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You Only Live Once, This Is How I’m Doing It!

Tag: Guest post

Dream Yourself Happy

Leigh-Anne is a flight attendant as well and is definitely one I’d love to have on my flight. She gives sometimes snarky but always with some sweet accounts of her travels as a flight attendant. She’s also not afraid to give credit where it’s due and isn’t one of those flight attendant bloggers that only focuses on the negative. She seems to truly love her job which is something I really relate to and respect. This job we have? Definitely not suited for everyone.

Sometimes I wonder how I’ll fit my irregular lifestyle with being a parent. It just seems overwhelming and like it would be really difficult to figure out. I love hearing from people who have actually done it. Who not only make it work but still find a way to love it. That is one of my dreams and I hope I find a way to make it work for me like Leigh-Anne makes it work for her.

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Wow. Abigail is off to India. Following her heart and her dreams. I am sure she has heard some negative feedback about her choice, but I for one applaud her. She is strong and confident and being true to her heart. I admire that, and wish I had learned that lesson much earlier in life. I thank her for the opportunity to share a bit of myself here, as she is off to the other side of the world to share a bit of herself there.

Dreams and Goals come in many forms.

From the child who dreams of being royalty, to the adult who dreams about their next big vacation, from the teenager who dreams of being a doctor, to the adult who dreams of retiring to a life of travel… we all dream and we all have goals. What happens when we lose sight of those goals? When we stop dreaming from our true inner spirit, and start focusing on the outside world – we end up losing sight of what is truly important.

Here’s my story, and how I learned an invaluable life lesson.

I always wanted to fly. I wanted to be a Flight Attendant, I wanted to be a Pilot – I just wanted to FLY. So much so, that I tried to join the Air Force. I was told my vision wasn’t good enough to be a pilot… so I gave up that dream. I then decided I’d give Flight Attending a try. I was told that wasn’t a job for “nice” girls, and had my dreams stomped on. I carried on to University, leaving my degree half way through. I then went on to College, failing to graduate because I refused to do my practicum. I then worked for a bit, and ended up getting a diploma at a Business School. I didn’t finish my specialty there, as I couldn’t focus long enough – I got out of there and got a job ASAP. It was a good job, working with and for great people. I still was restless. I switched positions within the company, always wanting more. I quit there, and had my first baby. I tried to run a day-home. I tried going back to office work. I had another baby. I tried the day-home again. I got yet another job. My resume would be quite long if I put everything I have done on it. Yet, I was never quite satisfied. I had lost my true dream, and was replacing it with dreams that weren’t mine, and weren’t making me truly happy.

I had lost myself. I was so wrapped up in what I thought other people wanted from me, what society thought was appropriate, what my parents thought, what my friends thought, what my husband thought – that I had no idea any more what I thought. I tried so hard to be perfect, that all I did was try.. I never achieved. I was miserable.

That’s when it hit me, I needed to get in the air. I needed to FLY. I got a job with an airline, working in their Call Centre. I loved it. I didn’t like the hours, but I loved the industry. I felt like I belonged. I made the move to Flight Attendant about 14 months after I started. I have never loved a job as much as I love this. I am meant to be in the air. I am at peace when I fly. I am making money doing something I love. I am living my dream.

In my move to the aviation industry, I became more at peace with who I am. I have learned that it doesn’t matter what other people think, it matters what I think. I became a better wife and a better mother. My children see my happy. My husband sees me joyful. I am more aware of my life, and how amazing it is. I am away a lot, yes, but the trade off is happiness. I’d take that over being home every night every time. It’s not a conventional life, but it’s our life and it works for us. My children will learn that being true to themselves is more important than making a million dollars. They will learn that even when they are parents, they are still people, with their own dreams and their own lives.

That is a lesson I’m thrilled to teach them.

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For stories of her travels and adventures as a flight attendant be sure to check out her blog: Fly Girl’s Travels

and follow her on Twitter: @FlyGirlWS

It isn’t that simple

Do you ever just stop, take a deep breath and take in the sweetness of the exact moment you’re in? You know, really stop and smell the roses? Nichole has taken that philosophy and created a whole blog dedicated to it. It’s truly beautiful. Every post is like a snapshot of life’s most precious moments. It inspires me and enchants me at the same time.

Nichole was also the very first person to ask me to guest post on her blog as part of her Small Moments Mondays series. I’m thrilled that she agreed to be a part of my Life Dreams series too.

