More Than a Bucket List: Making Your Dreams, Passions, and Faith a Reality [NOOK Book]


Fun ideas of things to do, places to see, and ways to make a difference!

Everyone dreams about places to see, people to meet, and things to do in their lifetime. But too often we lose sight of those dreams and get buried in everyday busyness and demands. More Than a Bucket List will inspire you to seize and act on a range of dreams—anything from visiting the Holy Land, donating your time at a soup kitchen, learning to climb a tree, or helping a child learn to read. The book also...

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More Than a Bucket List: Making Your Dreams, Passions, and Faith a Reality

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Fun ideas of things to do, places to see, and ways to make a difference!

Everyone dreams about places to see, people to meet, and things to do in their lifetime. But too often we lose sight of those dreams and get buried in everyday busyness and demands. More Than a Bucket List will inspire you to seize and act on a range of dreams—anything from visiting the Holy Land, donating your time at a soup kitchen, learning to climb a tree, or helping a child learn to read. The book also includes ideas to make lasting memories as you marvel at a new sight, laugh like crazy with an old friend, or change a life.

The compilation of bucket list items is divided thematically and blended with Scripture and personal stories. Pages at the back allow you to write your own bucket list items. Are you ready to finish this life well and start checking off items from your bucket list?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400321278
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/6/2012
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 761,957
  • File size: 680 KB

Read an Excerpt

More Than a Bucket List

Making Your Dreams, Passions, and Faith a Reality
By Toni Birdsong

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4003-2127-8

Chapter One

Pursue laughter.

Chor•tle n: A joyful laugh or chuckle. Word coined by writer Lewis Carroll by combining the words chuckle and snort.

Laughter reminds us that we are fully alive and that God the Creator is both generous and genius. A buoyant spirit is an invitation to the world to see the joy of heaven God affectionately planted inside you.

If you lack the ability or desire to giggle, belly laugh, twirl with squirrels, or revel in the random, you may be missing out on one of God's most powerful, healing salves for the aches of life.

Convinced that humor is not in your DNA? Ask God to help you get up and over the "What's so funny?" hump. Read—even study—jokes (clean ones), watch comedies, and hang out with clowns (funny friends). Allow yourself to let loose! Before you know it, you'll be unstoppable!

In fact, let's get started right now! Here are a few points to ponder. Chuckle or groan—it's your call!

• Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

• Why don't penguins fly? Because they aren't tall enough to be pilots.

• How do they get the deer to cross at that yellow road sign?

• I wondered why baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

• With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.

• Why did the cowboy buy a dachshund? He wanted to get a long little doggie.

Live your dreams

» Write that book already.

» Attend a red-carpet event. Shine.

» Take your child or grandchild on a special trip, just the two of you. Create a photo album to remember it.

» Learn to play guitar.

» Learn how to surf.

» Protest something publicly (and mind your manners).

» Play the violin—alone, please, if you're an amateur.

» Try every flavor on the Ben & Jerry's menu (not in one sitting!), and refuse to feel guilty.

» Get a good camera, and become a decent photographer.

» Make peace with your in-laws.

» At least once, attend a major sporting event such as the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the Stanley Cup, the World Cup, or the US Open.

Honor the strength of others.

Traveling past a city, you instantly see the brilliance of the skyline stretching up to dominate the sky. The roads and lights pulsate with energy and power. The entire city seems to breathe with possibility. What you don't see is the elaborate matrix of water pipes and power systems that run beneath the streets, pumping, coursing, and supplying the city. If you cut these veins, the city dies. The same is true of the mighty oaks in the park at the center of the city. They tower, sway, and provide refuge and beauty for others. What you don't see is the extraordinary root system that pumps water and nutrients into each trunk.

Many times, the strength of those around us is unseen. It runs deep within them; it finds its wings in the holy places of meditation and prayer and face time with God. Although the world programs us to analyze and assess others instantly, we can't score, evaluate, or even begin to understand the strength that lives in another person. But we must honor it, for it carries life to every soul.

Avoid drawing conclusions based on appearances or stereotypes. Handle others with care, and take time to discover their strengths.

Fight for love.

Throughout history, there have been heroes and warriors of every nation and creed, but no one fought harder for love—and won—than Jesus Christ.

Even when loving rebellious, self-centered, and hateful people shifted from frustrating to deadly, Jesus never quit. He fought, died, and rose again—because of love. But it wasn't just any love. It was a higher love—an absurd, illogical, crazy love not common to this world.

