resurrecting the dream

Resurrecting the Dream


Sometimes when you go for big dreams, they have to die first. Here’s my personal story of going for a dream, letting it die and resurrecting the dream.

A Decision for a Better Life

In August of 2011, life was good, my business was thriving, but I was not happy in my personal life. My marriage was completely disconnected and I had gained weight and was tired much of the time. On a ride home from a beach vacation, I made a decision that my life would change. The moment I made the decision, an inspired vision entered my mind of the life I would have instead. It came with such clarity that it propelled me into action.

Catching the Vision

I saw myself in a loving, connected relationship with a high energy man. We would travel together, share a love for nature, and work, teach and speak alongside each other. We would fix up my home and property, and create a place that was self-sustainable, a haven of hope, healing and refuge for those who needed it. While this vision came from somewhere outside of me (I believe from God) it was also something that pointed to the core desires of my heart.

I had always wanted to turn my home into a retreat house once the kids were grown and had lots of ideas for ways to fix it up. My family was well-aware of my ideas for home improvements, but I shared with no one the vision of the place of refuge our 7 acre property would be. I had both night dreams and daytime visions of this.

Taking Responsibility for My Own Life

Since my husband at the time enjoyed traveling, I thought he might be this person… that he might change his ways, that we might be able to reconnect, and that the life I envisioned might happen with him. I doubted it, but I certainly was not going to rule that out.

I knew I couldn’t control my husband, but I could control me. I didn’t have the energy to keep up with who and what I envisioned. I needed to get in shape, get healthier and work on myself. I thought perhaps if I did these things, my husband would follow suit.

Within a month or two I was going to the gym on a regular basis and eventually dropped at least 50 pounds over the course of the next few years. I paid for my husband to get some medical help with his weight, but that only lasted a few weeks before he lost interest. My vision was not his vision.

While I journaled much of what I envisioned, even more of it was in my mind… and none of the grand vision for the property got shared with anyone else.

The Quest

When things did not work out in my first marriage, I fully anticipated entering the dating world and finding the “dream man” I had seen repeatedly in visions beginning with the first one in 2011.  I had this feeling he was out there waiting for me and that we would find each other soon.

Man after man became a candidate. I met men with certain aspects of what I envisioned, but never all of them. None of them seemed interested in my property or what I anticipated doing with it. While I never shared all of my vision with them, there were a few I told about my desire to turn my home into a retreat house.

Settling for Less than the Vision

Every man I was with wanted me to move from my property. Finally, I gave up on my dream. I decided what I wanted most was a connected relationship with a good, honest, hard-working man. Everything else I could let go. My heart had been hammered during the dating process, and I just wanted some peace.

I had a personal knowing that I couldn’t fully be who I am here to be until I wasn’t a single ox hauling a cart, but worked in synergistic tandem with a partner. That’s not true for everyone, but it was true for me. I’m a headstrong woman, and I’ve paved my own way for decades. So this wasn’t neediness or dependence on my part. It was an inner knowing that would not go away.

The Death of the Dream

The problem was, in all my dating, I forgot my vision. I gave up on it and assumed it was only my silly imagination. I lowered my expectations. The exceptional life I had been shown got replaced in my expectations with a desire for a decent, peaceful life with someone who would be good to me and wouldn’t make me carry the load all by myself.

I remarried with this dimmed-down objective in mind. I didn’t worry if the man I married caught my vision or even cared about it. When he insisted we move away from my home and property, I reluctantly relinquished my vision and let it die. The vision was wrapped up in the property, and now the best I could envision was perhaps retiring to the beach with my second husband someday, since we both liked the beach.

After about 18 months of marriage, he had the courage to do what I should have known to do — get out. We were two people who did not have a shared vision or objective. I may have given up on my dream, but God had not. Sometimes I think my second husband was inspired to end the marriage — a radical idea — but I cannot deny the miracle of the timing.

