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Updates to my #40by40 list (aka New Year Goals)

Last October, on my 39th birthday, I gave myself a list of 40 things I want to do before I turn 40.

This list was started as a tool for me to practice defining what I want (because I am not very good at it) and has become such a motivating way for me to actually do the things I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

I have been super slow to jump into New Year’s mode – which is really strange for me. The Christmas decorations are still up, I forgot what day it was yesterday (did you catch my instagram story where I declared it January 3rd?! Oops!), and I’m just not as quick this year to reinvent my days/habits/desires like usual.

While chatting with Ryan about this it dawned on me that maybe I’m not quite as motivated to make changes because I am actually pretty satisfied with how things are going.

And I owe most of that to my #40by40 list.

This list is made up of all the big and little things that help me celebrate and enjoy the things I love. There’s a handful of items that feel important, but always seem to slip by undone. There are skills I want to learn and places I’d like to travel, things I want to do and a few I don’t really want to do, but should anyway.

So while I would normally come up with a list of resolutions or projects to do around the house or a special word for the year … this year I’m leaning on my #40by40 list to be my New Year manifesto.

I posted about my list on my birthday last fall and listed out each item. I thought it would be fun to go through each one, make a few adjustments and see how many I’ve checked off these last three months.

Let’s jump right in …

40 By 40 List

make sourdough bread

My cousin’s wife makes the most delicious naturally fermented sourdough bread (that is even safe for the gluten-intolerant) that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. She gave me the recipe and lots of tips and I gave it a try this fall. So far, I’ve failed at making starter three separate times. Lucky for me, my father-in-law is an accomplished chef and he shared his starter with me over Christmas break. I baked my first two loaves of bread and they were delicious. Not exactly the fermented sourdough I was going for, but I haven’t lost hope of that yet.


get a Le Creuset

The sourdough bread recipe calls for a 6qt dutch oven to bake it in. I decided to skip the spendy version for now, since I wasn’t sure how this whole bread-making thing would turn out and instead ordered myself this one in emerald green for a fraction of the price. I’ve been so surprised at how much I use it for things other than baking bread.

make apple fritters

Keeping to the baking theme (I really do love baking!) … I made apple fritters last weekend and they were delicious. They didn’t have that perfect crunchy texture on the outside so I’m not sure where I went wrong, but the flavor was really good. And we had no trouble eating them all up.

go to barre class twice per week

On my original list, it says feel good in a swimsuit, but that feels too intangible and hard to measure. Sure, I’d love to walk around in a swimsuit with all the confidence in the world (I’m convinced a ton of that is mindset but I haven’t quite conquered that yet). Instead, I’ve been consistently going to a local barre class on tuesdays and thursdays and it has been so good for me. I feel stronger, I love pushing my body and it feels good to take care of myself in this way.

go to Nashville

Perhaps the highlight of my 2017 (besides our kids being baptized on Father’s Day – that was a really great day) was our trip to Nashville last fall. Oh my goodness, we had so much fun. Ryan and I went with two of our best friends and we ate the most delicious food, heard amazing music (Little Big Town at the Ryman!) and fell in love with the city.


write a children’s book

This is so high up on my list … and I’m so intimidated! I have been playing around with a story idea for a few years and it feels so special and meaningful to me I don’t want to mess it up. But this is the year. I will get this thing out of my heart and onto paper.

plan 40th birthday trip with Ryan (to Italy? England?)

While some want to celebrate their 40th with a big party (ahem, my sister who had 5 of the best parties ever) others (like me) prefer to celebrate quietly. Ryan will be 40 a few months after me and our 15th wedding anniversary is coming up, so it feels like a good time to take a special trip.

see a whale

I can’t do a whole lot to make this happen until the spring when the whales are active in our Puget Sound waters and even then, seeing a whale is not a common occurrence. I have lived here all my life and saw my first Orcas just a few years ago. I do adore sea mammals and would literally cry tears if I saw a whale up close. Crossing my fingers for an opportunity.

decorate our bedroom

We’re still sleeping with our mattress on the floor. Still using step stools as nightstands. It’s not the worst, but I would love to make our bedroom a put-together retreat for us.

intentional date with Ethan

intentional date with Brady
intentional date with Mason
intentional date with Audrey

I hang out with the kids all the time and feel like we have great relationships, but rarely do I get the chance to do one-on-one activities of the kids’ choosing. Ethan is up first for a day of skiing.

take my supplements

This is another amended item. Originally, I wrote heal my gut, but again, too intangible. I have an annoying auto-immune thing that doesn’t improve with diet, but does get better with a crazy mix of supplements my naturopath concocted for me. I took them consistently for a few months last spring and was feeling so good … and then I stopped. Why? I have no idea. I just got distracted and bothered by all the pills. Of course my symptoms are back. Ugh. So, back to regular supplements.

host girls craft night in studio

This one sounds fun. Just need to plan it. And find a good craft to do.

plant dahlias + anemones

When do you plant dahlias? In the spring, I’m guessing? I must do some research … I know the perfect book.

