“It’s very hard to look forward and create a future when you’re spending so much time looking back.”

When I was in college – probably my second year of college – I made a list of 50-things-to-do-before-I-die. A bucket-list, right?

And then, years later, when Bryant and I got married, our first year of marriage we made a list together of things we wanted to do together, before we died. Every year we try to revisit that list, and see which goals we can help each other reach that year.

Like the year he flew me to Utah from NYC, so I could play the Tabernacle Organ on Temple Square with Richard Elliot. Bry did that for me.

Or the year I rented horses in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, so Bry could check “ride a horse in NYC” off his own list.

Our dreams are an important part of our relationship.

Tony and Alisa talked about some of their dreams:

  • Get out of debt.
  • Walk and talk.
  • Decrease the divorce rate in the world.

Whoa, right? That last one!! They warned us not to compare our dreams with others’. But, whoa! And now they have thousands of followers, who’s marriages are being enhanced by Tony and Alisa’s counsel. Really inspiring!

But Bryant and I haven’t always dreamed – even when we had our lists. There were years when we were just trying to survive.

After Matthew’s death, Bry had to do the dreaming for us. And the execution. He planned a whirlwind trip around Europe for our family – a month’s worth of travel to a dozen countries. We ended the holiday in Wisconsin, at my brother and sister-in-law’s home. How tender Bryant was to me. How forward-thinking.

“You get into this place that, because of pain or sorrow, or because of disconnect, you’re like, ‘I can’t see a future. I don’t have any anticipation.'”

They warned against the roommate-syndrome. Living together. But not reaching for a long, rich future together.

It happens.

But not today.

Bryant and I had dinner plans in Salt Lake City tonight. It was almost an hour’s drive, and we spent the time dreaming.

“Get a timer and write down as many dreams in two minutes that you can.”


  • Ride a horse 100 miles
  • Live on a sailboat for three months with the family
  • Go to Australia with the family
  • Machu picchu
  • Safari in Africa
  • Great Wall of China
  • Take one year off school/work to travel with the family
  • Scuba dive again
  • Go on a long bike ride with Rachel
  • Visit 50 National Parks with the family
  • Have several million dollars in the bank

Me? I had a bit of dream-constipation. But I got a few written down in those two minutes.


  • Travel the world for 1 year with the family
  • Build a house
  • I want to be able to do a pull-up
  • Ski school
  • Publish something – an article, a book, etc
  • Run another marathon with Bryant

“Dreams break open ceilings.”

In discussing our dreams, Bryant and I ask each other, What does that look like? What is it you need from me?


50 THINGS TO DO BEFORE I DIE – Rachel 1999

  • Go on a mission
  • Go on a mission with my husband
  • Become bi-lingual
  • Learn to play the guitar
  • Learn to play the violin
  • Visit 30 different countries
  • Own a big truck
  • Get married in the temple of the Lord
  • Have children
  • Serve in and out of the church
  • White water rafting
  • Read the scriptures every day of my life
  • Graduate from Ricks College
  • Graduation from Brigham Young University
  • Get a Masters Degree
  • Get braces on my teeth
  • Learn to cut hair
  • Play on the Tabernacle Organ
  • See Cindy Thomas again
  • Meet the Prophet
  • Meet the President of the United States
  • Go through 100 different temples
  • Go sailing on the 4th of July under the fireworks
  • Visit Israel
  • Visit Egypt
  • Live in NYC
  • Live on an island
  • Grow a garden
  • Speak in the Marriott Center or Hart Gym
  • Never say a swearword
  • Work on my genealogy
  • Teach private piano lessons
  • Own a Steinway grand piano
  • Sing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Work in the Missionary Training Center
  • Swim in three oceans
  • Scuba diving
  • Tour Washington DC
  • Church History tour
  • Visit Africa
  • Caving
  • Take a picture of a tornado, live
  • Be on a game show
  • Get over 200 in bowling
  • Run a 5K
  • Learn to ski
  • Visit Yellowstone National Park
  • Visit Yosemite National Park
  • Own a cabin/beach house on a beach

As of 2019, I have accomplished 29 of these 50 items. Let’s keep going. My life isn’t done yet.


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