I eventually thanked my second husband for ending our marriage. He was a blessing while he was in my life and he was an even greater blessing in letting me go. I was not supposed to travel that path anymore.

Resurrecting the Dream

traveling

Roadtrip with Dave in his convertible

Not even a month after my divorce was final, I met a man who loves traveling, shared my vision for doing writer retreats, is in a similar line of work as me and shares my faith.

The first day this man stepped on the property that I had given up on, he articulated the identical vision that I had in my head — without me ever telling him anything. I was so floored by his vision of the property as a place of healing, refuge and hope, I broke down and wept. I could not believe my ears.

In time, after dating for several months, this man asked me to marry him. My answer was an enthusiastic, “Yes, hell YES!” I could not begin to deny he was the man I had seen coming. I had contorted and tried to make every other man fit into the vision. There is no need to make this man fit. He IS the vision. He proves it constantly by his actions and continual investment in me and our goals.

bargain hunting

Dave’s bargain area rug find for the house

Currently, we are working together toward our shared vision for the property. We are both headstrong people with different ideas about what that should look like. At first I was stuck in my ideas about how the house and property used to be (in better days), whereas he has ideas about what it can be. I got frustrated because things were run down and overgrown. He sees it as a blank canvas to create upon.

Together we are co-creating a new shared vision. While the overall objective is the same, the details (which I never really saw) are something we’re co-creating together. The great thing is he is talented with landscaping, natural habitat creation (his father was a forest ranger), and he loves to bargain hunt and find the best buys on everything from flooring to furniture.

landscaping

Dave clearing a path to the creek

As a woman who has spent her life in the driver’s seat, it’s a new (and sometimes challenging) experience co-creating with a companion. Fortunately our communication is exceptional, and we are willing to have the hard conversations (something that did not happen in my prior marriages). I have great hope that two strong people with a shared vision (which we both believe comes from God), a deep love and respect for each other, a desire to stay close to the Lord, and open communication can forge ahead and make big dreams a reality.

The great thing is we’re doing it… we’re in the thick of the weeds doing it… and the vision is there … unfolding as we go.

The song “I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You” by Savage Garden sums it up …

I know that it might sound
More than a little crazy
But I believe
I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life

Let me be a resource to you as you work toward your heart-driven dreams! Click here for details.


infj and enfp compatibility

INFJ and ENFP Relationship Compatibility: He Wants To Know!


What I’m learning about myself and how I process life and emotions as an INFJ (Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging personality type) in a relationship with an ENFP (Extroverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving personality type). INFJ and ENFP relationship compatibility is considered one of the best combinations, but there can still be a learning curve with communication.

I’ve always had the ability to hyper focus, tune out what’s going on around me, and work on a project to completion. It’s easy for me to get lost in my own mental world. That comes in handy when you’re trying to run a business from home. It also can create some chaos because my kids could be trashing the house while I was hyper focused on a writing project. (I’m an Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging [INFJ] on the Meyers-Briggs Personality assessment.)

With any strength there is a corresponding weakness. With any upside there is a downside. I never fully realized how much my zoning out can be disconcerting to other people until recently. It can appear that I don’t care what someone has to say when in actuality, they just said something that so intrigued me, my mind hyperlinked off into another thought or memory and is now aggregating new data. Perhaps I look preoccupied with my phone in the middle of a conversation, but it’s only because what was said initiated a mini research project where I’m Googling something that would add depth or something interesting to the conversation.

In the past, my zoning out has created communication problems in my relationships with men. Some men are fine with my quiet nature because they’re introverts too. They do their own thing while I do mine. But non-communication leads to two people who grow apart, living in separate worlds. Other men couldn’t figure out how to connect with me beyond a certain point. They were able to elicit enough trust to make me feel comfortable talking with them, but they couldn’t follow or were uninterested in what I had to share.

