In October 2012 I was driving from Kentucky back to Texas and I thought, "I want to return here for my 30th birthday party and I want to celebrate with some of my most favorite people."
Fast forward to September 2013 and that's what happened.
When I look at the pictures from that weekend and when I think about being surrounded by that much love, I'm grateful.
I'm grateful for acceptance.
...for the friends who drove a lot of miles to get there.
And for the friend who flew across time zones.
I'm grateful for a friend's lake house and their inspiring generosity.
I'm grateful for the photos and the memories we created.
...for morning coffee on the floating dock.
...and for conversations till 2 a.m.
I'm grateful for falling asleep mid-sentence.
I'm grateful for the kids who sang me original birthday songs.
...for their handwritten notes and cards.
I'm grateful for the gifts my friends brought - the kind they knew would mean the most.
I'm grateful for laughing, for crying, for reminiscing and for creating.
I'm grateful for a town that is home, a campus that welcomes me the same as it did 11 years ago, and for streets that are as familiar to me as, well, home.
I'm grateful for the women who cradled me and for my mom who organized that surprise.
I'm grateful for our "love fest" and for the affirming gift-words we gave each other (I WAS SO EXCITED TO DO THIS!!)
I'm grateful for friends who couldn't come, but sent me a party hat.
...and homemade beer.
...and a beautiful letter.
I'm grateful for the football games that played, the football conversations, and the "hook 'em, Horns!" pictures with my 3-year-old friend.
I'm grateful for my mom who did most of the driving, for friends who watched Skye, and for the terrific boarder who cared for Tuck.
I'm grateful for the quilts I gave as gifts and for all the things they symbolized.
I'm grateful for sunsets over the lake, and for a sturdy deck with rocking chairs.
I'm grateful for turning 30.
...to be living this new decade with so much love.
Y'all give me the warm fuzzies.
(and not in a moldy-kind-of-way)