Random Thoughts on My Birthday

As I step into the final year of my thirties, I sit here and think about all the things I’ve been marinating on lately. My brain never fully stops, especially these days with a crazy news cycle, social media, and kids entering their tween years.

And friends, I’m tired.

So instead of trying to pull everything I’ve been learning into a nice neat package for you, I thought I would just slap some random thoughts down. Maybe one or two will resonate with you.

I’m also adding a book list to the end of this post because reading has been huge for me over the past few years. When I don’t understand how someone can hold a certain position, or when I can’t grasp the cries of oppression, I read. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me become a more compassionate person, a better listener, a better question-asker, and a better friend.

So many times we only listen to people who hold the same views as us. We dismiss others without listening. We fail to ask questions. (Why are you protesting? Why are you angry? Why do you feel this way?) The more I read, the more I ask, the more I listen, the more I am grieved by the way we wall ourselves off in the name of religion, politics, and even comfort.

That’s my first random thought for the day: Read. From multiple perspectives. From those who have a different worldview than you. Learn about things you don’t understand or can’t begin to comprehend.

Here are some more thoughts, in no particular order.

  • First impressions aren’t everything.
  • I’m horrible at small talk, but I love deep conversations.
  • Shouting on social media doesn’t change minds, but personal stories can.
  • Dehumanizing language has always hurt my heart, and these days it feels like it’s everywhere all the time.
  • I feel like I didn’t learn the real history of America and am now playing catch up.
  • We should care enough to learn more than we were taught.
  • Nothing good ever comes easily.
  • Seek out relationships that challenge you. (One great way to do this is to join a Be The Bridge group, or start one yourself.)
  • People want to be understood, heard, listened to, not dismissed, categorized, or generalized.
  • Not everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
  • It’s ok to ask for help.
  • Listen to your body and treat it as well as you can.
  • Naps are the bomb.
  • It’s ok to make mistakes.
  • Mom guilt sucks.
  • People don’t know what you need unless you tell them.
  • Community is everything.
  • Things that make me laugh lately are reading Shopaholic books, watching Fuller House with the kids, and listening to The Popcast.
  • When someone asks about a topic I’ve been learning about lately, I get excited and give them way too much information. (Sorry, Amanda.)
  • Inviting me into your home means the world to me. I need to be better about inviting people into mine.
  • The library is the best place on earth.

And with that, here are a few books that have enlightened me over the past few years.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (National Book Award Winner)

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Adopted: The Sacrament of Belonging in a Fractured World

The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege

The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence


Thanks for hanging with me for a few minutes today. And now I’m taking my swirling brain to a baseball game because where else would I spend my birthday?