Category Archives: #1: In The Beginning – The First Blog Post

Start here if looking to begin the journey from day one…

Day 3: Re-hashing the good times

Celebrating Crossing off #29 on the list
Celebrating crossing off the last of the last of the list…

I found a video I created awhile back, highlighting some of the good times in the 30×30 journey. Admittedly, I had to watch it through my fingers (the amateur status is that painful, really), but it was really fun to revisit certain things that I hadn’t thought about in years. Some things even got a nervous giggle and an eye roll or two. Cooking lessons? Really? I almost completely forgot that getting a fuzzy friend was on my list–I live and love on Mojo every day, yet somehow I forgot that he was ever on the list in the first place. Sorry Mojis! After watching the video and reviewing the list itself, I decided to post the list in its entirety–something I haven’t really shared with the “public.”

So here you are–the official list and all the dates that go with it right here on this very blog. (Check out the tab labeled “The List” for the big reveal.)  It’s been really fun to look back and remember the progression and the momentum that built up surrounding this personal challenge, and all the people involved in making it come to life. When asked about my list, some of the 30×30 items just naturally float to the top of the list–like skydiving and completing that master’s degree. But there are certain things that fall through the memory cracks and seem to get buried under what I call the “sexy conversation items.” Everyone wants to talk about skydiving and swimming with dolphins. Eyes light up when they hear of the 10 day raft trip down the Grand Canyon, cruising the Med, or camping in Yosemite. But somehow it just doesn’t seem as engaging to talk about the “unsexy items,” like drafting a will, setting up a 401K, or organizing photos. Boring, I know. But those snoozer items are still items that were important enough to make the list. They’re important to me.

My point to this whole nostalgia piece is that not everything on the list has to be blow-your-socks-off cool or difficult to the n’th degree. Otherwise you can just create a “places to travel” list. That’s fun, do that too. But as human beings we are multi-faceted and have different degrees and levels of interest, creating things that challenge us in varying ways. So why not have a list that reflects that? Face some fears, put on some dreaded tasks and items of procrastination. Why not throw on a couple “that’ll never happen’s?” I dare you. The thing is, it’s your list. Do with it what you want. But start it. Then maybe years down the road you can look back and laugh at what’s on there…maybe even through a couple of fingers and some eye rolls.

30×30 Montage Video – Proof It Actually Happened


  • “Today we may say aloud before an awe-struck world: We are still masters of our fate. We are still captain of our souls.” – Prime Minister Winston Churchill
  • Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” – Henri Matisse
, French painter

Day 2: When under fire….life of an evacuee.

The view before evacuation…


Earlier this summer I had the unique experience of going through an emergency evacuation as the West Fork Fire ripped through beetle kill trees in the Rio Grande National Forest in Southern Colorado, heading straight towards the town of South Fork. Straight for home.

The reverse 911 call went out and in just a matter of hours South Fork became a ghost town. Not having been through anything like this before, I learned several things throughout this experience.

First and foremost I learned that I am a bizarre packer. Looking back, and not knowing exactly how much time I had to pack, I pretty much packed my car in three phases. Phase I: basic essentials. This consisted of the typical things one might first pack–like files, pictures, computer, pets, etc. Phase II: things that make you feel more prepared–like dog food and tennis shoes. Phase III: completely ridiculous things that make no sense but somehow make it into the car–like my pillow, and a bunch of new bras I had just ordered from Victoria’s Secret. I call these creature comforts. Things that make no sense whatsoever, but somehow end up in the car anyways. I can’t explain it, but it made it quite entertaining to rediscover what made it into the suitcase over the next 8 days that we were “homeless.” Each day I felt like I’d find one more thing that would make me scratch my head. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

Another thing I learned while being evacuated is that an evacuee has a lot of time to just sit, and wait, and wait…and think. Each day started with an evacuee meeting at the Red Cross shelter, getting updates on containment (or lack thereof), and learning that today was not the day you were going to get to go back home.

Honestly, that put a lot of things in perspective. Thankfully, we were able to evacuate and stay at a relative’s house in the next town just 17 miles away. Three dogs, two cats, and three adults in a charming little house with one bathroom. No one complained. At one point, we just cracked open a bottle of wine and sat on the porch of our temporary home and watched the 30,000 foot smoke plume invade the sky, completely helpless. There was absolutely nothing we could do, and the moment you realize that is very sobering.

