When did I grow up? oh wait, I'm not sure I have. I just cannot believe that I am 26 years old today... I still feel like a 16 year old girl most of the time! (and probably act like one all too often.) But if being 26 means being married to the most wonderful man I've ever met, having a house that feels like my home, being the mom to the sweetest little dog in the whole world, having an amazing job and and even more amazing community that I get to be a part of, having a family that has always loved me and supported me, as well as a new family that continues to show their love and grace to me, having the hands down BEST friends a girl could ever ask for, and having the opportunity to have traveled the world already with more trips on the horizon... well, then I WELCOME 26, and am infinitely thankful for all the blessings God has given me. My cup overflows.
Considering it is my day of birth, it only seemed appropriate to give a shout out to the two people who made my life possible, and have filled it with joy, encouragement, love, challenges, lessons, truth, faith and so much more. So this is my attempt to begin to say thank you to my parents for the immeasurable influence and impact they've had on my life.
DAD: Thank you for always being a man to be admired. You're integrity, loyalty, and strong character have never wavered, and it is because of this that I have always known you love me, support me, and would go to bat for me without hesitation. It is because of who you are that I ended up marrying a wonderful man...because not just anyone could live up to the high standards that you set. When I look back on the past 26 years, I have so many beautiful memories that you created: Orange juice in a champagne glass and you serving me with a french accent, flying with my belly resting on your knees as we rough housed in the basement, initial shaped pancakes as we camped all summer, knives and snake bites (which I still don't love), 'word my brother', sitting on your lap when I'm feeling tired of sad (still do this), teasing mom and laughing as you would try to grab her neck and she would make that ridiculous screeching noise, dancing like a little free spirited hippy as you would play stairway to heaven, having you give ALL my boyfriends a hard time (they deserved it), you praying with me right before I got married, walking down the aisle with you... and this is just a glimpse of the moments that come to mind. I love what you've instilled in me... hard work ethic, a love for music, perfectionism, and a little bit of my endearing temper :) You are the best dad I could ever ask for. and I love you so deeply. Thank you for your investment in my life and who I am today... I know you will continue to shape me and I grow older.
MOM: You are the strongest woman I have ever met. You have experienced things in life that I could never even imagine (probably because you protected me so well), and yet you've come out of every touch circumstance stronger, wiser, and more Christ-like than you were before. You have been the single most influential person in my entire life, and words will never express how grateful I am to you. The relationship we have is far beyond my ability to communicate, and it is one of the greatest blessings in my life. You are a woman of beautiful, courageous character and I cannot begin to count the ways you have shaped me into who I am. My life is full of memories of your love and care: tucking my in every night and singing my song, NHK CHK, making me scrambled eggs and toast when nothing else sounded good, dolling me up for dance recitals, driving me from hear to there and everywhere, being a PTA mom, going to camp with me, days at the beach in Silver Lake, shopping with me for everything from easter dresses, to prom dresses, to my wedding dress, our long late night talks...even once I went to college and would be so homesick, taking care of me on nights when I came home late :), kentucky, listening to every painful story of my broken heart from boys, our last night at home before I got married as we laid in my bed and cried... these are just a handful because just about every happy memory of the last 26 years includes you... and that is evidence of how much you mean to me.
Thank you for being you. For teaching me how to balance a million things and not less stress consume me, for teaching me to laugh at myself and not take life too seriously, for teaching me the importance of empathy for others... Thank you for always supporting me, loving me, forgiving me... thank you a million times over for truly building me into the woman I am. Thank you for teaching me how to love God and love others and for setting the best example of that I've ever seen. You are an incredible woman and I pray I can be half as impressive as you. I know you will continue to mold me and invest in me as I grow older and become a mother myself. I praise God daily for helping you survive cancer and other obstacles that life has given you... because I do not know what I would do without you. I love you!
I also have an amazingly wonderful sister who has invested so much into me... BUT, I will brag about her on HER birthday, (the BIG 3- 0 this year)!!!
So cheers to 26! a post coming soon on all the wonderful birthday festivities my husband has showered me with! :)