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10 Tips for Positive Online Dating

Screen shot 2015-08-19 at 9.51.55 AMI got an email a couple months ago from a friend who wanted advice on online dating. She wrote, “You have been very inspiring to me, watching you date online with a ‘positive’ attitude, and I was wondering if you had any tips for me. I desire more than ever to find a companion and someone to share life with, and I’m trying to get in the mind set. It just feels hard to date online positively! I made a Match profile, and have gone on some sad first dates … depressing.”

You see, this year, I set a goal to go on 50 dates. Which is crazy because I don’t think I’ve even been on 20 dates in the 20 years I’ve been “of age” to date. But because of that poor track record, I wanted to figure it out. What am I missing? Why am I not dating? Am I a bad date? Am I just undatable? Do I not give off the “right vibes?” What gives? So really, this is an experimental year as I try to learn: How to date.

And we all know–I’ve been online before (exhibit A and B) and not with a very good attitude. So I took her email to heart and tried to determine what I was doing differently this time around to result in a better experience. I am NOT an expert. I’m honestly making it up as I go. But here are 10 things that have made a difference for me this time. Continue reading →

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Nearly 8 Months

I’ve been in Colorado now for nearly eight months. That’s a long time–nearly a full year–and I wonder if I have anything to show for all that time.

It’s a beautiful state, although I haven’t done much exploring yet. And the people are nice and I have a few friends, but no one that I’m close to. I’m frequently alone. And that’s been fine. I’ve never minded solitude. Most days, I just go to work and then I go home. And when I’m home, I work on my apartment (although, I’ll admit, I’m frequently distracted by Netflix). But to have this tiny space that’s all mine? It matters a lot to me for some reason. I want it, need it, to be …

And so I’ve taken my time, unpacking boxes and arranging shelves. I’ve painted walls, even though I’m only renting. I’ve scoured Pinterest and Craigslist and Ikea and Home Goods and Target and thrift stores, pinning my inspiration, imagining my perfect place, and purchasing only what speaks to me.

So much of my nesting, though, has surprisingly been about the weeding–the getting rid of the unessential, the eliminating of things that don’t speak Krista. It’s interesting to have looked at the sum of my physical possessions and numbered the things that were just place holders–things I thought I wanted, things I thought I should have, but really never loved. But once I was rid of those things, I was left with space … for more of me.

And when I sit down at the end of the day, my slippered feet propped up on a tufted chartreuse stool, and look around, I find myself surrounded by my place inside this world. And it’s a soft place with colors and words and art and history and the faces of the people I love most.

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Three Things I Need to Say About Dating and Marriage

It’s an interesting thing to read through one’s blog archives, which is what I’ve been doing lately. It’s a little embarrassing too (yikes), but mostly it’s just interesting to see who I’ve become–to compare the person I am now to the person I was a few years ago. So much has happened. So much has changed since I first started blogging.

Of particular interest to me has been to read my attitude toward dating/love/marriage/men. How I saw it then. How I see it today.

Over the last year, I’ve formulated some conclusions regarding this aspect of my life–conclusions that have brought … peace, I suppose. Although that sounds a little dramatic, even for me.

The first conclusion was more a “stroke of inspiration” that came as I was sitting on the dock one evening in my backyard in Florida (back when I was living in Florida). I’m not even sure what I was thinking about to invite its entrance, but I know it came from God. I know what those thoughts feel like and this was one of them.

“It’s not your fault that you’re not married,” He told me. Continue reading →

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The Buttons Go in Front: An Essay About That Time I Found a Lump in My Breast

“I think I just found a lump,” I said, interrupting her mid-sentence. I was laying on my back, still in my nightgown, bare feet with painted red toes propped up on a pillow, talking on the phone with my best friend about everything and nothing, my hand resting on my breast, poking and pushing the flesh around for no reason at all, when I felt it–a hard knot, just above and to the left of my nipple. I’m not an expert on my breasts–no one ever sees or touches them–but I knew enough to know that this felt out of place.

