I’ve written before about my “bucket list” – a lengthy and detailed list of things I’d like to see, do, and own during my lifetime. But there are really only three things that I want more than anything in the world. Although I am learning to be content no matter what, this is all I truly need to be happy and satisfied with my life. All the other dreams and goals would be nice but not essential. This is my life mission.
- To fall in love with the guy of my dreams. Wooed and won by my true love. Cherishing and being cherished in return. A passionate lifelong love affair. To build a life and a family with a man who I can trust implicitly and love infinitely.
- To raise children of my own. Our own, I should say. Both biological and adopted kids. Little people who need to be loved and cared for. To share with them the gift of love that was given to me.
- To have a successful career as a writer and author. One that allows me the financial freedom to quit my day job and offers the flexibility to spend time with my husband and kids. To feel as though my writing is making a difference in the world.
Everyone has a life mission. No two are the same. Each is as valid and valuable as the next. What is your life mission? Do you know yet? There was a time when I did not know mine. Even today I do not have the full picture, just the bare bones. I have a glimmer of a dream that I carry in a special place in my heart. A dream of a life that overflows with love and joy and passion. A life that is my own and is what I want it to be. I don’t know how I’ll get there, but I know where I want to be. Do you? Look deep in your heart – you will find your life mission there. And once you have it, don’t ever let go.
When I was little, one of my most favorite things to do was read picture books with Mama. Any time she would sit down with me or us and read books was the highlight of my day. Several of our biggest favorites were written by the world’s most ingenious storytelling couple: Audrey and Don Wood. Their stories and the accompanying illustrations are unsurpassed in the world of picture books.
King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub, by Audrey and Don Wood, was a particular favorite. The tale of a fun-loving king who refuses to leave his bathtub will have you in stitches. Each member of his court tries a different approach to entice him out of the water; each fails spectacularly. The story is funny enough by itself, add the outrageous illustrations and this book is just over-the-top hilarious.
Another great classic Wood tale is that of The Big Hungry Bear. And the little mouse and the red ripe strawberry of course. I can still hear Mama’s voice reading those perfect lines. It was ever so exciting and thrilling – the suspense of whether the mouse would be able to safeguard his precious strawberry from the big hungry bear.
A newer addition to the Wood lineup, Ten Little Fish (by Audrey Wood and son Bruce) is not one that Mama read to me. She and I picked it up one day when I was nearly grown at our local thrift store. I think we paid a quarter for it. I intend to read it to my own little ones someday. A rhyming under the sea counting book with an adorable story of family, I am sure this book will someday be as beloved by my children as the rest of the Wood collection.
Although I’ve never met a Wood book I didn’t adore, my special favorite will always be Silly Sally. “Silly Sally went to town, walking backwards upside down.” Silly to the point of zaniness, this is probably the most fun read-aloud book in the history of read-aloud books. A solo book from Audrey Wood, both words and pictures are perfection. At one time, I could recite the entire book from memory.
And there are many more Wood masterpieces that I have not the space to cover here. Some I’ve never even read myself. Someday though, I intend to raise my kids on a complete Audrey and Don Wood (and Bruce Wood too) collection. I hope every kid everywhere is introduced to the spectacular talent of the Wood family and I hope they continue to produce great children’s literature for many years to come.
It is a beautiful thing to rediscover something that you once loved but had since almost forgotten. When I was a kid, we had a swimming pool in the back yard. Nothing fancy, just one of those vinyl above-ground affairs. For this kid, it was heaven on earth. I love being in the water. That pool is where my Daddy taught me how to swim. I was really little and never got very good, but it was so much fun. Mama didn’t swim and we were too small to be in the pool by ourselves. So we waited eagerly for Daddy to get home from work every day all summer long.
One of my earliest memories is of him standing in the middle of the pool trying to talk me into jumping in so he could catch me. And I remember these awesome orange floats that went on my arms. They were so cool. I’d swim around until I got tired then I’d float with just my head and shoulders out of the water. I never did get tall enough to touch the bottom before we moved into town. Saddest day of my young life when we had to leave that pool behind. And our city yards had no room for even a small one.
I hadn’t been in a pool since – other than one afternoon at a friend’s house a few years ago. I realized then that I was a little bit rusty and spent most of the time in the shallow end. So a couple weeks ago I bought a swimsuit and signed up for swimming lessons. Buying the suit was an adventure in and of itself. I had no idea how hard it would be to find a relatively modest swimsuit. The next adventure was the lessons themselves. I had so much fun. The lady who taught the class was phenomenal. Good at explaining things while making it fun at the same time. The class was actually intended for first-time swimmers, so it covered the basics. Which was perfect. I could swim already, but like I said, never very good. And even that was 20 years ago. The lessons gave me a solid grounding in proper technique.
Someday I dream of having a place in the country where I can put an uber-cool in-ground swimming pool in the back yard. Complete with waterfall and slide. The kind that costs more money than I should spend on something non-essential. I wouldn’t mind living in a tiny little house for a time if that’s what it would take to pay for the pool. Impractical? Probably. Loads of fun? Oh yeah. And absolutely awesome for raising kids. I’m a firm believer in the work hard, play hard philosophy and that’s how I want to raise my kids. There are many things I want them to learn, and how to have fun is one of the big ones. Real fun – good, old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness, outdoor play. I want to give them the same beautiful childhood my parents gave me. And a swimming pool is a big part of that.