Posts Tagged ‘birthdays’

quiet creativity in progress

I turned 29 this weekend and it was utterly lovely: a dinner date with my husband, phone calls from my family, lots of birthday wishes on Facebook and in real life, and a little party with friends. Not to mention some lovely gifts.

In the spirit of the past several years, here’s my list of 29 things to do before I turn 30 (30!) next year:

1. Go back to Europe. Specifically, Oxford (where I used to live). I haven’t been back since 2009 and I am determined to make it happen.
2. Read or donate at least half the books I own that I’ve not yet read. (Current count is around 60.)
3. Go back to the Glen Workshop.
4. Visit my loved ones in Abilene.
5. Finish a draft of that memoir I keep talking about.
6. Pay off my student loans.
7. Go apple picking for the third time. (Next week!)
8. Visit a place I’ve never been (I try to do this every year).
9. Read 10 new-to-me classics (of any genre).
10. Participate in my first cooking challenge with fellow Shelf Awareness reviewers.
11. Visit New York in the fall. (It makes me want to buy school supplies…)
12. Cuddle that sweet nephew of mine a lot.
13. Conquer the snooze button.
14. Knit a few beautiful things.
15. Go to the dentist.
16. Visit Canada (we’re only a few hours away).
17. Reach out to two friends every week (I want to stay more connected to those I love).
18. Reread the Mother-Daughter Book Club series. (The next book comes out in October.)
19. Take a vacation with friends.
20. Try 2 or more new recipes a month (I loved doing this last year).
21. Develop a steady, focused routine for my workdays. (Less frantic multitasking.)
22. Reimagine our guest room (currently rather cluttered).
23. Invest in sturdy, chic black flats.
24. Eat at the food truck on the Common, just for fun.
25. Get a pedicure. (I hardly ever do this.)
26. Invite friends over at least once a month.
27. Write half a dozen more essays, a la my recent Art House America piece.
28. Order myself a new “brave” necklace. (I lost my pendant when the chain broke, and I miss it.)
29. Savor the last year of my twenties.

Read Full Post »

Because birthdays call for a little extra pizzazz.

Because booking a room at a B&B and taking off in the car is one of our favorite ways to relax, unwind, explore a new place, and spend a weekend together without computers, chores, errands or other distractions.

Because we’d wanted to visit Northampton ever since we drove through on our way back from a day in Amherst last fall.

And because we love: bookstores, llamas, homemade ice cream, funky restaurants, charming Main Streets and red-brick college campuses.

We spent two nights at the Starlight Llama B&B, enjoying the lack of city noise and getting to know the resident menagerie:

llamas starlight bed and breakfast

peacock starlight llama bed and breakfast

llama starlight bed and breakfast

Seven llamas, six peacocks, a donkey, three dogs, a pair of emus, two goats, assorted guinea fowl, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Just kidding about that last one.)

We browsed the bookshops (of course!), including Broadside Bookshop in Northampton:

broadside bookshop northampton ma

And we drove up to the Montague Bookmill – “books you don’t need in a place you can’t find!”:

montague book mill books

montague book mill jeremiah

We ate yummy Italian food at Spoleto, delicious curry at the India House, and copious amounts of ice cream, mostly from local legend Herrell’s:

herrell's ice cream katie

herrell's ice cream jeremiah

And we walked around the campus of Smith College (quoting Danny Kaye – “They didn’t go to college! They didn’t go to Smith!” and Bing Crosby’s response: “Go to Smith! She couldn’t even spell it!”):

smith college fountain botanical garden

smith college northampton ma

In short, we had a lovely weekend. Just right for celebrating my favorite man.

Read Full Post »

Since it’s my birthday this week, I’m indulging in a little nostalgia. Here, some of the great moments from birthdays past:

1. The year I turned six, when we had a “makeup party” in the garage for all my girlfriends, a month early since we were moving away. My dad filmed it, and the highlight was him turning the camera on my mom and her freshly permed hair, and saying, “Here is Fifi.” And my sweet, reserved mother, who rarely clowns, looked into the camera and barked.

