thoughts on turning 30

i remember when 30 sounded old.
now 40 sounds young.

i was never one to have a "schedule" or "calendar" in my head of "things to be done/accomplished by thirty."  but if you asked me fifteen years ago where i would be at thirty, im not sure i would have told you id be here!  i mean i always ALWAYS wanted to be a wife and mom...ever since i can remember when someone asked "what do you want to be when you grow up" my answer was "a mom."

the past thirty years of my life have not exactly been dramatic or gossip-worthy or "entertaining" in the marketed world sort of way.  sure, there have been hiccups and things that, at the time, felt like huge enormous "deals" {like when i was in high school or college}, but nothing really CRAZY.  i like it that way.  i really hope the next thirty keep on at this steady pace.  all that said, of course i look back and there have been big defining moments that definitely shaped the life im living today.

if i had not rudely broken plans with a dear dear {even to this day} friend of mine back in february of 1999 to join another friend i had somewhat lost touch with, her best friends, her boyfriend, and her boyfriends best friends....i would have never gotten out of my moms car to see a cocky unknown boy of eighteen with a mop of dark just-enough-curly hair spitting sunflower seeds off the tailgate of a pick up truck. {love at first sight i tell you}

{me, dark headed boy, friend, and friends boyfriend....prom 1999}
if i had not listened to my mom and gone against my better judgement to join same said friend and her best friends, as an outsider of sorts, at their church camp that very summer i would have never met all of ex-boyfriend's friends and decided i might enjoy being single again {after boy and i broke up at the beginning of the summer bc we were both kinda lazy at being in a relationship and werent great with phone calls...yeah teenagers are awesome} just to then all of a sudden have attracted the attention of hot ex-boyfriend yet again.  that little teenage flame might not have been reignited, and i might not have cautiously let ex-boyfriend drop the "ex" status.

at fifteen if you had asked me where i would be in fifteen years, i would have said hopefully married and with kids, but also living up in virginia or the carolinas after graduating pre med from UVA, studying abroad, and finishing medical school and residency.  but then dark mop-headed sunflower-spittin boy went to auburn.  and war eagle was all i could say. {war eagle}  going to auburn was one of the best decisions of my life, one that my boyfriend and parents helped me make.  i would do it again quicker than a heartbeat. 
{please note the THREE turtleneck sweaters, on two of my most favorite people EVER.}

halfway through my sophomore year i had crazy painting dreams and realized i wasnt happy in biomedical sciences.  i did my first impulsive move, probably in my LIFE, and switched majors to interior design.  i knew it would mean summer classes and graduating late, but it would also mean i was happy.

im turning thirty, and i have three children.
im married to a fine looking 31 year old.  just as hot if not hotter than the cocky dark headed mess i met over thirteen years ago.
i have a career i love and that can {and has} adapted to my ever changing life.
i am loved by a God who gives me way more than i deserve.
humbly i say: life is so good.
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but as i enter into thirty-dom, im entering it while hopefully exiting the hardest months of my entire life. 
the past three months have thrown me for a loop. 
ive cried more than i ever have, ive questioned myself as a parent and a wife and a friend.  ive gotten so confused on what im supposed to be doing day by day that all the days blob together and i forgot friends big birthdays and i forgot to eat and i forgot to pay bills and i forgot to say "thank you" enough and i forgot to sign my four year old son up for spring sports and i started to forget the person i was just a few short years ago.
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and then i did what i dont do very well {and now may be getting too good at}...i asked for help.  i let the wall down and told everyone i loved that indeed i cannot do all of this by myself.  there are plenty others out there who can, and who i see do, but i need help with it.
and thats ok. 

this last year of my twenties has taught me a lifetime of lessons...the biggest one being that i {we} are not in charge.  even of our own lives.  we make big decisions and help change the course, but God is there knowing our moves before we make them and planning great things for us, if we only ask him for the guidance.  it sounds so simple but literally letting go of the reigns is quite difficult.
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ive learned that its never too late for a thank you note.

ive learned how good it feels to throw things away {slash donate to junior league's consignment shop} that havent been touched in years...even though some sentimental value may have been placed on it so long ago. {im so nostalgic i could place sentimental value on a stapler...therein lies the problem}.

ive learned the importance of surrounding yourself with things and people you love and who love you..all of you.  its not about quantity but quality.    

ive learned that when people think back on me and who i was, i would love for them to describe me as "gracious."  heaven knows i have a really long way to go on that one, but hopefully one day ill be that gracious southern lady my mother is.  ill first need to learn to hold my tongue, control my ever-betraying facial expressions, and practice patience with those i love.
im thirty.
im a big girl.
i can do this.