“You need to get that checked,” she said. “Now,” with firm emphasis. Apparently, I put things off. I haven’t had a flu shot in 15 years. I avoid check-ups. I hate annuals. This works for me because I floss and brush my teeth. And I eat my broccoli. But. Cancer scares the crap out of me. I always think I have it even when I know I don’t. When I was little and didn’t understand the whole chemo thing, and I had hair wash down the drain in the shower, I was certain I was dying. I even wrote a will once and put it in my underwear drawer so my parents would find it after my funeral. I still remember–I bequeathed my scriptures and journal to my parents and my jewelry box, stuffed animals, and New Kids on the Block posters to my sisters.

But anyway. The lump. This was different. It wasn’t theoretical. I wasn’t eight years old anymore with a weird predisposition for thinking about death. I could feel this foreign thing with my own two hands, thus making the cancer fear no longer an intangible supposing but a possible reality. I mean, it could be …

Continue reading →

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What Happened When I Quit the Like Button

About a month and a half ago, a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook written by a woman who stopped using the “Like” button on social media. I found it to be an interesting idea, especially since I was growing weary of Facebook.

I’d contemplated deleting my account, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it–what about all my connections! I didn’t want to lose touch with people. And yet–I was hardly connecting. And that was what I’d grown weary of.

I’m also a marketer by trade–a professional communicator, if you will–and you can’t just up and walk away from Facebook when you’re in the business of marketing.

Still, my feed was full of pointless videos and quizzes (oh, the quizzes!) and advertisements. I felt like I had to scroll through miles of sludge to find the stuff that actually mattered to me. But after reading the article, I wondered … what if I took back the reigns of my feed? How would it change my experience? Continue reading →

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Where Was I

I have purposefully never posted anything about 9/11 on my blog or Facebook page. Each year, I’ve passed the day with a reverent silence on social media–but it hasn’t been silence out of respect, as one might presume, although I do, very much respect. I’ve been silent, because I haven’t known what to say. Or more truthfully, I had nothing to say. There has always been this part of me that feels like a fraud trying to join in on the conversation.

Because.

I have never cried over September 11, 2001. I never hurt or felt the fear, numbness, and confusion that so many have told me they felt. Honestly, I have absolutely no frame of reference for the events of that day. I’ve often heard older people talk about “where they were” when JFK was shot. And I hear the same thing from my generation in regards to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. “Where were you?”

Where was I? Continue reading →

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Halfway

Today, I turned 35.

And for the first time in my life, I’ve felt a small measure of anxiety over my age. I loved turning 30–like, love loved. In a weird way, I felt like I was catching up to myself–as though I’d always been 30. And in the ensuing five years, I’ve found myself feeling … relaxed … comfortable … happy with myself. There have been hard things, certainly. Sad times, yesofcourse. But in short, my 30s so far have been great.

But 35. Thirty-five is … really close to 40. And it’s half of 70. And because of that, for the last few weeks, the thought keeps rolling, I’ve lived half(ish) of my life.

It’s not so much the getting older. I don’t mind that. Aging has never scared me. And 35 isn’t even that old. It’s more the reality that what I thought my life would be by now … isn’t. And because time is ticking–so very loudly–I can’t help but think … What have I done? What am I doing? Continue reading →

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Processing the Last Two Months

There is much to write. Too much, in fact. And I’m determined to do so. But there is much to process first. Too much, in fact.

Last night, I sat down and wrote out the basic timeline of events as a starting point. Here’s how the last two months have gone since Frit got engaged on June 29.

