I have a birthday next week. I like birthdays; they mean I have been given the unearned gift of another year on this beautiful, troubled planet full of beautiful, troubled people, including myself.

I am always thoughtful as the day approaches and this year I thought I might write myself a little blessing.

You are welcome to peek over my shoulder at it ...

To Alice ...

May you take a moment to look back at all this last glorious year contained; the joys and sorrows, the tragedies and triumphs, the laughter and the tears, the blessings and the burdens.

May you, most of all, remember the people. What gifts they are to you, even the troublesome ones. Especially the troublesome ones, for sometimes you are the troublesome one, darling.

May you remember all that was good and may you take just a moment, one or two breaths, to whisper thank you, thank you, thank you ...

And then, may you look ahead with anticipation of what is to come, knowing that anticipation is often more than half the fun.

May you be awake enough to live each moment, even the hard ones.

May you be tender enough to love deeply, even if it hurts.

May you be strong enough to face whatever headwinds arise, even hurricanes.

May you know your deepest yeses so you can freely and shamelessly also know your noes. Say no more often, love, ok?

May you love your aging, powerful, miraculous body. It's the only one you will ever get and she depends on you just as you depend on her. Be good to her.

May you see, really see, your closest people. Each one the love of your life in their own perfectly imperfect way. May you make more and more time for your man, your dog, your porch, your new treehouse in the pines.

May you seek new adventures, open your mind to new ideas, think new thoughts, try new food, meet new people ... God, bring me more new!!!

May you put yourself out there, as they say, but ruthlessly carve out time to be alone, just you, just Alice. Alice and the spirit of the Christ within you, deep calling to deep.

May you never forget that every day, every single damn day, is pure, unutterable, riotous gift. Even the days that expose the painful yearning for something more, something better, something that doesn't slip through your fingers like sand, something eternal.

Remember, that desire is how God set eternity in your soul. It is God's calling card. God's invitation to remember that the gorgeousness of this life is nothing in comparison to what is to come.

So live here and now while you can.

And smile for what lies ahead.

I like you, Alice. You and I have become good friends, haven't we?

Let's do another year.

Love, Me