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Posts Tagged ‘Dreams’

The planning, preparations and practise began last summer.

My daughter was desiring to have a vegetable garden and a clothesline.

Both desires sounded great, and so we dabbled our toes into the practises of many generations before us.

A rope was tied between our deck post and a tree, and we both utilized the natural drying and whites-bleaching power of the sun.

We made our veggie purchases and planted them in containers and enjoyed harvesting potatoes, veggies and herbs into the fall.

This spring, we have kicked it up a notch.

Pulleys and clotheline were purchased and (this weekend) installed.

A frame was constructed, filled with soil, and vegetables planted.

These ideas, dreamed in my daughter’s imagination, have come to fruition (hopefully literally in regards to the garden), and I stood back, last night, smiled … and thought of one of my grandmothers.

My memories of her were of quilting, baking bread, hanging laundry on the clothesline and gathering food from from the gardens of her generous neighbours … like the gleaners in the Bible.

She was confident and content. She had her opinions, and was not shy in sharing them. She (in her mid 80s) still picked up ‘the old ladies’ on her street so that they could get to church on Sunday mornings. She made the effort to see her kids and grandchildren, never sitting at home, glumly waiting for them to come to her. She loved to sing in her little church choir … even though she sounded like Lucille Ball. She loved to watch Carol Burnett in hysterical laughter. She loved to have her back scratched. She prayed.

After her husband died at a too young age, I remember having sleep-overs with her, in her fresh-air-smelling bedding. Before the light was turned out, she reached for her Bible and her Daily Bread devotional. She would read the verses appointed for that day, followed by the application in the devotional. Then, we would pray, each of us silent. Me, silently waiting for her to give me a good night hug, signifying the end of our silence. She concentrating seriously as her lips moved silently.

Last night I felt her absence, felt the absence of her faithful prayers for my life, for the lives of those I love.

Yet, the fruit of her prayers continue to ripen, in the lives of those who snuggled by her side in her dried-on-the-clothesline sheets, and those who never knew such delights.

May the harvest of those prayers of dedication and trust continue this summer, and may I be as faithful in my silent prayers … that the best dreams come to fruition.

 

 

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“She stopped playing their song

when she realized

she was dancing alone.”

Boris Pasternak

I discovered this quote one day as I was ‘feeling the pain’ of heartbreak of a woman friend. She was feeling so deceived, so hurt, so exposed, so … alone. And the quote seemed to describe perfectly the experience and emotions that she was feeling. And most of us, who have loved and lost, have felt those same emotions.

We women have such definite dreams of happily ever after. Our society, our being female, has so programmed us to dream of, seek and hold on to the hope of that elusive prince on a white horse. For some, we have found him. For some, once he kissed us at the alter, his amphibian-nature became apparent. For some, ‘he’ is still to be found. For some ‘he’ is never found.

Why do we seek the prince so, and what is it that we hope to find within him, that we need so desperately?

Maybe it is his presence, his aura. That statuesque quality of his body or his being.

Maybe it is his attention, his dotting and lavishing of his resources on us.

Maybe it is the security, the protection of one stronger, one physically larger than us (is it okay to say this, in our day of being independent females?)

Maybe it is the availability of a spider-killer, jar-opener, top shelf-reacher, foot-massager.

Maybe it is the desire to recreate and nurture life with another.

Maybe, just maybe it is the desire to be cared for unconditionally by another, who will love and be devoted to us …

even when we get a bad haircut,

or grow stretch marks,

or lose our girlish loveliness,

or lose our cool,

or our body parts migrate south,

or we tweeze more frequently under our chin than under our eyebrows,

or, or, or …

Does the prince really exist?

I do not know if THE prince does exist.

I do not know if every lady, has a knight waiting for her.

But, I do know the King, and he very much wants to provide the security, the love, the caring, the presence and the attention that we all so desperately desire, want and need.

I wish I could wipe the tears, and mend the tears in the hearts of the heartbroken, but my efforts and my words will never fill the brokenness. Only the king can do that.

And when a woman is able to accept his love and mercy, it is then that she has become the princess … no longer in waiting.

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Oh how I love this song … when I hear it, I think of miracles. You see, my eldest daughter is a bit (those who know her realize just how much of an understatement that it) of a Cinderella. As, a matter of fact, the theme of her 17th birthday party was ‘Disney Princesses’. And she, as Cinderella, hosted her ‘dressed princessy’ friends to the ball … but I digress.

