Dreaming as a Spiritual Practice



This month, I’m going to kick some ass.

I don’t even remember May. Or, I’m trying to forget. It wasn’t all bad, don’t get me wrong. It was monumental shift, a tangible one. We moved forward, literally, from a slow, southern vacation town to a high-rise apartment near DC.

We are, as they say, movin’ on up.

May brought with it a bit of a nervous breakdown, an actual fever, a seven hour truck-unloading adventure and over 1000 emails. We attempted to hunker down and take a break that last week, but sometimes I suck at relaxing. And this is one of those times.

It feels like the first day of school. I am both the teacher and the student and I am raring to go. I’m craving normalcy of a daily routine and ritual. I’m ready to dig into our new/old hometown and grow some roots.

Jermaine started his new job today. Sadie and I got back to homeschooling (we’re going to go through some of the summer because May). And I have a dozen (or more) writing projects calling my name.

And I’m all in.

This past weekend I planned out Sadie Maria’s Epic Summer Adventure and included trips to see three sets of grandparents and even a summer camp—a first for our family!

Last night I opened up my planner for the first time in a month and plotted out my own summer schemes. I mentioned a few of them to you last week.

I just met with Elora and the Story Unfolding coaching team. We talked about good and hard things. This is dreaming in real life and sometimes I have to pinch myself.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what a meaningful life looks like. For me, much of it is dreaming. But only if I’m able to take that next leap and do something about those dreams. It doesn’t really matter if it works out exactly the way I’d planned (which is good because it almost never does). I just need to have some kind of guideline.

I wanted to share with you a ritual that has become a bit of spiritual practice for me.

At the beginning of every month, I grab a hot drink and a cozy corner. I hide from my kids and spend some quality time with my journal. I ask myself hard questions.

What do I want to accomplish this month?

What is most important?

Why do these desires press on me?

How am I going to pull it off? (Here, I will literally block out chunks of time.)

What are my obligations this month?

What can I say no to?

When I’m finished journaling through my monthly dreams, I try to at least take a moment to look back at the journaling I did at the beginning of last month. 

Have my goals radically changed?

How did I succeed last month?

How did I fail?*

What did I learn that will help me kick some ass this month?

Fun fact about women: According to this stellar TED Talk by Alisa Vitti, we have different strengths during each phase of our menstruation cycle. During the first phase (the week after your period ends), you have the most access to creative energy and it is the very best time for dreaming big. During the last phase, when we’re on periods, the left and right hemispheres of our brains are talking to each other more than any other time during the month, so we’re best able to take a look back at what we’ve done and forge a new path forward. Isn’t that fascinating? I totally recommend watching the rest of the video to see what’s going on in the other two phases.

Can you take some time to dream today or this week? If you do, will you pop back here or on my Facebook page and let me know how it went?

PS. One of my June dreams may or may not include a Pay What You Can Shalom Session situation. If that intrigues you, keep one eye on your inbox for details. And if you’re not on the list, you can sign up here!

The Moments that Come Together



Man, I’ve missed you. It’s been six long weeks and one huge whirlwind since I last updated this space. I didn’t realize it’d been that long until this morning, and, now that I’ve had a few moments to breathe, I wanted to take some time and fill you in on all that’s been going on.

First, in the personal realm, we moved! Again!

My husband got the position he’d eyeing since he joined the Army. It’s straight-up graphic design, one of the few full-time design gigs in the Army. It’s an honor and a privilege. And I am so freaking proud of him. Some of you who’ve been around for a few years might remember when he was unemployed. It happened less than a year after we got married and it lasted for well over a year. I was still in school at the time and, generally speaking, a nervous wreck. He was depressed, that sinking feeling that comes from the binding, gendered belief that a man is supposed to support his family. Eventually, we felt we had no other reasonable option besides enlisting in the Army. But we are pacifists. Those first few years were tough. We were still struggling to catch our breath financially and the military kind of sucked the life out of both of us, especially him. He rarely, if ever, complained.

And now . . . it’s falling together like snow. It feels amazing. And it’s not only the new job. We got the apartment we wanted. It’s beautiful and tiny and affordable and modern and so us. Jermaine has ventured deep into the realm of interior design. From nook-style desks to closet lofts, we’re plotting incredible ways to make it truly ours. But on top of everything, we’re home. We’re back in Maryland where my heart’s been all this time. I cannot describe the joy in my gut.

I was talking about all of this to a friend at church last Sunday. She laughed and with warmth and wisdom exclaimed, “Yes, sometimes it does all fall into place! And we’ll take it, right? Because one thing I’ve learned in all these years is that it will eventually fall apart again. So it’s more than okay to enjoy the moments that come together.”

Professionally, I have some exciting irons in the shalom-y fire.

I’ll be in Austin in three weeks getting paid to teach a Shalom Session workshop to some of my favorite people in the world!

In a few weeks, Elora Nicole and I will be launching a brand new e-course that’s quite literally taken us over a year to birth. We are delighted and exhausted and oh-so-ready to share it with you.

In June, I’m going to launch my very first digital product :: The Shalom Sessions [Pocket Edition]: What the What. It will walk you through how to find your dream. This is also something that’s taken far too long, and yet just the right amount of time to become a real thing. I’m ecstatic to put it out into the world. And, as always, my crazy talented husband is going to do all the design work for it.

Currently, I’m teaching Fix My Life [FML]: An E-course on Food, Money, and Lov(ing yourself). It’s been one of my most ambitious e-course undertakings, and doing it right in the middle of moving sort of explains why I haven’t had time to blog. But it’s my baby, and I love all that’s being created in that class.

In my massive spare time, I’ve also completed the Finding Your Arc e-course in Story Sessions and have graduated to become a Story Coach (in addition to my signature Shalom Sessions)!

I’ve churned out a few kick-ass bios and received some glowing reviews.

In the process of moving to Maryland, we drove back and forth, from NC to MD and back again, twice. And the first time the kids wanted to ride in the “cool” car with their dad, so I got six straight hours to dream. I ended up with some doozies:

Look out for a 31 day “Ordinary Time” version of Be coming this August!

Both FML and Breaking the Dress Code will be back with bells on this fall.

In addition to repeating my e-courses, I’m working on several big and small projects this summer—

One is still super secret. If I told you, I’d have to hide you, and that would just be weird.

My main project is what I’ve affectionately titled, “Write the damn book already, Brandy.” It doesn’t matter what else happens this summer, by the first day of fall 2014, I’m to have a working draft of my non-fiction debut and be on the hunt for an agent. This is happening. And if you want to give me serious eyes and hold me accountable, I’m all for it.

The last one is a joint effort on many fronts. It’s a blog revamp. Content, design, and everything in between. Jermaine is helping, obviously. And I’m so freaking excited. It’s long overdue.

Besides that, Sadie and I will be finishing up homeschooling and prepping for the 7th grade. Brooklyn will be exploring new ways to bump his head on our kitchen island. And Jermaine might even persuade me to take some actual time off and have a little fun.

I may have a Pay-What-You-Can (what you really really can) Shalom Session sale coming up kinda sorta soon. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, hop on my newsletter and you’ll be the first to know.

How to Reframe Rejection and Go for Your Dream [a Step-by-Step Plan]



I want to build a safehouse in the U.S. DC maybe. Or Portland. Someplace full yet lonely.

I want to open up a coffee shop next door and sell fair trade mochas and my famous chocolate chip cookies at a pay-what-you-can price.

I want to empower women who’ve survived abuse, who’ve been trafficked at someone else’s whim, who have little ones they want to build a future for.

I want to create a space that is truly shalom-filled.





I want to help these women do what they need to do. Take self-defense classes. Get a visa. Enroll their kids in school. Go to back to school themselves. Dare to dream real, live dreams.

I want to spread hope like wildfire. I want not to give up on anyone. I want to spend my life teaching people not only how to survive, but how to thrive.

But, I’m not naive. This is going to be hard as hell. It’s going to take every ounce of my energy for at least a season of my life. There will be failure and heartache and frustration. And this is not me thinking in negatives. I am a huge evangelist for positive thinking. But sometimes the dreams that call to us are filled with trouble. Positive thinking is an essential practice, but it doesn’t necessarily take away the hard.

I know I’ll get there. I believe in this dream. But I know I have some work to do before it’s time to break ground.

There are things that need fixing. Not in the Duct Tape sort of way. But rather, that deep, centered kind of healing. That’s a huge part of what my life is about right now.

Even so, I’ve come a long way. I’ve gotten really good at going for it. At dreaming BIG, coming up with a concrete plan, and then doing the work I need to do to make it happen. I’ve spent a lot of time reframing rejection. Teaching myself how to keep going for my dreams even when people ignore me or scoff at me behind (or in front of) my back.

That’s hard and messy and holy work. And I’m proud of it. But I’m not sharing to brag (not right now, anyway). I’m sharing because I believe it’s important that we all learn the art of dreaming big.

I think your dream is worth it. And I think you are, too.

I’ve created an Eleven Step Plan to Reframe Rejection and Go for Your Dream. Whether you want to someday build a school for kids who need more than just a solid education (like the inspiring Sarah Bessey is doing) or you’re querying agents for the book you just finished or you’re just ready to be kinder to yourself, I believe in this process. And I hope it blesses you like crazy.

1. Pray. Or meditate. Or simply breathe. Take a moment to be and feel where you are.

2. Free write (or doodle or audio journal) on your subject for 20 minutes.

3. