It’s funny, not ha-ha funny, but weird funny, how you can turn a particular number and you feel waaaay too little for that big number.

Or how you thought of that number in a particular way,
like “mature”, “middle-aged”, “do they even have fun anymore??”,
and suddenly you’re there yourself and you wonder why you had all those preconceived ideas! :)

And just as suddenly, the age that used to seem so old and grey-haired now seems quite young indeed!

Yesterday I was at the post office and I said something about my three kids.
The post woman couldn’t believe I had three kids: “You look like a little teenager!”
Well, you ladies know that nothing stokes your ego more than being told you look younger,
so I warmly accepted the compliment and thought I better not become too proud about that one.
One minute later I was driving out of the parking lot in my big white suburban
and bumped and thumped all up over the curb with people watching!!
Wow, she may have thought I look young but I sure drive like a teeny-bopper too!!

It’s given me just a bit of identity crisis to reach the [ripe old] age of 30!
I still feel far younger, low 20’s at the most.
And the older I grow the more I realize that I don’t know,
the more I see areas that I have to grow in,
the less I feel the need to defend myself because yes, I know I’m far from perfect.

But a decade ago (wow, that makes me sound old), okay, several years ago,
I thought life was good.
There was an innocence,
a carefree-ness about life,
a looking at the world through starry eyes,
wondering what all wonderful dreams would come true.
[and I was a big dreamer].

I wanted to be single until I was 30,
traversing the globe with mercy missions,
being a nurse, translator, rescuing the helpless.

Or maybe I would pursue music and the arts,
singing on a stage (ha, I have terrible stage fright)
or acting in dramas and theatricals (ha, I get nervous).
Or maybe I’d be on a worship team,
playing piano and singing my heart out with others worshipping Jesus too.

Or maybe my Knight in Shining Armor would come,
he’s whisk me away to our Castle in the Sky,
and we’d live Happily Ever After.
We’d be deeply involved in things that mattered,
We’d change the world together.
Maybe we’d be missionaries,
maybe he’d be a preacher,
maybe we’d have a family.
A cute little family, living in a city, or maybe a house with a white picket fence,
surrounded by great culture and opportunities and education.

[seven happy Thanksgivings together ~ each one just gets better]

I had 5 and 10 year goals: there was to be no wasted moment.

There was a trust in God,
but it was a trust that had not been tested.
It was the beginning of roots being put down into the richness of Who He was,
but for roots to become strong they have to grow, often against pressure.

My twenties didn’t look as I expected them to.
There were some things that were better:
other things in which I had to learn to trust the scripting of God.

A few highlights of my {Roaring} :) Twenties:


… spent a few months in Guatemala, Central America, studying Spanish with my sister and two friends
… traveled to Africa on a mission team
… went to Asia for a month – one of the best months of my life. I left part of my heart there.
… reached Country #24 in international travel
… was a bridesmaid 4 times and maid of honor 3 times {what a HUGE honor to have so many dear friends!}
… married my Knight in Shining Armor, the man who won my heart and still has it
… my husband and I became homeowners twice, remodeling extensively, and bought & sold several other investment properties
… moved almost a thousand miles away from everything that had been home to me
… taught school for one year, 2nd and 3rd grade
… was given the precious gift of motherhood, three times
… started blogging at a little place called Life is a Dance ~ titled that because I envisioned the dance of my life led by God
… ‘My Faire Lady’ was born ~ a little side business that I so enjoy
… our home was featured in the local paper
… was featured in the Set Apart Girl online magazine
… became an elder’s wife
… lost a grandfather, an aunt, a cousin, and a best friend
… learned that marriage is covenant, a commitment I made to God, and my vows are for a lifetime.
It’s not able me, or him: it’s about showcasing the picture of Christ and His bride through our marriage. Any lesser thing mars His image.
… my husband and I spent three months in Colorado at Ellerslie ~ a highlight of my entire LIFE, and we are so much richer for being poorer
… two of my sisters began their happily ever afters
… Jesus has become infinitely precious to me. I simply adore Him, there is no other way to explain it.