thirty has kind of snuck up on me, the little devil. 
i never thought it would be a big deal to turn thirty...just another day.
but i do see it differently now.  it is another NEW day. 
and i love good starts of possibility.

the hardest part of second baby's toddler-dom and third baby's infant-om seem to be behind us.  i am now pretty used to running on interrupted sleep, dressing in work-out clothes but not working out, loading three kids in and out of the car and fitting them in a shopping cart for *quick* errands around town...relieving me from being imprisoned at home on non-school days, and cooking dinner with three or four freezer burned ingredients from the back of my freezer.

i am very happy and blessed with all thats gone on in my first thirty years of life.

im hoping over the next thirty i can work a little harder on that "gracious"-living goal, grow closer to my maker and his will in my life, practice what i preach about patience to my children and husband, raise three healthy Christ centered children who know above all else how much they are loved and appreciated, work harder at maintaining friendships that have taken a sad back seat to the chaos i {and so many of us} now call life, cook more, sleep more, drink wine with my husband more, grow a mean a$$ garden, travel some, and fit a few good books in there somewhere.

my twenties have been all about change and the unknown and adjusting to it.
hopefully my thirties will be a wee bit calmer.
with focus on maintaining and enriching this very full life.

ok ok ok.  enough about me.
what about you?


  1. Happy birthday!!!! You seriously amaze me. Wish I could be you when I grow up! War Eagle!?

  2. What a wonderfully inspiring post to read on the week I turned 30 too (Monday was my big day). I enjoyed reading your words so much. Happy Birthday, and you are an inspiring mother and fellow 30 year old :)

  3. A beautiful, inspiring post to read the week that I also turned 30 (Monday was my big day). I also used to think 30 was SO old. No more is that my way of thinking :)..I too have been blessed beyond words. Words truly escape me but there are days and hours and minutes that are SO hard that I wonder if we will ever make it till Dru gets home. And that's with 2. I admire the mother you are to 3 and often wonder if I could survive with 3. I SO want to though :) Here's to our 30s..doesn't Auburn just seem like yesterday??? I left a comment before this that disappeared on me so sorry if you get 2

  4. That made me tear up! Happy Birthday! Love you!!

  5. happy birthday! i swear i thought i was reading my own life story on some parts:-) you're doing great mama!

  6. Happy birthday yay! What a wonderful 30years it has been huh? I have one more thing to add for you to look forward to in your thirties: becoming an aunt! I know I know, you have 3 of your own incredible babies but from experience I know how incredible being an aunt is and I can't wait for you to experience that too:). Love you !!!!

  7. happy day after your birthday, love!! love it all, and wish i could be there to take a baby or two off your hands every once in a while.

  8. Happy Happy Birthday! I love having you girls in my life. The first thirty have been great, but the best is yet to be...Love you Aunt Elizabeth

  9. WE are so blessed that you are part of our family! What a fine wife and mom (and soon to be aunt) you are! Love ya'll, La

  10. Couldn't have said it better myself! I'll be 30 next month. And you are a great mom! Those first few months with a newborn are really, truly hard. We forget all about them until the next one comes along! Your babies are precious. A few memory lapses are expected...that's what I tell myself anyway. Happy Birthday!

  11. This post is sure to be felt by all stages of Mommy-dom. Motherhood takes us by storm with the intensity, but some calm will follow. Of course it ebbs and flows, and the journey is what makes us stronger, lean more on God and those we love, and prepares us for the next decade (in your case, 40s and teenagers!!) But enough of that; Happy Birthday, Nat!!

  12. happy birthday, natalie! i enjoy your blog so. i kept meaning to go back and leave a comment on the beautiful post with the BW pics of you + Jacob and i've never gotten around to it. i've been reading without leaving comments. sorry. just busy. preaching to the choir, i know. how you manage to find any time to blog is amazing. you have your hands full and such a wonderful perspective and outlook on your life. i have to admit i feel old. 30 seems very, very young. last week i couldn't remember if i was 37 or 38. not being able to remember for a second made me feel even older. knowing i have just a little bit of time left in my 30s seems crazy. the next 10 years are gonna fly so live it up. i'd like to say things will get less busy, but they won't. just the opposite, but with a little more sleep to get you through {most of the time!}. sending many happy wishes your way!! xo, tessa

  13. Love, love this post. Happy 30th to you.

    I'm with the comment above that I felt like I was reading about my life (except I'm a year ahead and a kid behind)!

  14. GREAT post!!! I love that I've know you for half your life! love you!!!

  15. i'm a little late to the party, but "happy birthday!" i love this post. thanks for being transparent -- i feel ya!! we only have one, but i often wonder how to balance everything -- or if that's possible! life may be a little (or a lot) more chaotic, but it is so much sweeter!


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