Sunday, March 1, 2009

23rd birthday weekend

Today is my birthday. I generally don’t try to bring attention to this fact, but this post will be about my birthday, so let’s just admit that my birthday is today and move on. J
I am 23. I like the way this age sounds. It sounds grown up and it begins the “mid-twenties,” which I also really like the sound of! Weird or lame, I know. It is just nice to away from any age related to high school or college. I think it will be a good year, especially if this weekend is any indication!
So, about the weekend… First, my sister came to spend the night at my apartment on Friday night. We had a good time and a nice long talk. I love when she comes to stay. We always have a nice time and it is great to hang out with her at my place, it feels more home-like to have her here. It was wonderful, thanks Ash! On Saturday, my roommates, Ilise and Emily, and I went to Orange County for an overnight get away. One of my favorite things to do is get away and stay in a hotel. I just love it and I always have. Most of my best birthdays involve hotel stays! We stayed at the Marriott in Huntington Beach Fountain Valley thanks to my sister’s boyfriend and his friends and family Marriott discount (thanks so much Chris!!!). Ilise went out and stocked up for our weekend with beer, mimosa supplies, and a huge chocolate cake from Costco. The first thing we did was lie on the beds and enjoyed cable TV (you have no idea how wonderful cable TV is until you haven’t had cable in five years except at your parents’ house). We also toasted to a fun birthday weekend over chocolate cake (think of it as happy hour appetizers before dinner).
Then we went to dinner, which took a while to find, but was totally worth the drive! We ohh-ed and ahh-ed at the setting sun over the sparkling ocean and drove with the windows down to smell the beach and feel the breeze while blasting good music (I was lucky enough to DJ the whole trip). We ate at the Crab Cooker in Newport and it was delicious! Very popular place, as well. The food is amazing and the fun thing is you eat on paper plates with plastic utensils, and drink from paper cups – that’s my kind of place! It was so chill and laid back, I loved it. Plus, I love seafood, so that was a nice treat! After dinner we went to a Mexican restaurant down the street and got yummy margaritas and sat and talked and people-watched. On the way back to our car we even got a sort of invitation to join two guys for dinner as one of them knocked on the window when we walked by headed toward Ilise’s van. Too funny. When we got back we went to the spa, where – honestly – there was a “nudity ok” and “clothing optional” sign. We have never seen that before and thought it was super funny. Later we had girl talk and watched some more TV, as well as ate more cake and had birthday mimosas before falling asleep in comfy beds.
This morning we slept in thanks to amazing black out curtains! Those things could make you sleep in until 2 in the afternoon! But we were up by 10.
I spent the quietness of the morning shower praying for my year and thanking the Lord for another birthday. I prayed about some goals and plans for my year. One of those goals is to grow in faith no matter how difficult of a time I am having with faith some days, and the best part is that God already began answering that prayer and bringing comfort because when I got out of the shower Ilise and Em were watching a Sunday preacher on TV who was interviewing our favorite speaker Nick Vujicic! He spoke about God’s provision and control and love and reminded me to have faith even when we can’t see Him or His affects (and reminded me of my life verse Hebrews 11:1). It was nice treat and really special to hear as it was my birthday and given the prayer I had just prayed and because my roomies and I love Nick and have heard him speak several times (Em and I have even met him). Anyway, enough preaching….after we all got ready and ate more cake and what not, we checked out and drove down to Laguna Beach because I love it down there (thanks Rach!). We ate at White House where I had a delicious seafood pasta. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon sitting on the boardwalk taking in the sparkling ocean, volleyball players, and busy beach bodies.

We also played Frisbee down by the water for almost an hour, which was super fun and I laughed a lot and only hit one person with the Frisbee, which is pretty good considering I’ve never really played before (despite how many times Ilise has asked me too). Then we got yummy gelato and drove home on the coast until we hit the 73. We came home smelling like the beach with sand all over the place and wind blown hair. It was great. I had the best birthday weekend with the best roommates and friends a girl could ask for!
(Em, me, and Ilise on the boardwalk.)
Plus, another fun God-moment for my day... I read a devotional book ( "Laugh Yourself to Sleep" by Rachel St. John-Gilbert) tonight and the entry was about the importance of getting away with good friends from the craziness of day-to-day life and it completely registered with my weekend and how rested and energized we all feel after getting away this weekend even though we are so busy! One of the most true moments of the passage was when she stated that one of the best parts about girlfriend weekends are "Free to be me' chats - talking as only longtime friends can about anything and everything. Not having to weigh our thoughts, but letting them spill freely, knowing they are heard by an accepting, compassionate listener... We needed that weekend oasis in the 'desert of daily drudgery' no matter how fleeting. And what mattered more is that we reconnected with the fun-loving, fascinating interiors that lie just beneath our harried hausfrau exteriors...We can't give to others if we have nothing left inside. Sometimes we just need a break. Other times we need an escape. Best wishes as you seek to stabilize your own internal equilibrium." And that is what the three of us did. We "stabilized our own internal equilibrium" and now we are ready for our work week! The verse that went along with this devo was Ecclesiastes 3:11-12 "He has made everything beautiful in its time...I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live."

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