Reflections on my 26th Birthday!

Today is my 26th birthday.

My 9,126th day!

I'm getting ready to celebrate my 219,024th hour lived!

Crazy!

Life.

It's crazy.

Today was such a perfect day. I woke up to breakfast in bed thanks to my amazing fiance and his wonderful mother who started the birthday tradition! A chai tea latte and oatmeal, y'all! My request. :) I then headed off for a morning masssage. It was hands down the best massage of my entire life. I've been to this spa numerous times, but today's trip was the best, by far! Elsa was my masseuse. I'll never forget her (thanks Frozen)!

I then came home and spent the late morning and early afternoon doing work that I love before heading to the gym for a quick workout. Showered. Got dolled up. Then met my man downtown for an early birthday dinner. We walked by The Cheesecake Factory on our way back to the car, so naturally we grabbed two slices to bring home for dessert. And now, here I sit writing this.

It's a wonderful life.

It's so amazing how much has changed since my 25th birthday last year. Last year on my birthday, I was the proud owner of a granola business that I had just moved across the country from North Carolina to Colorado. I was nannying for a wonderful family of 3 awesome kiddos and also working for a children's cooking school. Grit and Glitter Co. was still a dream. I didn't even own the domain. No website. No blog. Just a heart's dream. Josh and I hadn't even begun to plan our wedding. We weren't even remotely considering getting a dog. Actually, we had agreed that we wouldn't even consider it until after the wedding (life's funny). And life was great.

I filmed this video exactly one year ago! :)

Now, here I sit, exactly one year later. I closed the granola business four months ago. And all that remains is a commercial juice press I've yet to sell and the keepsakes I'll hold onto forever. I no longer nanny for that family. It's been almost a year since I've seen them. I still work for the children's cooking school. Grit and Glitter Co. is a very real thing and has already morphed into something different than it's initial creation. And I'm launching a freaking podcast!!! Say, WHAT!? Our wedding is in less than five months and nearly everything is planned. Say, WHAT!? We have dog!! Say, WHAT?! A big dog! And he has consumed such a large piece of my heart that sometimes it can hardly contain all of the love that I have for that hairy love bug!! And he's almost one year old! And we're talking about getting another one! (In other news, we may be a little crazy! But hey, crazy makes life so much more fun!!!)

And life is utterly amazing.

It's far more than I ever could have dreamed it would be. I try to count my blessings every day, but my heart often explodes with gratitude before I can finish. I'm still finding the silver lining in every dark day and dreaming bigger than my heart can handle. I'm laughing as much as my lungs can handle, loving as much as my heart can bear, and living as big as I possibly can.

I know it sounds peachy and pretty. And to be honest, it is. But it hasn't always been. These beautiful 26 years of life have brought with them many a dark, cloudy, stormy year. I've experienced my fair share of heartache and been knocked down more times than I can count. I've cried ... a lot. I've yearned for more ... for better ... a lot. I've felt totally and utterly defeated. I know the feeling of nothing and of everything. I know what it feels like to hurt worse than your heart can seem to bear. And I know what it feels like to love more than your heart can handle.

The truth is that the beauty doesn't lie in the peachy, pretty years and moments, though. It lies in the journey between the dark into the light. The bad to the good. The beauty of life is found amidst the struggles, when you find yourself standing up after being knocked down. That's where the true beauty lies. Because it's in those moments that you realize the sun is still shining somewhere behind those clouds, but you never would have appreciated it's beauty had the light not been covered by darkness.