It's that kind of love we're going for. Bring that love to mind when you are tempted to give up on a difficult person, relationship, job, church, or calling.

Pursue love. Make love a habit. Fight to see it rise again.

Be a Good Samaritan.

He was robbed, beaten, and left for dead. A priest passed by. Then a Levite. Both stepped over the river of need that lay quietly heaving at their feet.

Then mercy bent down.

A Samaritan man, moved by pity, stopped to carefully bandage the man's wounds. He then carried him to a nearby inn to recover (see Luke 10).

Step outside youself. Look around. Who are your neighbors? What do they need? Some wounds will be visible, others hidden. At some point, everyone needs a helping hand.

REAL-LIFE CHALLENGE: Be aware of what's going on around you this week. Cook a meal for that new mom or homebound neighbor. Be the one to help change the flat tire. The next time you see a blood drive, roll up your sleeve.

Become a more positive person.

It's not a secret. You've been compared to Eeyore on more than one occasion. The invitations have slowed to a trickle, and the crowd splits like the Red Sea when you walk in the room. Maybe you're just going through a negative phase, or maybe your whining, cynicism, and criticism have become a lifestyle that's costing you some serious joy. So how do you become a more positive person? Here are just a few suggestions to get you rolling:

• Admit you've become or are naturally negative.

• Realize you have a choice in how you act.

• Surround yourself with positive people.

• Exercise regularly.

• Laugh out loud. Hey, it works!

• Go serve someone; volunteer.

• Forgive yourself; forgive others.

• Live in the present.

• Practice gratitude.

• Read books about the areas in your life you'd like to improve.

• Get a life coach (or a positive friend) to hold you accountable.

• Do something you love every day.

• Allow God to reshape your heart, thoughts, and words.

Trust God in business.

Few other situations can sculpt and refine your faith more than trusting God in an entrepreneurial adventure.

An amazingly creative and courageous business life is a roller coaster—risks followed by playing it safe. Great blessing and then being burned. Surviving recessions that take out our neighbors and learning to trust God for each day's manna.

The key to success? Keep moving forward, keep trusting, and refuse dwell on past mistakes. Jesus said in Luke 9:62, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (KJV).

If we are plowing new ground and pursuing the greater adventures God is planting in front of us, looking back only ruins the field for the next harvest. God is concerned about the journey. Trusting Him is the grandest adventure of the Christian's life. That means trusting Him for your business too.

REAL-LIFE CHALLENGE: Pray over your business daily. Pray for your employees and clients. Ask God for opportunities to serve others and make His name known through the way you do business.

Tap into the martyr's heart.

Few of us can truly relate to the possibility of being put to death for our faith. But hundreds of thousands of early Christians met cruelty and hate with courage and heroism. It would be impossible to count those consumed in the fires of persecution that still rage in parts of the world.

Martyrs have been beheaded, crucified, stoned, burned, and dragged through the streets for professing Jesus Christ. Among them are Stephen (the first Christian martyr), Paul, James, Peter, Andrew, and others. Later, the fiery faithful such as Polycarp, William Tyndale, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Jim Elliot stepped into heaven as martyrs.

Study the lives of the martyrs as part of your Christian heritage. Their courageous lives laid the groundwork for your ability to worship freely and tell others about Jesus.

Ponder: How did martyrs deal with persecution? What did it cost them daily—and what does it cost you?

REAL-LIFE CHALLENGE: Help Christians around the world who are being persecuted for spreading the gospel. You can provide medical assistance, food, clothing, and other forms of aid. Go to to learn more.

Maintain a balanced digital diet.

Your heart is God's living room. To be specific, it is where the Almighty dwells. So guard that place. Put your life on a balanced digital diet. Limit the stream of information, ideas, ideologies, and opinions daily knocking at the door.

God has allowed you to live in a digital age. That's awesome! Be good at it. But remember: your daily manna and power come from His presence. So recharge daily and fast once in a while.

Live with compassion.

» Call your mom and tell her you love her.

» Join a Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

» Become an organ donor.

» Send care packages to people you love.

» Learn CPR.

» Spend time with seniors. Help them record or write their stories.

» Look around. There's always someone more needy than you. Give your time or your resources.

» Adopt a child financially through an established ministry ( and www. are two great organizations).

» Write each of your kids a letter. Tell them all the things they are doing right.

» Affirm with words and deeds the people around you.

» Send birthday cards—via traditional mail.

» Donate blood. Consistently.