I have so many memories from my childhood. There are so many happy moments that I can pull up and replay in my head like a happy home video. With all the thought and effort Nichole puts into truly being a good mom and living in the moment I have a feeling her beautiful children will be able to do the same.

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One of my life dreams is for my children to have happy memories of their childhood.

This may sound like a simple dream, but I’m not so sure that it is.  Parenting doesn’t come with a neat and tidy manual, divided into chapters for certain success.

And what do I mean by a happy childhood?

I want them to remember…

…the routine of our mornings, snuggles and Cheerios and blowing kisses as Daddy left for work.

… the sound of my voice as I read to them, the feel of my tickles, the softness of my chest as I held them.

… that I listened to them.  Really listened.  And I pray that they remember feeling validated and important.

… that we showered them with kisses, hugs, and I love yous.

… the smell of their freshly-laundered sheets, my body wash, and Craig’s cologne.

… watching Giants, Red Sox, Patriots, Kings, and Spurs games as a family, eating peanuts, and feeling connected over the love for a team.

… my laugh and the sound of Craig singing with the radio.

… feeling safe in their world but also encouraged to stretch beyond it.

… family bike rides and feeding the ducks.

… the way that I brush their hair from their face and bury my nose in their neck.

… that I didn’t take them for granted.  That I didn’t assume that they had to love me simply because I am their mother.  That I strove to build a unique relationship with each of them.

… the love and tenderness that they had for one another and the importance that we placed on their relationship. That we actively helped to nurture that.

… that we played with them.  That we didn’t just sit through countless games of Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, and Memory, but that we were present in the moment and that we delighted in their joy.

… that we laughed.  Together and often.

… running to and climbing on their daddy when he returned from work.  Every single day.

… that dinnertime was for talking and connecting.  For stories and plans.

I pray that we’re doing a good job.  There’s no way to know what they’ll remember, but it is my dream that the parts that stick are happy and comforting.

This is my dream.

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To share in more lovely moments of her life be sure to check out her blog: InTheseSmallMoments.com

and follow her on Twitter: @ITSMoments

Loosened grip

Kris has a gift of words. I call them magic words. One minute you’re sitting on your couch and the next you’re transported into whatever world she chooses to create that day. Sometimes this means laughing until you cry. Other times it’s gut wrenching sobs. No matter what, you are guaranteed to think and feel with every post.

Dreams are some of the most precious, fragile things in life. And there is nothing like having a safe place to let them come true. I’m so glad that this blog is part of that safe place. Because here? All dreams are encouraged and can come true.

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Dreams are scary things for me.

I am not speaking of the dreams I have at night, although those are sometimes frightening.

I mean the dreams of things I hope will be.

As a child I was told how special I was, and how anything was possible. And then the lips that spoke those encouraging words would lean close in to hear my dreams. I would happily confide.

There would be a span of time then in which all seemed possible.

That span of time would end. Inevitably. In a moment of anger and rage and hatred, that encouraging other would spit my dreams back into my face. Ridicule me for having hoped for anything beyond the walls of a small cold room. Mock me for the stupidity of having spoken my dreams. Insult and berate me for having trusted anyone with my heart.

Never trust anyone with my heart.

That lesson has stayed with me.

It is difficult for me to speak of the things I want. Wanting equals weakness. Wanting equals neediness. Wanting equals vulnerability.

Wanting invites rejection and pain and humiliation.

Speaking of the things I want literally brings me to tears.

I keep my hopes and dreams and desires . . . my wants . . . deep within me.

Where they are safe.

But in that silence? In that safety?

My dreams stay dreams. Beautiful and lovely to imagine, but no closer to being held in my hand than they were that first day I imagined them. Exquisite but eternally elusive.

Sigh.

Over the last eight months of blogging? Of writing posts for Pretty All True? I have somehow found the courage to loosen my grip on a few of my dreams. I have let them fly from my body and through my fingertips and out into the world. As my fingers have typed and gathered the words my mind wants to speak, my dreams have flown out into this world.

Whispered into the ears of encouraging others.

My dream of connecting with people through my words . . .

My dream of sharing my life . . .

My dream of telling my stories . . .

My dream of revealing some of my secrets . . .

My dream of capturing the magic that is my everyday . . .

My dream of pointing out the path that has taken me from there to here . . .

