Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another Year Older... Another Year Wiser?

Today marks the big, ahem, 3 - 2. I'll be honest, turning 30 two years ago was hard. I went from an on-top-of-the-world 20-something to a mini-van driving mom who stayed home and wore jeans everyday. For me, that was a big change of pace. Not a change I minded and not a change I'd trade for anything, but nonetheless, a big change.

And now, two years into my 30's, I'm still not convinced these are my best years... but that's only because I can look back on my 20's with absolute fondness and say with complete honesty that I'd go back and relive them again. It's my prayer that I can say the same thing about my 30's once I'm heading down the hill at 40. Until then, it's just one year - one day actually - at a time.

Looking back, the lessons from this past year are too many to list. But the blessings I've gained along the way even surpass the number of lessons I learned. God's hand has guided our family and has cared for us in ways we couldn't otherwise explain. A couple interesting things stand out for me from this past year:

- Not every one can, with enthusiasm, walk away from a significant and steady income, as a step of obedience, all the while trusting that something will come of your efforts to provide for your family. Nine months ago we did that. And guess what? We still have a home. We still have a full fridge. And we even still have some of our wants. This year has reminded me countless times that contentment is a choice. When I stop looking at what others have or what others are doing, and instead think about eternal things and what I am or am not doing to impact eternity, my contentment raises to a whole new level.

- Leadership isn't always easy. In fact, it's down-right hard, which is probably why so few actually do it. I've learned a lot from watching my husband lead our family, lead in his career endeavors, and lead in our church. I've been tasked with a few opportunities for leadership, too, and it always means more work, more sacrifice, more time, and more effort. But, the lesson about leadership that I've been reminded of over and over this year is this: I'm not really a leader, I'm a follower of Jesus. And when I stop following Jesus, I stop being a leader. So, regardless of fingers that get pointed or words that are spoken, I've learned (once again) that my calling isn't to anyone other that Jesus. He gets my work, sacrifice, time, and effort - as good or lousy as it may be - and no one else.

So, another year older and another year wiser? Maybe a little.

On to the fun of today! The boys and I were walking out of church from Bible study this morning, and I noticed my husband standing next to our van waiting for us. Not entirely surprised about that - he meets with various pastors regularly - I asked him who he was here to see. He scurried me to his car, handed me a card, and whisked the boys into the van and drove away.

Gulp. What to do, what to do?! I opened the card and there were directions to a specific address, but not the name of what was at the address. My excursion began and I was full of anticipation. I turned into an office park and, based on the directions, was told to park and head to suite 214 and ask for Rita.

I walked the stark white, typical office hallway and opened the door to suite 214. I was greeted by waterfalls, candles, and the sound of soft music and birds. Suite 214 was home to Life Kneads - Therapeutic Massage. I tried to stifle my giddiness. Grady has surprised me a few other occasions with massages and each time I tell him that when we are gazillionaires I'm going to schedule a massage everyday. Massages are my simple taste of pure bliss. Love them.
Apparently Rita is colleagues with Grady and he arranged a one-hour, full-body massage, including heated stones. Uummm... bliss. After an hour I walked away so relaxed I had to sit in my car and decide if I was capable of driving myself home. (And, for my Charlotte friends, she passed on a stack of $15 off coupons for a massage, if you're interested.)

When today's mail came, I found a sweet, made-me-want-to-cry card from my parents. To this day, hearing my Dad say he's proud of me is all it takes to bring tears. I think that deep down, that's what every daughter wants to hear from her Dad - no matter how old she is.

My mom included a beautiful bracelet made out of two antique spoons from my Great Grandmother. I've never seen anything like it and I absolutely love it! It's simple and memorable and precious.

(Not the best pics, I know. The thing is, I don't like my hands. They are large. They are unfeminine. So, no pics that show my hands. Come on, you know there is something you'd change about yourself too...)

Later this evening, Grady announced he had to run a few errands and that he was taking Micah with him. I sat at the table and did some school work with Grady Lee. About 1/2 hour later, Micah came trotting into the kitchen carrying a six-pack of Happy Birthday cupcakes. Grady's errand meant a quick trip to Harris Teeter to buy treats. He lit a candle and my three darling men sang a memorable round of Happy Birthday.

Sigh, and now the day is over. Tomorrow is just another day of being 32.


  1. Love the thoughts on the past year, Love what Grady surprised you with today, LOVE the bracelet and the sentiment it brings, and Love the family picture! So glad you had a special day!

  2. I'm nearly crying reading this post, what a wonderful day celebrating YOU! SO glad you had a day of bliss & pampering & sweetness from your boys! LOVE the family photo at the end! And that bracelet is beautiful & so special, what a great gift! Way to go Grady for the surprises! Enjoy being 32! I can honestly say that I love my 30s & they just keep getting better! Hugs & Happy Birthday!!

  3. Love it. I needed that. I just learned from what you've learned. Thanks! :)

  4. Happy Birthday to my older and wiser friend! Ha ha! ;-) Sounds like you had a great day! I loved my twenties too...but I'd rather stick with the wisdom and maturity of my thirties! Ha ha! Kids have a way of accerlating the humbling process!!! Hope your post-birthday day is going great! Love you, friend!!!

  5. I LOVE reading your posts everyday, it makes me feel as if I'm there with you and I feel like I know the kids a little better. However this time I noticed in your writing that you said something about the 40's being down hill....I never thought I was going down hill...I thought that happened when you hit 50 or something. I thought that we were closer in age until I read this and realized you were going up the hill and I was coming down the hill. lol I guess being your Aunt does make me the elder and for that I should be thankful.Thanks for keeping us updated on you and the family. I love you guys and look forward to when we will see you again. Give my love to the family and I will see you on the downside!LOL

  6. Happy Birthday sweet Sarah!

  7. Wow!!! You DID have a great birthday! What a day full of sweet and wonderful surprises! Happy Birthday!!! Love that family picture at the end of your post. So...cute!!

  8. Hi Sarah,
    It was so great meeting you and after reading your blog, I understand why you had that "deer caught in the headlight" look when you walked into my office. What an awesome surprise by Grady! I have been doing massage for 9 years now and still feel so blessed when clients like yourself come into my office and feel "doubly" blessed when I can work with Moms-to-be because I get to nurture to the "nurturer". The bracelet is absolutely beautiful and now I understand why you did not take it off for the massage! :) Look forward to seeing you again.
    Warmest Regards,
    Rita :)