Big Birthdays & Bucket Lists

My friend Melissa is such a gem. I’m tickled to have her on as my guest today to share how she anticipated and celebrated her BIG 5-0 birthday. Hint: She created a bucket-list of 50 things to do, see, learn, read and explore. I LOVE this idea. You can read all about Melissa’s adventures on her website,

Before I share additional images and links on today’s episode, I had to include the trailer for The Bucket List movie—I decided I’ll be watching it again this weekend. Two classic actors with a powerful message for living and experiencing life. Honestly, I’m not a huge Jack Nicholson fan, but he plays this role so well and my adoration for Morgan Freeman totally compensates.

Download Top 20 Bucket List Items  HERE

Download Top 20 Bucket List Items HERE

Here are THREE takeaways from my conversation with Melissa …

  1. Start by recognizing truly remarkable things you’ve already done. Think about the lessons learned and memories made and then add to that list by committing to the easiest and most obvious things first—the things you’ve always wanted to do.

  2. Incorporate inexpensive, everyday experiences and goals on your list. Things like keeping a gratitude journal, reading books and learning how to make a really delicious apple pie!

  3. Don’t wait until the end of your life or even for a BIG birthday. Start TODAY and decide what you want to accomplish in the next 30 days or 3 months.

Melissa is 50.JPG

Melissa Gross is a teacher by passion and by training and truly enjoys helping others learn. Over the years, she has taught everything from Children’s Church to the Young-at-Heart (elderly) Sunday School, from middle school technology classes to university level business courses. She has taught and coached in online and in-person scrapbooking, cardmaking, photo organization, and mixed media classes. She has served and volunteered in numerous ministries including teaching and leading ladies’ Bible studies, writing and leading ladies’ retreats, co-leading Financial Peace University, coordinating vacation Bible school, assisting in the nursery, stocking the food pantry, and cooking meals for the homebound, as well as coordinating fundraising banquets and serving on the Board of Directors for the Christ for India missionary organization.

Melissa began scrapbooking in elementary school, putting memorabilia in the scrapbook her Mama started when she was born. In 2010, she began participating in online classes, using a digital workflow plan. started sharing my photos, stories, and layouts on a blog, and changed from chronological to inspirational scrapbooking . . . all the while having lots of FUN with this great hobby. This is about the time when she was a Library of Memories (LOM) coach for my Finding Photo Freedom course.

Melissa delights in this hobby that allows her to preserve memories in a way that is also an outlet for her creativity. When she’s not gluing pretty pieces of paper together to document stories, she is creating custom scrapbooks-for-hire. Connect with Melissa on Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube


Melissa and her husband Robbie crossed “Glamping” off her bucket list when they adventured HERE.

The most important lesson Melissa learned: Perfection is overrated. More important is the desire and willingness to write intentions down and do your best. She was able to mark 31 of her 50 items off her list. Success!

Melissa documented her bucket list with one photo and a few lines of journaling on individual 6” x 12” pages.

Melissa documented her bucket list with one photo and a few lines of journaling on individual 6” x 12” pages.

Creating these pages ahead of time made it extra easy to preserve each item on her list.

Creating these pages ahead of time made it extra easy to preserve each item on her list.

Correction: I shared this Patrick Henry quote on the show and incorrectly attributed it to Thomas Jefferson.

“The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed.”
— Patrick Henry