Wednesday, June 24, 2015
MY FIRST QUARTER CENTURY....
I had been wanting to be a river rat since the first hints of summer SO
I kinda planned my own birthday extravaganza the weekend before my bid day.
(which surprised NO ONE that I planned something....even if it was for myself)
In my defense, I felt like the 25th birthday was a pretty big deal.
I kinda feel like it's the last "young" birthday I will celebrate......
even though we all know I will celebrate every year!
Truly though, I just imagined a birthday weekend with the ones I love the most.....
thankful that it worked out exactly that way!!
It was a gorgeous day on the Tallapoosa!
Lance & Dana : my other brother and sister. Thankfully they have me by just a couple years so they have looked out after me the past 25 years by giving me good advice or just being there to listen!
They nurtured my college years since we were all in the same city in Auburn.
They took me to Wednesday night church services and included me in Bible studies where my Spiritual Walk took major leaps! I love their boys to pieces and have enjoyed watching them grow over the years. They both pray for me and encourage me in all that I do!
Dana is truly my sister in heart and my best prayer warrior!!
She shares God's Word with me and helps me to learn more about Him!
We get each other...kindred spirits!
Their hugs and love are more than I can explain in words and trying to describe our family bond would never be possible in a paragraph.
Too many memories together over the past 25 years......
They remember when I was born, walking down their aisle at their wedding and then mine, every graduation and road or plane trips!!!
I love you both and your boys so much!!
Thanks for making so many moments in my first quarter century SO VERY SPECIAL just by being there and being you!!
My other brother, Taylor Craven.
Oh this sweet boy!
I remember the day he was born.
Since then we have played together many a days!!
I have loved every second of watching him grow up into the kind, handsome and smart young man he is today. He has always been the one to never get upset of my dramatic or bossy ways. He always gives me the biggest hugs and smiles. He gets my competitive spirit and laughs off my craziness!
I am thankful that God allowed us to be so close and live in the same town our whole lives thus far!
I love you bigger than you will ever know Tay!!
Nin-Nin & Bubba: They helped raise me.
Literally. They have been with me since that first cry 25 years ago!
From being the flower girl at their wedding to Bubba crying in the shower the day after mine.
I have been on many mad shopping sprees with Nin-Nin.
Ridden with her on many road trips even just those winding roads of 33 to school!
She always makes things special and sentimental for me!
She is always ready for an adventure and nothing is every too big or small for her to handle.
They never miss anything.
Always ready for a party or to help do something for someone else!
Bubba used to do dance recitals with me while Nin-Nin always helped make sure I had the perfect outfit for any occasion. She is the planner like me....we have many ways alike.
She always keeps the family together by planning get-togethers even if it is by her pool in the backyard! She never forgets anything. If I tell her...I consider it done!
She loves me, Trey and Taylor bigger than I will ever really know.
Bubba does too....we are just their kiddos.
Thankful for these two always and forever.
I could never really keep count of all they have done and how much they have loved me all these years!
Thanks for conquering the Tallapoosa with me and enduring the past 25 years as my Nin-Nin & Bubba.....you deserve medals!!!
Laura was one of the sweet ladies who was apart of the Wednesday night Bible studies.
Her spunk and love for Jesus quickly captured my attention.
We soon traveled to Vegas together where we learned that our
friendship would be forever....
we had an instant bond.
I was amazed at her strength when Stewart was deployed.
I prayed for this family for many months as he was away.
I have shared some fun times with her, Stewart and their 2 precious girls.
She stood beside me on my wedding day and danced that night away with me as well as several other nights. Obviously we are not only best of friends but amazing dance partners too!!
She gives great advice and is such a great listener.
We have shared a story or few of them over great lunches, girls nights and pedicures!
I am thankful that she always encourages me and prays for me and my family often.
It is always a fun time when the Robbins are around.
Always good laughs....even on my back porch into the weee hours of the morning!!
The Williamsons: Chris & Shannon are sweet friends and I am so glad we got to see them on the river! Chris even got the crowd joined in for the "Happy Birthday" song just for me! He is one of the most hard working and dependable guys I know. His laid back and sweet spirit make you want to hang out with him more. He has helped Zack so much at the farm and hunting camp.
What a blessing to call them our friends!!!
