Behind the Bittersweet Story…

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I went to Costa Rica for my 32nd birthday with a few close friends!

But, there’s so much more to the story than the pictures ever can share…

One of the definitions of Bittersweet is “both pleasant and painful”. I have always known what this word means, especially as it pertains to food (such as bittersweet chocolate). However, I do not know that I have ever had such a vivid and personal scenario that is best described as: Bittersweet.

For my birthday, a few of my best friends and I planned for me and a group of my girlfriends to escape to Costa Rica… Secretly, I think they were all tired of me complaining about winter ruining my birthday every year!

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So, we found an amazing deal to go to Vista De Olas in the Mal Pais region of Costa Rica. Beautiful, and full of adventures waiting to be had. It was going to be epic, we had all sorts of fun things planned, and they had a slew of surprises up their sleeves. Jokes about the trip permeated our conversations for months as we planned and dreamed.

As the dates got closer, we all worked harder towards our goals financially, physically, and made lists of all the pictures and things we wanted to experience while in Costa Rica. It was going to be such an adventure, but we had such a fun time of planning and laughing at each other’s plans!

Three days before we were scheduled to leave, one of my best friends, who was also scheduled to come to with us had the worst day of her life. Without giving all the details of her story, her brother passed away in his sleep. It was a day and more than a week full of so much sorrow for her, her family, and loved ones. No one should have to navigate the death of a loved one… and as a best friend, there are no words or actions that can be done to make it better.

Pain and sorrow. That is the best way I can describe it all.

Two days later, her, myself, and another mutual best friend gathered and just sat together and cried. We spent hours sitting in silence, talking, crying, and just staring off into the distance as we processed and just experienced the loss of it all. There is so much pain in this unexpected season, and none of us know how to do this well, so we spent time just talking through our pain and sorrow for each other, and figuring out trying to support and navigate it all.

Pain and sorrow.

The following morning I turned 32; and I boarded an early plane headed for Costa Rica to celebrate my birthday with four beautiful and amazing women that are such good friends of mine… But, also without one.

Bittersweet sorrow.

My heart was overflowing with so much pain and sorrow. I spent the first part of the morning fighting back tears and trying to figure out how to celebrate and experience an amazing and fun trip that was planned by all of us; yet knowing one of my best friends was absent, and going through the worst week of her life… And struggling through the guilt of going without her, even though we had talked through it and she wanted me to go; it doesn’t reduce the sorrow experienced.

I kept finding myself circling my thoughts back around to the fact that we had planned this whole thing months prior, and yet God knew what would happen. So, why had he created this space for me to be separated? – Not in a questioning His goodness, but rather questioning the purpose and process He wanted with me when this space was created.

fullsizerender-1Each morning we spent time just being. Sleeping, reading scripture, journaling, and just sitting still to soak in the view before we went on adventures or to a beach.

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The ocean and sunshine have always been my go-to place to find Jesus and a soul reset. My mind almost instantly finds peace and calmness when I smell the ocean water and hear the waves. I have never had to fight for it before, yet I found myself heart-sick, and struggling to connect with God. I was fighting to find peace and release of my pain and anxiety. I knew what I needed, but I just couldn’t seem to get there.

A couple of nights into the trip, we gathered together on our patio and shared all of the different struggles we were each trying to work through. Anxiety and fear were the common thread between each one of us. The trip was a bittersweet escape for everyone. We spent a great deal of time just sitting silently together, each somewhat reluctant to share our own anxieties, but when all was said and done, we prayed while I looked at the stars.

The sky was expansive, never-ending, and beautiful.. Created and intricate by a God who cares and knows pain and sorrow intimately.

That night, I went to sleep with no change in feelings, but a desperate need to connect with Him.

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When I awoke in the morning, my sorrow for the situation had not changed, but I knew God was ready to spend some time together. I journaled and read scripture for longer that morning, and then swam to the edge of the infinity pool and just waited for God to show up.

He did.

