31 days :: Coming October 2011

It may only be August, but here on the blog I’m already making plans for this year’s 31 days series. Some of you may remember last year, I wrote 31 Days of Grace – everyday in October, we talked a little bit about this thing called grace, and how it changes everything. It was my sister’s idea to have a 31 day series and she invited seven of us to play along. We’re doing it again this year, only this time we want to invite you to come up with your own 31 days series as well! There will be an opportunity for you to link your series up with ours so we can all benefit from the unique giftedness of one another. Check out her blog for the details.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about what this years 31 days will be about. And I’m thinking big, y’all. You may not get it and you may think I’m crazy, but here’s my topic for this October, for better or worse.

Because here’s the thing: if I really believe that this grace changes everything, then this grace changes everything. And I’m not foolish enough to think that a 31 days series will bring world peace. But maybe in a way it will? Because the truth is, there are as many worlds as there are people. And if the grace that comes from the hand of God is extended into my world (and it is), then everything in my world is different. It has to be. If it isn’t, then it isn’t really grace.

We’ll talk more. Suffice it to say for now that in October, we might find out a little more what we’re made of. And what we’re made for. Until then, I hope you’ll be thinking about your own 31 days series. I wouldn’t recommend writing on a blog everyday all the time, but for one month, it’s kind of a fun challenge. Not only that, if you sometimes struggle with knowing what your unique message is, developing a series that runs for 31 days might help you identify it.

If you would like some tips to help you think about what you might like to write about, check out Define Your Bloggy Purpose and answer the seven questions listed there. And then, remember that only you carry the vision for your writing and your message, and while you consider what you might want to write about, it could help you to first know what you don’t want to write about. I’d love to hear if you have any 31 day ideas off the top of your head – what would you love to write about for 31 days straight? Here are the topics from the eight of us to get you thinking:

Nester – 31 Days of Charming Imperfection
Jen – 31 Days to Balancing Both Beauty and a Budget
Jessica – 31 Days of Memory Keeping
Melissa: 31 Days: Inspired Holidays
Sandy: 31 Days of Keeping the Family Together
Darcy: 31 Days of Photo Tips
Emily W.: 31 Days of the Little Things
Me: 31 Days to Change the World


  1. says

    I’m so thrilled you are going to write another 31 days series…I absolutely loved your series on grace, and this year’s topic is fitting, wonderful and so needed! I’ve just come back to the bloggy world – albeit rather sporaticly and I fear my entries so boring who know if it’s being read, but I am definitely going to link up and join the 31 day series with all of you dear bloggers I read and ponder faithfully! Thank you so much for your words – very excited for your upcoming book! :) Congratulations and Blessings to you :)

  2. says

    I loved this series that y’all did last year… For me – because I am in the thick of a “photography year” – I would probably want to do something like Darcy did last year @ http://my3boybarians.com “31 days to a better photo” or something like that…

    Or 31 days to a better me :) something of that nature…

  3. says

    Ah, that sounds like a great challenge! I enjoyed that series last year (I can’t believe it’s been a year already!) I think I may have to do it …

  4. says

    The very first thing that popped into my head when you asked what we would write about was 31 days of pursuing excellence instead of perfection. To me there’s quite a difference between the two. But just thinking about 31 whole days of it…a little daunting! I’m not sure I have that much to say! Even so, I’m really excited about this new series, and I can’t wait to read your thoughts and insights.

  5. says

    I’m really considering doing this.
    I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now and still sometimes feel like I lack focus. The first thing that came to mind was 31 days of thankfulness, based on the book 1,000 gifts. Since reading that book, I’ve wanted to start counting daily gifts like Ann does, however for some reason I’ve been hesitant to actually write them down. This would be a good way to start.
    I also thought of 31 Days to Live like you were dying, based on a sermon serie our pastor did awhile back.
    Each topic definately gives plenty to write about.
    What do you think?

  6. says

    Hello – I know I’d like to write about encouragement in marriage – that’s my “blogging purpose”.

