As this being my first year celebrating my birthday in Orlando, I truly expected things to be relatively low key. We have a great group of friends here so I knew that we would probably end up doing something with them, but I had no idea what was really in store for me on my special birthday weekend.
Friends, this is the stuff dreams are made of.
On Thursday evening, Will let me know that we would be leaving at 5:15 PM on Friday night to an unknown destination. Being the planner that I am, I was not having this ambiguous description, so I tried to pry more information out of this husband of mine. “What should I wear?” “Will we be home late?” “You know I’m going to be tired after work…” “Will I have to exert energy?” You name it, I was asking. But friends, I wasn’t getting any answers. All I got was this card handed to me by my husband at 5:05 PM Friday night, right before leaving.
Huhh?! Will immediately let me know that this wasn’t his doing, and all he was told to do was drive me around to different spots that the clues led us to. Tears instantly started to well up in my eyes once we pulled up to the dog park at Baldwin Park (my favorite!) and saw our good friend Bri standing there with clue #2.
I cried some more as Bri told me one thing she loved about me (my honesty!) and handed me a flower, wondering what the heck I ever did to deserve some sort of extravaganza like this? And again wondering, who the heck organized this whole thing? If it wasn’t Will—who was it?! We walked on over to the docks and saw Hannah, another good friend of ours, waiting near the water.
Hannah then handed me another flower and the next clue, followed by a reason why she loves me (my hardworking nature) as I broke into more tears. Will and I also snagged the photo op like we were instructed on the card.
We knew this one was Trevor and Leah’s house, where we gather for our community group every Tuesday! Sure enough, our favorite hosts were sitting on a blanket in their front yard with their cutie Hudson.
Leah handed me the next clue, the flower, and let me know that her favorite thing about me is my transparency with others. Such a special compliment!
The next clue led us into their backyard–
Where we saw Katie! Yay! She gave me her clue, another flower, and told me her favorite thing about me is my smile 🙂
Then off to the downtown YMCA we went!
(PHOTOBOMBED 😉 )
Sure enough, Jess was there waiting for us at the front steps of my favorite gym! She gave me the next clue and told me that her favorite thing about me was the way I share my heart with everyone, regardless of how long I’ve known them. I love her!
The next clue led to us to our church!
Jacob and Shari were there at the front waiting for us (with silly faces)! Will and I love this couple so much! They both told me what they love about me (Shari- my kindness, and Jacob left me on a cliffhanger and he said he would finish on my real birthday… LOL!) and handed us our last and final clue.
At this point, I had an idea of who was behind this masterpiece. There was only one person in this city that I knew would go out of their way to plan something so extravagant for me, and know that I would LOVE it. As our last clue led us to my favorite Sunday sample spot, I was becoming eager to see my selfless friend.
And sure enough, two hours after we had begun, there Alana sat in the car with her husband Ben as we pulled up to Costco.
She handed me a vase to hold all of the flowers that I had collected throughout the evening, and a heartfelt birthday card. I broke into tears as the final couple told me the reasons why they loved me, because I truly can say with certainty that I had never EVER felt so loved.
I still don’t understand what I did to deserve such a fantastic surprise. I don’t get why I was blessed with such a wonderful friend who spent her evening coordinating a wonderful adventure for me, and I don’t think I ever will. What a beautiful picture of grace that is– undeserving love and favor from someone who has seen me at my weakest.
Thank you Alana and everyone else who participated! I love you all for making #26 a birthday that I will always remember.