Turning 40 20/40

I got to have lunch a few weeks ago with a friend. We’ve had years of laughter and I am always excited to see him. He is a joy to me and we’ve spent many dinners with deep conversation about life’s conflict and God’s goodness.

His wife, Amy, is one of the most content and kind people I’ve ever met. I ponder my own compulsive dissatisfaction after every encounter with her, like we are opposite poles on a spectrum. She makes me think new thoughts and maybe is even an agent to draw me closer to even from my place of extreme.

This past year we were talking about personality tests and discovered we have the same terminal optimism and desire for adventure. We are kindred. I have come to discover many of my favorite people are the same personalities on whatever metric we are talking about. It’s not the story of opposites attract- I’m more of a birds of a feather kinda girl.

James has twenty years of giggling and bible studies under his belt with me. I look forward to several more decades of laughter and mysteries of God shared amongst us. They are always a highlight when I get to have them.

Turning 40 19/40

Jane went on to glory last fall. She was so beloved by my children. She was very generous with gifts towards my kids, more than anyone else in their world. My children still speak about that quality of hers.

Nani wth Peter at school

She loved her grandchildren so emphatically. Her love for them was a point of healing for our relationship. Though she didn’t easily come to terms with loving me, she never restrained her adoration for her grand babies.

I am profoundly thankful for her because she mothered my husband. She was a little on the crazy side with practical jokes that may have only been funny to her, which helped to make me look normal when Darrin met me.

Had it not been for Jane, I know there’s not a chance I would have been considered a viable wife and partner for my sweet husband. She gifted me a lifetime of beauty. Copious love for my husband, even more for my babies.

Turning 40 18/40

I have a cousin that’s like a brother. I’ve adored him since childhood. He’s smart and funny and kinda persnickety. He folds all on his socks, like a serial killer might- organized and systematic in the most unseen of places. It tempts me to go into his drawer and stir up a mess leaving him to discover the horror of chaos long after I’d left. Maybe I’m the psychotic one between the two of us. Who am I kidding. I’m totally the psycho.

40th Bday
Crank & Boom

I was asked to stand up at Todd’s wedding. What a privilege. We talk faith and business, parenting and future dreams. I’m brash and flamboyant next to his measured laughter and thoughtful commentary. But his heart is so kind, so tender, and so interested in living out a grace he came to receive as a small boy in a Baptist church in the south.

When I married a tradition began of celebrating birthdays together at a Korean restaurant every January. 16 years in, we still honor the celebration without fail.

We raise our kids alongside each other now. Our oldest sons gaming with each other though hours of travel separate them. I’m so thankful for our interesting lives, our deep faith connection, and the commitment of continued investment.

Turning 40 17/40

I’m thankful I’m flexible. Mostly because I can pull off this picture. And I do. Again and again. Mostly for my own entertainment, and to have more interesting pictures.

Putting this together I discovered I have a girl that’s looking to follow my example.

When I look at her I think I can’t relate to her at all. She loves retail, interior design, is embarrassed in the public eye, is anxious about all that could go wrong, and has an insecurity about her place in the world that presents especially in social situations.

When I saw her walking around in plastic princess heels, with big sunglasses, and a purse hanging from her elbow crux a few years ago I rolled my eyes for my husband’s benefit. “Darrin, can you even believe this little girl?” His response was to go take a look in the mirror. Business Peggy that day was rocking full hair & makeup, kitten heels, and sunglasses as a headband at that moment. I had already set my purse down. My girl emulates beauty she sees. I forget that I’m not an androgynous tom boy that I often feel like on the inside. She sees in me an ideal that she wants to mimic.

Maybe she sees the best version of me. The one I forget about when I’m distracted with my lack. Here’s to being the woman she sees me as. ❤

Turning 40 16/40

I have loved the discovery of the outdoors as an adult. I’m not sure what originally inspired our first national parks tour, but in the 6 years following that first adventure I have fallen in love. I’m hoping my kids move from tolerance to adoration in the coming decade.

Fingers crossed.

Being in the glorious settings of the US national parks system has been like walking on to holy ground. The nature majesty is so great it’s like a physical peace that settles over you- slight at first like falling ash. But the peace permeates your skin and moves outside-in down through your soul.

It has been a manic travel adventure that ends in complete contentment and wholeness. Beauty so profound the glory of the creation cannot be denied.

Turning 40 15/40

We were new to the neighborhood and new to a megachurch. We were looking to be hidden after having a church experience that was as painful as it was beautiful. I heard a rumor that there were people on our street going to the big box church too.

