Thirty-Four Birthday Goals

    Well, today I turn another year older.

    I’m not really big on birthday celebrations. I usually like pick what I want to eat and go on a bit of a local-ish adventure. Other than that I often spend the few weeks leading up to my birthday thinking of goals for the next year.

    Back when I turned twenty-six (a lifetime ago!) I started making a list of goals based on my age. I like doing this larger list of goals because it forces me to be a bit creative and my list ends up including a number of quick and easy ones, some practical ones and some I need to work a little harder for.

    You can see all my birthday goal lists here or you can see them separately: twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty, then I didn’t share my goals for two years before starting back for thirty-three.


    34 Birthday Goals While 34


    I filmed my goals and some of the reasons behind them, or you can scroll down to read the goals.



    #1 go on a home town tour

    I was hoping to do this on my birthday but the weather forecast isn’t looking too great, so hopefully we can do this soon!


    #2 write 12 poems


    34 Birthday Goals While 34


    #3 spend more time in the backyard

    I mean, when your backyard is looking this good ^ everyone is going to want to be spending more time outside!


    #4 thrift more home decor


    #5 spend under $100 in books (for myself)

    Uhh, this is definitely going to be a challenge, I may regret this goal already . . .


    #6 have “low tech” days each month


    #7 do some thrifted item redos

    Years ago I spent a summer doing a bunch of furniture redos and now I’ve got Raeca on board, we’re going to start looking for some furniture and do some redos together. Here are some that I did about seven years ago:

    Furniture Redo


    Furniture Redo


    Furniture Redo


    Ha, this is the best before I could find of the dresser, excuse little Rae’s weird attire.

    Furniture Redo


    Furniture Redo


    #8 get family photos done

    Um, it’s been three years since our last ones so we are way overdue.


    #9 thrift in different towns


    #10 make pizza sauce from scratch

    Let me know if you have a good recipe!


    #11 shampoo the carpet


    Art Journal - Mixed Media - Bible Journal Page


    #12 do more artsy projects using the supplies I have

    This will most likely be in the form of art journaling, canvases and/or card making.


    #13 take an online class

    I will most likely get a Skill Share membership for a few months or I may use Creative Bug since our library is currently (or maybe always?!) giving us free access to it.


    #14 read through the Bible in 90 days again

    I’m planning on doing this January-March, let me know if you want to join in!


    #15 paint my bathroom door

    Yeah . . . I may have gotten some hair dye on it . . .


    #16 visit at least one ghost town


    #17 read a poem a day for a month

    Have any good poetry suggestions?


    #18 eat less carbs/find lower carb alternatives

    Also looking for some recipes here!


    #19 make my own Lightroom presets


    #20 go on a date with a kid each month

    My kids, obviously.


    #21 buy the majority of my clothes from thrift stores


    #22 learn to watercolor flowers


    #23 use the backyard lights


    #24 make a video LUT


    Bible Journaling Mother Culture


    #25 start Bible journaling

    I’ve actually been doing a bit of this in my Bible in the last few weeks and have been really loving it, it definitely works with the way my brain processes and stores information.


    #26 find a hat that fits my small head

    Where can I find one of these???


    #27 buy a vlogging camera


    #28 sew something useful from thrifted fabric


    #29 draw a (very simple) cartoon version of me


    #30 go on a trip that is not Alberta or Saskatchewan

    Also, not Manitoba but do I really have to say that?


    #31 set prayer reminders to go off throughout the day

    I’m going to use my phone for this.


    #32 figure out how to do a smokey eye


    #33 learn about one new topic each month


    #34 buy or make coasters


    And there you have it! Those are my thirty-four goals for the year! If you have any way of helping me to achieve any of these goals, let me know.

    Also, if you set goals for yourself each year and/or birthday goals I would love to hear it!


    My Goals for 33

    Since my birthday was nearly two months ago I figured this would be a good time to share my goals for the year.

    I like to set goals each year at the beginning of the year and around my birthday, though I always go for a longer list of goals on my birthday and generally include some simple ones and some that I probably won’t reach.

    I like to dream big and imagine possibilities and I like my goals to reflect that.

    Though, apparently if I take two months to actually share my goals some are completed or in the process of and some I’ve already decided to change or completely cross off, such is life!

    Curious about previous birthday goal lists? You can see my goal lists for twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, and thirty. (And then apparently I went goal-less for two years before thirty-three.)


    1) something big – so I’m not really being vague here to be mysterious, this “something big” has changed a few times in the last six months so I thought if I intentionally left it to be a fairly broad goal I would have a better chance of being able to check it off, so that’s where it stands for now.