2. The year I turned 18, four days after 9/11/01. I wasn’t sure whether I could (or should) celebrate, but we did celebrate – with a mini-golf party at Green Acres, burgers at my house, wrestling on the trampoline, and a dog-pile photo on the couch. I’m in the middle, flushed and happy, surrounded by all my best friends.

3. The year I turned 24, in Oxford, when my sweet housemates (whom I’d just met) made me a cake and cooked me dinner, and we settled down for the first of many cozy girls’ nights in.

4. The year I turned 21, when Jeremiah planned the only surprise party I’ve ever been given, at his house with all my friends and a luscious dark chocolate cake. It was a triumph. (I was totally surprised.)

5. The year I turned 23, when Jeremiah planned to come over before work and cook me breakfast in bed. Instead, he stole the wrong key off my key ring, couldn’t get in the door, and had to wait until I woke up, found him sitting on my deck, and let him in, laughing. (He did still make me breakfast.)

What are some of your best birthday moments? I’d love to hear them.

Read Full Post »

The lovely Dani Nichols of Wrangler Dani has kindly agreed to guest-blog while Katie is away. She hails from Oregon but currently lives in California, where she rides horses, writes, teaches kids how to ride horses, and drinks far too much Diet Coke. She is an excellent writer and a wonderful friend.

I have to admit that I’ve hesitated to write anything, because, well, Katie asked me to guest-blog. I’ve never guest-blogged for anybody before, let alone for someone who I’m as in awe of as I am of Mrs. Gibson. So I will do my stuttering best.

And, since I agreed to guest-blog for the lovely Katie, and Katie = Oxford-obsession, I’m going to be very original and share a story from Oxford, because, well, she’s going there and I’m jealous, so I’m going to try to have a vivid memory and act like I’m really there too. Savvy?

That was a great deal too long for an intro. Told you I was nervous.

So, my four roommates and I went to Oxford together (in the same group as Katie, as a matter of fact). We four lived in one bedroom and shared a kitchen and got annoyed by one another’s alarm clocks. But that really doesn’t matter in this story. Anyways.

The point is that while we were there, we made an unlikely friend, someone who I think started me on a more open-minded way of thinking. It was only three years after 9/11, and more than one Englishman had assumed that since we came from Texas we must have Dubya over for chicken-fried steak every Wednesday, or, if not, at least seriously effect his policies. Ali was a kind, bearded, middle-aged Arab man who had a totally adorable and inappropriate crush on Kisha from the inside of his meat-dealing van. He had a thick accent and never forgot a face. After talking to him one afternoon while buying chips (fries) I remember walking home, thinking that talking to a man named Ali wasn’t like I thought it would be. He was expanding my worldview, simply by serving me a cheap lunch with a smile.

In early February, two of my roommates turned 20. We had a big to-do for Julie, cake and signs and pictures of hobbits everywhere. A few days later, Kish’s birthday came around, and nothing happened. By evening, she was downright despondent. She was sure that we liked Julie better and had forgotten all about her. Our friend Josh told her that he would take her out for kebabs from Ali. So we sent Jesse out the door with a chocolate cake, and Josh took for-freaking-ever to find his shoes. We finally left, after being sure that Jesse had enough time to make his delivery, walking down the drizzle-slicked sidewalk to Ali’s kebab van.

When we got there, Ali was clearly waiting. He poked his head out of the van, looking intently at each of us.

“How old are you?” he said, sticking his spatula out at Josh. At his answer, Ali nodded sagely and pointed to the next in line. “And you?”

Kisha was last, and proudly announced that she was 20, flashing her signature smile at our bearded friend. “Oh!” he cried. “You’re the birthday girl!”

She didn’t have much of a chance to respond before the cake was whisked out of the interior of the van and Ali’s spatula was swinging wildly, conducting a motley group of American college kids in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

He was genuinely excited for us, clearly pleased to have surprised Kisha so thoroughly and enjoying our pleasure at his performance. Our friendship was heightened after including him in our little celebration, and for the rest of the semester we were rewarded, whenever we’d stop by Ali’s van – with free chips or drinks, and a thoughtful question of how we were doing and what was new in our lives.

