On February 6th, my small group girls were scheduled to go out to dinner for both mine and Erin's birthdays! We both have February birthdays and just like normal, we always go out and celebrate. I got ready like NORMAL and planned to eat at the Outback, like NORMAL. Can you tell the word NORMAL has been stated a ton? I am NOT sure why because this night was ANYTHING BUT NORMAL.
As the evening got later and later, and the dinner time got closer and closer, things started to slowly CHANGE. Hmmm, I was CLUELESS. Erin texted and said, "I am so sorry. I won't be able to ride to dinner with you all. Nathan is running really late. I'll have to take my own car." Lisa said, "Ugh, I forgot to tell Aaron about dinner tonight, until about one hour ago, so I think I will be delayed too! We can drive together Erin." I didn't think anything of it, but I was bummed that we couldn't all drive together like NORMAL. Jody was moving to Tennessee in a few days and I had hoped that we could have one last NORMAL girls night out, even the drive there, just for old times sake. "Oh well" I thought! We will just see them at dinner.
On the way to dinner, Shannon just very innocently said, "Oh hey! We moved dinner to 419 West. We figured we would go somewhere a little different and special in honor of your big milestone birthday!" I replied,"Oh okay! How sweet!" AND.THAT.WAS.THAT. Nothing more was discussed. I definitely went with the flow with ANY doubt about something else taking place.
When we arrived into the restaurant, we were walking to "our" table and I heard loud singing coming from another section of the restaurant. The tune was the ,"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" song. I vividly recall myself thinking, "Awe. It's someone else birthday tonight too." I turned around to see who was being celebrated AND it was ME! It was all of the beautiful ladies (below) singing to ME! My mouth LITERALLY dropped to the floor. Just asked ANY of my friends if you don't believe me. They were all laughing and smiling big at my reaction. I was DUMBFOUNDED. I have NEVER had a surprise party before and I cannot tell you HOW SPECIAL it makes you feel. I couldn't have hand picked a better crowd to attend a party in honor of me. The only person missing was my dear friend Dawn Smith, who was invited, but she had to work that night.
Somehow, it was coordinated for my meal to be covered, so I didn't have to pay for ANYTHING. I ordered the most delicious chicken and shrimp dish!
And then, I was greeted with the most beautiful cake! It was a two-tiered cake and contained all of my favorite colors: black and white (for my old age) and pink. The flowers on the cake were EDIBLE! The cake was to die for. It was BOTH beautiful and delicious. A perfect combination of presentation and taste.
Lisa presented the cake to me.
Everyone sang to me!!! Can you tell by the deep dimple on my face how happy this evening made me?
Erin, thank you for giving up your special birthday dinner to make this night ALL about me. I feel so honored and selfish. LOL!
I was also given many generous gifts including sweet cards, hand written notes, cash, gift cards, a handmade/monogrammed shirt, and a few personalized trinkets.
This night was definitely edifying to my soul. It was a blessing to see so many wonderful friends take time out of their busy lives to celebrate this milestone birthday with me. All of these women are busy moms/wives and they sacrificed their precious family time to spend it with me, which I know is no easy task.
I am thankful for all of the details that went into this evening as well. AND I am still not entirely sure who to thank for what. Shannon was probably the coordinator of the party. Ashely may have volunteered to pick up those huge balloons AND I gather that Erin did the framed 40s and the floral arrangements and Lisa did the invitations and cake. If I am wrong, I apologize and PLEASE correct me. I am sure EVERY ONE of my small group girls had an integral part in the planning process. I am a big party planner, so I personally know much time it took to create all of the special, finite details such as the invitation, floral arrangements, cake, framed 40's in gold/black, and the big 40 balloons.
Friendship is definitely a gift. Friendship isn't about who you've known the longest. It's about who walked into your life, said "I'm here for you!" and proved it. ALL of these ladies entered my life as long as 10 years ago and as little as 4 months ago. They each hold a special place in my heart for so many different reasons. The BEST part is that every single one of these women LOVE JESUS. There's no greater friendship than a friendship built on the solid rock of CHRIST. I LOVE YOU ALL! I will NEVER EVER forget this evening as long as my memory will serve me. AND NOW that I am 40, who knows how long that will last. LOL!!!1
All of the photos were taken with iPhones, hence the poor quality. BOO! OF ALL TIMES to leave my camera at home. Sigh...