DON’T LET THE DAILY DERAIL YOUR DREAMS

Do you ever feel like your dreams get buried beneath a mountain of mundane? Your goals glide right off a cliff of daily duties? Sometimes it’s difficult to hang on to the enthusiasm. To persevere in the face of oceans of time spent apparently accomplishing nothing because you just need to do it again tomorrow.

DAVID replica, Florence

DAVID replica, Florence

Let me offer you some encouragement to rekindle your joy. Your resolve.

~ The “big dream” isn’t achieved until all the parts are connected.

~ The “big goal” isn’t reached in one giant jump, but in the accumulation of hours, days, months of small steps.

I imagine Michelangelo ate a lot of dust before David finally emerged from the marble.

 

Assumption of the Virgin by Titian

Assumption of the Virgin by Titian

 

 

I wonder if Titian ever tired of mixing pigments and dyes, or experimenting with additions of finely ground glass or metals to his paint. The magnificent David or impressive Assumption of the Virgin, masterpieces of the Renaissance, wouldn’t exist if the sculptor and painter just got tired of the repeated chiseling or swiping paint on panel.

 

 

Our family friends Bill & Lori Smith run a large, multi-faceted ministry in Papua New Guinea. Last week was Teen Camp which means Lori and a few women needed to “cook over 100 kilos of rice each day” for the 500 hungry teenagers and counselors. Over 220 pounds of rice! That’s an awful lot of boiling and stirring and pouring and scooping to do, and then repeat it 3 hours later. My mind reels.

TEEN CAMP Smiths PNG

Amazima Ministries, which reaches thousands in Uganda, recently posted:  “Yesterday we fed 1,351 children during our daily outreach in Masese, Uganda! “ Again a lot of work was done BEFORE the 1,351 children were fed.

AMAZIMAs Lunch table 1351 meals

But Katie Davis and her team choose not to see 1,351 bowls bought, and filled, and handed out. Instead they see: “1,351 faces, 1,351 names, 1,351 stories that God is writing, and we’re just grateful we get to play a small part.”

The big goals are accomplished by the accretion of small (often mundane too!) steps culminating in the outcome aimed for. And it’s easier to persist in pursuit of the goals if we keep our focus on the reason behind what we do, not on the daily ordinariness, the mind-numbing repetition.

And the REASONS?

            1. For the goal

            2. For the people

            3. For God Who asked us in the first place.

Today is a somber day of remembering that 30 years ago, 7 men and women “slipped the surly bonds of earth”* and perished in the Challenger explosion. Hardly a “big dream” like we’re talking about today. But hang on ~ it is relevant. The horrific explosion that destroyed that mighty rocket resulted from a defect in an O-ring. An O-ring!

O

A very small part compared to the huge rocket.

LEARNING TO WRITE crFor most of us the majority of days are of the mundane variety with the occasional fire-cracker, red-letter day thrown in. But masterpieces are mostly created that way.

How many hundreds of hours of feeding a baby, teaching him to hold a spoon, a pencil, a steering wheel before you see the wise, kind, loving man your son becomes?

All the small parts are important, exponentially so.

So if you feel your feet are jelly-stuck to the kitchen floor instead of soaring through the heights, if you feel buried beneath mounds of laundry or bills, can I hear your hearty cry:

“This matters! This is important. Hallelujah ~ God is weaving something                   great from this.” Because He is.

Hang your heart on this, friend. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

We will reap. That’s a promise. It’s just sometimes hard to wait for that “due season,” yes?

If you need more reminding, check out this video. Packs a powerful “Thank you, Mom” message. Will pour some needed balm on your tired soul. Perhaps even pour some cleansing tears.

What dream or goal feels buried to you? What is 1 thing you can do today to ease it toward fulfillment? 

*Quotation from “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr., 1941, made familiar by President Ronald Reagan on January 28, 1986 as he spoke after the Challenger disaster.

Photo credit of David replica and Assumption of the Virgin ~ Wikipedia.