frame road trip photos

We have hundreds of photos from our road trip and I can’t bear to keep them all in dropbox. My idea is to take bunch of 4×4 square prints and mount them in a grid in a big frame. The pictures are printed; just need to put them together.

look into Invisalign

My bottom teeth have shifted a bit in adulthood and I’m not happy about it. I have a dentist appointment in a few weeks and will ask if Invisalign is right for me.

whiten my teeth

My mom has the whitest teeth. I want to be like her when I grow up.

re-read The Kitchen House
re-read The Red Tent

When asked what my favorite book is, these two often come up. The Red Tent was the first book I read after college just for pleasure. The Kitchen House solidified my love of historical fiction. It’s been a long time since I’ve read either and hope I love them as much the second time.

take a photography class

A friend of a friend hosts a local photography class + wine tasting (called Cork & Click) and I’m excited to attend one of her events soon.

back-up both computers

This one sounds boring, but necessary. I have so many files and photos on both my big computer and laptop and I’m not completely sure either are very well backed-up. I should also include organize files on both computers, which sounds equally boring, but would feel really good to get done.

visit K.C. in Flagstaff

My best friend from college just moved to Flagstaff and we can’t wait to see their new house. Hoping for a mid-winter or spring break trip.

Get iphone 7

I did get a new phone and opted for the iphone X instead. So far, I’m very much loving it.

volunteer in the nursery

I helped in the 2 year old class during bible study a few weeks ago and ADORED every minute of it. I really love toddlers. Ryan and I are scheduled to help in the church nursery this year and I’m looking forward to getting my toddler fix.

attend a Barre3 class

All summer I took Barre3 online classes and really wanted to take a class in studio. My friend, Erica, took me to a Barre3 class for my birthday (we don’t have a studio near us, so we drove an hour and made a day of it). I have never sweat so much in my entire life. Since going to that class, we found a local studio that offers barre classes and have been going every since (see above).

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. Our second session was profound and I look forward to seeing how God uses our monthly sessions to grow me deeper into my truest longing of quiet confidence.

wear earrings

I’m doing so well with this one!

start on road trip book

Since returning from our road trip, we’ve toyed with the idea of creating a book about our journey. I think the concept is good, but after lots of research and talking with an editor, it feels like this one is just a book we need to create for ourselves. We don’t want to forget all the places we traveled and stories we collected, so I need to figure out the best way to organize all our photos and words and create a keepsake book.

get a mammogram

One of my dear friends is fighting breast cancer (hi, Cynthia!), my sister-in-law’s mom just beat it (yay, Jane!), my sister had a scare this past fall and my mom’s mom passed away when I was a little girl after her battle with breast cancer. This thing is part of my life and now is the time to start scheduling regular screenings. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’ll do it anyway.

write 1 handwritten note per month

I’ve already failed at this. Oops. I really do love receiving handwritten notes and want to be better at sending them. I’m going to let myself off the hook on the monthly thing and just change it to send handwritten notes.

put up Christmas lights

We didn’t put up a ton, but it was more than last year and they made me so happy all Christmas season long.

weekend with Ellie

Ellie is my two year old niece who I can’t get enough of (she’s the dark-haired beauty in the center). I’m looking forward to keeping her for a weekend so we can get some good Ellie time and so her parents can have a little break :)

have grandma’s ring fixed

My grandma passed down her antique rings to us girls. She passed away in October and so having her ring feels extra special to me. I need to take it to a jeweler to make sure the top part doesn’t come loose from the band.

make a macrame hanging

I don’t really know why this is on my list because while I do want to make a wallhanging, I don’t really care enough about it to have it on here. So I’m removing this item. And adding the next.

switch to 3lb weights

In barre class we use light handheld weights for the arm portion. I’ve been using 2lb and wanted to challenge myself to move up to 3lb in the new year. I’m happy to report that yesterday, my first class of 2018, I did it with 3lb weights.

update JDC about page

I told myself I wasn’t going to put any business to-do’s on my #40by40 list, but this one crept on. It is a business task, but also feels like more. An about page is where your mission, your purpose, your introduction lives. I haven’t updated mine in several years and as I’ve grown and changed, so has the purpose of JDC. It’s time to take the time to define these things and allow the blog to grow along with me.

go paddle boarding

I love being on the water and we live so close (the Puget Sound is just a few minutes from our house) that now that we’re more settled in our house, I’m hoping to do more paddling, kayaking and boating this year.

P.S. Here’s a picture Ryan took yesterday morning after dropping the kids off at school. How gorgeous is that sunrise?!

practice daily silence + solitude

My sister asked me how I hear God and my answer came quickly: when I’m silent and alone. It doesn’t matter if I’m laying quietly in bed, driving in the car with the radio off or sitting in a comfy chair with my Bible open … what’s best for my soul is silence and solitude and I’m learning how to make sure it is part of my day.

buy a new pair of great jeans

Let’s finish things off with a shallow-but-oh-so-important item. I wear jeans nearly every day, so I like having a few pair of jeans that fit just right and make me feel good. I just added these toothpick jeans, which I like very much (they’re on sale!), and also these cuffed jeans (also on sale, try sizing down).