June 30 Teach Relief Society
July 4 Take Frit and Timmy’s engagement photos
July 6-7 Roadtrip to Las Vegas–See NKOTB, Boyz II Men, & 98* in concert
July 9 Edit and “deliver” Frit and Timmy’s engagement photos
July 11 Speak at Week 1 of Retreat for Girls in Logan, UT
July 11-14 Roadtrip to South Dakota–See Mount Rushmore
July 14 Decide to move to Florida
July 15 Begin planning Frit’s Bridal Shower for 100 people
July 16 Speak at Week 2 of Retreat for Girls in Logan, UT
July 17 Fly to Arizona, Speak at Time to Blossom Girls Conference
July 18 Design and print Frit and Timmy’s wedding announcement
July 19 Start therapy
July 21 Teach Primary at Church
July 23 Farewell party for friend in the neighborhood
July 25 Teach music marketing class at Refinement Records
July 27 Make headway on quilt pledged for Mindy Gledhill’s CD fundraiser
July 28 Teach Primary at Church
July 30-31 Be with baby sister at hospital as she labors to give birth to darling nephew
July 31 Dear family friend is brutally murdered
Aug 2 Dear friend passes away after a long battle with cancer
Aug 3 Attend baptism of Emily, one of my Primary students
Aug 4 Teach Primary at Church
Aug 4-5 Fly to San Diego for Global Business Travel Association’s annual trade show (end result of months of planning and designing my company’s 30×30 booth)
Aug 7 Hostess Frit’s Bridal Shower
Aug 11 Speak in Sacrament Mtg. @ Church & Teach Primary
Aug 12 Begin shopping & packing for Guatemala
Aug 15 Attend Frit’s family bridal shower
Aug 16 Begin selling furniture
Aug 16 Speak at a Girls Camp in Eden, UT
Aug 17-24 Travel to remote village in Guatemala
Aug 25 Teach Primary
Aug 29 Frit and Timmy’s Reception
Aug 30 Frit and Timmy’s Wedding Day

I’m tired. My brain is tired. My body is tired. And my heart is tired. Exhausted, in fact. And it’s not over.

I still need to make a list of everything that’s happening/needs to be done in September. What happens if I don’t want to do any of this?

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34 Hopes

I’ve been 34 now for a week and a day. And I really love it. 34 suits me.

My birthday was perfect. And I’m beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t celebrate New Year’s on my birthday. It feels … fresher. I woke last Monday morning feeling so full of life, so happy to be alive, so ready to be 34. I felt more hopeful this year than I have in many a birthday. And I made a list–a list of 34 hopes for this coming year. It’s going to be a good one. I feel it.

  1. Make peace with my body. That is–to love it as it is and for what it can do, to carefully and kindly coax it to where it needs to be, and to shape it into something that more closely matches who I really am.
  2. Find him. Or rather–be found.
  3. Launch Be.
  4. Yoga more.
  5. Meditate more.
  6. Eliminate the remaining meat in my diet/Enjoy more whole foods.
  7. Keep a journal.
  8. Spend lots of time with my family members, especially my niece and my nephew-on-the-way.
  9. Visit the temple more.
  10. Cut back on media.
  11. Pay off remaining debt.
  12. Follow a routine sleeping schedule.
  13. Reconnect with a old friends.
  14. See something breathtaking that I’ve never seen.
  15. Go somewhere I’ve never been.
  16. Plant more.
  17. Become a better photographer.
  18. Write more letters.
  19. Sew quilts–lots of them.
  20. Learn a new creative skill.
  21. Read more books.
  22. Do something that scares me.
  23. Take more opportunities to serve.
  24. Feel peace, purpose, and happiness.
  25. Find my style.
  26. Laugh. A lot.
  27. Quit sugar.
  28. Travel.
  29. Explore and experience Utah.
  30. Get a new car.
  31. Run a mile @ 5 mph.
  32. Paint my nails regularly.
  33. Write my life (to this point) story.
  34. Become more me.

 

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33 Moments

Yesterday I posted my list of 33 “Things” I’ve loved whilst being 33. Today I’m sharing 33 Moments.

