Every year on my best friend’s birthday, we celebrate together, but most importantly we make the LISTs.
First, we make a list of every good thing that happened in the past year and talk about it. We relive the good moments to secure the memories in our ongoing life stories.
The second list we make is a list of where we want to go, what things we would like to see happen.
It is a manifesto. We call it The Birthday List.
It started the year she and I walked away from our marriages. We were both so miserable and broken that we could barely function. Somehow we got the courage to change the direction of our lives.
On her birthday that Fall, we made the first list.
If you or a loved one has a birthday coming up, you will find some gift ideas here, but more importantly, The Birthday List is a way to help someone change the direction of their lives. So sit down with a friends and make one!
We wrote down our wishes and dreams for our children, our jobs, our families.
It was a joyful moment of discussing good things. Financially strapped, divorcing, and broken as people, it seemed out of reach at the time to think things would be so different, but somehow our outlook improved when we wrote down what we would like to see happen.
With that first list, we wanted to believe God had our best interests at heart.
The physical writing of the list opened our eyes to see what we truly wanted out of our lives. In a way it fostered trust in God too, because we could see the results of prayer in our own lives.
Writing it down forced us to be specific. Our merry mood made it positive.
Specific and positive. A good start for a good birthday list.
Just a few months later, we saw some of those things happen that we had written down. After one year, our lives improved in small but noticeable ways. We were both happier and better off by the time her birthday rolled around again.
The next year on her birthday, we took it a step further. We decided to write down every good dream and wish that we had dreamed throughout our lives.
We aimed high.
What are your huge dreams? What would you want for your family? Your kids? What wonderful things would you pray if you knew they would happen? What friend would you pray for?
We were so encouraged by the changes in our lives that we wanted to be bolder in our list.
The true desires of our hearts in print were epic in proportion to where we were at that moment in time.
But we dared to pray for our greatest hopes and dreams.
We discussed our prayers for our own health and mental well being. We asked for love and guidance and prayed over our loved ones. I remember writing the list and thinking, “What if these things really happened?”
Every time we got together we felt younger, more together, happy.
We made sure the lists were optimistic, loving, confident outcomes. That the things we asked for were not selfish or unkind. We laughed and cried as we added to the lists over our glasses of wine.
A year later so much of what we had written down had happened that we did it again. We recorded the things we were thankful for first. We included every good thing that had happened that we could think of and thanked God for the answers.
Then we wrote down our hopes and dreams for the coming year.
We added a caveat to the lists.
This journal reminds me of one my husband purchased for me.
Journal – Proverbs 31:25
The Birthday Lists changed our lives, so for the next few years, on her birthday, we made the lists.
One year we each made a list of the attributes of the person we would enjoy being with. Since we were both single, we had really thought about it a lot.
From likes family stuff to handy as in handyman type things, we wrote it down. We added doesn’t hit on my friends and faithful. Other items were has a job, likes me, and is attracted to me. We added likes to hang out with our friends sometimes. You may laugh, but by that point we had seen it all and were all about specifics. If you don’t know what you want, how will you know when he or she comes along?
Check out my post Top 5 Steps to Better Dating to see some of the things you can put on your relationship list.
As a result of those lists of prayers, wishes, and dreams, our hopes have become realities.
We both learned to speak up and stand our ground. We learned to take care of ourselves and to not give into despair.
I became a writer, and she became accredited in her job.
Many broken personal relationships were restored, and we both found love and got married!
Both of us are happily married now and have grandchildren. It is beyond description how I feel about being happily married and writing after all the trauma in my life. I am so thankful! To see my friend happy is even more amazing.
We are both living much more fulfilling lives. She will tell you that her recent trip to Ireland was one of the most beautiful of her life. We love having positive things to talk about.
We learned so much about money and have had many blessings in that area. Here is a good book from Dave Ramsey for a money makeover.
In the last couple of years, we have both redone our homes into more beautiful places to live and love, and all those fervent private prayers over our children have come to fruition, some just recently.
Most of all, we learned to laugh again.
I am reminded of the adage, “You have not, because you ask not.”
Ask for what you want in writing.
Put a date on the list, so years from now when you come across it you will celebrate all over again.
Choose your wants wisely, and be careful what you ask for, because you may get it.
You may wonder whether we still make these lists? We do! I have one prayer that I have not seen answered yet, but I believe in God’s goodness.
Barefoot and writing,