I turned 29 on Saturday! (Can I believe it? Certainly not.) And with year 30 just around the corner, I find myself constantly fighting the temptation to "check out" on my 20s and to start looking towards the decade to come.
Confession: A few months ago, I actually told someone I was a year older than I really was. When Tony asked me why I lied about my age, I didn't have an answer. I guess I figured, "Well, I'm close enough... I might as well claim it."
Have you ever wondered why it's so stinking hard to be in the present?
If you're 28, to be 28 ... if you're in high school, to be in high school ... if you still live with your parents, to be alive and engaged when you're at home (Believe me, the day will come when you wish you could share a cup of tea with your mom or dad!) ... if you live in New York City, to be in New York City — physically and mentally there ... if you're a father or mother, to be active in the prayerful art of parenthood.
Being present is no easy feat. I won't even begin to pretend like it is. Sure, you may be living at home, and God's calling you to leave home. Or you may be living in New York City, and God's calling you to move to Seattle. You may be working as an accountant, and God's calling you to be a pastor. You may even be working as a pastor, and God's calling you to be an accountant! But if you are where you know you're supposed to be, then be there.
So how do we enable ourselves to be present — to show up to our lives on a daily basis? It's a simple concept, really... We give thanks.
Now here I am, 29 and two days old, and ready to share with you 29 things I already love about my 29th year of life.
1. This year marked my first married birthday ever.
2. Tony and I will celebrate our one year anniversary in June.
3. More than ever, I'm loving life in Cape Town, and it's feeling more and more like home.
4. But I'm looking forward to a visit to America later in the year!
5. God is teaching me what it means to really love people.
6. I'm getting certified to teach yoga!
7. We have an amazing community of friends here in Cape Town.
8. I have many more amazing friends all over the world.
9. I'm learning what it means (and looks like) to be steadfast in joy.
10. My "turn around" time in conflict situations is getting quicker and quicker.
11. I've realized that I really, really love the color purple, especially in nature.
12. I hope to start riding horses again — regularly.
13. I know myself well enough to know what I like and dislike — meaning better buying decisions!
14. I have an increased passion for food and cooking.
15. I'm more OK than ever with my body and how it's formed.
16. I understand the importance of rest.
17. I'm actually practicing a Sabbath day for the first time ever.
18. Thanks to living in Noordhoek, I know what a fish eagle sounds like.
19. Just outside our front door is a row of dancing trees, and they make the best noises.
20. I'm reading the entire Bible, cover to cover — another first time ever.
21. I have a collection of really cool bird feathers, including a flamingo one!
22. I've mastered the art of soup, hummus, and nut butter making.
23. I'm becoming more resourceful in South African errand running.
24. My husband is loving and amazing.
25. Having frizzy or tangled hair no longer affects my mood or day.
26. I'm less negative and cynical than I was from 20 to 28.
27. I'm at complete peace operating on a tight budget.
28. I'm believing that God is going to move mountains for, in, and through Yebo Life.
29. God's provision and presence in our lives is at an all time high — a reason to stack stones!
If you're on a journey of discovering what it means to live life with a thankful and content heart, I encourage you to give Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts a read. In all honesty, it was a slow start for me. Ann's way of thinking and communicating is pretty different from mine, so the book required a lot of energy and alertness on my behalf. But once I "got" what she was saying (and how she was saying it), I was forced to consider making some changes to how I approach life.
The book encouraged and challenged me — mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. As a result, I live each day more engaged and aware. I continually "take inventory" on all fronts (mind, body, soul, environment), and then I thank God for how He's moving in my life and in the world around me.
As I walk out of Season 28 and into Season 29, that's probably the thing I'm most excited about — the possibility of venturing into new depths, a possibility made possible by simply taking notice of all God is doing, and then giving thanks.
Thank you to all of my family members and friends who made my birthday weekend so special!
I really do appreciate all of your sweet messages and gifts. Being remembered is such a lovely feeling.