I turned 40 last week.
You may remember that on my birthday last year I shared a list I created for myself: 40 things to do before I turned 40. I called it my #40by40 list.
I got the idea from my childhood best friend who wrote her list and shared it on Instagram. Her life at 39 looked different than she dreamed and God was so gentle in prompting her to make a list of things she wanted to do – things that brought peace to her hopeful heart.
Like Joanna, my life at 39 didn’t exactly look as I imagined. From the outside – sure. I am married with four adorable kids, we’re healthy and live in a pretty house in a charming town. But on the inside – my heart and soul were longing for wholeness. It’s been a four-year process and this simple act of slowing down, thinking through a few things that sounded fun/fulfilling to me and committing to do as many as I could was one little step on my journey of identity. I’m so happy I did it.
I am also happy to tell you that I accomplished most of what was on my list. Sure, there are a few things that I didn’t even attempt (like taking my grandma’s ring in to be fixed), a few that are halfway complete (I bought the rope to macrame!) and a few that I’m checking off even though they look different than I thought.
I wrote a long post at the first of the year with updates and details of what things I had already completed (read it here). Since then, I’ve been working through the list.
Ready for the final results?!
make sourdough bread
Done and it was delicious. When we visited family in San Diego for spring break, my cousin taught me all her fermented sourdough secrets. Then she sent me home with some of her starter. I nurtured that thing, made bread, waffles (so good!), rolls from this great cookbook. Then one day, I accidentally turned on the oven to pre-heat and forgot I had put the starter in there to keep warm overnight. Oops. Cooked that starter right up. And that ended my sourdough baking. I know I could get more starter, but it is a lot of work! So for now, I just feel good about trying and having success and I’ll call that good.
get a Le Creuset
Not the same brand, but I do love the one I have and use it all the time.
make apple fritters
Done, fun and tasty. I found the recipe in Magnolia Journal 2017 fall edition.
feel good in a swimsuit
I edited this one to go to barre twice per week and I mostly stuck with it for the entire year. I feel stronger, I love going to class, I’ve even added another class to the mix. It feels good to focus on my physical health and see some of the results. Ultimately, it did make me feel better in my swimsuit this summer. Plus, I did some work on accepting my pale skin and that was healing.
go to Nashville
We went, we ate, we concert-ed, we had so much fun.
write a children’s book
Did I really think I would finish this one this year? I’m not sure. But it is on the list because it is still a dream of mine and while it may take many more years before it is actually a thing, I believe this one will happen. I did take the first step and start a journal just for the book where I am jotting down ideas, little sketches, things God is teaching me that I want to go into the book.
plan 40th birthday trip with Ryan (to Italy? England?)
We did not go to Italy or England, but we did just return from Oahu and it was delightful.
see a whale
I did not see a whale. Boo. But we did see a black bear late one night this summer in our backyard and that was thrilling!
decorate our bedroom
Still undone. Sometimes other things take precedence and you make do with what you have.
intentional date with Ethan
intentional date with Brady
intentional date with Mason
intentional date with Audrey
In my mind, I had grand ideas of going skiing or seeing a Broadway show or doing an overnight in a hotel with each of the kids and that never happened. But you know what I realized? I’m a good mom. I love those kids and spend a lot of time with them. I talk to them and read to them and pick them up from all their activities. My goal is for them to know how important and special each one is to me and I think I am accomplishing that.
heal my gut
For years I’ve had gut health issues and with the help of my naturopath and a heavy dose of supplements, things are mostly under control. BUT, I truly believe the source of my health issues stem from a deeper spiritual place and since experiencing healing there, my gut seems to be healing as well.
host girls craft night in studio
Well, I didn’t get to this before switching out offices with Ryan but I’m okay with it. My social life looks different now than it did years ago and while we may not gather around a table to craft, we do gather around a soccer field, a dinner table, the church foyer, at the barre studio, in a coffee shop, at a concert or auction or high school football game and I feel very good about that.
plant dahlias + anemones
I didn’t plant any, but I did find a great u-cut place up the road and visited there a few times this fall. And also? These dahlias brought about more healing in my heart (can you sense a theme for my year?!).
frame road trip photos
I framed a few and found other ways to use them around the house! (here’s the post about that)
look into Invisalign
First priority is to put braces on my kids. Then I’ll look into doing it on myself :)
whiten my teeth
After a bit of research, I ordered this teeth whitening kit and have used it a few times. I haven’t noticed huge improvements, but I probably should do it more than twice before coming to that conclusion.
re-read The Kitchen House
re-read The Red Tent
I re-read both, loved one, did not love the other. Both of these books are on my mental list of top favorite novels. Now that I’ve re-read them, I can confidently say that The Kitchen House remains on that list and The Red Tent has fallen off.
take a photography class
I haven’t made it to the photography class I want to attend, but I did create my own iPhone photo class (does that count?!)