Ever so slowly God replaced my anxiety with peace, He took my overwhelming sorrow and sided it with His Grace and understanding. He didn’t remove the pain and sorrow, but it no longer felt too much. Bittersweet. I could now see the sweetness of this trip without first seeing the pain. God met my needs with Himself, and I knew the pain wasn’t over, but the anxiety was put to rest, and I could now enjoy the trip fully, while experiencing the sorrow fully as well; but not feeling it tainted.

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While the trip is over, the pain and sorrow certainly is not. Death and grief are not simple nor easy. Life is different and changed forever, this next season is not what anyone wanted or planned, but it will be met with more of the Grace, Love and Mercy of our Lord.

Costa Rica was everything I needed it to be. I was able to find rest, to reset my heart, soul, and mind. I had the space to pause and grieve and hurt on behalf of someone else I love so much that words fall short.

God met me in Costa Rica with mercy new and specific for now.

Turning 32 was not what I expected, but it will forever be a marker for me. Bittersweet.

#NeverDull2016 Year in Review

At the beginning of the year I was asked by several people, and challenged by several more to come up with a word or theme for 2016. I am not really a goal setter. I do not have enough organization as a personality to plan things out well…Nor do I enjoy it. I more often than not fake being organized, and typically use all of my organizational capacity for my job.

However, this year I decided to try to pick a word or theme. So, I picked “Never Dull”. It felt like a way of focusing on all the big and little things, noticing how interesting and worth while life can be. After having a few hard years, I needed a year not focused on healing or regrowing, but instead a year focused on the life I have, the good, bad, interesting, growing, and adventures that can be found every day!

Thus, #neverdull2016 became my social media hashtag.

You can read my 2015 year in review posts here.

So, what a year 2016 was!

January

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We had a record-breaking snowstorm in DC, with over 30 inches of snow in 24 hours.
My sister came to visit, and I surprised her with a whirlwind trip to NYC.

February

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Uganda team meetings started! #Ugandaexcited
I studied Romans with a group of other leaders.
I got to tour the Capitol building for the first time.

March

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Threw a bachelorette weekend for one of my best friends.
We continued our Easter tradition and several college best friends came and stayed. – We failed again at going to the top of the Washington Monument lol
I started my big side tattoo!

April

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One of my girls from MI came to visit for her Spring Break.
I went to Philly and got to hang out with some of my favorites.
Threw a super fun fundraising house party for clean water wells in Uganda.
I also started having much more regular meetings with other churches to talk about First Impressions things.

May

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One of my best friends got married! #Howboutthemappels
Our Uganda meetings started happening twice a month!
People continued to join us at the gym haha

June

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We had the 2nd Annual Race for H2Ope Run/Walk fundraising event for our Uganda mission.
I went to Nashville, did a whirlwind visit, and helped her drive back to DC for the summer.
I continued my tattoo process.
I got to help teach dance classes throughout the summer with a super fun group of ladies!

July

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I finished my tattoo just in time for it to heal before going to Uganda!
Our team went to Uganda and dug 2 clean water wells! You can read more about it here.
Our house shifted as one roommate left and a new one began living with us.

August

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I spent the first 8 days of the month in Uganda.
I went on my first date in a year – Had a great time, but it didn’t go anywhere.
We did a presentation at the Fairfax JDC about our work in Uganda.

September

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I went to Disney World for the first time! – With a ton of my family! It was awesome!
Family Dinner Mondays started up again for the fall. – It has been such an amazing weekly time!
College friends had a free weekend, so they came to visit and we all headed to the beach!
A group of us undertook project get Amy’s iron up.. which meant a more strict diet than normal; it sucked and was great all at the same time.
I put all of my roommates on a traveling ban because we travel SO much…. it failed miserably. lol

October

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I went to visit 6 churches to learn from them and deemed it my #tourdechurches – It was amazing!
Our church celebrated its 20th anniversary.
My little brother’s wife had their first baby! – She’s so cute!

