Friday, August 16, 2013

34 is the new 34!

Today is my birthday!  I made myself blueberry pancakes, I am still sitting in my pj's at lunch, and I get to attend my kids' school open house tonight.  Probably not the birthday I dreamed about when I was a kid, but definitely a good birthday for easing into my mid-thirties.  Pardon me whilst I wax nostalgic.

At Sixteen.  My five best girlfriends in high school (In sixth grade three cousins sat at lunch with their best friends and the crew was born!) threw a slumber party for me and we had tons of fun.  By that time we spent less time together because boys and a million and one extra curricular activities had gotten in the way, but I have ALWAYS appreciated them doing that for me and I'm very happy to catch up with them from time to time.  They are an awesome, smart, and talented group of women who do some amazing things these days... Also, somebody teepeed my house for my sixteenth birthday.  I always have suspected the boys in my youth group but never proved it.  Outwardly, I was annoyed because I had to clean it up.  Inwardly, it was the best compliment they could have given me.  They thought of me enough to annoy my entire family and neighborhood.

At Twenty One.  I drove down to Frank's parents house in the wilderness outside Deputy, Indiana to spend my birthday with him.  We spent a lot of the day by the creek just hiking and playing around in the water.  So much for becoming an adult!  I lost one of the lenses out of my glasses and drove four hours home with one eye closed.  I was about to start my senior year at ISU and had no clue what the future held.  I always thought I'd go to grad school or something (Um, I had no real plan), but I quickly saw my future changing to include this guy named Frank Sabelhaus.  Less than a year later he would lead me, in the middle of the night, to that same creek to propose, the way illuminated by some kind of light he had to rig with a car battery because he couldn't find a flashlight. that man.

At Thirty. It seems odd that just four short years ago I was entering the thirties and my oldest child was starting kindergarten.  Now my youngest starts kindergarten on Monday, and I feel like a school age mom veteran.  While I'm wistful that there are no more babies, no more toddlers, no more pre-schoolers's hard to be sad when my newly minted five year old is "JUST. SO. EXCITED!" for school.  He is very ready for this and I can't wait to see how much he learns and grows this year!  At thirty I was soon to begin my awesome job as the Jobs for America's Graduates teacher in Vincennes.  I still had a pre-schooler and a baby. We were living in Sullivan but working hard with the church plant in Terre Haute.  Never ending work on the house. Frank was working for the city. I had no idea chronic illness loomed in my future.

At Thirty Three. It's been weirdly cold this August and I can't help but compare it to a year ago when we were still moving into the house in Terre Haute...and it was just so hot and so dry.  Everything was in upheaval with moving and remodeling the house and I was apprehensive about how changing schools would go for the kids, how I would adjust to staying at home again for the most part, what church we would attend, what lay ahead for my health...  Lots of question marks that God has turned into exclamation points of thankfulness this year.  Plus my Momma came to visit for a little chaos control and took me out to eat and shopping for my birthday.  She's the best!

Today. Just so blessed.  Just so thankful.  Even though I don't physically feel great this week, I now get infusions with medicine that is very effective for my ulcerative colitis and I know after my infusion next week I will be feeling better soon.  Chronic illness is a lifelong roller coaster learning process.  It is ever changing and the solutions must change along with it...but I have had so many ups this year and just a few downs.  We(read: Frank, poor Frank) are STILL working on the house...Annabelle's room will soon be completed and her stuff is strewn about the house at the moment, but I now have a beautiful living room, dining room, and kitchen thanks to my AMAZING husband.  I had a good year teaching some music students and am looking forward to teaching again this year with some returning faces and maybe some new ones.  Annabelle and Joey had a great year at their new school!  They handled the transition better than I did, probably, and it has been a very positive change. Also, the kids and I have truly had the best summer...being lazy when we want to, getting some things done when we had to, and exploring the world around us in some just plain fun ways.  I have dreamed of a summer like that since I became a parent and I finally had the opportunity to do it!  We've attended Maryland Community Church this year.  Not only have we grown spiritually and been challenged there, we have the extra blessing of meeting and becoming friends with some great people.  Friends I think I'll have for a very long time!  And I'm kind of in awe that Frank and I get to be a part of the worship team, too.  What a privilege and joy to serve on that team.  And the icing on the cake (Ooooh, birthday metaphor, watch out!) are yet even more things God has brought my the opportunity to watch some great kids after school and earn a little extra money for my family...or getting to reconnect with some of my college friends that live close by...or making a new friend who shares my same disease and "gets" me...getting to lead devotional worship at the House of Prayer each week...or bringing the perfect Assistant Girl Scout Leader to me who actually LIKES keeping track of the bank account! 

Thirty four is a fantastic place to be.  I don't wish I was younger.  In some ways I feel younger and freer today than a decade ago.  Wiser, more confident, and more fun.  I can more easily let the unimportant go and cling to the important and know the difference between the two.  I get full night of sleep now that the kids are older.  Highlights still mask my strands of grey. And I can rock some chucks without people giving me the stink eye.  I don't really wish I was the time next year rolls around...35 will be the new 35, and that will be cool, too.

The Future.  So, I can't just sit and eat chocolate and watch day time TV while my kids are at school this year, right?  (Well, maybe from time to time.)  But I don't really desire to enter the rat race of full time employment either.  So I've got some part-time AmeriCorps volunteering that's in the works for this year...along with music lessons, some watching kiddos after school, Girl Scouts, church stuff, continuing to take care of the home front...yeah.  I'll stay busy.  But hopefully not TOO busy.  And if health allows, I still would love to finish a half marathon by age 40(or next year!).  Maybe go back to school or back to a career or both...but all in good time...all in God's time.

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31)

1 comment:

Rachael Phillips said...

Loving it! Thanks, Beth, for the compliment :-0 And this is one of my favorite scripture passages--great at 34,60, and forever! Hugs.