Planning What You’ll Ask When You Meet Someone Famous

My bucket list includes meeting a handful of people I admire – comedians, authors, actors. And my goal in meeting them isn’t just to stand in a line for their autograph. I’d like to get even a few seconds to have a real conversation with them. Except given the chance, I don’t know what I’d say or ask. Which, I’m learning, needs to change. Because having a specific question could be the key to that meaningful conversation (and might intrMeetFamousoduce a surprising connection between you and that person). That’s what happened for a writer friend of mine, Sara Marchessault.

Before I share Sara’s story with you, you must know this about her: she is an avid journal-keeper. And not just someone who writes in a journal every day, but
an intentional, creative journal writer who uses her skill and interest in journaling to help other people every day. Check out her website to learn more about Sara. Sign up for her newsletter for periodic journaling prompts sent to your inbox. Most of all: pick up a copy of her book, Beyond Pen & Paper: 33 Experiments in Journaling.

Now, here’s Sara’s bucket list story of how meeting someone famous intersected with her life’s passion:

Do you have a list in your head, or maybe written down somewhere, of people you would really like to meet?

When I was a kid I really wanted to meet Pope John Paul II. I think seeing his photo in catechism every week made me want to see what he would be like in person.

I have since modified my list to people who are much more accessible than the Pope. Elizabeth Gilbert is on my list. So is Ann Patchett.SaraMLizG

In April 2015 I met Ann Patchett, right here in Tallahassee at the Word of South Festival.

And [in April 2016] I got to meet Elizabeth Gilbert. There we are in the photo [to the right].

I was giddy like a middle schooler in the 90s about to meet NKOTB.

She was in town as part of Opening Nights and when I was invited to the meet and greet reception before the event (thanks to my oldest friend, Betsy) I knew I was going to get to ask her the question I really wanted to ask.

It was great. There were maybe 25 people there and it was easy to get a few minutes to talk with her. And my burning question was….

Where did you get the idea for Tomorrow Morning’s name?

Tomorrow Morning is a character in her book The Signature of All Things.

And guess where she found his name?

In an old journal.

Let me say that again….in an old journal!

How freaking cool is that?

Here is a real life example of what can happen when one person engages in a regular practice of keeping a record of life. What was probably at least a hundred years later, inspiration is found in the pages and a voice from the past is heard anew.

She found the name in a journal. It was a name that a teacher had given to a boy who appeared at the school, wanting to learn. And she, Elizabeth Gilbert, loved it and wanted it to be in her book.

As Elizabeth Gilbert shared later that evening, “life meeting life.” But instead of face-to-face, it was through pages composed long ago.

You just never know what will happen with your writing.

What I do know is that the practice of actually writing is sacred.

It’s also therapeutic, healing, clarifying, and can guide you to find the meaning and purpose in your daily actions.

It can ground you to your life experience and help you be the leader in your life.

It can even become your legacy.

Beyond-Pen-Paper_ebook_2-188x300Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, and mom who is on a mission to increase joy on the planet. Through the practice of self-reflection, we become aware of what brings us joy and what does not, and we make choices to move forward or stand still. Journal writing is a powerful reflection tool that can help any of us move forward, even in the darkest of times.

In the comments tell us, who have you always wanted to meet and what do you plan to ask them when you do?

[Guest Post] Why I’m Grateful for Imperfect Timing

Mom2MomGratitudeToday’s post is by Heidi Smith Luedtke, aka the psychologist next door and author of Detachment Parenting: 33 Ways to Keep Your Cool When Kids Melt Down. If you know me, you know I have a thing for psychology. I’m always reading pyschology-related books and like to study the motivation behind what we do. So Heidi’s writing always resonates with me. Heidi has helped so many parents navigate parent-child relationships and issues. I’m thrilled to have her share with us today. I hope you’re as encouraged by Heidi’s grateful attitude toward the less-than-perfect way in which accomplishing our goals happens in family life.

(Remember to leave a comment or subscribe to enter the drawing. And don’t forget to check out Heidi’s other posts this week at Christa’s blog on Wednesday, and her own blog on Thursday). Here’s Heidi:

I have to admit: If I had things my way, I’d plan most of the details of my life.  But as a military spouse, I’m subject to an out-of-control schedule. With very little notice, my husband can be asked to work extra hours (or days!), deploy to a war zone or move our family cross-country or overseas.

Since my real life doesn’t always work according to plan, I’ve learned to take an opportunistic approach to the items on my bucket list, such as “Run a Marathon in Under 4 Hours” and “Catch a Tuna Bigger than Me.” Instead of waiting for all the stars to line up in support of my dreams, I take advantage of opportunities that arise, even when the timing isn’t perfect. Because in my life, the timing is never perfect.