November

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I was able to go to Puerto Rico for free cause I have lucky friends haha
I had to say goodbye to friends who followed a God-given dream across the country.
My roommates and I are now fluent in food as a love language.
I finally finished my “corner office” for my consulting work!

December

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This is always one of my favorite months in DC. There’s so much happening, fun parties and sweet time with friends.
I got to spend a lot of time with my family for Christmas, it was amazing.
I got to snuggle my new niece.

Overall

I feel like this year was full of adventures, big, small, and everything in between.

How did this year compare to what I thought it would be? – You can see some of my goals and predictions here.

In some ways I feel like it was pretty spot on… In others it was close, and obviously in some ways it was totally different.

In general, my sentiments are: What a beautiful year it has been.

I find myself grateful. Incredibly grateful that I was able to experience such amazing things this year with so many wonderful and amazing people. I feel rich with friendships and people I love. I am grateful for the adventures and the laughter. What an incredible year full of ups and downs and everything in between.

#Neverdull2016

Going to Uganda!

Sometimes I find myself marveling at the things I get to do, which creates an ever increasing gratefulness to my Lord.

As part of one of the bonus elements of where I work, they encourage people to go on mission, locally, nationally, and internationally! In fact, we have 30(something) missions teams going out in 2016!

This year, I am helping to co-lead a mission team to Uganda! We are partnering with Mission4Water to drill two wells.

Why go to Uganda, and why water?

If you have known me for a few years, you will likely remember that a few years ago, I “donated” a birthday to Charity Water and then, I asked people to donate money for clean water rather than give or do anything for me. Donating my birthday was such a success and I loved getting to do it, and getting regular updates! However, it took two years from the time the money was donated until the well was finished.

Clean water is something that I care about, and this time around I get to be the one going and doing the work!

The average Ugandan walks 6k to get water, and it’s not even clean.. Plus, it is typically young children and girls.

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There are 10 of us going to Uganda in August. Our goal is to drill two wells, and then leave the resources that will allow Mission4Water to drill an additional three wells.

Which means, when all is said and done, we will have provided clean water for (around) 1,750 Ugandans for life!… All because of 8 months of preparation, partnering with dozens of people and businesses, and 2 weeks worth of hard work! – Worth it.

Please be one of the people to partner with us and help us to change the lives of hundreds of people!

What’s the cost play out to be?

$12 = 1 Ugandan clean water for life!

$4,000 = 1 Clean water well (serving around 350 Ugandan’s clean water)!

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We will be doing more fundraisers later* (some super fun things are in the works!), but given the amount of money we need to raise to reach our goals, please consider partnering with us now!

You can partner with us by donating here.

You can also keep up with the whole team’s story here.

#UgandaExcited #onmissioneveryday

Thank you.

*If you donate $100 or more, I’ll send you one of our team t-shirts later this spring (if you want one)!

Anything but Boring 2016

It has finally happened, I have had a moment to look forward to 2016.

You can see my 2015 review here.

What do I see moving into this year? I have no idea.

On one hand, I have SO much of my life planned for this year already, mostly out of necessity for work rather than actually being a planner. (I fake a J in the Myers Briggs quite well most of the time). On the other side, I really have no idea what to expect from 2016.

I am looking forward to the fact that I have an idea of the cadence of this year. For instance, I am now fully aware that my next real “slow season” will be next December (ha!), unlike the false “it slows down after…” that I was repeatedly told this last year!

But, I am excited and looking forward to a few things in 2016:
Getting to travel. – As in, I know currently I will get to travel to several states and countries this year. (More on that later)

Stoked.

No moving. – I won’t have to move this year, unlike the TWO moves I had to do last year!

Praise the Lord!

Bills bills bills – I will be able to pay off the remainder of my credit card debt this year. Meaning, I will have taken my credit card debt from more than $10k to $0 in two years.

Absolutely giddy.

Spiritual health – I have a plan for growing spiritually this year, and I am very much looking forward to it.

Deep peaceful breath.

Health – I have more health goals this year than I ever have. Mostly because I am aiming in a direction rather than my classic “get healthy” of previous years. 2015 completely changed my health, and I am excited to continue to work (hard) for even more of that this year.