    If I were to challenge myself, though… I’d find 31 couples to interview. I’d ask them and highlight in each post, how, by encouraging each other, their marriages were changed/enriched/fulfilled. (I’m kinda overwhelmed just thinking about it. Gotta pray over this idea a bit.)

  7. says

    Hi Emily!

    Well thanks to your sister’s inspiration and yours of course, I just finished my 31 days series in July. Mine was 31 days of mercy. It was AMAZING, exhausing, exhilirating and very stretching. I felt like because I had grown up in the church all my life, I knew SO much about mercy. The truth is, after I started researching for the series, I quickly learned I didn’t know much about mercy at all.

    So thank you and your sister for the 31 days inspiration. I plan on doing another 31 days series NEXT July! God bless you both. You are an amazing, inspirational writer!


  8. says

    I forgot to mention I started this last December, but I do a “25 Days of Christmas” series every December talking about all things Christmas. That is a really fun series to write, too!

  9. says

    Hey! I read and lurk and have occasionally commented. It makes me laugh because I feel like I need to “claim” my 31 days, but I’m not 100% sure yet. I am contemplating this though. I read your 31 days last year and loved it. I think this might be the focus I have needed for a little bit. Maybe one of you “regular” 31 dayers could post on the best way to do it. ROFL 😉

  10. says

    I’m so excited about this. I loved your 31 Days of Grace. I’m thinking of doing 31 Days to Inspire a Child. Over the last few weeks I’ve been realizing that is my passion, and why children’s book illustration/writing makes me so happy.

  11. says

    At your sister’s place, I tapped out 31 Days of Being Less of a Scaredy Cat. Or something to that affect! I’m seriously praying about joining this…

    And love, love, love your topic this year. Because it is true…grace changes everything!

  12. says

    this would be a huge leap for me, as i usually only post about 3x a week, but my heart is feeling excited about the many directions i could take in 31 days of peace/shalom…

    i loved your series last year and think change the world sounds awesome:)

    did your book fuel the series or did your series fuel the book?

    • susan says

      Me! :) will surely need help rassling wordpress gator. Oy. Differently-abled&no budget. I’ll pop over! -s-

  13. Jennifer says

    I don’t have a blog, but, if I did, I think that I would write about “31 Days to Being a More Present Mom (and wife!)”. Although I won’t be blogging about it, I think that I will challenge myself to participate. October is a beautiful time of the year (although we don’t see much fall down here in coastal South Carolina), but for my family it is a crazy time as well. My husband is a youth minister and I am a college writing instructor and our fall semesters begin to get pretty busy in October. A challenge like this one may be just what I need to keep myself as focused as possible on my little ones when I am not in class or reading papers!

    I very much look forward to the upcoming series.

  14. says

    Hi Emily, I’ve never commented before (sheepish grin) but love reading here and can’t wait to receive your book which I ordered months ago. I really appreciated the link to “Defining Your Bloggy Purpose.” I’m in my Ann Voskamp-inspired peace retreat while all my littles are in Quiet Time and in my heart I know that if I could write about anything for 31 days it would be beauty. Oh, just that word starts to wake me up inside. Especially the idea of creating beautiful moments for our families, for ourselves, for those around us. Beauty.
    Looking forward to reading your series!

  15. says

    I love all the ideas I’m hearing above. I hope a lot of people will join in and this can be an exhilarating, exhausting in a good way, wonderful sort of October – with bloggers from all over sharing what they do best.

    I might be reading until October of next year – but I would love to see these talented bloggers at their best!

    You’re an inspiration, Emily girl. xo.

  16. says

    Ooooo!!!! Perfect! I was just tossing around a way to incorporate something I love into my blog….and this is the way! THANK YOU! I am sooooo doing “31 days of all things new” and will feature a photo of a thrifted outfit made new…with a tie to what the Lord is doing in my life. Looooooove it! Can’t wait til October!!!!

