The one relationship that has surpassed any other, the one person who hasn’t betrayed me, the one thing in my life that I have never been more scared to live without, the one friend who gave their life for me, the single most important thing in my life – My first love.
I went back and forth between “Bride of the Messiah” or “Daughter of the King” and ended up with the latter. Iníon an rí. If my life has made me sure of anything, it’s that nothing is for sure. Even the best of intentions can end up ripping out your heart. I decided against the use of the word “bride.” I feel like it’s a fleeting and almost tainted word these days. Daughter, now daughter is something I can wear with pride and certainty.
What a beautiful and perfect way to describe my relationship with my first love, my creator, my true north. The God in heaven loves me enough to stick around and promises just that. No matter how many times I wander, no matter how many times I mess up by His or my own standards, no matter how many times I push him aside, He’s the only thing that has been constant in my life. He always speaks tenderly to me to call me back and to make sure I know that He’s there. That’s something to sing about if you ask me. That’s something to be reminded of daily.
I’m not perfect and don’t pretend to be. I’ll be the first to admit that there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t get it 100 percent correct. But I’ll also be the first to tell you that I have a weakness inside of me always thirsting for more. I’ll be the first to admit that my Heavenly Father has created me in His image and I will praise Him because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. In a world full of false hope, misunderstanding, heartache and pain, God is always there. Whether or not I feel that he is or even want him to be, he’s not going anywhere. What a declaration to be made. Like my position as a daughter here on earth, I’m stuck with what I’ve got :) and daddy’s stuck with me.
I am a daughter of The King of heaven and earth and loved just as that.
Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 33:13-15 – From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth – he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.
Midnight (local time) March 11th, I called my parents back in Houston so they could wish me feliz cumpleanos. Little did I know they'd have everyone there with a cake, beer, and Irish garb! It was such a nice surprise to get to see Grandma, Jeff, Robs, Nat, Bobby, Mom, Dad and even little ol' rat dog. I miss them all so much! My friends who weren't here when the skype birthday sesh was going on made comments the next day about "how cute" my family is or "how nice it was of them." It really started off my birthday wonderfully. And I hope that cake was good! I know exactly where the leftovers are sitting and let's hope there's not some still there when I get home in May. Thanks family, you're the best. Always have been.
Oh yeah, and Niamh and Ellen not so sneakily decorated my door and room with stickers, banners, and balloons. They're amazing.
The day of my birthday was relaxed to say the least. I went into town with the lads to get me a birthday outfit and ended up with even more presents. Anna got me a class Guinness lighter that is sitting on the shelf as we speak. I'm NOT losing that bad boy. Got the outfit, now time to head home to prep for the night. Ellen sent out invites to the entire Willow house and I was ready for my presents. After the party had gotten started rolling, all the lights were cut off and the cake was brought in. I know this is all sounding rather cheesy, but I haven't had a great birthday like this since I had a castle moon bounce in my backyard (was that even a birthday? Who knows). Anyway, they sang happy birthday and gave me my present. They got me a claddagh ring and a nice card that says, "Drinking TOO much on your birthday is bad for you. Just one glass... and keep filling it up!" I'd say that's a perfect fit for spending your 21st in Ireland.
I couldn't believe I got my claddagh ring. The heart is upside down, no worries padres - not in love. I had wanted to get this ring before I went home and it means so much more to me now that my friends got it for me. Overall, thanks EVERYONE for making my birthday super special! I'm expecting a round 2 when I get home. I also hope that yall feel really old now that one of the babies of the family is LEGAL.
For Aunt Kate - Light houses always make me think of you. The walk was long & freezing but I had to...
Newcastle - St. Nicholas Cathedral
View from the top of Castle Keep
My favorite stained glass from inside St. Nick's.
Niamh and I at a rubik's cube party in Sunderland!
My apologies for saying so little in this post. I have found that even in the worst of times, there is always something to be appreciated in God's world - architecture, history, locals, rolling hills, rivers, freezing winds, smelly pubs, the consistency of Starbucks, getting lost, free metros, even livestock. Find the pretty around you even when things aren't so great! xx
I finally made my way to Galway. I was a little resentful because NUIG failed to admit me to their school :) but I had to see the place. With only a few hours, I figured I'd rather get out of the city and see the bay. The pictures are from walking along the Promenade on the Galway Bay. I wanted to see the Aran Islands but I'll need to make sure I have a little more time instead of just a couple hours of daylight.
It's tradition to kick the wall at the end of the Prom. Even a local didn't really understand why... either way, don't ask questions. Do as they do!
I never in my life thought I'd make my way out to Paris. Although rushed and short on time, Paris was spectacular. It was different than I'd expected...bustling city, lots of people rushing around, beautiful architecture and the phantom of the opera himself!
We arrived in Paris around half eight and hurried our way to the Eiffel Tower. As we approached the tower I said, "This isn't real." I could say this over and over again, but I really never imagined going to Paris and it took it a while to sink in that I was actually there! The tower started its grand display of glittering lights and you could hear squeals and ooh-ahs throughout the ground. We went all the way to the top and got to see all of Paris lit up at night. It's a beautiful view up there!
The next day we had a bus tour and saw all the main attractions of Paris. The Arc de Triomphe, the opera house where the idea of Phantom of the Opera was created, the Louvre, Notre Dame, Luxembourg, the Pantheon and much more. Our hotel was in the Red Light District of Paris and we weren't too far from Moulin Rouge! It was nice to see everything in one sitting so next time I go I can actually live a little. I definitely need to go back and see Versailles!
Saturday night we had a group dinner at a little restaurant in the Latin Quarter. It was a quaint place where 7 loud, giggling Americans were a little out of place. I'm definitely going to hit up some French lessons before I go back. I realized I only knew about 3 words in French - hello, goodbye, and thank you...and I completely butchered them all.