Twelve Years

It has been a few months since I last logged onto my blog.

After I verified my identity, (thanks WordPress for rubbing my absence in), I was greeted by an anniversary missed.

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Twelve years.

Twelve years of sharing words, stories and small glimpses of God at work if only attention is paid.

Twelve years of a trembling pointer finger over pressing the publish button and hoping for readers and simultaneously hoping no one read the deepest words from my heart.

Twelve years of cultivating, nurturing and waiting on a dream.

Although those “in the know” deem blogs as having run their course, I am glad blogs still exist and am witnessing many writers returning to the movement of which I am one in this number.

The space of not blogging feels much like not having a conversation with a friend for an extended period of time. Once seated face to face, where do you begin, when there is so much to say?

I suppose it’s wisest to push past regret or shame and simply begin again. Start talking or writing knowing all the gaps won’t be entirely closed with one return conversation but there’s movement; a narrowing of the previous chasm.

My last post in June detailed discovering dug up nasturtium plants. At the time, I believed the event to be isolated. However, it was a nearly daily occurrence this past summer, a major irritant during a hot and smoky summer. Carl and I placed fencing along the driveway to discourage the digging and it didn’t hinder the activity of squirrels and/or raccoons.

When I speak or set an intention, I believe the work is done. I said it, it will happen.
I planted the seed, was a caretaker in the growth, let their be flowers without end.
I don’t expect disruptions especially when I can see the sprouts then leaves and finally the vivid color of buds.

Some of the nasturtium plants died after the repeated upheaval.

Some flowered on very small spindly plants.

However others grew with abandon, stretching tendrils on either side of the initial seeds, leaping over fencing to spill onto the driveway with a profusion of blossoms.

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Dreams aren’t solely about speaking words into existence.

Dreams often require patient waiting, rearrangement and being a vigilant watchman.

A fence doesn’t guarantee a dream will grow and won’t be disrupted.

There will be naysayers.

There will be obstacles.

There will be less than ideal conditions.

We live in a time of instant access and it seems a mystery when our dreams don’t arrive on our doorsteps as quickly or as nicely packaged as Amazon guarantees.

Somehow, twelve years have passed and I failed to notice I was already living a piece of my dream. A dream which had been set in motion day by day and post by post even with large gaps from time to time.

Somehow, I had been busy looking at the holes and not the blooms which stretched forth from every press of the publish button.

Earth.

Seeds.

Life.

Leaves.

Flowers.

Death.

New seeds.

It’s the cycle of life and dreams.

Do you have a dream you believe resembles a hole but if you looked closer, is actually full of rich life-giving soil?

 

resolving the unresolved

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Somewhere between the intersection of Sunday night and Monday dawn, I awoke on

the New England Patriot’s 1-yard line.

With my eyes closed, I rolled over and attempted to realign myself with my comforter

instead of the rough artificial grass.

Slowly I recalled the previous afternoon and how the game ended.

The game clock displayed side-by-side sets of zeros and it was over but in my

mind and apparently my dreams,

the outcome felt unresolved.

*****

There’s nothing like a good book

but lately I can’t seem to

bring myself to start or finish a book.

There are books I couldn’t wait to hold in my hands

and several received as gifts still wearing shiny book jackets.

Over the last few years, I have attempted to read more fiction as my default has

always been non-fiction.

Now I look forward to escaping into the pages of a well-crafted story and perhaps

my mind hasn’t been willing to release the characters, the story line or

even the ending.

Maybe I can’t resolve the final pages to move onto fresh beginnings.

*****

My journal is like a map of bullet points consisting of people

and things which concern me.

What’s not on the list?

Everything else in my head I don’t allow a pen and paper to document.

Whether written or unwritten, I am sure you have lists of your own.

There are a litany of areas in my life and maybe yours as well

which could be labeled unresolved.

I can’t help but think this is the appeal of making a resolution.

It is an opportunity to

dig in your heels,

state for the record,

draw a line in the sand,

declare right here and

right now your intention to resolve

“this thing” which thus far

has remained unresolved.

But when resolve feels

shaky and improbable,

one more item lands in

the pile of unmet resolutions.

*****

So my mind is littered with a fair amount of clutter.

Some resolved, I just would rather a different end result.

