I don’t know about you

*Warning: cheesy Taylor Swift reference to follow.

I’ve waited a long time to sing 22 on my 22nd birthday. When the song first came out, I just really hoped I would still want to jam to it when I was 22. No worries 18 -year -old Riley, you listened to it on repeat all day long.

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First of all, THANK YOU all so much for the incredible amount of birthday LOVE yesterday. Yesterday was a blessing indeed, so it only feels right to write in my favorite diary today.

From being awakened at 6:30am by my roomies singing Happy Birthday at the top of their lungs, to mom’s lipstick and flowers delivery, to my sweetest pals supplying me with coffee, to a surprise celebration at the Mayor’s office, to finding flowers waiting on me when I returned home, to eating cake and celebrating with the greatest of friends to being showered in confetti and dancing the night away, I could not have asked for a sweeter way to kick off 22. Oh, and thanks mom for making my dream of owning blue suede shoes come true.

I’ve always heard quotes that talk about light shining the brightest in the dark, or joy being the happiest in sad times. These past few days have proven this to be beyond true. In the midst of birthday craziness and excitement, my Great Uncle Troy left us for Heaven. Amongst these birthday festivities, my family and I were celebrating the life of my sweet Uncle. Now, attending a wake and a funeral during your bday doesn’t necessarily sound ideal, right? It was a crazy mixture of emotions alright. Trying to celebrate one minute, and crying the next. I can tell you one thing, during this incredibly sad time, my family and I experienced insane joy. I am so thankful for a family who loves so BIG. It’s true, joy shines so much brighter in the midst of a tragedy. Sometimes, it’s hard for us to figure out why things happen when they do. We may never know on this side of Heaven, but if the answer is simply that these things show us just how big our God is – well, that’s enough. I’m so thankful that instead of only experiencing devastating loss, we get to experience a peace that surpasses all understanding. My family celebrating the life of an incredible Uncle was proof of all of this.

You can choose to be happy. You can choose to smile. You can choose to CELEBRATE. As my Uncle Troy said, “You can sleep later.” Get out there and love life because it’s way too short not to. There’s always a reason to smile, never forget that.

To end a pretty sad day, I headed to the nail salon with my pals and got the most sparkly nail polish I could find. Sometimes, even glitter nail polish is a reminder to live vibrantly.

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Smile extra big today.

All my love and lipstick,

Riley

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