#Hotbodywhoa #WhatifIwantpizzainstead #TotalHealth #Dedicationwillsuck #Gettinghealthycanbefuntoo

Community – One of my favorite things to do is gather community and create it wherever I go, I’m excited to do that even more this year.

Doing life with people is one of my favorite things.

Hair – We all know my hair will change a bunch, I love experimenting and using my hair as a conversation piece… It is truly amazing how much space unique hair creates for people to feel more comfortable around me, and I love that element of it all.

Red? Pink? Purple? Blue? Blonde? White? Black? Paramount?.. Maybe 😉

Tattoo – Finally, I am finally ready to get my new tattoo, and I am stoked about it! There are probably a hundred different elements to the tattoo, so I am really excite to start the process of getting it.

So excited!

So, what do I think of 2016? I dunno, it will be full of a lot of things.
Beauty
Adventure
Change
Laughter
Stress
And so much unknown…

The one thing I know of 2016 is that it will be anything but boring.

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Follow along this year on Instagram @Kristapbback and #NeverDull2016

 

Love of Traveling…

I love traveling.

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Seriously, short or far, driving, the train, or flying, I love traveling. Even the obnoxiousness of delays, weather, unforeseen obstacles, I love the unknown adventure that comes with traveling.

I think my love for traveling is why I miss Europe so terribly every day. Seriously, I think about my two-week trip to Europe every single day.

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I replay conversations had with one of my best friends…
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I remember amazing food… and some.. not so fabulous food.
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I laugh to myself about funny conversations, signs, experiences, reactions etc…

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I miss exploring, and walking until I have cankles, and getting to just play and experience something entirely new that I had no idea existed, or had on my bucket list to cross off.
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I love seeing things that take my breath away.
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I miss having nothing to do but talk about anything that comes to mind whether serious, silly, ridiculous, precious, touching, memories, heartaches.. all of it.
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I even miss the crazy adventures that were inadvertently created trying to lug everything around from city to amazing city.
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Every single day I miss it.

But, mostly, right now I think I miss how my heart felt traipsing around Europe. I felt full, excited, loved, like God and I were connected, and as though my partner in crime understood me perfectly. For the very first time in my adult life, I had the chance to take a real vacation and just relax and let my mind not think about work or school for an extended period of time. I was able to just focus on the things in front of me, not the things I had to do tomorrow or checking things off my to-do list… I was able to use the time to process through hurts and bounce thoughts off of someone repeatedly as I worked through them over the course of the couple of weeks. I had the chance to look through my camera lens and be creative and see beauty.

Taking Pictures

Barcelona sunrise

Life just looks different when you purposefully look for beauty.
I want to do better at purposefully looking every daily.

Classic Paris

And, we laughed. All the time, every day.

I will often find my heart suddenly transported back to the feelings I had when I see pictures of (any of) my trips… Such as, I will once again find my heart full of thankfulness to God for allowing us to see the sunrise on a completely cloud covered morning.

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While I realize, that sometimes it may just be that it is easier to miss something purely because it was fun and great, and I am in full on hatred mode of winter right now… (since the snow pile in the driveway is taller than me…) But, in reality most of my sentiments are not really a new feeling, every single day since getting back, I have thought about my trip to Europe. I will find myself going about normal activities, and things I learned will bubble to the top of my mind to be mulled over again, conversations we had will replay in my head, people we talked to will spring to mind, and all of the time we were able to just be together and be friends; it was exactly perfect.

I think that the beauty I see in traveling, the experiences that follow me for the rest of my life, and all of the things that I find myself learning and going back to for such a long time add to my love of it all.

I could talk endlessly about all of the things I have learned and the ways that traveling has changed me, but it would be better conveyed over a cup of coffee in person.