So, the song reminds me of a miracle. The miracle is, that between his love for his daughter, and her love of all things princess, my hubby dances with his first born princess to this very song. Now how, you ask, is this a miracle? Ya gotta know my hubby! Dancing is one sacrifice he is not normally willing to make! He has no interest in dancing, at all, period. I think I could count, on two hands, how many times he has danced with me in our eons of marriage. Sometimes he ‘pretends’ to dance in public, mocking himself as he moves in a manner similar to the groundhog in the movie ‘Caddyshack’.

But, I digress …

There is something so sweet about dancing with your dad, papa, daddy, pops … whatever you call him, to dance with your father IS to be princess, even if that one dance at the ball is 2:42 long. To dance with your father is to dance with the prince of the kingdom.The only kingdom a little girl knows of.

I remember dancing with my dad one time. I was in elementary school (aka the years of princesses), and my parents were preparing to go to a dance at the local high school (when you are from a ‘village’ of about 1600 people, there is only one high school). My mom (probably late … Mom, you know it’s true) was still making herself beautiful, and my dad was listening to the music on their ‘K-Tel’ album, playing on the ‘record’ player (oh, how old I am). And, although I cannot remember who initiated for sure, we were dancing together. Me and my dad. My memory is vivid of being transported to the castle, dressed in a beautiful gown, dancing with my prince …

And that memory made me believe that dreams do come true. That there was a prince for me (other than my dad), that, one day I would wear a gown and be held by my prince, and live happily ever after. It is a memory of such a significant event, that it ‘fed’ the princess within, to grow, to hope to dream for something even beyond my imagination.

Every little girl needs a memory like this … of dancing with her dad, or whoever her living prince is. She needs this memory, like she needs food, and education, and ‘stuff’ … probably more than education ‘stuff’  😉 A little girl needs the model of a strong, protective, loving prince, so that when she is sought out by the frogs and toads of life, she will be able to recognize the dance of a prince among them. My hubby has had very big shoes to fill, and my daughters future princes will have big ones to fill as well.

But the dance is not just for ‘Cinderella’ or ‘Belle’ or ‘Beauty’ or “Ariel’. No, it is as much for good old Prince Daddy, as for the Princess. It’s just that, dad’s, you forget, what the prince never knew, while she is still in your arms …

“Cause all too soon, the clock will strike midnight, and she’ll be gone”

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My family knows, much to hubby’s chagrin (since he discovered online movies that can be watched at home) that I LOVE to go to the theater to watch movies. I love the popcorn, I love the dark, I love the laughter of strangers all around me, I love that the seats are low enough that my vertically-challenged feet reach the floor, and I LOVE that they tell you to turn your phones off!

So, for Mother’s Day they took me to a movie I had heard of, but written off as one about mom’s of little ones.

Mom’s Night Out is a movie about a trio of weary moms, all dealing with stresses of their own. Allyson is the main character, and she is struggling with the blessing of having what she always dreamed of (motherhood) but not being happy, feeling like a failure and trying to find purpose.

Who couldn’t relate to those struggles (with or without children)?

I strongly encourage (or is it ‘incourage’) any lady (not just moms) to see this movie (plus it has my favorite ‘tweeter’, Patricia Heaton, and the comedian whose voice I hear whenever I get a pedicure, Anjelah Johnson … see her video at the bottom of this page).

I had no idea just how applicable this movie would be for this momma who fails at her dream every day.

And, speaking of ‘incourage’ I discovered that another blogger has already told the tale of this movie, so, rather than re-create the wheel … check out this post from incourage.me.

“In the new movie MOMS’ NIGHT OUT, a group of moms dealing with everyday stresses realize they need a night out. The main character, Allyson (who is played by Sarah Drew), is a blogging wannabe when we first meet her. Enjoy this post written in the voice of Allyson.

“Beck’s playing in the toilet again!”

Not the words you want to hear when you are already late for church, your husband is out of town, and you’re trying to move your little army out the door in the general direction of the minivan. You are of single mind and laser focus: we will not be late, we will not be late, we will not be late!

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Your children, on the other hand, are meandering through the house without a care in the world. Why brush your teeth when you can play one more game? Why wear church clothes when you look so much more fabulous in your sparkly shoes and a tutu? And why not have a regatta in the toilet while Mom is looking for the only clean pair of khaki pants that don’t have a rip in the knee?

Maybe if everyone just slept in their church clothes.

Sunday mornings would go so much better. Wrinkly, yes, but better. And why stop there?  Why not load up the swagger wagon on Saturday night and just bed down in the minivan so that you would actually be in the parking lot before Sunday school? This idea has real potential and you vow to give it a whirl soon.

