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This sign was sitting in the front of the gift shop over a year ago, and it really caught my fancy.

A sign! One that says, basically, so, you’re looking for a sign from God, eh? Well, here it is! Clever.

I wanted to buy it, but couldn’t justify the price. 

A few months later, it was in the middle of the shop with other random bric-a-brac. I picked it up again, but put it back down.

Finally last month, it was on clearance. This time, the price was right, so I took it home. (Just to clarify, I paid for it first! A kleptomaniac, I’m not.)

It has a light-hearted message, to be sure, but the words on the sign really resonated with me.

You see, every so often, I find myself waiting for a nudge from God and end up in a holding pattern.

Like the time I wrote a short story some time back, but didn’t submit it to any markets because it wasn’t my usual genre. It was science fiction, and I figured the editors would take one look at it, exclaim, “novice!” and toss it into the slush pile.

Finally, over the summer, I took the advice of this silent, wooden sign and took a shot. I submitted my story to Analog, a science fiction magazine. Chances are, it may well end up in the slush pile. Even so, it’s higher on the evolutionary scale of getting the piece published than it would be gathering dust on my computer (virtually speaking, that is.)

That sign is a silent sentinel, saying: Don’t wait any longer to walk toward your dreams.

You don’t need an engraved invitation from God. 

I believe that the minute you take a step toward that goal in your soul, you’ll find that God shows up on the path and walks with you.

Of course, in truth, he was there all along. You’re the one who finally took that leap of faith and met him halfway.

But if you’re like me and you need a sign, there it is, good people. It’s no burning bush… just a friendly nudge in the right direction.

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dream doula

Most of the people in my life have no idea that I’m secretly a Dream-Doula. For whatever reason, it seems that almost everyone I encounter will – eventually – share their most cherished dream with me. In some ways, it’s as if they’re telling me about the One That Got Away. Like there’s only one shot in life, and if you miss your chance at the brass ring, you’re out of luck.

But when I tell them it’s never too late, their eyes widen. If God put it on your heart, I say, doors will start to open. Of course, it’s up to you to walk through.

A new writer posted her work and I commented that it was lovely. I told her, “You’re a bona-fide, honest-to-goodness, heck of a writer!” She told me that she had been doubting her skills and had considered quitting. Later, I got a thank-you card from her. Writing gigs were coming fast and furious.

A computer repairman told me about the office politics at his company, and wished there was a way to get away from the toxic environment. “Why don’t you start your own company?” I asked him. He looked at me blankly. “Well, how would I do that?” I told him that before I actually had any gigs as a Freelance Writer, I’d had business cards made. I looked at them every day and reminded myself that this is more than what I do. It’s who I am. He took my advice and started his own company.

A plumber told me his true dream was to work at the happiest place on earth, DisneyLand…. as a plumber! He loved his job; he just also loved the whole feeling at the amusement park. Last I heard, he had filled out an application.

Of course, there’s no way I can take credit for the accomplishments of these people who just happened to cross my path. They put in all the effort, and God put the dream in their heart. Perhaps I’m a Forte-Finder. A Go-For-Broke Broker. If all I can do is offer a kind word and a nudge toward a niche, I’ll do it. Could it be that we all have this ability, and if given the opportunity, can be a Dream-Doula for others as well?

Take your gaze higher and get your head in the clouds, where it belongs. There’s no such thing as a pipe dream. Just a mission plan for your pet project, AKA your Soul Goal. So what’s the dream of your heart? It’s not too late to open that door. Maybe you happened upon this blog post for a reason…

114H (1)Any time people see me on a regular basis, I’m limping. Or I’ve got gauze around my arm from an infusion. Or I’m using a cane – sometimes even crutches.

So when they see me, their natural instinct is always to tell me about their own illnesses. Of course, they mean well. They believe that by doing this, they’re showing concern for my well-being. But honestly, I’m not too fond of the fact that I’ve come to symbolize pain to them.

When I think about it, I really don’t know anything meaningful about them. I see the cashier at the store once a week, and I know about her infirmities in great detail. But what of the dream in her heart, perhaps it was to be a dancer in a ballet troupe? Or maybe she wanted to own a little flower shop, selling peonies and zinnias. Why is it that tragedy and turmoil have become the “greatest hits” of our lives, when somebody asks us who we are?

The dream in my own heart is to find a way to embody hope and not pain. I want to become so connected with positivity and encouragement that those I encounter at the mall or the post office don’t have time to tell me their problems.  They’ll be too busy counting off their blessings for me!

I want to tell them to pack all their troubles in an old kit bag.  Then I want them to drop that bag into the sea of forgetfulness. I don’t want them to carry that bag around with them, as if this is the sum total of who they are. Life doesn’t stop at the moment something bad happened, so don’t make those horrible things the point at which you stop living. The path goes on far beyond the pain.

So please, people.  When you see me, don’t mention that I seem more wobbly than usual. Compliment me on my new purple sneakers! Don’t reel off your aches and pains to me. Tell me about your grandkids and your garden. Talk to me about your most cherished dreams, the wonder of a sunset, that beautiful sonata that lights you up when you hear it.

On this day, when we remember those taken from us on that indelible morning thirteen years ago, there’s something we can do in their memory. Don’t dwell on your troubles. Don’t stay stuck in the past. For the sake of those we lost, let’s live.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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