Whew! Are you still with me?! That was a lot of words. But it was fun to process through each item and explain a little more about why each one made the list.

So far, I’ve checked off 14 out of 40. Not bad!

My theme for 2018 is BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Instead of a long set of goals all about changing who I am, I love that this #40by40 list is more about celebrating and encouraging the things that make me come alive.

It’s a gentle way to keep me motivated, intentional and a little bit challenged.

I’d love to hear about what you’re goals/word/theme is for 2018. Please share in the comments!

79 Responses to Updates to my #40by40 list (aka New Year Goals)

  1. keri January 16, 2018 at 2:00 pm #

    I love this list/the idea of this list! But then, I’m a listy kinda gal. I had an idea: make a tapestry/macrame/wall hanging as your girls studio crafty day–two list items merged into one!! A local store that I adore had a workshop and I was so sad I missed it–I’ve had it on my mind ever since! I found this tutorial that uses an empty picture frame as a weaving loom and other simple items (misc. bits of yarn and roving–clean up the yarn stash, etc): http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-woven-wall-hanging/. Just a thought so that weaving thing doesn’t have to completely go away! ;) Thanks for all you share!!

  2. Cori January 9, 2018 at 1:03 pm #

    Curious about the sourdough starter and bread. Can you share? I to have been wanting to make bread in a Le Creuset type pan.
    Oh I love your list it is great and so inspiring. :)
    Thank you and Happy New Year

    • emily January 9, 2018 at 2:54 pm #

      Yes! I’ll share soon!

  3. Jen Gilday January 7, 2018 at 11:03 pm #

    Dahlia’s – so easy to grow! Plant in early spring and put a giant stake in the ground behind it. That helps mark the spot. And then when it starts to grow tall, you’ll already have a stake in the right spot to tie it up! They get full and heavy and can break if not tied up.

    Invisalign – you’ll LOVE it! I did it a few years ago and am so glad I did. A secondary side effect is that the trays now serve as my nightguard for grinding teeth (or not grinding teeth!)

    Travel journal – sounds like you want to journal about your road trip that already happened. But we have travel journals that we take with us on trips and write out what we did and where we went. That way we don’t forget! Mine isn’t always terribly detailed but I’ve become a terrible journal writer as an adult and I love how do-able a travel journal can be.

    Loved reading your list!

    -Jen Gilday

  4. Torey January 6, 2018 at 7:44 pm #

    Have you talked to your naturopath about MTHFR mutation? Seems to be closely linked to auto immune disorders and gut issues.

  5. Jennifer January 5, 2018 at 7:41 pm #

    My goodness, I’m suddenly excited to think about all the things I would like to do with 2018. Thank you for inspiring us with each post.

  6. Anya January 5, 2018 at 5:34 pm #

    I so appreciate how you consistently and genuinely share yourself with your readers. I really like your list and can’t wait to hear how it continues to go (bare3 is my all time favorite work out!!). My husband and I celebrate 15 years of marriage and my 40th birthday a few months later in two years. We’re planning a trip to Italy to celebrate all we’ve overcome and fought hard for these first 15. Blessings to you and Ryan as you plan your adventure and may you feel covered in the love of the Lord as you find your quiet and solitude this year. You’re a gift Emily!

  7. michelle January 4, 2018 at 10:17 pm #

    What is your apple fritter recipe?

    • emily January 4, 2018 at 10:40 pm #

      I used the recipe from the Magnolia Journal fall issue. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/24980972917127109/

  8. Kristen January 4, 2018 at 7:19 pm #

    Emily, would you be so kind as to share the sour dough recipe from the cuz? I need to up my bread game. Bring it!

    Love so much of what you do; thank you!

    • emily January 4, 2018 at 9:12 pm #

      I will! I’m thinking I’ll talk about it a little more on the next coffee chat!

  9. Vicki January 4, 2018 at 1:15 pm #

    What a great list. I have never been one for New Year resolutions but I do believe in setting goals. You have inspired me to do a similar list to yours since I have a significant birthday looming in my not too distant future. I love that you included little things that don’t take long but we keep forgetting or putting off because other larger things are in the way.

    One of the things on your list that I have done is back up my computer files which include thousands of photos files, plus thousands of genealogical files. I have used Carbonite for about five years now. It is inexpensive and once the initial backup is done (mine took about two days,) your files are backed up as you add/modify them or however you choose to schedule it and requires no work on your part each day. I love it. Once they are backed up, I am free to move less used files off my hard drive and onto a portable drive to free up computer space.

    I hope you do pursue the children’s book. I would have to buy it for my grandchildren (yep, us old folks follow your blog too.) Happy 2018!

  10. Kelly January 4, 2018 at 12:14 pm #

    I’d love an update on the teeth whitening. Will your mom share what she uses?

    Thanks

  11. Lauren January 4, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    I’m hoping this comment makes it through, as it’s my second try! I was just wondering how you figured out your Enneagram number. I have taken three separate tests/quizzes and I get a different number each time. Each number I get does have characteristics I can relate to, but I want to figure out the correct number. Just curious how you determined you were a 9 for sure! Thanks!!

    • emily January 4, 2018 at 1:21 pm #

      The tests are a great starting point – but often you’ll get multiple numbers as the result (or even the wrong number. When I took the first test, I came out as a 2). The best way to figure out your personality tendencies is to read through each of the typing characteristics and usually, the one that is most like you will really stick out. When you read through your number, you might feel like “how did they know this is how I felt?!”. I think it is helpful to have a book to study the types with – I love Self to Lose Self to Find (http://amzn.to/2CqK2an) and Road Back To You (http://amzn.to/2CSJXgI). I like having a paper copy so I can underline and flip back and forth easily. Hopefully this helps!

  12. Sara, Rocklin, CA January 4, 2018 at 10:19 am #

    I really like how you did this instead of some lofty resolution! I turned 40 in Dec 2017 ( love this new club I’m a part of;) and my resolution is writing and sending more birthday cards- but now I may make a list! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more from you!

  13. Harmony January 4, 2018 at 10:17 am #

    I love this list and idea! I turn 40 at the end of this year too! I’m going to have to do this. Thanks for sharing!!

  14. Karen Valania January 4, 2018 at 10:09 am #

    just…”Wow!” I read your comment section (which I never do) and your readers are as inspiring as you are. That is quite remarkable, truly a cycle of creativity and kindness. God bless.

  15. Alison January 4, 2018 at 9:09 am #

    Emily-
    i love these goals so much! I’m also getting into Enneagrams…which # are you? I am a 9 :)

    • emily January 4, 2018 at 1:22 pm #

      I’m a 9 too!

      • Alison January 5, 2018 at 11:44 pm #

        You know…the reason I asked is because I had a feeling you were a 9- like me. I have always really felt like we have a lot in common and I “get” a lot of the things you think and feel….plus I have 4 kids (3 boys and a girl) :)
        Happy New Year!

  16. KC January 4, 2018 at 8:11 am #

    Does your mom have a secret to her white smile?

    Also, I know you have discussed your supplements in the past? Would you be willing to revisit this topic?

    • emily January 4, 2018 at 1:22 pm #

      I think she uses crest white strips but I’ll ask :)

      And supplements – what would you like to know?

  17. Caroline January 4, 2018 at 8:06 am #

    Could you please put up the sourdough bread and starter recipes? Thanks!

  18. Karen B. January 4, 2018 at 7:10 am #

    I’ve been reading you since just before your road trip, sorry I don’t comment. (My lame excuse is I work full time). This post helped me more than you can possibly know. Yes, your writing is wonderful and I always enjoy reading what you write, but more than that. When I see lists like these I often think, why can’t I make a list like this? I love lists, but always come up blank on things I want to accomplish. Your list is one of the first that has inspired me and feels like the right combination of lifetime goals and just simple personal ideas that need fulfillment.
    Thank you and best to you as you wrap up your 39th year! :-) As a much older person, life’s journey truly is great. I would have thought, headed into 40, that somehow things would change and possibly not for the better—not true, it just gets better and better with each year.
    Happy New Year!
    Kafen

    • emily April 25, 2018 at 12:04 pm #

      Thank you, Karen! I’m so glad this list was helpful and that it inspired you to make a list for yourself!

  19. Judy Caywood January 3, 2018 at 11:31 pm #

    I want to move at my own rate. Do my creative hobbies and become better at them. Love my husband and family and cherish our time together. Grow in the Lord and be still to hear him. I too hear Him best in quiet. I am doing this exercise from Louise Hay every day too.

    Try this simple and powerful exercise from Louise Hay to help you let go of anxiety and fear…

    “Letting Go Exercise: As you read this, take a deep breath and, as you exhale, allow all the tension to leave your body. Let your scalp and your forehead and your face relax. Your head need not be tense in order for you to read. Let your tongue and your throat and your shoulders relax. Do that now.

    Let your back and your abdomen and your pelvis relax. Let your breathing be at peace as you relax your legs and feet. Is there a big change in your body since you began the previous paragraph? Notice how much you hold on. If you are doing it with your body, you are doing it with your mind.

    In this relaxed, comfortable position, say to yourself, “I am willing to let go. I release. I let go. I release all tension. I release all fear. I release all anger. I release all guilt. I release all sadness. I let go of all old limitations. I let go, and I am at peace. I am at peace with myself. I am at peace with the process of life. I am safe. Go over this exercise two or three times. Feel the ease of letting go. Once you are familiar with this exercise you can do it anywhere at any time. You will be able to relax completely in any situation.”

    Print out a copy of this exercise and tape it to your car dashboard, your computer screen, your fridge, your bathroom mirror or wherever. Remind yourself that you ALWAYS have the power to choose thoughts that make you feel better.

    • emily January 4, 2018 at 1:23 pm #

      This is beautiful!