  1. This first one squeaked in just barely before 33 becomes 34, and I’ll write more about it soon, but tonight I sang in the historic Tabernacle on Temple Square. This was by far, one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my entire life.
  2. A couple weekends ago I took a last minute trip to visit my sister and her family in Arizona. That’s basically code for: I needed to see my Laela-cakes. (Laela Carolina is my 2-year-old niece.) How I could love that little girl as much as I do is beyond me. But anyway, on the first day, we were riding in the car and I was sitting beside her in the backseat and while the sun streamed through the windows, she took my hand … just … because. No one told her too. I didn’t ask her too. I didn’t hold out my hand. She just–took it. And I promptly melted into a puddle of mush as she stole my heart, once again.
  3.  Speaking of sisters … last April, my sisters, brothers-in-law, and that little smoochy-pop Laela convened in AZ for a couple of Atlanta Braves games. I loved everything about this–the minivan we roadtripped in, the drive itself, the games, our niece, time together, Arizona sunshine. Good memories all around.
  4. During the summer, at one of the local Rooftop Concerts … I went by myself and I was a little sad about that as I sat in my camp chair under a big, soft quilt with lanterns and stars strung above me. And Peter Breinholt was performing his encore–“What About.” That song has a lot of good memories attached to it–memories of summer nights past, of my mission, of college, and just lots of really deep, really happy feelings. And I couldn’t help but feel but feel really happy, despite my sad, and I was content and euphoric in a way I hadn’t been in a while.
  5. That time I went to visit Florida. My granddad had passed and I was really missing him, but I got up early one morning and drove around the property just like I would have done if he’d been there and he felt close.
  6. Last Spring I got into a morning walking habit and there were so many times as I finished my walk that the sun was just coming up over the mountains. This Earth. It takes my breath away.
  7. Cheering my baby sister Kaycie over her last mountain at the end of her 200 mile relay. Screaming for her and squeezing her so tight when she crossed the line. I think that’s what it’ll be like when we get to heaven.
  8. Fourth of July is always the best day. Parades, taffy, picnics, heat, sprinklers, sparklers, fireworks. It’s a day where everything is right in America.
  9. Sitting on the beach on Hilton Head. All I did was sit and watch the waves. Which is ultimately, all I need.
  10. Last month, Frit‘s and my home teachers invited us over for dinner. When we got there, we found that the Bishop of our ward and his wife, as well as another family from our neighborhood had also been invited. The adults chatted around the table and ate homemade pizza while the kids played. Pretty soon, one of the little boys (6 or 7?) asked if we could sings hymns and Primary songs around the piano. So we all went downstairs to sing. And I just couldn’t help my happy. And I thought, “I love my neighborhood! And I really love being a Mormon!”
  11. Learning to can my tomatoes and seeing them finished and sealed on the counter all shiny and red was super rewarding.
  12. My Word of Wisdom experiment for Church was a string of really interesting and enlightening moments that blessed my life, my body, and my spirit immeasurably.
  13. Taking my impromptu Fall Color Drive. Utah in the Fall. Oh my.
  14. Having my sister and Lae visit and becoming, even more, the best auntie ever. Watching All Dogs Go to Heaven on the LoveSac under a blanket with her was absolutely the best.
  15. Last Fall I took a business trip to Denver and on an afternoon wandering around the city, I ducked into a Methodist sanctuary for a few minutes. It was so peaceful and beautiful.
  16. Our first snowfall. It was really beautiful and I found myself really excited about Winter. I’m now totally over that and have dubbed this the worst Winter ever, but there at the beginning? Really pretty.
  17. These is My Words was my favorite Book Club book this year and finishing the last few chapters reminded me why I love reading, what a romantic I am, and what a sucker I am for a good story. Great book. Great memory.
  18. One night Frit wasn’t going to be home until really late so I stopped off for some crunchy red grapes, gourmet cheese, crusty bread and fresh pressed grape juice. Once home, I spun the “Midnight in Paris” soundtrack, spread out my vintage white, embroidered tablecloth from Scotland, found my wooden plates from Germany, poured myself some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping, filled one of my stemmed glasses with juice for sipping, and had the most delightful dinner for one. Then I took a bubble bath.
  19. Climbing the Utah hills trying to find the perfect Christmas tree is always one of my most favorite days of the year. And of course sitting by it once it’s all lit up is the best way to slow the holidays down.
  20. My work Christmas party is always fancy fantastic. This year, we were at the swankiest hotel in SLC, the Grand America, with plates of salmon and filet mignon. The employee gift is always crazy awesome, this year it was an Apple TV with a $100 iTunes gift card, and I always valet park at these events. (Gah! I love valet.) But perhaps the best part of the night was the pair of gold glitter heels I bought special for the occasion. I LOVE those shoes. And I love the memories of fancy dinners downtown during the holidays.