Some unresolved and may never venture close to  a finish line.

Still others I have absolutely no vote or control in their

resolution.

This is probably why I dream of a small bits of football

real estate or different ending to books.

When I pray this is why my mouth lingers open

to drink in just enough air to chat with the Father about

the unresolved.

*****

In the past, I would try harder when the pieces of my

life weren’t lining up.

Today I need a gentler approach.

When  the clutter of my life disrupts my sleep

and leisure life, structure steeped in kindness is necessary.

I want to keep or add  practices to days

strewn with unresolved matters:

  • Breathe deeply 
  • Get fresh air
  • Sip on water and not so much tea
  • Take a walk or even a stroll
  • Continue to keep company with God
  • Get plenty of rest and take naps on the weekend
  • Eat like an adult 🙂
  • Light candles not just at night
  • Stretch (I am loving this 7 minute yoga app)
  • Spend time with the people who live in and outside
    my four walls and reach out to the wise ones
    faraway

Could any of these ten practices help 

you wade through the land of unresolved things?

 

books through the eyes of a dog

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I had a horribly vivid dream on Saturday night.

It was about our beloved dog Hazel and I woke up covered in sweat and surprised

my screaming wasn’t audible.

Dreams are interesting, aren’t they?

They feel so real but often the scenarios are far-fetched with the tiniest

shard of truth mixed in.

It took me quite awhile to return to slumber and I slept later than Carl on Sunday

morning.

The moment I tumbled out of bed, I found Hazel waiting patiently at the glass hall door,

opened it quickly and beckoned her to come and lay beside my side of the bed.

I didn’t mind the incessant panting that has arrived with her senior dog status,

I simply wanted her to be close to me.

Later in the day, I was chatting to Courtney about this doggy dream and we agreed

part of the reason must be seeing the reality of Hazel’s aging process.

She has the mind and personality of a puppy but her body is stiff and betrays her.

Her senses are starting to fail her and there is not anything we can do to halt this stage.

Since books have been a great topic in our home this month, to lighten up the mood,

she and I batted back and forth the books we thought Hazel would like and dislike.

Perhaps because of the dream or that October still has 10 more days,

bear with me as I share a dog’s perspective on books.

In Hazel’s words, of course.

Hazel’s Favorite Books:

 

go dog go

Go Dog Go-Two words…dog party!

 

my dog carl

Good Dog, Carl-I laugh every time I think of my
master (Carl) being a dog.

martha speaks

Martha Speaks-This is a great book
for a family who wonders what it would
be like if their dog started to speak.
I am thankful my family understands
everything I say.

Hazel’s not so favorite books:

I get in trouble for picking up crumpled up Kleenex.

My family doesn’t like it too much.

If they would stop reading these types of

books or watching the movies based on these

books, it would help me stay out of trouble.

old_yeller

Old Yeller

where the red fern grows

Where The Red Fern Grows

Hachiko-Waits

Hachiko Waits

 

What’s your favorite book about dogs or animals?
This post is apart of the 31 days…yet again series
about books. You can find the entire series here.

give thanks for dreams

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I hardly notice my clenched grip around the steering wheel

as I speed to make a coffee date.

Late I am and questions are being lobbed around my head, such as

will there be enough to make dinner out of leftovers,

did I ever return that email 

and a host of other items on my invisible to-do list.

Suddenly my eyes scan farther in the distance than the next stop

light and catch a glimpse of a beloved sight.

A dream vaults into view.

The reality of a dream now absorbed into daily life.

I suck in my breath as I behold my dream.

There is no missing Mt. Hood in all its snow-clad glory lifting out of the hazy blue sky.

Growing up among rolling hills and wheat fields,

I had once dreamed of being in the presence of mountains

and near enough to see the ocean without needing the assist

of an aircraft.

Oregon has provided these wonders and tosses in waterfalls,

lush trees and great food beyond measure.

I am living and breathing in a dream yet I forget and lament

those dreams which lay unfulfilled.

I  loosen the curl of my fingers on the wheel and lift my eyes up.

Up to the hills where my strength comes.

Up to the place where every blessing and good thing

has its origin.

I say thank you.

Oh how I want praise and gratitude to be a non-negotiable in

my life.

I wish I could tell you that it is my default response

and that it didn’t take a mountain to cross my path to remind me.

