I turned 32 on the 13th of this month, and celebrated with a simple weekend at home that included the farmer's market, a flea market, Rudy's Tacos, a fun night with friends, and plenty of cupcake kisses from the kids. I even received a crying baby mask from Cruz, and a large container of candy corn from Mila that she demanded "we share that" the moment it was opened. It was a beautiful weekend of calm, simple, and grounded - three words that have become so important as I reflect on this past year of life and all it's shown me.
This has been an unexpected year of growth for me, a year where I can honestly say I have learned more about myself, what drives me and challenges me and fills up my cup, than maybe any other. I've felt called to invest time in areas of my life that I love, but have been neglectful of for many reasons. I'm not sure what exactly sparked this fire lit inside of me - maybe the fact that we're a year out from being in our home and feeling settled, maybe the fact that I'm finally tenured, maybe it was the If:Gathering I attended in February, or maybe it's just age and the wisdom that comes from living one way for so long and finally recognizing the holes that it's created in my life. Whatever the reason for this current season - one where I crave purpose and deep connections and moments that make me feel alive instead of depleted at the end of the day - it's a season that I think I've only scratched the surface of.
A few things I've come to learn this past year...
1. Be intentional with friendships. Invest in them. And find women who will pray with you and sneak spritzers in a movie theater with you. :)
2. Instead of attempting to control five years from now, rest on the assurance that God is faithful and always in control.
3. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to continue his work after he left this earth. It is present and powerful and waiting to work in me and others, for so much good. Create space for it.
4. I am an input person. I crave information and inspiration. In today's constant-consuming world, this is dangerous territory. Be intentional and disciplined about what you let take up your time.
5. Life's best conversations happen around the table. There is a reason Jesus made eating a sacrament.
6. In my quest for discipleship, start with what I enjoy. Instead of compartmentalizing my life, see opportunities to serve within what's already there.
7. We live in a society that can easily have us running in circles. Don't resign to a life that is overly busy and pressurized, disconnected, and exhausted.
8. Thirty minutes on the treadmill with Jamie Ivey's, Happy Hour, is the best way to start the day.
9. The average parent spends only 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. Don't be average.
10. I love good food, pretty things, and small but important details. I see God's existence in the daily beauty around me. His beauty is speech, and it is in moments when I taste a garden tomato, or feel a breeze on my face, or really take in a sky filled with stars, that I feel most in communion with Him. God is in the details - cultivate a life that allows you to be present to them.
Psalm 19:1-4 // "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens, God has pitched a tent for the sun."
And there you have it. And now if only I knew how to master these things. While I'm learning everyday there is no blueprint, no program, and definitely no to-do list for living out these things that are on my heart, it's so important to take the time to dig in to what's there, put it out there, and see how they fit in with the rest of the story. A story that's ever unfolding and always growing.
A few pictures from my birthday weekend.