    2) increase my online income – I feel very fortunate to be able to make some money from my online hobbies/endeavors and I would like to see if I could increase it more in the next year.

    3) actually live radically for Christ

    4) get outside more

    5) kingdom school the kids – pretty much I just want to teach my kids to live with eternity in mind.

    6) get rid of stuff/live smaller

    7) give more

    8) pick a word of the month – well, I’ve already been failing this one . . .

    9) have evenings in the backyard

    10) bake some good gluten free bread – let me know if you have a good recipe!

    11) take a class online

    12) go on five Saskatchewan adventures – where should we go?

    13) keep a nature journal

    14) learn to sketch and/or watercolor

    15) find a handicraft

    16) study the Bible

    17) go on a trip in the winter

    18) make a plan for the front and side of the yard

    19) —- I already decided not to do what I had written down for this goal

    20) write a line a day – I got this journal for Mother’s Day and have been really enjoying it

    21) figure out a topic for a book – though honestly, I don’t think I’m there yet

    22) buy a fireplace – before you get grand visions, I am thinking a tiny, portable fireplace, aka cheap. But, I figure if we’re going to live in such a cold province I may as well get a little comfortable.


    And that’s where my goals currently stand for the year! Since it took me so long to write them out here and there have been a number of changes I’m contemplating having a continual goal list for the future where I can just continually add, remove and check off my goals as I go through life.

  • A Simplified Birthday Bucket List


    For the past few years I’ve created an annual bucket list around my birthday with items that I’d like to accomplish or attempt before my next birthday comes around. I’ve corresponded the number on the list with the number I am turning; last year I turned twenty-nine so I created a list of twenty-nine things to do while I was twenty-nine (easy enough, right?).

    This has served me well for the last few years but this time I knew I wanted something different, something simpler.

    For the past couple of years I have been a journey of learning (and often re-learning) how to live a more simple life and this year I knew I wanted that bleed over into my annual birthday list. I didn’t want to create a list that was full of “fillers” just so I could get thirty items.

    This year I want to live with more intention and I want my list to show it.

    I decided that this year I would simplify my birthday list by asking myself one question for every item I contemplated putting on my list, if I couldn’t answer the question, the item didn’t get put on my list. If you receive my monthly(ish) newsletter you will have found out last weekend that the one question I am asking myself is:

    how can I honor God in this?

    This one question has ruled out a number of different items I considered putting on my list and has helped me to get a vision and really focus on this upcoming year and decade of my life.

    I ended up coming away with only five items on my list, and while I am going to share them here I’m not actually going to share my answers to my question of how I can honor God in each item. Some of them will be easy enough to figure out and that’s fine but some I just didn’t care to share right now.

    With that in mind these are the items I have on this years list:

    01. practice my craft – for me this means doing lots of writing, taking lots of pictures and continuing to learn how to tell stories through both.

    02. live intentionally – I want to be present in the now, not always wishing for the future, I want to be intentional with the possessions I have as well as the events on my schedule. I want to make sure that every item I have in my home has a purpose, if I am living with more than I need than it ends up just being a distraction and I want to ask myself, could I sell this item and use the money in a better way?

    03. homeschool my kids – I am still kind of shocked that we will be homeschooling this next year, five years ago I never would have believed it and yet here we (almost) are. I want to focus on character building with my children as well as the academics, the act of homeschooling fits very well with our family values and I plan on breaking that down in a future post.

    04. use our home as a gathering place – this has been a process over the last few years, and one that I want to continue, and as our backyard gets a little closer to completion I am looking forward to being able to host people back there.

    05. travel – this year Jared and I have plans to finally go on our 10/30 trip (this year is our tenth anniversary and we both turn thirty), we have zero ideas where we are going yet but I would love for the opportunity to help out a mission organization in some way wherever it is we end up going (I’d especially love it if I could help out with photography & storytelling in some way).

    And that’s it! Just a simplified bucket list for my year, I’m hoping the simplicity of the list will help me to keep each of these ideas at the forefront of my mind throughout the year.


    Twenty-Nine Things

    Here it is, the last year of my twenties! As usual I’ve got a few things I’d like to accomplish this year (you can also check out my lists for twenty-six, twenty-seven and twenty-eight).

    I love this quote I came across in a Dee Henderson book a few months back and it really hit home:

    “she doesn’t waste her life.
    she just lives it.”

    Living life is what I’m aiming for.

