Tuesday, March 30, 2010


A couple of months ago, I was able to get away with some girlfriends. (Just typing that sentence makes me happy. It’s a gift to get to do that.) We normally stow away in a lake house in our pajamas (or anything with elastic waistbands) for the short 48 hours, but this year we pulled out all the stops and actually paid for a couple of hotel rooms! (With this bunch, you can bet your last babysitting dollar that we got a deal.) We knew this 5 star hotel would certainly be a treat, but at the last minute we all seemed to be just short of “panicky” about our food. On our usual lake weekends, we have enough eats to be snowed in, trapped for weeks and weeks, maybe months. Boo-koodles. One year, I think we had 9 bags of Fritos. Heaven forbid that we wouldn’t have a “transfatty-scoop” for the guacamole or for the dip that is sure to cause us all to have angioplasties when we are fifty. In the house, we have a refrigerator in which to keep necessities cold, an oven in which to bake brownies and such, a stove top on which one friend can pop our popcorn and last but absolutely not the least, a coffee maker in which to brew our vice (or in some healthy cases, a tea kettle in which to heat water). We all reassured each other that there would be a coffee maker in the room. Five star ............ surely. No pot. No nothing. Five iPhones quickly calculated the shortest route to the nearest coffee house and we consoled ourselves with the fact that we could get morning coffee in the lobby. (WHO would be the one who would actually go down to the fancy lobby and retrieve it was never discussed, but you can be sure we were all wondering.) The next morning, one desperate gal called the front desk only to find out they had “taken up” the coffee at 10:00 am. What? Didn’t they know there were six mommas upstairs who were getting to sleep through the sunrise for the first time in weeks! Alas, they had replaced the coffee pump with cider. So we traded a needed caffeine boost for clove-numbed tongues.

On our way in from lunch, I spied a fancy coffee maker in the bar area. With high hopes I stopped in and asked, “Can you make ‘fun’ coffee, like with syrups?” The lady proudly answered yes, displayed a raised eyebrow and confident grin and said, “If you can dream it, I can make it.” Well now, THAT was a jolly good answer. So that is just what I did... dreamed about my 4 o’clock cup.

When my water-proof Timex finally blinked a blue 4:00, a friend joined me on my way

down to the lobby to “fulfill my dream”. I was delighted to find the same perky lady working the bar. Anticipating my frothy topped coffee, I asked, “So what kind of syrups do you have?” She looked behind her, turned and announced, “Vanilla.” Long pause. Longer. Of course, I was waiting for more. The “Dream it. Make it.” thing singing in my head. She looked at me, eyebrows raised. I looked at her, raising my eyebrows a little higher. Where were my choices? Where was her “dream” mantra?

Walking away, sipping my vanilla-flavored coffee, I came to the conclusion that this lady just didn’t dream very big. It’s only coffee, I know, but, my word.......vanilla? “If you can dream it, I can make it”???? I am no great visionary whose dreams have potential to change the world as we know it. (God knows, truly, my husband has enough ideas to last just my family through the Millennium and beyond.) But I can dream up a cup of coffee. I can even do better than that. I can dream up a yummy meal to serve to friends. I can dream of what I want my bedroom to look like or how I want my dinner table arranged for company. I can dream of how, as a Mom, I never want to get snippy or irritated with my kids or how I want our school days to look. I can dream of the way I want our holidays to

be celebrated or how I want our family devotions to go. I can dream of the atmosphere I want to create in my home or what I want for my children one day. Some of these I can pull off and at least one of these is absolutely out of my control. And so, there’s the rub. “Out of my control.” I tend not to dream there, not so much anyway. “Out of my control” is tricky............ and scary. Did I learn that growing up? Or is it part of my genetic make-up? Is it fear? Is it because I lack faith? Does He try to plant big dreams in my heart and I just don’t listen? Am I too proud? If I dream BIG, set out to see it through and fail, would I recover? How often do I dream of things beyond my control? Not very. Somewhere along the way, along the thoughts, I decide to play it safe.

