Girls Write Out
Friday, April 16, 2010

My Aha! Moment

Last year, after going on a vacation from the dark side (seen here in my parents' RV at Mt. Lassen), I wrote a bucket list. A list of things I wanted to do before I kicked the bucket. Let me just say that an RV trip containing four kids, a dog and a husband who sees little use for technology or Starbucks, this event refined my goal. When I look at these pictures, I think to myself, what the heck was I doing in a stinkin' RV?? I hate camping. I hate being confined in small spaces with lots of little people and nature just looks better from well-appointed balconies.

"As God is my witness!" (Picture me plucking a turnip from the ground and holding it to heaven.) "I will NEVER go camping again!"

But it's not enough to be negative, is it? You have to be positive about what you want from life. You have to be honest with yourself -- even if that means that your life's goal isn't to go on a world mission to Calcutta. Someone has to do it, I just don't want it to be me. If you're not there either, don't be judging me. At least I'm honest. There are not enough Mr. Clean sponges to get me to a place with bad plumbing. (I am a Plumber's daughter, and Italian -- we practically invented indoor plumbing!)

Africa, I could do. Russia, no. China, yes! Caribbean? Don't really care. Italy, a must! But life's goals are about more than vacations. (Though I think defining no camping is most helpful.)

Many years' ago, I had one day's notice to go on "The Today Show". it changed my life because I was a background girl. I hated to be in the forefront. Writing was safe because I am not a speaker. My brain works faster than my mouth. But that event was life-changing because when I finished, and trust me, I was not great, but when I finished I had conquered ALL my fears. I had left without money, a good outfit for television, traveled to NYC (a place I was afraid of) and flown across the country (also a fear). But then, top it all off with a national TV moment where I talk about my book. It was all my fears wrapped up into one fell swoop -- and I did it. It changed my life because conquering your fears is empowering. God can't use scaredy-cats. He didn't create us for a spirit of fear.

So "The Today" experience forced me to look at a world that was bigger. Life opened up to me when I wasn't afraid to travel, fail or blow it. If you had one year left, what would you do with it? And the question is, why aren't you doing it right now? Because God ordains our days. What fear do you need to conquer right now. And let me reiterate that camping is not a fear. It is a vile creation of the dark underworld, sent into my life to make me appreciate the bathtub all the more.
posted at 12:42 AM  
  Comments (16)
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At 8:42 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

Hilarious, K! I'm with you on camping. I don't know what I'd do with the year. Probably spend more time with family and write one last book. And that makes me wonder . . . what would I write about if it were my last book? Hmmm . . .

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Barb said...

When I reflect on the people or things for which I am grateful, indoor plumbing is pretty high on the list. The summer after I graduated from high school I went on a mission trip to India for several weeks. My first encounter with their plumbing came in the airport. We still had another flight until we reached Madras and I decided I would use the bathroom BEFORE getting off the plane this time and that I really didn't want to use the bathroom at all for the remaining weeks in India. Well, by the time I got to use the bathroom and was returning to my seat, the plane had begun its descent and I was walking back to my seat with gravitational or other forces trying to make my knees buckle.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

I enjoyed reading this post and the questions are good ones: What WOULD I do with only one year left?

It's odd to say this, but I think I'd just keep doing the same life. However, I might write more letters and emails to encourage people, ask more forgiveness, offer more grace, and give more hugs. I'd like to write a book, too, but can't decide if it should be fiction or not.

Here's something that has encouraged me often: James A. LaFond-Lewis once said, "The fearless are merely fearless. People who act in spite of their fear are truly brave." In my mind, your going on the TODAY SHOW was brave! Very, very brave! Yay!

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

D, your family always has great vacations. That's awe-inspiring. Barb, I've heard about India. And I've heard you have to look for "western" bathrooms in China too. Or there's a "standing room only" kind of thing, that I'm just not ready for. But see, that is easily remedied with a hotel. But that was brave, brave!

Pam, I love that quote and you should start writing a book. Just start journaling your thoughts and see what comes out, is it fiction or non-fiction?

At 7:13 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Kris, you could do Russia. It's safer than Africa! I have decided that, when my time draws close, and if Mel isn't still alive, I'll drive to the Maze, a part of Canyonlands National Park in Utah, get lost, and let God take me away. No hospitals or nursing homes, no meds to keep me alive longer. If I found I had a year to live, I'd make sure the people I love knew I loved them.

At 6:48 AM, Blogger Cathy Shouse said...


