Reflections on Thirty-Three

Author’s Note: Today, I turn 33 years old. It has definitely been an interesting three and a half years since my daughter was born and life changed in a big way. I think that I have learned more about myself in these few short years than in many others combined throughout my lifetime. I see myself differently, am taking better care of myself, am learning to love others better, and live my faith and purpose more honestly and, I hope, effectively. I do more than like myself at 33. I truly believe that I have finally learned to love myself.

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My form is a thing of beauty.

Take all your definitions of allure

And weigh them in your hands,

As I make mine my own.

Breasts, waist, hips, legs,

Arms, stomach, shoulders, back.

All I work to make strong.

This I do for myself,

For the good of my body as well as my soul.

To be strong enough in body to hold the skies on my shoulders

But soft enough in soul to hold joy in the sway of my hips

And grace in the reach of my hands.

My mind is a work of art.

Growing and challenged still,

Deeply considering and intense.

My intelligence has not been silenced by time,

But continues to grow and refine with new challenges.

My art is a meeting of thought and feeling,

Pulled together, chiseled, and shaped.

I share my art with a desire for hope,

Encouragement, uplifting, and joy.

I write to challenge to love, to kindness, to compassion.

I write to create refuge, worlds in which to escape,

To send out words that my own voice might find difficult to speak.

I sing to birth joy. I dance to proclaim free. I dress to cry beauty.

I write and post and mail to connect and pull threads together.

In life. In community. In love. In friendship. In chosen family.

I am a being made unqiue and becoming uniquer still.

The older I get, the finer I am becoming.

You should rejoice. I’d love for you to rejoice.

If you don’t, though, that’s your choice.

But, most of all, I just want you to smile with me.


Musings on a Third Birthday

Today, my daughter turns three, I am running on 5 hours of mostly-full-though-still-broken sleep,  and her gifts were  JUST wrapped a few minutes ago by her Mamaw while I kept her distracted in the living room.

It’s been a nice build up to Bizzy’s birthday. This week, as we have been out and about, she has been spreading sunshine around to others: waving, smiling, saying “Hi, everyone!”, and wishing people “Merry Christmas!” It’s done my heart good as I have tried to concentrate on the moments that make this season wonderful and not let myself be trapped by the expectation, comparisons, and stuff that made me regret it all at the end of last year. Fewer presents and more meaning. Less doing and more being. Fewer obligations and more space for magical moments and divine appointments.

Today, there will be no huge birthday party, no me running around to pick up party platters, birthday cake, and decorate a party space, no leaving my mom to mind and dress and prepare Elizabeth for said party while I go hither, thither, and yon. No running around desperately trying to be a good hostess as well as an attentive Mommy. No cleaning up afterward, trying to figure out where all the leftovers and cake are going to fit in the fridge, especially with Christmas Day foodings in 6 days. Nope!

All of that that is #offthebeam this year (thank you, Jen Hatmaker). As fun as it might have been for Bizzy last year, it was so much stress for me that I was a wreck by the end of the day and I didn’t get to enjoy my daughter’s birthday really at all. This year, we are going back to basic and easy: a relaxed day (that hopefully involves a nap or two for me), a family dinner out at a Chinese buffet that she really likes, presents, and a small cupcake (with a Christmas tree in frosting) for my girl to indulge in.

My little girl is three years old. I am running on five hours’ sleep, and I am so very pleased and proud to be the mother of this wonderful, fabulous, maddening, fierce, spiky, friendly, smart, lovely little person.


NaBloPoMo Day 24: The 21st Turn

I do not have any journal entries about my 21st birthday night aside from the mention that my friends and I were going to go to dinner and then a film festival (don’t even remember what the films were about). But I do have a particular journal entry from the night before my 21st birthday that I really like and would love to share with you.

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So…soon (in a matter of hours), I’ll be 21, and I find that rather odd, honestly. I have a hard time stepping out-of-body and looking at myself, not as the little teenage girl who came here almost four years ago, but as a 21-year-old woman.

