It’s my birthday today- the big 32. Just kidding, is 32 even that big? I don’t know.
I have mixed emotions about my birthday. Not because I’m getting older, just because I never quite know how to feel. The truth is, I honestly hate being the center of attention. This may come as a shock to those of you who know me- the me that’s always been on stage or telling stories. There’s a side of me that’s really good at being the center of attention, but that doesn’t mean that I actually enjoy it. All that to say- being sung the birthday song is my worst nightmare. I hate it. For a birthday in my young twenties I was attending a missions conference in Waco and somehow an entire, packed hotel lobby started singing Happy Birthday to me. I wanted to die. Like literally run out the door and straight to my death DIE. Instead, I stared at the floor and tried not to cry. IN MY TWENTIES, PEOPLE. As I awkwardly tried to find the song leader in panicked bursts throughout the song, I saw a boy who was just staring at me with wide eyes and mouthed the words, “I’m so sorry” as he shook his head. He got me. So I married him.
There’s another side of me that is totally Jessica Day from New Girl. Confession: I’m a TV junkie. Have you seen that episode where it’s her birthday and she has completely unrealistic expectations? I GET YOU, JESS. I have been blessed/cursed with a crazy vivid imagination and I am a dreamer. I fly high into those dreams and deep, deep, deep into those trenches.
So with all these conflicting thoughts and feelings I just did nothing on my birthday. Nada. I laid low and maybe ate my weight in cinnamon rolls. But a couple years ago I had a friend tell me that they only wanted to do their favorite things on their birthday, which made me think “YASSS”. So that’s what I do now: all my favorite things. This year that means: cinnamon rolls, delicious coffee, going on a walk, buying some planks for our wall planking project, maybe cutting those planks? Taking a nap, not cooking dinner, and time with my family. Ahhhh. Yassss.
I’ve been talking to Ella about having a thankful heart lately. It’s so easy to fall into complacency or comparison whether you’re 5.5 or 32. So this birthday, I wanted to document 32 things that I am overwhelmingly thankful for. I started this practice back when I read A Thousand Gifts and it really is something that is refreshing to the soul. My hope is that 1) as I write this my heart will begin to soar and spill over with joy and gratitude and 2) as you read this, you will be encouraged to do the same. It doesn’t have to be your birthday to write down the things you’re thankful for. You can do 1 or 2 a day and I promise it will start to turn your life into something more beautiful than you thought it could be.
- Jesus’s never stopping, never giving up, unbreakable, always and forever love. He loves me. That will always be enough.
- Nathan. His smooth cheeks, his patience, the daddy that he is to our girls, the passion he has for me and our family.
- Ella. Her sweetness, her empathy and compassion. Her ability to be so “others” focused at such a young age.
- Emmy. Her sass. Her spice. Her intense “HEY!’s”. Her humming cuddles.
- My pups’ passion for left over eggs.
- Cuddles from little things ALL DAY LONG.
- My parents & in-laws. Like how did I get so lucky?
- My siblings- I went from 2 to 6 and they are such treasures in my life.
- My Tribe. The support and love that we have for each other is something I’ve always dreamed of and now I’m living it.
- Our home.
- House projects that we actually agree on.
- A warm cup of coffee on cold mornings.
- Creating and all the joy and life it fills me with.
- Dreams coming true, slowly.
- Messes in my house- proof that I have a family who loves me and puts relationship with each other over everything else.
- Old videos of my girls- seeing their bitty faces and hearing their little voices and coos.
- Tiny shoes on the floor.
- Gardening. All the joy that growing things brings me.
- Beautiful clearance items. Finding pretty things for cheap is YAS.
- Sisters giggling together.
- Praying with Nathan in the mornings.
- Encouraging words at just the right moment.
- Girl Scout Cookie season being the same time as my birthday.
- How far Jesus has brought us in just a year.
- My husband now loving his job and coming alive in so many new ways.
- Hope that can’t be shaken.
- Years of struggle to gain footing, clarity, humility and wisdom.
- Sunsets that Ella yells, “Mom! Look! Jesus painted the sky!”
- Writing. The way I can connect with the Lord more because of it.
- Lack. Yes, lack. Going through a giant season of lack has launched my creativity in ways I never dreamed.
- Laughing. Man I love to laugh.
- Bravery rising up in our family. This year out motto is “Make the brave choice”.
Love to you today, dear friend. I hope that this week is filled with gratitude spilling over into every area of your life.