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

Month: September 2010 Page 1 of 3

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.


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:

Wordless Wednesdays: Packing Light Before and After

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.


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

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.


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.


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

Also, definitely follow her on Twitter: @NoStylePoints

Life dreams

I literally cannot believe we’re actually on our way to India. We’re leaving. Today. Now.

I’ve dreamed of this since I was 12 years old.

And I’m going.

It seems so unreal. I wonder when it will start feeling real.

When I actually board the plane to Germany? When I board the plane to Bombay? When I step off the plane in Bombay? When I actually step on Indian soil in Delhi? When I first lay eyes on the Taj Mahal? When I give my first hug to an Indian orphan?

I was so afraid to hope for this trip. So afraid to get excited. Because honestly, this means the world to me. My heart aches to go to India and connect with it’s people. It has since I was 12. So letting myself actually believe that I’m going has been hard.

It was easier once the ticket was donated and we were able to buy the other one. But it still hasn’t fully sunk in.

I’m going to India. Today. Not just someday. Today.

I hope I am able to rest on the plane. I want to be fully alert when I land so I can soak in every single second of my time there.

While I’m gone I will continue to have posts go up every day. I have an incredible series of guest posts lined up that will post most of the days that I’m gone. There will also be a couple fun videos and Wordless Wednesdays posts thrown in.

The theme for the series I picked was life dreams. I feel like it’s fitting since I am in the middle of fulfilling one of my biggest life dreams. I left it fairly open beyond that and I was amazed at the different responses I got from my guest posters. The thing I was most surprised at was how similar everyone is.

Most of them have very different lives but it seems that one thing we all have in common is our dreams. Big, small or somewhere in the middle we all dream. We all feel inadequate or frustrated when our plans and goals don’t work out the way we thought they would. We all hope and wish and plan for our future.

My favorite people to be around are dreamers and I couldn’t be more honored to host these amazing writers on my humble little blog.

I’m not sure what my internet situation will be while I’m there. I’m hoping I can respond to tweets and comments but I just don’t know. I am scheduling tweets to go out when the posts go up so you can look forward to those.

I will miss all you lovely people and can’t wait to share my adventures and pictures as soon as I get back.

Why do I do this?!

I procrastinate. And I freaking hate it. I leave for India tomorrow.


Guess how packed I am at 8pm the night before.

(not at all)

Guess how many blog posts I have ready.

(still have a bunch to write or get ready to post)

So yeah, I’m freaking out just a little.

I’ll get it all done. I always do. Will I get a decent night of sleep? That is very questionable.

So this post is a little phoned in. Sorry. I just have to concentrate on other things right now. Because I’m already tired and am hours away from being able to go to bed.


Elf feet at fifty percent off

I have mentioned before that I have freakishly small feet. It’s a problem. Not for walking and all that because they function just fine. It’s the buying shoes for my peg feet that is the problem.

What. A. Pain.

Seriously, apparently I am a rare breed. Because it is sooo hard to find shoes in my size. As much as I love shoes, I detest shoe shopping because it usually ends in frustration. I find plenty of shoes I think are adorable but they’re all in normal human feet sizes instead of elf sized. Lame.

I needed a pair of sandals for India. I have plenty of flip flops and a couple of cute but not comfortable pairs already but, I really wanted something I could walk around in all day. I certainly didn’t want to pack a backpack full of socks in order to wear tennis shoes.

I checked out a couple different outdoor stores but didn’t see anything in particular I liked. I’ve been sort of kind of looking for awhile but put off any serious search because of the size issues. Then suddenly today is here, my trip is in two days and I still have no shoes. Oops. Off to R.E.I. Joel and I went.

I was really excited when I realized that it’s the end of sandal season so they were all on clearance. Still not all that cheap but at least more reasonable. I searched through dozens of shoes and started to get sad when I realized I had very few options. I’m not really into the hiking sandal look as it is. Kind of reminds me of my dad. Only he’d wear them with knee high black socks. Oh yes he did. Anyway, when it’s narrowed down to three or four choices it’s even harder. I decided to try a couple on hoping they’d look better on my feet.

And then I found out R.E.I.’s shoe sizes run a little big.

That’s a size 6. Yeah. See my problem?

At that point I about burst into tears. I looked at Joel and bemoaned my itty bitty feet.

