July Bucket List Life Dare: Be Wildly Free

Recently I was talking with a group of moms when the topic of dancing in the rain came up.

“I have always wished I could do that,” one mom said. “But I just can’t seem to bring myself to go ahead.”

July 2015 Bucket List Life Dare: Be Wildly FreeEveryone agreed. We all yearned to be so carefree. But we all had to admit that we had never indulged in such a whimsical romp.

I would bet if you stopped to think for a moment, you have at least one bucket list dream of your own that relates to shedding your inhibitions or otherwise breaking free of rules, expectations or constraints.

Now is your chance! This month’s Bucket List Life Dare is to “Be Wildly Free.” If you choose to take this month’s dare, find something on your bucket list that allows you to drop conventions or somehow express your freedom in a way you haven’t before:

– Dance in the rain.

– Eat cake for breakfast or ice cream sundaes for dinner (I have done both!).

– Go up the down escalator.

– Compliment a stranger.

I remember as a young newlywed hearing a pastor’s wife I admired share a story of one summer afternoon when she invited her elementary-school-aged son to join her in having an ice cream treat while sitting out on their garage roof. A neighbor boy came by, spotted them and asked if he could have a treat with them. So she sent him home to ask permission and then allowed him to climb out her window to have ice cream alongside her and her son.

I loved this idea! It was so impetuous and rebellious and such a great memory-making activity. I swore I would one day do it with my kids. But I still haven’t. Now, thanks to this dare (plus a freezer full of popsicles, Klondike bars and ice cream sandwiches), I have no excuse. Think my kids will join me?

If you take this month’s dare and choose to blog about it, link your post back here. Or comment below that you’ll be taking the dare and report back about what you did when you check off your goal. We want to hear about your July dare adventures.


Family Bucket List Wall

Over the past year I’ve been working on my family’s bucket list wall – a pictorial commemoration of the goals we’ve reached and the fun we’ve had living out our bucket list dreams. Here’s the result:

Whole Wall

I collected these collage frames over time. I knew I wanted to be able to highlight the different types of bucket list adventures we have had – things we’ve done, places we’ve seen, people we’ve met, and the people we’ve become/roles we’ve fulfilled.

Aspire FrameSo my first collage contains pursuits that family members have aspired to: such as breaking the school track record for the 100-meter dash (Bethany), and learning archery (Evelyn).

Explore FrameNaturally our bucket list contains destinations that we want to explore. I’m hoping one day to expand this to its own wall, along with a pinned map showing places we have gone.

The more altruistic pursuits I gathered into a frame that I labeled “become.” It showcases volunteer experiences, and roles we have worked (or are working) to attain, such as my husband’s position as a leader in the disc golf community in our state and my daughter Katherine’s desire to become a pilot and the various flights she’s taken on that journey.IMG_5928

Meet FrameAs an avid reader (and writer) I keep a separate journal/scrapbook containing photos of me with the authors I have the privilege of meeting, but I’m not the only one in our family to rub elbows with people I admiral, so those shots go in their own frame.

And the wall just had to have another frame to balance things out. Plus I could tell we would fill up all the slots pretty quickly with only four collections. So I added a fifth frame of dreams fulfilled.Dreams Frame

You’ll notice that I didn’t hurry to fill the frames. I added scrapbook paper to empty openings, but ultimately the goal is to add in new photos as we check off different experiences. Not every bucket list experience of ours ends up on the wall. Our first time kayaking I didn’t dare take a camera on the water, so we don’t have a record of that. Other times we are all absorbed enjoying the experience and forget to take a picture (or don’t want to break the spell by snapping a shot).

Adventures SignFinally, I felt like I wanted to express the overall theme of our collections in words. Wood and metal signs saying “Family” are everywhere. But “Adventures”? Not so much. I ended up creating my own sign to finish the wall off.

I’m pleased with how it turned out. It’s an attractive reminder of the adventures we have shared. I love that behind each picture is a story – of perseverance, beauty, compassion, and dreams come true. And I look forward to filling them up with more memories.

How do you document the adventures your family takes? Do you keep a journal? Blog your thoughts? Create photo books? I would love to hear your favorite method for commemorating your family’s bucket list pursuits.

New Monthly Blog Feature: The Bucket List Life Dare

JuneDareImageIt’s one thing to dream about and discuss our bucket lists. But we hit a whole new level of life experience when we take action, any action. Which is why I am introducing a new monthly feature here on my blog: the Bucket List Life Dare.

This week my family celebrates two transitions: my middle daughter Katherine graduated from 8th grade and is now a high schooler, while my youngest daughter Evelyn officially finished elementary school. If there is one phrase I have heard more than any other in the past two days it’s “time sure does fly.” And indeed it felt that way Monday during the junior high Moving On ceremony as I sat near the mom of one of Katherine’s preschool classmates and we reminisced about our girls as four-year-olds.

It made me realize that life will never slow down for us to do the things we want to do. If nothing else, the pace of life where I live in American suburbia is accelerating. I have learned I can’t wait for the moment to be just right to live out my bucket list dreams. And I have learned I don’t have to know the whole path toward realizing them. I simply need to find, and take, the first step.

The Bucket List Life Dare is about first steps. Or next steps, depending on where you are in your chosen bucket list journey. At the beginning of each month I will issue an invitation to a simple challenge. To join in, follow the instructions for that month’s challenge and chime in below in the comments about what you did.