As I’ve tried to be more open and mindful in relationships, I’ve discovered that I do not process the world like most other people. When I’m learning or observing something new, my new knowledge rarely comes in words. It comes in a knowing or a feeling. That knowledge and understanding must go through a series of filters before it becomes words.

Usually, by the time my thoughts or feelings become written or spoken words, they have become something insightful, profound or helpful to others. In fact, in most of my communications (especially in Church, or professionally), I have some sort of internal requirement: “What I say MUST be profound.”  Otherwise I won’t release them to the world. But in the beginning of this learning process, my thoughts (and especially feelings) can be messy and chaotic if I try to articulate them too soon.

Because my initial thoughts-feelings are messy and chaotic, most people can’t or don’t care to follow them.  Most men, in particular, tune me out. A former spouse (an ISFP on Meyers-Briggs) used to tell me: “Tell me about it when it works.” So my tendency is to clam up with men. I got the impression they wanted me to speak in succinct bullet points and keep it short, so I kept the messy stage of my ideas and feelings to myself (or perhaps ran them by a super-trusted female friend or my mom).

My fiancé (an Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving [ENFP]) has struggled with my introversion at times. As an extrovert, his verbal and social interactions are the first line of processing for him. He processes new knowledge by talking about his thoughts, by telling stories or coming up with antidotes that “work.” On the other hand, I can easily take a road trip with him and zone out for 2-3 hours, not say much of anything, and I’m totally fine. I still feel completely connected to him. He, on the other hand, finds this behavior — especially the silence — perplexing and confusing. He wonders what’s really going on in my mind. It feels like a huge disconnect for him.

What I’ve come to understand is that he actually wants to hear the “messy” initial formulation stages. He enjoys hearing what I have to say … even the little things that other men have found boring. As a “Perceiver” he places high value on the process. He doesn’t need to wait “until it works.” He wants to know what I’m thinking about. This is such a foreign concept to me, that I’m still wrapping my mind around it.

While it’s always going to take some time for my mulling to become words (and he’s willing to allow me the space for this phase of my conceptualization process), he’d like to hear things in the early stages of when I do start finding the words.

Outside of my mother I can’t think of anyone who ever wanted to know my every little thought, my every little feeling. Even my best confidants have their own lives and don’t have time to be sitting around waiting for a word to spill from my lips, and I don’t expect them to.

But this man seems to thrive on everything I share with him. He reminds me of my mother, who always wanted to hear, and took great interest in, the smallest details of my life and my children’s lives. I never even expected I’d find a man who could love me like that.

Yet here I am, engaged to a man who wants to read what I write, listen to what I have to say – no matter how trivial or messy I think it may be. He wants to hold me and cry along with me when my heart is hurting or when I’m joyfully celebrating. He wants to feel and experience the full range of life with me.

It’s a wonderful thing, and it’s also something I have to wrap my heart and mind around. Yet, today it began to click for me how much he loves me when I could see the parallels between him and my mom in their level of interest in me. Once again, my mom has taught me how to not only love, but also to receive love… which for me, is the bigger challenge.

 

 


perspectives

Perspectives and Assumptions


I’ve spent most of my life trying to understand the world and people by attempting to see things from other peoples’ perspectives. I once wrote a historical crime novel based on a true story (An Uncertain Justice) and was able to solve a 1920’s mystery by locating multiple accounts of the crime. The key was assuming everyone’s testimony was true… at least as they saw it. By constructing a composite story, I was actually able to solve the mystery.

As much as I try to see other perspectives, I have become increasingly aware that I filter the world through my own lens of beliefs, ideas, past experiences, over-generalizations, and extrapolations.

As I’ve been working to improve my open communication skills, I’ve found that much of what I assume about others is completely false. Even though I am empathic to some extent, I am a pathetic mind reader. I am left to wonder how much of the messy situations and broken relationships in my life could have been averted had I assumed less and communicated more.

