Four Things I’m Celebrating On My 34th Birthday

birthday balloons

Hey there, friends! Today is my birthday! This morning, I woke up one year older and, for that, I will always be thankful. If you’ve followed me for a long time, you know that each year I do a birthday post … not to be an attention seeker but more-so to be a life celebrator. Having lost my Mom at 27 and having worked in hospitals prior to being a blogger, I am very aware of how growing old is not something we all get to do. It is a privilege denied to many so with that, I always like to challenge myself to sit and write about something on this day as a way to practice gratitude for being given another year of life. Today, I’m sharing four things I’m celebrating as on my 34th birthday!

Before we dive in, I need to give a little love to my friends’ at Walmart. Not only did they have everything I could have dreamed of for my little birthday celebration [balloons, candles and confetti .. oh my!], they also have so many cute Spring fashion pieces! With so many fun trends to try this Spring, I think it can make the most sense to try them out before you invest in them fully. Walmart has some great options to choose from if you are wanting to dip your toe into the polka dot [also this little tote!! omg], puff sleeve or western boot trend and they are all very reasonably priced! For my birthday, I opted to snag something a little more classic to my everyday style with this soft and long tunic sweater [in pink, naturally] and it set me back less than $20! And, since I have worn a pair of black perforated slip-on’s to death over the past couple of years, I thought I may get a lot of use out of a lighter version for Spring. Walmart has a lot of cute things right now so, definitely take a look! Here are some of my favorites!

Alright, now let’s celebrate!

birthday balloons

Delighting in the unknown.

Truth be told, this is actually something I’m having a really hard time with as of late. Since starting on my UK visa journey in January of 2018, I have kept super busy. I have made long to do lists, planned countless trips for countless reasons, and set out to achieve all the goals. I have done lots of research, spoken with countless professionals, asked hard questions, swallowed large pills of disappointment, and made the next best step forward every time I needed to. I haven’t had to sit with how heavy the ‘unknown’ is because I’ve inadvertently distracted myself from it.

But now … I’ve intentionally quieted the noise. I’ve made a conscious choice to slow down, focus on the biggest goal of them all, figure out what needs figuring out, working on what needs work, and now … I’m sitting in the waiting room. You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit quieter than normal. I haven’t been ‘on’ as much, so-to-speak. I’ve shared but not as much as I usually do. And I guess that’s because [1] I just haven’t felt like it, if I’m honest … and [2] I believe there’s beauty in allowing yourself to just be still and opening yourself up to receiving whatever revelations come to you in that time.

I haven’t allowed myself to do this in a long time. Sitting here has been far from delightful. Sitting here, allowing the weight of the unknown to literally just sit on my shoulders and mind in the heaviest of ways, has actually been really hard. I have had many breakdowns – some expected, some completely out of the blue – one of which was yesterday before shooting these photos, which is just further proof that you should NOT trust everything you see on the internet. Not many people have felt how deep this desire is and this love is for this place. Not many people understand. Not many people have seen all of the work I have put into this – all of the heart and all of the fear & uncertainty and all of the fight – and so, not many people will be able to fully understand how heavy I’ve been feeling lately. And that’s okay. What’s important – at least for me – is realizing the beauty in being able to carry the load at all because there is beauty here … I just have to choose to see it.

So … I’m thankful to be able to carry the weight right now, even if it’s my birthday. I’m hopeful that it feels this way because it’s almost over so, I am  challenging myself today to delight in the unknown.

Being brave and scared at the same time.

When I was a freshman in college, I remember reading a friends’ away message on AIM and it read ‘it’s not brave unless you’re scared’. I sat with it for a second and was like ‘wow, yeah … that is SO true!’. And, it’s funny how many times that quote has popped back into my mind over the years like when I decided to quit my nursing job, when I went sky diving, when I decided to go after this visa, etc. I truly believe that anytime you are doing something really, really brave that is going to change your life or anyone else’s life, you will be scared out of your mind.

Today, on my birthday, I’m celebrating being brave and scared at the same time because I literally feel like [since really sitting in the unknown as I mentioned above] that is how I have been feeling every single day. I’m proud because I feel like I’m stepping out and being true to what I want and that takes guts but, I’m also really, really scared.

I hope that you feel strongly enough about the things that scare you to be brave anyway.

birthday balloons birthday cake

God winks.

For me, coincidences are little winks from God letting you know he’s working and he loves you. Since recognizing that this desire to live in London is going to simply stay a desire unless I do something about it, I have seen God cheer me on through these God winks. This may sound strange to some but they have truly provided me with so much peace and comfort throughout a journey that has been filled with so much fear and uncertainty. For example, I will be at a coffee shop listening to music as I work and I’ll take my Airpods out of my ears at the exact time that the table next to me brings up an upcoming trip to London. On a trip to Vermont, I went out to my rental car to grab a USB cable and ended up overhearing these ladies walking along the sidewalk talking about how they got the cutest trinket on their recent trip to London [which was actually a solar Queen that nods her head in the sunlight; my Mom had one and absolutely loved it so, that’s not weird or anything]. And, another time, I was pulling into where I go to get a spray tan and there was a car parked a few spots away and it had a sticker of the Queen waving in the back driver’s side window. Again, not weird.

