Karen Stott » | Sharing my mess, my hope & my journey cultivating an Intentional Home

Not setting goals in 2013…

Nearly two years ago I embarked on this dream of completing 101 Goals in 1001 days.  I thought, I wrote, I thought some more and finished off my list of 101 things to devote the next 1001 days of my life to.   They were lofty, filled with passion and zeal and I was thrilled to press on towards my goals.   As I write this, about 730 of those days have passed.   The ones I have been able to cross off have brought such joy… yet most of the ones remaining have slowly lost importance.    I’m not quite sure of all of the things that happen with age, but I do know this.   The important things in life only grow increasingly more important as days go on.

And the rest???   Well, the rest just seems to fade away.

As I reflect on this list I wrote two years ago my heart is swirling a mix of emotions.  So blessed by the memories I was determined to see fulfilled, and saddened by the meaningless things my heart was fixed on.  I’m not saying that goals are bad.  In fact, I love goals, and I wouldn’t get much done without them.  But what I am saying is that having this giant bucket list of ideals left me with a constant pressure to achieve and attain and cross things off.  And in the end, I felt no happier than when I began.  I did walk away with amazing memories, but the life I felt in the process of attaining those memories wasn’t the life I wanted at all.  I felt the need to always be striving.  Striving for success.  Striving for affirmation.  Striving to please others.  During the last 2 years I was left with a sense of unrest, inadequacy and even failure if something didn’t happen.  I was constantly stressed by having too much on my plate, and it was hard to enjoy the blessings that did come because the constant pressure “to do” was so great.  I even felt like a failure if a goal changed.  Even if it was something I no longer wanted, I felt this need to accomplish it.  For someone or  something… but definitely not for me.

Coming to the year end I began to take a good hard look at where I was… and how far off I was from the life I have dreamed of.  Taking your life under such microscope is painful, but necessary.  I’ve come to realize that the life I want won’t happen by crossing things off of a list.  It won’t happen by being recognized, or published, or making sure I workout several times a week.

It will come when I stop long enough to realize the miracles that happen around me every day.  When I pause to smell my morning coffee as the rain dances on the roof.   When I allow enough time in my day to throw the football around the yard, or go on a ladybug hunt in the wheat field.   When I greet my hubby every day with a running hug, and the kids with a tickle sandwich.

When I get outside to breathe in fresh air.

When I pick up the phone to call an old friend.

When I look beyond myself and my own dreams.

When I laugh harder… kiss longer … and hold onto what I have instead of always striving for more.

That’s where my happiness lives.

Below I have updated my list of goals.  You will find both joy and indifference.  (updates in teal)  But if you hold tight til the end, so much hope.



1. Ice skate in Rockfeller Center ~ After waiting in line for nearly two hours, we grace the ice at Rockefeller Center for about ten minutes.  Entirely worth the wait.  In my opinion at least 🙂

2. See the Grand Canyon ~ Does it count if it’s from an Airplane?  Probably not… but the pic is cool so I will post it.

3. Ride in a helicopter

4. Take a ride on a zip line

5. Start a non-profit organization

6. Tour Napa

7. Take my kids to Disneyland~ In the words of Rupunzal… BEST DAY EVER!!!!  Can’t wait to go back for several days and make the most of it!

8. Shoot a wedding in Santorini Greece<<<<< Not so important anymore

9. Teach my kids how to ride a bike without training wheels YESSSS!!!! Done and DONE!  Both are riding around training wheel free like pros!


10. Go to a Mike Colon workshop ~ I would still love to meet him.. but instead of a workshop I’d love to just take him and his wife out for dinner… He seems like he has so much more to share than just camera tips.

11. Buy my husband a seriously sweet gift (that one’s gotta stay a secret)

12. Move to the country… Still my biggest dream… still believing for it.

13. Get solar power:)I know, I know, but I hate electric bills!

14. Make a trip to the East Coast to visit my amazing sister-in-law We made it back to CT in Dec of 11.  I ended up meeting 3 of my best friends that week.  So grateful for that time.

15. Put on a women’s photography retreat once a year, just for Moms.  We are now doing monthly photography retreats for women… cool thing is they are open to all of God’s daughters not just the Mama’s… I’m so blessed by God’s faithfulness.

16. Break past my fear of public speaking….scary thing is, this probably means actually speaking. Uh…well…. you could say that came true… We are now speaking in at least one photography meetup a month through next March… that goal didn’t exactly go as planned!  The Lord sometimes has ways of tricking us into our destinies 🙂

17. Ride a vespa, an aqua one. This still seems like fun but I won’t be bothered if it doesn’t happen.

18. Make a snowman larger than me~ I’ve realized that I actually hate snow… so this will probably never happen

19. Go to a Lobster Festival in Maine

20.  Give someone encouragement every day

21. See a Broadway play…(doesn’t have to be in NY, maybe on tour) ~ NY is way overrated to me… give me cowboy boots and a plantation house and you’ve got yourself a deal.

