pastries and parfaits

I'll be honest, when my birthday rolls around each year, I often feel more anxiety than excitement. It's easy to fall into the comparison trap at these annual life mile markers and to think about where I'm "supposed to be" and how I'm not quite there yet. But I'm starting to realize that I'm probably never going to get to where I'm "supposed to be" because there's no such concrete thing.

I am where I am, and what's most important isn't how I stack up to others or where I stand on the spectrum of expectations, but how fully I'm living and whether I'm walking in love.

So this year, I traded in birthday blues for gratitude in the form of a gathering to celebrate close friends who've supported me and stayed with me through the good and bad. We enjoyed each other's company over pastries and parfaits, and it made my heart happy to have my people all in one place.

The beautiful photographs below are by a dear, talented friend who captured and shared these sweet moments because she said I'd probably be running around and wouldn't have the chance to document. (She was correct! And I am immensely thankful.)