I could give lots of examples.

In November of 2010, 6 months after I had my daughter, I ran the Philadelphia marathon. Without really training for it. I ran it because I had signed up in a fit of post-partum optimism about getting back in shape. And because my husband offered to drive me to the starting line in the middle of the night with two little kids in the backseat and wait with them for 5 hours while I waited for my chance to cross the starting line and gutted my way to the finish line 26-miles later.

Doing the marathon – well-trained or not – was a way to celebrate my healthy baby, strong body, and devoted family. I missed my goal by a measly 10 minutes, but I was proud that I ran the whole way. And at the finish line I was reminded what really matters when my 3-year-old stole my post-race banana and asked me to carry him (uphill!) to the car. The race we call motherhood is really never-ending.

I’m pursuing the “Tuna Bigger than Me” with the same kind of unplanned abandon. One Tuesday this September my husband got the wild idea we should book a fishing charter off the coast of Maryland. By Friday we had flown in family members from out of state and scheduled an overnight sitter for our 3-year-old, who is too little to cope with a 12-hour boat ride.

The timing wasn’t perfect. The tuna were mostly gone for the season and the captain told me it was unlikely we’d catch any. But it didn’t really matter.

That day I got to help my 6-year-old son catch his first white marlin – a 70-lb., 7-foot long beauty that flashed brilliant shades of blue and yellow as he jumped from the water. And I caught an 8-foot long marlin myself. We also cheered for family members who hauled in a fish box full of mahi mahi and brought home lots of fish to eat.

My son told me he’s sorry I didn’t get to catch my dream fish that day but I’m not so sad about it. Because – when you chase your dreams with the people you love – the pursuit is the prize.


[Guest Post] Celebrate the Wins

Mom2MomGratitudeI’ve known Christa Melnyk Hines for a few years now. As a fellow journalist, she has always impressed me with her compassionate professionalism. Christa leverages her background in communication to help moms, dads, and kids to relate well. Her e-book Confidently Connected: A Mom’s Guide to a Satisfying Social Life is an excellent example of this.

In today’s guest post for the Mom to Mom Gratitude Gala and Giveaway, Christa shares about the importance of practicing self gratitude when it comes to reaching our goals. (Remember to leave a comment or subscribe to enter the drawing. And don’t forget to check out her other posts this week at her blog on Wednesday, and Heidi Smith Luedtke’s on Thursday). Here’s Christa:

Tucked away in our basement bar refrigerator behind the soda, the extra cartons of milk, and a couple of beers, sits a special bottle of champagne.

I promised myself, at the beginning of the year when I made my annual short-term bucket list, that I would pop open the bubbly after reaching one my goals.

Among my champagne-worthy goals was writing a book. With the help of a writing coach, I cracked apart the steps, dug in, and after eating, sleeping and breathing “the book,” I produced a resource for moms that I felt proud of.

Anyone who goes after a big goal with plenty of unknowns quickly realizes that the process is often fraught with obstacles, branches in the forest snagging at your sweater, and a web of tangled roots popping out of the ground ready to trip you up.

One particular rejection derailed my focus and shook my confidence for several days. But, the spirit behind a bucket list goal has a way of propelling you forward despite the challenges––and sometimes heartache. In those moments you seek other paths, you lean on your support system, but to give up is unimaginable.

So why after reaching a major accomplishment do so many of us do a double arm pump, shout “yes!” and then with barely a blink of the eye, move on to the next item on the list? We are all so busy that we don’t take time to congratulate ourselves on the victory.

A little self-gratitude is necessary for our personal self-worth and future motivation. It’s necessary to model to our children to help them learn to appreciate their successes.

And yet, self-gratitude is something I struggle to practice myself.

My thoughtful friends took time to organize a small celebration in my honor after my book launch, but I never cashed in on the reward I promised myself. I quickly moved on to other pressing deadlines, risking creative burn-out.

So, my bottle of champagne still sits there overseeing the milk turnover and chaperoning the beer.

The mistake I made was not assigning the reward to a specific goal. As you go about making your bucket list, write down how you will celebrate each victory or sweeten each step toward the goal with a small reward. Then stick to it. If you are doing a family bucket list, your kids will help hold you accountable!

Whatever you choose to do, don’t cheat yourself out of your victory dance. Your ego may not need it, but your spirit does.

Oh, and if you happen to notice a cork fly by, that’s just mine! Better late than never, I’m celebrating a year blessed with amazing friends and mentors and exciting personal achievements. The beautiful thing about champagne is it offers an excuse to celebrate along with my circle of friends and family. Whole-hearted, interconnected gratitude at its best!

How do you practice self-gratitude after achieving a goal? Do you have a favorite treat or reward?