Marty: He will retire from the Tallapoosa Wilds this year. It was a fun run for several years though. He has "put my butt in the river" a time or two!
The Halls: Wow. Another couple that is going to be hard to express in one paragraph.
They know us (ZB & I) warts and all....and they still love us!
They have known us our whole lives, nurtured our childhoods, survived our dating years, blessed our wedding events and now helped us conquer almost 5 years of marriage!
They have celebrated many birthdays with me over the past 25 years!
They are definitely some of our favorite traveling buddies.
If we can ever get the boys to break away from the farm....a good time is bound to happen.
We have been from NYC to Montana to Colorado and to the islands of Jamaica!
Never a dull moment in our crowd and always a little craziness!
SO thankful for their unconditional love, help, support and encouragement our whole lives!!
We love you and your boys so much!!!
The back porch party lasted awhile....
Roo had her pixie sticks in hand regardless.
The day of my birthday....
June 23 - landed on a Tuesday!
SO I took a day off to hang with the precious lady who brought me into the world 25 years ago.
No, she does not look a day over 25 herself but I promise she is my MOMMA!
Mammy treated me to a morning at Auburn Spa where I was anything from scrubbed in sea salt to massaged by hot stones. Then we enjoyed lunch at my favorite place on The Plains, Acre. We even were seated in my favorite corner window seat.
SO my Mammy. She loved me before I was even born. She prayed for me and my future even then.
She has taught me how to love and give.
She has taught me how to somewhat be a free spirit and let go of unimportant
yet embrace importance.
She taught me how to not only be a Southern belle but mostly a Princess.
She encouraged me imagination and child-like fun!
She has helped me to enjoy the simple life yet jump into the world and explore.
All my most favorite memories include her. She is never scared of anything and always ready to explore. She gets me when no one else does....even when I am going the ugly cry and acting completely ridiculous....Mammy gets me and she knows how to handle me. With that being said, she knows even how to put me in my place in love so I don't get sassy!
She loves me unconditionally and never passes judgement.
She is a helper always and has the biggest giving heart of anyone I know.
She helps me to see the good in every situation.
She has taught me to always say something positive and if it ain't nice, bite my tongue or tell her in private if I just absolutely have to vent!!
We have made many road trips together and recently many flights!
She raised me and cheered me on every step to 25!
She never missed a thing.
so I wouldn't even start trying to name moments because....in 25 years....there have been A LOT!
We have home videos and pictures to prove it!!
She is my #1, talk every single day best friend!
I wouldn't ever want to do life without her.
So thankful that God has given me 25 beautiful years with her and I pray for many many more!
I love you more than I could ever show Mammy.....thanks for being the Queen to your Princess!
Little did I know....
ZB and Mammy had been scheming.....
a big SURPRISE was waiting on me after my spa day!
This was the first guy I ever loved and will always be my Daddy's Sambo.
He has loved me since the day we met 25 years ago.
He sacrificed and worked hard to give me everything I needed and more!
There was never a day I wasn't treated like a princess.
He has cheered on every sideline I've ever been apart of and ready to fight in my corner at any given opportunity.
We have too many memories together to name.....
He has never missed anything that I have been apart of and is always there and proud!!
He has taught me strength, determination and teamwork.
He has taught me how to be a good competitor.
He has taught me how to stand up for myself.
He has taught me how to never give up and take one day at a time.
He has taught me to always be honest.
He has taught me to not be afraid.
He has taught me to take responsibility for my actions and be responsible in general.
He has taught me how to be organized and plan ahead.
He has taught me to help others and give generously.
He is my number one handy man!
He can handle any project I give him.
I never have to worry about anything if my Daddy tells me he will do it!
We happen to be a lot alike....he loves big and as tough as he is....
he is very sentimental and sensitive.
He has taught me how to cherish memories and moments
and to an extent be a hoarder (we sure hate throwing things away)!
He has been a great life coach!
He is not just my daddy and I'm not just his baby girl.
We are friends forever and family.
So thankful that God made you my Daddy.
I really can't name all that you have taught me and continue to help me with.....
I truly will never be able to show or tell you how much I love you!
Thanks for being there for me and loving me!!
Momma Lynn & Big Danny: These are my other parents!
They have loved me even before I was officially family in 2010.
Mrs.Lynn met me in 1996 as my first grade teacher.