Of course, it takes two people who are willing to communicate. But at least I could have asked questions instead of assuming I knew someone’s mind and intentions based on observation.

It’s a rather painful realization, but hopefully one that will make me a better person in the long run.

Featured Image Copyright: Marnie L. Pehrson


don't settle

Don’t Settle: Playing It Safe Isn’t Safe


A few months back I posted on Facebook about being analytical and deep and how I’ve always wanted a romantic partner who was too.

Most people told me to give up, that it couldn’t happen, that men aren’t wired that way. I shouldn’t expect so much from one person. I didn’t say anything at the time, but I highly suspected they were wrong because I was getting to know a man who IS deep and analytical.

And here we are a few months later and it’s truer than ever. So I wanted to take a moment to bust that myth. There are analytical and deep men in this world.

Don’t let anyone tell you what you want is impossible or doesn’t exist. I have been blessed to find the most wonderful, deep, analytical male mind. And he’s ruggedly handsome, passionate about life, totally masculine and creative, brilliant, spiritually-strong, adoring, fun-loving, generous, and kind.

No, he’s not perfect and neither am I. But we communicate with complete honesty and we work through our misunderstandings and differences in a way that is win-win and leads to greater connection and deeper love. It’s work but it is rewarding work.

So my message to you today is don’t give up… don’t settle… Playing it safe is not safe. Go for what you want. Where there is desire, there is power. God let me settle so I’d learn not to settle.

If you’re ready to stop settling and trust what your heart is telling you to do, join me for the Trust Your Heart Support Group.

Featured Image: Copyright: NSP Images/BigStockPhoto.com


oddballs

God Bless the Oddballs


I’ve noticed that there are those on the planet who like others to stay within certain zones of behavior that they consider “normal.” Those outside the zone are considered oddballs. For example, some people believe there’s a “normal” amount of friendliness, happiness, braininess, creativity, romanticism, helpfulness, spontaneity, etc.

freedom of expressionWhen someone they encounter is outside the “normal” parameters, say the person is “too happy” or “too creative” or “too friendly,” then they become suspicious, skeptical, perhaps even antagonistic.

Rather than take the time to get to know the person, they make snap judgments and look for reasons not to like the individual… After all, this person isn’t “normal,” so there must be something wrong with them. They’re “outliers” and “odd balls.”

I don’t know about you, but I adore the outliers and the odd balls. They add spice to life. I admire their audacity and their intense capacity to love, to create and to enjoy life in their own unique way.

They remind me that I need to embrace and express my own inner oddball.  They give me the courage to be myself regardless of what others think. God bless the outliers!

Featured Image Copyright: pancaketom/BigStockPhoto.com


Glimpses of Eternity


Have you ever stood on an ocean shore and felt the overwhelming majesty of its power?  It’s a mix of awe, wonder and a little trepidation. Or have you looked up at a night sky on a secluded mountaintop and seen more stars than ever before? As the Milky Way stretches across the sky above you, you catch glimpses of eternity. You marvel at  the immensity and magnitude of God’s creations and feel His power.

In the last three weeks I’ve enjoyed both of these awe-inspiring experiences. There’s something so exhilarating, but also humbling about both. As a small human standing on the shore or looking up at that star-filled sky, I feel something akin to fear, but not really fear. It’s probably the kind of feeling the Old Testament writers were trying to convey when they spoke of the “fear of the Lord.” It’s an honoring respect and reverence. It’s an understanding that in comparison to this majesty, I am one weak little human. And yet, He loves me and I am part of the wonder of it all.

For the first time in my life I look at a relationship I’m in like I’m standing before the ocean or looking up at that starry night. What I see is expansive, immense, filled with possibilities and froth with in-the-moment realities that are beyond anything I’d ever dreamed – and I dream a lot.

We do a lot of analyzing, examining each other and ourselves from every angle. We’ve both been hurt, and we want to make sure we’re doing the right thing. We’re going in with eyes wide. We’re both strong, opinionated individuals and sometimes we butt heads, but we always work it through to a place of understanding and mutual appreciation.

