29.

Twenty nine years ago, yesterday - My mama, who was also 29 years old at the time, brought me into this world. I weighed 6lbs, 11oz and measured at 19 inches long. Mama says my Granddaddy went on and on about how "tiny" I was and that because I was so little, something was obviously wrong with me. Apparently, it slipped his mind that he too had a TINY daughter and typically, the apple doesn't fall far. Even if it rolls a little...

I'm not big on birthdays. I clam up and get really nervous if I have to open presents in front of people and the thought of being in one of those restaurants, where they sing and clap for you on your birthday, is enough to send me into hiding. I don't have a "birthday week", I don't take off from work, and you'll never hear me utter the words, "but, it's my birthday". In fact, most of time I'd rather carry on about the day as if it were any other normal day... because to me, it is.

Um, the Strawberry Shortcake cupcake from Gigi's... y'all. To. Die. For.

Um, the Strawberry Shortcake cupcake from Gigi's... y'all. To. Die. For.

Also, it POURED rain all day on my birthday - so I had a rough hair day.

Also, it POURED rain all day on my birthday - so I had a rough hair day.

Something about this birthday was different. I was vastly aware that it was happening whether I chose to acknowledge it or not. On one hand, I couldn't wait to get it over with (28 was rough) and at the same time, I wanted to hold on to it for the fear that yet another year was going by. A year that in some ways, I felt I'd wasted because I didn't accomplish the things I had wanted to or the opportunities that I was banking on, didn't work out. Today, I'm the same age my Mom was when she had me. At the time, she and my dad were living in a single wide trailer in Castle Hayne, NC. They were broke and clueless. But, something about being the same age as my Mom was, when her world changed by having me, really resonated inside. Part of me felt incredibly proud of myself and where I am. I live in a well kept, adorable house about fifteen minutes outside of Nashville. I moved away from home and I get to travel - meeting new people, seeing new places, and making music for a living. I'm taking care of myself, I make smart decisions financially, and I'm in a really happy marriage. #winning. But I also felt incredibly disappointed about turning 29. I'm chasing a dream that sometimes (ok, most of the time) seems impossible. I've accomplished a lot with my career and yet there are so many goals that I'd thought I would have achieved by now.

So, I wallowed in self-pity for a hot-minute and then I started reflecting on my 28th year. I said earlier, 28 was rough. I went through a few unexpected changes with my body which resulted in colossal emotions and sometimes, depression. Let me tell you, in a job where you constantly have to be your own cheerleader of positivity and encouragement, this was not good. I said, "I quit" to the music business more times this year than ever. Shouldn't that happen the first year you're trying something new and it's REALLY hard? I've been doing music full-time professionally for seven years! But, once I met with my Doctor, targeted the culprit, and quickly corrected what was happening biologically - I remembered things weren't as bad as I thought (they never are, am I right?) I made more friends in Nashville this past year than I had since we moved here. Girls, that I'm really bonding with and we're forming a sort of sisterhood. I've made peace with what I thought this career would look like and what it's really like. I made career changes that were difficult but ultimately made me happier and fulfilled me more creatively. I've got a husband I'm still crazy about and he's still crazy about me too. I got more involved with our church and started paying more attention to my relationship with God - which brought me more joy than I could have imagined. And, I discovered another passion of mine: volunteering. So while 28 was filled with what seemed like more downs and than ups, I really learned a lot about who I am and who I want to become - and there are things I'm still learning and still hope to learn.

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CHAMBRAY BUTTON DOWN SHIRT: Crown & Ivy, similar here. | DISTRESSED JEANS: Old Navy, similar here. | LEOPARD/CORAL SANDALS: Rampage, here.

WATCH: Citizen Eco Drive, here. | RIGHT-HAND RING: David Yurman, here.


I'VE LEARNED...

...it's okay to not know what you're doing with your life. | It's okay to not be okay. | It's okay to feel really proud and happy for yourself. | Just because it seems like everyone around you is doing something, doesn't mean you have to be doing it too. | Someone's success doesn't define or compete with my success - their story has no hold on mine. | Tearing down someone else won't get you any further. | It's not about how many friends you have, but the one great one that's always there... with wine. | It's okay to walk away from friendships that aren't good for you. | And it's okay to miss those friendship and think about them sometimes. | It's okay to feel relieved that they're over too. | Being 100% transparent and honest is brave and people will like you more for it - you'll like yourself more too. | I've learned I'm not always right. | Hormones suck. The irritating acne that I was so fortunate to never find at 15, I found at 28. | Not everyone is going to like what I do or think I'm great. | People will say cruel things behind their computer screens about they way I look or sing but usually, their words have nothing to do with me and everything to do with their own insecurities. | I won't get invited to everything but that doesn't mean I'm not liked or unwanted. | What I have planned for myself will be totally different from how it really unfolds. | Life is full of surprises. Everything and anything can change in a second. | I've learned how to apologize. | The dishes, the laundry, the "to-do" list - it can wait. | What you think a person may be going through can be COMPLETELY different from what's actually happening. | Worrying too much about things that don't really matter is a waste of time and energy. | It's okay to say No. | Marriage is hard but it's beautiful and fulfilling. | There is power in prayer. 


I'M LEARNING...

...my body is strong and beautiful the way it is. | My worth is measured by how much I love myself, not by how many Instagram "likes" I have. | Mama's are usually right. | I can't control everything. | How to love my husband the way HE needs to be loved. | How to talk to God like a friend. | How to be honest and transparent. | I'm learning how to apologize. | There are people in the world who would give anything to trade places with me... even on my worst day. | Yesterday can only have as much affect on today as I let it. | Every day is a new beginning with a new promise. | I'm learning how to trust God and his timing. | Comparison is a disease and it can ruin you. | There are still good people in the world. | God is going to ask me to walk through doors that sometimes end up closing too quickly, but he has good intentions. | People I don't even know believe in me and support what I'm doing. | How to love myself unconditionally. | Patience.
 


I HOPE TO LEARN...

More patience. ;)

 

In all honesty, 28 was tough but it wasn't all bad. I realize there are people in this world who are going through things WAY worse than anything I've ever been through - I recognize that and my heart is with them. But for me personally, it sort of sucked. For things I couldn't control and things that I could. But I'm greatly aware of how good it WAS because no matter what happened or how I felt, I was surrounded by people who love me and care about me. Whether life handed me what I thought I wanted or not, I am blessed with more than I deserve. So, while you won't see me throwing a party for myself any time soon, this year I am welcoming my birthday with open arms.


My sincerest thanks to everyone who took the time to call/text/message/send birthday wishes. You sure know how to make a girl feel loved, xoxo.

My sincerest thanks to everyone who took the time to call/text/message/send birthday wishes. You sure know how to make a girl feel loved, xoxo.


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