Well this blog has been on my mind, my heart and my "to do" list for quite awhile now. Which is quite ironic actually... you'll find out why in a few minutes.
A few months ago, I woke up abruptly in the middle of the night after having a bad dream about my mom. We were standing in some sort of religious service or assembly and all of the sudden, I heard (and felt) the creepiest, most evil voice I've ever heard whisper something in my ear. I don't know what it said but it was so close, I could literally feel the air on my ear. It immediately gave me chills (the bad kind) down my whole body and my mom, who was standing next to me in the dream, fell to the floor simultaneously. There was someone standing on the other side of her who made eye contact with me and looked very alarmed. Thankfully, my mother was okay (in the dream) but I woke up with a VERY weird feeling. I was totally creeped out and felt scared, sad and confused, all while still half asleep.
So, in a conscious effort to shift my mind and my mood, I immediately thought to myself, "I need to think good thoughts about mom."
Instantly, a picture (that I did not conjure up) filled my mind. It was a beach scene... with the ocean to my right and the beach to my left and there was an old, green VW Beetle convertible in front of me. It was facing the opposite direction so all I could see was the rear end of it. Now for those of you that don't know, my mother (and very best friend) passed away this past September. And among other things that she always wanted to do, she always wanted to own a green VW Beetle convertible and to live at the beach. In fact, these were two things that my sister and I hoped to make happen for her when she got sick, but we ran out of time. Back to the picture... the car is in the middle of the beach, facing away from me and there is a beach house up on a hill in the distance. On the license plate of the car, it says "GOBHPPY."
Yea... WOW. All in one instant, I have this complete picture that is obviously a message telling me to GO BE HAPPY. To do it now, while I still have time and not to wait like she did. I was so excited, I literally jumped out of bed and jotted down as many details as I could before I fell back asleep so I would remember in the morning. The next day, I even pieced together a layman's version of the picture using the paint program on my computer and some graphics from the internet. It is the wallpaper on my laptop now. But more than that...
It is an assignment. A journey for my life. And hopefully, the subject (and cover) of my first book.
Yikes! I actually typed the words. I think that's why I've been putting off this blog. It seems scary and intimidating but in a really cool way. I've had lots of book ideas over the years and many of them are still ones that I want to do one day, but when this occurred to me (literally), it was like a light bulb or more like a firework... went off in my head. I saw the whole thing, the cover, the name, even the process behind it.
Which brings me to this... If you're a fan on my Facebook page, you probably saw that I was teasing a "launch" that I was going to make. Well this is it. I wanted to have as many likes as I could on there so the word would get out as far and wide as it could, but I know God will take care of that part. Hopefully between Facebook, Twitter, this blog and just good ol' word of mouth, the journey will begin... AND I WANT YOU TO BE PART OF IT.
Here's the plan. I have a bucket list that currently has 65 things on it. I actually started it before bucket lists were cool, when I was like 22 and I called it my "life to do" list. I've accomplished a handful of things off it since then, removed a couple and added a few but there is still A LOT to do. And the time to do it is NOW.
Here's where you come in... I will share my bucket list at the bottom of this post. These are the things that I want to start doing immediately so if you happen to know something about one of them or have a connection, contact me! Or if you have always wanted to do one of them too, let me know and we'll do it together! I want to ride a horse... know someone who owns a horse and would be willing to give me a lesson? Great! I want to learn to salsa dance... you've always wanted to learn too? Fantastic! We'll go together! The idea is that not only will I be doing what I truly feel my mother would want me to do... live my life to the fullest while I can... but the experiences and people involved will turn into the stories (mixed in with anecdotes/lessons from my mom) that will make up my first book. And when it turns into a best seller, I can mark #44 off the list!
If there was one big lesson to take away from my mom's untimely passing, it was that LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO WAIT. We all hear it over and over in songs, on posters and in cliches, but we have to take it to heart. My mom always thought there'd be more time... to live at the beach, to own that VW Beetle, to spend another Thanksgiving with us... and time ran out. Quickly and without notice.
I read some of her journal entries after she passed away and was saddened by her words about how she had so many ideas in her head that she never acted out in real life. That she had always let fear hold her back. And of course, I knew how the ending turned out. It makes me sad that that was the end of her story, but I know that a whole other story has started for her now and it's greater than anything I could ever imagine. And my greatest tribute to her now is to make sure that I DO live my life to the fullest while I have the time and maybe even fulfill some of her dreams along the way.
So what do you say? What to join me?
My Life "To Do" List (as of June 1, 2014)
- Learn to change a tire
- Learn to play guitar
- Go to the Louvre
- Sing with a punk rock band
- Ride a horse
- Go rock climbing
- Learn to change oil in a car
- See the Sistine Chapel
- Have my poems published
- Take a cooking class
- Learn to bartend
- Brew my own beer
- Run a marathon
- Learn to swim
- Learn to roller blade
- See the Eiffel Tower
- Learn karate/tai kwan do
- Learn to ice skate
- Donate a substantial amount to a charity that I believe in
- Work on an animal rescue
- Learn to paint
- Get one of my songs produced
- Drive a race car
- Learn to salsa dance
- Speak another language fluently
- Sing karaoke (in public)
- Have a professional makeover
- Live by the ocean
- Take up photography
- Spend an entire day in solitude outdoors
- Road trip in a motorhome
- Learn to shoot a gun
- Dance at a pro basketball or football game
- Trace my family tree
- Play blackjack in a Vegas casino
- Drive a BIG truck
- Learn to DJ
- Kiss at the top of the Empire State Building at night
- Spend a New Year's Eve in Times Square
- Go on a mission trip to Africa
- Live in another country
- Be part of a flash mob
- Write a bestselling book
- Learn to ski
- Swim with dolphins
- See the Northern Lights
- Go to all 50 states
- Ride the giant ferris wheel in London
- Model in a fashion show
- Make sushi from scratch
- Try out for the Topcats
- Go wine tasting in the Napa Valley
- Go on the NKOTB cruise
- Own as many breeds of dogs as possible
- Learn the dance from Thriller
- See a taping of the Ellen Show
- Ride in a gondola in Italy
- Earn a Guinness Book World Record
- Build and decorate a complete dollhouse
- Celebrate Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street
- Visit Wahlburger's in Boston and meet the family
- See the giant basket at the Longaberger's headquarters
- Visit the giant, glass head in Charlotte
- Be an extra in a movie or TV show