Monday, April 27, 2009


"Choosing a goal and sticking to it changes everything". ~ Scott Reed (Author)

For those that have been following my escapades, a year ago I started my 30 x 30 list. Basically 30 things that I wanted to try and complete by the time that I turned 30. In truth the list was also more about reconnecting with who I was, the things that made me happy, and re-establishing my relationships with people (things that I lost when I was in the Navy) than it was about bragging on Carolyn. But it also helped me establish myself as a blogger and helped me find my voice as a communicator. My friends got to know more about me and I got to learn more about myself.

However, you may be wondering, what prompted my list in the first place? What started it was a picture that I saw online of a skydiver. Skydiving has long been a goal of mine. Why? I don't really know. I'm an adventurer. I love to travel, meet new people, and experience different cultures. I joined the Navy. I've lived in foreign countries, gone tubing on Mt. Etna, gone bungee jumping, been deep sea fishing, and learned how to fire a gun. The list goes on, but I think you all get the point. I'm zealous over live in general. But this jumper that I found online inspired me to think of a list of things that I wanted to do within the next year, Sky Diving being one of them. It almost came to fruition last summer, but I couldn't justify using the money when I knew I had other responsibilities and so I put it on the back burner until I knew that I could save enough and not feel guilty in undertaking the venture. Who knew when that would be? As any hot blooded American woman has come to realize, we often find ourselves on the loosing end of the eternal "Need vs. Want" battle. The unfortunate result is that practicality usually wins out over FUN. Now don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for both and I don't regret being responsible with my money when I knew I had a pending bill, but I think that each time we loose ground with our dreams a little slice of our authentic self is chipped away. Sometimes irrevocably.

I am happy to say that for myself this is not the case. No one, especially yours truly, could have imagined the lengths that my friends would have gone to to help me bring my list and dreams full circle.

"The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” ~ Unknown

Last Friday, my friends threw me an early birthday party. For those that read my post about when to hold a proper birthday party I should have qualified certain things a bit better, as I was given much grief over my ideal expectations. What I should have clarified, and I think I put it to Trish a bit better the other night, was that in a family dynamic it is "easier" to hold to the day and the traditions that come along with it, but when you're on you own, as I am, and your friends are gracious enough to consider and plan a special celebration for your birthday that you don't begrudge that and that you appreciate every moment of the time that was taken to execute the event; and trust me my party was an event. Suffice it to say that my party this past weekend was liberating and hasn't diminished the special day of my birth. As I understand it the reason that it was held a week in advance was because the Instigator is getting sent out on deployment and won't be here for May 1st (which happens to be her birthday as well).

The guise for the night was that Sherri, Anna and I were supposed to go out for dinner and then back to Sherri's to watch a movie that we had been wanting to see. Basically a fun girls night. Sherri was so sure that I was going to sniff something out as I'm usually pretty astute at watching peoples behavior, but with the busyness of school and being preoccupied with my own issues I wasn't really paying attention. I was feeling a bit absent and distant from my friends, but again I simply attributed that feeling to the busyness that had taken over our lives in recent days. Because I know that if something had offended them they are mature enough to come to me directly. So I just continued on with my life and figured it would work itself out one way or the other.

Now normally my M.O. is that I'll go to Sherri's store to visit on Friday's, but luckily enough this weekend was Holland Happenings as so the parking was taken away from down town. Meaning that visiting would have been a little harder than usual. So earlier in the week Sherri suggested that we meet at her house. BTW, Oak Harbor has 4 Mexican restaurants and I only slightly wondered why they picked El Cazador, because Sherri has a Mexican restaurant right down the street from her shop (at the time of that thought we were still meeting at Sherri's shop), but I see now besides Mi Pueblo, it's the only one that could fit everyone and is the farthest away from being found out. Plus with Holland Happenings it would have been hard to not get found out with parking limitations.

