… happy 31st birthday to me!!!

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I absolutely love, love, love birthdays!!!!! They’re such a wonderful time to spend a day (or enjoy an event!) celebrating the people you love most in life. Right? There’s nothing better than showering those you love & being there to make the good stuff, great stuff!

And, I don’t think I’m on my own when I say that I love my very own birthday! Its probably more of an unhealthy obsession. It always starts so incredibly slow then gains a tremendous amount of momentum the days leading up to it. I just can’t help it. 🙁 “The Devil comes in……” every year and causes me to do the absolute most in a very low key, Alaina kind of way!

20140111-093136.jpg The big thing this year- pictures. This is the first time I’ve ever taken pictures for my birthday & I enjoyed. every. minute. I have the most amazing, crazy talented sorority sister who does fab work; I sent her my theme/vision for the shoot & prayed she would be able to hang out with me for a little bit to bring it to life. I loved this shoot because it totally embodies who I am today. Simplistic, chic, girly. I think its so important to capture life and capture it just as it is in that specific span of time! Ya know? I look at these pictures and see me. The joys, triumphs, goals, loves, & heartaches donning all my favorites. And, I’m grateful to have been able to document myself at such an important time of my life.

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So, today is my indulgence day. My cheat day. My have your cake and eat it, too, day. The day that isn’t about adoption, infertility, children, heartache, and effort put forth in managing emotions & dealing with the process.

…. But, before I cry anymore, the next post will honor the journey. It will include a few less pictures (lol… are you annoyed by the flood yet?! IG & Facebook have been hit hard!) & more lessons I’ve learned over the course of my 31 years! Lol.

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…. thank you all for loving me! I’ve enjoyed the growing friendships and the community of ladies & mamas who have grabbed my hand & held on tight committing to walking this journey with me. A billion thanks, air kisses, & bear hugs to you. 🙂

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… close & open

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 20131216-172503.jpg

I always get really sentimental around the end of the year.
I believe it’s because my birthday is in early January, and I feel as if I have the opportunity to end one calendar year and begin another, fresh calendar year before I’m ushered into a new birth year.

I like it that way.
Almost like walking into your home after it’s been cleaned. You just feel better.

Everything sparkles.
There’s no clutter.
Everything is put in it’s proper place.
The need-nots (a new word I just made up for things you don’t need) are tossed.

When you clean house, you have an awesome opportunity to really see.
You realize what you don’t need and what you do. You find things you forgot you had but really valued….. And, you have so much more space.

You get rid of things you thought you needed.

The older I get the more I realize how much stuff I don’t need…… And, I’m embracing the freedom that comes with not being bound to so much stuff. Stuff (for me) is fun shoes, clothes, bags, vacations, lots of friends or likes on Instagram, multiple retweets on twitter or double digit comments on a Facebook status, anything new, & everything girl.

Ehhhh…… UNNECESSARY STUFF.

We are so good at collecting and hoarding so many things that we really don’t need, but are horrible at getting a good grip on the things we do need.
I can be horrible at getting a grip, but so wonderful at collecting and buying and making!

This year, I want to end this calendar year with a good grip on understanding that stuff will never satisfy. I enjoy likes on Insta & the back & forth on Facebook, but at the end of the day, and in the grand scheme of things…… Those posts mean nothing.

We work hard at making sure the pictures or status’ we post are “likeable”- that they look as if we’re having fun, or focused, or whatever we’re attempting to convey at the moment. The right angles, the right filters, & perfect wording get us what we’re looking for —> confirmation, validation, attention, conversation, etc. Emotional responses that make us feel accepted.

But, a few minutes pass and it’s over. It’s done. Friends & family forget about your post, mindlessly scroll right past it, or just plain don’t like it. They aren’t in the mood. They didn’t find it funny. They’re mad at you. They are uninterested. They logged off & never saw it. And, there goes our confidence. And, quick.

My point.
Stuff never satisfies. Not for long. Never fully. There’s no longevity. No true depth.

