Henry’s 2013 bucket list

*Special thanks to Henry Petty for sharing his 2013 bucket list. What’s on your bucket list for 2013?*

Henry’s 2013 bucket list

ImageTake up golf – a buddy of mine said it’s a really good networking tool.  Donald Trump has stated the deals he makes are always on the golf course.  And, I have been approached many times to play golf with them.  And, I was recently eating at a luncheon with our CEO who was talking up how awesome the game of golf was (God’s *wink wink, nod nod* at me, if you will).

Go to Disneyland – I have always wanted to go to either Disney resort.  I love love love love me some Disney; nothing makes me happier.  There is an underlying reason as well.  When I was very young and living in California, my mother took my brother to Disneyland and NOT ME.  To this very day, I will never understand why she did that to me, and my grandma gave my mother a hard time about it for sure.  So it’s almost a “revenge” scenario that’s got a sweet topping with Mickey Mouse shaped cupcakes as a side item.

Be more organized – I think I have some sort of ADD, because I am always searching for my wallet, keys, cell phone.  All.  The.  Time.  I am always checking 5 or 6 times before I leave the house for those essential items, and I always check the door to see if it’s locked.  I’ve even driven half a mile and turned around to make sure I locked the door.  I’ve always been scatter-brained like that, and I hope it’s not genetic so that I can become organized.  If anybody watches the show “Dexter” on Showtime, I want to be as meticulous with my cleanliness and organization as Dexter Morgan. 

Use my gifts for charity – I hope to use my YouTube video skills toward a good cause.  I hope to do something similar to the guy who created #26RandomActsofKindess in honor of the Sandy Hook victims.  Nothing feels better than helping someone else.

*Good luck to Henry and to all readers who hope to reach goals and fulfill dreams this year! What’s on your bucket list in 2013? Leave a comment and let us know.*

Top 12 things I’m grateful for in 2012

Recently I wrote a blog post for my personal blog, My 2012 gift list, and listed the most significant gifts I received in 2012. I didn’t list tangible objects or even relationships on the list–I limited my gift list to the intangible yet priceless blessings I received in the form of lessons, inspirations, and virtues.

Today I thought it might benefit my soul to take a look back at 2012 and identify the top 12 things on my annual gratitude list.

