do you know daisy is a flower?

We were all sitting on the steps of the school on a Saturday, watching afternoon walkers stroll by in front of us. Rhenny and Daisy were the last ones left after the field trip, but I had already dismissed them to go home. They decided on their own to sit and wait with me for my coworker to arrive.

So, we sat and I listened to History assignments and Saturday night plans and then Daisy said, “Do you know daisy is a flower?” I think Rhenny was still talking on my right about his high school aspirations, but I turned to Daisy and just nodded. Her face got especially pleasant, “My mom told it to me this morning. It’s pretty cool, right?”

And then she looked up and said she wished she could fly.

Yes, Daisy. Let’s make plans to fly together sometime and soon. Middle school is this kind of age – where discoveries and dreams trip over one another, jumbling affections and plans and words when you’re sitting on the school steps with your counselor.

Discoveries and dreams are familiar things to me and one of the many reasons why I am mostly a middle school student inside my mostly adult skin.

I do know that daisies are flowers, but I forgot to wonder at them the way Daisy did when she told me what she had just learned. I forgot daisies could be discovered for the first time. Her joy in discovery was deeper because seemed to claim some of that wonder for herself, in her name – like she was proud her name could bloom.

I got pulled in to her wonder and pulled in to the bloom right as she looked up at a moving flock of birds and said she wished she could fly.

The whimsical dream chased the heels of her discovery before my heart could catch up. So, my eyes flew up just above the tree branches to catch the fluttering wings of her inspiration.

“Why would you want to fly, Daisy?”

“Because the air under me and because I could see everything.”

Mmm, good reasons both. Because air would push up beneath her in flight to buoy her forward motion and suspend her in beautiful rebellion against gravity. The air under her would lift her above eye level to a different perspective.

Yes, Daisy, let’s go flying sometime.

I will go with you if I can drop the weight of this adult skin. I want to feel the air under me and see everything, too.

if something or nothing or everything

I spoke at a little gathering this morning, in the basement of a little church in the belly of a little town in Iowa. The Griswold Optimist Club meets every Friday at 7 am. A hearty breakfast always accompanies the conversation and the updates and the meeting agenda, followed by the program.

After my grandma’s precious introduction, I stood up with the Optimist Creed as a backdrop to share with this little crowd. I spoke and they listened. Somewhere in the middle, as my words went out, I thought about the great tension of now and not yet – about being present in the moment while pushing toward something in the future.

Today is my last in Iowa before the Eastward adventure to NYC. I’m not as confident as I sounded as an 8th grader in the Optimist Oratory Contest, but I probably have more peace. There’s something safe about orating your dreams and something scary about living those words on paper. I learned to love speaking – to stand in front of a group and have the microphone; to arrange my ambition into words that hold the audience’s attention.

But the living out of those words – the dreams and hopes and ambitions that are prime content for speeches and blog posts and soap boxes – is a humble pursuit.

What if I fail?

What if I don’t ever do all those things I dreamed about in my winning 8th grade speech? What if I am never part of some sweeping humanitarian campaign that ends up in the news?

The older I get (boy, I never thought I’d say that), the more convinced I am that I don’t have any wisdom to share or advice to give. I write a lot of words, publish a lot of posts, scribble a lot of sentences… but often the questions repeat and the lessons are reruns.

This lesson that I am learning again on this Friday morning is simple: If something or nothing or everything comes of my dreams on paper, I am no more and no less a child of God. My inheritance is no more and no less heaven. My future is no more and no less the abundant life Christ promised in John 10:10.

Believing God for His promises means stepping forward in faith, knowing that the future does not depend on my performance. God is faithful – it’s just who He is. So, when He says He will complete the work and bind the wounded and mend the broken, I know that He will.

Obedience to Him as He redeems and restores might look like Paul’s encouragement to the people in Thessalonica, “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (Thessalonians 4:11-12)

Nobody writes speeches about that. Nobody ends up on a podium to encourage a simple, proper walking out of this life.

Having dreams is not bad. I love dreams. I remember my high school graduation announcement used a quote from Willy Wonka (who borrowed it from a poem by Arthur O’Shaugnessy), “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams…”

I love dreams, but they are always held in the tension of today. Dreams are things that are not here in this moment, things that are often written on paper and read with confidence that the speaker can make them come true.

