About Me

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I love Jesus. I love my family. I love photography. I love books. I love thinking. Probably in that order. I have a wonderful husband, five beautiful daughters, a house, and a camera. I enjoy spending time talking to my husband, playing with my girls, redecorating my house and shooting things with my camera. In my spare time, I sleep.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The one with all the birthdays...

Thirty-five years ago...my mama did what mama's do and brought me into the world.  After all my earlier musings I thought it might be fun to make a birthday post with pictures and memories from some of my birthdays gone by.

My family always did birthdays well.  They weren't always big productions...but there was always a stack of presents, the family's undivided attention and a special cake.  Oh, the cakes!  My mom or grandma would always put some work into our cakes in those early years!

1st birthday
2nd birthday

3rd birthday
4th birthday
5th birthday
6th birthday

I can't remember much from my early birthdays.  But I've often been told the story of my 1st  birthday when I sat with my Grandpa Jim and didn't want anything to do with anyone else---or so the story goes!  :)

My seventh birthday is the first I can really remember.  It was my first birthday that I had a party with friends and not just family.  My mom, grandma, aunt & second cousin worked really hard to make a special day for me.  If I can close my eyes I can almost put myself back at my grandma's table, surrounded by my friends and all the happy noise of a kid's party. 

8th birthday

I got a bike for my 9th birthday...

10th birthday
The next birthday that really stands out in my mind is my 11th birthday.  My mom let me have a slumber party with my 3 friends from school.  We went roller skating, stayed up late, played truth or dare and acted just as silly as you'd expect from a group of 10-11 year olds in the early 90s!  There is a cassette recording in a box somewhere that documents select portions of that night.  My favorite being our rendition of  "Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight".  

12th birthday

Not all the most memorable birthday memories are good ones...I remember on my thirteenth birthday, we had a big scene because I was not opening my presents or at least was going annoyingly slow and people got impatient and I ended up crying in the bathroom.  I was too embarrassed to tell everyone that I was stalling because I was hoping that if I waited a little while my cousin, Ryan, would get home from basketball practice and would be there for my birthday.

14th birthday
 15th birthday

A couple days before my 16th birthday, I was at my grandma's house watching Scooby Doo and my mom told me to come with her to drop something off at my friends house.  I was irritated 'cause I was enjoying me some Scoobs but she talked me into it!  Turns out it was a ruse to get me to the surprise party my friends were throwing.  As much as a appreciated the sentiment and had a lot of fun...I'm not a fan of surprises.  I hadn't showered or anything and was all grungy and feeling ugly while all my friends were shiny, clean and dressed for the occasion!

17th birthday
 18th birthday

I can't even find a picture from my 19th birthday!

20th birthday

 I was in college on my 21st birthday.  Unlike some people who spend their twenty-first with their first legal bout of drunkenness, I spent mine with my family.  My parents came over to my dorm and took me out for pizza and a movie.  They brought cake, which we ate in my dorm room.  It was memorable because we got out my video camera and taped some of our good-clean birthday shenanigans. 

I always look back on my 22nd birthday with a bit of melancholy.  I had moved to a new city with my best friend a month before.  A week before my birthday my boyfriend and I broke up.  The day before my birthday my family drove up to see me and celebrate.  They went home in the afternoon and that evening my best friend and I had a group of new friends over.  My ex and one of my other good friends stopped in as well.  It was a really fun night with just a bit of a sting.  However...my actual birthday was spent alone.  It was Superbowl Sunday.  My best friend had to work.  I decided to go to the mall and use my birthday money to buy myself a ring.  I then spent the rest of the night sitting in the dark watching a stupid football game by myself and feeling sad.  

By the next year, however, I was dating Russ and my 23rd birthday was spent with the man who was very soon to be my husband.  I wrote a poem that year.  I guess birthdays cause me to wax poetic...and get all introspective.  

Since marriage--and thus, "real life" has begun--my birthdays have become, for the most party, just another day.  Russ & I have tried to do something special for our birthdays over the years with dinners out, overnight trips out of town, and whatnot but birthdays as an adult just don't pack the same punch as they did before.  

