Today is my birthday, which I traditionally love and hate for all the typical, American white girl reasons. The fact that I have to endure this attention that I’m not supposed to want, but I do want it, but then it’s always disappointing since some lights are still red on your birthday and some people forget to call and inevitably your husband can just not do everything you imagined but never actually said. (Although the pink Chuck Taylors were a great touch.)

Birthdays are a strange sort of holiday, and I think they are the direct result of the Fall of Man. I mean, a day where everything is supposed to be about me, and I end up being the most unhappy I’ve been in months? Yea, that pretty much sounds like something Satan cooked up. He’s mean like that.

But there are all these elaborately beautiful things about birthdays, and one of my favorites is that, when done right, it’s a time to launch someone into the next season of their life. To bless them, bear them up and give them compliments and praises and identify the beauty and gifts and goodness they bring to the world. Because most of us are prone to forget all of that as we move so hastily through life. 

Thursday my friends brought me back down with a few simple things, a light lunch with my favorite candy treats, then a sushi dinner with more friends, and scarves and a journal and tea, and new shoes from my boys. And it wasn’t even my official birthday. 

Afterward my friend handed me a list of dreams she dreamed up for me for my 31st year, and if I had read them a little more slowly, I would’ve just cried all the way home, but I read them fast. So I didn’t. But I feel like I want to frame them and hang them up so I can remember what I want and what I’m supposed to be living for. She encapsulated it all so well. 

I wanted to start a little list of 31 things that I would like to see, experience, live this year. It’s like a condensed version of the dream blog, birthday-specific. I feel like birthdays are an open door day where you can ask God for things, like heaven is having a sale or something, so it’s just easier to get what you’re asking for. 

So my 31 things are probably what I’ve already been dreaming for on the dream blog, but this is the concentrated version for the year. 31 is a weird number so I’m not sure what this will mean, but I want to at least see what happens. And now I’m suddenly having this trepidation that I can’t think of 31 things. I really only want one or two. But here goes:

1. More quiet, alone time (indoors and in nature)
2. Start, read and finish one book a month
3. Prioritize silence and solitude and get it in daily
4. Weekly date nights with my Josh
5. Intentional enjoyment of my son 
6. Intelligent conversations with John about his thoughts and preferences
7. For reconciliation in my family and for all of us to know God fully
8. For a church home for my mom
9. For deep character and integrity for our WELL leaders
10. For an uncompromising commitment to truth and Jesus in our WELL community
11. For 24/7 prayer and worship in Manhattan
12. An appreciation for and contentment with simple living
13. Purpose and career goals, success and favor at work
14. A children’s ministry that connects kids to God in new, mind-blowing ways
15. Miracles as a regular part of our WELL experience – Sundays and all week
16. Courage to follow God and obey him 
17. A baby girl, whose name might be something like: Anna Joy Sophia Eliha Redeemer
18. Real freedom from debt and heart freedom to be more generous
19. Love from God that I know, enjoy and live in
20. Boldness to pray for anyone anytime and effectiveness in seeing immediate healing
21. Love that is full of wisdom and inspiration, spilling out to others and bringing them joy
22. Love that doesn’t try to prove itself but looks for ways to lift other people up
23. Love that doesn’t get tired but serves and gets energy from it
24. Love that lets me like myself and take a break when I need it
25. Conversations with Jesus where he tells me what he’s really thinking
26. An unquenchable, unstopping love for the Word and prayer
27. A son who prays, hears from God, and watches his prayers get answered
28. A husband who is loved, admired, effective, encouraged by his life’s work and dreaming with God
29. To write with boldness, clarity, and inspiration that comes from God that will motivate a generation and bring them to a new level with God
30. A church community who knows Jesus, loves him and will follow him anywhere
31. For God to continue the work he started in me