I rolled up to the house early, which I usually am, a little surprised to see Sherri there already, but nothing to out of the ordinary. I asked if we were waiting for Anna and she said that we were meeting Anna at the restaurant. We piled into the truck and were off; making casual conversation the whole way, happy to be done with my Math homework for the weekend, happy that I was done work for the day, and looking forward to a fun evening with friends. So we got to the stop light and Sherri said she needed to call Steve to let him know what we were doing so he would know not to call for the rest of the evening. This, I later found out, was the signal for everyone to be on standby. Parking on the exact opposite side of the building from where people usually park Sherri dialed "Steve's phone" and played like he had picked up his phone while he was having a conversation with someone else. I've seen him do this before so when she said that's what he had done, again I didn't think anything of it, except for maybe Steve should be a bit more considerate to the people he's talking to (Sorry Steve it's Sherri's fault. See what happens when deception takes hold on a heart;)).

Anyway, I walked in to the restaurant and looked to my left to see where we might be able to sit, and then turned to my right to see what Sherri was thinking and
BAM, there it was, a line of my friends all shouting surprise at me! What? I had no idea what was going on and it took me a few seconds, and Tressa's hug, to finally pick up on the fact that my friends were throwing me a surprise birthday party. It was a lot, albeit pleasant sight, to take in. See I had, for a couple weeks prior, been suffering from an acute case of loneliness, you know the kind that hits you to the core. It was bad. So to see my friends all gathered around for me was pleasantly overwhelming.

After much conversation Kali, planner extraordinaire, couldn't take it any more and ordered me to take my seat so she could tell me about my gift. What I get presents too?!?!?! So I took my seat and she told me that for my birthday that everyone had gotten together to purchase, for moi, a tandem skydive jump (with video) since it's something that I've wanted for a long time. It also helped, I think, that they knew it was on my list. My friends have been super supportive with helping me to achieve my goals that I set out for myself on the list (we even still have a trip to Hurricane Ridge to get in this summer, as I've never been there and that was on my list too. My friends are the best). I was completely shocked. That was definitely something that I didn't expect!!!

Can you tell I'm excited?
The gang sings HappyBirthday
Blowing out my bonfire
"I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun." ~ Charles R. Swindoll

For me I think that the best part, over all, was knowing that my friends/church family really support me and as wacky as the dream may seem, to some, that they love me enough to want to see it come to fruition. Because they know it's important to me and they wanted to share in my joy. That's the thought that stops me in my tracks when I think about my friends. I know how much it cost (because of my own research on the activity), and that it might have been a gift of sacrifice for most, but the generosity was overwhelming.

That night, on the way back to her house, peering through the Candy Bouquet in between us, 31 balloons creating static electricity on my scalp, and holding onto my vase of pink roses from Tressa; Sherri told me that not only did they have enough for the present, but for the rental at El Cazador and some left over for Deborah, who babysat for my friend Joy so she could enjoy a night with the girls (she's new in town and still getting to know the ladies of BBC). The girls, Sneaky Sandi, Conniving Kali, and Shifty Sherri, didn't miss a detail! However, much repentance, if it hasn't already taken place, is in their future;)

Seriously though, I think that Mr. Swindoll got it right in the above quote, Friends do make life a lot more fun. I hope that you all have friends that are making your life a lot more fun right now too. If not, what are you waiting for? Go make some. Proverbs 18:24a ~ A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: I praise the Lord for my friends and that they DO make my life a lot more fun. To all that were there, Thank you.

A picture of my 3 boquets
Roses from Tressa
A Candy Boquet & Balloons from Sherri


Island Girl said...

Nicely done! Love ya!

Engrafted Lives said...

My goodness gracious, I didn't think your Birthday was ever going to get here. I have been looking forward to this post.

We really did have a lot of fun planning your Surprise B'day Party (and yes, I've repented of my deceitfulness), but I would do it again if it brought you the same happiness.

Enjoy your Birthday day off tomorrow! See you tomorrow night for another small celebration of your day!

Jersey Mama said...

What an awesome thing for everyone to do! I wish I could have been there. Happy birthday!

Anonymous said...

i loved reading your surprise bday blog! very well written.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading and looking at pictures of your birthday party. What fun. Those are really adorable shoes. Reading your articles, It seems as though blogging comes natural to you. You just have a way to communicate exactly what you want to communicate. But most importantly, Happy Spiritual birthday. I am glad you remember, a lot of Christians don't remember the exact day only that they were saved at so and so. The spiritual birthday should take presence over the physical and so I applaud you for still celebrating it every year.
Michelle H


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