  1. DSC_0075_edited-1Margaret Jacqueline. This year, my husband and I were surprised to learn that we had unintentionally created a human being. We were ecstatic to learn that we would be parents, and we are overcome with joy to share our lives with her each day. I’m truly grateful for her health throughout my pregnancy, for a safe delivery, and for her health and happiness every day since then. At six weeks old, she’s already living up to the meaning of her name and bringing sunshine into every moment of our lives.
  2. Health. Going through a somewhat rough pregnancy fraught with rough patches, complications, and negative symptoms made me much more aware of how blessed I am to be healthy most of the time. As I recover from delivering my baby, I continue to pause each time I realize just how good I have it. I can clean my house myself. I can bend over and pick things up and exercise. Not everyone I know can do these things, and I’m grateful I can.
  3. A’s. This year I completed 24 hours of graduate school and somehow, in spite of five months’ worth of morning sickness, ten months’ worth of migraines, and severe lack of sleep, I managed to make A’s in all my classes. I am so thankful God enabled my brain to function well in the absence of sleep, but more amazingly, in the absence of caffeine :).
  4. 033My husband. This year I married the one man who encapsulated the wish list I wrote months before I met him. I call him my “Wild at Heart” man; as an avid John Eldredge fan, I decided (one month before I met my husband) that I would ask God for a man like the one described in John Eldredge’s book. I knew it was a long shot–I’ve been divorced twice and knew I might be asking for something I’d never receive. But God blew my expectations out of the water, brought my husband into my life, and has blessed us with a trusting, peaceful, romantic relationship that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
  5. Real friends. I’ve always learned when going through trials and tribulations which friends were true friends. This year, I also learned which friends love me enough to celebrate the blessings in my life despite their own schedules, difficult circumstances, or limitations. All year long, I felt showered with blessings by my friends in various forms–phone calls, messages, cards, gifts, visits, acts of service and kindness–and I’m really thankful for each real friend in my life.
  6. Reality. I often live in fear of things out of my control–I worry and fret over things that most often never come to pass. This year, I learned that what I fear is not as scary as I thought, and that all the time I spent worrying could have been spent positively–writing, praying, or laughing. When I was pregnant, I worried that I’d wind up covered in stretch marks on my stomach. I didn’t get a single one. I was afraid of various complications during and after delivery, including prolapsed bladder. I’m happy to report that I pee perfectly well. I’m grateful that in many cases, reality is much kinder than I give it credit for.
  7. Our church. I spent over two years searching for a church that fit not only my credo but also my picky preferences. This year, God matched us up–and used a persistent friend of mine in the process–with a church that matches our needs and wants and then some. We already had our own personal relationships with God–we just didn’t have a group of people to share those relationships with. Now we do.
  8. Gratitude. It seems funny to list gratitude on my gratitude list, but I really am grateful for it. In 2012, I listed “be more grateful” as one of my bucket list items. In order to motivate myself, I started this blog. Since then, and about 125 blog posts later, I’m pleased to report that it worked. Writing blog posts has served as a catalyst for my personal growth. I find myself contemplating my blessings in order to create new blog posts; I spend more time focused on what I have to be grateful for and less time mulling over what I’m missing.
  9. Recovery. I’ve been a member of a twelve-step recovery program for family members and loved ones of alcoholics for over five years now. This year, I committed myself a little deeper to developing our itty bitty local chapter of the program and to attempting to share some of the experience, strength, and hope I’ve found with people around me who might benefit from it. I started praying for our local group and asked God to multiply our efforts; He has. The group has tripled in the past few months in membership, and new people show up periodically, too. I reconnected with my sponsor who lives in another town and continue to experience insights and growth as a result of our relationship. I’m sure this item will be on my gratitude list for years to come.
  10. My employment status. Having been willfully unemployed since July, I’m super grateful for the opportunity to not work. I’ve worked since I was 13 years old. I’ve tutored children, taught gymnastics, served french fries, cared for emotionally disturbed teenagers, taught classes, edited resumes, sold software, and advised college students. But this year, my husband decided to give me a break and let me focus on graduate school instead of on earning an income. Now that I’m caring for our newborn daughter, I’m continuing that hiatus from the world of paid employment and am thankful for the chance to do so.
  11. RPM’s. For those of you who aren’t fortunate enough to have reaped the spiritual benefits of a recovery program, RPM stands for reading, prayer, and meditation. Some of you who foster your own personal relationship with God might refer to RPMs as devotional time. No matter which way you slice it, spending time with God is one thing I’m most grateful for this year. Having gone through some very tough spiritual valleys earlier in the year, which I thankfully found my way out of with the help of a great counselor, I learned to depend even more on my time alone with God. Each morning, I spend a little (or a lot, depending on the day) time with God reading Scripture, praying, and meditating on what I’ve read and on the nuggets of wisdom He imparts. Life without RPMs for me means spiritual atrophy. I’d rather keep growing.
  12. Prioritization. This year, I learned to let go of some of my priorities in lieu of more important things–namely, my own health, my marriage, my daughter, and my education. I could have kept working in order to earn more money to pay for more things that I really didn’t need to begin with. I could have opted to continue shopping, running errands, and eating out after my doctor advised me to spend more time with my feet up to reduce swelling and heal my injured back. I could have invited our entire family, church body, and list of friends to visit us at the hospital and come by our house in order to keep myself from feeling lonely. But I think I chose more wisely instead. I decided to stay home and focus on what matters most right now. I decided to take care of myself rather than take care of others or entertain myself. And I decided to limit my daughter’s exposure to a very germy world in the midst of flu season. And I’m grateful I made these choices.

It’s been a pretty wonderful year. I’m thankful for the chance to share it with each of you.

Sunshine award

Thank you, Truthlets & Thoughtbits, for nominating me for the Sunshine Award!

The Rules are as follows:

1.  Thank the person who gave you this award and write a post about it.

2.  Answer the questions below or write 7 interesting things about yourself.

3.  Pass on the award to 7 fabulous bloggers, link their blogs and let them know you awarded them.

The Sunshine Award honors bloggers who bring a little bit of positivity and sunshine into the lives of others. I’m honored to get the award and pleased to pass it on to a few others whose blogs inspire me.

So before I list the seven interesting things about myself, here are the Sunshiny bloggers I’d like to recognize:

1) Lesley Carter of Bucket List Publications. Always inspiring and urges me to think about ways I can live a more adventurous life.

2) Henry Petty, a long time friend and fellow blogger, who guest writes for me frequently. I’m very grateful for him!

3) Planting Potatoes, a great blog by someone who is thoughtful and encouraging to others.

4) Teresa Burns Murphy, who is not actually a blogger, but who is an amazing writer who occasionally posts on Daily Dose of Gratitude.

5) Sarah Klesko of Truthlets & Thoughtbits, who nominated me, but who is also always inspiring me by things she writes.

6) Paul Mark Sutherland of GYA today. His blog is highly motivational and always positive.

7) All the friends, loved ones, and wonderful people who’ve stepped in as guest writers for me when asked and have shared their gratitude with others via Daily Dose of Gratitude.

And now, seven interesting facts about myself:

1) I started blogging at the suggestion of my friend Samantha Hartley, who owns Enlightened Marketing. She suggested I start a personal blog, and that someday I might find myself returning to a common theme. Then I’d know what to focus on. For me, it was gratitude.

2) I will be having my first baby in November.

3) I love taking photographs of nature, particularly of small things and tiny miracles we often overlook.

4) I’m a graduate student pursuing my Master’s degree in English.

5) I was the first ever bus girl at a local fish house back in the 90s.

6) I have nine siblings.

7) I’m completely in love with Jesus Christ.