I hope Ali’s kebab van is still there, and I hope he remembers us, with our homemade chocolate cake and Kisha’s ecstatic reaction. I haven’t ever forgotten him, and how we gave each other a chance at an unlikely friendship.

I could really go for some chips with salt and vinegar right now – even better served with a smile.

Read Full Post »

I’m 22 for a moment…

Well, not any more, as of today. But I love the song, and I wanted to use it today, since it IS my birthday. Here’s a recap of the birthday fun so far:

-Breakfast cooked by Jeremiah this morning, after he sneakily stole a key that was NOT my house key and had to sit patiently on my deck waiting for me to wake up.

-28 Facebook wall posts and one message, wishing me a happy birthday – from friends scattered across the States. Thanks, guys, for the virtual hugs. 🙂

-A rousing praise chapel with Steven Moore, with hugs and birthday wishes from Maher Saab and Wayne Barnard (I have campus connections!).

-A serenade from one of my student workers, Anna, who isn’t in the office on Fridays but called me anyway to sing to me. 🙂

-Decadent chocolate cake from McKay’s, back in the break room with 20 or so of my favourite faculty and co-staff members. They serenaded me too!

-A crazily busy afternoon that I am declaring OVER. Lectureship madness begins all too soon…but I am escaping and going home, and perhaps going shopping. And then a date tonight…and a glorious “lie-in” tomorrow. And a Michael Card concert on Sunday. Mmmmm. Life is good.

*title from “100 Years,” Five For Fighting

Read Full Post »

happy birthday Jeremiah

So today is my last day of school. Ever. Well, at least for a while. Until I succumb to the pressures of academia and go to grad school. No, seriously – I’d love to wind up in a creative writing MFA program one of these days. There’s a cool one in Seattle. Or maybe one of the writing/publishing programs at Oxford. But right now I know I need a break from school. And it starts in five days, with the conclusion of my last final.

That’s an addendum to today’s post topic, though. An important one, but an addendum nonetheless. The real topic is a piece of very important news: Twenty-two years ago today, around 4 p.m., a baby was born here in Abilene to a lady whose name we still don’t know. He lived for seven months with a couple named Ken and Danna Cash, who have taken in literally dozens of babies over the years as foster parents. They named him Ian, because he was ninth in the line of their foster children, and they were using the alphabet to keep track. (They’re on their third go-round through the alphabet now.) But in mid-December of that year, thanks to Christian Homes of Abilene, he went home to Garland with a couple named Gibson, and they named him Jeremiah.

Fast forward 18 years, to the fall of 2002 at ACU. He met a petite brunette girl on campus one afternoon (he doesn’t remember that first meeting, but she does), and a week or two later he asked her for a ride to a Third Day concert. He thought she was pretty; she thought he was good-looking, but he had a girlfriend and she was on the way to a relationship with somebody else. They hung out at Freshman Follies, but didn’t see each other much the rest of that semester.

In January, Sing Song rehearsals began. As it happened, this girl and guy both love to sing, so they joined 100 of their freshman classmates in being ice cream men. The girl fell into hanging out with the guy’s group of friends, and that was, as they say, the beginning of a beautiful friendship – which has grown to include two more Sing Songs, a Spring Break Campaign trip to Boston, countless choir practices (and two retreats), visits to each other’s houses, hours upon hours spent praising God together, innumerable phone calls, a few much-watched (and much-quoted) movies, and nights spent talking until the wee hours or doing absolutely nothing together.

Despite a semester in Oxford for the girl, two summers apart, a few personal crises and a deep crisis of faith (again for the girl), this relationship has come to mean more than either of them ever imagined. They can truly be themselves around each other, whether that means being goofy, being tender, growing sentimental, laughing out loud, or talking about the deep stuff – the things that matter. And yes, I know this post is sentimental – but I don’t care.

I’ve been loved by lots of people in my life, most importantly my parents, my sister and my whole family. I have friends scattered across the globe who love me truly and whom I love. I’ve even been cared for by a few boys who occasionally brought me flowers and told me I was pretty. But I’ve never been loved in quite this way before. Here’s to the steadfast, honest, worshipful, goofy, handsome, understanding man in my life. Happy birthday, Jeremiah. I love you.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts