Another year older. October 1st.

35.  Thirty-five.  I can hardly believe it is true.  I am just going to hold at 30 thankyouverymuch.bday2This year, I had a goal that I didn’t spend too much time dwelling on, but it was there, rumbling around in my mind.  I wanted to be able to jog for an hour.  Without stopping or dying.  So, the night before my birthday, I told Cam I wanted to lengthen our run the next morning to an hour (we have been jogging together most mornings for the past month).  He, being the awesome husband that he is, shrugged and said okay.  So, at 6:30, we took off.  Almost 6 miles later, it was a success!!  Goal met!  We returned home to balloons on the door and a birthday banner waving in the living room.  For breakfast we all went to Starbucks and consumed all the calories we had burned, and it was SO WORTH IT.  Cam spent the day in the kitchen making all my dinner dreams come true.  He splurged at the hotel food supply warehouse on beef tenderloin and grilled it to perfection with asparagus and roasted potatoes.  He also made a delectable Boston cream Pie.  It is my favorite and a new birthday tradition that started last year.  I wait all year for this day, just for the cake!

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I am uniquely blessed here in our city with ready made friends.  These friends did their best to make my day special.  We had co-op that day, and they surprised me with homemade brownies, complete with sprinkles, and iced coffee!  All the kids sang, and my heart overflowed.  Then, the day following my birthday, Veronica and I headed for coffee and a coconut oil massage.  It was an experience I am not likely to soon forget, and I am so thankful He has given me these people to do life with here.

It was a day filled to the brim with love and kindness from sweet emails and texts that spanned an ocean and time zones, precious kisses from my favorite girls, and love from the man I am blessed to call husband!

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Jeff and Leslie take on Asia

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Cam’s childhood friend, Jeff, and his girlfriend Leslie, added on a trip to Sanya to their Asian vacation so they could see us.  They are they first non-family people to come see us, and what a time we had!  As you can see, Jeff is tall.  Very tall.  Not so inconspicuous.  And his girl is a gorgeous blonde.  They turned heads everywhere we went!jeff2

They spoiled us beyond our imaginations while they were here.  It was such a special week to be able to just hang out with them!  We didn’t know Leslie before they came, but she is one of the nicest people I have met in a very long time.  She is kind and down to earth, and I enjoyed every minute we got to spend together.

We went for a foot massage, complete with fire cupping.  I think there were times that Jeff was ready to call it quits, but Cam refused to translate that, in typical male-friend-torture style.  There was a lot of laughter this evening!

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We went to the hair salon for a facial, and since Cam was out of town, Jeff was at our mercy.  It took a team of “stylists” to get him looking like a suave politician.  I am pretty sure he will be president someday, and this will be his look.jeff4

The facial is really a face wash with all sort of creams and massaging.  Leslie and I enjoyed it, but Jeff, on the other hand, wanted it all off his face.  Ha!  The ladies refused to take it off, claiming they were “busy already washing his hair”, but I think it was a good thing as Leslie claimed his pores had never looked so clean!  Leslie had a little chemical mishap when their hotel pool caused her hair to turn green and the salon people were shocked!  I am sure they haven’t ever seen that before!  Gracie kept telling the guy it was okay…

We truly had a memorable week, full of beaches, chatting, and simply hanging out with friends.  We are so thankful they were able and willing to come see us.  Jeff sacrificed opening day of dove season and, for the first time, missed it.  I don’t think we could have felt more special and loved by these two fabulous friends.

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Taiwan, August 2015

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We arrived in Taiwan on Gracie’s birthday, and our wonderful friends, that we met when this journey first started in America, went over and beyond to make her feel loved and special.  There was pizza and homemade chocolate cake, a birthday banner, gifts, and singing!  And who wouldn’t feel special with those sweet little smiles directed your way?!taiwan9

We were in Taipei for a week of relaxation, and while we there, we celebrated two pretty big occasions:  Gracie becoming a teenager and 16 years of marriage.  Our anniversary was a gift beyond anything I could have asked for.  Our kids had a sleepover while Cam and I went away for a night.  We had the best time reminiscing about our love story!

Gracie’s big birthday request was dinner at Texas Roadhouse, and it did not disappoint!  While we were there, we looked up on the big tvs and saw one of Chinese surfer friends doing an interview at a surf competition.  It felt like all of our worlds colliding in one fell swoop.taiwan8

Our visit to Texas Roadhouse coincided with some children’s day special event, so we had a magic show table-side.  I think they must have secretly known to make our time there extra special and unforgettable!taiwan7

The peanuts in buckets, the armadillo, the unlimited baskets of rolls…it all felt like home.taiwan6

I think for a minute we pretended we were back in Texas stuffing our faces.  But then when the Asian waiters came by, and the obvious lack of cowboy boots were noticed, we remembered where we were.  Not that we cared one bit!  It was an unbelievable meal!taiwan5

Taipei is a gorgeous city.  We left the city and went into the countryside with our friends for a few days away from the busy-ness, with no agenda other than to relax.  We saw beaches that were breathtaking, and our souls were refreshed from being in the presence of God-given friends.  It didn’t hurt that the home we stayed in had the softest beds we have slept in on this side of the world!  taiwan1

Paddle boats and kayaks were a spur of the moment decision that none of us regret!  taiwan4

Faith and Gracie went out in their own boat and quickly realized that paddling is no joke!  They had a paddle war and came back soaking wet but with the biggest smiles!taiwan3

This beach was full of beautiful rocks!  We went just to look and listen to the waves, and left with Cam’s cargo shorts weighted down with perfectly smooth rocks.  What a great man he is!taiwan2

The girls learned to skip rocks (kind of) and had a throwing battle with Cam to see who could hit a big log the most times.  They are rarely bored and for that I am so thankful!  The whole week was more than we could have asked for.  We felt so loved on when we left…by both our Father and our friends.

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