  21. About a year ago, my BFF/college roommate came in to town to take me out for my birthday. As we were sitting across the table, talking about her recent marriage to a gem of a guy, I asked how the baby-making was going. That’s when she got a huge smile on her face and burst with the news that she was expecting. I was the first to know (besides her husband of course) and it was one of those memories that will go down as one of the happiest moments of my life. There is something deep and eternal about friendships like that and to share so many years together as “singles” binds you in an inexplicable way. To hear she was expecting, after wondering for so long how, when, and even if the right guy could would/could be found, was so special. I also got to host her baby shower.
  22. Along those same lines, when I finally met her precious little man in December, it was such a happy day. He and I snuggled on the couch most of the afternoon and I was immediately hooked.
  23. In August, I had the opportunity to speak at a conference (Retreat for Girls) for girls ages 12-15. The purpose of the retreat is to help the girls develop lifelong friendships and increasing their self-esteem and testimony of Christ. Preparing for and delivering my message was a huge blessing and I learned so much.
  24. Right after my 33rd birthday, I called a photographer friend to ask if she would do a photo shoot for me. Like a real one. So I’d have legitimate documentation of what I was like at 33. On the day of the shoot, I found myself having serious anxiety, thinking all the thoughts girls think on occasion–I’m not pretty enough. What was I thinking? I can’t do this. My hair isn’t right. My clothes are stupid. My eyelashes aren’t long and thick. Pretty soon, I was crying a soupy mess in my bathroom–eyes red, one of them gobbed and sticky with fake eyelash glue, make-up completely streaky. It was not pretty. But I stopped and really looked at myself in the mirror. And I reminded myself of what I know to be true–about myself, about God, and about my worth. And I put the glue down, washed my face, put on a new light coat of make-up, grabbed the clothes I felt most comfy in and had a wonderful photo shoot where I felt pretty and special and worthfull.
  25. I love getting all my friends’ Christmas card updates. I love seeing their family photos and hearing all about what they’re doing. I’ve always wanted to send a card out too, but I thought it was maybe a little silly since it’s “just” me. I’ve always told myself, once I have a family then I’m “allowed” to send a card. This year, though, I decided that was just plain ridiculous. What if I never have a family? I will have wasted years not doing something I wanted to do, for absolutely no good reason. So I changed my mind, designed a card, slapped a big picture of my solo face (from the awesome photo shoot) on it and sent 150 cards to the people who matter to me. Best decision ever.
  26. Watching videos of my niece dance brought me more joy this last year than anything. Seriously. Anything.
  27. My baby sister called me on her way home from work one day. She was crying, but happy and blurted out, “I’m pregnant! I just took the test at work, I didn’t think it’d be positive, but it is! And Alex [her husband] is at school until late tonight and I had to tell someone!” Best day ever. Our baby is having a baby!
  28. My parents came to town for a visit and after dinner one night I pulled out some games. Kayc (baby sister), Alex (brother-in-law who I actually call Lexie), Frit, my mom, and my dad (we finally talked him into playing), began a round of Telestrations and I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in forever. That game is one of the funnest and funniest games ever created. I couldn’t breath I was laughing so hard.
  29. While I don’t know if I could classify being a “mom” for a week one of the funnest things I’ve done while being 33, it still gets put on this list because it was a remarkable experience. It was hard, in a way I couldn’t have comprehended before doing it, and rewarding (at times), and a blessing immeasurable. I’m so grateful to be someone my friends feel they can call. I’m grateful they trust me. And I really love their children.
  30. Being the choir director at Church this last year might have been the hardest calling I’ve ever had. I mean seriously, who actually wants to be in the ward choir? We haven’t had a regular choir in our ward in years. But. I worked hard to form one. I encouraged people to come (i.e. guilted them into it), and we performed every month. And by the end of the year, we performed what I’m told was one of the “best Christmas programs” they’d ever seen. Score. AND I actually fell in love with the calling.
  31. When I was hired at this “new” job, I had to take a design class at the community college, so I’d have all the skills they needed. And designing marketing pieces this last year has been so fun. When my first design arrived from the printer, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. It was so exciting to see what I’d created in hard copy.
  32. Last March, I gifted myself a cello for my birthday. I’ve wanted to play that instrument for about 30 years. So I decided to just do it. When I pulled the bow across the strings for the first time, the whole instrument vibrated and resonated against my body. It was so beautiful I almost cried.
  33. One afternoon, after a lot of fasting and prayer, I chose a name for my magazine. Be Magazine. And I was one step closer to realizing my dream and purpose.

