Embracing 31.

It's been a memorable 31st birthday so far, and it's only 11:30am. To me, a perfect birthday includes wonderful things like a trip to the farm... a new comfy tshirt...a bouquet of coral and magenta roses...and homemade pumpkin pie for breakfast. Hmm, pumpkin pie for breakfast? Don't mind if I do!

I awoke this morning, the first of my 32nd year, wrapped like a cocoon inside my down comforter. My husband had already risen, turned on the space heater, and was clinking things around in the kitchen. That's one of my favorite feelings...waking up early and hearing activity in the kitchen, the rustling of socks on the hardwood floors. As I rolled out of bed with eyes still plastered shut, I pondered the first important question of the day, Is my flat-ironed hair from my two-day-old haircut still salvageable? I walked groggily to the bathroom mirror to examine. Cowlick-free? CHECK. Kink-free? CHECK. Still shiny, yet not greasy? CHECK. I fluffed it a little and headed for the kitchen. It's going to be a good day.

Steven had already whipped up some eggs with ground turkey and brewed us some steaming hot Enfusia in the French Press. Ahhh. You probably never thought you'd hear this from the Baileys, but we haven't brewed coffee in months. Enfusia is now our comforting drink of choice...in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening. We can't get enough of it, especially with a bit of Vanilla Creme Stevia and coconut milk. Mmmm.

Armed with travel mugs, we left the house at 7:30am to embrace the chilly morning and head out to the farm where we go every Saturday to pick up fresh eggs, cream, milk, and other goodies like lettuce so beautiful it could be a bouquet. Full Quiver Farm is about an hour outside of Dallas in the small town of Kemp, TX...which is really not much of a town unless you count the smattering of antique shacks on the side of the road, "Hotties Tanning Salon," a Pennsylvania Dutch store, and some gas stations. But I so look forward to this mini-road trip each week, because it always teaches me more about simplicity...priorities...perspective...all things I'd like to learn more about as I celebrate another year of life.

The farm is operated by a sweet Mennonite family - a mother, Debbie, a father, Mike, and their nine children. Needless to say, with having such a large family and living off whatever they can grow on their patch of Texas land, they know a little bit about the simple life.

As soon as we pull up the gravel drive, Debbie always emerges out of her little farmhouse in her long dress, hair tied back simply in a covered bun, the wooden screen door clapping behind her. She is always full of vibrancy and joy as she talks about her family and the farm. For example, I've learned that their only reason to go to the grocery store is for salt, pepper, and oatmeal. And that they tried to go on a family vacation once, but they all couldn't wait to get back home to their farm and sit together in the pasture around a warm fire. This morning, she told me about her family's upcoming Thanksgiving feast (the same exact menu every year) and that there will be 37 guests with all her children and grandchildren. I love how I always leave the farm with more of a desire to live simply and confidently. And don't get me wrong, I love her happy chickens and their happy eggs, too.

Steven and I loaded up the coolers with all the farm-fresh goodies and headed home. We drove back holding hands with my head on his shoulder, and we talked about the cookout we're having tonight with some friends that will include the first backyard bonfire of the season. It's 45 degrees and overcast in Dallas and we're taking advantage of it. As we drove, I thought about all I had already experienced this day. What more could I want? I have everything I need.

When we returned home, the morning was still young, and I talked on the phone to my dear Suz, who sent me a book of inspirational quotes called Live Good for my birthday. I've been reading many of them over and over, but this one will not leave me:

"I am not afraid...I was born to do this."
~ Joan of Arc

There is so much more I want to say about this quote, but for now, I'll just say I've been pondering it, and it's deeply challenged me. What was I born to do? Today at 31, I feel as young as I did at 21. I feel energized when I think about the future and the days ahead. And more and more, as God shows me my purpose here, I'm shedding some of that fear. I'm more willing to live simply because it's not as scary to give things up. I'm finding that as I embrace the years, the years embrace me.