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A Powerful Exercise to Actualize Your Dreams

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I spend a lot of time wanting. Dreaming. And that’s not all bad. But sometimes it’s important to take a moment to think of the things I already have—especially the ones I used to long for. It’s easy to forget.

Last night I made a list. Because some of my dreams feel like they’re taking forever and honestly I’m frustrated. I’m closer to throwing in the towel than I ever have been before.

And maybe I will. I don’t know yet. For now, I’m continuing to plod along. Continuing to trust that there’s a reason I’ve been working my bum off for peanuts for almost four years.

When I was in the throes of addiction, I used to pray to want to want to stop smoking. I remember thinking I’d never be able to quit. But I did it.

Shortly after I got clean, things with my daughter’s father got especially difficult. I started having to worry about her health and safety. Eventually, I took very specific steps to keep her safe and away from those who might hurt her. Today, in all her 12-year-old angst, I know she is safe and she is loved.

My first year sober, I didn’t have money to buy her a Christmas present. At the time, I was working as the main housekeeper at a mega-church. Someone there heard my story and simply stuffed baskets and boxes with gifts for not just her—but also me.

My parents went to Hawaii about a year after that. When they got home, my dad told me about this couple they’d met who were there on their honeymoon. They were so in love. He said he hoped I could experience that someday. And I went home and I cried because I’d forgotten what that kind of love looked like. I couldn’t imagine being in a healthy, non-abusive romantic relationship.

And then I met Jermaine.

Anyone who knows him knows what a remarkable person he is. Thoughtful, smart, kind, and funny. Together, we make magic.

I longed for a second child. I wanted the chance to do it all over again. The chance not to make the many mistakes I’d made with my precious daughter. I prayed and cried for two and a half years before we got pregnant with Brooklyn. Even in the chaos of new Army life, we were fortunate and healthy enough to have a home birth. I had time to do research on cloth diapering and natural parenting. I breastfed for two+ years! I got my do-over, and both my kids are amazing.

Jermaine lost his job nine months after we got married. He was unemployed for a year and a half. Joining the Army has been an experience, and not always a great one. But it’s given us a tremendous leg up. A new respect for each other. Amazing health coverage. And ridiculous job security.

But I’ve been missing Maryland and my friends and my church since we first left in 2011. I used to visualize us returning. And this past May, we did! In our dream apartment, to boot.

And I could go on. It’s astonishing—the things I thought were impossible that are now everyday realities.

I have a hunch I’m not alone—so this one is for the dreamers. Especially the down-trodden ones. What used to be impossible that is now a Thing? Make a list. In your head or on paper. Or in a comment below. I cannot wait to hear it. May it bless you with renewed Hope.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday (although I’m taking a minor break while I sort out how best to offer my subscribers true value), I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Do Something Scary Every Day

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I read that somewhere and I thought it was a stupid idea. My inner seven-year-old started whining, “I like comfort. I don’t want to. Scary things suck.”

But then my inner 15-year-old (who is much more mature than most of my inner adult ages) was like, “Now wait a minute, you actually do do scary things—the good kind of scary—a lot and you love it. Isn’t that what you call living fully alive?”

My inner five-year-old belted out, “She said DO DO! Do do! Do do! Do do!”

My inner two-year-old screamed, “SHUT UP!” She’d just learned that word.

Things got a little crazy after that. We all needed to take a time-out. BUT THEN, after that—things got interesting.

My inner teenager had raised a decent point. When I did 10-day detox, all the voices in my head agreed we were covered on the scary front for those days. Badass self-care is legit scary.

Pitches are scary, but when I put my soul into it, I’m quite good at it. A few weeks ago, I had a particularly important writing assignment that didn’t go so well at first. I knew I had done my best. The scary part was separating my worth from my work. The other scary part was practicing the excruciating art of handling criticism well. Which, honestly, I don’t always do.

I shook in my sparkly pink slippers through the whole experience, but I did it. And I walked away from it feeling like a pro.

Being kind is scary, sometimes. Yesterday, at the liquor store, I smiled at the man ringing up my gin and Jam Jar and asked him how his day was going. I’ve never been a cashier, but I’ve stood in enough lines to know that many of the customers step up to the register completely consumed with their own stuff, barely aware that the person they’re giving their money to actually a real person. He smiled back big and started talking about the weather. We had a human moment and I’m sure it was scary for both of us, but it was worth it.

What about you? Can you do scary good things? What would that look like?

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Week Nine :: Rules and Celebrations

Brandy Blogs the Bible

 

The Paraphrase (Leviticus 15-25)

Chapter 15—All about bodily discharges—whether naturally occurring or disease-inspired (bulking them all into the “unclean” category).

Chapter 16—The day of atonement – how and when Aaron is supposed to (very carefully) enter the Most Holy Place. Also, the 10th day of the 7th month is to be a day of fasting and Sabbath.

Chapter 17—How and where you are to slaughter animals and the importance of not consuming their blood.

Chapter 18—A long list of what not to do, sexually speaking.

Chapter 19—Another long list with more laws. From the basic (Do not steal—19:11a) to the bizarre (Do not mate different kinds of animals—19:19a).

Chapter 20—The heady consequences of disobedience.

Chapter 21—The rules for the priests.

Chapter 22—Continuation of the priestly rules. And a reiteration that sacrifices, and in this case specifically for vows, need to be pure and unblemished.

Chapter 23—Feasts and Festivals! Important because this is a nation of former slaves (who, of course, don’t get a day off—ever).