  20. michelle January 3, 2018 at 7:11 pm #

    My word is focus, but I may add “be kind to yourself” as well. Thanks for the inspiration.

  21. Sherri Len Amundson January 3, 2018 at 5:41 pm #

    “Daily” and using it as an acronym for some personal areas of my life that need to have daily attention, including myself, my husband, and time with God.

    We just purchased a foreclosure with absolutely no character, but it is coming alive…we are using Shoji white and Iron Ore on the doors and the trim (like you, we do not like the trim, but can’t change it out right now.) Also, on my wishlist is a sofa like yours…I discovered that a friend’s sofa is the same one you have, and I love “living” on it! Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  22. Marisa January 3, 2018 at 4:59 pm #

    I’m turning 40 this year too and while I’m not doing anything like this, I LOVE your list and feel inspired to do things I’ve never tried before! So sad we missed you guys on New Years! Much Love.

  23. hope c January 3, 2018 at 4:34 pm #

    When you posted your 40 by 40 list last year it motivated me to start a 30 by 30 list! I love it! I share several of your interests so I’ve added some similar adventures & experiences to my list! One of mine is take a lettering class so I was so excited when I saw your email about your course on sale! I signed up & cant wait to get started on those lessons.

    Dahlias are pretty easy to grow! & yes that book is wonderful! Where I live (Kentucky), we have to wait til after Mother’s Day to start growing. I’m not sure about your zone.

    What Enneagram number are you?! I’ve become so intrigued by Enneagrams lately. I’m a 2. :)

    Thanks for your inspiring list! Best wishes & prayers for your best year yet!

    • emily January 4, 2018 at 1:24 pm #

      I’m so glad you’re doing a 30 by 30 list! It’s fun :)

      I am a enneagram #9 and it very accurately describes me.

  24. Vicki January 3, 2018 at 4:23 pm #

    Hi Emily! I enjoy your posts so much and I have enjoyed getting to know you through your posts!! Love your coffee posts also!
    Quick question – I would love a Le Creuset also for baking artisan bread. I have looked into the Lodge Dutch oven and am just wondering if it is safe to heat to 450 degrees when there is no food in it. With the artisan bread, you need to heat an empty Le Creuset at 450 degrees for 30 minutes prior to putting your loaf in. Am just wondering if it is safe to do that with a Lodge Dutch oven. Thanks!

    • emily April 25, 2018 at 12:05 pm #

      I use the lodge dutch oven in the same way – heating it at 500 for 30 minutes and it does just fine!

  25. PJ January 3, 2018 at 3:42 pm #

    My word for this year is “Listen.” I hope to be a better listener to friends, students, and family; I hope to tune into nature and its serenity; and I hope to pay better attention to my own inner voice.

    I enjoyed your list of 40 by 40, but please be aware that retirement years are a great time to explore new experiences. Don’t feel pressure to finish by 40 please. And thank you for bringing up some goals that I will add to my list (for example: sourgdough bread) for this year.

  26. Susan January 3, 2018 at 3:33 pm #

    Rather than a mammogram, I would encourage you to research and investigate Breast Thermography (or digital infrared imaging). It is painless, non-invasive, uses no radiation, and is FDA approved. The scan detects subtle physiological changes to your breasts which take place years before the smallest of lumps can be detected by a mammogram. It identifies concerns while there is still time to be proactive! I have been getting annual thermograms for the past 7 years, and highly suggest it for women of all ages.

    • Rebekah January 3, 2018 at 5:14 pm #

      Susan, I agree with you about the breast thermography. I’ve been doing it for several years now and it is painless and can screen much earlier than mammograms. And zero radiation. Win win in my book!
      Emily, if you think you may want to pursue breast thermography, I know of a great practictioner that isn’t too far from you. You’d love her. I’ll happily share her contact privately.

  27. kellee Lehman January 3, 2018 at 3:18 pm #

    kellee Lehman

    I think you have a great list and a great idea. I have a rare brain disease along with fibromyalga which causes me to rely on friends and my wonderful husband to drive me around to do little chores. I turned 50 in March of last year so for some reason I am dealing with that . I wake up every day and thank God my savor for being there to give me strength . I am going to start my own list this week and let you know what I can do. I really love your site. I have a friend who is trying so hard to get his band off the ground. He writes his own songs. He is like a son to me so look him up under face book under cardiac half

  28. Ericia January 3, 2018 at 3:00 pm #

    Such a great post! And how fun that you have already achieved more than one-fourth of them! Love that. I turned 40 in August and dreaded my mammogram, but it really wasn’t bad! I had heard horror stories and had horrible thoughts in my mind, but none of them came true.

    Thanks for being such a great inspiration and example of goal-setting!

  29. Shauna January 3, 2018 at 2:50 pm #

    Go to Costa Rica! Saw a ton of whales and cried on the boat. Everyone looked at me like I was nuts…but childhood dream realized.

    • emily January 4, 2018 at 1:24 pm #

      I’m in!

