Wednesday, October 28, 2009


That is my new age as of 8:08 a.m. this morning. Two years into my thirties. I’ve decided that I am a fan of the thirties. I don’t mind being a little older, a little wiser and a lot more confident than when I was in my twenties. The thirties feel strong, sure, steady. There is a sturdiness to them that is unlike anything I have experienced thus far. In fact, I said to someone as an aside the other day as they were listing the benefits of each decade, “Your thirties are for not giving a crap about what other people think.” And I don’t mean that in a rude way, I just meant that it has only been in my thirties that I have discovered a sureness to who I am and what I want out of life.

The last five months have played a large role in this. I never imagined when I embarked on the lifestyle change what other changes might come to pass along the way. Some of those changes I can’t write about just yet. They are the reasons for my self-imposed blogging sabbatical. It is a story that may not be ready to be told for quite some time. And I’m ok with that. A new favorite blogger reminded me that some stories are not meant to be told right away but they will be told in their own perfect timing. So I’ll wait and continue to live out the story as it is right now…

But in the meantime, there was this thirty-second birthday. And I wasn’t really looking forward to it, truth be told. My life just is not what I pictured it would be at this age. Things left undone, things done now coming undone- it all felt so heavy. But then a sweet, dear, wise friend tucked a card into the mail just for me. I opened it this morning, a birthday treat for my burdened heart.


I read the heartfelt words of love and encouragement inside, tears of gratitude welling up. And I almost set it aside. But then I read the front of the card again and I really studied it, poring over the collage of words.

“Any given moment can change your life, she said, You just have to be there.”

“The overall quality of your life”

“The pursuit of it”

I was about to miss something really big about today. I was about to choose despair and grumpy and self-pity. I was about to let those things dominate my day. But those words on the front of that paper and ink grabbed me and they wouldn’t let go. Just be there. Just be present. Just be aware. Just be open. And so in that moment, I chose joy. I chose joy for my day instead of heartbreak. I chose gratitude instead of comparison. I chose delight instead of wishing for what wasn’t.

And it made all the difference…

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  1. Yay you! It's coming. It's slow, but it comes. Keep showing up!

  2. You look stunning, Leslie. 32 becomes you.

    And yes, I'd love to visit over Thanksgiving. We'll be here.

  3. I'm so proud that you "Chose Joy". It's such a hard thing to do.

    Happy Birthday! And I couldn't agree more...32 looks very becoming on you.

  4. Who sent you the ugly sunflower arrangement? :-) (And you can moderate this right into the delete pile...) xoxoxo

  5. Happy Birthday!!! I'm so glad you chose joy and had a wonderful birthday!!! Leslie Ruth, those children look adorable and they are so blessed to have you for a teacher. You look great and as the others have said, 32 becomes you. I love your haircut!!! I don't know if you have been down recently, but NC has been beautiful this fall. That card was awesome. I am going to write that verse in my journal and remember that. Pretty amazing thought!!! Love & blessings from NC!

  6. happy birthday my friend! :-)

  7. please god....said round 2 was beter. delete. ily. i heard about beck's bhole comment. hmph.

  8. Anonymous1:12 PM

    Ok, I'm dying right now to ask- is this Leslie Unger? I'm pretty sure it is! If no, you have a twin with the same first name. This is Amanda John and I was playing online, going through different RA blogs and clicking on links to blogs that look interesting. And I seriously did a double take when I saw your picture. You look great! And I love your blog! I have one too for RA- (Don't post this by the way- I couldn't find an email address on here and this is definitely the longest comment ever!) :)


  9. Anonymous5:46 PM

    My dear Leslie,
    You do look amazing! Radiant even! It must be the work you are doing plus all that God is doing in you.

    You and your students are so blessed... to be taught by one another. If the glory of God is woman fully alive, then He is pleased in you.

    Happy Birthday! love, Marmee

  10. Made me cry too. :) Love you lots.


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