My dream of making a mark, even if it is only across the hearts of some future version of my daughters . . .

My dream of making no apologies for who I am . . .

My dream of writing this shit down . . .

My dream of being more fully . . . me.

This blogging thing?

Pretty All True?

It has allowed me to give voice to my wants, my needs, my dreams.

And every day that I sit down and assemble my thoughts? Every day that I post? Every day that I connect?

Every day that I trust a piece of myself with others?

Every day that I write this shit down?

I am more fully me.

A dream come true.

Happy sighs.

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Go to her blog and join the roller coaster of words: PrettyAllTrue.com

And for certain fits of giggles follow her on twitter: @PrettyAllTrue

A herd of papillons

I found Niki while searching for other papillon owners. Not only did I find someone with one of the word’s most adorable dogs, I found one of the sweetest, most encouraging people I’ve ever met. She’s someone else that I’m sure if we knew each other in real life we’d be best friends. I can’t blame her for not wanting to give up beautiful Californian weather for the bitter cold winters in Chicago though.

Niki is the biggest animal lover I know. If it were possible I’m sure she’d have a whole zoo full of animals and would love every single one. I can’t wait for someday when her dream is a reality and I can take Phoebe to play with her herd of papillons.

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When @skywaitress first asked me to write about a “Life Dream” I got really excited. I was so honored to be asked, and then I got all dreamy about what I could write. . .

Right now, like, at this moment, I’m working on fulfilling my life dream to have a wonderful career in a field I love; I’m currently in school for my LVN, I hope to one day get my RN, BSN, maybe even go on to become a Nurse Practitioner…

I have simple dreams, I’d like to get a good job, get married, have happy healthy kids. . . and a herd of Papillons.

The dream I’d like to share here? Is a dream I discovered about two years ago; I want to be involved in animal rescues and I want to help young adult pet owners. I’ve loved animals all my life, there have been horses, dogs, cats, birds, lizards, fish. If you know me at all, you know about Belle, my 4 year old Papillon who’s my adventure buddy, get to know me a little more and you’ll know that I’m a sucker for animals.

A couple years ago I was introduced to the world of animal rescue when I worked with Under the Angel’s Wings Rescue, out of Phelan, CA. It began as a few hours a weekend, but pretty soon I was spending full weekends up there with Adventure Papillon Belle right there with me, mucking stalls, feeding, watering, riding, handling, and grooming. Helping these horses who had been abused, been ignored, abandoned when they still had so much life, so much love left to give broke my heart. During my time with the rescue there was a cute Border Collie who found her way to the rescue, and quickly into my heart. I took her to the vet to get her checked out and check for a microchip, ended up reuniting her with her original family who had lost her during the snow storm. When the little kids piled out of the car and saw her, the happiness was unforgettable.

The second part of my dream? Is to start a foundation for young adults and college students who are good pet owners and animal lovers to be able to get assistance for quality preventative animal health care. Because the costs? Are ridiculously high when you’re not making a big or even reliable salary. When I brought Belle home I was 19. Not many people took me seriously as a pet owner, claiming the mentality that I didn’t know what I was in for and I would not live up to the responsibility pet ownership in college would require. Four years later? My little shadow is still one of the brightest points in my days. So I’d like to help people like me, I’d like to help them and help rescue groups. I would love to set something up with local vets to help pet owners get the heart worm, flea, vaccinations, and other care that the emergency pet funds overlook. I’ve seen the difference having Belle has made in my life, the calming ways and the cheering up on the bad days; I think just because someone isn’t 25 doesn’t mean they can’t adopt.

That herd of Papillons? Only kind of kidding, I’d love to be able to adopt and foster dogs, cats, horses, and maybe a few other farm and furry creatures. I hope in my future I have the home, the support, and the funds to make these dreams possible.
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Follow her journey through nursing school and the adventures of her courageous papillon Belle on her blog: Strawbrykiwi.wordpress.com

And on twitter: @strawbrykiwi

Cautious dreamer

I met Kathrin when I was an au pair in The Netherlands. She’s from Germany and still lives in The Netherlands which means I actually get to see her from time to time when I go back to visit my host family. She’s a dear friend and someone I definitely wish I lived closer too because with her I always have a fabulous time.

She doesn’t have a blog of her own (yet ::nudge nudge:: Kathrin ::wink::) but since she’s such a good friend I wanted to see what her life dreams were.

