Aren’t We Lucky?

Aren’t We Lucky?

Mom, look! She cups it — this bit of emerald-green wonder — ever so gently in her palms.

We inspect the four-leaf clover, humble piece of lawn that it is. Small holes punctuate a few areas, and its bright-green color reads vibrant, with delicate, lighter-green veining.

I remember those days, first as a kid and even as a teen, sprawled in the grass, nothing better to do than search for four-leaf clovers. I recall looking for years with no luck, and then one day, I found them — a whole patch of glorious mutants. I plucked four-leaf clover after clover, rare riches to press in my journal, show to my mom, brag about to my friends — because we all know that the four-leaf clover brings its finder good luck.

Roughly 10,000 three-leaf clovers exist for every one four-leaf clover, which makes them rather unusual. Yet scientists haven’t quite figured out what causes that fourth leaflet. Is it genetics or environment? They speculate about a recessive gene or a mutation or a developmental error. But, it’s this error, this mutation, this gene-code goof — that’s what makes the four-leaf clover special.

As God-sized dreamers, I think we are a bit like four-leaf clovers. After all, we do things quite differently than most of the world.

Join me over at God-sized Dreams for the rest of the story?

 

Why My Dream Has “Character”

Why My Dream Has “Character”

From the moment we drive through the large iron gates, I am captivated. As we wend our way through the woods, the anticipation builds.

My husband and I are splurging for an overnight adventure at this circa 1929 lodge and resort – complete with its own private 1,200-plus wooded acres.

We are welcomed warmly and directed to enter the main lodge. As we approach, I can’t help but notice a quirky-but-beautiful multi-colored art glass lantern that hangs over the entrance. “Is that original?” I  ask our guide.Yes, indeed, it is, she answers.

Once inside, we round the corner to the dining room, dark with log walls and soaring overhead beams, yet warm with a fire glowing in the huge grate of a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. Light spills from rustic wrought-iron chandeliers.

We pad up the worn wooden steps to our room, but it’s not long before I’m peeking around corners and tiptoeing into rooms and alcoves {much to my husband’s chagrin}. I can’t help myself. You see, I’ve always had a fascination with the old, the quaint, and the historic, and this house is the next best thing to time travel.  My heart harbors this deep-down desire to live in an old house brimming with built-ins, niches, wavy glass—maybe even a secret passage or hidden trapdoor, if I hit the old-house jackpot.

 Sometimes, I think my God-sized dream is like an old house, filled with lots of little rooms and bric-a-brac.

My dream is comprised of many different pieces I have yet to fit together. It escapes neat packaging.  (<====Tweet that) It defies logical marketing. It resists attempts to plan and schedule it into submission. It’s kitschy, quirky, unorganized. In fact, it’s a lot like that old house your realtor shows you that “has character,” which of course, is code for “needs work.”

Join me for the rest of the story over at God-sized Dreams today?

The Time Trap

The Time Trap

It was a busy Sunday morning, and I was rushing to beat the clock.

As I struggled to get ready for church quickly, my three kids milled about, running in and out of the bathroom – asking for help pulling on tights, combing hair, fastening necklaces. The situation was starting to feel hopeless. There was no way we were going to make it on time.

So, I offered it up.

Dear, Lord, please multiply my time, just like you did with the loaves and fishes.

We made it to church {close to} on time, and I kept my cool.

Since then, the loaves-and-fishes prayer has become a favorite for me.

You see, I don’t have time for God-sized dreams, but God-sized dreams have captured my heart. (<==== Click to tweet)

I began God-sized dreaming in earnest 16 short months ago. I quit my freelance job, and for the first time in more than 15 years, I began writing from the heart, rather than for a paycheck. Not only did I write from that tear-sting-tender place, but {breathing into a paper bag} I put that writing out there for the world to see, launching a blog.

Exactly one week after the blog launch, my daughter and I checked into Children’s Hospital for a two-night stay. She had just been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease {about 2 -3 cases per million} called Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM).

 Won’t you join me for the rest of the story over at God-sized Dreams?

Why I Want To Be Like George Bailey When I Grow Up

Why I Want To Be Like George Bailey When I Grow Up

As a fan of the classic movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, I’ve always wondered: Why didn’t George Bailey just go?

It would have been so easy.

After his father died, I wanted George to walk out of that board meeting with Mr. Potter, catch his train to college, and never look back. I knew his dreams would die in that one-horse town.