  17. says

    Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration in your blog, Emily and the great commenters. I’ll be taking an early retirement the end of September – – lots of change going on, it would be fun to document it, I think. 31 Days to Massive Change??

  18. says

    Praise God, I am anxiously awaiting to hear all of your thoughts on changing the world, or at least all of your thoughts you can fit into 31 post about it! My heart is there… and I believe we very well can change the world in 31 post, we have the power of influence in our homes which has the power to go out and directly change the world… it starts right here.

    Looking forward to it… I just may join you all in this… but will need to pray over what His direction would be for me to submerge my thoughts in and write about for 31 days…

    JOYfully in Him,

  19. says

    I love the idea of so many women contributing and commiting to a 31 day challenge that speaks to their hearts.

    I will absolutely join – thanks for telling us in advance so we can begin praying and putting ideas together. I think I will post about “31 days of ministry”… ministry to my husband, to my family, to my friends, to my church, to the Lord.

  20. says

    An idea popped into my little head right away, but I’m not at all sure I’m up to the challenge! I would write on seeking God, because He just keeps bringing it up.

      • says

        I am praying about it Jenny. It is something that’s been on my heart for a while now. Just don’t know if I’m equal to the challenge! Thank you for your encouraging words. You are so kind.

    • says

      So true, Patty. I wrote about 31 days of mercy last month and I learned a lot more about mercy than I knew before I started writing about it. If that series only changed me and nobody else, it was SO worth it!

  21. says

    I am so glad you link to older posts you have written. Truly. I loved the Define Your Bloggy Purpose post. I think I tend to be a bit all over the place on my blog. So I will be pondering your questions. And pondering if I have 31 days tucked away inside of me just waiting to bust out all over my blog. :)


  22. says

    I think, if I were brave enough to join in, I’d write about hope. I’ve been mulling over this very topic as of late. But yikes, t31 days straight makes me a bit nervous. I’m so looking forward to reading yours though!

  23. NCJill says

    I would love to read about 31 Things My Parents Did Right, and 31 Special Family Traditions. I always love to read/hear about these. Since I don’t have/want a blog I am leaving it up to you experts! :)

  24. says

    While I am not sure I am ready to blog what immediately came to mind… “31 Days of Listening to Him” I am ready for 31 days of Capturing Soul – Photographs that I can “see Him” in. So many times there is just more behind the photo I take and I don’t write about it enough… Now to dig up 31 of those pictures!

  25. says

    Funny, before I got to the spot where you said think about doing the 31 days ourselves, I was wondering if I could. . .I don’t know what topic I would select, but will certainly check out your suggestions and see what I can find out about myself.

  26. says

    Hmmmmm….. What a great post (and the ones you linked to also). I started reading your blog last year during your 31 days of Grace. : ) So thankful that God used it to lead me here!

    So. 31 days of something? Well, I’m torn. In October I just might be in the middle of packing up our life to move to Peru. So I don’t know if that means it would be ridiculous to do something like this or that it would be a really good time to do something like this b/c it would be good for me. And since I can always change my mind, I’m gonna dream about it and think my 31 days would be 31 Days of Songs from My Heart… sharing songs I’ve written (at least the lyrics… not sure about ability/time to include more) and some of the stories behind them. Thanks for the nudge to start thinking about it now! : )

  27. says

    I’m seriously thinking about it. I saw your sister’s post last night and had a theme almost immediately. And then I made a quick list to see if I could come up with enough stuff…and I had more than enough. I’m afraid it sounds too vague and general but here’s what I’m thinking: “31 days to real.”

    I’ve learned that writing about the real is what I do best. And while confession is good for the soul, I don’t want it to stop there. I’d love to encourage and inspire women to live realistically, authentically, and hopefully. Topics would range from “real motherhood” to “real marriage” to “real meals.” I’ve learned that being realistic about who I am and the life I actually live frees me up live a life that’s more authentic and hopeful. It’s one of acceptance instead of guilt; gratitude instead of resentment; inspired living instead of frantic striving. I’d be sharing my own experiences and stories, not as an expert, but as someone very much still in process.

