A Surprising Gift

1983 and 1976...the only other two Cowboys teams to go 9-1 in their season.
This made for a great birthday present! I wore my new number 9 Tony Romo jersey all day. Did you know that he has the highest selling jersey in the NFL right now? That he has sold more jerseys this year than any other player in the NFL? After yesterdays game, TO will probably sell just as many. Case in point: everyone wants a hero, everyone loves the underdog, everyone wants someone to cheer for.

For the promised follow-up: this weekend was wonderful. Kenosha, Wisconsin has some pretty nice folks. And though I was slightly disappointed that I did not get any sort of cheese while I was in the state, the rest of the experience was perfect. (Side note: every time I go to a state that is known for something I am disappointed if it is not readily available. Last year when we crossed the border into Idaho I honestly expected there to be potato stands that you could pull off and go to or baked potato restaurants everywhere. I couldn't find a potato anywhere. Where was the infamous Idaho Potato? I guess it had been shipped to another state. Wisconsin, I thought they would just serve us cheese for dinner, that I would see cows and cheese everywhere, again, I was sorely disappointed. And I suppose this is the case everywhere. People expect to come to Texas and see horses and hear a bunch of ignorant people with accents who eat way too much Mexican food and steaks, but that is not always true either).

It was a perfect weekend. Opening up for Mercy Me was exciting, but it felt like a natural progression, the natural next step, it wasn't overwhelmingly nerve wracking, but rather normal. Still, it was a bit surreal. It was humbling too. After the show we got to meet so many nice people, so many people who had NEVER heard of us, who wanted to know if it was our first show to ever play. Then I had to kindly explain that it was like our 500th show, that we have been playing for six years, and that this was just our first big show. So it's sort of like being a freshman, the fish, all over again. No one knows you. No one knows that you have existed before this. And we start all over again meeting new people, making first impressions, and climbing up the ladder. It is a fun ladder to climb. The show was great. The people of Wisconsin were wonderful. We started pre-selling our new album which was SO exciting for us, and best of all, my sister Melissa tracked down the closest Great American Cookie Factory store in Wisconsin and ordered me a huge birthday cookie cake and surprised me with it. Could she be any more perfect? It was incredibly sweet...she is a good friend.

I remember so many times over the last few years and all through high school that I wondered if I would ever have friends. Real friends. Who knew me and loved me, who kept up with me and made an effort to be apart of my life, who liked me. I guess I always felt like I had missed the boat. That everyone had great life-long friends from elementary school, high school or college and that I had missed out, that I was doomed to live my whole life on the outside of the circle...being the person that everyone liked to be around but no one was really close to. My prayer for years has been that God would give me friends. True friends. Day in, day out friends who live life beside me. People that pour into me and that I pour back into. People that make me laugh, that like to hang out and play, that know when I am tired, that make the effort to carry me when I cannot carry them or myself, people that listen, and talk, and love, and invest...people that know what book I really want without asking, that give me a hug when they can tell I need one, that talk to me about their life and mine because they want to, that invite me to go to the mall, just because, because we are friends...I have prayed for that.

So I guess my birthday this year was the best ever because for the first time I looked up and realized I have those people, I have friends. Finally. They are all around me. I am not alone. I am loved. I have friends. That's the best gift I have ever been given. For a girl who has cried a lot of tears over feeling alone, feeling misunderstood, feeling left out, feeling different, feeling like the only person, the only girl in the world who does not have a best friend...waking up to realize I have more friends than I deserve, more love than I can even take in, more support than I have ever imagined, and more people that make me smile, laugh, think, that love me, and that I love in return...is the best birthday present I could have ever received. An answered prayer.

Have you ever felt this way? If you have...just know that I have as well. For a long time. And I was convinced that I would die old and alone and friendless....that I would be the girl in the nursing home that no one came to visit!!! I had pretty much given up on God and given up on my prayers that I would find community and family and friends...but God did not give up on me. And now a million little pieces have fallen into place and I find myself on my 27th birthday with the best of friends. With a family. With a little place that I can go to find love and fun and laughter and depth...so hold on, now I can say from experience that the day will come, and you will find your place.