I’ve been told to dream

Nov 18

I’m going to sound like a two-year-old and I’m going to say “I want” about fifty times.

I want to go on a romantic + adventure-filled vacation with my husband.  We’re thinking Hawaii.  Trip-planning is one of the many ways he tells me how much he loves me, and I can’t wait to see our itinerary.  Did you know travel was a love language?

I want to take Maren to one of the National Parks out west.  My first semester at college, I took a class called Geography of US National Parks.  I fell in love with Zion, Bryce, and the Grand Canyon and I haven’t made it there–yet.  Bonus?  Doing it on horseback!

I want to take Greta to see the big trees — the sequoias and the redwoods — in California.  After college I spent a summer working at a summer camp in the woods and I think I left of piece of myself there: magnificent.  Those trees have been, and will be, there for generations.

I want to cruise with the Mathie’s on my sister’s cruise line.  Thanks to the work Baby Sister did to raise money for breast cancer while she worked for the Corning Museum of Glass onboard the Celebrity Solstice, she has a special relationship with Celebrity.  A week at sea sounds good to me.

I want to do Disney with the Anderson’s.  My kids have three cousins who are between them in age: our five are the perfect age to experience all of the magic Disney has to offer.  The fun-loving adults in our party will be as keen as the kids for some magical moments.

I want to go on a grown-ups only trip with my friends.  Anywhere I can smell and taste the saltwater will work for me.  Our husbands are welcome, but it will inevitably turn in to one of those junior high dances where the boys are cavorting on the beach, and the girls are in a circle with their toes in the sand.


I have described here a veritable lifetime of trips.  Any one of these would be the trip of a lifetime.  Brad and I are sifting through the (many, many, many) logistics that are up-and-coming.  He’s told me to dream big, and he’s right there with me.

So that list?  That’s me, dreaming.  It is possible — heck, probable — that the specifics on that list will change over time.  It’s a crazytown list–it’s excessive, it’s extravagant, it’s decadent, it’s gluttonous.  But it’s there, waiting to be checked off.  Reading it makes me happy.  Writing it down is the first step to making it happen; even if that’s the only step we take, it’s an important one.  It’s a happy list.

I hope to take just one of these trips in 2014.  And another in 2015/2016.  And another in the years after that.  And then another, and then another, until I’ve been on all of those adventures twenty years from now.

However, if the opportunity arises to take these trips sooner rather than later, I think I’m going to do it.  As much as I love the Ordinary Days and Small Moments, stepping into adventure mode allows the brain to r.e.m.e.m.b.e.r. t.h.i.s. in a way that is lost in the tide of everyday life.  And my little family is in the business of making memories.

Hopefully, in twenty years I’ll look back at these years: the 20-teens, and I will think… “Wow, those were some really extravagant, travel-laden years.  We made some gosh darn memories in those days!”  And I’ll wrap my middle-aged arms around my grown-up girls and the wrinkles at my eyes will be so.very.deep as they carry in them all of the experiences of the years gone by.


  1. Keep dreaming big! 48 1/2 more years. I will be praying all day for you tomorrow. I will carry a piece of paper in my pocket with 50 years on one side and the Lord’s Prayer on the other. Blessings and much love from the Schreier’s.

  2. Janey McKinney /

    I wish I was a millionaire……..for if I was……..I would book & pay for, every last one of those
    trips and I would make sure each one was a trip of a lifetime and unforgettable! I pray that God grants you the long life you so richly deserve and that you get to go on every single one of this trips! God Bless you.

  3. Catherine Butterworth /

    My Mother always told me . . .”If you don’t dream, how can dreams come true?


  4. Cheers for deep wrinkles! Hoping for you.

  5. Newbie friend /

    I believe you will do all these and more…!

  6. Bonnie B /

    Have had you on my heart all day. ….. must be those thoughts that dreams are made of. Praying that the Lord grants you the desires of your heart !! So many prayers for wrinkles, trips of a lifetime but moreover the love and hugs of those who love you so dearly and completely ♡♡♡

  7. Sending you positive thoughts for deep wrinkles and extravagant travels 🙂 I so admire your ability to dream big and focus on what makes your heart happy during these tough days of recovery and planning. Thank you for inspiring me!