I was on my way to Trader Joe’s yesterday and, at the last minute, I just felt like I should take the back roads to get there. As I was driving, I passed a school. Here in Florida, schools usually have a big brick standalone sign outside of the school along the road and there is usually a space for the school to share an announcement of some kind. Yesterday, I don’t remember what the sign said completely … all I could see was that the last word was ‘London’. Being that the weight of this whole journey has felt extra heavy this week, I really needed a God wink and there it was. It might not be as crazy to you as it is for me but, I can’t chalk these up to being random events. It’s too weird. So, today, I’m celebrating the sweet Lord’s pursuit of me during a time where He knows I’m scared. It’s extremely comforting.

birthday cake and candles


I feel like I’ve always been very real around here. You aren’t going to see me put on a show for you everyday, particularly on stories. I’m going to share things I love when I’m a bit happier and game to do so. I’m going to take my time away if I need it. I’m going to share myself and my content in the ways that bring me life and joy [i.e. through my blog, instagram posts and Youtube; constantly updating & living on stories sucks the life out of me .. I cannot do it]. I’m going to be honest about what I stand for and what I don’t. Recently, I’ve shared that I have become a bit at odds with what I do. I shared more about this here and here, as well as in my friend, Krystals’ podcast, Slow Your Scroll. I have felt a bit paralyzed as to how to have these new convictions and also move forward and continue to serve my audience in a way that honors that growth but, over time, I know I’ll find my way again. Today, I’m celebrating this growth and being honest about it. I always want to make a positive impact with this little space here but now, I want the positive impact to not just benefit my readers but also have a greater impact on the needs of the world. Stay tuned!

birthday balloons

There’s so much more to celebrate, if I’m honest, but I’ll stop there for now! Thank you so much for being here on my birthday today and for following along on this journey of mine. Thank you for letting me into your lives and being some of my biggest cheerleaders! Y’all are the best!

If you’re needing some party decor ideas, I linked everything you see here today above and it’s all from Walmart!

Have a great day, y’all! xo.


Editor's Notes



  1. Rosi Esra wrote:

    Love this post and I am a feeling similar to how you are feeling as well! Good to know we aren’t alone in the journey. 🙂 I hope you have the happiest birthday and that the year ahead is filled with joy!

    Published 2.25.20 · Reply
  2. Nicole wrote:

    Happy Birthday!! These are definitely things to celebrate with another year 🙂

    Published 2.25.20 · Reply
  3. Beatriz wrote:

    Wishing you the happiest of birthdays! Keep up the greatness. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us and what the future has in store for you.

    Published 2.25.20 · Reply
    • Judy wrote:

      You express your feelings very well. If there is another young person wishing to move to another country, they might not understand the complex process. Not sure you can, but perhaps explain in more detail if possible. If you are not going to work in the country, it is easier to move in retired. You are far from that…haha
      I hope it works out for you.
      You do a beautiful job on your blog and have made some brave decisions. I can honestly relate.
      Best to you;)

      Published 2.25.20 ·
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Judy! I’ve shared before that I simply don’t want to share more than I have about my visa journey. While doing so may be seen as helpful to someone else, I do think I’m allowed to deem certain aspects of my life private. In everything I do, I aim to help people but, with this … I think it’s best for me to just keep it to myself and I don’t really need to share more than that. It should be okay that I don’t share every single aspect of my life. I know that, at times, it all seems vague but, I think people in similar situations in life [even if it isn’t seeking a visa], will understand and resonate with what I’m sharing. When it comes to immigration, you can’t rely on other peoples’ journey’s and stories to answer all of your questions. You have to seek a legal professionals’ advice to get the most help and that’s what I suggest people do if they’d like to do the same because what works for me won’t work for everyone. Hope you understand! xo!

      Published 2.25.20 ·
  4. Brooke wrote:

    Happy birthday Haley!

    Published 2.25.20 · Reply
  5. Tamara wrote:

    I hope this is a great day for you and a very happy birthday! I enjoyed the content about your “winks” from God. I started following you several years ago because you shared about your faith. May God bless you in all your endeavors.

    Published 2.25.20 · Reply
  6. Amanda wrote:

    Happy birthday!

    Published 2.25.20 · Reply
  7. Lindsay wrote:

    Happy Birthday! I have been following you for awhile and I just want to say I really appreciate your honesty and openness. I am in a similar season of life and struggling with some goals that scare me as well!! Good luck with your pursuit! I know your hard work will pay off!

    Published 2.25.20 · Reply
  8. Barbara Johnson wrote:

    Happy Birthday!!! I hope you have a wonderful day! I get God winks too and even pennies from heaven from my husband!

    Published 2.25.20 · Reply
  9. Angela S. wrote:

    You are such an inspiration in all that you do. You absolutely amaze me and I look up to you. Keep doing what you’re doing, girl! We are all here with you. And if there’s one thing I know for certain it’s that YOU’VE GOT THIS! 💪

    Published 2.25.20 · Reply
  10. Kathy wrote:

    Happy Birthday!!! Loved the post thanks for sharing.

    Published 2.25.20 · Reply
  11. Sonam wrote:

    Happy happy birthday lady!! Such a great and inspiring post 🙂 hope you’re having the best day!

    Published 2.25.20 · Reply
  12. Beth wrote:

    What God brings you to, He will bring you through. We all need to look for his “winks” and wonderful works!

    Happy Birthday!

    Published 2.25.20 · Reply
  13. Victoria wrote:

    Omg no way we have the same birthday! Happy belated birthday!

    Published 2.26.20 · Reply