Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Anniversary Party

Well, for the last few weeks I have been pretty busy. I have been planning a surprise Anniversary party for my parent's 30th. I am still living at home with them, so it has been pretty difficult keeping the whole thing a surprise.

I worked on signs, printed out pictures, bought frames, food, ordered a cake, and made about 70 cookies. I planned for about a month, and I was so excited when the time finally came for the party. (Mostly just because I was so tired of trying to keep this whole thing a secret from my Mom. Keeping secrets from that woman is not easy let me tell you). I had to make up a lot of stories about where I was all of last week. (I apologize again for this)!!

When the time for the party did finally come, everything really came together.

 I made little place cards for each food item. I found these little shapes online and then just put text inside of them, and cut them out. I found the little place card stands at Hobby Lobby.
 All of the banners were just individual letters (each on a separate sheet of paper) printed off, cut, and attached to twine with clothespins.
 I went through all of the old photo albums and scanned a bunch of pictures to attach to twine for some decoration.
 All of the frames were from Hobby Lobby. And the little trays had Mad-Libs inside for all of the guests to fill out.

 I decided to go with a big "W" for the guestbook. The guests signed with silver sharpies.

 I ordered a small cake topper and had three different flavors of cupcakes. (All marked with the proper tag of course)

 The chalkboard was a little more difficult than anticipated. It turned out all right, but next time I will definitely try to make the words straighter/bigger. It is just words I printed off from Pages. You just pick the text and words you want, print them off, cut each line, and put chalk on the backside of each one. Once you have the chalk on the back of the words, you just flip it over and tape it where you want it on the chalkboard. Trace the words with a pencil and when you lift the paper, you will have a perfect outline to trace.
 Here are my surprised parents right after they walked in.

 My mom was sort of in shock for a while.

 These are just a few of the (70) Ball jar cookies I made. A few of them said "Having a Ball since 1985" (The year my parents were married).
 Here they are cutting the cake just like they did 30 years ago! 

The inside of the cake was so pretty! 

Here you can sort of see my "How Sweet it is" sign for the dessert table.

A wonderful picture of the party!

Artsy photo of a cookie and a couple of strawberries. 

My silver spray painted Ball jars, put some pink daisies in them and they turned out so cute! 

My mom was happier with me when she found out what I had really been doing all week. 

My awesome family! 

And finally, the hostess and the guests of honor. 

The party was awesome, and I owe a lot of these ideas to Pinterest! It was a lifesaver as always, and helped me get my head wrapped around everything I wanted to get done for the party! Everyone who helped; thanks again! It is very much appreciated! (And a special shoutout to David Young, for taking all of these fantastic pictures! They all turned out really good.) The night was a success, and my parents were overjoyed and very surprised! 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Can I turn my mind off too?

So you know the previews in the movie theatre you always see at least 3 times before the movie even starts?
 Yes, I am sorry. You just endured that for the millionth time. 
But, really it is a great reminder. I think we are all way too focused on what is going on in the technology world. (Be it Facebook, Candy Crush, or The ESPN app, yes Dad that is for you...) And I am talking about this as I am typing on my MacBook to put on this blog to be read by people on technology! Yeah, this was well thought out. 

Well, anyway. I wish I could somehow turn my mind off during the movie. Is there a Cinemode for my thoughts maybe? No? That is honestly too bad.

My mind is constantly going off at a hundred miles per hour. Be it over-analyzing everything that ever happens, or just thinking too much of other things during a movie, or often finding myself thinking, "I really wonder what this person thinks of me right now. I bet they think I am an awkward freak"... (Which I am sure they do, because this is true) Thinking of such things too often can make watching a movie stressful. It can make conversation very stressful. It is hard to carry on a decent conversation when you are awkward, but even worse when you are thinking of the awkwardness during the conversation....

Anyway, I am trying to make these posts shorter for the sake of all of you. Which I will probably fail at. My over-thinking leads to wayyyy over-writing which leads to bored people and often decent essays that are so long that by the time the teacher reaches the end of reading them, they want to punch themselves in the face... And that often leads them to deduct points.... 

Okay so here is the point now. As I was watching the fireworks tonight (at the early celebration) I found myself not even able to focus on the beauty and majesty of the fireworks. My mind was running a mile-a-minute, and the last thing I could focus on was just how pretty the fireworks were. I was reflecting on the past, thinking of past 4th of Julys, writing mental checklists, feeling sorry for myself, and then being self-aware of thinking too much while watching the fireworks, and it was all just a vicious cycle. Basically, I was seeing the fireworks in front of me (they were very wonderful) but I wasn't even comprehending how pretty and sparkly they were. My mind was in a different place and I couldn't even take in the beauty of the moment. (It's kind of like how I am when forced to watch sports)... I have this look in my eyes that says 'I am totally paying attention to this game' but probably a little bit glossed over, and while I am watching I have no idea what is even going on. 

Well, I feel like this whole year has been like that for me. I have experienced so much beauty over the past year. I went to England, I experienced a wonderful senior year, I graduated, and yet I barely stopped to just "take it all in" for even a moment. I have sat around all summer feeling sorry for myself, planning way too much, and then freaking out that I haven't actually made use of any of my plans! Instead of enjoying what could be my last full summer at home with my family, I have only been thinking about the future and about what to do for college, what to pack for Rwanda, what am I gonna do for my future? Do I have clothes for college? And a bunch of other stuff that I can't even think of BECAUSE THERE IS SO MUCH. And yet it seems like I have nothing to do. 

I know I will look back and wish that I had taken it all in when I could. I know that things will not always be like this. I end up dwelling more on that fact than just enjoying the time as it is here. I want to encourage each of you to enjoy the moment and take it in right now. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, or the next week, or the next year, and goodness knows we only have so much life to live. God wants us to live life to the full and enjoy His rich blessings. He also wants us to share our joy with others and bring them to Him. That is really what it is about. But, like I said, he wants us to experience joy and show true joy to others. So, make the most of your time and do some things that you love, because the time is short. 

I am leaving soon to move 11 hours away from my parents and right now I am ecstatic. I know, however, that one day I will wish that I enjoyed this time a little more. Put your thoughts aside for a moment, take in the beauty of the fireworks, enjoy your two and a half hour movie, eat that piece of cake and savor it, because we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Nothing will ever be the same as it is now, maybe you are thankful for that... But someday, this time will be a memory for you. Please make it a good memory. Everyday has the chance to be a wonderful memory if you make it that way. 

Oh, and I am sorry. I really tried to find the "off" button for the mind and I couldn't ever find it. That sure would come in handy right now so I could maybe go to sleep. But, when one of you does figure out how to make that work, let me know, okay?