Once the kids are finally maneuvered into their clothes and parked on the couch staring at a video, you throw on a dress and reassure yourself that a messy bun is a fabulous fashion statement. And hey, if you hit enough red lights, you can do your makeup on the way. A girl can dream can’t she?

Reality sets in as you roar into the church parking lot.

All the perfect moms are chatting with each other, the sun gleaming off their perfectly highlighted tresses as they compliment each other on their perfectly coordinated dresses and shoes. You know perfectly well they must have nannies. You’ve never actually seen any of these nannies but you know there must be an underground legion of them who hold down the fort while these women take actual showers and blow out their hair and try on outfits. Otherwise, how could they look like THAT?

Then comes the cherry on your Sunday sundae: your four-year-old daughter asks to help with your eye makeup. It’s her charming LET ME! LET ME! LET ME! at the top of her lungs that inspires you to hand her that mascara wand. Hiding her handiwork behind a pair of dark glasses, you marshal your last bit of strength and head into church.

Deposit the kids in the nursery, try to fix your raccoon eye in the ladies room, and crawl over four people into a pew. But finally, it’s time. Time for a few moments of peace. Just you, God, and the reassurance that it’s all going to be okay. Your spirit will be renewed and you will be ready to head back into battle. Thank you, God, for these children. For the privilege of being their mama. For the love You show me every day. Please give me strength.

And as you collect them all up again and head back into the parking lot, you smile at the pictures they made and know that it will all be better . . . in five or maybe seven years.”

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20140329-151747.jpgI admit to being a creator, a builder, a dreamer.

What I am not so good at is persevering through the process, enduring all of the preparations, and keeping focused when the unexpected pops out of nowhere.

I am the sort of person who, when painting a wall, is so excited to get it painted, and to hang that new picture, I just want to roll the paint on the center of the wall, place the nail, and hang the picture … then do all of the edging.

Patience might be a virtue, but it is not one that I possess naturally!

The guest post today is about dreams, vision and the ‘in between’ time when we are simply having to spend our time prepping that wall, before we roll the paint on.

The post, called In Between Vision and Reality, is written by Stephanie Bryant, who is the co-founder (along with Holley Gerth) of (in)courage. In this post she touches on something that I think we all have experienced … how to live ‘in between’ the dream and the vision fulfilled.

“I remember having a dream so real I cried uncontrollably when I woke up. We had been trying to have a child for years and in the wee hours of the morning while I slept, God gave me a moment with my daughter. Wrapped in a soft pink blanket, I soaked in her full rosy cheeks, pink pouty lips and slick dark hair. I could feel the weight of her body in my arms and the rhythm of her breathing against my chest.

This might be nothing to you but I had never dreamed about our family. I couldn’t imagine what our children would look like. I hadn’t had names chosen since third grade recess.

I woke up to what I thought was a dream, trying my best to cling to the vision that I thought was reality. It was a reality . . . just not yet.

I had to be awake to realize the dream – a vision really – was a promise from God. He was giving me a glimpse of things to come.

Three years after the dream, I held my daughter. She was the reality of the hope in the God-given vision. And yes, she looked just like the sweet girl I held that night years ago but this time I was living wide awake in the dream.

Long before that I was a young marketing professional working in publishing. I had a burning passion for women like me to know God better, together. I prayed and worked and talked about it to anyone that would listen. Job changes, moves and new friends only fueled my passion for such a time as this. I knew God was calling me to create something for the hearts of women. Years later, after meeting Holley and working at DaySpring, we laid the foundation for this beach house that God wanted built for you. (in)courage was born.

Those are usually how the stories go. We read memoirs and blogs and watch a five-minute montage of an Olympian’s perseverance that won the gold for their small unheroic nation.

We see others living the dream. They made it. In the victory of others, we are encouraged just as we should be.

Hindsight is always sweeter. It’s easy to look back and see where God intervened, the arrows pointing the way. But the future doesn’t belong to those of us that are passionate about our dreams. The future belongs to God.

What about when we’re struggling with the In Between?  How do we live in the now?

We’ve already waited and worked and waited longer for the fruit to come and yet it doesn’t. No signs of even a bud, yet we know spring always blooms after winter. We sense a calling that is beyond our doing. We pray, knock, wait for the door to open. We knock again.   

We leave the door and knock on others. We question ourselves, our motive, our ability. We wander. We wonder about His grace, our understanding and His will.

Yes, without vision the people perish. But those carrying the vision sometimes feel like they will die if they don’t birth what’s growing inside of their souls. We can only carry the vision full term with extreme patience and perseverance.