  30. Kristen Tayet January 3, 2018 at 2:37 pm #

    Such a comprehensive and inspiring list Emily! And a fun way of thinking about the year. My word for the year is release: things I can’t control, burdens that aren’t mine to bear, etc. Being kind to myself is part of that too ☺️ Thanks for sharing!

    • emily January 4, 2018 at 1:24 pm #

      Yes! Release! I love it. And you :)

  31. Rachel January 3, 2018 at 2:21 pm #

    This is amazing. Good for you! I can tell it’s making you happy and better and that’s what it’s all about. LOVE your blog!

  32. Abby January 3, 2018 at 1:42 pm #

    This is a fantastic list! I absolutely LOVED The Kitchen House. This week I finished another book by the same author called “Glory Over Everything” and it was really great as well. You should read it!

    • emily January 3, 2018 at 1:51 pm #

      I want to! I just want to re-read Kitchen house first so I remember the characters :)

  33. Jontal January 3, 2018 at 1:22 pm #

    The Floret book is soooo good! I have a little cut flower garden now, and it brings me so much joy! Dahlias are incredibly easy to grow here in western Washington! Just bury them 2-6 inches in the ground (different people say different depths but this range always works for me), next to a fence or a stake, and don’t water them until they’re a foot tall. Pinch off the top sets of leaves at this point and don’t forget to keep cutting off flowers so they keep making more! Floret’s website is also helpful :)

  34. Emily January 3, 2018 at 12:49 pm #

    My thought for 2018 is to “leave it at the altar.” I heard a woman share recently that her anxiety about her children, life situation, or anything flares up when she tries to take it from the Lord’s hands and solve it on her own. But when she remembers to leave it, or return it, to the Lord – to the altar – the anxiety is lifted and she can rest in the peace of His care. This visual is just what my anxious and weary soul needs this year!

    I loved this list – thank you for sharing! On a lighter note – would you be willing to share either of the sourdough recipes? I have a gluten-intolerant daughter and would love to try one for her! Thank you!

  35. Lil January 3, 2018 at 12:41 pm #

    My word for the year is “finish”. I have SO MANY unfinished projects (crafts, house, etc.). I make a wish list each year…gives me a little focus, but not a guilt trip. I want to make more, photograph more, read more, finish projects…

    Regarding your list – 1. a craft night sounds so good. I want to host one too! 2. I also want to frame photos in a grid. 3. I LOVED the kitchen house. 4. I was surprised by my first mammogram. Apparently technology has come a long way and they’re not as painful as they once were. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrid.

    Happy New Year!

  36. kristin January 3, 2018 at 12:38 pm #

    I had a mammogram for the first time when I was 21, and it was more than I had been touched in that area at the time, but when I had another one 2.5 years ago it was fine. I guess being married and having four kids can do that to you! (It really is fine. Annoying, because the area is not to be flattened like that, but goodness, I’m glad I did it two years ago as well- at 35.)

  37. Victoria January 3, 2018 at 12:38 pm #

    Thanks for keeping us up to date, I loved this post.
    I think you should do Italy, but if you choose England I’m happy to provide ideas and tips as I live in London. Our museums are free!

    Google You Can Folk It. I don’t know if they sell in the States but it’s great for a craft event as it’s easy to learn and makes everyone feel like an artist in 30mins. I’m not a teacher or artist but used it to teach a group of women and children in a shelter one afternoon and it worked great.

    My words for this year are Growth and Grace and I’m going to try to practice gratitude and plan more, so I don’t reach the end of the year like I did the last two years; feeling out of control and without direction. Looking forward to more updates from you.

  38. Jennifer January 3, 2018 at 12:32 pm #

    I too hear God when I am quiet and alone. It seems He gets my attention better. I love the verse telling us to “be still and know I am God”.

    Love your blog!

  39. katie January 3, 2018 at 12:30 pm #

    Do you have any denim favorites that aren’t stretchy? It seems like everything is stretchy right now. I’m looking for jeans that a) hold their shape, b) aren’t particularly stretchy and c) are soft and supple and not extremely heavy.
    I know you appreciate good denim, so I thought I’d ask a pro :)
    Thanks!

  40. Taylor January 3, 2018 at 12:19 pm #

    HI Emily, my husband is an Enneagram 9 so I understand and celebrate your efforts to know who you are and what you want. I’ve done spiritual direction consistently for years and it’s wonderful. Ryan’s sunrise photo is amazing! You’re so lucky to live there. I have a 2yo and newborn so I squeezed in a Barre video at home this weekend and loved it! I also love sending handwritten notes and always involve our 2yo in writing thank you notes. My best advice is to keep easy, blank notes and envelopes (and stamps) out in the open and always visible. Write one when you think of it, don’t put it off. My husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this fall and we always chose a word for our next year of marriage; this year it’s joy. Can’t wait to see your children’s book. I’d love to write one too!

