March 14, 2011

THIRTY - The Best Birthday EVER

Saturday felt like the longest day of my life. The day dragged on and the hours seemed to tick by slowly. I almost felt like a kid on Christmas Eve again - the day was long and it felt like the fun was never going to start! I spent the day doing laundry and counting down the hours until it was finally time to get ready and go to my big 30th birthday bash.

The party was held at the home of some good friends of ours. There were pictures of me as a little girl and grown up for everyone to see displayed on several tables. Even the embarrassing ones like me singing into a hairbrush when I was 14.
The cake lady of cake ladies made my birthday cake!
And my amazingly talented friend Mal made my favorite cupcakes in yellow and sunflowers - very me!

Oh! And I had my own napkins! I was most excited about this.
Two of my bestest friends in the entire world - Sarah and Bethany. They helped put this whole shin-dig together.
And I had to post this picture because it's fun and she is gorgeous. I saw that she had hijacked my camera and I posed in the background.
My cousin-friends Aimee and Anna. They also helped out with some of the details of the party and made the night very special for me. These two young ladies are so incredibly dear to my heart.
My Gramma and me!
My not-so-baby sister celebrating that I turn 30 way before she ever will.
My friend Sarah - her words that night blessed my heart immensely.
Me with my parents.
After eating, we started the night's events with praise and worship. My cousins Jonathan and Aimee led everyone in a few songs. I love that we sang.
After a time of singing, there was a time for words. Everyone at the party had a flower to give to me, to put in one large vase. Everyone came up to me and gave me a word that either reminds them of me, or how they have experienced me. It felt overwhelming to be given words by so many people that night.
It was one of those moments I wish I could rewind and do again. As it was happening I wanted to be able to receive all of the words given to me - gift, beautiful, fun, forthright, encouraging, sunshine. Word after word from person after person who has some unique role and relationship in my life. I was overwhelmed.
Todd was the last to give me a word. And he presented with me with the entire bouquet of flowers once everyone else had spoken. His word for me was MORE. I had called him to more in our life and marriage together and he wanted to share more with me. It was beautiful, the time was beautiful and again I was overwhelmed.
Each person there also lit a candle for me - there were 30. My Gramma lit a candle in my mom's honor and my dearest friends and family lit a candle after giving me a word.
All of the words given to me that night were written on a beautiful mirror that had been given to me. And looking at my reflection in this mirror I am covered with words like Bright, Energetic, Authentic, Worth It, and Passionate - just to name a few. Anyone who knows me well knows of my struggle in front of the mirror - that's where I want to believe lies about myself and who I am. This is a truth mirror. And there is no denying what is true about me when looking into it. I think I am still processing the enormity of this gift and what it meant to my heart to be given such a gift. I am humbled at the thoughtfulness that went into it. I am known and loved well by the people closest to me....
And as if that wasn't enough, I was given a beautiful book that contained even more words.Messages and greetings and memories written from dozens of people - even those who don't live here who wrote to me. I will cherish this forever.
We watched a slide show that my friend Sarah had put together - which seemed fitting for her to have done. She is the friend that has known me the longest - the video made me cry. I felt blessed and humbled at remembering the goodness and grace of God throughout the years my life. And in the faces that I shared so many beautiful memories with over the years.

I went home from the party that night and cried. As I sorted through cards and gifts and let out a big sigh after it was all said and done, I didn't know what else to do. The night was overwhelmed with beauty, thoughtfulness, care and love - for me! And it left me feeling overwhelmed with those things. My party was very me. Thought it felt weird to not have a thing to do with planning my own party (since I am somewhat of a party-planning extraordinaire), the night couldn't have been more wonderful. The only thing that felt missing to me were a few faces of dear friends that couldn't be there that night. I felt their importance and their absence. Even so, the night was lovely and it felt big to know that it had been for me - there was no denying that I was very, very loved.

My darling husband gave me the gift of gifts. A honeymoon. We are planning a trip to the Ozark Mountains in October - a few nights in a beautiful lodge. I caught myself asking him if we could extend the trip if we found a place to set up and camp for a night or two. I almost couldn't believe I suggested it, but I did. I am so looking forward to taking a trip just the two of us - FINALLY!!!! It felt too good to be true when I opened it up and found out what it was that he had gotten for me. I'm not even sure how he worked it out, but he did! Is it October yet?!

Attempting a family photo...Tommy is honking Todd's nose!
As I sit here today and reflect back on the best birthday I think I've ever had - I am still feeling overwhelmed and blessed. So much went into the night to make it special and unique for me and who I am. And it was evident right down to the yellow napkins and the sunflowers and the music and the faces of those who came to celebrate.

I'm not just THIRTY. I am loved, celebrated, and enjoyed!


  1. Sounds absolutely incredible! Where oh where are you staying on your honeymoon? I live about 45 min from Branson so if you're anywhere in that area I can definitely give you some recommendations on dining, activities, etc.! It'll be such a fun time!

  2. What an amazing birthday party! Awesome way to welcome you to the 30's. :) All the thought and love put into the decorations and planning. You are truly blessed!

  3. What a sweet party! Happpy Birthday!

  4. I'm glad that you felt loved and celebrated and that I got to be a part of looking forward to is to More....LOVE YA BABE.

  5. Jennifer, it sounds like you had the best birthday party ever.
    I'm so happy for you!
    Happy belated birthday!
    You deserve all of this! :D
    Your friends and family love you so much, I can just feel it by the way they planned your birthday bash!
    BTW, you looked stunning that night!

  6. Wow! What a blessing. I'm so glad you felt so celebrated and loved. Sounds like an incredible evening.

  7. Wow how awesome! I'm all wheepy eyed reading that.