    {And I’m almost too nervous to hit “post comment!”}

  28. says

    oh, emily.
    why is it that i am always willing to accept a challenge?

    if i did, my first thought was ’31 days to nurture her self-esteem’.

    can’t wait to read yours… always such an inspiration.
    and if lori runs out of couples to interview, send her my way. we just celebrated our 20th, and i think we are stronger and more in love than ever. hm. who-da thought it? :)

  29. says

    This is awesome! Such creative ideas and a wicked challenge. I’m going to read all the posts and get the info. Off the top of my head I’m thinking 31 Days of Serving Others. That in itself is a challenge and then 31 days of writing — yikes!!! Love it.

  30. says

    Hey Emily,
    I have been struck with the motivation bug! Thanks. God keeps prompting me to post all my writings on singleness, but I have kept putting it off… So, this is the motivation I need to get it all together and proofed for October. I am excited! I am able to spend time with tons of college aged gals who see singleness as a disease they have contracted instead of an amazing gift of God’s faithfulness and blessing. I am eager to share about singleness from a Biblical perspective. So… keep an eye out for My 31 Thoughts On Singleness.

  31. says

    I am going to do a series on 31 inspiring things other writers say that make me want to live fully alive….but that sounds like a really long title so maybe something like 31 days to live fully alive….cause my favorite quotation and life mantra is “Man fully alive is the glory of God.” It’s everything- it’s us living in freedom and it’s God getting the glory which means he is setting people free to live in freedom, and so on and so forth. Thanks for a wonderful idea!

  32. says

    oh, I am so wanting to join in. . .saw the post on The Nester on Wed. . .and ideas have been stirring in my heart and mind. . . .I am thinking on 31 days of Teaching Your Kids How to Hear God Speak. . buy I am scared :)

  33. susan says

    Yay! Emily,if anyone can change the world, it is YOU! I tripped over the link to all 31dayers via Altar’d as I was tippytoeing into blogland, and fell head over heels into the wonderful world of you ALL. Mostly, YOU. I have said it many times, you wrote what I needed to “hear” on the day I needed it most. And yes, my chest relaxed and all of a sudden I could breathe. You and the 31day gifts, er, gals, are a terrific bunch. I love the idea of linkies & it might get me pushd into *doing* it. And amazingly, doing it for Daddy. He always wanted me back on the puter and not killing myself. When I collapsed 2.5 yrs ago, he did the “i told u so”. Sigh…but he’ll know. And he’ll be sitting there beside me learning like when I contracted database mgmt work&he was recuping from surgery in the “post op ward” I had for them for 15yrs here. :) I am thinking “advocacy”–so much to do,&for all the great resources, cant we do more? For each other? To be better stewards of the Earth&its inhabitants? All of them? We’ll see-HUGS!

  34. says

    I read this and i love the idea. I love the challenge. I wonder whether or not i can fill an entire month with posts. But then I remind myself they don’t all have to be 1000 word eloquent paragraphs about high faith. And still I doubt.

    Then I remind myself that it will be in October. October will be rough this year. Only followed by the holidays which will be rougher. You see, my Daddy died in April. 7 weeks after his first trip to urgent care. 7 weeks after finding a significantly enlarged liver. 5 weeks after finding out it wasn’t liver cancer and it wasn’t colon cancer. 2 weeks after finding out that they are assuming it was bile duct cancer and that “if the chemo works, it will buy you some time.” And his birthday is October 5. He would have been 61.

    So I love the idea. I consider writing about joy. I consider writing about grief. I consider writing my memories. And I don’t know if i have the stamina to revisit that every single day for 31 days. Especially since I do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November where I endeavor to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

    But, keep posting about this. and I will keep considering it. And maybe by the time we get to October I will believe that I have the stamina to try and that I have something worth saying.

  35. LaPriel says

    I enjoy reading your blog. It is powerful and to the point.