  41. Taylor January 3, 2018 at 12:15 pm #

    HI Emily, my husband is an Enneagram 9 so I understand and celebrate your efforts to know who you are and what you want. I’ve done spiritual direction consistently for years and it’s wonderful. Ryan’s sunrise photo is amazing! You’re so lucky to live there. I have a 2yo and newborn so I squeezed in a Barre video at home this weekend and loved it! I also love sending handwritten notes and always involve our 2yo in writing thank you notes. My best advice is to keep easy, blank notes and envelopes (and stamps) out in the open and always visible. Write one when you think of it, don’t put it off. My husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this fall and we always chose a word for our next year of marriage; this year it’s joy. Can’t wait to see your children’s book. I’d love to write one too!

  42. Julie January 3, 2018 at 11:30 am #

    Get that mammogram, girl!
    My word for 2018 just came to me this morning as I was preparing goal setting pages for my girls (16 and 18) to fill out later today at our pre-back-to-school lunch date. The word is INTENTIONAL.
    My family has been moving at a break neck pace to check off all the things…all the things. I want to be more intentional about what’s important, especially when it comes to the foundational things for my family. We are at that place where we are sandwiched between teens and aging parents. I feel constantly pulled to be there for somebody, meet expectations and obligations and I am not being good about the important stuff or taking care of my own well being. So, in an effort to improve that, I’m going to be a better planner, better about talking about hard things and talk more to my kids about living a life that matters, makes a difference and makes every day count. Happy New Year to you!

  43. Jodie January 3, 2018 at 11:26 am #

    Marilyn Vancil is a long time dear friend of mine and someone I’ve looked up to since I was a teenager. You will LOVE your time with her!

  44. Elise January 3, 2018 at 11:24 am #

    I was just thinking about starting a 40 before 40 list (as I turned 39 last week) and here’s your update. Perfect timing. I love reading your blog- I found it when you were doing your family road trip. I also have four kids and am dreaming of an epic trip with them. It was encouraging to read about a family the same size as ours actually doing it. Thank you for your authenticity. I can’t wait to hear about finishing the rest of your list. Happy New Year.

  45. Leah Heffelfinger January 3, 2018 at 11:16 am #

    Yay for a trip to Flagstaff! That’s my home – you’ll love it here, it’s quirky and fun!

    • Mary Cristina January 4, 2018 at 5:14 pm #

      I second the “yay for a trip to Flagstaff!” It’s my home too: maybe an impromptu coffee chat at a local place??? In any case, it’s a great place!
      On the Dahlias, depends on your Sunset/USDA region. I, unfortunately, discovered by experience Dahlias in Flagstaff need to be dug up in the fall and replanted in the spring since they can’t handle hard freezes. Check with your local nursery.
      A girls night is so fun! A friend of mine had one and we just all brought our own projects to work on, no major planning required. It was great!
      Keep us posted if you’re headed down to Flag!

  46. cathy voight January 3, 2018 at 11:13 am #

    I sent you an email through your contact form regarding one of your goals. Just fyi

  47. Lynn January 3, 2018 at 11:12 am #

    Emily, do leave a time frame on your “write handwritten notes.” Consider making it MORE often to remember to do it. Your specially chosen recipients will be so touched, even when notes are short and sweet. With paper goods and writing like yours, handwritten notes should be a breeze (a thank you? thinking of you? remembering a happy time together?). And thanks for all the “notes” you share with us!

  48. Jesse May January 3, 2018 at 11:06 am #

    I love that you’re adjusting your list as you go along, and changing intangible goals into tangible ones. Thank you for sharing your progress with us! :)

  49. Sarah January 3, 2018 at 11:03 am #

    Thank you for sharing!

  50. Katie Morene January 3, 2018 at 10:58 am #

    Back-up both computers. Easy peasy. My husband and I run our own business and use Carbonite. Reasonably priced and takes care of backing up files automatically. We’ve had to restore files several times and it worked great. Hope this helps you mark off another item!

  51. Bets January 3, 2018 at 10:53 am #

    Hi Emily, loved your list! Someone asked me the other day if I make New Year’s resolutions, and my answer was “No.” But then yesterday I was looking through my 2017 journal and there on the first page was my NY resolution for the year: “Do more things to make me happy!” Looking back, I realize how much I took that to heart. I did a lot of things (including spending time and money on myself that I had never justified before) with the intent of making myself happy, and I believe it helped me end the year on a positive note.

    This year’s resolution is similar: “Do more fun things!” but it includes taking on work projects that are fun, not just doing fun things in my “off time.” I believe that we are here on earth not to suffer, but to experience joy in all its many forms. I want to make that a priority in 2018. Fun projects… Fun new adventures… Fun activities with friends. I’m going to look for fun in all the facets of my life!!! YIPPPEEEEEEE!

  52. KIRSTEN DEHMLOW January 3, 2018 at 10:53 am #

    My friend is the owner/teacher of Cork & Click. I love seeing all of the photos of her classes. They look like so much fun that I am considering flying out from Denver to attend.

  53. Bonnie Goodwin January 3, 2018 at 10:52 am #

    I learned to paddle board with one of my daughters during her spring break trip to Orange Beach & Gulf Shores last March. It was on my bucket list and I loved it so much. Hope you do also!