There are the times where I’m shocked at how many little things we have in common like our love for music, intimate dive restaurants, spontaneously exploring rabbit trails, and barbeque. Our relationship is both exhilarating and deep, and occasionally exhausting.

Then, there are those brief moments of time when we suspend disbelief, stop our analyzing, relax into it and allow ourselves to see our relationship for what it is – a complete miracle. It’s an ocean of power, an expansive Milky Way of eternal possibilities. Our eyes fill with grateful tears, and we feel the need to fall to our knees and thank God for the miracle of “us.”

Never in my life, have I felt that I can finally be who God created me to be with another person. I can finally fill the measure of my creation with this man. Our relationship is more than all the typical reasons two people unite themselves. It’s more than intimacy or someone being your best friend. Yes, those things are important, and they are a part of who we are. Yet, the reason I’m considering an eternity with this man is because for the very first time I CAN see eternity – an incredible, expansive eternity.

There’s this feeling of immense creativity and power that is possible when we are together. We don’t know what God has in store for us, but we sense and know that it is huge. It’s as expansive, far reaching and eternal as that night sky we stood beneath in the mountains of southern Utah. Perhaps that’s why we get lost in the weeds of analyzing little things about our relationship – because staring at the immensity of who we are together fills us with that “fear of the Lord” feeling, and our human comprehension can’t fathom it.

I keep wondering, “What if we stopped analyzing it and just relaxed into the possibilities and power of eternity?”

 

Featured Photo – Copyright: denbelitsky / BigstockPhoto.com


companion

A Companion on the Adventure


A man has entered my life who starts each day asking God what He should do. He listens for the answer and cheerfully does whatever he feels directed. Amidst God’s assignments, he finds a way to make me laugh, spontaneously dance with me, dive into deep conversations and constantly remind me that I am valuable and loved.

On multiple occasions as we’ve walked through the woods, he’s taken my hand and led me to a clearing. Each time I feel like Eve with her Adam, who has found her help-meet on the adventures of life.

He’s not perfect and neither am I. We occasionally have misunderstandings because we’re two different people. He’s quick to seek clarification, quick to create understanding and quick to apologize and set things right. He’s easy to love and generous with his praise.

He’s everything I ever asked for and more. He’s a man with vision, a heart to serve God and to be in the right place. He loves deeply and empathetically. If someone is suffering or struggling, he wants to find a way to help.

He’s a dynamic personality, larger than life, crazy fun and romantically deep. His passion for life is contagious. While he’s a bit older than me, most of the time I’m wondering how I’ll ever keep up with him.

Life has thrown me some curve balls that have left me a bit skeptical and cautious. He’s patient and offers me time. He understands that this new heart God began growing in me after Mama’s passing is still finding its bearings.

I have never met anyone so receptive to the Spirit. I can pray about something and the next day this man will say or do something that addresses my concern or answers my prayer.

Above all else, our hearts are aligned to the same trajectory… we both long to teach, write, speak, lift, build and serve those who have struggled, felt trapped, or have been demeaned, belittled or made to feel they don’t matter or that they don’t have a voice. We both love God’s children and we long to give them hope that God lives, that He loves them, that they matter, that their voice matters and the world needs them. No matter how dark the night or long the road, Christ is there through it all.

Both of our roads have been long and difficult but through it all God has been there, believing in us, helping us. Through this whole surprising process I have learned even more that I AM that I AM is there. I believe HE is there for us more often than we think HE can or will be, but when we look for Him, He will show up for us.

Featured image: Copyright: pressmaster / BigStockPhoto.com

 

 


peace in a relationship

Working for Peace in a Romantic Relationship


I’ve always considered myself an easy going, low maintenance person. I get along with most people and I’ve wanted to keep the peace. I do have my opinions on some things. While I’ll listen to other views and sometimes adjust mine, I can be insistent on things that are key values for me. Yes, I’m strong-willed and can be stubborn on things that really matter to me.

