1) Empowered – There were times in my 20s when I felt uncertain, and going into my 30s I felt extremely confident. Now, in my 40s, I feel nothing but empowered. I know that my dreams are not too far-fetched, not unreachable, not too fanciful, and completely attainable.
2) Excited – I get butterflies in my tummy thinking about how God will use me in the coming decade. He has plans for me, and while they may not be the exact plans I have for myself, I’m excited for what’s in the making.
3) Energized – Knowing everything I have yet to do and knowing that I can do it all energizes me (and terrifies me a little, too).
4) Strong – I feel physically strong. I’m proactive with my body and although my metabolism may have slowed down, I still feel pretty healthy.
5) Intentional – My life is probably about half done by now. I don’t mean that in a negative way, only that time is moving along and I want to be intentional in my choices to be certain I keep doing the things I need and want to be doing.
6) Resilient – I’ve bounced back from very painful events in my life: my mother’s illness and death, my father’s massive heart attack, moving across the country, my father’s deteriorating health and watching him take his last breath. Pain, suffering, heartache, and yet I pull through thanks to an unshakable faith in an unshakable Christ.
7) Thoughtful – It takes so little effort to put a smile on someone’s face. A kind word, a helpful gesture, a sincere compliment – just thinking outside of myself and reaching out in small (and big) ways to brighten someone else’s day.
8) Enthusiastic – I don’t want to drag through life as if it owes me something. I want to live life fully, thankful for my blessings.
9) Experienced – Experiences make us who we are and inform our identity. I may not love everything I’ve experienced in my life, but those experiences have profoundly affected me and made it possible for me to relate to others in a human way.
10) Anticipation – I love routine. I feel better – list in hand – knowing what to expect from each day. And while I don’t usually love surprises, healthy anticipation leaves room for something new each day.
11) Connected – I have a different and unique connection with each person I know and interact with, and that variety of relationships enriches my life and keeps me inspired.
12) Editrice – I’ve figured it out. Editing electrifies me (I know I’m a big nerd – a word nerd!). This is what I enjoy doing, and I think I’m skilled at it.
13) Seeking – There are so many areas in my life that need improvement. I’m seeking ways to be better, increase my knowledge, grow as a person, and develop my character.
14) Appreciative – My blessings are too many to count. I’m thankful every single day for God’s mercies.
15) Children – Silas and James: They make me smile, they make me cry, they make me want to pull my hair out, they make my heart swell. They are God’s miracles – two pieces of heaven entrusted and on loan to me.
16) Student – I don’t think you ever reach a point in life when you’re done, when you know enough. I’m constantly learning. I want to surround myself with people who have more knowledge than I do so I can soak in their expertise and wisdom.
17) Emotional – I think I’m getting more emotional with age. I used to never cry; now I can’t hold it in. I don’t love it, but I can’t always control it, either.
18) Francophile – Oh Paris, what have you done to me?
19) Pleasure – I take pleasure in big things (faith, marriage, children) and small things (macarons, new pens, blank paper). I pray that my Father takes pleasure in me.
20) Outlook – I’ve been around positive people and I’ve been around negative people. You can be a realist but temper it in a positive way without unleashing crap to the people around you. Even in the hardest circumstances, you can choose to let hope propel you.
21) Passion – I have many passions in life; it’s hard to contain sometimes. Live life with passion and be an inspiration to whoever may be watching.
22) Fearless – I have fears. Creepy crawly things, banality, and failure. Time to push through some of these fears (not the creepy crawly ones) and come out triumphantly on the other side. God is love, and love drives out fear.
23) Filter – I need one. In my mind and on my mouth.
24) Marriage – After my relationship with Jesus, my relationship with my husband is the most exceptional, most unique, and most important thing in my life.
25) Scleroderma – I hate this word, this disease that took my mother’s life. She was 49. I’m only nine years from 49, and sometimes I think, what if…? But I cannot let my doubts and fears trump my faith, and so I focus on my favorite verse, Philippians 1:21. That’s all that matters.
26) Jesus – My everything.
27) Honesty – I have to be honest with myself. I can say Jesus is my everything (in fact, I just did), but am I living it? Time to face some harsh truths.
28) Laughter – The best sound ever. My kids’ laughter, my friends’ laughter, my husband’s, the lady at Starbucks – it doesn’t matter. Laughter is contagious, and the wrinkles are worth it.
29) Respect – It has to be earned, and it has to be shown.
30) Friendship – Can you ever have enough friends? I love meeting new people. I love getting to know people in a deeper way. I’m so grateful for my friends – old and new, near and far – because they each enhance my life in a different way.
31) Awareness – I hate watching the news because it is so depressing. But I can’t ignore what’s happening in the world and in my community. If anything, awareness should increase my compassion (severely lacking in that one!) and compel me into action.
32) Priorities – I can make a list, but it means nothing on paper if I’m not living it. Talk is cheap.
33) Dignity – This is a really important word for me and it should be for you. We are valuable, and our dignity should be valued. Expect nothing less.
34) Flawed – Yeah, I’m not perfect. GASP! It’s true. I have lots of flaws, probably too many to count. But it’s through those cracks that Jesus seeps in.
35) Model – I may not be 5’9 with a 25 inch waist, but you don’t have to be a model to be a role model. Act in a way that is worthy of your calling. People are watching.
36) Motherhood – A thankless job, but a noble calling. Just when I think I have it figured out…
37) Music – I grew up listening to my Dad sing. He could have been a professional had his own father not discouraged him. Music stirs my soul, helps me feel alive, encourages me, lifts my spirit, energizes me, comforts me, fills me, inspires me. Music colors my world.
38) Struggles – I’ve had many struggles in my life. Sometimes I remind God that I’ve had my fair share and to move it along to the next person. But I know that there are no guarantees that more struggles – even harder struggles – are not coming. I don’t dwell on it. I will face them if and when they come, because I won’t have a choice.
39) Chocolate – Thank you, Jesus, for the cocoa bean.
40) Shoes – I will always, ALWAYS love a striking stiletto. Size 8. Thank you very much.
OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.