I was round and pregnant with my first child. We walked up and down our street a few times trying to figure out in which house this family resided. We knocked on their door unannounced as dusk turned dark.

It was the beginning of many years together and an unbelievable gift of great neighbors, community

I have loved bring in relationship with Scott & Sharon. They have been such incredible friends- listening, laughing, generous with time and love. The laughter with them was salve on my wounds during our toughest marital and parenting years. They have loved my children so sweetly too- like giving the twins Rosie Red for their birthday. I mean, seriously…..who does that? #winning

Turning 40 14/40

I first came to know her as a babysitter for my agency years ago. When I did some social media stalking I discovered there were common friends with my childhood California home school crew.

Peggy & Tamar

Over the years Tamar and I became friends, roommates, she cared for my babes and we commiserated on big moves we might make. She is so bright, so relentlessly encouraging, and a very deep well. She desires to know the hidden things of God, evangelize the latest and greatest of her discoveries, and have the next great adventure on the calendar.

We are kindred in so many ways. Sisters in heart and in spirit.

Turning 40 13/40

Not long after becoming a mother of a boy I started praying for the house on my street that was for sale to have a family move in with a boy my son’s age.

Since Peter was in my womb, I have been praying for his best friend. I’ve always felt he was like King David in the Bible, who had a life changing friend, Jonathan. So I prayed for Peter’s Jonathan before I even knew Peter.

Peggy, Darrin, Cara, Ryan
Unplanned New Eve Party
We definitely invited ourselves over
Cara’s love language is cheese boards

My prayers were answered when we had neighbors move in to a different house. They are wildly gifted with hospitality. Their children are the same ages as mine. They are smart and fun and always up for a good time. They are a gift to our family.

I’ll call this years of prayers getting answered in generous ways because it wasn’t just my children that were gifted fantastic neighbors. It was I that scored great friends too.

Turning 40 12/40

We added to our family through foster care a few years ago. I scored a new daughter out of the deal. I wasn’t sure she would stick with us but I knew we would always stick with her.

We became a family out of undesirable circumstances, as are all foster care placements. She walked in my door, I saw a picture of her in my mind’s eye about 28 at our family Christmas, and I knew she would be with us for years to come. I now see that moment as one where my heart was being imprinted, though I didn’t know it, much like a new slimy baby upon the chest of a mother immediately after delivery. I loved her. And I can’t unlove her.

We’ve had disappointment, betrayal, and heartbreak littering the road of love, faithfulness, and visions of healing. It has not been easy, but the greatest of endeavors never are.

My girl, Tearsa, has been the vehicle through which God has brought me healing, taught me about his grace and compassion- first for me before I can offer any of it to another. She is driving me to wholeheartedness. Or else I would have wrung her neck by now. She’s still a teenage girl, alright.

She’s been family for almost two years now, and this spring she uttered something profound. Overlooked by her. But I knew- it was a miracle. An everyday miracle. We have those often now. Last week it was relational conflict sans screaming and tears. That was a miracle. But this first everyday miracle was when she cast a vision of something good happening to her that was in her own words. She used her own words to talk about decorating an apartment she would have after she graduated with her social work degree. She gave word to thoughts about finishing college and living as an independent woman. Neither of which had ever been achieved in her family of origin. She is a pioneer and overcomer. I am so proud of her.

We were at a Kentucky derby party this year. I pointed out my children to a woman I had just met. She said, “Oh, I can see the resemblance between you and your oldest daughter.” I thanked her. I see the resemblance too.

Turning 40 11/40

My birthday weekend was prolific- full of delicious food, fun cocktails, generous love, words of encouragement, laughter and beautiful familiar faces. I got an adorable present from a vivacious girlfriend. It was funny and on theme.

When Life Give You Pineapples,
Make a Piña Colada

But as I wear it today, it seems a prophetic declaration that I didn’t even know I needed.

I had a year after the twins were born that was glorious. It followed several years of struggle personally and maritally. People would ask how I was doing, and I would have to pause and think if it were true that I really was doing well. I would respond, “Life is so good it’s like I’m sipping a piña colada on a white sand beach.”

And that was accurate after 3 years of relational strife, frustration, and claustrophobia in my life.

There is harmony in my home. My relationships feel like gifts instead of burdens. My work is becoming satisfying…..not quite there yet. I am working on goals that feel way too large, and finding success in the milestones. I am endeavoring for me, and finding joy in the journey.

Let this be a year of piña coladas!