My life at 30 now looks quite different than what I envisioned it to be.
There are things I never expected. There are losses that will be felt until the day I die.
There are wonderful things that will bless me for the rest of my life.
I wonder what the next decade will hold. Or if I will even live through the next whole decade.
The time allotted to each person is not ours to determine.

[Thanksgiving table with my family. My sister Ervina is so beautifully creative and came up with this ‘thankful’ placemat. We loved making them and filling them out!]

[my little dimple girl, and name tags written by my 5-year old]

In some ways getting old is scary, because there are a lot of people who seem to have the life sucked out of them.
And the older I get, the more I realize that it is only the grace of God that enable people to age gracefully.
It would seem that there are many reasons to become bitter and angry at life, at God,
to carry unforgiveness and anger toward people.
When I see an older person (not meaning 30! more like retirement age) who is full of life and grace, I STOP AND OBSERVE.
They are so rare.
But it’s because of choices they’ve made all through their lives; those kinds of people don’t just happen.

And then I see some real-life examples of women who are living that way right now, in their 30s, their 40s,
I watch them, hopefully not in a creepy way :) but I do watch them; I want to learn from them.
And I see how much richer their lives are now than even ten years ago, in that age of bliss and free-spiritedness.
They are full of life, but it’s the Life of Jesus that has taken root so deeply within them that HE is the Life they exude.
They are alive and free, but it’s not because they had an easy life: it’s because they had hard things and they chose to forgive.
They are vibrant and soft and passionate, because of the choices they’ve made toward God in the middle of the tears and pain.

I see these women in my mind, they have names and are real people, and I am so grateful to them.

[and it SNOWED while we were in Pennsylvania!! snow is just my favorite and my best. :)]

[my sisters and my seesters :)]

[i don’t know whom adores each other the most]

[my mother, grandmother, sisters and son]


In my twenties I was about a mission: being intentional in my living,
in what I did, the ministry ~ the doing.

In my thirties I hope I have even more passion, but not for myself or for what I think life should be like.
I want me to be all about Jesus Christ ~
His death and resurrection and the daily realities of those in my life,
His agenda,
His mission,
and simply pressing to His heart each day.
Instead of wanting to make a big difference in the world,
I just long to be in my Jesus and have Him dwell in me.
To know His JOY ~ the living.

And to simply treasure today.
How precious is the life we’re given to live!

Cheers to living fully and richly!


27 thoughts on “On Turning 30

  1. down_onthefarm

    sometimes when you post…i stop by repeatedly before i comment. occasionally it’s because i want to look at everything quick in the two minutes i have at the moment. and at others it’s because i’m trying to decide what to say…without writing a book and still saying nothing. ;) there’s alot to soak in. and i love that about you.

    i read that online magazine article…and felt like i do when i read your words here…you are wise beyond your years. how do i say that right? lol. to sound like the compliment intended? without it sounding…wrong-ish? oh dear. :) you wrote “those kinds of people don’t just happen.” and i agree. i so hear you. and The Who that YOU are at THIRTY didn’t just happen either. as beautiful as you are to look at—so very lovely—you radiate so much more. Him. you truly do. and i feel challenged and wow. so inspired by your passion. for Jesus. for ben and kids and family and others. you are a faire lady full of grace.

    may your 30th year be Full of His favor and glory. much love.

  2. TrentTribe

    “In my thirties I hope I have even more passion, but not for myself or for what I think life should be like.
    I want me to be all about Jesus Christ ~”  Love this.  I think of the words of Paul, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”  Phil 4:12.  Somtimes life is about finding joy in every circumstance.  Well done, friend. 