  54. Aimee Hayes January 3, 2018 at 10:50 am #

    I love all of these, good for you my friend! I’m in for as many as you need company for:)

  55. tara January 3, 2018 at 10:41 am #

    i am notorious for skipping right over most emails from bloggers i have subscribed to over the years. i have never really found that one blogger that i really connect with…..enter Emily. something about your entire aura is very “real”. i removed myself from social media in it’s entirety this past summer after i closed my business and pulled back from the semi-public eye. while i miss seeing you on instagram very much, i love seeing a “emily | jdc” email come across my inbox. you really are inspiring in a very achievable way and i feel your authenticity in everything you write. my goals for the year are very much centered around self care, including the care of my faith, marriage and relationships with my kids. thank you for being a voice and putting yourself out there for all of us to benefit from. I know you probably feel exhausted at times and probably even a little in-authentic in those moments of overwhelm but you my dear, are a true light.

    • Cheryl January 3, 2018 at 11:32 am #

      I agree! I unsubscribed from all other bloggers I was following because I never read their posts (and then of course felt guilty about it for some reason) or their posts were not as relevant for where I am. But I’ve stayed with Emily because she has such a wonderful aesthetic, inspires me to try new things and seems so transparent in her personal life and faith walk. I feel uplifted after every email/post and look forward to them eagerly. Thank you Emily for who you are and your willingness to share!

  56. jaime January 3, 2018 at 10:34 am #

    Great list! I have both a Le Creuset dutch oven and a Lodge, and I actually like the Lodge better! How awesome that you can meet with an Enneagram coach. I will have to get that book. It’s fascinating– I want to learn more about it this year. I’m a 1w9. :)

  57. Susan January 3, 2018 at 9:56 am #

    I love your list. Food for thought for me (again).

    On your road trip book: we took a 12 day trip to Puerto Rico with my in-laws 7 years ago or so. We visited my husband’s family and many attractions all around the island with them and our 3 kids. While we do hope to go back again, it is unlikely that all those relatives will still be living and that we’d be able to spend that length of time again as our kids are now in high school and college. For xmas that year, I used Shutterfly to make a hard cover book that included photos, captions and longer narratives about what we saw. I printed multiple copies for us and the in-laws. So, however you do that book, I would encourage you to print copies for your kids to have when they grow up as it was such an epic adventure! I would also say, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I’m guessing that someone with your design skills might shy away from using a template like Shutterfly or similar service, but even doing that took me quite a lot of time, so I could see how doing it all from scratch would for me be a black hole of never finishing.

    • Susan January 3, 2018 at 9:57 am #

      Also, schedule that mammogram! It isn’t a party, but really it is no big deal!

  58. Sarah Willett January 3, 2018 at 8:22 am #

    I’ve been loving the 40 by 40 updates you’ve written. I’m glad you’re keeping up with the list! My husband gave me The Kitchen House for Christmas and I absolutely can’t wait to read it. My word for the year is “intentional”, which translates into so many areas in my life. One of which is to read more!

  59. Jody Thomas January 3, 2018 at 8:16 am #

    You’re always so encouraging to me Emily! I really started to follow you when you guys hit the road last year. My husband’s a school teacher and I homeschool our 3 boys- 10, 8 & 4 yrs old & all they were is athletic pants and shirts too ;). We have a trailer and hit the road for about a month each summer. Loved watching you guys! I turn 40 in 2020. I’m writing my 40 for 40 list this week. (My husband and I watch 30 for 30 on ESPN all the time and I love them! So I love this 40 for 40 idea. :) Great job on all you’ve accomplished so far! “Be Kind to Yourself” is a song by Andrew Peterson. Thought of that song when I read what you wrote. Also, I love John Eldridge’s books (& Staci, his wife) and early in his writings I caught onto this idea of finding what makes me come alive. There’s a great quote by Howard Thurman about the world needing more of those who have come alive. Good stuff! I’m going to be refocusing some more on this as I think & pray about my 40 for 40. Again, thanks Emily for such encouragement & kindness through your blog and Instagram. Blessings in 2018! @socalpeach18

  60. Theresa January 3, 2018 at 7:58 am #

    My goals sound similar in that I’m trying to honor my body & soul more:

    Weekly date nights with my husband. REFIT is my workout if choice (an uplifting dance-type class for all fitness levels) three times/week and I’d like to add more yoga. I havent tried barre, it sounds intimidating. Clothes that make me feel good and are of good quality so they last. Long weekends with our family of 5.

    Nothing earth-shattering, but lots of small steps towards where I’d like to be as a person, wife, mom and more.

    Thank you for sharing & inspiring us!!

  61. Beth Miller January 3, 2018 at 6:01 am #

    This is so inspiring! I turn 40 in October too! I’ve lived in Nashville (Franklin now) all of my 39 years, so I’m so happy you had a wonderful time here. It really is the most wonderful city. I got my first (and second) mammogram last year bc my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s not bad at all! Just do it! I can’t wait to see what you do with the children’s book. I’ll buy in in a heartbeat! Thanks so much for sharing!

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