Although, in reality, sometimes the learning takes place while you travel will show up in the form of just fun trivia… Like seeing a scene in a movie (Now You See Me) and knowing that the place does NOT actually look like it is depicted on the movie.. therefore it is a set.Lock.KiraLock.MeLock.Both

And, like the one time I was thumbing through a “100 things you must see before you die” book and seven of them I saw on my trip ONE trip to Europe, and three others I had seen on other trips… (And, I even think that some of my pictures were better than in the book!)

I have now experienced two types of travels: Travels to help others, and travel for the sake of fun. Either one is great and honestly life changing in different ways, but both serve a wonderful and unique purpose. I love each type of trip.

All of these things, and so many more are what continue to grow my love of traveling, and why it will always hold a special place in my heart unlike anything else.

29 Things While Being 29…

Venice Lunch.2I do a year-end review each December, which is probably my favorite post annually, but, my second is a looking ahead to the coming year.

This year’s post however, is a different version of my typical looking ahead/New Years post.

I have been doing quite a bit of thinking about this upcoming year, and I have realized a few things:
First, I have no idea what this year holds. Sometimes, I have a sense, an idea of what to expect, a feeling that God is going to head in a particular direction… this year, nothing. No idea.

Second thing, this year, I will have my “golden birthday” I will be turning 29 on the 29th of January. I do not really think a “golden” birthday holds any particular luck or added blessings, but, since I love birthdays, this gives me a reason to focus on fun things instead of just talking about the year to come.

So, I wanted to share my 29 things to do while being 29 bucket list (in place of a New Years Resolution). And, I would like to highlight real quickly that, most “30 before 30” lists or “29 while I’m 29” lists are fairly lame.

(Trust, I did a lot of google searches for ideas) The lists I looked at for ideas were mostly along the lines of:
fall in love (because we can decide these things),
get married (rude),
learn to cook a meal (who doesn’t know how to at 30?!),
have a kid (are you crazy?),
forgive (ok, a good idea, but why does it need to be on a list of things to do before you’re 30?)…
Mine are much more active and intentional…

Please join me by either making your own 2014 list, participating with me on any of my items, or checking up on and praying for me throughout this year to accomplish these goals!

(I would love for them all to be numbered 29.. but that’s just not realistic so only a few of them are aptly numbered)

So, 29 things that I would like to do or accomplish while being 29 (in no particular order):

  1. Travel out of the country at least once in 2014.
  2. Visit 5 places in-country this year that are not where I live (will live or have lived also do not count).
  3. Take a road trip. – A legit “get in the car and go” trip with a few friends.
  4. Pay an additional $2,900 this year above my regular student loans payment.
  5. Build a solid savings.
  6. Go to the beach (any beach) 29 times. – What can I say, I’m a water and sun baby!
  7. See the sun rise or set at each beach I go to (weather permitting).
  8. Re-adjust 20lbs of my body from fat (yes it is there) to muscle – Although probably cliché, I’m not saying I want to lose 20lbs, just re-adjust/build it.
  9. Run a half marathon.
  10. Finish the first draft of the book with my dad.
  11. Revise and add to my Life Goals bucket list.
  12. Check 29 things off my Life Goals bucket list.
  13. Read 12 new books this year (at least).
  14. Do at least one thing (spontaneously) that I’m a little (or a lot) afraid of. – This will remain open-ended cause I feel like pre-planning it would defeat the purpose.
  15. Be open to dating. – This one sounds odd I suppose, but I want to be intentional about being open to dating… instead of killing it in my head before it even starts.
  16. Learn West Coast Swing. – This one was added for me by a friend haha
  17. Go Salsa dancing regularly. – Unlike learning a new type of dance, this one is more just going and dancing frequently since I love it.
  18. Create a list of 29 things to pray for, and then pray for them regularly all year-long. – Feel free to send me things you would like me to add (this is on top of my 3×5 cards).
  19. Memorize 29 new scriptures. – I just feel like this is something I tend to neglect, and I do not think that is an ok thing to let continue.
  20. Finish reading the entire Bible. – I started last year and have only gotten half way through.
  21. Take 29 days this year and fast. – Likely a fruits and veggie fast since my body does well with those.
  22. Snail-Mail 29 hand written letters/cards this year. – Who doesn’t love getting notes in the mail?!
  23. Send 6 care packages. – I just really feel like I need to focus on being intentional about loving others better in ways such as this one.
  24. Draw or Paint a large piece of art to hang in my place. – I have neglected painting and drawing for years and miss it terribly.
  25. Go camping or backpack for a weekend with friends. – I don’t think my friends realize how many things they’re gonna have to do this year with me!
  26. Throw a themed house party. – I have always loved the Murder Mystery parties… So, maybe something similar to that.. or just a fun themed party!
  27. Pay for a stranger’s order 29 times throughout the year. – This will probably get difficult to keep track of, but I like the idea of having to consciously think of this type of stuff repeatedly.
  28. Make my t-shirt quilt. – I have been intending to do this for more than 5 years!
  29. Collect a daily note of something I’m thankful for/memorable moment and collect them in a jar all year. – I got this idea from my sister-in-law and loved the idea.