Intriguing views through Ellie’s Window by Sandy Snavely

Sandy Snavely’s Ellie’s Window is an engaging book with a creative smörgåsbord of characters, themes, and perspectives.

It may be difficult to tell you why I say that without spoiling some of Snavely’s delicious surprises, but I’ll try. Ellie’s Window introduces us to Ellie Mae and her daughter Charlie. Charlie discovers Ellie Mae has Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease and their worlds are turned upside down—well, their visible worlds, the ones they consider reality. But they’re also living in several different, heavily veiled worlds. Snavely cleverly weaves links between these worlds.

A story about someone suffering the inexorable creeping loss of Alzheimer’s could be a very dark read. But Snavely’s skill as a writer keeps that from being so. She crafts scenes with humor, warmth, and joy amid the stress. She uses delightful turns of phrase that shine a lance of light or beauty into the dark places.

Some favorite examples:  

Early in the book a woman about to give birth to her first child is rambling about things she wants to do before going to the hospital. The rattled husband tries to be supportive while getting her quickly to the hospital in the dead of night. As they drive, she prattles on and suggests they go home until she feels more prepared. He thinks “Labor and logic will not be shaking hands any time soon.” When they arrive, he see the row trees lining the hospital driveway as having “their branches outstretched to protect the weak and weary and those whose nerves have gone bump in the night.” What great ways to convey his state of mind.

A description of a man: “His face was gently weathered, like a tree …” A great visual, a simile that gives us a good image. Some would stop there, but Snavely adds that extra lance of light: “His face was gently weathered, like a tree that had learned to bend with the wind.” Now that gives us so much more information about the man. And the woman describing him, yes?

And another: One friend chides another for not taking care of herself while busy care-taking others. “You … sit yourself down … you look like you haven’t eaten since Moses crossed the Red Sea.” That women must look emaciated!

At times kaleidoscopic, the scenes written through the eyes of an Alzheimer’s patient are appropriately fluid, slippery, and erratic. Masterfully crafted .

Much about Alzheimer’s remains a mystery. But the devastation it can wreak in a family is no mystery.

In that environment, Snavely offers a new perspective based on the truth that God’s ways are beyond our ways. God is not bound by space and time as we are, and just because it appears that an Alzheimer’s patient is vegetating doesn’t mean that is actually what is happening.

Snavely’s writing is full of touches that give the reader an extra dose of humanity as they meander through the fog that is Alzheimer’s. The one “read-bump” I encountered was her occasional use of multiple point-of-view characters in a scene. This might be done in some genres, but it was an unfamiliar technique to me. Early on I found it confusing. I became more used to it, but when I encountered it, it did momentarily pull me out of the story world. For other readers it may not be an issue.

Ellie’s Window is a creative story that expands the realm of possibilities for our consideration. A gift on every level. As the flags on special pages indicate my impression. :-) 

In cyber-chatting with Sandy, I asked her to expand on her comment (end note) about how she came up with Ellie’s Window and prepared to write it.

SS: “It was like God opened a book and the story just fell into my heart…. I did quite a bit of research on Alzheimer’s just so that I could write about it without stammering. But I didn’t want the story’s primary message to be about Alzheimer’s but about hope.”

I asked what was her inspiration for some of the unusual perspectives she included.

It’s “one of those things that happens while writing. I closed my eyes and tried to see what Audrey was seeing. … and [it] just seemed to be there waiting for me.”

And the heaven scenes?

I read several books about heaven … Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven,… was the first book that helped me to connect the lines between heaven and earth.”

Thanks, Sandy for a peek behind the scenes.

For Moms on the Margins

Here’s to you, moms on the margins!

You know who you are—though you may try to hide. Feeling on the outside edge of your neighborhood and your church.  Maybe a discouraged mother raising children solo after some wrecking ball tore through your marriage.  Maybe solitary since baby’s first cry. A fearful woman trying to protect her family from abuse. An exhausted mom raising a special needs child— handicapped if the word doesn’t irk you. Because don’t all children have special needs? Continue reading