Why oh why am I cursed with child sized feet?” I asked.

And then, basically as a joke, I walked over to the kid section and picked up a shoe and said that I bet it’d fit me. So I jokingly tried to put it on my foot….

And, like Cinderella. the freaking shoe fit.

I then started giggling hysterically and as the salesman walked by I pointed out the fact that I fit in a child’s shoe.

He just shrugged and said,

Hey, they’re cheaper.

Holy crap! He’s totally right! In fact, they’re about 50% less than adult versions of the same exact shoe! Jackpot!!!

The only problem with kids shoes is they’re so…. childish. Bright colors, silly patterns. It’s as if they expect children to wear them instead of full grown adult women with circus freak feet.

The pair I picked is brighter than I would have preferred. I also am not super crazy about the color pink. But it’s better than frogs or hearts or no shoes at all so I’m not going to complain too much.

Plus they were way cheap. Not too shabby, huh?

Stupid piece of paper

Today I was asked by no less than three people where I went to school. I don’t remember how it came up in any of these conversations. The only thing I know is the conversations continued like this:

Them – “So, where did you go to school?

Me – “Uh, well… um, I didn’t…

Then comes the nervous ramblings:

I graduated high school then I moved to Europe for awhile to be an au pair then moved back because, ya know, I fell in love ::giggle:: then I became a flight attendant and traveled all over the world and then uh… stupid economy… and now I’m here. A barista… slash waitress. And, yeah…

Them – ::blank stare:: “Oh. That’s. Nice.” ::backs away::

And they walk away probably wondering what the heck they asked exactly and I’m left feeling an inch tall.

There’s a sinking feeling in my chest whenever I think about it. About how I judged I feel. About how stupid and backwards and behind and lame and worthless they must think I am.

Then, not much later one of the askers made a comment about me not even having been to college. It was a negative comment. I can’t remember the wording exactly…

Because I was so shocked and had to fight the urge to burst into tears. Or run away and hide in a hole.

I’m not stupid.

I’m not.

And I could have that stupid piece of paper. I’m smart enough. I was a straight A student for goodness sake. I love school.

It’s the idea of taking on ten of thousands of dollars in debt that terrifies me. Especially because that dumb piece of paper is no guarantee that I’ll have any better job than I do right now. But people would think better of me. They wouldn’t think I’m stupid.

Because maybe some of them don’t. I might be paranoid.

But I know some of them do. The comments prove that to me.

The “Oh but you’re… smart.”You seem like such a smart girl.”A degree isn’t everything.”

And I smile and laugh and agree while wishing the ground would open up and swallow me whole.

I want to scream going to college doesn’t make you better than me! I’m smart dammit!


The thing is, I love my life. I’m so happy with my life, I wouldn’t change anything. There’s no point in my life experience that I can imagine changing. I’ve had an amazing life. I’ve done more in 24 years than some people do in a lifetime. There’s so much more I have left to do and I expect it’s all going to be just as amazing.

So yeah, I didn’t go to college. I want to. I will.

But in the meantime… could you please just not ask?

Wordless Wednesdays: Love her face

The sweet song of rain

To me, rain is magical. My love for it is probably why I loved The Netherlands so much. Everything about it makes me happy.

The smell of wet dirt, grass and pavement.

The feel of the cool breeze against my face.

The sounds of rushing water, as if I suddenly live under a waterfall. The whishhhh of cars as they drive past, and the rumble of thunder in the distance.

It’s even better when it thunderstorms. The darkness to instant day as lighting streaks across the sky in it’s tree like form. The giant claps of thunder that almost make your heart stop for a split second.

The other day it thundered so loud Joel hit the living room floor. After we stopped crying from laughter he told me he thought it was a gunshot outside. Then I cried laughing all over again.

Thunderstorms change the weather in a matter of minutes. It can go from blistering hot to nearly chilly. From dry to humid. Or humid to dry. You just never know.

The unknown is the best part. There’s always a vague sense of danger. But as long as I’m home cozy and dry I know there’s little chance any harm will come to me.

Nothing makes me happy quite like rain. Nothing soothes me to sleep better.

I’m grateful for days when the skies are blue and the sun warms my face. But I wouldn’t mind if every night I was lulled to sleep by the song of rain.

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