I shouldn’t be surprised that her and I are so similar. I’m a big dreamer in a lot of ways but when it comes down to it we share the same fear of failing. Even this trip to India I was afraid to get excited about in case it didn’t happen.

I’m so very glad it did and Kathrin, I’m sure that your dreams of a family will happen too, whenever you’re ready.

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Hi, I am a former au pair friend of Abigail’s and when she asked me to guest blog here, I was more than flattered. But I am not a blogger yet and therefore not used to writing that much. I have struggled with this post for days now and I still do not have a grip on it. However, as Abby and Joel are leaving shortly, I don’t have time anymore and will have to bore entertain you with just some personal thoughts, but hey, isn’t that what blogging is all about?*

I am asked a lot about my life dreams recently but I always give vague answers about wanting a ‘happy life’ with Mr P**. I mean that is certainly true, who doesn’t want a stable relationship and a healthy and happy life? But it is just not like I have this exciting life dream like climbing the Himalaya or find a cure against cancer. I mean I wouldn’t mind doing both, but I don’t dream of it. I am really afraid to fail and I think that is the reason or not daring to have big dreams.
I mean, it is not like I lead this boring, super organized life; I dare things, but usually the outcomes are very predictable. When they are not, I tend to not dream about it or at least don’t let the dream come too close to me. This is typical when I have a job interview for example, when I really desire the job I usually externally play it down for myself and all the people around me. There is, however, one dream everyone around me knows about but nobody besides Mr P knows how big it is for me: ever since I was a child, I dreamed of having the “perfect family” and especially children.

The closer it comes to getting children, however, the scarier it gets for me. Mr P and me have been in a relationship for more than 5 years now and while we are not married yet, I know that it will happen sooner or later and I also know that we would make quite ok parents. Mr P recently turned 30 and the questions about our ‘planning’ do not get fewer. (That’s why I always love to read about Abigail and Joel having the same dilemma ;-)). I mean seriously, last time we spontaneously visited my mother, she got all excited and bought champagne, because she thought we were coming “to tell her something”.

However, while there are clear obstacles of getting pregnant right now (like no job and money issues), there is also my fear of not being able to get pregnant at all. I would never ever dare to say that out loud*** but the older I get, the more afraid I am of not being able to have children and therefore I try to distance myself from that dream in a healthy way.

I really try to focus on ‘today’ and not get lost in fears or dreams. You know, if I died tomorrow, I could honestly say that I did have a happy life with Mr. P (too short though) and I would have spent my last evening with the love of my life and with the foresight of spending many more years together.

I don’t want to say that dreaming is bad, but I want to say that not dreaming about super exciting things is not bad either. So I finish my post with a quote of the Greek philosopher Epicurus as I think that he perfectly summarized the point I want to make:

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

* No offense 😉

** The love of my life

***Someone once told me, once you say it, it is true.

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Be sure to follow her on Twitter and say hello, hoi or guten tag: @MissUndutchable

The effing Great Wall of China!

Mandy is someone who can make the most mundane happenings in life into a story that’s interesting and hilarious. Her perspective on life is so refreshing and I imagine that she’s just a fun person to be around. I know if we lived near each other we’d be best friends. Now if I could just convince her to move out of Texas….

I loved this post that she wrote for this series because it reminded me to really stay in the moment. Sometimes little irritating things can seems so huge until you step back and realize how amazing what you’re doing actually is. I hope that I keep this lesson with me when I’m dealing with odd smells, giant bugs and intense heat in India. Now matter what, I’m in f***ing India!

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When I was in college, I had the opportunity to spend a month in China with my dad. He was doing business there and I tagged along, staying in nice hotels, eating super-weird food, and doing a lot of bargain shopping with people who were so shocked to see a tall white girl there that they wanted to take pictures with me.

On the weekends, we would hang out with his 20-something year old co-worker and friend, Darlana, and we would explore. Wuhan, then Beijing, then Shanghai, then it was off to Europe to tour around there. What an experience.

While we were in Beijing, we had to visit the Great Wall of China, obviously. We took a long tour that day, and they showed us the main sights in China and finally drove us up a mountain to the entrance of the Great Wall.