Take time to grieve.

Life is hard. No one gets through unscathed. No matter how "good" a life we live, how much money we have, or how many temptations we manage to avoid—suffering is always just a few blocks away. We lose our pets. We lose our friends, and we lose love. We lose jobs, and we lose loved ones. It's okay to take a dive into your suffering. God wired us to cry and grieve. Learn to feel the pain intensely and to really grieve. It's all part of life. God assures us that even our deepest pain will eventually ease (even if that seems unimaginable). Yes, you will hope and laugh again. In John 16:33, Jesus said that in this world, the trouble is gonna come flying at us, "but take heart." We can find peace in His presence and security in the fact that He has overcome the world—and that includes all the suffering.

• Pay attention to your grief. Don't stuff it down deep or sugarcoat it with lines like "God works all things for our good." Job shouted at God. He told God exactly what he was feeling.

• Openly admit your grief to those who are close to you, and ask for their support.

• Try to limit time with people who get in the way of healthy grieving.

• Grieve without distraction.

• Give yourself time, hold on to hope, and connect with grief support resources.

REAL-LIFE CHALLENGE: Study Isaiah 61, knowing that your pain won't last forever: "to bestow ... a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair" (v. 3).

Live a life of love and laughter.

» Learn to juggle. Start with oranges. Move on to bowling pins. As your confidence grows, move on to small children (yes, that was a joke!).

» Make pasta from scratch.

» Become a pogo stick champion.

» Make a list of a hundred books you want to read.

» Stay at a bed-and-breakfast in Vermont.

» Buy twelve-hundred thread count Egyptian cotton sheets—and enjoy hitting the snooze button.

» Sip espresso and write poetry at a Parisian café. Try to look tortured.

» Pick a random talent, and get into the record books.

» Make fire the old-fashioned way.

» Learn at least one cool magic trick for parties.

» Order the sushi you've been afraid to try.

Champion gratitude.

Numerous studies have shown the benefits of gratitude. Some even revealed that people who kept weekly gratitude journals had less aggression, reported fewer physical ailments, and were more optimistic about life compared to people who recorded neutral events and daily hassles.

Gratitude applies a softening salve of peace directly to the callousness caused by life. More than that, giving thanks is applause for the Author of all blessing.

There's really no downside to expressing thanks. Why, then, doesn't it flow more naturally? Perhaps because, like the Israelites, we get spiritual amnesia when life gets tough. Unsanctified expectations of how life should be keep us from recognizing and recalling the miracles that hold us upright within this day.

Lifting praise during both trials and blessing distinguishes the Christian. Old Testament prophets like Moses lit up the skies with thanks to God, the psalmist David became a hero of praise, Jesus looked up to heaven and gave thanks, and Paul championed giving thanks "in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Gratitude isn't a mental inventory of "blessings" we toss up in the general direction of heaven from time to time. Giving thanks to God is to be a daily, genuine expression of worship that gives glory to God and gives life to us. Gratitude is the glue of relationship.

REAL-LIFE CHALLENGE: Start a gratitude journal, and make recognizing, recording, and rendering thanks to God (and others) a daily practice.

Live a life of love and laughter.

» Turn up the music and dance around your kitchen as if no one is watching—and hope no one is!

» Have a food fight.

» Apply to Mensa (manage your expectations).

» Own at least one amazing dog in your lifetime.

» Never let a helium balloon go to waste: announce your candidacy for office, reveal a secret, give an incredible toast, propose.

» Go barefoot in the spring.

» Toss aside the cookbooks, and learn to cook soul food.

» Teach your children or grandchildren how to cook.

» Go shopping in New York City. Wear shades.

» Watch Anne of Green Gables with your daughter or granddaughter.

» Celebrate your birthday with a luau. Drink from a coconut.

Rediscover what's important.

Life moves at warp speed. And as desperately as you search for the "halt" lever to stop the train, you just aren't going to find it. It takes intentionality, thought, and commitment to make a true change in your life ... even as it's speeding by.

If that slow creep of malaise and routine has settled over your heart and mind, stop. Sit down. Take an hour or so and make a list of everything that's important to you. Maybe it's spending more time with family, running a 10K, going back to school, becoming a rock star, or learning how to juggle. Whatever it might be, add everything you want to do in life to your list. Now cut that list down to just four or five things. This will be hard to do, but after editing, you will have your core list. This is what matters most. Cut, rearrange, reassemble your life to accomplish the items on your core list today!

