The Big 5 0

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Yep, I’m 50. I honestly feel that turning 40 was tougher for me. I was not quite where I wanted to be in life. I had some lingering unanswered questions. It was a depressing birthday. However, I am excited for 50. I see a bright future and am hopeful. I love what one of my birthday card’s said:

Fifty is the freedom to be yourself

Fifty is intuition and imagination

Fifty is dreaming, daring and discovering

Fifty is fantastic and so are you.

Yes. Freedom to be myself. I do care a lot less what others think. Not fully free from that, but much further down the road. I feel as if I am hitting a new stride. My imagination, dreams and adventurous spirit are in over drive. My goal is to discover which dreams to plan and which ones to keep dreaming. What a fantastic place to be.

I had an open house birthday party. I wanted to see if I could get 50 friends to stop by my home on my 50th. I had 60 guests.  Woohoo! I must tell you, it was one of the best days of my life. Definitely my best party. I had friends attend that I’ve known since kindergarten all the way up to a friend I met not even a year ago. I had guests from 7 years old up to their 70s. Friends happened to be in town from Virginia, Northern California and Colorado. I had PTA moms, childhood friends, church friends, long-lost friends, new friends and neighbors attend. I felt valued, loved and honored. My village is big. My community is strong. My heart is full.

Because I am a bit more daring these days too, I had a 2nd party. This was a dance night at an 80s club in Orange County. They played only 80s music. It felt so good to let loose on a dance floor with girlfriends. A few of us channeled our 1980s self (I had a side ponytail) and others just came as is. On the dance floor, we were all teenagers. Laughing, dancing, watching 80s videos and being free.

Fifty is freedom for me. Many reasons bring me freedom at this point in my life. The main reason: Jesus. I am free because I am fully loved by God and I believe it. I can rest assured that He has great plans for me (some wondrous and some painful). I know that the next chapter is glorious because I am fully loved by God and I am putting all my hope in that. Whatever age you turn in 2018, grasp freedom. It’s available at any age.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

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Santa Barbara

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I have experienced things people only dream about. You see, I grew up in California. Still live here. Which means, the beach is a staple in my life. Going to Newport Beach or Huntington Beach defined my summers in my teen years. In college, regular trips to San Diego included La Jolla, Sea World and Coronado.  For about ten years, I regularly led worship at a conference in Santa Barbara. This meant a yearly trip to that amazing beach. I literally just returned from a long weekend in Santa Barbara.

As we drove the 101 freeway next to the ocean, I realized how few people get this gift regularly. I saw car license plates from New York, Arkansas and other states. For some, this was their first trip to Santa Barbara. For me, it’s normal. Even when we shopped the Sunday art and craft fair along Cabrillo Blvd., I knew a few vendors and their products. I had purchased items from them over the years.

Am I telling you all of this to brag? Not at all. I want to encourage you to look at your normal and see what would be considered a treat to others. My normal is some of the greatest beaches in the USA. For you, it may be some of the best hiking trails, best cuisine, most eclectic art work, incredible musicians, best hometown parade, extreme amusement park, etc. What is something you do annually? Is it something others travel from out-of-state to experience? Think about it. Then thank God for it.

I am humbled and grateful to be able to live in a place where the beach is normal for me. I love it rain or shine. It gives me great peace, delight and relaxation. I know people from all over the world dream of coming to Santa Barbara or San Diego or many of our local beaches. Just as I dream of visiting their towns and beaches someday. For now, I am soaking in the joy of loving where I live. In 2 hours, I can be in paradise. In 45 minutes, I can be on the sand. In my mind, I can relive the serenity over and over again.

Think of your version of paradise that you get to at least annually. Soak it in. Treasure it. Share your pictures on Facebook. Thank the Lord for His incredible provision.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

P.S. The picture is the view from my hotel room this past few days.

Freedom

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I am choosing my right to not blog this week. At least, not my normal chit-chat. Here are some verses on freedom. Enjoy. Talk to you more next week! Thank you to our miltary men and women who have given us freedom in the USA. Happy 4th of July.

John 8:32 NIV

32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Galatians 5:13-14 NIV

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b]

Ephesians 3:12 NIV

12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

I Peter 2:15-16a NIV

15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil;

 

Dream Big! Pray Big!