Friday, May 17, 2013

Hitting the big 3-0 and taking stock of life (Charis ponders)

There are only a few instances in your life when you celebrate growing older. Your first birthday, your sweet 16 and your welcome party to adulthood at age 21 (or 18 for some). After that, you just want to bury all thoughts of growing older until when you are maybe, 60 - a ripe old age when you are considered wise and have contributed a lot to society. To me, my age stopped increasing at 25 :D

This year as I turned 30, I tossed around having a celebration for myself. Would it be awkward to throw oneself a party when you are already THAT old? Is there a reason you want to celebrate growing OLDER? But as I watched an insightful video (appended below for your viewing pleasure) on about how society views other 30 year-olds, I start to take stock about my own life. All 30 years of it.

The brunch party I threw myself for my birthday. It ended up to be very chaotic but fun
with all the young children around. I thank God for friends in Bangkok who can celebrate
my life together with me.

At 30, I am happily married to a wonderful man for the past 3 years, have a beautiful and cheeky boy who keeps me young and have opportunities in life many envy (though I always tell them that the grass is always greener the other side). I have what I need, my family is healthy and safe and I have no undue cause of distress or sadness in my life. I have, what some would call, a charmed life. I guess that is reason enough to celebrate and give thanks for :)

My beautiful family. I feel that my calling now is to be a good wife and mother
to these two boys. The briefcase would have to wait.
BUT! Just a few days ago at our Wednesday Bible Study group, many questions kept me thinking. Were there things that I had to turn down so I could pursue something that was greater? What goals am I pursuing? Do I have a bigger picture in my life? We wondered what Jesus did in those years from when he was 12 till when he started his ministry at 30. Did he know that he only had 3 years? Even with just 3 years, he achieved so, so much. I remembered then I had dreams I wanted to pursue. Dreams that are kept on hold or tucked away now. Do they matter now? What am I doing now to pursue them? Nothing much, I thought sadly.

What I know now, is that this is my season to be a good wife and a mother to my family. But it's also time to set down what my future goals are and start to work towards it. My prayer for my 30th birthday this year, echoing Moses' prayer in Psalm 90:12, is for God to "teach me to number my days" or "teach me to realize the brevity of life" so that I may not let this life, precious as it is, fleet away leaving nothing behind. I hope this prayer will be yours too :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jared's 1st birthday - the preparations

I think the privilege of being the firstborn is that you get to experience the best your parents can offer. But after all the preparations leading up to Jared's 1st birthday party, I wonder if I will have the energy for all his birthdays to come! But I know very well at the recesses of my mind, my fingers will start to tingle and I'll be heading towards the oh-so-additive Pinterest whenever Jared's next reason for celebration comes along.

Pinterest was super helpful with the preparations and was also the cause of late nights (just a little bit more...). I settled on one birthday theme to another (I guess that is not quite settling then). I had wanted it to be a superhero theme and encourage all our friends and family coming to come in their favourite superhero gear. I still like the idea, maybe I'll use it for the next one! But in the end, I settled for a rubber ducky theme since Jared absolutely loves bathing in the bath tub.

Cover photo used for the Facebook invitations.
Once I got the theme down, it was now on to other birthday party paraphernalia like invitations,decor and cupcakes. Who can forget the cupcakes? That was my favourite bit :) I commissioned a church friend to help bake a cake, of which an example was sourced from Pinterest, and also cupcakes. Since I am a very DIY-person, I decided to go with simple cupcakes and designed my own cupcake toppers. Inspired by many mothers who have gone this path before me.

Cupcake toppers

Love this cake! Rubber duckies were included on top later.
We also had tiny rubber duckies strewn about the place and the kids undertook themselves to hunt them down as if it were Easter eggs :) It was all great fun.

We had invited many of friends and family and had an "open house" concept so anyone could drop by any time of the day. With all that was going on, along with having to take care of a toddling almost 1-year-old, I had forgotten to take any pictures. All the pictures you see here are taken by our friend, Josephine. Thanks, Jo!

It was an enjoyable day of catching up with old friends, friends who have gone on to have their own children. So during Jared's party we had a mini play area for kids and babies to play. I wish I had photos to show, it was very pleasantly chaotic! :)

Some of the kids that day. We were trying to get them to sit together.
Sitting still is another thing altogether!

Then it came to Jared's big moment - the blowing of the candle. Jared was so taken aback by the crowd of people standing in front of him, singing the birthday song loudly that he refused to blow the candle (not like he knew how) and decided to burst into tears. Oh dear! You can plan everything in a party to a 'T' but you sure can't plan for no tears!

I'm one! I can do what I want!

Jared with grandparents.
In my short speech just after we blew out the cake, I had thanked everyone for coming. I had also felt the warmth of friendship emanating from each and every one who came. It was just a humbling thought knowing that these guys have journeyed together with us from when Sam & I were singles till we blew out the first candle on our son's cake. A celebration is not worth celebrating if not with friends or family that care enough to celebrate it with you :) So thanks to all who came and made this occasion a joyous one.

Here's to more happy reasons to celebrate together!
Our friends who came for the party.