But God! held us together through extremely rough times these past six and 1/2 years (prostate cancer, MS, job loss, house loss), and God has gotten us through it all, and with joy. We're closer than ever...to Him and to each other. So, now, I'm starting my bucket list, which in all actuality is a prayer list. So, according to God's will, before I'm 60, I would like to:
1) See the ocean. I've never been to an actual ocean. I want to walk barefoot on a beach, during sunrise or sunset with my husband. The Disney Cruise destination to Castaway Cay will definitely have to happen in my lifetime. My other dream destination is Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. After that, I pray we can reach out to other married couples who could never afford a honeymoon...perhaps a Make-A-Wish type thing for low-income couples who never had the finances or opportunity to celebrate their marriage on a journey by themselves.
2) Have at least five Christian novels published. I pray my novels can show others the way to Christ. I pray my fiction will touch readers' hearts, sparking them to search God's word, ask questions, seek fellowship within a church where Christ is present that feels right for them, get involved in fellowship with other believers, and service to others in need, and then witness to others, passing it forward.
3) Begin a foundation for people who want to become published Christian authors...in essence, have Writers' Blaaq become an actual organization where established authors help budding writers get their careers started. The weekend before I was married, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a Christian writers' workshop. I will be forever grateful to Ms. Denise Stinson, author, and publisher of what was WalkWorthy Press. Ms. Stinson felt the importance of giving back to new writers who needed Biblical foundation as to why God chose us to tell His message through fiction. That was the first time I actually said out loud "I am a writer!" Eleven of us were chosen from hundreds of applicants across the country, and it's an experience I will never forget. I pray I can also do this for other writers. God gave us this gift to open the doors of the church through our writing. This is how I want to fulfill the Great Commission. Praise God!
4) Get another ranch-style home with at least an acre of land. I would love to be a homeowner again, but in a home that's paid off, never to be snatched away again. It would have to be handicap-accessible, and this time actually decorated. All my life I've lived within beige walled apartments until the house I owned. My dear sister had it beautifully painted, and we thought we had the 30-year mortgage to decorate it. But God! gave us a handicap-accessible, spacious apartment for now, and we're thankful for it. There are so many who are homeless after foreclosure, or living in a shelter, in someone else's basement, or wherever they can have a roof over their head. God provided for us, and continues to provide. Thank you, Lord! And now, I pray someday I can bless someone else. Anonymously, I'd love to buy someone's mortgage who's facing foreclosure...SNATCH it back from the bank or mortgage company, and then remodel the home for them. So, THERE, take that, satan!
5) Get back into United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH, and complete my doctoral degree. Right now, this is a dream deferred, but God! says it will happen. I want to study God's word, study theology, and draw closer to Him academically, spiritually, and emotionally. I pray to someday actually become colleagues of Dean Dr. Harold Hudson, my mentor Dr. Albert Thompson, all my fellow mentees - my brothers in Christ, the fellas, as I call them - and all the phenomenal people of that seminary. I pray ultimately someday, to begin a scholarship for those who couldn't afford to answer God's call in a seminary structure...not a loan, but a full scholarship!
6) Write a book about people who've lost their jobs and now feel like they've been dropped out of society. There are so many days I want to scream to my friends, Oprah, and the millions of others in the world that no, I do NOT have cable television, I chose instead to have a cell phone. When you have to choose between things you used to take for granted is really something. But God! showed me how having cable is indeed frivolous, and there is enough on regular television to "entertain" us. Besides, it's an idiot box anyway. I actually get to see enough quality programming through my converter box...so please don't ask me whether I've seen OWN, yet; I'll have to say goodbye to Oprah through my TV when the Oprah show goes away after this year, her 25th season. I applaud all she's accomplished, and it's because of God's gifts to her, and many others, that I know we'll be back on our feet someday. I pray we will help others along the way, as well, and never forget our valley God brought us through.
7) Play the cello! My beautiful husband surprised me with a cello, who I named "Camille" on my 40th birthday in 2009. The cello has been my favorite instrument my entire life, even though I played the violin and piano for ten years. I dreamt someday of being first chair violin for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. What can I say, I was a little girl with big dreams. During those years, I spent a lot of time competing and trying to get the best scores, instead of just enjoying the music. So, I began taking cello lessons a couple years ago, 20+ years later. It was a joyous few months, and then our financial troubles hit, so I could no longer afford the lessons. But God! has told me I'll pick up Camille again someday, and even be in another orchestra in the future. I pray to someday start a music foundation where kids (and adults) can discover instruments, and have access to music teachers who love their craft and want to pass on the blessing to others for free.
8) I pray to help my hubby develop his church, GreatCommissionMinistries.Net, to grow it and really get it off the ground and successful in God's eyes. God gave Frederick the idea to reach out to people through the Internet who are sick/shut-in, separated from the church, or scattered throughout the world searching for God.
There will be much more added to my prayer list...according to what God has in store. This blog was also on my prayer list, so this is one I can actually say is checked off! Whoohoo! Hallelujah!
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." (Isaiah 43:2)