Monday, April 21, 2014


Today is my birthday-- the big 3-0. THIRTY! Practically ancient. :) I always kind of expected turning 30 would be like it was for the gang on Friends. All of them a bit reluctant and sad to be leaving their 20s behind. But even if I tried, I don't think I could be sad about where I am at 30. I suppose it might be different if people didn't assume I'm still in high school, but it happens on occasion. If anything, it's a bit more fun the older I get to reveal my age to those pesky people who inquire about my upcoming high school graduation. Seriously, this happens to me.

Birthdays are a big point of reflection and as I approached this big milestone, I couldn't help but ponder if I am satisfied with how I've lived my first thirty years. And without a doubt, I can say I am totally satisfied! There have been times when I have felt overwhelmed and in over my head with our schedule and busy lives, but I can say without a doubt that I have lived SO much during my thirty years and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Without trying to be all braggy and making this all about me-- I want to share some of what I have crammed into these thirty years. 

There are a ton of things that I have done that I am proud of:
  • Graduations--high school, college, graduate school
  • Being a mother to 2 (and a half) kiddos
  • Owning a home that we fixed up (with help, of course!)
  • Spending time serving others with my family, my church, and friends
 Me and my two babies

A couple before pics of the house when we bought it

There are a ton of places I have lived:
  • Five states, seven cities, even more houses by the time I started 8th grade
  • In the middle of nowhere
  • In the city
  • a summer in Myrtle Beach
  • a summer in Colorado Springs
  • Springfield -- I heart my college town
  • Kansas City -- I love my city!
Myrtle Beach

 The Springfield Fork

There are a ton of places I have traveled:
  • A European tour, 7 countries in two weeks during high school
  • A month in China during a summer in college
  • College road trips: Disney World and Dr. Pepper Museum
  • Vacations with Derek in Florida, Colorado, California, & Texas
  • Thanksgiving in San Diego, a summer missionary reunion in Baton Rouge, visited a high school BFF in Chicago, explored NYC with my college roomie
  • And of course, visiting the Biltmore mansion right after the movie Richie Rich was released

I've had a ton of adventures:
  • White water rafting in Colorado Mountains
  • Zip-lining across the mountains in Switzerland
  • Hiked the 14,000 foot Mount Democrat in Colorado 
  • Riding the rides and coasters on top of the Stratosphere hotel in Vegas 
  • Beating a boy in a nail-biting race at a little kid race track in North Carolina (epic)

Never again. (I'm in blue in the front with my sister)

I've had a ton of really unique and exciting experiences-- some major, some small:
  • Being an army wife
  • Hosting a foreign exchange student
  • Loving and caring for five kiddos in my home, other than  my own (not all at once!)
  • Attending a presidential campaign rally
  • Winning prizes on the radio station more times that odds say I should
  • Meeting my favorite author! 
  • Seeing some of my favorite bands in concert!
  • I routinely enjoy book club, date nights, and playing games
  • In middle school, I was once in a chess club, on a swim team, ski team, and on a gymnastics team, With the exception of skiing, I was terrible.
  • Also, I once started a fire by rubbing two sticks together, made flies to go fly fishing, and cooked a pizza in a cardboard oven (using coals) while the oven never caught on fire.
Derek's AIT graduation

Julie's Graduation

Meeting my favorite author, Meg Cabot

I have had the best group of friends in high school. Another great group of friends in college. And I am still surrounded by a great group of friends. I have a wonderful family that we really enjoy spending time with on a regular basis! I have worked so many jobs that I have enjoyed in the past and now I am working my dream job as a therapist.

With some of my besties from college! Love this pic.

I married my best friend. We have cute kids. And we have a happy (most of the time) family! I have been so incredibly blessed and I'm thrilled with these first thirty years.

Of course, the best thing I have ever done in my thirty years is to love God and follow him. My desire is to honor, obey, and serve him and though I am far from perfection, He continues to bless my life. My worst days are when I tend to focus on me and my selfishness and so I try to spend time and effort serving and being a blessing to others. 

As I approach my thirties, I am more confident in who I am and who I want to be than ever before. All of my accomplishments, travels, experiences-- they have all shaped me into who I am today. It's made me open-minded, accepting, and understanding person, which I feel are some of my best traits. Of course, I'm also more aware of my not-so-great strengths and while I am always trying to become more patient and more organized, I can accept who I am and not want to be anyone else!

I am very much looking forward to what will come during my 30s, 40s, and on and on! I love being on the go and trying new experiences and so I'm sure they will continue to be just as jam packed. I mean, if I'm only going to have one life, I am going to cram it full!!! There are three major things I wish I could have added to my list of completed by thirty, but they'll be on the list someday.
  1. Attend the Price is Right. Ideally, I'd win a car. Also, I have already designed my shirt
  2. Be debt free. Here's looking at you student loans... 
  3. Live, even if temporarily, in a big city like NYC or somewhere in Europe. No car, tiny apartment. Lots of things to see and do!

I'm off having a great day with my peeps and this evening I'm going to be enjoying Olive Garden's delicious breadsticks and salad with my nearest and dearest. Yum! Can't wait!!! 


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