back-up both computers
The night before we left for Hawaii as I was packing and tieing up all the lose ends (do you know how long it takes to write out a schedule for four kids when you’re gone for 10 days?!), Ryan told me not to mess with my computer. “Why?”, I asked. Because he is the most thoughtful husband and he was backing up my computer for me! He knew it wasn’t something I would get to before my birthday and actually not really something I wanted to do anyway, so he did it for me. Good job, Ryan. And thank you.
visit K.C. in Flagstaff
We did our annual college girls weekend in Arizona just a few weeks ago and had such a great time together.
get iphone 7
I went all fancy and got an iPhone x instead. I’m very happy with it.
volunteer in the nursery
We’re on the schedule every couple of months and enjoy it every time. I also signed up to help with MOPS childcare and on my first time I came home BEAMING. Toddlers just do something to me.
attend a Barre3 class
I did Barre3 online for a bit, went to my first in-person class right after my birthday last year and quickly found a local studio that offered barre. It’s been such a great practice for me.
go to Enneagram coaching
The Enneagram is a personality typing system that has been so transformative in my life. My favorite Enneagram book is by a local author who also offered coaching. I decided to step out and set up a meeting with her. That first meeting was really good and we decided that what I desire more than enneagram coaching is spiritual direction, so she is now my spiritual director. It’s been so cool to see how God uses our monthly sessions to grow me deeper into my faith and identity.
For a girl that has spent nearly 20 years not wearing earrings, I converted to an earring wearer quickly. I am most often seen with earrings on now. These gold hoops are my fave.
start on road trip book
Here’s what I’ve decided about this one: there are things you do in life that could possibly be made into a book but it doesn’t always mean they should. Our road trip was awesome and I was so happy to share a lot of it on the blog as we went (catch up on all of that here). But the true purpose of the trip was for our family and we’re just going to hold those moments in closely.
get a mammogram
I need to schedule this!
write one handwritten note per month
Receiving handwritten notes is so great so I wanted to commit to sending them as well. I did very poorly on this. Better luck next year.
put up Christmas lights
We did and it was so pretty. Especially when it snowed on Christmas Eve.
weekend with Ellie
Ellie is my three year old neice whom I adore. She spent the weekend with us this spring and was a total delight. We’re putting another weekend on the calendar for this fall!
have grandma’s ring fixed
My grandma passed away last year right before my birthday. She was ill and frail and her passing was peaceful. We celebrated her life and did not mourn too deeply – it’s hard to when it was a life well-lived! But you know what? I have missed her so much this year. I think about her at the most random times – when I smell a garden rose, when I see those candied orange slices, when I get in the water and it’s a little brisk and make the silly sound she used to make.
She gave each of her granddaughters a ring from her collection of mostly antique rings and mine is in need of some maintenance. I am nervous about wearing it before I have it looked at by a jeweler, but I decided to wear it on the plane to Oahu for my birthday trip. It just felt like something I wanted to have with me as I turned 40.
We spread my grandparents’ ashes this summer as a family and it was such a sweet moment.
make a macrame hanging
I bought a pattern (from this incredible weaver) and the rope, but I haven’t made it. Yet.
update JDC about page
Oh, if I could just let you into my brain and heart for a minute so you could see that this is not quite as simple as it sounds. As I’ve been on this journey to answer the question WHO AM I? I have discovered things about myself that are informing decisions about what I do and how I live now. It’s not all clear, but becoming clearer. I just still haven’t figured out how that impacts JDC and, therefore, what gets written on the about page.
go paddle boarding
I like being on the water. Give me a boat, a paddle board, a giant inflatable swan … it doesn’t matter. I am happy to say I spent quite a bit of time this summer on the water.
practice daily silence + solitude
What I really meant by this was practice listening to the voice of God. I often hear him best when I am silent and alone, so that is my go-to. Since I’m not an early morning type of person, it means I have to make time for that quiet at other times of the day. There’s a little stretch of time in between getting my 7th grader off to school and before getting the elementary kids up and ready, so I like to take that time to be quiet, pray, read and journal. My college roommate used to make fun of me when she would come into our dorm room and find me laying on the bed doing nothing. But I wasn’t doing nothing … I was thinking! I still do the same thing; sometimes I’ll just pop up to my room for a few minutes to sit or lay in silence. I’ll turn off the radio in the car and drive in silence. I’ll wash dishes or vacuum the house and be quiet (sometimes I’ll put in headphones and listen to a podcast which I like as well, but sometimes I choose to be quiet so that I can make room in my heart and mind for the Lord to speak).
All I can say is that by making room in my life for quiet, by being intentional and diligent on working toward healing, I am experiencing transformation, renewal and a deep closeness with God that fills my soul.
buy a new pair of great jeans
I bought a few new pair of jeans over the year, but maybe my new favorites are these bootcut jeans.
Whew! I made it! You made it! (that was a lot of words).
39 was a year of joy and hard work and deep healing. It did not go exactly as expected and yet, in so many ways, it exceeded expectations.
Doing this 40 by 40 list was not only fun, but it also helped me find the things that made me excited, helped me learn, that felt important or necessary. I really don’t think there is anything magical about doing it before a big birthday – do it when you’re 14 or 32 or 67! The most important part is to pay attention to what makes you come alive and do a little more of that.