A Quarter of a Century Reflection.

I've matured 25 years today.

My roommate Therese and I are both scorpios, my birthday today, hers is Wed. We had the most memorable birthday party. Over 200 friends came out to celebrate by the Palace pool, dancing, toasting champagne and laughing. Under the disco lights of the Rotunda it didn't feel like Baghdad. The play list was party perfect! My friend Nadia had send a decadent chocolate cake and all my Tamimi catering friends personalized a sweet yellow cake and through out a hot spread of wings, egg rolls, and pita chips (which are my fav!)

Three girlfriends hopped behind the bar and served up Baghdad Breezes and a plethora of other spirits to keep the crowd smiling and shakin' it on the dance floor. Dave played the Happy Birthday tune on the Bagpipes which quieted the party for our champagne toast. To which T & I had tied and curled purple, black and ivory ribbon to each plastic cup--to give it a little something extra.

A few Ambassador's and Deputy Chief of Missions attended, and as I chatted with the Commanding General's secretary, I had to excuse myself "to schmooze an Ambassador" who had just walked in, she stopped me and said, "Working your own party, Beth--that says a lot about you and the job you're doing. It's very good." At that time, I said, did you see the Arab League Charge? And she said, "Oh, introduce me, the CG wants a meeting before he leaves town."

As I walked away from her approaching my friend, a foreign Ambassador, I realized that it did say a lot. My circle of friends has elevated. I remember staring out the window of the East Wing as my colleagues boarded Marine One thinking, how can they just get on a helo with the President?! I know he is just a man, but I could not imagine being so close and not being starstruck. I have learned that responsibility matures you.

Coming to Baghdad I knew I was climbing a few rungs on the ladder, but I did not dream I would be a GS-15 and Chief of Protocol at 24 years young. At a quarter of a century, looking back it all feels surreal.

I am trying to savor every minute because I literally do not know what to expect next, but time flies and if it just keeps getting better, than WATCH OUT WORLD because I'm only 25!!! People are going to start having to say, look at her now because I really can't imagine what's next--

Now, I've had 8 extra hours to think of what I've learned over this past year and I've postponed making phone calls to my family and best friends who I knew would request Words of Wisdom. I have learned so much this year and it truly has been a year of the Lord's favor in my life (Isaiah 61) it took me all day to articulate it in a simple quote.

My Words of Wisdom

I've learned to walk by faith and not by sight, not to worry about tomorrow because each day has enough trouble of it's own. It's okay to ask questions, even ones you feel like you should know the answer to--most times the person using the term or acronym doesn't even know what it stands for, so you look like the smarter one requesting clarification. And, the best things happen when you have no expectations--including relationships--and those are the best kind!

Party preparations and making the playlist.