30 Things To Do Before 30

30-before-30.pngI don’t think I ever made a list of 30 Things To Do Before Turning 30. I surely must have made that list at some point, but I went through my old emails and documents, and I can’t find anything saved digitally. I guess I’m showing my age… “When I was a girl, we used to write lists out by hand!” Ha.

Rather than scoring myself on that never-to-be-found-handwritten list (of what I did and did not accomplish by age 30), I will instead list out 30 Things I Did Before 30 – all of which are things I feel like could have been on my list!

  1. Dance in a ballet
  2. Sing for my supper
  3. Get a hole-in-one
  4. Watch a total lunar eclipse
  5. Score a goal in a soccer game
  6. Save a life
  7. Sing with someone famous
  8. Get paid to sing
  9. Shoot a 9mm pistol
  10. Go white water rafting
  11. Visit all 50 states
  12. Graduate Magna Cum Laude
  13. Earn an EMT certification
  14. Go on an international mission trip
  15. Earn an engineering degree
  16. Travel internationally for work
  17. Perform with David Copperfield in Vegas
  18. See a Broadway show in NYC
  19. Read through the entire bible in a year
  20. Get paid to photograph a wedding
  21. Visit Neuchvanstein
  22. Run a 5k
  23. Perform an original composition live
  24. Go on a blind date
  25. Get copyrighted
  26. Release an original album on iTunes
  27. Get paid for artwork
  28. Give a speech to 1,000+ people
  29. Share the Gospel with a stranger
  30. Watch a meteor shower with someone I love

Man. It’s been a good 30 years.

Authentically Aurora

Fostering Hope for Foster Kids

Foster BabysitterPart of the human condition is to long for what we don’t have. Every season of life, we reach for the next or dwell on the past. Single people want to be married. Married couples sometimes wish they were still single. Students wish they were finished with school and out in the “real world”. Those of us working in the corporate realm sometimes long for the freedom of being back at university.

When I was in high school, everything I did was striving toward the goal of getting into West Point. I was the captain of my soccer team, president of my Girl Scout troop, an officer of the National Charity League, member of both student council and National Honor Society, as well as a straight-A student.

I was not the kid whose parents pushed them to work harder, study more and get better grades. I actually got grounded from reading. My parents insisted that I start getting Bs and Cs and that I go out and play more. They had the wisdom I did not at that age; that life is short, and if we are always straining for the next season without enjoying the present, what kind of life is that?

Now instead of feeling perpetually angry and frustrated because I dislike my job, feel unappreciated at work and am pushing 30 with no true marriage prospects in sight, I want to enjoy this season of singleness. There is so much I can do in this chapter of life where I have freedom from spousal responsibility. My parents are still in good health. I have no husband, no children and no pets. I am freer than I will ever be. The world is my oyster.

Last Sunday, I went to an information session on being certified to be a babysitter for foster kids. Did you know that foster parents can only hire certified babysitters to watch their foster children? God has placed within me a longing to build people up and inspire them to be who they were created to be. I am excited about the possibility of learning the unique passions and talents of the foster kids I babysit and then bringing a corresponding project for us to work on together.

I could bring my guitar and write songs with kids interested in music. I could bring my spare SLR camera and teach artistic kids about the light triangle and the effects of adjusting aperture settings. I could bring model airplane sets or a book of logic puzzles. The possibilities are endless. Each activity would be tailored to the needs and interests of each individual foster child.

I would love to spark to flame the inner potential of these kids so many others have overlooked. My heart longs to heal the hurting and uplift the downtrodden; to encourage those without hope and speak truth into those plagued by insecurity. God has placed within me a desire to, in the words of Frederick Buechner, help others find “the place where [their] deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Authentically Aurora

A Wedding Toast

Champagne-Wedding-ToastThey say the secret to any good toast is:

Make ’em laugh…

…and then make ’em cry.

Yesterday, I achieved success on both fronts.

Howdy! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Aurora, Patrick’s big sister. Having me for a big sister growing up, Patrick got really used to being bossed around. So Kristy, he comes pre-trained. You’re welcome.

Patrick and I used to both play soccer, so sometimes we’d play on the driveway, and I’d “let” him be goalie so I could practice taking shots on him. And at Halloween, I’d “let” him have all of my tootsie rolls in exchange for his Snickers bars. I know, I’m the best sister ever.

Actually though, Patrick was the one who trained me. I’m a quality time person, and if I wanted to spend quality time with him, I had to do what he was doing – which usually meant playing video games, as Kristy well knows by now. I remember waking up some mornings over the summer in high school and hearing the sounds of “Final Fantasy” come drifting through my bedroom. I’d tiptoe downstairs and snuggle next to him while he played. 

We had a really sweet relationship growing up. Patrick is a manly man, but he has a sweet heart. Now, this is top secret information, but all of the kids in our family are really chocolate covered marshmallows. We have a tough exterior, but if you crack that hard candy shell, we’re all gooey underneath.

I love my little brother, and I’ve always hoped he would find someone who would appreciate the duality of his toughness and his sweetness. And I’m so glad that he met Kristy, because she is one of the kindest, most selfless women I’ve ever met. She and Patrick are both givers, not takers, and I have no doubt they will be successful in their marriage because they will always be looking to the needs of the other and, more importantly, they have the foundation of Jesus Christ, and we know that a cord of three strands is not easily broken.

So let’s all raise our glasses to Patrick and Kristy. Love you both.

Authentically Aurora