    On to the list for this year:

    1. get professional family photos done
    2. order photo books for 2013, 2014 & South Africa
    3. decorate our master bedroom (and get a new bed since Jared broke ours)
    4. continue our now-annual summer camping tradition
    5. document my grandparent’s stories (like actually write them down)
    6. get some photos with Raeca and some horses (her obsession)
    7. also on that note, get some photos with Ephraim and trucks/tractors (his obsession)
    8. start saving for Europe (next year are both of our 30th birthdays and 10th wedding anniversary!)
    9. put more effort into celebrations/events/occasions
    10. go on five more day (or longer) trips around Saskatchewan
    11. buy that elusive globe (ha, this is from last year’s list)
    12. go canoeing or kayaking
    13. buy an old school popcorn popper for the movie area I want to create (I’ve got my eye on this popper)
    14. get some drawings into my nature journal (and some watercolor too)
    15. run at least one workshop (hopefully more)
    16. start a tradition of having my family over for one Sunday lunch a month
    17. homeschool myself (I’ve realized I know absolutely nothing about history, so I’d like to improve this)
    18. have supper with at least five of our neighbors
    19. learn to freehand draw a map of the world (using the technique mentioned in The Core)
    20. plant an apple tree
    21. work on my hand lettering (I mentioned in my twenty-eight update but I’ve been going through this free series)
    22. read twelve classics
    23. read five missionary biographies (Jim Elliot and George Muller for sure, any other recommendations?)
    24. start photographing some children and families again (knowing what I enjoy photographing and sticking to it is huge for me, the more I enjoy what I do, the better the photos are win-win for everyone)
    25. start a podcast (so many ideas, so many little time!)
    26. have a table at a craft show
    27. do afterschooling with Raeca through kindergarten (similar to how we are now)
    28. participate in the 31 days writing challenge in October (blogging every day for a month)
    29. don’t let my marriage get pushed to the back burner just because things are good and life is busy, aka be more intentional about getting out on some dates!

    I am excited for this year! Bring on twenty-nine!

    If you make an annual list I’d love to know some of the items on yours.
    Is there anything on  my list that you can help me complete?

    twenty nine


    Twenty-Eight Things – Final Update

    And just like that another year has come and gone. Next week marks my entrance into the final year of my twenties.

    For the last few years I’ve been making a list around my birthday of things I’d like to accomplish throughout the year. I purposely put some easy items on so I can cross them off as well as some that I doubt I will get to but I like to dream 🙂

    Before I share this years list of twenty-nine things I thought I’d share how last years list of twenty-eight things went:

    1. travel to South Africa and complete our adoption – boo yeah! you can read that post here.


    2. have professional photos taken of our family of four – nope, not yet, definitely happening this summer though

    3. move – yes! we actually did twice. first into a rental while our place was finished being built and then here! into my bright white house!


    4. start something I’ve dubbed the hospitality project – yes! I originally planned to share a lot more of our hospitality on here but realized that would prevent me from being as hospitable (because then I would think everything would have to be perfect).


    5. get my 2013 photobook printed – nope, that’s going to be added to my twenty-nine list including my 2014 photobook and one for South Africa . . .

    6. go on a three month spending freeze – I didn’t keep track exactly but I did go quite awhile

    7. go camping – yes, we spent a week at Rowan’s Ravine and a few days at Candle Lake last summer


    8. run a 5K – haha yes, and I vowed never to do it again


    9. photograph my grandparents and document some of their stories – I’ve been doing a pretty good job at the photographing but I would like to do a little better on the documentation of their stories. I did post a little about my Grandma


    10. register for a bloggers conference – unfortunately, no

    11. photograph at least one dessert/meal/food item a month – I started out doing this but then got too lazy

    12. start growing my own herbs again, and actually use them – yes! basil grows like crazy and I need more uses for it. my rosemary grows slowly and I need more of it 🙂

    13. find a place to start volunteering again – this didn’t happen, I’ve been too busy with Ephraim 🙂

    14. eat more real food – I think so!

    15. teach Raeca all her letter sounds – yes!

    16. go on at least six dates with Jared – ha, this seems like it should have been so easy but it was a complete and utter fail. I’d guess we went on three

    17. go to Europe – I threw this one in here in case our adoption didn’t go through, but since it did there is no way this could have happened!

    18. make some amazing gluten free bread or buns – after many, many attempts we did find a pretty good recipe! I’ll have to share it some time.

    19. get a clear idea of what I want this space to look like and be about and write it down – this is ever changing, just like my life so it will continue to be tidbits here and there

    20. buy Raeca an amazing birthday cake this year – this girl loves her birthday so much and I felt bad that we weren’t even around for most of it this year (we had an adoption meeting 3 hours away to go to), but I did make her a cake with a pink marshmallow icing and she loved it.

    21. eat more meals outside – we definitely did last summer!