  3. appalolly

    What a great post. This is what I thought when I read this “if clarita continues on the path she is on, she definitely be (and already is) a woman that others will look at and admire the godly spirit and wisdom of”. You have such a heart after god that consistently shines through. I think your thirties will be wonderful!!

  4. bamsniko22407

    Happy birthday and great post!!!  You look amazing, I’d have never guessed you were 30 in a million years!

    You have such a beautiful family and it looks like a gorgeous Thanksgiving!

  5. Richgem

    This post is so perfectly wonderful and so very encouraging to me…and I am 55. I love knowing that there really are young ladies “out there” who truly love Jesus and want to show him living through them. I pray that the days, life ahead ahead of you is completely blessed!

  6. lin789

    you turned 30?? where was i? i totally think you could still pass for a teenager as far as looks go. but when i start reading your blog and your thoughts on life, then i know you have a kind of understanding that teenagers couldn’t possibly grasp yet. and i bet running over curbs in a suburban is at least cooler than running into snow banks with a minivan. happy birthday, beautiful. may the 30’s be a good mixture of fun, serious and just a good decade to look back on in your 40’s. :)

  7. Anonymous

    oh, how i miss you. way to keep your heart open. it is a hard walk; to keep your heart open and free but it is the person you really want to be 30 years from now! fight on, my sister!!

  8. Elizabethmarie_1

    Happy, Happy Beautiful Clarita!!! You are so, so pretty.
    Your daughters are adorable, your whole little family is just Gorgeous.
    Your heart is so honest, so pure. Your whole post is inspiring and sweet.

    You’re going to have a great time in your 30’s.
    and the lady in the post office is do look like a teenager!

  9. WasabiBek

    so glad you had a good birthday. and so fun to see a post from you again. blessings on you in your 30’s. i’m two years in now and still feel like I’m a teenager most days!:) love you!

  10. aretheyallyours

    I loved this post!  I remember turning 30 and thinking how it sounded old but I still felt the same.  I am 43 now and I still feel the same.  I think people start acting old and looking old when they start living old.  I LOVE having kids ages 3 months to 18 years because they keep me young!  I don’t ever want to feel old no matter how old I am.  God has wonderful things for us at every age!

    You have a gorgeous family!  Merry Christmas!

  11. foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown

    indeed, welcome to the 30s!
    this was a fun walk thru your recent past. and, the magazine! did you mention this before and i totally missed it? how very special!!
    so glad you got to come home for this monumental birthday!
    happy week to you!


    Ooooh, I *love* your header pictures!! Positively wintry and christmasy all in one. :) Your thoughts on desiring Jesus and loving Him, and becoming a beautiful, sweet, godly woman {you already ARE} . . . blessed me so much! I was telling Phil last night that you inspire me so much to press in to Jesus and I am so glad to have a friend who is so genuine in this desire AND practice. I feel that I have so much to learn from you and model my life after. Thanks.

  13. aSeriesofFortunateEvents

    Okay for some reason your posts don’t show up in my feed, and I’ve checked and double checked that I’m subscribed. What’s up with that??? It’s annoying because I LOVE your posts.

    Sometimes I think, how is this gal so pretty on the inside AND the outside?? It’s just not right! lol

    You’re on the right track for your 30’s dear, I see Jesus all over you. That is total honesty my dear.

    Also, I breezed by 30 about 4 years ago and I still feel like I’m in my 20’s too. I mean, 30 did seem older when I was younger but when I got there it was like, wait, this is NOT old!

    Love you!

  14. Sheila

    your blog was found on the Home Depot site and the cute builder’s paper placemats – that said What Am I Thankful for? – the site says that these are free Thanksgiving printables but I can’t find them on your site.

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Hi Sheila!
      Thanks for visiting my blog! I wasn’t aware that my placemats were on the Home Depot site, I will have to go check it out! But unfortunately, they must have made a mistake about it. I did use kraft paper for the placemats, but I hand-wrote the “I am Thankful For…” and have not offered a free printable for it. I’m sorry!

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