Birthdays are super special to me. When I was young, I remember having a big birthday bowling party for seventh grade. Plus, there were the birthdays where I had a party at the local Chuck E. Cheese or did other fun stuff. For my 17th birthday (shared of course with my twin sister), we had a huge house party (minus the alcohol). It was a fun mixer of friends across several schools. While our school was closed due to a big snowstorm, our party was still on. Ah, the perils of early February birthdays- you kind of never know with the weather what will happen.
Right now I am on the brink of my early February birthday. While I always enjoy my birthday, the last few years it has been harder due to reconciling of my age, where I thought I would be, and dreams that have never come to pass and seem to be losing their sparkle (a.k.a titling this blog “Birthday Blues”). I find myself needing to be careful not to walk in self-pity. Plus, sometimes life’s disappointments can get me down, but I realize life has a way of combining the good with the bad, and I need to try to embrace the good and sift away the bad. Easier said then done, tis true. I often find tremendous encouragement from music, and right now I am listening to my favorite artist, Jeremy Camp, who always lifts me up emotionally and spiritually. My brother bought me Jeremy’s new “Reckless” cd from 2013, and I like this line from his “Paradise” song: “Don’t let this life take hold of my desires. And I won’t give up the fight.”
Last year, half of my friends cancelled the day of my birthday party, which was hard emotionally. They all had good reasons, but it felt like they let me down. Maybe I wouldn’t have thought that if I wouldn’t have noticed how one of my friends did 2 other activities that same day but said she was sick and had to miss my party, or how some friends are so busy that it can take months to connect in person, and I hoped my birthday was at least an “unmissable time.” I am definitely not high maintenance with friends, and myself and many of my friends are quite independent, but still, it is nice to keep up with friends, as well as connect on special occasions like birthdays.
This year, rather than having the anxiety of planning my own party again, I decided that I want to have one on one time with my good friends and get to do my favorite things, like going to Starbucks and one of my favorite affordable restaurants (that has cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory- gotta love it!). This way I can be flexible with my friends busy schedules and get to do more things, so that is a definite win-win. Also, I am excited that my small group leader was interested in organizing a birthday bowling party for me, because we sometimes celebrate birthdays in small group. That is such a blessing, and I will even get to break out my bowling shoes that I own. Woohoo!
About 15 people were coming and going outside my apartment complex late this afternoon while I was scraping off my car after a huge winter storm that seemed to dump about 12- 16 inches of snow on my area (central Illinois). I saw people driving by in cars, a guy walking a cute poodle in a pink sweater, a yellow taxicab, a man taking out the trash, and a guy in glasses but no hat or sweater (which would be quite cold). I had been wondering how the world was coping with the winter storm that affected so many states in the U.S., causing what seemed like the world to stop. Today, a plethora of schools and businesses were closed in my area, as well as a long list of churches yesterday, including the two I attend. Since I had been snowbound in my apartment all day Sunday, as well as sick on Saturday, I actually hadn’t been outside of my apartment since I got home from work this past Friday. Since surprisingly my boss actually closed the main office that I work at, my adventure as a hermit continued today….and I must say that I am so grateful for electricity, heat, and Netflix.
Now I am inside my apartment enjoying some warm cocoa and writing this blog. The day has flown. Winter is most assuredly upon us. The snow is pure and white. It is a new year, and I have hope for this new year to be beautiful.
My most popular post on my Pinterest account by far has been an original pin that I posted of a Do It Yourself Snowman project. There have been 463 re-pins and 70 likes on Pinterest since I posted the DIY- Snowman pin a year ago. The project is really cute and easy to make. You use a bar of soap as a base and wrap it with a white hand towel. Next, you use black felt for a hat, add a scarf, and add buttons on the snowman’s body (which you can’t see in the picture) and add buttons for his eyes and nose. My co-worker made this Snowman for me last Christmas as a Christmas gift using the idea she saw at a local craft show.
Here is the Pinterest pin original link:
Traditions are cool. They are something you look forward to experiencing every year. They make life more interesting and exciting.
For many years I was blessed to be able to sponsor a little boy, Hussen, in Ethiopia with two of my friends through World Vision. It was one of the best things that I have ever done in my life. One tradition that I have also done for several years at Christmas time is to pick out a gift through the World Vision Gift catalog to help those in need. I’ve given to the clean water fund, given emergency food and aid to children in Africa, and given seeds for a family. However, the one gift that I have longed to purchase for several years is a goat, which I planned to buy once I got married and had children. I desire to show my (future) children the importance of giving and helping those in need. My heart especially goes out to people and children in third world countries, especially after my mission trip to Haiti. This year I decided instead of waiting for the future (i.e. marriage and children), I want to make a difference as a single woman and buy a goat now. While not prosperous by any stretch of the imagination by American standards, I would rather stretch my income and bless a family in another country with a goat for $75 than use that money in a more self-centered way.
If you would also like to help people in need through Word Vision but you are looking for more affordable gift options, several affordable options are 3 ducks for $21, art and music instruction for $20, and a share of a donkey to take produce, firewood, and goods to market for $25. You can also help children specifically in America by feeding a family of 5 for a day for $18 or buying $250 worth of necessities for urgently needed clothes and shoes for kids in America for only $25.
You can go online 24 hours a day to check out +/or purchase a gift for someone in need. Go to www.worldvisiongifts.org. They also have a mailing option to send checks, or you can call 1-888-511-6511 (Monday-Friday 6 AM- 9 PM and Saturday 6 AM- 6 PM PST).
Facts about World Vision: “World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.” They serve nearly 100 countries and ”provide emergency assistance to children and families affected by natural disasters and civil conflict, work with communities to develop long-term solutions to alleviate poverty, and advocate for justice on behalf of the poor.” (http://www.worldvision.org/about-us/who-we-are).
Here is a video link about how goats helped one poor woman with AIDS and her three children:
- World Vision: Gifts that Give @WorldVisionUSA (miscfinds4u.com)
no one notices
will not cause a scene
or even raise
his hand in class
He processes things internally
and is an introvert at heart.
He thinks Clark Kent
not just Superman.
He hates public speaking
and big crowds.
He wishes girls would initiate
in the dating realm
talking to girls
makes him nervous.
Being the center of attention
sounds unpleasant to him. It makes him uncomfortable,
and he feels on the spot.
He is a shy boy.
Poet’s notes: I wanted to write a poem about a shy boy. I know the shy girl perspective, because often I am a shy girl, especially with guys and in classes and large crowds. I hope this poem accurately reflects things that shy guys feel, and it is a counterpart to my poem “Shy Girl.”