I am excited to do all 29 of these things on this list in 2014! Please join me in any (or all) of these items. At the very least, I hope that you get inspired to make your own list of things to do in 2013.

Let the fun commence for the year I’m 29!

Revised Bucket List…

When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to be the type of old person who had so many ridiculous and crazy stories of things I have done, places I have been, and people I have met that the only question that would make sense is: “How did you have time to do everything?” When I settled on that as a huge goal in life, I began crafting a bucket list of sorts… Only, it is more of my “life” goals, but the meaning is essentially the same I suppose.

So, regularly I revise my bucket list because I think it should be ever-growing and molding; plus, I must replace the items I have accomplished with new ones!

A couple of years ago, I re-organized my list and created categories which has made it easier to manage, follow, update and honestly just be really excited about. So…

It is time to update my Life Goals list again!

Experiences:

  1. Watch the sunrise AND sunset from each side of every ocean or sea (a = Sunrise, b = Sunset): 1. Pacific (b), 2. Atlantic, 3. Indian, 4. Arctic, 5. Southern, 6. Mediterranean Sea (a), 7. Caribbean, 8. South China Sea, 9. Bering Sea, 10. Gulf of Mexico (b), 11. Okhotsk Sea, 12. East China Sea, 13. Hudson Bay, 14. Japan Sea, 15. Andaman Sea, 16. North Sea, 17. Red Sea, 18. Baltic Sea
  2. Have a croissant at a French cafe 
  3. Ride a gondola in Venice
  4. Stay in a hostel
  5. Attend Loy Krathong, the sky lantern festival in Thailand
  6. Attend La Tomatina in Spain
  7. Be in Spain for running of the Bulls (but not participate)
  8. Move somewhere new alone
  9. Participate in a giant food fight
  10. Drink whiskey at a pub in Ireland
  11. Ride a helicopter
  12. Ride an elephant
  13. Ride a camel in the desert
  14. Ride through the Panama Canal
  15. Horseback ride through a coffee plantation
  16. Jump off a waterfall
  17. See the Pyramids at sunset
  18. See a glacier in Antarctica
  19. Visit the church made entirely of bones
  20. Visit ancient ruins
  21. Stay in the ice hotel
  22. Stand on the Great Wall of China
  23. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  24. Stand inside the Taj Mahal
  25. Tube down a river
  26. Learn to roll in a kayak
  27. Learn to snowboard, and ski
  28. Learn to wakeboard and water ski
  29. Drive a sports car over 100mph
  30. Go parasailing
  31. Go paragliding
  32. Go dog sledding
  33. Go on a Safari in Africa 
  34. Go rock climbing
  35. Go to the Kentucky Derby
  36. Go white water rafting
  37. Go Sky diving
  38. Go on a multi-day biking trip
  39. Go on a cruise
  40. Go wine tasting
  41. Wine taste at a vineyard in Italy
  42. Climb a volcano 
  43. Climb a glacier 
  44. Climb a mountain
  45. See and/or climb Mt. Kilomanjaro and Mt. Everest
  46. Hike the Inca Trail 
  47. Watch the sunrise or sunset over the Grand Canyon
  48. Watch the Northern Lights 
  49. See a shooting star 
  50. See Bioluminescent Plankton 
  51. Ring a church bell
  52. Choose fifty favorite places to relax and connect with God
  53. Attend the entire summer Olympics
  54. Zip line through a canopy
  55. Drink lemonade on the front porch swing on warm summer night
  56. Live in a house with a window seat and wrap around porch
  57. Christen a boat
  58. Learn to surf
  59. Learn to paddleboard  
  60. Dive with Manta Rays in Hawaii
  61. Swim in the Dead Sea
  62. Swim with a whale
  63. Snorkel the great barrier reef in Australia
  64. Swim with bioluminescent plankton in Puerto Rico
  65. Scuba dive 
  66. Tango in a milonga 
  67. Spend a night in a treehouse
  68. Have a big wedding celebration with everyone I love