It is my hope when next June arrives we aren’t blown away so much by the passage of time, but by how much happened in the span of a single year. Are you in?

Here is the first Bucket List Life Dare: Be a tourist in your own region. Tell us one thing your city, state or region is known for that you have never experienced. It could be a food you’ve never tried, a place you’ve never visited, a festival you’ve never attended or some other regional specialty or attraction. Then, if possible, plan a time to do/see/eat it this month.

To complete the dare, tell us in the comments your local live-like-a-tourist goal (and when you plan to check it off). Or Tweet out your response using the hashtag #BucketListLifeDare. Once you fulfill the month’s dare, come back and tell us what it was like. If you blog about your experience, I’d love to have you share a link in the comments.

My #BucketListLifeDare for this month: take my family to Eataly, the Italian Food Marketplace in Chicago. It is on my bucket list already and this month I want to check it off. Stay tuned to hear how that turns out for us.

From Bucket List Wish to Legacy: A Review of the new book The Art of Work

ArtofWorkRecently I had the opportunity to read an early copy of a new book by Jeff Goins called The Art of Work (coming out next week, March 24th). I have followed Goins’s writing for the past few years, but what impressed me about this book was how well it dovetails with the concepts in my book, Bucket List Living For Moms. For any mom looking to reshape her work life or find a new career, The Art of Work makes the perfect companion to Bucket List Living For Moms.

In it, Goins emphasizes the need to listen to your life for cues about your purpose and calling, a process familiar to readers of Bucket List Living. “The trick is to find your vocation hidden in your life,” Goins says. He goes on to outline the stages involved in finding and fulfilling that vocation, with examples from the stories of how others worked through these stages in identifying their callings.

What readers will find most helpful about The Art of Work are the chapters about how to progress toward turning your aspirations into a lifelong legacy. As Goins notes, “A calling is not merely a moment; it’s a lifestyle, a constant progression of submitting to a larger purpose.”

Use the questions from Bucket List Living For Moms to explore your personal calling and create your unique bucket list of dreams. Then read The Art of Work for a road map to turning some of your bucket list goals and longings into a purposeful work life and meaningful legacy.

Right now Jeff Goins is offering a free paperback copy of The Art of Work. Simply subscribe to his email list and pay $6.99 shipping. You will receive the book, along with a pdf copy, video mini-course and more. Learn about his offer here (note: this is a limited time offer and will probably disappear once the book officially releases on March 24th).

Because of its value in helping chart a fulfilling work life, where vocation and bucket list converge, I have also added The Art of Work to my list of Books & Magazine for Bucket List Living. Check it out for other great works to inspire you in making your bucket list dreams a reality.

Winter Tips for Moms & Dads

Ah, January. I love how it’s already becoming evident that the days are lengthening. We may have months of gloom and chill left before spring, but the shortest days of the year are past! Knowing that cabin fever tends to take hold this time of year, why not plan for something new in the next few weeks: a new game, new food, new activity? Shaking free of the monotony is key to surviving the winter doldrums.

1501SIParentIf you’re looking for more tips and encouragement especially for moms and dads,  check out the topics below from my articles published in this month’s issues of parenting magazines:

Mommy Has Another Name   We relish hearing our child call us “Mommy” for the first time. But the thousandth time? We’re not only excused for being tired of hearing it, we’re also liable to have forgotten we ever had an identity outside of being a mom. In this month’s issue of Staten Island Parent I share stories and tips from moms on how to reconnect with yourself as an individual.

This is the Year   Has your family mapped out your goals for what you want to see, do, & be this year yet? Have you helped your kids set personal goals? It can be a pretty cool experience for them to set & then reach goals. Make it fun (& more successful) using the four words, “This is the Year.” Learn more in this month’s issue of Treasure Coast Parenting.

Soul Support: 4 Ways to Feed Your Spirit   Caring for ourselves sometimes requires tuning in to what moves us, soothes us, grounds us. This article shares four different methods for feeding your spirit. Learn how they might play a role for you – especially if you struggle with seasonal blues. Read it in Central Penn Parent.

Let it Go: 9 Things to Stop Worrying About1501SanDiegoFamily   When you have kids, it’s hard not to worry. But sometimes it helps just to have someone tell us what’s worth fretting over and what we need to let go of. San Diego Family’s January issue features my list of 9 things that parents can give up – in order to focus on the more important concerns in their life. Like, where did that remote go?

Parenting a Perfectionist   Maybe you’re not a worrier, but one of your kids is. Chances are, that child is also a perfectionist. Learning how to best parent a child with these tendencies can be a challenge. In this article, featured in Kansas City Parent, I offer input from professionals and a mom on tips for how to work with your child when perfectionism comes into play.

That Kind of Ski Mom   Do you ever look at the moms around you and wish you could be a mom of a different stripe? Yeah, me too. In this essay I talk about how that feeling presents itself for me on the ski slopes and how I am learning to respond.

Maybe hitting the slopes, or getting your kids on skis is on your bucket list. Maybe this is the year for your family (but you’ll need to let go of worrying about your kids’ careening down a mountain). If you were a skier before kids, it could be your chance to reconnect with that former identity. And the fresh air, exhilaration of skiing, and scent of wood fire in at the lodge may be just the food your soul needs.

Whether it’s skiing or not, I hope you’ll consider checking off a winter-related bucket list goal in the next month. I hear Chicagoans have a great new ice skating ribbon to try out in Maggie Daley Park.

Happy January!