Posts Tagged With: goals


Kicking the Bucket List

Friday Letter to My Kids – May 2018.

Dear J, J, L and L,

Surprise! I don’t have an actual bucket list.

two green pails on ground

Photo by hitesh choudhary on

Hopes and dreams, definitely. Mostly the sort left unspoken. Something about saying a wish out loud takes away its power, I suppose. Call me superstitious, or weird.

There has been this one very strong desire. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much I personally could do to make that happen. That’s an ongoing theme in my life. But in this case the wish, the dream, the desire, was truly out of my control. All I could do was watch, for the most part.

Of Seeds and Seedlings

I planted a few seeds here and there and waited to see what would happen. I did what was in my power to help those seeds grow, watering, weeding, a bit of fertilizer.

From when you were little, I let you know that I thought going to college and getting a degree was really, really, really important. As you got older, and as life unfolded the raggedy, unpredictable way life does, the importance of a college education became even clearer and stronger in my mind. Without nagging, I hope, I reminded you from time to time how critical that was.

Implicit in that was that you’d get decent grades in high school and graduate. I celebrated those high school graduations with pride and tears.

Just a A Few Years Later… In the Eternal Scheme of Things

And now, nineteen years after the first of you graduated from high school, all four of you have Bachelor’s Degrees.

That one sentence doesn’t say enough. It makes it sound magical and simple, which I know it wasn’t. Those degrees you’ve earned have arrived after tears, and heartache, sweat, late nights, all-nighters, dozens of different occupations, roommates, spouses, children, worry, debt, stops, starts, u-turns, illnesses, battles, winding roads, weddings, a divorce, unexpected detours, and plenty of life’s storms. Each one of you pushed through whatever obstacles came your way and you kept trying, kept working, kept keeping on.

I’ll bet you never knew you were making one of my dreams come true.

FullSizeRender-17The degree isn’t simply for me to brag about, or for you to have some piece of paper to hang on the wall. The college degree has always been about the doors it can open for you, the opportunities it can make available and the freedom it can potentially provide. It can save you from a lifetime of back-breaking physical work. It can give you peace of mind and a fallback position. That’s what I really wanted for you. Now that you have those degrees, your own dreams are more within reach.

This is the Part Where Words Fall Short

I’m so happy for each of you, and so incredibly proud of you.

Now my only dream for you is that you find happiness and joy in whatever lies ahead. I’m pretty sure you’ll do just fine.

All my love,


photo-23 copy 5

Bluebird of Happymess


“Life is a one time offer, use it well.”



Categories: Celebration, Happiness, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

That Way, This Way, My Way, Some Way

English: camino de santiago

camino de santiago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s more than a movie recommendation for you; “The Way” starring Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen.

I hadn’t heard of this movie until I stumbled on it last week.  Apparently it never got the usual blingy press and advertising.  That’s probably for the best.  Created with care, reverence, and respect, its clarity and thoughtful, natural pacing create a feel for what it must be to experience such a thing. Not a single part of it felt gratuitous or forced. It’s not a movie for the masses.

Here’s a summary quote about it from Netflix:

“When his son dies while hiking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in the Pyrenees, a grieving father decides to complete the 500-mile trek to Spain.”

The Camino de Santiago is basically “the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the  apostle Saint James are buried. “

Fascinated by this depiction of a modern-day pilgrimage, I let myself absorb the beauty of this film.  The scenery was pretty,  the trail looked user-friendly, the characters real. The story line was poignant and sincere. Something about this movie clicked in me and got me thinking.

So what is a pilgrimage and why do people do it? defines it as

 “any long journey, especially one undertaken as a quest or to pay homage”

Certainly a pilgrimage isn’t something every person needs or wants.  But then, I wondered if life itself isn’t its own kind of pilgrimage for some, for many.


(Photo credit: VagabondTravels)

I know some who are on a long journey as a single parent, others who are traveling a difficult path through the daily trial of depression. Still others know their long road is shorter than they’d like and will end early at death’s shore.  Providing long-term care for an ill family member must count as a journey worthy of honor or blessing.

I wonder if joining the military isn’t a kind of pilgrimage, certainly it’s self-sacrificing, serves a higher purpose and surely leads to deep introspection.

Service of a religious or charitable nature can take on the qualities of pilgrimage.

I’ve also wondered, since watching this movie, about my life.  Do I need a pilgrimage? Have I been through any kind of refiner’s fire? Sometimes I think the answer is yes, to both questions.

Then the question becomes; do I want to take on a pilgrimage by choice instead of by default?

There is an ocean and a continent or two between myself and any beginning point on that trail across Spain.  I would need a very substantial reason to walk such a path, to invest that much time and that many resources into such a quest.  I’m not catholic, so a traditional religious reason doesn’t exist for taking this on. I’m sure, at this point in my life, I haven’t got the reason, the time or the resources, or the physical ability to take on something as big as the Camino de Santiago.

Grand Canyon, from South Rim near Visitor Center

Grand Canyon, from South Rim near Visitor Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I set a goal some years back to hike the Grand Canyon. It seemed a reasonable quest, with a realistic time to prepare, to plan, to follow through.  The goal date came and went long ago and I had done nothing to move myself toward it.  Did I not really want to do it?  Was it worthy of my time and attention?  Or did life simply have other paths for me to take?

I feel compelled to find a reason, a justification perhaps, to take on such a quest as the Camino de Santiago. And yet, I find excuses at the ready, and know it’s something that will never happen for me.  To think otherwise is to be a dreamer of the silliest sort.

Maybe all I need to do is treat my life more like the pilgrimage that it is. What’s my quest?  What am I hoping to pay homage to? Where am I going? What am I hoping to achieve on this journey I’m on.  What are the milestones and how will I honor them? All good questions I ought to know the answers to.

Have you been on a pilgrimage? Any experience with something like this? Any desire to do such a thing?

Categories: Outdoors, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tripping All Over Myself

Do you ever get in your own way?

Or does everyone else get in your way?

A little of both, maybe?

Recently I had some plans, kind of long-term stuff I’d been working on, working toward.  Then a few things started to hinder those plans.  Scheduling conflicts, the pending holidays, sleep, laundry, work, life.

Then, in the midst of all these interruptions in making my plans happen, MSH had some ideas he’d been thinking about that would involve me and my time.  I’m not talking an afternoon or an evening.  We’re talking big plans that would use a significant amount of time and effort.

Sure, I could see the wisdom in his plan.  I could admit that it wouldn’t be a waste of time to commit to doing this work he was proposing.  But where would the time and energy to do this come from?  When you add one thing to the calendar then something has to come off the calendar or get moved to another spot.


Surprisingly, writing in one more item on the TO-DO list does not create the extra time it will take.

My gut reaction was that my project, my plans and my life would suffer because of this new extra-large to-do item on my unending list.

The next morning, I whined and complained to my walking partner, logically expecting sympathy. Her response was not what I had anticipated.  She asked if I had any fears associated with my own plans.




Fear of failure, fear of being laughed at, fear of looking silly or stupid, fear of hurting someone, fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, fear of falling on my face.

Yeah, you could say I have a few fears about my plans.

While we walked she suggested gently, with kindness, that perhaps, there is a possibility, just maybe, I could consider the idea that, I was sabotaging myself.

A Shocking Thought

This wise woman posited not that MSH is trying to get in my way, or hinder me, but that I’m using his idea, turning it and tweaking it, until it becomes my excuse for not proceeding with my own plans, not succeeding, not facing my fears.


The truth can sting a little. And this one did.

Now, what am I going to do about it?

Categories: Relationships | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: