Colliding Worlds

There's been a bunch of SNEAKIN' goin' on ... and most of you reading this were in on it! Shame on YOU!

Saturday night I showed up at Ken and Kristin's to spend the evening at the "Taste of Des Plaines" and out jumped about 40 people yelling "SURPRISE" as I walked into the house.

I can't believe it. I was SHOCKED to the core. No idea. Little sneaky people sneakin' around for the last several months. And the fact that SO many people knew and no one slipped up really is amazing.

I think for the first several minutes I was stunned, the reality of what was happening hit in waves. At first it looked like just a few people, and then I'd step in a little bit closer and I'd see another bunch of people ... and then another ... {At one point, out popped this long, curly head of hair and there was Naomi, my most adventurous long-time friend, all the way from Nashville, Tennessee, just for me.}

I'm curious to watch the video because I'm not sure exactly how I reacted for those first few minutes. I think I cried when it hit me that all these people were there to celebrate me. Wow. Humbling, really. I felt SO loved and liked and happy and excited ...

Throughout the night, I kept looking around seeing people from my different worlds colliding. My "MOPS" world ... my "church" world ... my "long-time friends" world ... my "Door County Camping" world .... my "family who are also my friends" world ... my "Irian" world ... and my "Canada" world and "immediate family" world were there in spirit ... with only location separating us.

Last night my worlds collided and I LOVE when that happens. The only other time that has happened that extensively was on our wedding day, and honestly, that is one of my favorite memories about that amazing day. Seeing people that are so important to me meeting each other. Finally putting faces to names and stories with friends. In my world, if someone is important to me, I want the other people that are important to me to know them and love them, too.

The party itself ... WOW ... If I were to pick a word to describe the party it would be FUN. Cool, fun, rowdy, happy, silly, laughing people loaded up their house and I LOVED it. There was 80s music, both heavy metal and regular pop ... both of which are my favorites ... part of who I am. There was goofy dancing, and I'm willing to withhold names if I finally get a trip to the Ostoff out of it!

The food - beautiful, creative, delicious.
Kristin, my amazing hospitality friend who throws the most beautiful parties, had the food organized and easy and beautiful and tasty ... her home could be captured in a Martha Stewart Magazine, and I'm so not kidding.

The dessert was various cupcakes brought by various friends with totally cute tall candles and little "a" circles ... it's all those thoughtful details that take the extra time that did not go unnoticed.

Cleary spent countless hours putting together an incredibly touching scrapbook with letters gathered from friends and family around the globe ... it is beautiful and a TREASURE I will carry with me forever. As Jack said, "We knew that scrapbooking was your love-language, so this is a gift from all of us!" To each of you who wrote, thank you. I spent Sunday afternoon with a Diet Coke and Kleenex, reading through each letter. Lots of tears. Lots of moments where I sort of had to pinch myself thinking, "Wow. Do they really mean that about me?" People were so very generous with their words.
So many people brought gifts, things like M&M's and McDonald's gift cards for my Diet Coke addiction! I love that people know what I love!

Oh, and in case you're wondering, my creative friend Julie took the pictures ... more to come ... But in the meantime, go check out her site ... book your photo shoot ... and yes, I will continue to give her props on my blog because she's just that good and I believe in her and am excited that she is bravely stepping out into this unknown world! Thanks for capturing my evening, Julie! Can't wait to see the rest of the pix.

And then there's my incredible husband, Jack. What to say? THANK YOU seems so inadequate for the effort you went through to pull together such an amazing evening. You know how important birthdays and family and friends are to me, and you orchestrated an evening that made my "love bank" feel so very full and rich. THANK YOU, hunny.

It's so interesting because over the last few months I really have been thinking a lot about friendship and truly thinking about my friends scattered around the globe. I love the diversity of my friends. I love the shared experiences with my friends. I love the memories made with my friends. I love doing life with my friends ... I love being a friend and being on the receiving end of friendship. I feel so RICH WITH FRIENDSHIP.

My conclusion is this... you can keep all the stuff of this world ... just give me my friends ... {And in my world, my friends are my family and my family are my friends.}

A huge thank you to each of you who wrote me a letter ... who brought a gift ... who took a Saturday evening in June to be with me ... who gave time and effort and energy to pull off this AMAZING party!

It IS, for sure, one of the highlights of my life!


Bobbie said…
I think I must be lucky. I just looked at your blog and I think I'm the first to leave a comment. How sweet of all those folks to do this for you. It just made me so happy reading all about it. Alysa, you are truly one of those really special people in this world. May God continue to bless you in all you do. Happy 40th Birthday, and many, many more. Love, Aunt Bobbie
Cleary said…
It was such a joy being in on the surprise. Love you so much my dear friend - and today you are still only 39!!!
amywb said…
Happy birthday, Alysa!! And welcome to the fabulous forties (although NO ONE would ever believe it looking at you - or knowing you). Sounds like an amazing celebration. Your friendships are definitely a testament to what an amazing and beautiful person you are. Hope this is your best year ever. xo
Kacie said…
yayyyy. Glad to see photos from it - wish I could see how that scrapbook turned out!
Ake said…
HEE HEE HEEE HEEE HEEE :) :) :) YES YES YES go jack the man!!!
so proud of you, you rock all our many and various worlds.
WOooohooo Alysa!
love ya,
Rach xxx

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