In Between is where most give up. It gets really hard. There’s a lot of work to be done on our parts, too. Sacrifices are always made when you assumed there wouldn’t be any. In Between is not about waiting for the vision to happen but being a part of the process.

God can be silent after a time of great revelation and clarity. Even the resilient are weary and look small. Endurance feels like it began years ago and today is the last-ditch effort to just hold on to some resemblance of what we are called to do.

In Between is when the complaining and whining can get really loud. Almost wishing away the gift of being apart of something bigger than ourselves just for a few moments of relief to ‘normal’ life.

Vision is not of our own doing. We are mere vision carriers.

This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.
Habakkuk 2:3 (NLT)

We don’t cast the vision. We can only live it, allowing God to unhinge the hooks and fling the nets wide.

Vision is of Spirit not flesh and blood. Each piece planted in our hearts is looking backward to the garden, encouraging us heavenward.

Vision is not about completing a task or an assignment, but with steady courage living in faith the God-led adventure, daily.

The In Between is eternity and it is now.

Take heart and look for arrows pointing to the pieces of vision fulfilled in your life. I watch my daughter sleep knowing just as God fulfilled the vision He planted for her to be born into the world, He will fulfill this new passionate vision for His Kingdom through my life.

Relish the In Between for that is life.

 

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wildwood lifeguard

“a dream is a wish, your heart makes”
Cinderella

From the time we moved into the house across from the public swimming pool, she dreamed of being a lifeguard.

She did every expected level of swim lessons, with the determination and focus of a med student.

She observed the lifeguards every summer day she went to public swim (often, twice a day).

She never ran on deck.

Always put water on the back of her neck before entering the water.

Never pushed or roughhoused with other swimmers.

Never dove from the side of the pool.

She has always taken water safety very seriously.

She swam competitively on regional and varsity teams.

She has taken all of the courses, and ended up abandoning her dream … sort of.

At fourteen she got a job as an assistant swim coach.

Since sixteen, she has coached swimmers in a swim club.

For the past three years she taught swim lessons in our own, and the private pools of others.

She has never actually worked (other than privately or in a volunteer capacity at a camp for families with Cancer) as a lifeguard.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Sometimes our dreams take U-turns!

Sometimes our dreams end up deep in the sea of our memories.

Sometimes our dreams have dipped beyond the horizon.

Sometimes …

our dreams get replaced with new realities.

If anyone were to have told our five-year old daughter that she would never work as a lifeguard, she would have been

crushed,

devastated.

Now, looking back at how her dream morphed into something different, she does not look at this change as being a bad thing, but simply a different dream, a new dream.

From the unfulfilled dream, comes a new reality … the new reality a new and living dream.

New has emerged, as the old has passed away.

From the dry ground of

disappointment, hurt, and nightmares,

comes

rebirth, hope, and brand new dreams.

When we face the loss of dreams, may we not lower our heads, and eyes in sorrow

but raise our eyes to ask the lifeguard of eternity

what hardened seeds will you plant in this garden?

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What makes ones life wonderful?

The other night I came into the bedroom to see hubby watching the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” … without me! So I climbed into the blankets, snuggled up against him, and we watched the last part together. Many years ago it was hubby who introduced this classic to me. And every year since, it has become a part of our Christmas season.

It is a story of looking back, looking at today and looking forward into the future (kind of like Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’). It is a story of hopelessness and of hope. It is a story of redemption.

The movie is focused on George, a man who had always wanted to travel the world. It also tells of his life’s impact on others, not by any one big thing that he did or accomplished, but just by living, and making choices (just like all of us).

In this movie we learn that George never did get to travel the world. He never followed his dream.

To many of us that seems like such a loss, like such a waste. Our society tells us that ‘we can do it’, that ‘if you can dream it you can achieve it’. Even within the Christian culture we (and by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’ as well) often believe our dreams and passions are the ways that God reveals our purpose in life, and the outworking of the gifts and talents that He has created us with. When we think this way, we become very dependent on fulfilling our dreams, to accomplish a wonderful life.

But, is it in following our dreams that we can live the wonderful life?

For George, his realization of his wonderful life came from the blessing of seeing his life, as others saw it. He had indeed had a wonderful life. And his wonderful life came from the impact his own life had on all around him, not through his pursuit of his dreams, but through his care for others. And, in the end, they reciprocated … big time.

The final, and most beautiful reminder of what it is that makes a life wonderful life, is when George reads the inscription his angel-friend Clarence writes in a book for him, “Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends.”

It is not in achieving a dream that we have a wonderful (or, dare I say, wonderfilled) life, but in sharing our life with others who we can call friends.

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