Recently I read a blog post in which the author discussed her recent endeavor of writing down a list of one hundred dreams. This practice comes from Laura Vanderkram's book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. Apparently, the idea behind it is this: "to help you think through how you want to spend your time (in the big-picture sense) brainstorm an unedited list of anything you want to do (or anything you want to do more of in your life." I love it. And, being me, I decided to try it. So I did. Once. I made it through about thirty things and quit: I couldn't think of any more. After a couple of weeks, I decided to try again -- and it took me about a week, but I did it!

When I wrote these down, it was like taking a trip back to myself. It involved thinking about what I really wanted. Some of then were big: The first one, for example, was to sing opera professionally. But other ones were smaller, quieter -- but they make a huge difference in the way I feel about myself and the quality of my life.

I'm not going to share the whole list here -- no one has time to read that -- but I wanted to share at least a few. Maybe some of them will resonate with you; maybe they will inspire you to think about the things that you want, the dreams in your heart. God has made us all uniquely, with specific imprints on our heart, and it's important for us to pay attention to those imprints. They are clues to the way we're made, the ways our hearts work. More often than not, I find that God calls to me through the way He made my soul.

So here it is: a list of some of the dreams of my heart.

Sing opera professionally. Make my living doing it -- my life doing it.

Be fluent in French.

Be fluent in Germany.

Read all of Shakespeare's plays.

Live in Europe (a lifelong dream).

Get married.

Write a book.

Live the academic life in/at Oxford.

Keep flowers in my home.

Go to Vienna.

Learn to swing dance.

Have a real, live Christmas tree. With the pine smell and everything.

Wear more lipstick.

Road trip with friends.

Visit the Grand Canyon.

See an opera at the Met.

Wear things with sequins (tasteful sequins. We aren't about tacky here).

Live in a place with a bay window and a window seat.

Curl my hair more.

Explore the entire Louvre.

Live in Paris (where I can explore the Louvre at my leisure).

Visit ancient cities: Rome, Athens, Pompeii.

See Shakespeare performed in the Globe Theater.

Visit Ireland and Scotland.

Experience real autumn (Texas autumn is a joke).

Throw one gorgeous, life-giving party: one that will fill me and the guests with joy.

Go to graduate school to sing.

Spend time outside every day.

Go to more cathedrals.

Obviously, I have a lot of travel-related dreams. I have wanted to live in Europe for as long as I can remember. My aunt lives in Germany, and she used to bring me picture books about Europe and Impressionist painters: my first artistic love was Claude Monet. From that time, I have known: I have to live here. The practice of writing down all the places I want to live and visit has reminded me that, yes, this is my dream, and it spurs me to ask myself what I can do now to help that dream along.

Additionally, little things like wearing more lipstick -- that makes me feel feminine and beautiful, and more dressed up. It's a small way to add joy to my day.

And really, that's what all these are about: What brings you joy? How has God made you? How is He calling to you, wooing you through His unique imprint on your unique heart?

I'm learning that God is wooing me through the things He's made me to love.

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What about you? What are some of your one hundred dreams? What does God use to woo you?

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