Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Three Things You Must Do Before You Die

by Anna Jones Buttimore

Our Sister Missionaries visited the other day, and Sister Silva mentioned something she'd once read, which I have been thinking about ever since. It was this:

Everyone should do these three things before they die:
  1. Save a life
  2. Write a book
  3. Plant a tree
I think these are significant because they sum up the most important things we can do during our brief time here. We can do something really good to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy life to the fullest. We can express our creativity and leave a legacy to future generations. And we can help ensure that our natural environment continues to sustain others in decades and centuries to come.

I've done two out of the three. Every sixteen weeks I save at least one life by giving blood. I'm a registered blood donor, and have been for several years. It's easy, it's virtually painless, and I get to lie down for twenty minutes and then eat a free biscuit. It's a great thing to do and I encourage everyone to do it. Sign up at or It's an easy way to do something really good.

I have also written six books, eight if you include ones which are not yet published. I love writing, and will probably write many more in years to come.

I haven't planted a tree, as yet. I may leave that one for a few decades. After all, once I've done it I've got no reason to hang around.

It's interesting what isn't on this list. It doesn't say "make a million" or "raise a family" or even "climb a mountain." Maybe it should. What do you think should be on the universal bucket list?


  1. I would say,"Get to know God." I was watching a show on the BYU channel called The District, and there was a sister missionary on there whose brother (and best friend) passed away while she was on her mission. She said that the reason she was determined to continue serving was because at some point in every person's life there will be a time when the only thing they have left is God- no one else could understand, no one else could help- except God. She said she wanted to make sure that when that time comes, people know Him and can turn to Him for the strength and comfort they need.

    I just thought that was so profound and so true, and such a beautiful way to really simplify the blessings of the gospel.

    I have done all three, if you count the times I have fished small objects out of my toddlers' mouths so they wouldn't choke and caught them before they fell down the stairs and yanked them out of the way of oncoming traffic... ;-) All in a day's work for a mom!

  2. 1. Well, I have donated blood in the past, but it has been a while. I'd like to think I helped in that area when I stopped some of my former residents from harming themselves.
    2. I'm doing a lot of reading and reviewing and will soon post my first author interview. Haven't done so well on the writing part yet, at least not on the finishing part.
    3. Taking care of this one this spring when we plant the rest of the garden, I'm making sure to include some fruit trees.

  3. Good point - I'd forgotten that when my children were small I pretty much saved their lives on a daily basis. Found my eldest asleep on top of a fire escape when she was about 4. I've no idea how she managed to open the door, but if I hadn't checked on her and she'd rolled over...

  4. I agree with Kasey here. Seeking God, being open to him...if we don't do that, the rest doesn't matter.



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