Thursday, August 31, 2006

My People Are The Best Gifts

I don't even know how to begin to describe the feeling of love I felt as my friends and family celebrated my 30 years with me. I am blessed beyond words with the most amazing people God could ever give to a human being. At a time when I needed love and affirmation most, my people met me there.

What an amazing night. I spent a week doing new student orientation, I was tired and spent. I got home from the Oregon coast around 2pm and went and had a manicure given to me by my parents tp relax and shift from work to personal life. I went home and got ready. I put on my pretty party dress and was picked up by mom and dad and off we were to the party. They drove me to an undisclosed location (a home of some friends). We pulled into the driveway only to be met by a beautifully decorated yard. I opened the door to everyone yelling "Hooray!!!!". I was overwhelmed!!! Totally and completely blown away at this beautiful site. Now, I knew that Paula wouldn't mess around but HELLO!!! Her husband greeted me with a freshly made beverage and I began hugging and saying hello to my friends. I got a plate of food (YUM everyone!!!!) had a seat and began having great conversations. People kept arriving as the next hour or so went on. My mother told us later that she counted 45 people present. Eric wrote me a fabulous birthday song (Paula, you were a wonderful mic stand) and after blowing out the candles on my gorgeous birthday cake (thanks Rici!!!!), I got to open my presents. FUN!!!! I was humbled by the generousity of all of my friends and family. I want everyone to know that I DID get the KitchenAid mixer that I have been asking for for several years now (thanks Paula and her clan). I was so touched by the celebration of me. I've always known that I am loved but I knew, really knew, that night how much I am loved by the people in my life. It is easy to forget because the world is always screaming words of inadequacy. I don't say I felt loved because they gave me fantastic gifts. The gifts were an amazing bonus but my heart was so touched by the heartfelt words written in the cards and the words and stories shared in conversations. I was so overwhelmed while sitting on the deck and looking down at all of the people who are in my life. I am so blessed to be loved by so many wonderful people. The timespan represented all of the years of my life. My family, college friends and cherished relationships that have developed in the last few years talking to one another, coming together all in one place.

My soul was satisfied that night. My heart overflowed with joy and peace. I felt calm, serene...content. I imagine it must be what we will feel when we are reunited in heaven. For me, my 30th birthday was a preview of what I will feel when I am reunited with all of my loved ones in a more beautiful and precious place. I thank God for the people who were with me that night. I thank God for the friends and family who were unable to be with us. I know that the same love is shared with them. For as much joking as I made about turning 30 and wanting to be celebrated like those who marry, I am serious when I say that every person deserves to feel the way I felt that night. Every human should have their souls touched the way mine was that night. What an amazing and overwhelming feeling. I imagine this is the way one feels when they meet the person they choose to spend their life with. There is no doubt in my mind that I am valued and important to people in this world. There is no doubt in my mind that those who share Jesus have a much deeper connection than those who do not. In a world where selfishness is prized, I pray that we spend our lives trying to make others feel the way I did on my birthday. If we each made this our goal, I think the world would be a better place because more people would know Jesus.

Thank you to all of my amazing and wonderful friends and family who worked so hard to make me feel so special. Words will never adequately express the way I felt and still feel. I am still wiping away tears so that I can see to type this post. These thoughts do not do justice for what you deserve to hear. Thank you. My heart is overflowing.

Monday, August 14, 2006


I don't think that I will have much opportunity to post here for the next few weeks. Life gets crazy this time of year with the students returning to campus and all that it requires. I hope to have moments here and there to update you on how life is going for me.

We are adding a new element to our freshman orientation program this year. We are requiring them to do something academic! I know, I know. You would think at an institution of higher learning it would be a given but there aren't many schools that use a book as a part of their orienation program. I am reading through the text right now. We are using Donald Miller's Searching For God Knows What. I am enjoying it. He focuses on the relational aspect of God and how our relationship (separation from Him) changed in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were deceived by Satan. In some ways it reminds me of a book I read last year by John Piper called Don't Waste Your Life. Both authors focus on the fact that we were created to be in relationship with God and because of the separation that occurred, we look to other things to meet that natural need. Miller talks about how devastated Adam and Eve must have been. Think about it: You were in the presence of God. There was no need for anything else because you could talk to God face to face at any and all times. He was your companion. The Creator of the Universe and then stupid conniving Satan deceives you and immediately, IMMEDIATELY your relationship with God is forever changed. How they must have felt! To go from being with God to being separated. Miller says he can't even begin to imagine what they must have felt. I could keep going and I'm only half way through the book! I look forward to hearing what the students have to say about it. College students always have interesting insight. I think we've chosen a great book for them to read.

Ok, off to make nametags and other exciting things!