22. Ride in a horse-led sleigh in the snow with warm apple cider and my love ( we did go on a horse drawn carriage ride in Nashville with our friends Eugene & Heather but it was not snowing… still holding out for the real thing : )

23. Go back to where it all began…. trumania, aka Seaside, Florida where Isaac proposed.  Not only did we get to go back, but we got to take the kids.  Our first ever real family vacation… and the best week of my life.

24. Shoot a wedding or fashion bridal shoot at the Boston Public Library…uh, twitterpated. ~ It would be fun… not really a goal anymore though

25. Do 2 blog posts a week for 2 months straight!  AHHH ~ I just want to write because I love it… HAVING to write quenched my passion and made it work… my goal now is to find that passion again.  And actually make room to cultivate it.

26. Help make someone’s dream come true (if you have a dream that I could help with, comment below, I’d LOVE to help)

27. Go to San Diego Zoo lights with the kids ~ I’d settle for just going back to San Diego period… some of my favorite people on earth are there.  Miss my dear friends Justin and Keary and Jeff and Erin…

28. Rock out to Beach Boys’ California Girls in a convertible while in California with a bunch of girls.

29. Go skiing with the kids~ I will do this because they would love it… but I may end up in the lodge with cocoa

30.  Make a photo/video documentary of a day in the life of my hottie firefighter hubby…. wish that could be every day! Still a dream

31. Do a photo shoot with vintage planes & one at my secret muse location ~ This was probably one of my favorite shoots of the year.  It took place at the Evergreen Aviation Museum.  And what do ya know?  I got to bring 15 other photographers with me! SO FUN!

32. Photograph a Military homecoming

33. Go on at least 1 dress-up night-out date with my Hubby a month.

34. Start a young married’s ministry at our church, if that’s God’s plan for us ~ I still have a massive heart for Marriages… turns out we started a married branch of the P31 ministry and we are loving the friends God has brought into our lives!   Keary and I have been planning a married retreat for a year… now to find the time! LOL!

35. Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge ~ Checked this one off with Kori Huevel and Eryn Kesler at the P31 San Fran retreat! Love you ladies!

36. Play one, and ONLY one slot in Vegas!  I could be fine never stepping foot in Vegas again.  That place is busy… and filthy.

37. Have a Christmas tree in every room of the house.  One being pink. And one being Charlie Brown’s. Yes please!

38. Spend an ENTIRE day by a pool getting food and drinks brought to me constantly by a man named Charles. (His name was Ermando, but I think it counts…)


39. Claim my ground in Cabo.  (Ryan & Susan, that one’s for you) done and done…

40. Shoot a Tiffany inspired wedding…oh I swoon!  I just wanna shoot whatever makes my couples happy.. when they are happy I’m happy.

41. Buy a Vacation house in Sunriver or Scottsdale ~ I’d rather buy a plantation in the carolinas and take a long walk down our driveway every day to get the mail.  Perfection.

42. Make a cameo of my kids for their walls.  ~ I got the pictures done.. just need to make the cameos!

43.  Travel the road to Hana and walk through the bamboo forest and the seven sacred pools in Maui (inspired by Emily, Lisa & Michelle!) Well we made it halfway… those roads are CRAZY!


44. Invent something pretty, fun and useful ~ Debuting in January! woot woot!

45. Say “I love you” every day to the people that mean the most to me ( so far so good 🙂 Doing my best!

46. Go to a professional sporting event….We have lousy pro sports in Oregon….whine…

47. Float the Deschutes River into the Old Mill District ~ This would still be fun

48. Find 3 People a year to TRULY sow into and mentor as a wife & business owner … love doing this

49. Schedule a girls night out, every other month, and stick to it. ~ Need to work on this…

50. Host an ugly Christmas sweater party ~ Failed 2 years in a row.

51. Get published in 3 Magazines ( If it happens I wouldn’t turn it down… but it’s just not as important as it once was)

52. Get published in 10 Blogs a year ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ditto

53. Be asked to do a Guest Blog post (YES!!! Thank you Becky Hart!  Did this last week for Bowties & Bliss)

54. Make shopping the night of Thanksgiving with my ladies an annual tradition

55. Talk a company into giving me their super fab window display when they are done

56. Buy a chandelier for my office

57. Get amazing pictures of me and my hubby together.  He’s a little camera-phobic and I’d love to have new photos!  I have Justin and Mary to thank for this amazingness… LOVE YOU GUYS!