I don’t have that kind of confidence.

My confidence is in the One whose words create realities. He spoke and our reality came alive. He speaks and our reality stays alive. He never fails.

He is the dreamer. I just say, Amen.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

dream sessions

No, I’m not in Nashville trying to outdo Taylor Swift by recording “Blue” (the teen/country/bubble-gum/southern anthem album for adolescents whose emotions are speeding like the 1990 Caravan you just retired from the road). No, it’s nothing like that.

The dream sessions are accountability – a window of time where Emma and I sit in the coffee shop and lay our dreams bare on the table space in between. We get ridiculous about what’s possible and then we keep going, keep dreaming.

I knew early on that these little encounters would need some structure, mostly because I know myself and I cannot finish a good idea without structure. So, we decided these dream sessions would be about sharing, inspiring, and then working.

Well, it’s natural, isn’t it? Once you’ve laid your dreams out like undergarments on a clothesline you feel… a bit exposed. It takes everything in you to refrain from gathering up all the unmentionables in a large, haphazard bundle and running inside to hide them in the farthest corner of the house. That’s why we needed structure. So, we get together every week to remind one another what it is we are working toward and to nudge each other toward baby steps to get there.

We share about steps we’ve made toward our dream.
We inspire each other with conversation and prayer.
and then…
We go to work like our dream is our real job, because it is (kind of).

We bend our heads over the coffee table to work on something that uses our gifts, stretches our abilities, and reflects the creativity of the One who made creative desires in us. We take turns breaking into the silence with questions and challenges before honoring our gifts with the grindstone again. We really do believe that we are called to steward well our resources – that working for the Lord might mean digging deeper than what appears on a job description to find what is written on our hearts.

Sundays are for dream sessions.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

an introduction to 7 layer dreams

My mom makes a mad seven layer bean dip. I mean, people talk about it and not just around Christmas and Super Bowl – it’s kind of a big deal. I always admired the idea of 7 layers constructed for the sole purpose of complimenting a simple, overly salty corn chip.

When someone recently asked me the question, “What is a dream you have… you know? A dream that might be crazy, but you would love to make it happen?” I immediately thought of seven layers. Not because my dream has to do with beans, but because it’s complex and simple and oh-so-delicious. Also because the thought of attempting my mom’s (admittedly simple) 7 layer bean dip is a little intimidating.

I think my dream’s seven layers is the result of a concept I just invented called “adaptation construction.” This is a building technique utilized here in Honduras where people build a room onto whatever wall seems lonely. The result is a maze of concrete puzzle pieces that tell quite a lengthy story.

So, my dream’s like that – 7 layer bean dip and adaptation construction. It’s been growing and developing over the past few years and I’m sure now contains more than could possibly realistically fit in one dream. But, I’ve finally come to peace with that unfortunate realistic bit.

If God gave dreams that were realistic, there would be nothing to hope for, nothing to believe for, and nothing to risk everything on the chance that it might happen. I have a hunch that God lets us dream big things because we realize how small we are in comparison. He wants us to think beyond what is possible and believe He goes further still.

There’s that piece in me that wants to roll up the “adaptation construction” blueprint and never attempt the widely praised 7 layer bean dip. I have finally figured out what to call that piece: fear and pride. Sometimes chasing the dreams God has placed inside you means believing God is bigger than the fear of failure and that if and when we do fail, God can still be glorified.

I’ve shared these 7 layers with a few secret souls. I actually wrote out each layer in creative gobbledigook language and trusted gmail to deliver it intact. Today, a dear friend responded with some of the sweetest encouragement I could ever hear. Her heart is tender for dreams as well. She throws out that my-real-home-is-heaven-but-I-believe-in-praying-for-Thy-kingdom-come-now kind of vibe.

What a beautiful thing is sweet community. Even when it comes in the form of typed out words from miles away. This is the binding power of Christ and His Church!

let LOVE fly like cRazY
Especially to all you folks shivering inside of snow-banked houses! Here’s pictures from my parents home in Iowa. I don’t have to tell you that it’s much, much warmer here. 🙂

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