The day began with a visit to the new Farmers Market which opened at a local school just this very morning. Perfect start to a day in my books. Gracie and I strolled around enjoying some live music, taste testing, bumping into friends and of course purchasing some beautiful local produce- mostly, these delectable strawberries. Perfect for my birthday picnic in the park.
We then took our fresh strawberries and all the other food we had organised down to our favourite local park and waited for our friends and family to arrive. It was such a blessed time. Lovely cool sunny weather, a short rain shower (which involved about 10 of us standing under a picnic blanket which we held over the food table to protect the cake - hilarious), good friends, family, a scavenger hunt and lots of laughs. Speaking of cake...
My amazingly talented friends, Althea and Daniel made me this absolutely gorgeous on every level, cake, just for me on my birthday. To say I felt special is an understatement. Four tiers of gluten and dairy free delectable deliciousness. Amazing.
As I said in my short thank you speech on the day, I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for everyone who came and everyone who has been in my life these past 30 years. The last few years have been quite challenging on a number of levels and they have also been some of the greatest years of personal growth I have ever experienced. To now be thirty, with an amazing husband by my side and two beautiful children, a family who loves and supports us unconditionally, friends who we consider simply an extension of our family, food on our table, a roof over our head and so much more... I feel so richly blessed and thank God for every single blessing. I am also almost at the point where I can be grateful for even all the challenges we've had. These have significantly shaped me over the past few years and even more so actually freed me from the chains and limitations that were inside me, even ones I didn't realise were there.
So at thirty years old, I don't ever wish to be 21 again. That girl is long gone. I am choosing to embrace all that I am right now in this moment. To love the woman I see in the mirror every morning. To courageously love others with a love that is so radical it could only come from God. To see others as the people they were created to be, in their own circumstances not through the lens of my own experience. To make my own decisions based on what is best for me and my family first. To learn to say NO (and be OK with it). To love myself as I am, fully. Christ as me, I am living each moment and experiencing all that this beautiful life has to offer. Diving in head first. Without fear, for fear has been my greatest undoing for too long.
I know there will be hard times and old habits die hard, especially mentally ingrained habits. I will continue to make many mistakes, that is a certainty. However that is just part of life. I am choosing to keep growing and learning and live more fully, in all the glorious messiness life is.
Oh and if the photos don't suggest it already, it will involve food. Lots of good food.