I agree with your sentiments on camping but I'm one step ahead. I didn't even have to do it to see it wasn't my thing! :)

Sadly, this reminded me of a dear, 64-year-old friend who had a terrible diagnosis in July and was informed those with his illness live an average of 12 months. He's a steady kind of guy and is just keeping on at work and going to grandkids' sports events mixed in with being a great husband and doing chemo and radiation.

He's taught me there is value in living every day and doing ordinary things well, in the routine of it, and maybe a bucket list is overrated.

At 7:41 AM, Blogger hotcoffeenow said...

Thank you - I read the first part to my dh and I'm now off the hook for any future RV trip he might plan. ugh.

But I am thankful to say, I have done everything I want to 'do'. Two years ago I was initially diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. I had 10 days before my surgery to freak out and contemplate life. I decided I had done everything I'd ever wanted to do and had no need for a Bucket List. I looked at the sky and saw it was bluer. I looked at the grass and saw it was greener. The wind was sweet smelling and my family was beautiful. Every minute of the day I tried to embrace and enjoy and remember. I had patience. I was pleasant. I ate cookies. I cried. I did everything with much more passion. I lived my life instead of watching it go by. I enjoyed myself. And now, with that all behind me (and benign tumors - yay!) I have changed. I don't do things I don't want to do. I don't spend time with people I don't enjoy spending time with - because we don't know when we will run out of time. I want every moment to count. I eat cheesecake and cupcakes because if I died tomorrow I don't want to have deprived myself of something that I thought would be yummy. I run and bike and workout every day to clear my mind and stay healthy, but I don't obssess about the fact that I'm no longer a size 4. I'm confident that I'm going to a better place someday and my Lord will have a big hug for me when I get there. And I'm no longer afraid to die. I'm only afraid that it might hurt, lol.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

Believe me, Kristin, a well-appointed RV is better than a sleeping bag tossed on top of an anthill. :)

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

I agree with you that the bucket list is overrated. It's about how you want to live your life everyday and doing it. Not waiting for someday and like Hot Coffee said, I think you come to that realization when you're not afraid to die.

That's what my NYC trip did. It said, God I trust you to take me now if that's what you're going to do. '

And then, I started living. I think I'm a fearful person by nature. That stinks.

Cheryl, I have no desire to do Russia. I think I worked for one of Satan's minions, and sadly for me, she was Russian. She pretty much took away any desire I have to go to Russia. LOL

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Crystal Laine Miller said...

I grew up going camping every summer for weeks (my dad loved it.) No plumbing, digging latrines, fighting mosquitoes, ticks and snakes, going fishing every stinking morning and evening. I hated it. I never complained but I plotted my escape.

When I grew up and was on my own, I made sure my husband wasn't a fan of camping, too, before marrying him. Cabins with plumbing, etc. are fine. I love the outdoors and still can build a campfire, but a shower (no spiders) and working plumbing are a must.

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Crystal Laine Miller said...

I love your NYC/Today Show story, by the way!

At 2:44 PM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

WOW, Hotcoffeenow, your post totally inspired me! Could you contact me at I would love to talk to you a little more about your adventure with ovarian cancer.

Loved your post, Kristin! You were definitely my hero when you went on The Today Show!

I'm totally with hotcoffeenow, I enjoy every day to the fullest. Though I am trying to eat more healthy, I liked her suggestion instead. I think I'll throw out the kale and collard greens in my fridge (who am I kidding, they'll rot in there anyway), and get that chocolate cake I've been wanting . . . .

At 2:50 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Di, i think everything but prayer in moderation. I mean, look you could eat enough kale to stuff an elephant, but you could be healthy and miserable right? I mean, no one is ever going to mistake Kale for chocolate. All I'm saying.

Life is beautiful. Each and every moment, we have to grasp it. I used to have a neighbor who would sit in her pool and look up at the sky and say, "God gave me this little piece of the sky. It's mine to look at any time I want." Isn't that a great way to smell the roses?

At 9:38 PM, Blogger hotcoffeenow said...

Lol about the food - I eat pretty healthy foods for the most part, but I won't deny myself the yummy treats when they are staring me in the face. And kale? ugh. I gave up on it and just stayed with spinach.


At 10:05 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I HATE camping! LOL

I'm pretty much doing everything I want to do right now. I spend as much time with Punky as I possibly can and I try to make sure Dave and all my kids (including Donna and Mark, the ones by marriage) know I love them. I love writing and I love being with the girls. I just want my family and friends to feel God's unconditional love through me.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Abby said...

girl, I totally understand your hatred for camping. Thankfully I did not grow up in a "camping" family and neither did my hubby, but I have been and it's just gross.

Now I want to see your Today clip!! Wonder if we could youtube it?...


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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