    22. get a globe – no! I kept forgetting to look for one 🙁

    23. go on five day/weekend trips around Saskatchewan – we did! we saw the lighthouse at Cochin, spent a day at Martins Lake, spent another day at Waskesiu Lake, tented at Rowan’s Ravine, and then Candle Lake, and then I caught my first fish at Clark Lake.


    24. decorate our master bedroom – ha! actually we ended up deciding to finish our basement this spring and instead of our mater bedroom turning into a relaxing place it has become our basement storage. BUT within the next few months we should be able to move everything out and then I’ll work on decorating it!

    25. take a class – hmm, kind of, I have been reading through this free hand lettering series

    26. write another ebook – um, nope

    27. set a profit goal for the blog to help with the adoption costs – well, the adoption is done so this one is kind of not applicable any more!

    28. keep dreaming – always 🙂

    That gets me a tally of 16/28 this year for a whopping 57% haha (though that blows last years 40% out of the water!). I find this year I’m not disappointed about most of the things I didn’t accomplish but rather just that my goals and priorities changed, that actually seems to be the case almost every year.


    twenty-eight things

    Next week marks my twenty-eighth birthday. As has been my tradition for the last few years, I’ve written a list of twenty-eight things I would like to accomplish this year. You can also check out last years list of twenty-seven things and my list of twenty-six things. I’ll be posting an update to let you know how I did on the twenty-seven things later next week, and if you are curious how the year of being twenty-six was for me you can see my final update for that one.

    My list of twenty-eight things:

    1. travel to South Africa and complete our adoption (please, please, please let this happen!)
    2. have professional photos taken of our family of four (or five)
    3. move –somewhere, anywhere (I thrive in change, and kinda love moving)
    4. start something I’ve dubbed the hospitality project – more on that to come in the weeks ahead
    5. get my 2013 photobook printed – you can see the previous three years here
    6. go on a three month spending freeze – I have no idea if I could actually do this
    7. go camping
    8. run a 5K – I’m signed up for the Color Me Rad in September
    9. photograph my grandparents and document some of their stories
    10. register for a bloggers conference or The Beloved Society’s glampout
    11. photograph at least one dessert/meal/food item a month
    12. start growing my own herbs again, and actually use them
    13. find a place to start volunteering again
    14. eat more real food
    15. teach Raeca all her letter sounds
    16. go on at least six dates with Jared
    17. go to Europe – okay, totally throwing this one out there, it won’t happen but one has to dream, right?
    18. make some amazing gluten free bread or buns
    19. get a clear idea of what I want this space to look like and be about and write it down
    20. buy Raeca an amazing birthday cake this year, for her the birthday is all about the cake
    21. eat more meals outside
    22. get a globe
    23. go on five day/weekend trips around Saskatchewan
    24. decorate our master bedroom
    25. take a class
    26. write another ebook
    27. set a profit goal for the blog to help with the adoption costs
    28. keep dreaming

    P.S. I have just started to use my Facebook page for the blog again, come on over and join the fun!

    Do you make goal lists every year?
    What are the top one or two things you would like
    to accomplish/have happen in the next year?


    twenty-seven things

    Well, today marks the anniversary of my entrance into this world twenty-seven years ago so I figured what better way to celebrate than to share with you the things I hope to accomplish this year.

    My twenty-seven things:

    1. travel to Africa again or a new country – God and some friends have been putting some crazy dreams on my heart and in my head
    2. do 27 of my Pinterest pins – I’m thinking this will be pretty easy
    3. take a blog rest every seven weeks
    4. send some happy mail each month – if you want some happy mail delivered to you, just send me your address!!
    5. keep dreaming
    6. buy fair trade more often
    7. buy ten house plants and keep five alive – this might not seem like an accomplishment to some but it sure would be for me!!
    8. make blessing bags to keep in the van and giveaway when needed
    9. make some lunches to take downtown and give away – I’m thinking I should include some banana muffins
    10. tutor some elementary students
    11. make forts with Raeca
    12. teach Rae preschool
    13. sew a quilt
    14. start or get involved in a social enterprise
    15. go on a weekend getaway with Jared
    16. sew an article of clothing for myself – one that I actually like
    17. create a reading corner in Raeca’s room
    18. do a month of crossfit
    19. “run” 10K – at one time, without dying
    20. go on a picnic with my little family
    21. photograph each of my grandparents, and Jared’s grandpa too – my grandmas are both very camera shy, this is going to be a hard one
    22. continuing writing monthly letters to Raeca – it’s my goal to get them made into a photo book once she turns five
    23. meet an online friend – there have been so many women of action that I’ve met online and I know if I get to meet one of them, chances are it will be in a foreign land
    24. take risks
    25. get back into my morning prayer routine
    26. pray for the entire world – via Operation World
    27. teach an art class

    Here is one of my Pinterest DIY’s from this weekend. Jared helped by cutting most of it out. I hope to take some better photos of it yet to share:

    with love,


    26 things before 27 // final update

    So my birthday is coming up next week . . . it has really felt like I’ve been 27 for the last year, so at least I don’t need to adjust this year!