Chapter 24—Oil and bread for God as a tradition every Sabbath. Also, a break for a narrative. A man blasphemes God’s holy name and so, the Lord instructs the Israelites to stone him to death. They do.

Chapter 25—The Sabbath year (every 7th year—where they are not supposed to sow or prune) and the year of Jubilee (every 50th year, same as the Sabbath year, but also this: any land that has been sold in the last 49 years is to return to its original owners (except in the case of a walled city—there the seller has the option to buy back for a year—after that it’s the seller’s for good)).

Notable to Me

For the most part, chapter 15 makes sense as their general rules to ward off disease. But it bothers me that in my translation (NRSV), verse 33 refers to a woman on her period as being “in the infirmity of her period.” It probably speaks to the patriarchal culture, but it’s a reminder that for centuries our time of the month has been seen as a disease. The more I learn, the more I am convinced it is part of our power.

The scene where the guy gets stoned is troubling. But my text commentary points out that the author may have been raising the same questions that come to my mind when I read it about corporate punishment and blaspheme and God. The author also points out that this was probably meant to be one specific time, one brutal example, and not necessarily how to deal with blaspheme in general. It’s still upsetting, but makes me feel a little better. It also explains why thousands of years later, when we here little girls curse—even though their message is important and powerful, many of our conservative friends find themselves up in arms.

I love the year of Jubilee! It’s all about trusting God and community and giving back. As we’ll learn later, that toward the end (the last centuries before Babylonian captivity), they neglected to do it and things went to pot (ASB, pg 191).

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here. I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process!

Every Thursday, I blog through the Bible—trying to get through the whole thing in the next two years. If you found this post interesting and helpful and you’d like to continue to follow along as I go through, you can read the intro to this project, along with week one, the detour we took into original sin, week two, week threeweek fourweek fiveweek sixweek seven, and week eightNext week, read Leviticus chapters 26 through Numbers 7.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

And the Winner is . . .

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Yay! We have winners! If I mention your name below, I’ll be in touch very shortly. :)

Stephanie gets the free copy of The Happiness of Pursuit!

Katie wins the spot in The Shalom Experiment!

And Elizabeth scores the space in The Rebel Diaries

Thanks to everyone who participated! <3 <3

If you’re a regular reader—I have a question for you: how do you feel about contests and giveaways in general? Would you like me to do more? Are they fun? Annoying? Just whateverish? Would you comment below and let me know? I’m trying to decide whether or not I should do more in the future. Thanks!

Love + shalom.

An Announcement, an Experiment, and a Contest

Quest

I love all things Chris Guillebeau. I was first introduced to him a couple of years ago. I emailed him to thank him for inspiring me and he wrote back! I was (am) a nobody in blogsphere. He had a growing tribe of over 10,000 people and he took the time to reply to my email! What’s more, he had heard of me! He liked my style, even. And these shalom-y schemes of mine. I was so smitten. But I knew intuitively it wasn’t my awesome that prompted him to respond. It was his own commitment to reply to people to who reach out to him. ALL OF THEM.

I don’t know if he still does that. I don’t know how he could! His community is overwhelmingly massive. At some point, I’m sure something’s got to give. But I admire him for caring. And for other things.

Like quests.

The Happiness of Pursuit is a book about quests. About Chris’ quest to visit every single country in the world (all 193!). And about the people he encountered with quests of their own.

I will pretty much devour every book he writes and I’m loving this one. I signed up to receive an early copy so that I could help (in my own small way) promote it. But this is not just to help Chris out.

I read a lot. I recommend selectively. I will not suggest you read most of the books I read unless you’ve expressed an interest in a particular topic. Or you’re struggling in a certain area and I’ve read a book that helped me. I don’t want to bore you or waste your time. And I want my recommendation to mean something. If I sign off on it, it’s freaking good, yo.

But this book. THIS I would recommend to everyone. We don’t all need to achieve massive success. We don’t all need to heal our bodies or learn how to rest or even dare greatly. But, maybe, we could all benefit from a quest. Even if it’s small. Especially if it’s small! It doesn’t just give us purpose, it makes things interesting.

Now for the fun part. To celebrate Chris’ book launch, I’m hosting a contest. But before I get to the details—an experiment and an announcement.

I had an idea. You could say it’s a vision. I want to create a respite for creative healers. A safe space to dream and be rejuvenated. I’m launching this Big Dream early in 2015, but before I do that, I want to flesh it out more. And I need your help.

For six weeks, from Oct 12th to Nov. 22nd, I want to explore this vision by creating a mini version. We’ll choose a book and a theme. We’ll connect and I’ll share a prompt every week day in the secret Facebook group. And we’ll come up with new ideas for even deeper soul restoration. Participants will have the opportunity to help me design this respite. And truly have a hand in helping me create a space that inspires.

I’m calling it The Shalom Experiment. And you can click here for all the details. It’s $40 to join, but that brings me back to my contest.

Three Winners

When you enter, you’ll have the chance to win:

—Your Own of The Happiness of Pursuit!

A Spot in The Shalom Experiment!

A Spot in The Rebel Diaries!

To enter, subscribe to my newsletter here AND leave a comment below telling me which prize you’d like to win and why. (Hint: if you have a book in your head that’s itching to get out, The Rebel Diaries might be the thing for you.) If you’re already subscribed, make sure to mention that in your comment below (and you’ll be entered)! And if you know of anyone who could benefit from one of these gifts, please pass this on to them!

The deadline to enter is Monday at midnight PST (because I’m a west coast girl at heart). I will announce the winners Tuesday morning.

Good luck! So much love. And shalom. And happiness. And a little bit of quest.

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