Big Danny grew to love me throughout junior high when I spent the night at their house every other night with Leigh.
They spoil me rotten and treat me just like their own.
They love me unconditionally even when I am not so very lovable or OCD planning family events. They appreciate me and respect me.
They make memories fun for us as a family.
They have been faithful to keep our family together and create special quality time together like Sunday lunches to beach trips!
Big Danny has always kept me laughing and makes the best meals ever....
he is the reason I am going to blame for me weight gain since marriage hehehehe
The man makes cornbread salad that I would slap my momma for (just joking Mammy)!
Momma Lynn is faithful to pray for us and oh The Lord knows we need it!
She has been committed to several Bible studies with me over the past 25 years that have completely changed my life forever.
I also loved being her teacher's aid and partner at Children's Choir after school days as well as sharing so many VBS memories!
Again, there are just too many memories with these two to name.
I am so thankful they raised their son to be the man of my dreams
and welcomed me as another daughter with open arms and lots of fun!!!
PaPa John & Granny: Where to begin....
I've been their little superstar since Day 1 of the past 25 years.
I am THE BABY GIRL but I am certain that even
if I were not the only granddaughter I would still be the favorite! hehehe
These two have supported and encouraged me from my
very first dance recital to graduate school graduation.
Even before that they introduced me into the living room
as "Shania Twain" and watched every concert I performed with Granny's slips on.
I was also an Olympic gymnast at the tennis courts on base when I wasn't getting attacked by wild geese. We traveled many miles in the big red van and the little tempo to Montgomery, Dollar General and Fantails all while listening to the likes of N-Sync or Destiny's Child.
They both know every word of "Say My Name" I think!
AEA weeks were absolutely the best!
Every year they SING to me on my birthday and this year was no different.....
they are the perfect duet and I'm sure glad they are mine!!
I love you two more that you will ever know.
Paw-Paw Rick: He has always been so proud of me!
He never missed an event and was ready to cheer me on!
I always remember him making Christmas so exciting.
He went all out with decorations and lights and made sure
we were surprised with awesome presents!!
I love hearing him tell old stories of the past and of our family.
He was telling me about my first tricycle that I referred to as me "sick-sick".
He put it together for me and I was sitting on the seat as he screwed it together.
I love his sweet notes in his cards and his phone calls or texts always checking in on us!
He is forever special to me and will never know how much I love him!
Maw-Maw: I was her very first grand-girl.
She has loved me and made me feel special for 25 years.
She always loves showing us off to her friends and co-workers.
I remember her singing "You are my sunshine" and sharing her coffee with me as a little girl.
She has always been a part of all the amazing moments the past 25 years.
She attended every beauty pageant, prom and graduation.
She danced the night away with me at my wedding.
She saved many, many pictures to prove it too!
She is a proud Maw-Maw and I am thankful she is mine!!
I love you more than you will ever know!
Fair-Fair: My sweet aunt who taught me my first cheer moves!
We had some fun memories riding in the cougar and she made my high school years
incredibly fun! She never missed anything I was a part of and was always snapping pictures to help
me remember the moments!
She is my right hand lady when I need help especially with anything crafty!
She has used her beautiful calligraphy on many a poster boards for campaigns and parades for me!
She has such a giving and helpful heart.
She has the best decorating and gift ideas!
She has made many many moments in my first 25 years very special.
Too many memories to count.....
I love you and am so thankful you are not only my aunt but a friend!!!
Aunt Mollie: My BFF for life!
We have solved many of the world's problems on her porch.
She has always kept up with every single thing I was involved in
(talk about making a lady's head spin)
She helps me arrange flowers, cook and prepare for special events.
We love a good yard sale or thrift store together.
We have the best stories and share big belly laughs!
She has taught me how to love my family and be there for them.
Words will never describe our special bond.
If she wants to move to the farm when I do....
her room is available!
I love you forever and always Mollie Ann!
The Baileys: We grew up together.
Zack and AB were super close cousins that ruled Bailey St.
ZB and Lacy began Kindergarten together and finished out their 12th grade year still in the same class. Lacy and I shared different memories together through out high school years from cheering to softball! Adam had to hang out with me through middle school and junior high at his house with Hannah and weekends at the hunting camp. After we all grew up, we have been blessed to live close enough for me and Lacy to run some together but even more pray together. It's been amazing to see God answer our prayers for our families and babies! What answered prayers are Bristol and Mrs.Theresa that I witnessed and interceded for in my first 25 years!
