Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday was January 11th.  I had an epiphany that day that I’d like to share…  I love the new year.  I get so busy between Thanksgiving and Christmas that the new year often becomes this beacon of hope shining out in promise and rest and newness.  I’m not so big into new year’s resolutions, but I do sense a feeling of starting over every January 1st.

Birthday Dinner at Chuy's

The trouble is, my Christmas vacation is usually still going on when January 1st hit.  Now, the only “trouble” with this is that I’m usually out of pocket, not at home, with my family, still indulging on sweets and such, etc.  Then I arrive home around the 5th and have to get my home back in order, unpack, go to the grocery store, etc. before I can think about applying anything of the new things I want to do or the undone things I want to pick back up.  I wonder if that makes any sense to anyone else…

Anyway, I often find that on my birthday, I look up and think, “Geez!  We’re 11 days into this new year and I haven’t begun ________ or _______ or finished ________.”

Birthday Dinner at Chuy's

This year, I had a different thought:  January 11th is my new year.  That is so often the day I’m ready to jump in with both feet and do all the things I’ve been wanting to do.  Talk about a sense of relief!

One of those things I planned to do in the new year was take part in Anne Voskamp’s Joy Dare.  To hit the goal of 1000 listed gifts in a year, I need to do about three a day, but by my birthday, I had done zero.  I started to feel behind.  “I should give up!  I can’t even stay current this early in the year!  Oh well…it’s too late now.”  (I know, a little melodramatic, but some of you are with me, right?)  The birthday epiphany gave me the encouragement I needed when I realized I always feel behind when I hit my birthday and haven’t hit my stride for the new year.

So I started where I was and have my list underway.  I’m finding it easiest to post my Joy Dare list in Facebook, but I’d like to keep a running list somewhere, so maybe here…my first 20:

1. delicious Paleo meals
2. the first Hope Student Life of 2014 last night
3. coconut soup for lunch
4. tulips in the morning sunlight on my kitchen table
5. allergies (yes, I’m thankful for them because they remind me me of how good I normally feel when I don’t have them…and *everything* from God’s hand is a gift…)
6. successfully resisting temptation
7. forgiveness for failing to resist temptation
8. Braving the allergens to enjoy this beautiful day
9. Lunch with great, fun, and silly friends
10. Church at Hope Chapel with these fine folks (and a few others…):
11. yet another beautiful day in Austin
12. persistent faith that clings to God’s promises in His Word
13. an optimistic tree already in bloom as if it’s spring
14. lessons from Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath”
15. parents who are willing to learn new things, despite their children giving them a hard time!
16. homemade laundry detergent
17. fresh flowers on the kitchen table
18. sunlight through purple bottles on the windowsill
19. prayers to a loving, compassionate Father
20. ending a list on a nice round number…

What are you thankful for?


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