Needless to say, it’s been a really good year. On Monday, I’ll be posting 34 Hopes for 34. Happy Birthday to Me!

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In Three Years Time

I sent a text to Frit today that said, “Do you know what today is?”

“Monday,” she answered.

“Yes,” I replied. “AND my three year anniversary!”

“From your dismissal?”

“Yep.”

“That’s right. And look at ya now.”

“And look at me.”

It’s been three years to the day since I drove home in the middle of the work day, with my entire professional life sitting in a box in the passenger’s seat beside me, feeling fearful, hurt, embarrassed, and angry–but relieved all the same.

It’s been two years to the day since I felt anxious that my life wasn’t moving forward fast enough, like I wasn’t working hard enough to make things happen–that I had nothing to show for the year I’d spent on my own. Shortly thereafter I sank into one of the darkest times of my life.

And it’s been one year to the day since I flew back to Utah after having spent an entire summer by the seashore mending that dark little broken life, recapturing my passion and purpose.

Three years. So much happens in three years. And yet, it doesn’t.

I do still feel angry, although it’s not as fierce as it was. And I don’t know if it will ever go away completely. Which, quite honestly, is fine with me. It’s not an anger that eats away at anything. It just sits there deep inside and only bobs to the surface (pun not intended, although my word choice there is quite apropos) when I’m reminded of my “dismissal.”

But, I’m not fearful anymore, or hurt, or anxious, or embarrassed. Although I do feel those emotions vicariously whenever I hear of anyone losing their job. It doesn’t matter if they’re strangers or friends or mere acquaintances, if someone loses their job, I feel that familiar pinch in my heart. It’s the pinch I felt when I sat across from my former “boss” (quotes used intentionally, queue said anger) and heard the words, “we’re going to have to let you go.” And then I cry for that person, whomever they are–because I know the grief that will soon ensue for them, and it’s a devastating experience.

But–then I promise them that it will get better and that even though it feels like hell today, there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel. It might take a month, it might take a year, or it might even take two, but it does get better and there’s a whole world of possibility waiting on the other side of job loss.

And as I look back over the last three years, and see all that I’ve learned and all I’ve become, I find that I can say with confidence and surety, I am so glad I’m here and not where I was.

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Presents!

For my 33rd birthday, I received:

1. A phone call with a ridiculous birthday song, LIVE! from the Maurer house, starring the parentals (and a guest appearance by Mother Goose). Seriously, my parents are insane. The also sent a FedEx’d envelope containing much moola, which is always a welcome gift. I’m putting it toward my cello lessons. (By the way: I’m taking cello lessons!!!)

2. Mismatched thrift store plates from the baby sister. Now I just need a dinner party to show off my cute new table setting.

3. A Dictionary of Etymology from Frit. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. And everyone gives me the same, dippy, “You-really-asked-for-a-dictionary-for-your-birthday?” look when I tell them that’s what I got. But after we went to dinner and the movie on Saturday night I made Frit and the baby sister read the dictionary with me and it was, “like,” the best. time. ever. She also gave me flowers (because fresh flowers make everything better). And a birthday banner. And balloons.

4. Two of the darlingest handmade cards at Church. Such talented women. And so kind to think of me.

5. An iTunes giftcard from Frit’s parents. Hip Hip! I was down to my last couple dollars from my last iTunes card, and I’ve got SO much music on my wishlist right now. Plus a delicious birthday dinner prepared by her mom (my request: souvlaki, rice, broccoli, salad, and fluffy orange jell-o stuff) and a delicious birthday dessert prepared by her sister (skewered cinnamon and raspberry rolls–holy cow amazing).

6. Cookies from one of the cute ladies on my visiting route for Church. They were waiting for me on the porch last night when we came home from Sunday dinner and it took all my strength not to dive into them around 11.

7. Close to 100 birthday wishes on my Facebook page. Seriously, FB is so great for making you feel incredibly loved on your birthday. I love it.

8. Multiple text messages. And since (hardly) no one but Frit ever calls or texts me, it was phenomenally exciting.

9. And to cap the day–a phone call from one of my most favorite boys (men? guys?) on the planet, which resulted in an hour and a half conversation of good. Good conversation–it does it for me.

10. A sunny day. From God.

So as you can see, it was a very, very, good, good, day. I am loving 33.

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