We love hanging out with you guys always! Thank you for celebrating special times with us!
Well...no words except much much love!
The four of us go WAY WAY back.
There is not much that we don't know about each other or haven't experienced together...
good, bad and/or crazy!!
Some of our most favorite memories of course include us being together.
I am so thankful we all sincerely support and encourage one another.
Always helping and looking out for each other.
Then, they made us ZB & Honey.
Blakely and Emmy will never know how much JOY they have brought to my life at the end of this first quarter century!! I never knew being a Honey would be this much FUN!
I could never capture my heart for this family in words....
I love you all to the moon and back a hundred times a million!!!
Derrick is my sweet cousin who I have shared family gatherings with throughout the past 25 years. He has never changed. Always had the same sweet smile and precious heart!
He and ZB hit it off the very first Christmas ZB attended.
They have been inseparable ever since.
Duke partied with us through my college years and it must go on record that the boy can dance!
Jenny entered our family jsut a few years ago but was an instant fit that feels like she has been with us forever. We have already made many fun memories together from just cooking out at the house to couple's beach trips!
They shared their special wedding day with us at our farm!
It was an amazing weekend of celebrating.
Then The Lord gave us beautiful Caroline!!
Oh how we love you 3 beyond what we can show!!!
Caitlin and I began Kindergarten together and have been best friends since!
We have many many many memories from The Country Club, horseback riding catastrophes, raising goats and puppies, dancing and surviving wild road trips (when we always got lost) with our sweet moms. She is a forever friend who keeps me laughing. She amazes me at how very strong she is....it takes my breath away at how much God has worked in and through her life the past 25 years!!
Then she met Scott. I couldn't have hand-picked a better match!!!
This guy became my instant friend and make me belly laugh just by being around him for one minute!! If I ever need to be cheered up - search no further that this couple.
I admire their faithful prayer life, dedication, support and faithfulness to each other!
It has been an honor to pray with them over the past few years.....
and watch GOD ANSWER...
Brelynn is a prayer I get to hold!
SO thankful and excited to say that my 25th Surprise Birthday Party
was BRELYNN'S FIRST OUTING/PARTY EVER!!!!
I am also certain that when I held her...she smiled!!!
Yep, she loves her Honey!!!!
I saved the best for last......
My best friend.
The one who now sees ans experiences it all with me
and still loves, supports and encourages me.
I listened to a sermon not long ago about men and their wives.
A wife is suppose to be able to:
CLING - hold onto her husband and feel secure/safe
CLIMB - he helps her to grow, always standing behind her and pushing her forward
CLUSTER - because of his continual support she produces fruit, she is able to help others because he is supporting and helping her
Zack allows me to do all of that!!!
He has helped me to accomplish much and see more of the world in my
first 25 years than most have in a lifetime!!
I am where I am at 25 because he has been there and done all those things for me.
If my tiny mind calculates correctly we have celebrated about 12 of my birthdays together!
Every year he embraces me "pulling the birthday card".
This year was no different.
He always makes me feel like a princess but then when needed brings me back to reality.
I am so thankful for his honest, kind, generous and BIG heart!
He has worked so hard to give me everything I have ever needed and wanted!
He strives to leave a good legacy for our family to be proud of....
that I am...very proud of him!
I fell in love with him many birthdays ago but every year my love changes...
it gets bigger and better every year.
I appreciate him more that I will ever able to express in words.
We are far from perfect, I am no Juliet and he is no Romeo.....
more like Johnny and June maybe....a little rough around the edges....
but I wouldn't have it any other way!!!
There is not one other person in the world (not even George Strait himself)
that I would want to light my candles on my birthday cakes
or come home to every night!
I know that this next quarter century is going to be a new season of life for us
AND I'M EXCITED!
on the way home Saturday night....
he nonchalantly pulled out a Wares bag.
I opened to find this charm for my Pandora bracelet!!
Talk about melting a girls heart.....
a tiny house to symbolize this year.....
The Baggett Forever Farmhouse...
I love you as long as I have birthday times forever ZB.
So blessed to be your Baby Girl!