When I woke up this morning, I was no longer 30. I guess that’s just how it goes when you’re born in the middle of the night (1:09 am to be precise).
My dear friend Kay drove up last night for an early birthday celebration consisting of dancing in the living room with my 3 year old, reading said 3 year old books before bed, and then a post-toddler-bedtime game of Ticket to Ride with her, my husband, and my sister-in-law. Not exactly partying hard but definitely the speed of fun for the time of life I’m in right now.
Kay is an amazing gift giver and this birthday is no exception. Her choices in gifts are neither over-the-top nor run-of-the-mill; rather, they are always thoughtful, usually practical, and invariably beautiful. On a recent trip to the Midwest, she picked up four vintage mason jars to give me for my birthday. I’ve known about them since her trip several weeks ago but didn’t know what they looked like or what style or vintage they were.
She arrived last night not only with the aforementioned jars but also armed with butternut squash mac and cheese (the girl can cook) and a box of sugar cereal (a birthday staple around here). While I will enjoy the sustenance and blood sugar spikes that accompany both of these delicious foods for a brief time, what I discovered as I inspected each jar I will cherish and ruminate on over this, my 31st, year.
Beauty in a simple vessel
Vintage blue mason jars are beautiful. They have clean lines, tastefully chosen typefaces that complement one another, yet they are simply in both purpose and design. Their lids – all different in this case – have a distinct beauty all their own in, again, a simple way. How much do I strive to be beautiful, to stand out from the crowd, to be distinct in a noticeable way? Should I not instead seek beauty in simplicity? Let go of the fact that I’ve never learned to properly put on makeup and embrace mascara and lip balm as the only two products in my “regimen” I know how to apply? This year I will remember that God made us beautiful exactly how we’re meant to be (as long as we’re taking care of ourselves, of course). He gave me the lines, the
typeface, and the purposeful design my body was meant to have. Simple? Yes. Beautiful? I’ll come around to seeing that.
Function for a lifetime
One of my favorite things about mason jars is their ability to function through the years. The jars I use to can things like applesauce, peaches, and salsa are the same jars my grandmothers used when they were canning for their young families 40+ years ago. Mason jars were built to withstand high temperatures and pressures to safely preserve their contents over and over. These vintage blue ones for Kay are no exception. Sure, I won’t be canning with them but they will have a function in my home, holding flowers, utensils, or slips of paper holding memories of things we’re grateful for throughout the year.
I want to thrive as I age. So many people make comments about how everything goes downhill after 30 (literally, figuratively, and with your figure). I’m going to fight that. Not in a I-need-to-still-look-like-a-college-athlete kind of way but rather in a way that allows me to maintain function throughout my lifetime. For me, function looks like hiking with my kids, running/playing basketball/attempting to long jump or throw a javelin with the cross country, basketball, and track and field athletes I coach, repeatedly tossing my 10 month old in the air above my head, gardening and doing other miscellaneous work around the house, and generally living an active life.
This past weekend, I ran my first 5K since high school cross country. Sure, I’ve run a couple half marathons since then and we’ve run a lot with the dog but 5Ks are their own beast with the speed that you must run with to have a halfway decent time. After running it (under 24 minutes!!!), I ran into Doris Heritage, legendary distance runner (world records, y’all) and former coach at SPU. She was at the invite I was coaching at and she commented that she’s had to learn to love to bike since she can’t run like she used to. At 73, she still runs 2-4 miles a day but wishes she could run more. That is function for a lifetime!
Uplifting words from a friend
This is probably the thing I want to do the most this 31st year. Inside each jar, Kay tucked a little note card with a word of encouragement, admiration, or kindness that were sweeter than honey to my soul. Don’t get me wrong, I receive words of affirmation from my husband and other people close to me but when someone takes the time to write them down, they have that much more power. I want to live each day in the insights she sees in me and not in the disparaging thoughts that so often enter my mind.
She reminded me of the joy I find in my vocation of coaching as well as as the joy she sees it bring out in others.
She spoke of the beauty she sees in me from being a woman of God.
She encouraged me to continue living in the story God is writing in and through my life right where I’m at and not somewhere else where else.
Wisdom comes in many forms. Kay’s handwriting – with insight from the innate perception she was given plus the time that she spends with Jesus – speaks volumes that I can only hope to remember in the days, weeks, and years to come.
Little things that bring joy
I titled this little corner of the internet “Mason Jar Values” for many reasons, the simplest of which is that I just really love mason jars. They’re pretty and they make me happy. If a present includes something mason jar related, I’m good to go. As I walk through this next year, I want to be mindful of the little things. I want to find joy in a glance from my kiddo across the table. I want to find joy in the late night nursing sessions I’m stiiiillll having with my 10 month old. I want to find joy in sitting and reading a book on the couch with the dog even if it’s only 5 minutes.
I know, that’s a lot to draw from some mason jars I got for my birthday. But sometimes the simplest things bring forth the most important thoughts.
Blessings to you today on this last day of summer in 2015.