  8. Patty Wheeler /

    I think in the next 50 decades you can do all of those and they will mean more because you have fought to get there.

  9. Banita Bailey /

    Keep dreaming!

  10. Jen I LOVE that you’re dreaming BIG dreams! Writing it down is the first step in making it happen. Now throw it out to the universe. Somehow it WILL materialize. Several years ago I started to take private yoga lessons from a true yogi who studied in India with a Swami for 17 years. She taught me a lot about meditation, Karma, the universe and so much more. We don’t always get everything we want, but for sure we get nothing unless dare to dream! ♥

  11. Elizabeth /

    If you want a trip to San Diego, you have a place to stay 🙂 We live in my parents’ condo, and when they are not here, there is a free lovely big bedroom and bathroom. I could be your chauffeur …or happily let you borrow my car to explore the area (my parents have a car here, so we’d still have two cars available if you and Brad took one out).

  12. Shannon Kahrs /

    Always dream big! I say! I spent the afternoon with my elderly parents at the doctors office (ages 91 & 82) – you have inspired me to dream big and do today well with them. We are planning their 60th anniversary party – dream big (just not too exciting :-). We have so much fun with their limitations and my own! We laugh and kiss and hug every time we are together – we are doing today well! They feel they burden me – I see each minute as a gift! Thank you sweet friend for giving me perspective! DREAM BIG – laugh, hug, cry, kiss, snuggle AND always HOPE.

  13. Dreams are places and experiences we are meant to have; for you, I wish them all. One by one, however they come. The big trees rank as the most literal joy; i felt them speaking to me as will Greta, I bet. You are being help up each day.

  14. Lisa Smith /

    I love your list and I love your heart. I can’t wait to hear more about each one of those gosh darn trips.

  15. Happy tears in my eyes, I love that you listed them all. It sounds like trips I long to do. I’ve been yearning for family trips and memories outside the home for years and it seems the time comes and goes and we don’t go. This makes me one to put it in written form. Perhaps one of them will come true! I pray for you, that you get to go on ALL of them and MANY MANY more thereafter. Thank you for reminding me to live now~your heart seems so free, I’m so glad the Lord has given you that, and that you are sharing it. Peace sister.

  16. Tiffany Green /

    You deserve all of those trips plus many more so I’ll be anxious to read about each one! They all sound fabulous! Love and continued prayers from TN!

  17. Lindsay /

    Love it!! Can’t wait to hear about how awesome these trips are!

  18. Today is my grandson’s birthday; he’s two. Where did the years go? Then I gaze upon my face in the mirror and I see the evidence, The wrinkles showcasing my own family memories. And you are right; they are deep. And sometimes I don’t enjoy my new wrinkles all that much. And then I read your post for today (or any day) and I breathe in deeply and thoroughly, and I completely exhale and count my blessings. And I’m grateful. Yet again. Thank you. We all sit sort of ” elbow to elbow” in this virtual friendship ring and lift you up in common prayer.

  19. Jen, as I sign on today, I sign in after “Annie”! She is my very dear friend who turned me on to Anderson Family Zoo after I was diagnosed. We talk about you and we pray over you and your family. You are more than an inspiration to me-you are a faith builder. Being nearly on the other side of the cancer can bring its own fear and doubt. Your spirit is contagious. You inspire me every time I read your words. My kids are 28, 24 and 15. I dream of marriages, grandchildren and an opportunity to take some of those “DREAM” vacations with those people I dearly love. I did get to go see Sir Paul McCartney in July with some of my friends from junior high, and we plan to go if he comes to town again! I go today for my possible one year clear checkup with my awesome oncologist. As I go I will be thinking of you hugging strength and endorphins from your girls:)Dream on!

  20. Rebecca /

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful dreams – you are in the hearts of so many – and I have great faith your visions will come to pass. With love and strongest prayers for deep wrinkles.