A brand new year.

Birthday Collage

Today, I am 28. WHAT?!?! So strange! When did that happen? I feel 17 inside. Or 19. Sometimes, on a very mature day, I feel 21.

Time flies, huh? Really and truly. It does. I can hardly believe it! 28! 28! 28! Wonderful. As Bill Withers sings so beautifully, it's going to be a lovely day. A lovely day that turns into a lovely year.

Last year, I started a new birthday ritual. I set 27 goals for my 27th birthday. It was fun to look back earlier this week; it was also emotional. I got quite tearful. I hadn't looked at my list for almost a year. I noticed that last year I'd chosen a life motto (and must have quickly forgotten about it).

The motto was:
"Embrace - Smile - Stretch"
On last year's birthday post I wrote: "I want to work on embracing the moment, smiling regardless of the circumstance, and stretching out of my comfort zone - physically, spiritually, and emotionally."

I didn't reach all of my 27 goals, but I do feel that I lived out that motto without realizing it. Last year was a very challenging year for me (hello blood disease, goodbye platelets). I definitely learned to embrace - smile -and stretch in new ways.

Here is my new motto and my 28 goals for this year. Some are carry-overs from last year, some are brand new.

My motto for this year:
Be sincere, be bold, be love.
This year, may all of my intentions be sincere, may my boldness increase, may everything I say and everything I do be rooted in love.

The goals:
1. Be a light (see Matthew 5:14).
2. Write something every day.
3. Continue developing the blog.
4. Work toward a daily meditation practice.
5. Run - work up to being able to easily run 5 miles a few times a week.
6. Continue defining what ministry/pastoral life can look like/feel like/be like.
7. Continue investing in new Minnesota friendships.
8. Be intentional about maintaining relationships with high school, college, and seminary friends.
9. Be the best daughter I can be.
10. Be the best sister I can be.
11. Shop less.
12. Worry less.
13. Take a weekly photography adventure.
14. Make 3 new friends.
15. Start keeping a movie journal.
16. Drink more smoothies.
17. Let go of needing to "prove" myself.
18. Practice saying "no" and not feeling guilty.
19. Believe in myself.
20. Embrace my body and my blood.
21. Listen with intention always.
22. Explore every writing opportunity that comes my way.
23. Be a compassionate co-worker.
24. Overcome fears.
25. Look in the mirror with joy and not disdain.
26. Pray more.
27. Forgive.
28. Express gratitude daily to God and to people and to nature.

With goal #28 in mind, I'd like to say a few words....

Thank you for being my friends. Thank you for reading this blog. Thank you for joining me through the ups and downs and in-betweens. Readers, you teach me much more than you probably realize. You teach me to lookout for God in the ordinary. You teach me that the little details of life are beautiful. You teach me that community is more than the people in our household and town - and it can stretch thousands of miles.

I'm off to explore life as a 28-year-old! May it be even more beautiful than I can imagine.


    Wishing you many blessing and new discoveries this next year!

  2. Happy Birthday Sweet Pastor Emily! We all love you so much and wish you a very HaPpY day! You are WoNdErFuL - and inspire many by your beautiful way!!! God bless you today and always!

  3. Happy birthday! Are you starting a new journal too? Love you!