I’m in a relationship with a man with a strong personality, opinions and values of his own. About 90 percent of the time we’re having these great conversations where we build off what each other has to say to new understanding and epiphanies about emotional, spiritual, intellectual and business topics.

As we spend more time together, we run into the other 10 percent where we don’t immediately see eye to eye and we butt heads or something rubs us the wrong way about the other person’s personality, or way of processing emotions.

And then we stop and discuss that, really share how each of us is feeling, what’s coming up for us, what we feel is going on. It’s raw, vulnerable and totally honest.

We respect each other’s views and feelings, and eventually we come to this place of rich understanding and deeper place of connection and love. It’s not one person caving or compromising. It’s creating mutual understanding and win-win solutions.

It’s work, hard work, but it’s incredibly rewarding. It pays off with the deepest love and connection I’ve ever known.

I think back on my last marriage where there wasn’t a single argument. Maybe a difference of opinion, but not one that went into a conversation that worked through deep concerns.

I thought I was in a peaceful, loving relationship. He obviously had something that was festering beneath the surface unspoken. 18 months in, one Saturday morning he was done… without explanation, without a chance to work anything through, without an opportunity to clarify or create understanding or a deeper love. Maybe I wasn’t so “low-maintenance” and easy to get along with as I thought I was. I’ll never know.

I’d rather have the relationship that is alive and brings up the occasional issue or emotion that is worked through together, than constant “peace” that is merely an illusion.

I’m 51 years old and I feel like I’m finally learning to communicate. Not because I’ve figured it out, but because I’m with a man with incredible communication skills. And there is something about “us”… these two independent, head strong, amazing people… that makes mediocrity and “settling for good enough” impossible.

I’m finally with someone who feels like a partner in the adventure, a companion on the mission God is calling us on together. We’re both open to wherever God chooses to lead. I’ve never been with a man who is so quick to fall to his knees, and invite me to join him in seeking God’s input or express gratitude.

This level of collaboration with each other and with God takes two people who are willing to put Him first and willing to have the tough conversations to create 100% unity, trust and honesty.

I’m discovering that peace at any price is not peace. True peace comes when both parties are willing to pay the price to respectfully create understanding.

I’ve got a lot to learn, and I’m grateful to have an amazing man in my life to learn it with. It’s not anything I could ever learn as a single woman… which is what I had full intention of being for several more years. God had other plans


dating again

Dating Again: The Way He Makes Me Feel


I’m dating a poet and so it brings out the poet in me. Here’s a fun one I whipped up this morning.

He makes me laugh.
He makes me feel.
He makes me think.
He makes me reel.

He makes me grateful.
He makes me talk.
He makes me thoughtful.
He makes me walk

Through fields of weeds
Up to my knees
Where chiggers bite
Leaving swollen sites.

Pock-marked I dance into the night
With the man who shares his light.

Makes me think of a song from Barbra Striesand’s Yentl“The Way He Makes Me Feel.”

Featured Photo: Copyright JacobLund / BigStockPhoto.com


claiming blessings

Claiming Blessings – It’s About Time!


I’ve owned this property that borders the Chickamauga Creek for 20 years this December. Today was the first day I’ve actually put my feet in the water. I’ve been a bit slow claiming blessings that God obviously wanted me to receive!

moonlight reflecting off the creek

The embankment was high and overgrown, and my boyfriend cleared a trail for me.

Makes me wonder how many blessings have been right within my grasp that I haven’t received because I thought they would be too much work. It only took us half an hour to clear this path.

It helps to have a trail-blazing companion who cares about you and wants you to experience the richness of life.

What blessings are an arms-length away for you? Check out what it would take to receive and enjoy them. It might not be as difficult as you think.