There are ways in which I KNOW I’ve grown. Only in the past year have I truly found what it means to be comfortable in my own skin. I’m a ‘walking contradiction’, and I like it. I’m a paradoxical simplistic, a semi-angsty romantic, as I once put it. I’m a girly-girl with a love for action and battle prowess; I’m a hobbit who speaks the tongue of Elves; I’m a wielder of pen with a love for the sword;  I’m a teacher who loves to learn; I’m a drama queen who has to work on graciously accepting compliments; I am a self-confirmed bachelorette who would someday like to get married; I’m a walking contradiction.

And I like it that way.

For years, I tried to be only one thing, what I thought people thought I should be: the perfect young lady, the angsty tomboy, the all-knowing sage, etc. No, it doesn’t work that way; I’m merely bits and pieces, as are we all–flawed but lovingly forgiven. This past year has just proven to me that God can put the pieces together in ways we could never imagine. Pieces that ‘should not go together’ come together perfectly in me. That’s not saying that I am perfect, but my Creator is, and I admire His ingenuity.

NaBloPoMo 2014 Day 8: Two and on the Move

Today was my daughter’s 2nd birthday picture session. We decided to do it early (her birthday isn’t until next month) and get it out of the way before the Holidays get busy. It was a vastly different experience than last year because now, of course, she can move and run freely. So keeping her on task for the pictures was rough, coupled with having to switch studio rooms back and forth as they were needed by other photographers. Just another testament to her growing up. But, all in all, it turned out well and fun was had, as you can judge from below. Many thanks to the hubby for the help with wrangling.



It’s That Time of Year Again

The day after tomorrow is my birthday. I will be thirty-one. And, as usual, I have given very little thought to it – well, thought as in planning anything for it. Such a change from when I was a child/teenager.

When I was little, I could hardly wait for my birthday. Birthdays meant breakfast in bed and the present that I had wanted most (or so I thought) before I went to school that morning. I also got to see my cake, made by a baker that I still buy cakes from when I visit home. That sort with the hard icing, the kind that was so delicious and sweet that you could smell the sugar when you opened the box. Lady Lovely Locks, Rainbow Brite, Care Bears, My Little Pony. She could do any design. Absolute confectionary happiness that I got once a year on my special day.

As a teenager, it meant a sleepover with my friends and not a single parental complaint as we stayed up late, at junk food, watched the sappy or silly movies, and listened to boy band music they had already heard ad nauseam almost any other day throughout the year, times about eight. My sixteenth birthday brought about a brand-new formal gown made by the best tailor I have ever had aside from Elen verch Phellip, and an all-expense-paid dinner for me and a handful of my friends and cousins, who ended up getting up on the live music stage at the restaurant and serenading me as a surprise.

In college, there were quite a few of us with birthdays in April so that usually meant a communal trip out to Applebees or the Chinese restaurant formerly known as BoBo’s for dinner and/or dessert, birthday cards in the campus and regular mail, and maybe flowers delivered with a card from my parents. And usually some teasing from my upperclassmen friends about me being “twelve”, as I was a year younger than the others in my class.

My twenty-fifth birthday brought about a surprise visit from my parents and a birthday dinner set up for me with the family and a goodly number of my best friends. My poor husband, the secret weighed heavily on him, as he was stressed to get the house cleaned the yard mowed before my parents showed up and trying to do so without telling me why was just too much for him. He finally told me the afternoon before, which sent me into a flurry of cleaning and raking the yard when he was done mowing. I was taking the next day off anyway. 🙂 It was a lovely dinner and time with friends and family.

My thirtieth birthday came along with several big changes in my life. I was a new mommy with a four-month-old baby girl. I was lucky enough to have some friends come up and take me and Ben out to dinner and dessert. It was really nice.

This year, I’m turning thirty-one, and I am terrible at planning things for myself. But, as I think about it, there is one thing that I have on repeat in my mind. Something I have to admit and do so with absolute gratitude.

I’m happy.