REAL-LIFE CHALLENGE: Make your list, and then do three specific things this week to support the number one thing on your list. Make that call; register for that class; book that plane ticket.

When it's okay to quit ...

• Quit judging.

• Quit gossiping.

• Quit cursing.

• Quit flaking.

• Quit condescending.

• Quit being a martyr.

• Quit criticizing.

• Quit wearing masks.

• Quit stretching the truth.

• Quit being selfish.

• Quit being late.

• Quit whining and complaining.

• Quit choosing drama.

• Quit stereotyping.

• Quit being a taker.

• Quit feeling so guilty all the time.

• Quit bringing up the past.

• Quit worrying about the future.

• Quit throwing pity parties.

• Quit pointing at others' sins.

• Quit overindulging.

Trace the steps of Francis of Assisi.

His is a story of intentionally going from riches to rags—for the cause of Christ. Born to a life of luxury, Francis of Assisi, through his transformational experiences with God, would become known as "the little poor man of Assisi" and one of the most Christlike men to walk the earth.

Francis lived like a beggar. He wore simple clothes and ate simple food. He loved and befriended God's creatures: the birds and the beasts. He loved the oppressed and the outcast. His life had one channel: communing with God and going from one village to the next talking to people about God's love. He invited people to join him in his humble, God-centered life of service.

The Prayer of Francis of Assisi.

Lord, make me an instrument of peace! Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is error, truth; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light, and where there is sorrow, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Live an adventure.

» View the famous northern lights.

» Go parasailing.

» Go deep-sea diving or snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.

» Visit the throwback cheese-making village of Grafton, Vermont.

» Go horseback riding on the beach of an exotic island at sunset.

» Go whale watching.

» Visit Cape Cod, Massachusetts's beaches, wetlands, shopping, food, and culture.

» Get lost in Tokyo.

» Eat cannoli in Italy.

» Immerse yourself in another culture.

» Visit Yellowstone National Park. Get your photo taken with Smoky Bear.

» Visit Harrodsburg, Kentucky's Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, and see the fully restored nineteenth-century buildings where the Quakers once lived.

» Visit Washington state's San Juan Islands. Take a ferry and see the Orca whales.


Excerpted from More Than a Bucket List by Toni Birdsong Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 24, 2012

    Is a ¿bucket list¿ just a ¿to do¿ list before you die? It doesn

    Is a “bucket list” just a “to do” list before you die? It doesn't have to be JUST that. More Than a Bucket List by Toni Birdsong speaks to what it’s like to live an abundant life; a life filled with adventure, humor, spontaneity, and personal growth. This book is filled with creative ways to challenge you to live a more faithful and fulfilling life.

    I like the way the book is physically designed. Its smaller square shape feels good in my hands. It’s small enough to travel with you but it could also be a conversation starter on your coffee table.

    The range of ideas for your bucket list include: be ok with a nothing day, visit the locations of some of your favorite movies, make amends, live complaint-free for 30 days, and make a pie from scratch. My current favorite is “kiss your sweetheart under a waterfall in Hawaii” … why not? If you are stuck in a runt, feeling unfulfilled or predictable, take a chance and think outside the box by filling up your bucket.

    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 9, 2013

    Ever wondered what you would like to do on earth before you die?

    Ever wondered what you would like to do on earth before you die? No, read more than a bucket list. Yes, compare your list with more than a bucket list.
    A very easy to read style book. Toni Birdsong beautifully ties in different pursuits with scripture. 

    My favourite quote from the book was ‘As an act of grace toward yourself, on this day imagine yourself to be the person you aspire to be’ 
    Could you imagine if we all did this, dropped our masks and facades and lived the lives we always dreamed of-and nothing less?! Although this is not some magic book that will make all your dreams come true and take all your stresses of life away, it does encourage you to look at your life and think big, think beyond your current existence and circumstances, to imagine a supersized life. After all Jesus came that we might have abundant life.

    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 18, 2013

    I received a free review copy of More Than a Bucket List (in e-b

    I received a free review copy of More Than a Bucket List (in e-book format) from the publisher through BookSneeze, in return for an honest review.

    The book consists of short chapters. Some are in devotional format, while others consist of lists of (sometimes silly) activities and adventures, or descriptions of cool places to visit. The devotionals are all aimed at helping you get more out of life, whether that means forgiving someone, spending more time in prayer, or being grateful for what you already have. Some of the chapters are more about how to take the first steps in achieving some of your goals (for example: Watch Less T.V., Find Your Passion, etc.)