24th birthday
25th birthday
26th birthday

For my 27th birthday, Russ & I dropped Eden off with our parents and spent a night in Rapid City.  The only thing I remember about the trip is that we ate at Chili's and for some reason or other we ended up getting our meal free.

Fast forward a couple years because apparently it didn't seem necessary to take a picture to honor my 28th & 29th birthdays.

I think Russ & I went on another overnight trip to Loveland for my 30th birthday.  Only took the nursing child. 

For my 31st birthday I finally got my dream camera and promptly took my first selfie.  (Actually I had a 6 year old do it, I think.)

My 32nd was one of my most memorable birthdays over the last few years. I spent it away from my family at a "Captivating" retreat in the mountains of Colorado.  It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life...and worth every moment...but it was kinda strange spending my birthday without any family. 

33rd birthday

Last year for my birthday I had an anti-Superbowl birthday party the night before my 34th.  I didn't get any pictures of myself last year either...just the food. 

AND now....I present me on my 35th birthday....drum roll?

TA DA!!!

I said it before and I'll say it again, birthdays as a grown up just aren't the same.  But that's okay...the birthday parties may get staler but the person just keeps getting finer with age.  Am I right?

Birthday musings...

Once upon a time a baby was born  to a young couple in western Nebraska...and that baby was me.  And 'once upon a time' was, in fact, exactly 35 years ago.  

Birthdays are a funny thing.  So much hoopla is made on what is simply the anniversary of the day you emerged from your mother's uterus. "Congratulations, Person, let us reward you for the pain & agony you put that woman through!"  

In seriousness though, we know that it isn't the act of being born that is being celebrated but the very existence of a new life that previously wasn't and now is affecting so many other lives simply by his/her presence in this world.   We so often hear the birth of a child described as "a miracle."   It is only one of the most commonplace experiences on earth and yet despite the plebeian nature of the thing, there is no better word to apply to that moment when that which was previously two unrelated minute pieces of two completely different people emerges as a fully developed young life with his/her own look,  personality and temperament.    

I imagine that the concept of the "birth day" celebration was started by a mother.   No one quite appreciates the day someone was born more than the one in whom that person once lived and who felt the "miracle" of that life in the most tangible of ways.   To celebrate ones own day of introduction seems a bit vainglorious!  "Hey, All of You Out There!  I began to grace this world with my presence exactly 35 years ago today!  Make with the merriment, will you?  For I have enriched your lives by my very birth!"  Yeah...perhaps there are a few out there that feel that way...but I'm still putting my money on a mother.

That would also explain why birthdays are more elaborately celebrated in childhood.  I know, as a mother of young children myself, that my children's birthdays hold far more meaning to me than my own.  And I want to cherish those memories and make the most of these fleeting moments now when I can still see glimpses of those new wrinkled baby faces that I met in their first hours in their now fresh childish faces that keep maturing before my very eyes.  Every year--with balloons and cake and gifts and special meals--I am remembering that day (however many years ago) that I held them in my arms for the first time and I am beaming with pride at how their birth changed the course of history...at least for me.  The child doesn't remember that day.  All she knows is that today is important.  That it's all about her.  She is special.  She is loved.  And she is worth celebrating.
At least that is how I felt as a kid and how I strive to make my kids feel.   
As I approach (what I  hope is at least) the midpoint of my life, the less significant each passing year becomes.  The years get shorter and making it around the sun another time doesn't feel like much.  Autonomy means that instead of big elaborate parties with colored streamers and a group of friends, you get a card in the mail that you read in between errands.  The ironic thing is that the smaller the outward celebration...the larger your impact on the world has become (hopefully in a positive way) and the more there is about your existence that is worth celebrating.  At least that's what we should all be striving for.

I may not be that important in the scheme of history.  My name may not be remembered more than a generation after my death.  And I am more than okay with that.  My ambition is not one of grandeur.  I just want to be a positive influence to those around me.  I want each year that I get to see another February 3rd come and go, to be another year in which I was the best version of me that I can be.  I want to spend each day I get to breathe in this ol' planet's atmosphere, living--really living. 

There are no balloons up for me today.  There are no streamers.  There will be no slumber parties or piles of presents.  And I'll be making my own cake.  But today I will celebrate my life and thank Jesus for letting me be a part of His plan.