Have you ever had a day that is so overwhelmingly perfect, it shouldn't be real? Yesterday was one of those days for me. The weather absolutely dreamy, and I was showered with LOVE from so many incredibly thoughtful people. Way more love than I could ever deserve, but I believe in paying it forward and allowing it to multiply--the world can only become a better place when we have that mindset and give back the beauty we've been given.
I woke up to birds singing and the sun shining and decided to go for a run. On my run, I was greeted by a full double rainbow arching over the mountain behind the school and the sea. Talk about a powerful wake-up call and gift from above to start the day.
The perfection continued as we made our way to Gort (a nearby town) for grocery shopping. In Gort, my friends rushed through their shopping and SO kindly took me out to a wonderful cafe. They treated me to a beautiful carrot falafel dish with a winter salad and spelt bread. Chocolate and Coffee Cake for dessert. If you haven't been to the Gallery Cafe in Gort, you must put it on your list.
After sharing a physically, emotionally, and spiritually fulfilling lunch, we walked over to one of the many fabulous charity shops in Gort. and BAM. A birthday miracle happened. I've been searching for "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert since reading her novel "Big Magic" last month. I checked numerous bookstores in the airport, in Ennis, and in Galway with no luck. Here in this tiny charity shop in Gort, a perfect copy sat waiting to be snatched up for one euro! Happy Birthday to me.
We got back on the bus to make our way back home and our bus driver Brian was MIA. After a few mumbles and grumbles from the students about wanting to get going, Brian pops onto the bus with several trays of cupcakes (more than enough for everyone). He sang happy birthday and everyone joined in before I blew out the candles and we passed around the treats. I don't think there is a kinder bus driver or man in general in all of Ireland.
I got back to my apartment and my landlord, Ann, ran out of her house with a beautiful, heartfelt card and gift for me. I am pretty sure I am the LUCKIEST, tenant alive. Since when does your landlord give you birthday gifts? Absolutely over the top, but I am beyond grateful!!
I quickly changed into my cycling clothes and hopped on my bike to enjoy the last bit of gorgeous daylight with my friend, Karen. We went on my favorite route which takes you up a big climb up the corkscrew hill, through Lisdoonvarna, and back to Ballyvaughan on the Wild Atlantic Way. As the sun set, we blazed through the ride--46 km in total. Rides with Karen are never a disappointment!! She is such an incredible blessing and mentor in my life.
When I thought there was no way to make the day any more perfect, I headed over to meet friends for dinner. I was told to come at 6:30 but didn't know what would be waiting for me when I walked through the door. I walked in and was greeted by joyful shouts of HAPPY BIRTHDAY and SURPRISE!!! A warm fire, a glass of wine, and the most incredible group of friends. They told me to grab a plate and head into the kitchen. In the kitchen, a GORGEOUS salad bar was set up with every topping imaginable!!! Everyone had contributed something. It was colorful, nutritious, fresh, amazing in every way....SO OVER THE TOP!!
I opened a card with the 23 things they love about me--ugh melt my heart. Sydney and Patrick showered me with gifts of tea-tree oil, a diffuser for my apartment, and dragon balm...the generosity of these people awakens makes my soul. We shared stories around the fire, and Zola brought in a gluten-free, dairy-free coconut creme pie!!! I got to blow out candles for the third time this week and could hardly come up with something to wish for. My life is so full of THE BEST people, wonderful adventure, and I am at peace with who I am. It feels a bit selfish to ask for anything more.
Ending the night with music in the local pubs from groups who've come in for the weekend from Wales, my good fortune continued. When I was finally ready to let the day come to an end (and my birthday was officially over) I walked back to my apartment. I looked up as my tired feet brought me home and the stars were lighting up like bright silver sequins in the velvety-black sky.
This morning I woke up with time to relax and eat a slow breakfast, sipping on coffee and reading. I picked up my friend, Kendall, and we went to church with Melissa in Ennistimon. We sang energizing worship songs and listened to a powerful sermon, which fueled my energy for the 5-mile race I ran this afternoon. As a part of the Run Clare series, I hopped into the race thanks to the invitation of my new friend, Anna. I came in with a time of 39 minutes and 21 seconds, placing 141st/833 runners overall and 26th/493 for women. Melissa and Kendall generously greeted me at the finish line (in the wind and rain) and their smiles, love, and encouragement could not have been more gracious.
To celebrate the run and finally put the cap on a perfect weekend, I met up with a dear friend, David Donahue, at the Hazel Mountain Chocolate Factory. He treated me to an AWESOME piece of chocolate cake and great conversation--as always.
Thank you to everyone who made the start of year 23 unbelievably beautiful in so many ways. Man am I a lucky girl.....I now have the duty to redistribute all of this great love!!