    One of my favorite quotes from the book occurs near the end, and neatly sums up what the author wants you to get out of it: “You don’t have to risk your life to have adventures; you simply have to be intentional about living fully each and every day.”

    I like her emphasis not only on big travel adventure things (camel trek in Egypt, swim with manta rays) , but also on the things you can do every day – improve your marriage, volunteer locally, teach someone to read, bake your own bread. I didn’t make that last one up. It’s on one of the lists.

    There was a chapter on living debt free, which I am all for, but I found her treatment of it annoying – it’s a subject that takes a bit more than two pages to cover. It would be very difficult to adequately explain the envelope system in one sentence, much less one that doesn’t mention why it is called the envelope system (I’d guess she’s a Dave Ramsey fan). I think she could have done a couple of short chapters on the components of living debt free, and then directed the reader to more comprehensive resources.

    I liked how reading this book made me remember some of the cool things I have done: joining the Peace Corps, hiking Machu Pichu, visiting the Galapagos Islands, white water rafting. But it also helped me remember that the things I’m doing now are meaningful: adopting/raising children,learning to bake bread, writing, being committed to my marriage.

    There were a couple of typographical errors that I think someone should have caught before the book made it to press. I also feel like e-book is not the best format for this book. I would have liked the hard copy to put on my nightstand, to read a bit here and there from time to time, underlining and dog-earing the pages as desired.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2012

    I'm a huge fan of BUCKETLISTS! I think life is meant to be lived

    I'm a huge fan of BUCKETLISTS! I think life is meant to be lived! How many of you agree??? My husband and I are starting to write up a bucket list.. We both have lots of dreams and want to fulfill them, so why not start a bucket list? I have a personal bucket list, which is my 101 in 1001 days.. You can click on it above under my pages to see my progress.

    The two of us, we're creating a bucket list of things we would like to do together. Our bucket list was inspired by this awesome book, which would make a great stocking stuffer for anyone..

    I have reviewed several books over the past year, but this is by far one of my favorites. The ideas that the author came up with are just brilliant. Some of them I have heard before, thought about doing or dreamed of, but MOST of them are very unique. This is one of those books you can't really put down because you're so EXCITED to create your own BUCKETLIST!

    This book has Bible verses, quotes and lots of ideas on how to create a bucket list! This book could be used as a bucket list.. It is all up to you.. I really thought this book was AWESOME! It would be a great stocking stuffer for anyone! It retails for $12.99..

    Do you have a bucket list???

    Thank you booksneeze for allowing me to review this SUPER cute book. I did not have to give a positive review, nor was I compensated for a positive review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    More than a Bucket List: Making Your Dreams, Passions, and Faith

    More than a Bucket List: Making Your Dreams, Passions, and Faith a Reality by Toni Birdsong is a small pocket sized gift book. Jumping on the bandwagon of the concept of the bucket list, made popular from movies and books and greeting cards, the author presents a new twist to this secular phenomena by adding the catchphrase "faith" in order to draw in the religious or Christian reader.

    The insertion of "faith" in the subtitle does not necessarily make this a Christian book. Yet, it is a good outreach method to draw in the secular reader by introducing the concept of faith in a hedonistic world where bucket lists simply are nothing more than extravagant, ambitious, self- centered, materialistic wish lists- the adult version to a child's Christmas list.

    Basically this book includes everything but the kitchen sink- but in a good way. if the concept of the bucket list could be referenced in a single reference volume- this would be it. You will find the traditional and cliche bucket list suggestions- extravagant foreign trips and daredevil, day trip suggestions and exotic foods to try. But you will also see spiritual minded ideas of sacrifice and good service as well. Yet even these good deed suggestions perhaps serve perpetuate the common religious notion of earning or meriting ones way to heaven. Yet the inclusion of biblical and spiritual based ideas are important as they are usually neglected from media versions of bucket lists.
    This small gift book is lengthy and most likely can not be read in a single sitting.There is a lot to this one book- more than would be expected from a gift book. Filled with graphics, and colorful text- this would make a good lighthearted gift for a friend. Considering that most of the bucket list suggestions are too out of reach or financially prohibitive for most readers, it is obvious that this book would not be a good gift for anyone who is actually ill or terminal. Yet the author addresses this issue too- and includes a reverse bucket list in which the reader can reflect on accomplishments rather than unfulfilled wishes. As a blogger for booksneeze I received this book published by Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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