Travel:

  1. Set foot on all seven continents: AsiaAfricaNorth America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.
  2. Set foot in all fifty states:Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  3. Cross the Canadian border 
  4. Go to Cuba
  5. Go to Spain
  6. Straddle the equator on two continents
  7. Take a road trip across the U.S.
  8. Have an adventure in Greece
  9. Take a month-long vacation without computers
  10. Live in another country for a year
  11. Go to Fiji
  12. Spend a summer touring Europe
  13. Go to Hawaii
  14. Go to South America with my sister

Personal:

  1. Attend a Ball
  2. Learn Latin dances: Argentine TangoSalsaCumbiaMerengueCha chaBachata, Rumba, Mambo,
  3. Learn to West Coast Swing
  4. Be a published artist
  5. Get art in a gallery
  6. Write a book or novel
  7. Finish and publish “Facts of Life”
  8. Throw a block party
  9. Blog consistently for 10 years
  10. Go a day without speaking
  11. Organize a retreat
  12. Start and run my own business
  13. Get my second degree black belt
  14. Get a tattoo (I have two)
  15. Do two pull ups 
  16. Own a very large dog 
  17. Be conversational in two languages: 1. English 2. Spanish
  18. Learn a least enough in three additional languages to semi-understand
  19. Make my own list of the hundred best things to eat
  20. Plant a tiny orchard
  21. Grow vegetables in my own garden
  22. Go berry picking
  23. Make completely homemade pies 
  24. Make butterscotch from scratch (I have a recipe, now I just need to get all the ingredients and do it!)
  25. Run a 10k
  26. Run a half marathon
  27. Shoot every major gun: PistolShotgunRifle, Muzzleloader, Revolver
  28. Start a fire without a match
  29. Build a house from start to finish
  30. Own a Beach house with friends

Giving:

  1. Help someone get through college
  2. Do something for someone they can never repay
  3. Tithe my whole life
  4. Start a non-profit or help run one
  5. Buy stock on my own
  6. Do one grand loving gesture a year
  7. Be debt free by 35
  8. Use my work to improve lives
  9. Remove money as a concern from my life
  10. Gift 1 million dollars to missions (not tithing)
  11. Help my family become debt free
  12. Give people in ministry free vacations at the beach house

Total, there are 124 things on my bucket list so far, which realistically is more than that due to the sub points. And, since this is an ever evolving Life Goals, things will likely be crossed off and added to this year.

In 2013, I crossed off 12 things from my list!.. In 2014, I aim to cross off more than double that!

I am currently working on a list of 29 things I want to do in 2014 because I am turning 29 on the 29th of January! One of the things I have discovered as I compile this “29 Things” list is, most “30 things to do before you’re 30” lists are lame, and almost all of the “29 things to do when you are 29” lists I have found are stupid. So, I will attempt to create an actual solid list of things to do in a year, and leave out things such as, “Forgive” “Fall in love” or “get married” as key points on my list… My list will be much more active and intentional.

I cannot wait to share my 29 things I want to do in 2014!