I said I'd be back in a few days and it turned into a few weeks, and for that I apologize.
Things have been... batpoop crazy. In greatly magnificent and also gut-wrenchingly low sorts of ways. You understand how it goes... The culmination of moving + summer break + husband working all hours for a few weeks + being out in the country + packing & unpacking all on my own + turning THIRTY = many many many weepy meltdowns for this here mama.
The "end-in-sight" for all of this chaos was the big giant birthday/housewarming/barn dance party bash that we had planned for this past weekend. Both Chris and I felt like this party was going to be the exclamation point at the very end of this incredible one year journey we've been on... the one I recently told in eleven chapter installments here.
If you'll recall, I mentioned in the last chapter of that series how two friends in different parts of the country had dreams on the same night about a birthday/housewarming party for me that was being thrown in a barn. Little did I know then that my husband had already been scheming just such a party, even though the house with the barn wouldn't officially be ours for another few weeks. My friend Kathryn had told me that in her dream, I had been wearing a yellow dress.
Allow me to pick up the story where I left off a few weeks ago...
I hunted for that darn yellow dress for MONTHS. I ordered a couple different ones, but they just weren't "it", so I sent them back. I was starting to get frustrated and give up hope, when one night my husband and I got away for a bit and ended up wandering around in a thrift store right before they were closing. I was in the middle of telling Chris about how Ezra (my seven-year-old) had told me earlier that morning that he had been praying that I would find my yellow dress, because he knew it was important to me and that I hadn't been able to find it yet.
As I was telling Chris this sweet story in the thrift store that night, I had casually leaned up against a rack while I was talking to him. When I turned back around to keep looking at the clothes, I let out a little gasp. My had was resting right on top of a YELLOW DRESS! And not only any yellow dress, THE yellow dress! I knew it instantly.
We bought it and brought it home, and kept planning for the big birthday bash that would be taking place a couple of weeks after that. Chris' sister was going to fly in from Reno to be here for my birthday party, and so were two of my dear friends from Denver. We wanted everyone to be able to come out to the new house out in the country and celebrate and commemorate all that God had done in our lives. In the two weeks before the party, however, life got really hard, as it often times will. Chris was working himself into the ground, and yet the bills were piling up from endless unexpected expenses. I was barely making it through the days with the boys because I was feeling so overwhelmed. There were still a million things to do to the house to make it "perfect" and no time to get to them all. A few nights before the party, Chris and I found ourselves sitting across from each other, talking about the possibility of calling the whole thing off or at least postponing it for a while. We were at the end of our ropes and so bummed out.
But something deep down in our guts told us to hold on. Something told us to fight for the celebration that GOD himself had set in motion all those months ago. We just knew that we couldn't call it off... just because things suddenly felt so difficult! Not after all the dreams and joys and miracles we'd seen! We were going to FIGHT for this party as if our lives depended upon it, and that is exactly what we did. Over the next few days, both of us experienced an inexplicable increase in energy and strength and we were able to pull together and make everything happen that needed to happen. We both knew this was going to be a very important night for us, and the expectation was building with every passing day.
July 13th finally came. My two friends from Denver pulled up to the house in a rental car and proceeded to pull 30 giant yellow balloons out of the backseat. Things were starting with a bang! Literally. Because I popped a couple of them trying to get them in the front door. haha.
My sister-in-law, Candace, and my friends from Denver, Courtney & Rebecca, all pulled together with Chris and I and helped us get everything set up for the party. They made a big vat of yummy sangria and helped me decorate and made the whole day completely joyful and fun. We could NOT have done it without their help!
The time came for me to get all dolled-up. I was excited to slip into my yellow dress and put the fascinator in my hair that I had ordered from ModCloth for the occasion. :)
We all took some goofy pictures in front of the fireplace before the guests started arriving, because, well... because we are so very awesome! hehe.
People started to arrive and we chatted and showed them around the house and ate yummy treats and it was a wonderful time. The one thing that was weighing on my heart was the fact that it was such a blaring-hot day outside. I had been praying for months that God would do a miracle and make it some freakishly cool day in mid-July for the party so that we could all be cool enough to dance in the barn and roam outside and enjoy the gorgeous property. All that day it had been HOT, and there was nothing in the forecast indicating that it would cool down at all that evening. I tried to resign myself to the fact.
But, wouldn't you know it, right before sunset, some clouds started building to the North of us, and a cool breeze started blowing through the trees! We could see lightning far off in the distance and felt a few tiny drops of rain. The temperature dropped significantly, and the clouds created the most spectacular sunset for all of us to enjoy. It was the most amazing thing!!!! I was jumping up and down for joy and every fiber of my being was praising God for answering that prayer of mine. I couldn't believe it!
Chris had worked so hard the night before getting the barn all decorated and ready for the big dance party. He hung up Christmas lights and organized all of his work stuff and set up make-shift tables and got some tiki torches in place. The end result was absolutely magical.
More people started to show up, and Chris gathered everyone together to tell them how thankful we were that they were here to celebrate such a special time with us, and he showered me with love in front of all of my friends, making me blush and giggle and snort with love and gratitude. I have never felt so loved and cherished as I did on this night, surrounded by the people I love so dearly. It was the best birthday party in the history of ever.
Once the sun went down, the dancing started. And it. was. EPIC.
My husband DJ-ed the evening and everyone was dancing like crazy. We were hot and sweaty and loving every minute of it! I felt the joy of God and His pleasure on us as we jumped around like crazy people and allowed ourselves to cut loose and really celebrate all He'd done! It was amazing and I will never forget it.
When I got too hot, I changed into another dress I had on hand that was a bit more airy and easy to dance in. :) At the end of the crazy dancing, Chris had everyone sing happy birthday to me, and I felt like the luckiest girl in the world to have such friends and family as these.
To end the night properly, we put on some sigur ros and got ready to launch some hugenormous fireworks into the sky. It felt so surreal, seeing those explosions of color over my head, and knowing that every detail of this celebration had been orchestrated by a God who loves me so.
That night, after everything was mostly tidied up and I finally fell into my bed after 1AM, I could not fall asleep because of the giant smile on my face. And traces of that smile are still lingering on my face even as I type this. It was the best night of my life, aside from the night that I finally got to marry Christopher Clark. :) A huge THANK YOU to all who came and joined us, to Rebecca and Courtney who came all the way from denver to be a part, to my sweet sister Candace for making the whole week special, and to my husband who worked tirelessly to pull everything together... just so I could feel like the most special girl on the earth for a night. And, oh! I did!!! God is so good for allowing me to have such a closing chapter on a story that began 365 days before this night, and I hope and pray that HE gets all the glory for bringing my family & I into this amazing new day. May He bring all of you who've reached out to me over the past few months with similar feelings of stirring and restlessness into your new days as well! Thank you so much again for reading along and being a part of the past year of our lives!
ps. the before & after pics of the house will be up soooooon! woo hoo! :)