I’m 28. And, honestly, I’m okay with that. It does weird me out that I’m officially in my upper 20s (27 was still passable as mid-20s) … that doesn’t seem quite right, but anyway, I’m good with 28.

And my birthday festivities were spread over a week,

I’m blessed.

Here’s what my birthday consisted of:

Sunday, July 17 : My friend Tracy treated me to a Ropes Course at South Bellevue Community Center. This involved being 40+ feet in the air; wearing a harness, ropes and carabiners; and challenging ourselves with obstacles, including balancing on small pieces of wood suspended by rope. (Video of this course is here. It’s pretty cool!!)

Monday, July 18 : Saw the premiere performance of “28 First Dates.” Haven’t heard of it, you say? Well, that’s because my wonderful friends wrote it for me! Crazy, huh? So, long story short, my friend Suzanne got it into her head to write me a screenplay in which the characters would set “me” (Rae) up on 28 first dates during my 28th year. It was FANTASTIC. There were some points in which I had tears running down my eyes from laughing so hard!

I am trying desperately to get a video clip uploaded to YouTube, but it’s annoying me, so I’m giving up for the night … I’ll keep you posted if I get it up and running. My camera ran out of memory, so only the first 15 minutes were filmed, but this was a legit screenplay, with a running time of an hour and a half! It’s silly, cute, and fun. I felt honored that my friends took so much time and energy on such a special gift.

Tuesday, July 19 : Saw Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 with Tracy. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it.

Wednesday, July 20 : Was treated to the Seattle Sounders (pro soccer) game where they got creamed by Manchester United (the #2 team in the world). Even though the match didn’t have quite the outcome that I thought, I was able to spend time with my friend Rebecca and finally saw a Sounders game. I decided that if I was going to have season tickets to anything, it’d probably be to the Sounders. They have such a fun vibe. It didn’t hurt that this game had 64,000+ fans!

Thursday, July 21 : Night off!

Friday-Sunday, July 22-24 : In addition to the lovely and hilarious screenplay they wrote and performed for me, my friends, Suzanne and Jaelithe, also were able to take a weekend away to help me celebrate. Jaelithe’s mom has a condo in Ocean Shores, WA, so I had my first trip to “the coast”! (I learned early on after moving to Seattle that the Puget Sound is not considered the ocean … it’s the Sound. The ocean is about three hours away.) Before we left on our mini-roadtrip, Jaelithe played this song for me (this is Sandra McCracken playing it):

Such a beautiful and comforting song. Jaelithe performed it wonderfully (and she even learned new chords for it!).

The weekend was lovely. It was just what I needed : relaxation, no pressure to do anything, and a time to be lazy. So we watched movies, walked to the beach, took silly pictures, talked, cooked, ate, and all those lovely things. Again, just what I needed.

Two things about the above picture: 1. Yes, it was windy and 2. I need to find taller friends.

I was a little weirded out that you can drive on the beaches in Washington! I had to take a picture as evidence. I don’t know why I’m not smiling, maybe I was going for the moody/dramatic look.

We practiced a little yoga too. Gotta get our exercise in after all the food we ate!

After returning on Sunday, I even had time for a short bike ride and a long nap, before heading to church. I then had a great conversation with Carly (she’s getting married in a month and a half!!! Yeah, I’m still in denial—a happy denial—about that), and made a delicious dinner for myself.

Tuesday, July 26 : Dinner at my aunt and uncle’s place where they made me Portobello & Peach Burgers from Green Kitchen Stories. I know that sounds like a weird combination, but let me tell you — they were DELICIOUS! The sweetness of the peach with the meatiness of the portobello was just perfect and then we had the creaminess of avocado…mmmm! We finished the night with smore’s on the grill. Do they know me or what? First they serve a vegan meal, then they make me my favorite combo: smore’s! I’m spoiled. I know it.

Our plates looked like this:

It was served with Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries and an Heirloom Tomato Salad (topped with fresh thyme and sea salt).

God has blessed me with fantastic (and creative!) friends and family. I look forward to seeing what the next year brings!

But as I do think about my life and what’s ahead, I came across this picture that I took at a small chapel in Dingle, Ireland.

Her life was Love,
Her death Glory,
And from that Glory the echo of
Her voice seems still to repeat
The Message which on earth was her delight.
“Come to the Saviour” Matt.11.26

And as for my 28th year (and hopefully many more!), I’ll emphasize Sandra McCracken’s words in the song above:

In the harvest feast or the fallow ground,
My certain hope is in Jesus found
My lot, my cup, my portion sure
Whatever comes, we shall endure.
Whatever comes, we shall endure.