58. Have a Karaoke contest with my daughter in our PJ’s and video tape it

59. Finish my long-lost video projects

60. Stand at the Four Corners and be in 4 states at once

61. Go to Ellis Island and see the Statue of Liberty I don’t think I care to do this anymore… NY is very overwhelming for me

62. Secretly leave the 12 Days of Christmas gifts on somebody’s doorstep

63. Rent a hotel room by myself, stay in my pj’s, get room service and have a movie/magazine marathon. Just once. YES PLEASE

64. Go to the shooting range with my Hubby ~ just call me Annie Oakley

65. Buy a hot tub

66. Be at peace with God’s call on our lives. (definitely getting there)

67. Set an entire tablescape up in the middle of a field and have a picnic with my family

68. Have lip gloss in every jacket and in every purse I own ~ I think I have this covered!

69. Visit my grandparents 3 times a year ~ admittedly very bad at this.. so hard since we moved away

70. Take a train ride ~ I really hope the Polar Express counts!

71. Take a ferry ride ~ This is my view coming into Seattle on the Ferry after For The Love


72. Be close enough at Sea World to get wet

73. Buy a pair of over the knee boots and rock them out in this small town

74. Sing a song shamelessly every day (Well duh… DO THIS ALWAYS!)

75. Never go to bed angry.. try to

76. Schedule a day out with just me and my Mom (no kids or hubs) at least once a year

77. Patch things up with family members that we haven’t seen in a while ~ I spent Christmas with family members I hadn’t seen or spoke to in 6 years.  It was the best Christmas ever.

78. Buy new socks DONE Forever 21 santa barbara!

79. Go through my closet and donate everything I haven’t worn in a year  (This may be the toughest one on the list.)(Update… halfway there…still things I can’t part with!)

80. Tell people about Jesus.  Boldy.

81. Don’t cut my hair more than the necessary trim… ( I have a serious problem when you combine boredom and scissors)

82. Build an outdoor movie theater in my backyard fully equipped with vintage popcorn machine and real furniture

83.  Throw many parties around this concept

84. Sleep under the stars (went camping last weekend… does it count if there was a tent between us?)

85. Take Salsa lessons with my husband Maybe ballroom instead… more romantic.

86. Watch the sunset from a kayak in the arms of my love… someday

87. Go to the farm once a week to buy fresh produce in the summer ~ We moved away from the produce farms… so we grew a garden with the kids instead.  Way more fun!

88. Attend WPPI at least 2 out of the next 3 years ~ Done! 2 years in a row! I think that’s enough Vegas for this small town gal.

89. Help another photographer start their own business

90. Take my daughter on a very girly overnight date every fall.  Complete with shopping, manicures and shirley temples ~ We just completed Mommy/Daughter date number 3… we’ve done it every fall since she was 5.  This year we drove to the American Girl Store in Seattle… 5 hours away!  Worth it.

91. Send all of my contracts in the mail

92. Go through and organize the pile of junk that I have tried to hide under my bed ( CHECK!!!! I JUST did this last week June 20th!)

93. Design a really beautiful workspace

94. Clean out my inbox and find an effective way to organize it (YAY!!!! My inbox is now full of several hundred labeled folders and I clean it out to the best of my ability every day!

95. Pray for those who’ve hurt me to be blessed ( this may be the toughest one on the list but I have been challenging myself to do it)

96. Second shoot for Mike Colon…. I know, also crazy, but true.  This is more of Isaac’s dream now than mine!

97. Go on a Ferris Wheel… would still love this

98. Conquer my fear of heights with a hot air balloon ride … not too sure about this

99. Collaborate with Zach and Jody Gray on something Epic ~ Was privileged to have Jody speak at the first Pursuit 31 Conference… love her heart and cherish her friendship.  So excited for all that the Lord is doing through them.

100. Work out 3 times a week for a month straight ~ I found hot yoga this summer and I’m so in love… although I could only get into classes twice a week I’m pretty proud of it because I’ve kept it up for the last 5 months!

101. Love hard every day.  Yes.

As I look back through all of these memories… these iconic memories in my life I sit in awe.  I’m in awe of all the Lord has done, all He has brought me through and all that He has gave me.   The photos posted are some of my most treasured times, and I’m smiling so big reflecting on this year of great memories.  Yet the gray lines, the unfulfilled goals, they’ve lost their shine.  Their appeal.  Their importance.

So for 2013 I’m doing something a little different.  Rather than running towards goals, I’m running towards a dream.  But not just any dream, HIS dream for me.  My Fathers dream.  The one He knit in my heart and created me to embrace.  I’ve realized that’s the only thing that matters.

So here’s to a quieter… less rushed… more fulfilling… simpler 2013

I will be chasing after these this year.

1. Love God completely, wholeheartedly and

2. Follow Him in wreckless abandon

3. Minimize duties, stress, work and pressure…

4. Move to a farm, with chickens, a garden, my mastiff baby and a tire swing for the kids.

5. Live simply and laugh more than I cry.

6. To breath deep clean country air and have a clear enough mind to find my love of writing again.

7. Hold tight my little ones and slow down enough to enjoy them as they grow.

8. Remember what’s important and let go of the rest.


I used to challenge people to set goals… but now my challenge is to resist the temptation to “be busy”.  Live the life that truly makes your heart leap.  A life that in the end, you will look back on without regret.

Cheers!  The Best is Yet to come!



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