Today I turn 30! I’m one of those weird people who love milestones, and I am honestly so happy to be turning 30. My 20’s have been amazing, no doubt. Here’s a quick recap:

Got engaged
Attended AppState
Got married
Worked part time at a 5 star restaurant
Started Nancy Ray Photography
Lived in Boone for 4 years
Was a student + wife at the same time
Graduated with a degree in Technical Photography
Moved to Raleigh
Served as a youth pastor’s wife for 5 years
Bought our first home
Paid off our first home & became completely debt free
2 missions trips to Nicaragua (1 & 2)
4 Summer Camps
5 Lockins and several retreats
Settled into a home studio
Ran 3 half marathons
10+ speaking engagements with work
Grew my business to include Will, Callie, Elizabeth, Olivia and our wonderful interns
Traveled a lot! (Most memorable trip: 8 days living on a boat in the BVI with Will)
Got pregnant
Gave birth to Milly
Juggled a growing business and a growing toddler

I feel like my 20s were full of change and tons of work and a whole lot of hustle. As they should be, too! I was hungry to learn, building the foundation of my career and my family, paying off debt, and serving in ministry. I feel like the thing that really portrays my 20’s the best was the way we spent our weekends. Most weekends, Will and I would shoot a wedding all day Saturday, drive home (sometimes around 2am), then be at church to serve for both services from 8:00am – 1:30pm. I remember this one weekend when I booked a wedding in the mountains on Friday, another at the coast on Saturday (6 hours apart). That weekend was exhausting!

Today, I turn 30. I’m turning a new page and rounding a new life corner. I’ve been thinking a lot about why I think I’m going to love this next decade so much, and I think it boils down to these

10 hopes I have for my 30’s

1. Growth. I feel like I’ve learned so much in the past decade. My eyes have been opened to so, so much regarding life, the Lord, our family, my health, and this business. Personal growth is a theme in our home – we are always constantly reading and talking about what we are learning. I know that I know my 30’s will be full of more incredibly valuable lessons, knowledge and wisdom learned. I know I’ll look back one day and say, “I thought I knew so much!” I can’t wait to stay hungry and keep learning.

2. Embracing the small.
One thing is for sure about motherhood and faith: there is beauty in the small, quiet, alone moments. I want my 30’s to be full of more prayer time alone in my closet. I am sure it will be full of middle of the night feedings and diaper changes and messes that comes with raising children. I want to relish in the unnoticed, quiet, small moments instead of wishing them away.

3. Working less by working smarter. This upcoming year, my goal is to cut my work down to 3 days / week. I’m loving being Milly’s mama, and I want to tend to our home more. Working less only happens by working smarter. Delegating, learning new ways of earning an income, and working effectively are all ways I hope to make the most of my 30’s. I want to show Milly and our future kids that work is good, it can be so fulfilling, but it also doesn’t dominate my time.

4. Complete our family.
We’ve got a decade, so I figured we’ll probably be done having babies by the time I’m 40. Which is probably what I’m MOST excited about in my 30’s! I get to meet and raise the rest of the little souls that will be joining us!

5. Less hustle. I’m ready to slow down a bit. I still like to hustle when it’s time to work, but I want much, much less of it.


6. Primary ministry at home. Will and I have been very involved in ministry at our church in our 20’s. It’s a natural bi-product of being on staff, of course, and we still want to be involved in ministry. But I’m excited that it’s going to involve my kids primarily. Teaching them scripture, showing them God’s love and grace, answering their curious questions. I don’t want to lose sight of the importance of this ministry.

7. Being present. By practicing silence and meditation on a more daily basis, I’m craving the sense of feeling present and truly being grounded. Yes, Lord. May I be more present in my 30s.

8. Change. By the time I turn 40, Milly will be 11, we will have had a few more kids (God willing), I’ll be shooting less weddings, we will have moved houses, and who knows what else will have happened. I do not want to shy away from the change or be fearful of it. I want to feel it and embrace it, because it’s what life is made of.

9. Confidence. Much of my 20s was figuring out who I was, figuring out what I wanted to do, and then stumbling my way through and living it out. Today, I’m 30. I’m confident in who I am, and I care much less about what others think of me than when I turned 20. *Sigh.* What a breath of fresh air! Bring on the confidence!

10. Simple vacations. Let’s be real: any vacation with multiple toddlers is far from simple! Might as well keep it as simple as possible by not planning anything too extravagant. Travel is very important to us, but I am honestly so excited to take simple trips to the beach and the mountains and the lake to form our family memories. I want to go camping and show our kids the simple stuff in life is where the treasure really is found. Will and I hope to take 1 really big trip to celebrate 10 years, but I’m so excited about all the simple vacations (and staycations) that form those sweet family memories, especially as our children are young.

What are you excited about your 30’s? Or what have you loved about them so far? I’d love to hear!

Sign Up to Receive our FREE PDF - "5 Steps to Preserve Your Legacy Through Photographs"

And join The Nancy Ray News!

No Spam, we promise! Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

You are a gem, friend. I had to giggle at the “personal growth is a theme in our home” line – nothing more true could be said of the Rays, and that’s (one of the reasons) why we love you! Love this post, too – think you may have inspired me to do something similar for my upcoming birthday!

Happy Birthday Nancy! I love following your blog posts and reading your perspective on life. Looking forward to your film basics course!

(p.s. That cake though!!! Beautiful.)

A very happy birthday to you, Nancy! I stumbled across your blog again this week via Lara Casey and absolutely LOVE your goal-setting posts. They are thoroughly inspiring and helpful, as were some of the complimentary downloads in your shop. Thank you so much + have a beautiful 30th year!!

Happy birthday! Thank you for being an inspiration to live a simple, more intentional life.

Happy 30th, lovely!!! Wishing you a beautiful year and new decade (!!!) and so excited to see how you and your family grow. Love!!!

We are so glad you are here!

Welcome to the NRP Blog! Enjoy getting to know our hearts and our work. We are so grateful you stopped by!