What are 10 items on your bucket list?
A couple of these may seem kind of simple, but I haven’t done them and I want to, so here goes:
1) Swim in the Pacific Ocean. I lived on the east coast and I have swum in the Atlantic Ocean many times, and I visited Florida a few times and Corpus Christi once and swam in the Gulf of Mexico, but I’ve never been to the west coast or seen the Pacific.
2) See the Grand Canyon. I moved out to Colorado when I was a teenager and I’ve been to a lot of the mid-west states and as far west as Nevada and Utah. I’ve now been in Texas for four plus years. It’s a shame to live this close to an incredible breath-taking natural creation and not go see it, but I’ve never had the opportunity. When I tell my husband I want to see it, he says, “Umhm, umhm” and nods like Chevy Chase.
3) Take a hot air balloon ride. I used to watch the hot air balloons rising up over the mountains when I lived in the Denver area. I always wondered what it would be like to ride in one. My husband is terrified of heights, so this is something I’ll have to do by myself.
4) Celebrate Christmas with my family in New York City. I lived on Long Island until I was 13 and I remember visiting the city several times at Christmas. I would love for the kids to experience the big tree in Rockefeller Center and skating at the rink, the magic of the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, or a carriage ride through Central Park. We could enjoy some of the incredible food, and then while there, we could do the next item on my list:
5) See a Broadway show. I’ve never done it. I’ve been to plenty of shows, but I want to experience Broadway just once in my life.
6) See Europe, especially Calabria, the region of Italy from which my great grandparents immigrated. I would love to go to London and see Buckingham Palace and Big Ben and the Tower of London and ride on the London Eye. I’d locate 221B Baker Street and try to imagine Sherlock Holmes sitting in his favorite chair, smoking his pipe. I would go to Abby Road and stand in Paul’s footsteps (barefoot, of course). I want to visit Paris and eat in a Parisian café, a block from the Eiffel Tower. I want to visit the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa, and see all the incredible churches and other architectural masterpieces. I want to take a countryside train ride between European countries and imagine I’m one of the Pevensie children on my way to stay at the professor’s house. And I want to enjoy the peaceful Italian countryside of Calabria and get to know the land and people from which my great-parents originated.
7) Take an Alaskan cruise. I hear Alaska is beautiful. I would love to go and experience the Alaskan wildlife and scenery, especially the possibility of seeing whales and dolphins.
8) Learn to play an instrument. I envy my talented children, who can all play at least one instrument. I wanted to take lessons as a child and never got the opportunity. I would love to learn now if I can ever find the time. I would especially love to learn piano or violin.
9) Visit Israel. I would love to go and walk in the footsteps of Jesus. I know it’s not the safest place in the world to visit but I would so enjoy a pilgrimage of sorts to the Holy Land to see Bethlehem, Nazareth, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilea, the Jordan River, Bethany, Jerusalem, the Garden of Gethsemane, the hill of Golgotha, and the tomb of Arimathea. If I went, I would imagine what it would have been like to have stood among the crowd and hear Jesus speak and watch him perform miracles.
10) Write a New York Times #1 best-seller. OK, so maybe that’s more like a pipe dream than a bucket list item, but my husband is convinced there is nothing I can’t accomplish if I set my mind to do it, so I’m going to try!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: New Mercies
Author: Julia Colquitt Allen
Published: December 20th, 2014
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
Delores Hansen’s life is crumbling around her. Her little son has been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, and her marriage has fallen apart as a result. Forced to return to the small town of Meadowbrook to live with her parents, Delores feels like a failure and a burden on everyone, and must find a way to stand on her own feet.
New minister Chris Tanner is dynamic from the pulpit but painfully shy one-on-one. He is touched by the plight of this young woman and her sick child and vows to do anything he can to help her. As he gets to know her he finds his own courage growing from her strength.
The two soon become close friends, perhaps more than friends. But no good could ever come from a relationship between a divorced woman and a minister; especially in a town as gossip-ridden as Meadowbrook. Could it?
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Excerpt for New Mercies by Julia Colquitt Allen:
As choir practice wound to a close and the others started to file out, Chris found himself lingering over his paperwork much longer than necessary. He told himself he was concerned about Dodie being the last to leave. How silly. Meadowbrook doesn’t have a crime problem. Dodie is in no danger in the empty church parking lot. Still he lingered, filing the last bit of paperwork, until he heard her keys jingling on her way out the door. Chris grabbed his jacket and followed a few feet behind.
He watched Dodie settle into her car, and went to his own car, chiding himself for his foolishness. As his engine rumbled to life, he was aware that Dodie had not yet left the parking lot. He steered his clunker alongside her, popping it into neutral and gliding out all in one motion. “Won’t start?” he queried.
Dodie looked up from the driver’s seat, strain apparent in her voice. “No! I think the battery’s dead.”
Chris opened the car door for her. “Mind if I give it a try? I know a bit about cars.” Dodie stepped out for him. He turned the key, one foot still on the ground. A clicking noise told him what he needed to know.
“Your battery’s fine. See, the lights stay on when I turn it over. The problem’s your starter.” Chris stood, handing her the key.
“What am I going to do?” Dodie’s usual strong demeanor was suddenly replaced with hysterics. “I can’t afford this right now! All the expenses of a new apartment have drained my savings. I’ve got $16 to my name and I just can’t ask my parents for anything else!”
Chris was unprepared for tears. Of their own accord, his arms wound around her. He pulled her close, stroking her long curls and hushing her, hardly realizing what he was doing. “Shh, it’s going to be alright,” he whispered over her sobs. “I can fix the car.”
About the Author:
Writing has long been a passion of Julia Colquitt Allen. She began writing poems and short stories at the age of 7. She lives in picturesque East Texas with her husband of 27 years and four of her children. Her grown son and his wife live nearby and visit often with her two grandbabies. If the kids and grandkids aren’t wild enough, they have a household full of cats (7 at last count).
Julia works at a nearby university as a learning technologist, where she provides assistance and professional development to faculty on online course development and instructional technology. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in learning technologies. In her spare time, she enjoys reading inspirational romance and mystery stories, sewing, and cooking.
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