Later, I wanted him to get into the “ground floor” of plastics with Sam Wainwright (hee-haw!) and make millions.

I wanted him and Mary to head off on that honeymoon and see the world, instead of saving the Savings and Loan. I just hated seeing George give up every last one of his hopes, even though he was doing the “right” thing.

To our logical, achievements-oriented culture, George Bailey does looks like the failure crochety Mr. Potter always said he was.

He gave up college, travel, and investment and career opportunities. He chose — albeit, reluctantly, at times — to live modestly and help others. His seemingly small choices to react with kindness and do the right thing, one day at a time, added up to a major impact. George wasn’t even aware of what he’d accomplished until he got the gift of seeing what his town would be like without him. {And, it was not pretty.}

What if we could be people whose easy grace and heart generosity positively changed the course of others’ lives?

What if we endeavored — one smile, one call, one well-placed God-intervention at a time — to change the world? <<—Click to tweet!

As I sat in my “pretty room” {the living room — the one we keep somewhat toy- and clutter-free} this fall, I began to see some disconnected puzzle pieces coming together. I started to perceive how some things I’d said or done were starting to change lives around me positively. I began to imagine how God could use the connections made in my home on Wednesday nights {as I hosted and led a women’s Bible study}. I marveled at how each woman in my living room needed this group, at this moment in their lives, in some specific way.

I saw a difficult family situation, years in the making, beginning to crack open, light radiating through the hairline that became a crevice that became a chink that became a chunk. I witnessed God in the process of breaking that hard, dark problem wide open, and I, amazingly had played a {small} role.

What if this is my new God-sized dream? I thought.

What if I can be like George Bailey?

What if I can become someone who would be missed?

What if I can become someone who changes my community, my family {or even my world} in small but vital ways?

***

In fall 2012, when I gave up a part-time career as well-paid freelance writer, I often felt like the George Mr. Potter saw — a sap who gave up a perfectly good opportunity. Why would I quit my paying writing gig to write for free (i.e., blog)?

When I talked about why I stopped the writing that pays for the writing that plays, I often relied on common-sense … you know, the busyness of life with three young kids, my middle child’s autoimmune disease, that sort of thing.

And, while these reasons sounded valid, I shied from talking about my true motivation. I found it difficult to explain my new pay scale. I found it hard to talk about this new currency, paid in meaning, feeling, authenticity.

I couldn’t explain how rich I have become in seeking God with a real hunger and writing my soul bare.

Yet, there are days, or weeks, where I miss feeling important, earning a real paycheck, being sought for my skill and experience {rather than being the eternal new kid on the blogging/publishing block}. I’m the grumpy George Bailey, who sees the world passing me by and buys into the lie that I have nothing to show for my honest labor.

My dreams — even the new, God-sized variety — still tend to be about action, activity, and production. Open an Etsy shop, write a book, build my blog. Well, friends, the Etsy shop mostly hangs out for window shoppers; the book proposal and chapter one are written, while I convince myself I will never have the platform to publish a nonfiction book; and every effort to build my blog is met by God’s firm but quiet insistence that I trust Him and write, just write — not scheme, not promote, not complicate.

So, here I am, on the eve of 2014 and I hear Immanuel, God with us.

As I enter the new year, I’ll be writing more and worrying less.

I’ll be inviting God to sit next to me, instead of ignoring Him as He looks over my shoulder.

I’ll be bringing the Bible study ladies back into my pretty room, as we delve into a new book in mid-January.

***

When George Bailey considered taking his own life, he was tired, bitter, frustrated. He got stuck on the dream he started out with and didn’t realize his dream had changed. Over time, slowly, his dream had become helping others, raising a family, loving his wife, enjoying the company of dear friends — only, he didn’t realize it. He had been taking small steps his whole life long, tiny, incremental movements that, combined, made a huge difference in the lives of those around him.

And, I think, on some level, that’s happened to me too. I began God-sized dreaming with some very specific goals in mind — small and specific. And, while they were good goals, I’ve ended up somewhere different. I’ve ended up with a list of to-be’s, rather than to-do’s:

I want to be someone who makes an positive impact on the lives of those around me.

I want to be someone who would be missed.

I want to be someone who helps others transform their lives.

What about you? How has the last year changed you? What are your goals moving forward?

 Linking up today with the dreamers at http://godsizeddreams.com/:

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