When we left South Fork with cars loaded, I drove out of the driveway not expecting to return. At all. We were wheels up at 10:00am, and with the fire burning through beetle kill fuel at over a mile an hour, it was estimated the fire would reach town center by 2:00pm that afternoon. When we left, I said goodbye…and I said goodbye for good. Honestly, if the town was going to go, we did not want to be the only structure left. Lord, save all of it or none of it, but please don’t leave us in-between. God saved us all.

Probably the most important thing I learned is how to say goodbye. When something is completely out of your control, it’s actually quite freeing when you realize it and let it go. It’s amazing when you truly release something and let it go how it somehow finds its way back. After 8 days and 110,000 acres later, we drove back in to find not one thing harmed, not one structure burned, and not one life lost. When walking back into the house for the first time, I was shocked to discover we didn’t even smell like smoke. Now that is a God-wink.

Now that we’ve been back for a bit, the danger has waned, and we’ve been able to settle back into a “normal” routine–things aren’t really that normal. The river sounds better, the grass smells sweeter, and the bugs aren’t very “buggy.” I feel like I’ve been granted a fresh perspective and a new reason to enjoy even the littlest chores and tasks. Because just a few short weeks ago we were very close to losing it all. And for that, I am very grateful. I have no doubt this experience will come into play as I continue to create my next decade list of goals. Things shifted with this experience–and that is more than okay.



Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” – Eliza Tabor

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

30×30 Flash Forward: The New Challenge

I feel very fortunate and blessed to have been able to cross off 29 of the 30 things on my 30×30 list (see previous post for more details), and although that particular list is done, it’s been crossing my mind a lot lately. It’s been two years since the “official” 30×30 list had been completed and celebrated with a hot air balloon ride, but some recent events have led me to revisit the concept of writing and opening up about that journey as I’m entering the next one. What does this look like? A blog of course. So here I am.

The new challenge: to write or “blog” over the next 30 days.

That seems like a lot of writing and perhaps a bit of an overkill. I agree. But since I don’t really know what I’m doing, why not just stick with the number 30 and go from there? So, here is day one–a tip toe into the first step of this goal. Tip tip toe.  I don’t know who is going to read this or what they’ll get out of it, but I invite whoever to join me on this journey–whatever twists and turns it may take. So cheers to the next 30 days (whatever that looks like!)

Quotable Quotes from People Much Smarter Than I:
Take the first step, and your mind will mobilize all its forces to your aid. But the first essential is that you begin. Once the battle is startled, all that is within and without you will come to your assistance.
 Robert Collier quotes (American motivational author, 1885-1950)
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
 Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes (American Baptist Minister and Civil-Rights Leader. 19291968)

30×30 List – More Than A Bucket

A few years ago I went through what I now call a quarter-life crisis around age 25 and decided to make a list of 30 things I wanted to do before I was 30 years old. To address this funk head on, I played hookie from work and took myself out to coffee to get my attitude in check and a fresh vision of where I wanted to go. And thus my dirty thirty list was born–the 30×30 list, if you will…and so far I have been incredibly blessed to have crossed off 29 of those 30 items! The most recent was celebrating my birthday with friends in a hot air balloon. Not bad, not bad at all.

This wasn’t just a list of lifelong goals, I’ll-do-it-someday, or “bucket list,” but something much much more than that. Bucket lists or lists of goals and dreams are certainly not a new concept, nor are lists with distinct timelines (think New Year’s resolutions), but this 30×30 list of highly defined goals jumped off the page into my every day life and became a reality in the journey of setting goals for the different “buckets” that are important in my life. There’s my education bucket, financial bucket, romance bucket, travel/adventure bucket, fitness bucket, and spiritual bucket. I had lots of buckets that needed to be filled with dreams and ideas, memories and friendships. I quickly realized that I was not the only one out there with empty buckets waiting to be filled, and soon discovered people not only wanted to help me cross off my own 30×30 list, but create and accomplish lists of their own. Game on!

Skydiving, acting in a play, rafting the Grand Canyon, swimming with dolphins, and getting my master’s degree were just a few of the items on the list. I love receiving e-mails and communication updates of 30×30 lists from those I’ve met along the way. I am a firm believer on the importance of setting goals for every season of life, regardless whether you’re 18, 28, or 58. And the list for this decade will probably not look anything like next decade’s dreams. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Really. We all have dreams–it’s whether we have the courage, perseverance, drive, gumption (and stupidity) to go after them. One of my favorite parts of this whole 30×30 experience was meeting others with dreams of their own and helping them fulfill their own buckets…and that is what having a 30×30 list is all about. So the question remains…what’s on your list? What have you done or are in the process of doing? Tell me your list and I’ll tell you mine!