Often, I hear about women, all ages, who have dreamed huge and "out of their control". Ideas and aspirations that would have never crossed my mind-- women who have set up businesses and websites that help create income for women in third world countries as they

use their own giftedness, women who create supplemental schools for home schooling families, a widow who sold her home so she could move into a women’s shelter so she would be available to them 24/7, a woman who took it upon herself to raise money so a lady in Rwanda could own her own home, women who home school their kids while establishing resourceful, humorous and/or meaningful blog “empires” that refresh thousands- not to mention publish books and speak in various parts of the country, a college student, who instead of going to church on Sunday mornings, used her money to buy doughnuts, hitting the streets on the “other side of the tracks” in order to share Christ's love, women who set out to write a book or run for political office, women who with their husbands say “yes” to raising their children in remote parts of Asia away from all people and things familiar.........and all things "out of their control". You know people like this. You have a list too. Big dreams. Big impact.

Over the last few months, I have thought a lot about dreaming big--- what is a “big dream” anyway and how can I help plant the desire and confidence in my children to ask God to reveal His path for them, to say “no” to fear or pride and to jump with both feet

into any dream He plants deep within their heart? Into things out of their control? (Out of MY control? Yikes.) Several weeks ago, Julia and I went to see a friend of ours in a wonderful high school production of “Little Women: The Musical”. Our friend played Jo, the main character, whose entire life was driven by her audacity and impetuousness. Until the last scene of the musical, her dreams were “bigger” than marrying and raising a family. Hmm......of course I wondered what Julia was thinking. I anticipated a conversation with her on the ride home, but she didn’t have much to say. I asked. She shrugged, but her silence confirmed to me that her wheels were turning. Finally, as we were pulling into our driveway, she asked, “Momma, is there anything WRONG with dreaming big?” What she had always dreamed of before the musical and the ideas presented in the musical were at odds in her impressionable heart. Were her dreams not big enough? Were they “less” somehow?

In the next few minutes in true God form, all my aimlessly wandering thoughts on the

subject came together and marched out in neat little rows giving Julia encouragement and

security in the midst of the small struggle taking place within her. I assured her that her

desire to be a wife and mother one day was in the heavy weight category and that it was a

marvelous dream. Loving, helping and respecting her husband and attempting to raise her children in the ways of God is a big deal, bigger than she or I will ever know on this side of heaven. Like Julia, it had been my own childhood dream, growing stronger until sweet Jeff surprised me with a proposal and so the dream began. It has looked different than I thought it would, but that’s only because I couldn’t begin to imagine it the beautiful way God had it all laid out. Definitely out of my control.

Through the years, He has helped me to put away my fear of failure (most of the time) and to choose His dream of sharing with my family my heart, my longing for more of God, for more fruit in my life, my love of home, my need for grace, my desire for fun, my efforts toward “togetherness”, my love for His Church...........sharing with them meaningful celebrations, my need for rhythm in life, His track record of faithfulness in our lives, my love of quietness and order and beauty......... sharing with them my many failures and His steady redemption, ...........sharing with them my love, my fears, my life, and my trust in His big, big glorious dream as it is still being revealed.

Father, You put the dream in my heart and You, only You, can make it happen. Thank You.


Alyssa said...

I still think about your post on praying for "the moon," but I think you've topped that with this post. Oh how you challenge me . . . in the best of ways!

Sarah said...

Sounds like you handled this perfectly. J & B will have all they need "dream big." :)

and the "vanilla" set-up to the story was perfect, and hilarious!

andrea said...

Hello, great story. Loved the picture of you in your wedding dress. You were so beautiful and you haven't changed a bit (in looks that is). I was just having a similar discussion with Greg's parents as they told me to dream big ...but the thing is they added that being 'just a mother, and just a wife' wasn't a big enough dream. They said they didn't want me to look back on my life and wished I had done more with it than put others before myself. --- Thing is, being a wife and mother, plus working is a lot for me. Glad I read this post to read what I have been feeling because being a wife and mother is a heavy weight category. Thank you for the support!