My Birthday Wish For Both Of Us

by | Aug 9, 2013 | Uncategorized


My family has a recurring conversation in the car every year on our twenty hour road trip home from Canada. We talk about how we will spend the money after we win the lottery. You know, it’s up to $425 million this week. It’s good to dream isn’t it?

It’s something my husband knows how to do well, a practice I never allowed myself to do until I met him. Dream.

The potential of winning the lottery provides an opportunity that cultivates broad perspective, unearthing the hidden desires of our children’s hearts so they can bloom. Unfamiliar (to me) car names are mentioned, along with exotic places and giving money away to friends. We love a boisterous, opinionated conversation full of laughter.

I learned not to take dreaming for granted when I started mentoring troubled teens. When I asked what they would do if time and money weren’t obstacles, the answer I got was sleep. I’m not kidding.

I didn’t win the lottery but it’s my birthday today, so I’m indulging myself, asking you to dream with me.

If I could celebrate my birthday without any limits or obstacles,  this is how I would do it.


I would turn the car around and go back to Canada and meet you at the cottage. Show you the stack of seven books I read in two weeks and share notes penned on the clean pages of my emerald green Moleskine; notes I took after worshipful walks retracing familiar rock embedded ruts on our private dirt road.

We would stand together on the shores of the virtuous still lake, pushing our toes into the sand while holding our breath, captivated by God’s artistry streaked in shades of pink and violet and blue at twilight. A flock of thirty-five geese glide effortlessly a few feet from the shoreline.

Our arms wrap around our stomachs in laughter when we hear ourselves speak fears and worries about the future. Seeing empathy on our cheeks, it all seems so silly in comparison to the mirrored ripples of water holding color beneath all that beauty.


I flip through the pages of Bread and Wine, show you the recipes that make us salivate right before I scoop heaping mounds of curry on your plate; our favorite dish in the collection. Liquid crimson stems await and then we indulge in oversize slices of my daughter’s blueberry pie covered in melting pools of vanilla.

Capping off the day, we count shooting stars while leaning our heads back, focused on an ebony cape sprinkled with sparkling crystal dust. You and I, we take turns casting wishes on each streaky slide of white, like blowing out candles for each year of our lives.

We marvel over how blessed we are. And we don’t need to win a lottery to realize that.  Belonging to Him is priceless.

What would you wish for, if there weren’t any obstacles?


The most generous gift you can give me today as I celebrate my birthday is to leave a comment, Subscribe to my blog and like my Facebook page. If you feeling extra generous, you can buy this book where I’m being published and help thousands of Africans access clean water. I want to link arms with you and this is the way I know how to do it, when I don’t have the luxury of the dream.


Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here:


  1. HisFireFly

    may you continue to be rooted and grounded in His love and may the year ahead draw you ever closer. may you be rich in each and every spiritual blessing and enjoy watching the abundance pour out into every aspect of your life. Happy Birthday!!

    • Shelly Miller

      What a lovely blessing Karin, thank you so much!

  2. ro elliott

    Shelly….happy happy birthday…won’t it be wonderful to have time to just sit and have relaxing, undistracted soul conversation with you and others…I pray your day is filled to overflowing with love and laughter…and may you feel truly treasured.

    • Shelly Miller

      I am feeling quite loved today, thank you Ro.

  3. Lynn Morrissey

    Happy Birthday, dear one! Congratulations on a publication that will help change lives.
    What would I wish for? That your memoir will be gloriously published in God’s perfect timing, that you will have a memorable celebration with family and friends, that God will continue to show you the beauty of redemption in your life, and that He will give you many opportunities to make a real difference for His kingdom–on a global basis.
    I would also wish for my brother’s healing of deep emotional wounds.
    Not sure I’d wish for turquoise toenails, but on you, they look pretty snazzy!
    Oh, yes, and I wish I could visit you at your cabin and that you could visit me at mine!
    Have a fabulous birthday, Shelly. Celebrate to the hilt, because He has given you another year in which to glorify Him!

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m putting that cabin in Missouri on my bucket list. It has “writing getaway” written all over it. Thank you for all your sweet wishes and I’ll remember to continue to pray for your brother.

  4. smoothstones

    Happy Birthday, Shelly. May God continue to bless and keep.

    I’m not sure how much I’d change if I could. I’d like to travel and play a little more with my husband. But we are so blessed.

    • Shelly Miller

      I love that you said that Brandee. Not many people say they are content.

  5. pastordt

    Oh, Happy Birthday, Shelly. I’m late in your time zone, but not where I am tonight. So I hope you had a wonderful, beautiful, restful day. Thanks for this loveliness here.

    • Shelly Miller

      You were right on time Diana. This actually posted a few hours early. So thank you. And I am having a wonderful day!

  6. Kris Camealy

    This post reveals more and more of your beauty–wishing you the happiest of birthdays, and congrats on your story landing in the causpub book! Can’t wait to read it!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Kris. Glad the story will go toward helping someone else. Makes it sweeter.

  7. Lori Harris

    Happy Birthday Shelly! And I LOVE that you shared the book here- what a great way to share the love!

    • Shelly Miller

      I hope people will click on the link and buy the book Lori. Thank you for being here.

  8. http://nickiedwards.wordpress.

