Fun / Gratitude Project

29 for my 29th

Did you know that, in some countries, you are considered 1 year old when you are born? It’s true. Sometimes, refugee families come in to my work and they tell me that the child with the pacifier and the diaper who is barely verbal is three years old. So, then we have to get the birthday and work backwards until we discover that, under the US system, the child is actually just 2.

I personally prefer the US system. It fits right in with our supposedly hard work ethic- one where you have to work hard to get that first year under your belt. You don’t just get it because you magically appeared on earth.

With that being said, I’ve just completed my 29th year on Earth (working towards 30!). I thought this years birthday post would be a listing of the 29 best things that have happened to me this year. In chronological order, of course…

29. I was scolded at work for shushing a group of chatty co-workers during a very disturbing meeting where another co-worker and I were getting our butts handed to us by volunteers who were saying things like, “Why don’t my students speak English?” and “Where did our nasty dirty socks go? Why do we have these fancy new whiteboard erasers? WE WANT OUR DIRTY SOCKS.” This 30 minute meeting went down in history as “the incident”. Ah, we still remember it fondly…

28. Alex and I took a group of people from our church camping at the Witchita Wildlife Preserve in Oklahoma. Planning this trip included, coordinating rides for approximately 20 million people, carting around 14 extra tents and 23 sleeping bags, stressing about bringing enough food for everyone, when everyone ended up eating ramen for every meal. Also, I tripped over a giant log and knocked the breath out of myself in front of everyone and then cried like a baby. 1000739_432638810181429_1686907907_n

27. I did my first color run. We have a theory that if you can get a group of people to run through the stations with their hands up in the air while screaming, the volunteers get crazy excited and squirt all their color on you.

26. I figured out how to use the “index match” function in excel. If you don’t know what this means, I need you to just be impressed that I watch youtube videos of people doing functions in excel and I can stay awake.

25. I visited my sister in Nashville for four days. She basically got the flu the second I landed and started feeling better the second I left. We did, however, discover the magic that is “My Big Fat American Gypsy” and watched an entire season while we cuddled on the couch.

24. My church got involved with Dallas International Street Church by serving a meal there once a month. We’ve been so blessed by being a part of what goes on down in east Dallas.

23. Our Korean son got his driver’s license. Alex taught him how to drive. I was in the car the first time he ever got behind the wheel and I sat at the DMV (nervously) while he took the test with my CRV.

22. Alex and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house for the first time. It was…stressful, but fun. It was the first year my entire family did awkward family photos. As a final hoorah, our fridge crapped out the Sunday before we were supposed to go back to work and I just laid on the kitchen floor and cried.


21. I trained for and competed in a triathlon.

20. We had another epic ice storm. It was so cold that we felt compelled to leave a note on our front door offering hot chocolate to our postman. He took us up on it.  His name is Bear, he’s at least 9 feet tall, and his shoes could literally crush my head. I love getting to wave at him in the neighborhood. The kid eats that up too.

19. After switching adoption agencies halfway through the foster-adoption licensing process, we had our second home study. We were cool as cucumbers.

18. My awesome family made this video with no special effects.

17. We quit moving forward with the Thai adoption process. A few weeks later, the agency went bankrupt and shut its doors. I’m so grateful that we made the decision to stop the process, instead of it abruptly being made for us.

16. I went to my very first Spoken Word event and got inspired.

15. For the first time ever, I went to an open casket funeral for a friend’s father. It was very emotional. I was sad for my friend, but I also really didn’t like being forced to consider my own parents’ mortality. My father got a very emotional phone call from me telling him to go to the doctor immediately.

14. I had my first mole removed. I kept it and turned it into a refrigerator magnet. I’M KIDDING.

13. I joined the the circus. 


12. My family and I were almost on a reality show about living off the grid. We got as far as skyping with a casting agent for an audition interview and then they dropped us like a hot potato. Show business is hard, man.

11. We got licensed by the State of Texas to adopt (on our (now) son’s birthday, which is extremely poetic).

10. I went biking with a friend and  this crazy guy stepped out in the middle of the trail and started break-dancing and then when we tried to turn around, my friend fell over and I was trying to help her and keep an eye on how close we were to crazy break-dancing guy and it might have been the most hilarious, stressful 45 seconds of my life.

9. I rinsed my head with moldy apple cider. Please don’t ask. I didn’t do it on purpose.

8. I saw Greg Kinnear in the flesh at the world premiere of Heaven is for Real.

7. We got chosen as the family for our son. (April 25th)

6. We said “YES!” to adopting our son. (May 15th)

5. We met our son. (May 30th)

4. Our son came home forever. (June 30th)

3. At my very first PTA meeting, the kid told me that, “We can have mom and son Wii time after this”.

It was the first time I’d heard him refer to me as mom.

I tried not to cry in my very first PTA meeting.

2. The kid made me a scrapbook for my birthday. He spent over an hour gluing pictures (including vintage pictures, like the gem I had lying around from my high school senior pictures) on mustache scrapbook paper and at the end, he wrote, “we love you happy birthday”.

1. Today, on my 29th birthday, I woke up with snuggles from a 9-year-old, squeezed in between me and his dad, who is the best husband and father I could ever imagine. When I think about the way my life has changed this year, my head spins a bit.

Every year, as I reflect, I find that I’m abundantly blessed with people who love and support me, people who can make me laugh and join me in adventures. I find that I’m blessed to know a God who continually loves me, despite all my shortcomings.

I’m looking forward to see what happens next…

6 thoughts on “29 for my 29th

  1. Happy birthday! Yeah I’d say the change in your life this year is a little mind-blowing. Also as I was reading this list I was struck with a good thought. You seem highly emotional and also humorous and functioning. Which gives me enormous hope for my ten year old daughter who seems so highly emotional at times I feel exhausted. I would say I’m pretty emotional too (I teared up about the PTA story) but dealing with her emotions seems harder somehow. It could very well be that I’ve forgotten how I was at ten and I’m comparing her to her three brothers who are a whole different beast entirely. Anyway, happy birthday and thanks for giving me hope and perspective on your day!

    • It’s true. I’m highly emotional. Most often, I react to situations instead of respond. Sometimes, it’s almost visceral, like a monster that I can’t control. It hits me like a tsunami and then I’m left with the aftermath. It can be a blessing and a curse. Because I feel deeply, I’m also crazy passionate and committed to causes and people that are important to me. It’s helped my extremely cool-headed husband see things a little differently about the world. We definitely balance each other out.

      For your girl, let her know that God wired her to be emotional and that she can learn to use her strong feelings for good. She will probably hurt people’s feelings and say things she doesn’t mean to say when her emotions get the best of her, but if she can work on learning to apologize and correct things quickly, she’ll be okay (I’m still working on that- ask anyone who’s around me for any length of time). Maybe someday she can funnel all that energy and passion into things that she cares deeply about. Praying for you guys!

  2. love you, cool beth. i’m so glad i got to be a part of a few of those things. except for 29. i am not glad i was a part of “the incident.”

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