    My 26th year definitely didn’t go at all like I had planned. But we all know that our plans aren’t necessarily God’s plans. Here is what I had on my list for my 26th year:

    1. get our referral – well, that sure changed, didn’t it?
    2. read 10 booksaccording to my Goodreads I’ve read something like 24 and I know I forgot to put some of them in there.
    3. travel somewhere new – we went to Salmon Arm, BC, I’d be there before but we also checked out the Bible School my brother was attending, and I had never been there before.
    4. start a missional living community or maybe just start living missional myself – I’d say this is a work in progress
    5. start or join an orphan ministry – Once Was Lost
    6. learn to wrap pretty gifts– well, I learned how but didn’t really always do it
    7. help someone begin the adoption process – I’ve answered many questions over the course of the year
    8. photograph my everyday life – thank you iPhone and Instagram for this one
    9. dare to dream – definitely dreaming some big dreams
    10. bake a cake from scratch – didn’t even try
    11. watch a play – nope
    12. learn a new art form – learnt how to screen print
    13. become a mentor
    14. find a mentoryes, I’ve got a few! Though I would almost call them inspirers instead
    15. develop the rolls of film I have sitting in my desk drawer – I just trashed them instead
    16. go thrifting with a friend – with my Mom!
    17. have a picnic – yes
    18. get our fence built – huge thanks to my father-in-law and my brother
    19. say “no” more – yes!
    20. help my grandma organize her photos – no, but I offered and she doesn’t want them organized any more so I’m counting that as done
    21. create 2010, 2011 and 2012 photo books – yes, I went with Blurb, love the how they turned out!
    22. potty train Raeca – done
    23. go on a date with Jared (one that doesn’t involve grocery shopping) – yup!
    24. complete some of the DIY projects on my list – a few
    25. give a presentation on our trip to Uganda – done!
    26. learn some French (it is the official language of the DRC) – had a few words down, but now I don’t really need to know it, but if you ever find yourself in a French country and need some butter or a pen, give me a call, I know those words.

    Wow, 21/26 completed?! That’s more than I expected! Now it’s time to start on my list for 27!!! (I love making lists . . .) Any suggestions for items to add? You can bet that returning to Africa will be on there!

    For those of you that have annual lists for yourself, how are they going? My friend Alison has an awesome list with all these crazy adventures -and she’s been able to do most of them!

    with love,


    26 things before 27

    Lists of things to do before one’s next birthday are all the rage these days. I’ve been making them for years but have always been afraid to make them public for fear of the humiliation I will feel when I fail to check off each item on my list. But I today I am facing my fears and sharing with you my list of things to complete before I turn 27.
    ** side note: I keep thinking I’m 27 right now so I think I’m just going with it and then I’ll be pleasantly surprised in May.

    1. get our referral (oh boy do I hope this happens before my birthday)
    2. read 10 books (any suggestions?)
    3. travel somewhere new (this probably won’t happen)
    4. start a missional living community (anyone want to join me??) or maybe just start living missional myself
    5. start or join an orphan ministry
    6. learn to wrap pretty gifts
    7. help someone begin the adoption process (if you have questions, I’ll answer them!)
    8. photograph my everyday life
    9. dare to dream (probably the easiest item on the list)
    10. bake a cake from scratch (doubtful this will actually happen)
    11. watch a play
    12. learn a new art form
    13. become a mentor
    14. find a mentor
    15. develop the rolls of film I have sitting in my desk drawer
    16. go thrifting with a friend
    17. have a picnic
    18. get our fence built
    19. say “no” more
    20. help my grandma organize her photos (I’ve been promising her this for years, it’s about time I did it)
    21. create 2010, 2011 and 2012 photo books (any companies you would recommend?)
    22. potty train Raeca
    23. go on a date with Jared (one that doesn’t involve grocery shopping)
    24. complete some of the DIY projects on my list
    25. give a presentation on our trip to Uganda
    26. learn some French (it is the official language of the DRC)

    I am doubtful that I will complete everything on this list but even if I just do half I know it will be an awesome year. If you can help me complete any of these items let me know!

    Do you make lists every year? (mental lists are lists too!) What’s on your list?

    with love,

    P.S. One of the items on my list is actually almost done already:

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