incredible crew member!!:) Then my friends had to educate the room on what it's used for....well... generally;) They said to look it up later if they didn't know, just not on Google images;) Hahahaha. I loved this... especially as my friends who are 17 years older than me were calling me old;)

For those in the 'know' the nun-school thing ended up not being a huge deal... at the party the kids brought it up and rubbed it in and one of my best friends brought a movie about Mother Theresa(totally forgetting her girls had this pact to put me in a nunnery if I was 25 and still single).....but... it was cute and left it at that:) Thankful they dropped it... I AM thankful to be single at the moment though... I can't imagine being married right now with all of the growing I'm doing..;)

When it came time for a movie- I knew just the movie to pick..... A Little Princess. I love that story, and I was missing my Daddy... and for some reason that movie makes me think of him.... some of the people groaned, but I said 'LOOK, it's my birthday.... suck it up...' and they loved it. Right before we started, I realized something....I hadn't had CHOCOLATE that day...I looked at my friends and said 'I NEED DARK CHOCOLATE.. NOW.... BEFORE MIDNIGHT!!!':) My faithful dark chocolate-holic friend who I gave my chocolate to for Lent gave me some of my chocolate back, which I was amazed she sacrificed;)

The night ended with some tears, as I missed home and was scared of some of the changes to come in the near future, but I felt very loved and humbled by the day my friends had so sweetly put together for me. THANKS GUYS- I need to always remember how God has blessed me.... with FRIENDS... incredible people and just the right mix of what I need for exactly this time in life 

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