Forty Favorite Things (A 40th Birthday Indulgence)

For my son’s first birthday, I made one of those cute posters of his accomplishments and favorites. It included things like saying da-da, playing ball, and all things trains.

Today is my day to make my own birthday “poster.” As a writer/blogger, I have this little space to mark my own progress and promote my favorite things. It’s a bit indulgent, but forty seems like a good year to celebrate all of the wonderful things in my life. Maybe you will find a new favorite thing or two.

Forty Favorite Things


A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman. Add tissue to your Amazon cart along with this one.

Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance. The themes from Vance’s memoir still surface, especially with the recent media focus on America’s opioid crisis.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown.

Audiobooks–my favorite way to consume large quantities of books.

Book launching for my dear friend, Kelly Johnson. Pre-order her powerful devotion, Being Brave. You need this book in your life.

(For book recommendations from my mid-year favorites, visit me here.)


Binge-worthy Entertainment

Broadchurchwhen you need a good crime drama in your life.

Sherlock, when you need a wonky crime drama in your life.

Lark Rise to Candlefordwhen you want wisdom wrapped in a charming historical setting.

Call the Midwifefull of gospel, girl-power, and grit.

This is Us. I’m not telling you something you don’t know here. I’ve only seen the first episode of season two {{gasp!}}.

The Crown, because I need one more British show in my life.

VidAngel. Because great entertainment sometimes needs a filter.



So Will I (100 Billion x),” Hillsong United. I could (and do) keep this one on repeat. “As you speak // A hundred billion failures disappear.” The song is full of beautiful language and heart-piercing truth.

Bulletproof,” Citizen Way. I can’t help but smile every time I hear this one.

There is a Cloud, Elevation Worship. Just the whole thing. (Amazon Prime members can stream this one for free!)

American Prodigal, Crowder. Powerful lyrics, gritty sounds. It’s not new, but one of my favorite releases in the last year.



The Daniel Delima series, Chris Hodges (Church of the Highlands)

The Big Boo Cast, Sophie Hudson and Melanie Shankles. I lol during every episode.

More Perfect, Radiolab (I listen to these as they air on the radio so I don’t know if I will love it all the way through.)

Jelly Telly’s 5 Minute Family Devos. We love to watch these together after dinner. (I reviewed their Easter series here.)


Email Newsletters and Facebook Groups

The Culture Translator, Axis. Do you really need one more email in your inbox? If you’re a parent of teens, YES! This one keeps you updated on all the pop-culture and worldview issues you need to know.

Useletter, Amy Lynn Andrews. A blogger’s Saturday morning must-read.

The Glorious Table. I get to share words here once or twice a month. Follow us on Facebook for daily updates and join our community page for deeper engagement.

nextTalk, for the latest on-screen safety and raising tweens and teens.

MrsDisciple. (Shameless plug) I love connecting with you here!


Things that Make My Life Easier

EMeals for weekly menu planning and grocery lists.

Amazon Photo app, where Amazon Prime members can store photos to avoid that pesky “memory full” message.

Mint for easy budgeting and tracking. (I am forty now, so I’m allowed to have a budgeting app on my list of favorites!)

Teddie’s Rosehip Oil makes my skin care regimen super-easy. Wash with goat milk soap and rub in a few drops of rosehip oil. Done!

Fave4 Texture Takeover hairspray is the best hairspray ever. Ever.


Forty Favorite Things

My People

My husband and three children will forever be on my favorite list.

My sister and mom who keep me grounded and stocked with essential oils.

My dad, who braved three significant operations this year so he can still be Paw Paw to my three.

My brothers who rise to the occasion as super-uncle and helped Dad so much throughout the year.

Community groups enrich my life. My small group at church, my group of writer friends, my Voxer group, my COMPEL small group. The list could go on! I am rich.


short term missions

Lessons Learned

God hears my prayers and cares so very much. I have more to share about this later. Over the last few months, I’ve experienced some answered prayer that leaves me humbled and in awe.

People in pain struggle to hold onto hope. I’ve worked in the rehab industry for a few decades. I never understood the close connection between hope and pain until my dad and my husband received treatment for chronic pain conditions. Read more here.

If I really love you, I will tell you about Jesus. A mission trip is a fertile ground for lessons learned. On my trip to the Dominican Republic earlier this year, I had a pivotal conversation with one of our interpreters. He challenged my views of evangelism. Read more about it here.


Recent Favorite MrsDisciple Posts

Created for Home. I loved writing this one, and I love the core message.

The Progression from Playdate to Bestie. I treasure my friendships and love how this one came to be!


Whew! Forty favorite things on my fortieth birthday! I could go on, but I’ll save that for 2027 when I will write “Fifty Favorite Things” for my 50th birthday. What would you add to the list?

I’m headed to the kitchen to prepare tonight’s Emeal before heading off to my small group to talk about the power of prayer. This is my real life, and I’m extraordinarily blessed to live it.


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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash


  1. We have many of the same books and entertainment, so maybe I should check out some of your other choices! Happy birthday!

  2. Happy Birthday to you, Kelly! I turned 40 this October too! Loved seeing all your details, especially your family photo. It put a real-life smile on my face. Blessings to you, friend!

  3. Awesome and fun list! Hope you had an amazing birthday!!

  4. Great list, my friend. I consumed “Ove” and then “My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry,” which I might have liked even more than Ove. I’ve got some new things to check out now. Thanks!

    • I am on the waiting list for “My Grandmother..,” I enjoyed “Brit Marie was Here.” Beautiful novels about the elderly have a special place in my heart!

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