The weather was pretty terrible. Evidently all the pictures you see of the Great Wall winding beautifully over green hills on postcards? Aren’t realistic. Because that only happens a few days out of the year. The rest of the time, it’s foggy. Like, can’t-see-your-friends-walking-20-feet-in-front-of-you foggy. Clearly (ha!), our view of the beautiful winding wall was out of the question.

We had already had a long day and we were tired. Darlana was lamenting the weather, and how crowded it was there, and how hot it was (115°F! YIKES!), and was generally in a poor mood.

“Yeah,” I agreed, “the weather sucks, but I mean, we are actually walking on the Great Wall of China, after all.”

A light bulb went off in her brain, and she snapped her head back around and looked at me.

“We are!” she replied, excitedly. “We’re on the f***ing Great Wall of China!”

We started laughing, and from then on her demeanor completely changed.

Our feet still hurt, yes, but we were on the f***ing Great Wall of China!

Our view sucked more than it could have, yes, but we were on the f***ing Great Wall of China!

The places where the people had urinated and defecated were terrible, yes, but we were on the f***ing Great Wall of China!

And YES. That happens. Some people use the Great Wall as their personal toilet.

My point is, it was all a matter of attitude. By stepping back and realizing where we were, what this all meant, and changing our attitudes, we actually experienced it. We might have missed it had we focused on what was wrong with the situation.

If Abigail and Joel were to simply focus on the poor living conditions or the apparent hopelessness of a third-world country right now, they will not experience the good things. The help they can provide. The love. The mission.

When you find yourself living out one of your dreams, are you focusing on the things that are happening, or the things that aren’t?

During your wedding, something you meticulously planned will go wrong (for example, you will lose your wedding license right before the wedding. True story.). Don’t focus on that part. Focus on the part where he beams as you walk down the aisle.

When you buy your first house, there will be things to fix. Don’t focus on that part (well, unless it’s an unsound investment!). Focus on the part where you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment after having scraped all that horrible wallpaper off your bathroom wall while singing off key at the top of your lungs with the love of your life.

And when you are learning to live with your spouse, there will be flaws and fights. Don’t focus on that part. Focus on the part where he wrestles you to the floor and tickles you until you scream while the dog runs around and around the two of you, so excited that you’re playing.

We’re right on top of our f***ing Great Wall of China right now and not taking one second for granted. What’s your Great Wall?

Chances are, you’re already living the dream. It’s just a matter of finding the happy.

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For certain giggles make sure to check out her blog (that she writes with her husband Jack): JackandMandy.blogspot.com

and definitely follow her on Twitter: @mandyhornbuckle

Fulfilling my Dreams

I found Chrystal through #wineparty (a twitter party every Friday night put on by the fabulous Kit). What kept me coming back to her blog were her hilarious vlogs, her creative crafts and the fact that she is also a Hoosier girl.

I can completely relate to her post. I’m such a dreamer but so many of my dreams have fallen by the wayside. That’s ok. It’s too easy to get caught up in what I haven’t gotten done yet instead of realizing the dreams I’ve had actually have already come true, just in a way I didn’t expect.

Thank you Chrystal for this beautiful reminder.

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I’ve never really had just one goal for my life.

When I was very young, I had a pretty pink sun dress and I wanted to be a princess.

I remember bandaging a friend’s cut knee and wanting to be a nurse.

I argued with my brother and sister and wanted to be a lawyer.

I gave my heart to Jesus and I wanted to tell the world about His love.

I admired my teachers and I wanted to teach.

I sang in choir and I wanted to be a singer.

I was in so many plays throughout my childhood, and I treasured each one. I wanted to be an actress.

I’ve been examining my life lately and where I’ve gotten over the past 10 years. Honestly, I was disappointed in myself. I did not graduate with my high school class, I don’t have a career, I never went to college (one class), I’m not what I would consider successful, rich, skinny, or famous. I’m not a princess, a nurse, a lawyer, a minister, a teacher, a singer, or an actress. Then it struck me– God has given me a gift so much greater than that.

God gave me three beautiful, healthy, happy princesses–and a prince.

I tend to cuts, bruises, burns, and broken spirits.

I reason with a jury, fight for justice and truth, argue my point.

I am given so many chances each and every day to share God’s love with my precious children.

I get to share my knowledge with them, teach them everything I can in hopes that one day when they need it most, that morsel of wisdom will reveal itself and become useful once again.

I sing my ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle, Itsy Bitsy Spider and This Little Piggy to a captivated audience who is the most receptive group for which I’ve ever performed.