But, in Christ.
We find all that we’re looking for and more than we ever imagined existed. A perfect protection. An incomprehensible peace. And, a forever friend.

He isn’t going to forget about us three minutes after we come to Him. He won’t ever scroll past us- he sees us. And, he truly cares for us. He doesn’t miss a beat. He became like us, but he is not like us. He loves us in a way we won’t ever understand. And, gives us a comfort that will have us calmly riding out any storm we find ourselves in.

I want to grip that. Yea, I know it logically. I know it better now than I did before. But, I want more.

But, I’m always craving more. More of his peace and comfort when he’s taking me through…. I want to trust Him mightily. When He tells me not to fear and do not worry – I want to believe without a shadow if a doubt that I can in fact not worry. We can NOT worry. We can NOT be afraid. But, not by our own power. We have to trust Him.

We can notfear. We can not worry. We can trust Him. And, believing Him is the only way to do that.

That life of hope & encouragement begins with a choice to accept what Christ so freely gives.

I want to end and begin with an unwavering heart.
There’s safety in the shadows of His wings. And, I need to find myself there because Lord knows I’m scared.

… here’s to pushing further away from the need-nots and choosing to cling closely to the giver of everything good.

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… he’s 31!

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A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY goes out to my hubs! That man turned thirty-one yesterday and it seems as if time has just been flying for us…. And, he’s looking every bit of

Of course my temperamental computer isn’t cooperating so the official birthday pictures will have to be posted a bit later but I snagged a few on my phone! Of course!

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{the girls and I made a sign for him to be surprised by when he walked out of the room on the morning of this birthday!!}

Words cannot express how proud I am of this guy. Everyday that passes he surprises me more and more with how humble and thoughtful he’s becoming as every day passes. He’s so gifted in so many different areas. I love how he’s using his gifts for ministry and the building of God’s kingdom. And, he does so willingly, selflessly, and tirelessly.

I cannot wait to see what God does with and through him during this year of change, transition, and difficulty. I can’t wait to see who he becomes…. it’s so exciting to have a front row seat to the good God is doing in him.

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He handles every single one of our challenges with grace, patience, love, and understanding. To the point where I don’t always know that it’s difficult for him. Our journey through infertility hasn’t been easy on him, mainly because it hasn’t been so easy on me. Through all of my tears and darkness and struggle, he was right there pushing me towards God, praying for me, and believing for me when I couldn’t or wouldn’t do it for myself. And, now with the adoption…. all of my ideas, the billion requirements for us, all of the paperwork that needed to be done, the failed adoptions, agency switch…. it’s been a lot. And, he’s been amazing through it all. THAT I appreciate more than words can express.
He is truly Christ in our home…. he works hard to be what I need him to be, at exactly the right times.

Can’t beat that with a stick.

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I always say that he’s the hugest trooper and supporter of my ideas…. He just stands so quietly behind me supporting me as I work, giving me help when I need it and when I don’t realize I need it. Helping me stick to budget, and keeping me on track when my mind is elsewhere.
So, I desperately appreciate him for agreeing to a new tradition I started with us this year on his birthday…… prayers and plans.
For each of our birthdays (and our kids when we have them), we will each write a prayer for the birthday girl/boy and they will be given a blank sheet of white paper to dream for the next year. I’ll keep them in one binder, safely tucked in page protectors divided by year.

I want to catalog prayers and answers. I want each family member to know that on their special day they have family behind them who are praying for their growth, their dreams, maturity, character, future, education, etc. Yes, we pray daily but how fun is it to receive prayers just for you from your family?

I know this sounds like possibly the corniest tradition ever but the Holy Spirit pushed me and you know how I feel about responding to God’s suggestions. lol.

I look forward to celebrating every single one of his birthdays with him for the rest of our life together. He certainly makes getting older fun. 🙂

… here’s to many birthdays spent dreaming and planning while patiently living out God’s plan for us! I’m excited!!!!!!

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