    If I blogged I think I would do 31 days of Hope. Or maybe Look to the Lord and live. I hear so much doomsday sometimes it make me anxious. Yes, we need to be concerned, but where is your hope?


  36. says

    Well, you’ve gone and done it now, haven’t you! A challenge. Just what I needed to get me over the week-before-school duldrums and looking forward to fall.

    The ideas are starting to percolate in my brain like the little glass knob on the church coffee maker.

    My blog is all about making prayer accessible. Any ideas from my other bloggy friends on how to link this topic up with a 31 day challenge?

    Thanks so much, Emily!

  37. says

    Hey Em, I am back in the real world now and just wanted to stop by to say hi and let you know how thrilled I am to be doing this with y’all again this year.

    And I have loved all your posts about writing lately. You are a blessing.


  38. says

    Emily —

    I read your challenge just before bed and thought it would be fun to participate, but wasn’t sure I’d have enough to “say” for 31 days. After lying in bed for a few minutes, I had to turn the light on (sorry DH!) and write all the ideas that had flooded into my brain when my head hit the pillow! My blog is entitled “Created 2B Creative” and so I think I will do something along the lines of “31 Days of Unleashing Your Creativity”.

    Now if only I knew how to make a pretty button like you other girls have . . . That learning will have to wait, though. Less than two weeks until DD13 and I head to El Salvador, where we will meet our Compassion sponsored child and work with some street children in San Salvador . . .

    Thank you for your continued inspiration!!!!

  39. says

    I think I would blog 31 Days & 31 Ways to Friendship, and talk about the different types and levels of friendship, what it means to be a friend, etc.

    I love the opening to not only look at what you & yours are blogging about, but to have us self-reflect our own topics.

    I was in your She Speaks session. I am going to be one of the many to purchase your book. :-)

  40. says

    I’ve been looking for a way to re-enter the writing world and I think this may be it. 31 days of Good News: Exploring the gospel and what it really means.

    I’ve been thinking about this lately because we so often use and hear the word “gospel” without really understanding what it is or what it means. Starting on this today.

  41. says

    I plan to join in this time! I think I will do 31 days of pictures, I haven’t taken a lot of pictures of my son lately and he is growing up so fast so taking 31 days to document him would be nice.

  42. says

    I’m in! Oh and by the way… I have no idea what I’m doing! Well, I know what I’m “doing” for my 31-days topic… I just don’t know what I”m doing in the bloggy world. Here goes…

    31-days of Refining Sense-Abilities

  43. says

    31 Days to Happier Children!! It’s my passion. And writing about it will help me do a better job too. And I’ll have it to reference in the future. Win win win. Join me?

  44. says

    Hello there!

    I found your blog through someone’s blog and followed the link here. At a time such as this is what I literally found myself saying. I followed your link to the questions to ask myself about starting this 31 day journey and it hit me like a ton of bricks. My blog is mostly about my life and scrapbooking. I have been in constant prayer and leading to dig deeper with my faith through scrapbooking. My issue and problem is I don’t really write well. LOL. Of course it normally does not matter to me and in the end it doesn’t and shouldn’t still. However, I lack direction on where to start because my idea is I’d like to see more of God within this hobby {scrapbooking} but I am unsure and unclear as where to start with that. The idea to do something like this sounds wonderful! With lack of knowledge at where to start, I am confused at how to start the process even with a 31 day challenge. Hmm. Interesting things to ponder, which I will surely do so! :)

  45. says

    Thinking, thinking … I’m contemplating 31 days of reading with your children. I love to read aloud with my girls and read for my girls – looking for books that I trust that I can hand off to them. I don’t know that I have a whole 31 days worth of book ideas (and I am no expert …. just a simple mom that loves to read), but it does inspire me. Praying on this… : )

  46. says

    I love this challenge idea – I’m going to do 31 days of letters to my future daughter(s), addressing issues girls face in society, but with a Christian perspective. Thanks for the inspiration!

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