Early in January, the mother of a close friend of mine sent me an invitation to her daughter Annie’s surprise 18th birthday party. The party was this past Sunday, and it was absolutely perfect! This is the same family we stayed with in Phoenix for the conference two weeks ago, so considering the distance, I carpooled down with three other girlfriends. We planned to meet the others at their church to surprise her, so we left Flagstaff at 7 in the morning. We made it to the church parking lot by 10 and mingled with other friends and strangers at their church while we waited.
When Annie walked in, she was absolutely shocked. She had NO idea this was planned, so the surprise was a one-hundred percent success. I had a feeling someone would accidentally “spill the beans” considering the invited group was so large, but everyone did an amazing job keeping it secret. I loved the expression on her face when she saw us and realized what was happening—shock, confusion, excitement, happiness…. She was so happy to see all of us that she even cried. I’m absolutely ecstatic that all of us were able to pull this off for her.
We partook of their church service, and then afterwards there was a picnic at a nearby park. There, after feasting on lots of delicious fried chicken, we played Ultimate Frisbee. Oddly enough, this was my first time playing Ultimate. The game is a huge favorite of my friends at church, but somehow I’ve never been involved. I think a lot of this is due to my shoulder injury I had for a span of about three years combined with the fact that I was terrified to join because they were so competitive. However, I joined this time and though I didn’t do all that much, it was still great to be part of the group.
After Frisbee, cake, and lots of talking, we headed to the party host’s home to play Caravan. If you’ve never played Caravan, it’s a fast-paced cards and dice game. The point of the game is get the lowest points possible, and you have to really pay attention to make this happen. It can be quite difficult to catch everything, and it’s also hugely up to how the dice roll, so lets just say I didn’t win. 😉 However, one thing I love about the game is that players rotate through different tables so they have a chance to play with almost everyone. Regardless of the points, it’s a super fun game.
One thing all of us did for Annie was creating scrapbook pages. Her mom wanted to put together an album of pages for Annie to look through and remember us by, so each of us put on our creative hats and decorated a scrapbook page. Some of them were super cute and funny; I’m very impressed with what everyone did. I unfortunately didn’t have a recent pic of her and I together, so that was a bummer, but I made do. (This is why, later that night, we took the above selfie. ^^^)
The rest of the night was spent hanging out by the jacuzzi, listening to music. That’s something I love about this group: though we’re great with taking action and being active together (as with the Frisbee game), we can also have an awesome time by just being together. We don’t always have to do something to enjoy each others’ company. It would have been fun to play another game, but it wasn’t necessary to have a good time.
I think the birthday girl had a great time, which is all that truly matters. Still, I have to add that I had an awesome time as well. Everyone was in a fantastic mood and it was just so easy to have fun with all of them. From meeting strangers to reuniting with old friends to deepening relationships with close friends, the party was incredibly wonderful. I love this group of people, especially Annie and her family. It was even more special since we don’t see them as often now that they live in Phoenix. Every moment is precious!
I was planning on going back home that night, but the friends with which I was carpooling decided to stay until the next day, so I ended up staying the night. I was prepared for this, and I’m so glad it worked out—staying overnight put the perfect finish on an awesome day. After a short discussion with the family and a few girlfriends about the church service that morning, we headed upstairs. Us girls stayed up to the early hours of the morning huddled on Annie’s bed just talking, laughing, joking, browsing Pinterest, and you know…being girls. Because even though we’re technically adults, we agree we’re actually twelve. 😉
I was on the road back up the mountain with my friends by nine-thirty the next morning, but that morning started off right with hugs from the bestest friends and the most delicious espresso ever. I’m feeling super blessed to be part of this wonderful group of friends, and I can’t stop thanking the Lord for providing such an incredibly precious time this weekend.
Once again, I’m SO glad this was able to work out! It was awesome on so many levels. ♥
PS. I only take credit for the photo of my scrapbook page. The rest were taken by friends who don’t mind me sharing. 🙂