It is so easy to rehearse my perceived lack and not the

blessings strewn about my head to toes.

If giving thanks was a non-negotiable in our days,

how different would the world look?

Give thanks for dreams.

Simply give thanks for this blessed life.

**********

Happy May Day!

Enjoy the following May desktops.
Some are available without a calendar like
the bike image above.

One (dozens)

Two

Three

Four

the excellence of dreams

What is it about witnessing excellence that makes me swell with emotion?

I think  back to seeing Riverdance for the first time.

I could write an entire post on my affection for Riverdance and Celtic music.

This is not that post.

I remember watching mesmerized with my friend Kim and our girls as we

tried to fully comprehend the brilliance of Alvin Alley’s American Dance Theater.

I held my breath until they performed Revelations. (Watch it now!)

I feel it when a gymnast lands triumphantly on two feet or a triple

axis is thrown in the air and slides gracefully back to solid ice.

I venture to guess that excellence is breathtaking for the spectator to watch

because the performer,

the athlete,

the dreamer

has amassed volumes of hidden work.

Those of us in our seats or on our couches are partakers of the thousands

of early mornings, frustrations, falls, injuries and repetition by those

who have honed their craft to such a degree it now can be deemed stellar.

I have thought about this a great deal as I begin to inch towards turning 50.

The Olympics definitely causes my mind to percolate.

Especially when I realize how many Olympic games I have watched.

How many light years since I dreamed of being like Olga Korbut?

I believe I have sat on my couch too often and too long watching and applauding.

It is easier to believe in other people’s dreams rather than my own.

It’s second nature for me to cheer others on or even participate in the realization of

their dreams.

It is harder to admit that I often wonder if my dreams truly matter or if they will

even materialize.

The Olympics provide the grandest parade to celebrate and examine dreams.

When you learn the back stories of many of the athletes, most often there has been

a hardship to overcome.

It could be an injury or family loss.

Perhaps they lost focus and had to rediscover their passions.

Maybe someone told them they were not deserving to be on the team.

Despite whatever setback they persevered.

I would venture to guess the majority of athletes, who competed these past two weeks

in Sochi, fell more than those who stood in triumph.

We commend each and everyone for doing the work regardless of outcome.

This morning I wrote down a few bullet points to get me focused,

once again.

February is almost over and somehow the lull of winter can dampen our resolves.

If you feel like it is time to pursue your dreams or even accomplish a goal or two,

this is a list of reminders. I doubt any of it will be original.

In case you have forgotten, may I remind you?

  • Shower and get dressed
    I have my best ideas in the shower!
  • Pray and stay connected to your Creator
  • Get enough rest and eat the food which fuels
  • Define your dreams/goals
  • Be ruthless with distractions and time suckers
    Social media, television, being overly busy so you “just never can find the time”
  • Schedule time daily or weekly to work towards your dream/goals
    Keep your appointment with yourself.
    Keep your word to yourself as you would to a loved one.
  • Ask for help
    Over the years I have assembled my cheering section, but I have not utilized them in
    a long time. I have neglected an untapped but willing resource.
  • Ask for prayer 
  • Share your dream with someone trusted
  • Write a letter to your future self
    If the thought of sharing your dream with someone else seems scary,
    and it is, write yourself a letter spelling out your dream and encouraging
    yourself to not give up. Put it in an envelope, seal it, address it to yourself,
    put a stamp on it and give it to a trusted person in your life. Have them keep it
    for several months and then mail it to you.
  • Talk to someone who has walked into their dream
    People love to talk about their dreams, especially if they are living in the midst of them.
    Find out their story, it might just inspire you to keep going forward
  • Do the work
    It might mean getting up earlier or staying up later. It may demand saying no to
    some great things in favor of saying yes to you and your dreams. 
  • Take joy/fun/play breaks
    Dreams take hard work but breaks refuel and refocus. They are crucial to help avoid burnout
  • Pray and stay connected to your Creator
    It bears repeating and it is not redundant. It is vital.

I look forward to the day when we will  have done the work long and often enough for others

to stand up from their seats and witness excellence.

I will be standing and cheering too.

I’ll be the one welling up with emotion.

Let’s get to the business of pursuing excellent dreams!