    Firstly happy happy birthday day all the way from Australia! I love this post. I have lived in Canada for 12 months and each time I return I am always pulled towards the lakes. So many memories of wonderful times. This post has helped me re-live those memories. When my husband tells me of how he plans to spend his Tattslotto winnings (what we call it here) I usually laugh at him. But reading this, I’m reminded it’s okay to dream. And if I ever won the lottery I’d bless myself with two weeks every year, a green canoe, a crystal clear lake, books, chocolate, loons and a chance to watch the sun rise and set.
    Blessings and love to you.
    I always love reading your blog

    • Shelly Miller

      Nickie, I’m so glad you let me know you are reading because I love knowing that we have a love for Canadian lakes in common. And the loons, I love their calls, don’t you. One day, after being at the cottage for a week, I remarked to H that I hadn’t heard them yet. Do you know, less than an hour later, (more like five minutes), I was sitting outside by myself praying and they starting calling to each other. I just sat there soaked it up and smiled. God is so sweet isn’t he?

  9. Guest

    Well, let’s see, that sound just a little bit like Heaven to me. I love your dream, encourages me to do my own dreaming! Happy Birthday, Shelly!

    • Shelly Miller

      It blesses me to know you were encouraged, thank you for telling me.

  10. 1lori_1

    Well, let’s see, that sounds just a little bit like Heaven to me. I love your dream, encourages me to do my own dreaming! Happy Birthday, Shelly!

  11. DeanneMoore

    If money was no option I would be buying tickets to London for the two of us. We would tell H and Jeff to hold down our respective forts. They would and they would tell us to have fun and be careful. We would be sittting having tea in the afternoon and noticing the world milling around us, hear their voices. Since money is no object and we are half way to Africa, we book tickets and we tell our men to figure it out and meet us in Rwanda. Our kids might feel abandoned but maybe they wouldn’t be surprised by our wanderlust. We would come home with stories and gratefulness and the courage to dream new dreams. But I loved the cottage dream in Canada by the lake. I’ll meet you there the day after tomorrow. Happy Day friend of mine. So thankful that God crossed our life paths here!

    • Lynn Morrissey

      Gotta tell you, Dea, I just got back from London and it was wonderful (even if I didn’t get to visit Shelly’s favorite bookstore, Persephone’s!) London was beautiful and fascinating, but I must encourage you as you dream this dream of yours, to dream a little further and longer into the English countryside. My English friend always told me that London is not the real England. Dream deeper, my friend, into those rolling green hills and lolling sheep and country estates and mammoth cathedrals and tea shops on every corner and Beatrix Potter’s farm and on and on. Seems to me that H and Jeff will be ensconced in those forts for a long time to come! 🙂 Tell them to prepare!

    • Shelly Miller

      Bucket list. It’s going there for sure. You know I prayed for so many people on my trip but I think you were on my mind nearly every day. So thankful for you too. And I used my lovely book and showed it to everyone. I painted too!

  12. Gigi Greene

    We love you and H to pieces! Wish you could spend more time in Canada because it so refreshes you! Blessings to you.

    • Shelly Miller

      Me too! I have a dream to go there in the Fall when all the leaves change. I’m counting on God to make that happen for me one day, hopefully before I’m too old to walk around. 🙂 Love you Gigi.

  13. Jennifer Camp

    Beautiful! Want to jump right on in to this dream. Happy Birthday, Shelly!

    • Shelly Miller

      Wouldn’t it be divine Jennifer. I actually dream often of having all the people I love and have met over the years in one place so they can meet each other. Maybe God will orchestrate that before I got to heaven, not after.

  14. Laura

    Wishing you the happiest of birthdays. My birthday was Wednesday so we are almost twins! I realized as I read your post today, that I have all but forgotten how to dream. Think I will work on that…..God Bless!

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, that is so good to know Laura. How are you? And how can I help you to dream again?

  15. Laura @ Pruning Princesses

    I’m coming. I’ll be at the dream. I’ll bring a handful of lavender and a bunch of fresh basil, just to make the cottage smell good. And I plan to wear the coziest hoody in my closest, it’s purple and a pair of yoga pants. And somehow we will know the perfect balance of how long to stay to be refreshed and when to leave so we don’t get lazy or take it all for granted. Thanks for sharing. Happy Birthday.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, this should be an addendum on my post. I love this. Lavender is my favorite scent and yoga pants are a staple in my wardrobe. And somehow you got that whole balance thing like you’ve been there before Laura. So good, it’s making me think. Thanks for being here lovely you.

  16. Jillie

    “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHELLY!!!” I would love to be a part of your dream at the cottage!
    If I could dream anything, money being no issue, I’d first of all give all I could to those who are working to abolish sex slavery all over this planet. And then, I’d fly to England, with an open-ended return ticket.

    • Shelly Miller

      I thought about you often Jilie and wished you could. I did not see one snake btw. But, H did see one which was unusual because we never see them at the cottage. It was a racer tucked in between the rocks. Luckily, we never saw it again.

      And I’d plan to meet you in London while you had that open ticket.

  17. Megan Willome

    Happy Birthday!

    I’d agree with that dream of sleep, but I’m finally getting some. I guess I’d dream for the ability to dream.

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, that is a great place to start Megan.

  18. Jean Wise

    Happy birthday, Shelley. After reading this I feel you have given me a gift instead of me giving you one. Lovely post and you are so right, we are blessed!

    • Shelly Miller

      You are so very sweet Jean, I’m glad you feel that way, it was my intention.

  19. Nancy Ruegg

    Oh, yes, belonging to our Heavenly Father IS priceless. If we started to count all of His gifts–whether it’s our birthday or not–we’d be counting a long time. I agree with Jean, below. Your posts are precious gifts of insight of encouragement, and we are blessed! A joyous Sabbath to you, Shelly!

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, you are right Nancy. Thank you for the gracious gift of your encouragement, always.

Pin It on Pinterest