I have played a damsel in distress, a superhero heroine, a grumpy troll, a fairy princess, and countless talking animals.

Looking back 10 years, I’m definitely, 100% not where I thought I’d be. Never in my life did I expect to turn out so frazzled, so ‘suburban housewife,’ or so blessed. So undeserving. So thankful. Thankful for my incredible husband of almost 9 years and four wonderful, amazing children. Thank you God, for helping me achieve my lifelong dreams.

Make sure you follow Crystal on Twitter: @mommafo

And don’t miss her vlogs over on her blog. Seriously, they will make you laugh: Mommafo.blogspot.com

A Celebration of Day Dreaming

I joined 20 something bloggers in order to find some online people who were in similar places in their life. I found some neat people but one of my very favorites was Jade who writes Now That I’m No Longer 25. Jade has an ambitious list of goals she wants to accomplish before she turns 30 just like I do.

Another bonus to her blog? She’s Scottish which means I get to read her blog with an accent in my head! Yes I seriously do that. Try it, you’ll love it too.

My favorite thing about her though is she’s not afraid to dream big. One of the most exciting things about life is the ability to dream something up, make it a goal and go after it 100%. Whether you accomplish it or not isn’t the point. The point is not being afraid to reach just above what seems possible and she definitely is a good example of someone who does just that.

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All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney

I’ll admit it; I’m a dreamer, kind of like JD from Scrubs but with longer hair. I’ve loved day dreaming since I was a child, my parents received numerous report cards noting my inability to concentrate on a task and the amount of time I spent day dreaming in lessons. I loved getting lost in my own world of faeries, detectives and dusty mansions. One of the best things about childhood is the ability to dream and imagine

Dream your dreams with open eyes and make them come true. – T. E. Lawrence

It took me a long time to become confident in my abilities and to realize that I was accepted by others, once I did though my dreams changed to a different type of dreams – to more attainable dreams; dreams of careers, houses, hospitality, connections, a house filled with laughter and traveling the world. There really is no end to the possibilities while we’re on this planet.

Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them. – John Updike

Challenge is important to me; that’s part of the fun in dreaming, setting yourself a challenge, thinking about what you could change or achieve if you really set your mind to it. For dreams to become a reality you really need to have confidence in yourself; in your abilities, in your personality and in your aims.

Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Not all of my dreams will become realities, my dreams and aspirations change over time. They’re my dreams and I can chose them, change them or even abandon them. I’ve discovered that I need to dream in order to achieve and that having aspirations really helps spur you on and try things out. That’s why I’ve also made a 30 things to do before I’m 30 list – to give me something to work towards and to give me the drive to achieve some of my dreams while I have the opportunity. So really there’s nothing wrong with a little day dreaming!

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

Make sure you follow Jade on Twitter: @JadeDickinson

And keep up with her working through her 30 by 30 list at JadeDickinson.com

Dream a little dream

I can think of no one I’d rather start my life dreams guest series out with. Adrienne is someone I greatly admire. She is so brave and knows how to use tough love better than almost anyone I know. She’s also not afraid to admit her flaws and failures. She manages to be both a hero and an imperfect human at the same time all with a grace that amazes me.

Her passionate words never fail to inspire me. She is an advocate for persons with mental illness as she fights that battle every day with her precious son Carter. I never question the fact that she is an incredible mother and the following post is a perfect illustration of that.

My mother always encouraged my dreams and told me I could be anything I wanted to be. I know that impacted my life so positively. Adrienne’s children will surely thank her for her strength and encouragement of their dreams no matter what career they end up with later in life.

And her dream, although it sat on the shelf for awhile, has certainly become a reality now. She is one of my favorite writers.

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When I was in kindergarten, I took dance classes for the first time. “Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a ballerina!”

“No one in our family is petite enough to be a dancer.”

When I was in first grade, the highlight of my week was choir practice at church. “Daddy, I want to be a singer when I grow up!”

“You can’t even carry a tune.”

When I was in third grade, I was in love with Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls on Little House On the Prairie. “Dad, I want to be an actress when I grow up!”

“Yeah, well, lots of people want to be in the movies. Most people never get a single acting job.”

In my family, dreaming is sort of like picking one’s nose; everybody does it, but it’s a dirty, shameful habit in which one should only indulge furtively, in private.

When I was in fourth grade, we had squiggle books. Mine was an orange spiral notebook in which my teacher made a little mark – the squiggle. From that squiggle, I drew a picture, and from the picture, I wrote a story. By Halloween, I’d learned to spend no more than 5 minutes on my picture so I could have as much time as possible writing my stories.

I learned to play with words, to paint pictures and evoke feelings and create a new world. We worked in those squiggle books the first 30 minutes of every day and I wasted not a single one of them. The classroom fell away. The shuffling of papers; the grinding of the pencil sharpener; the glare of the fluorescent lights; nothing existed except me and my pencil.

Since I was only nine years old, I didn’t have words to describe what was happening to me, but now I do: I was falling in love.

I didn’t mean to say it out loud; I knew what would happen when I voiced the hope that kept me company in my bed at night and on the school bus ride every morning. I knew I should keep it to myself; that this was special, totally unlike my desire to be a ballerina or an actress or a singer, but one day, there it was. “Mom, when I grow up I want to be a writer!”

“Do you have any idea how many people want to be writers? Millions. Hardly any of them make it.”

This part of the story would be way better if my indomitable artist’s spirit wouldn’t let me give up and I persevered in spite of my parents’ naysaying ways, but no. I let the dream die. I didn’t write for my high school newspaper or take creative writing; I didn’t write stories in notebooks or even keep a journal. I forgot all about it.

Hell, if you can’t be Don DeLillo or Joyce Carol Oates, why even bother, right?

I gave up on dreams and, for a thousand reasons, I floundered my way through the next 20 or so years of my life. I tried some things; I mothered my children and pretended to care about domestic sorts of things, but a life without a dream, no matter how full, is missing something. Being a mother wasn’t my dream, but I tried to force it to fulfill me completely because I didn’t know what else to do.

I had so thoroughly given up on finding something that I loved to do that I didn’t even think about it. In the midst of divorcing my two eldest children’s dad, going back to college, and meeting my husband, I didn’t have a plan for my future. I had a vague hope that someday, when the time came for me to earn an income, I would manage to find something I didn’t hate.

If aiming low is a dachshund, I a snake crawling between the dachshund’s paws.

Jacob, my eldest child, was in 5th grade when he came to me and said, “Mom, I want to be a famous drummer when I grow up!”

The words were instantly in my mouth. “Lots of kids want to be drummers, Jacob. Only a few of them get to be famous.”

Somehow, they didn’t make it out of my mouth and into the space between us. Instead, I said, “You’re an awesome drummer! You’ve been practicing a lot lately!”

A close call, and a moment of grace, too, since up to that moment I had never given any thought to the way my parents responded to my childish excitement over future possibilities.

He answered me, “Yeah, but I’m not as good as Neil Peart, though. He’s the best. I’ll never be the best.”

“Do you love drumming, Jacob?”

His face was bright. “Of course I do!”

“Then you’ll be a drummer. Whether you get to be famous or you play at local shows or you keep a drum set in your garage and play it for your kids, you’ll be a drummer.”

God bless that boy, he took the bait. “I’m always going to play the drums! I hope I get to be famous, though.”

“I hope so too, Jacob.”

My childhood dream, when I finally found it, was dusty, but the joy was still alive in it. I dove in and found out that if I laid down some words in lines, some people would read those words.

Don DeLillo I am not. I have an audience perhaps 0.0000000001% the size of Joyce Carol Oates’s audience. Still, my childhood dream of someday being a writer has come true, just like Jacob’s dream of being a drummer will come true. Whether either of us is ever famous or earns pots of money, we will always do what we love.

I’m so glad I didn’t take that away from him.

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If you think you’re inspired now just wait until you read her blog: NoPointsForStyle.com

Also, definitely follow her on Twitter: @NoStylePoints

Small Moments Mondays

I am so honored to have been asked to be a part of Nichole’s (ITSMoments) Small Moments Mondays guest post series on her blog: In These Small Moments.

Nichole is one of my favorite bloggers and tweeters. She has a lust for life that is contagious and inspires me to stop, smell the roses and focus on every wonderful moment of life. We’ve also had many late night conversations on Twitter that led to snort filled giggle fits.

Please go check out my post about my Sweet Caroline, the little girl I used to be a nanny for. Then make sure you stick around her blog and read some more of her post. I promise you will love it and then want to go hug the ones who mean the most to you.

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