Yes, I realize I turn 37 years young today.  Yes, I realize that I should be taking the day off of my mommy-like duties and get a manicure, pedicure, facial, and massage.

But I’m spending the day at Animal Kingdom in Disney World with my sweet family.  As if I don’t live in Animal Kingdom already.

Now don’t get me wrong on this…I am so very fortunate and blessed to be going.  I know wonderful memories are being made right now as you read my words.

However, I’m fairly certain that this will not be my most relaxing birthday ever.

Of course, Susannah is excited that I will get to wear one of those buttons around Disney that says “It’s My Birthday!”

I didn’t quite share her enthusiasm on this one but I will don the button because well, I’m a martyr and I’ll do anything for my children.

I really love my thirties.  I didn’t really love my twenties but the thirties?  I freaking love them.

I’m still young enough to be considered fun but yet I’m not as, shall we say, STUPID as I once was during my twenties. Sure my chestal region is a bit saggier and I might have some crow’s feet around my eyes but for the most part, it seems that life just gets better the older I get.

Will I look back to this time ten years from now and say I’m not as stupid as I was then?  Probably.

Nonetheless, I have learned a thing or two during my 37 years.  In fact, I have learned 37 things, like:

37.  My feet are always cold.

36.  I love, love, love music.  All kinds, except offensive lyrics.

35.  The human spirit is incredibly resilient.  I have been through some horrid lows and now find myself the happiest I have ever been.

34.  I’m not convinced that dogs don’t have souls.

33.  Mia, my beloved Siamese cat that died when I was in second grade, was not killed by the Vitamin B12 shot she was given by her veterinarian.  My Meemo accidentally ran over her with the golf cart.  Yep, found that one out in college.

32.  Speaking of college, maybe you shouldn’t necessarily marry the person you partied with pretty much all the time.

31.  Speaking of partying, I absolutely believe you can still profess to be a lover of Jesus and indulge in some wine and margaritas.  Admittedly, I don’t do this as much as I once did because well, I can’t.  The next day with young children is just too painful.  But I don’t think I’ll be going to hell if I drink a little too much wine now and then…

30.  Don’t. Judge.  You have no idea what you would do.

29.  On that note, people will absolutely judge YOU.  Be prepared to pray for them and realize that this is between God and them not YOU and them.

28.  It is possible to have another human being know you better than you know yourself.  I am married to a man that is like this for me.

27.  Children. Ah, children.  Nothing brings your junk to the surface quicker than birthing your own offspring and nothing makes you love so intensely that it almost makes you feel a bit frightened.  They have the capacity to make me raging mad and yet, I would die for each of them.

26.  Be wary of those who talk about how much money they have.  If they are talking about, they probably don’t have it and truthfully?  I don’t care if they do or not.

25.  I’m a night-owl.  I always have been, probably always will be.  I can’t help it.  It’s time to just accept it.

24.  As long as I have a child in diapers, there will always be a poo in the pants just as we are about to walk out the door and are often to late to wherever we are going.

23.  I love a good pair of jammies.

22.  I adore and enjoy my morning cup of coffee way more than I should.

21.  I have one regret:  I didn’t major in English in college and I didn’t go back right away to get my MFA in Creative Nonfiction.

20.  And yes, I have also learned that it’s never too late.

19.  His grace is sufficient for me.

18.  I love the joy and excitement of having a little girl and I love the “noise with dirt on it” of a little boy.  Admittedly, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy having boys and now I’m so pleasantly surprised by how much I do.

17.  But alas, boys and girls are so different.  My daughter is calm, cool, collected, loves to create, has an off-the-charts imagination, is over-the-top verbal.  My boys are hurricanes that roll through the house, that wrestle and push and shove because they are not as verbal, that are loud, and love things with wheels and swords.  Girls need a mommy so desperately and boys love their mommy so intensely.

16.  There is not a greater scent than the pages of a new book.

15.  However, I can’t tell you how much I love my Nook.  I think it might be the greatest invention in a long time and I was skeptical.  This old-fashioned lover of words wasn’t too keen on the idea but now?  I’m a convert and could do commercials.

14.  The drugstore mascara is often just as good as the fancy kind.

13.  There are some things that I won’t skimp on:  good winter coats for all in my family, strollers, bras, toilet paper, Hannah Andersson clothing, Land’s End bathing suits, coffee, meat.  Some things are just worth it.

12.  Sometimes people can just be mean.  It’s usually because they are hurting.  Love them anyway.

11.  If you find the right person and you grow together in your faith with a focus on God, your relationship will go deeper than you ever thought possible.

10.  You will be able to have an entire conversation with your eyes.

9.  Which will come in handy when your house is filled with children and no one can hear anything anyway.

8.  It is absolutely wonderful to have girlfriends who believe the same things you do.

7.  It is absolutely wonderful to have girlfriends who do not believe the same things you do.

6.  It is absolutely wonderful to have girlfriends who are real, honest, who love you for who you are right at the moment, who will not judge you, and will love you regardless.  Don’t ever put your girlfriends low on the totem pole.  You need them.

5.  Just last week I learned that it might be worth it to get a pedicure at a salon rather than the cheapy-chonga places I usually go.  Ouch.

4.  The Bible actually is absolutely applicable to today’s world.  At one time, I didn’t think it was but since I have studied and learned more about it, wow.  It’s absolutely applicable to the world in which we reside on so many levels.

3.  I don’t get the vampire thing.  I really don’t.  And I tried.

2.  Sometimes you just have to say, “I was wrong.  Will you please forgive me?”

1.  God absolutely had plans to prosper and not to harm.  He worked for the good in all things and continues to do so.  But the difference now is that I know He will because I’ve seen it and it makes the times when I think nothing good can come from something more understandable.  Hope.

Thirty seven things is actually quite a bit to have to conjure.  My 37 year old brain is tired and now I leave you to pal around with the Mouse.  Or Buzz. Or Tigger.

May your Labor Day holiday be blessed and joyful!

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