I Don’t Have a Bucket List


Jake, Caleb and I were overcome with the giggles last week.

Completely overcome.

Tears welled in my eyes as I laughed with my younger two sons.

I had been mimicking the voice of the Wii-fit exercise girl on our Wii-fit plus game as we performed various strength and flexibility exercises. Our Wii game was manufactured in Great Britain. So our Wii-fit girl and Wii-fit guy both have proper English accents. So when I added a little bit of an accent, allowed my voice to exaggerate different syllables, and performed different moves, it was all Jake, Caleb and I could do not to roll on the floor in fits of laughter.

Somehow, we finished the routine and composed ourselves. It’s moments like this one that truly support the naming of our homeschool as The Happy Blue School four years ago. We are definitely happy.

When we started this homeschooling era, as many of you know, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I felt divided. I wanted to provide a solid education for my sons as we continued to live in South Africa. I also wanted to continue my ministry work in Finetown. I knew I couldn’t keep up the same ministry schedule I had from previous years. I mourned the loss of pastoral visits, playing with preschoolers, and being able to provide almost monthly early childhood education workshops. However, for the sake of my children and what they needed most from me, I voluntarily gave up that ministry schedule and allowed it to morph into something else. And it did. One of the benefits of this change was that the Finetown principals learned that they needed to walk their own path without being totally dependent upon me. My divided heart became divided no more. This was a gift of peace from my God.

And then something else happened that impacted my homeschooling conviction even more.

It came with a cancer diagnosis, surgery, treatment, and year and a half of recovery.

I was given the gift of understanding that I have a finite life.

Let me explain. We all know at some level that we live for a specific time period. We understand that at some point we will die. We realize we don’t live forever. Yet, how often do we think about that? Especially if we are young, active, healthy and have no reason to consider our mortality.

Granted, I’m not as young as I once was. However, I always believed that I had a good 90+ year life span ahead of me. And I still may. After cancer struck my body, and all that happened thereafter, I am now very cognizant of the fact that I am not the One in control of the length of my days on earth. There is an end game ahead. Cancer showed me that my death could come sooner than I ever thought or imagined.

So, you’d think I’d put together some kind of ‘bucket list,’ right?

You’d think I’d sit down and create a game plan for how I want to live, right?

You’d think I’d be more grateful, more alive, more something since my cancer experience, right?

Well, maybe others might set out to do these things or live some new way. That’s their path.

For me, it comes down to who I want to be for the rest of my life and who I want to be with for this time, this now.

Rolling on the floor in tears with Jake and Caleb is one place I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Encouraging Micah to embrace his new life in high school and take hold of the opportunities –whether amazing and incredible or challenging and stretching—is exactly where I want to be planted.

Walking hand in hand with my husband, John, wherever the Lord leads us is the most phenomenal adventure I’ve ever known. I want to keep going forward with John, my best friend.

Experiencing my God and enjoying His Presence with every breathing moment is my heart’s desire; whether it’s in the quiet and unseen times or the out-in-the-open-jaw-dropping-look-what-the-Lord-is doing times.

I embrace Paul’s prayer for my life…

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.  Philippians 1: 9-11 NIV

So, I don’t have a bucket list.

Instead, I have a prayer and a purpose. I want to grow deeper in my relationship with my God and I want to be present for my family; loving them, encouraging them, blessing them, laughing and if needed, crying with them. I want to keep growing deeper with my God. And in time, I want to release our sons to go and seek their God for their prayer and purpose—filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.

Cancer caused me to look at what is needed most from me in my here and now.

For as long as I am given, I am here to grow more in likeness of my Savior and keep my attention and energy focused upon my family for this season.

My sons are growing up; fast.

I have been blessed with continued life with our children to cheer them on as they grow and mature into fine, young men who follow Jesus Christ. So, I don’t need to fill a bucket with things to do. My bucket is already overflowing with joy and thanks for my God, for my Savior, for my husband John, and our children, Micah, Jake and Caleb. If there is something to do, then my God will lead me…and I will follow. For now, I embrace this moment and will continue to laugh with my boys as I mimic the Wii-fit girl and we exercise away!

3 thoughts on “I Don’t Have a Bucket List

  1. AN amazing post…your words ring true and strong and I know your days – however many will be blessed choosing to live them out this way! My friend Shiralee, Liam’s mom shared your blog with me and I am so blessed that she did. I hope Micah and Liam will be great friends xxx be blessed

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Mich. It’s nice to meet you. Micah is off to a great start in school and we are thankful for that! Thanks also for your encouragement to me to live each day fully! A great truth for us all! Blessings and joy, heather

      1. 😉 It is such a relief and happy moment for us mothers when our children are happy! I feel like I can handle anything when they are okay. Nice to “meet” you too! Lots of blessings to you too xxx

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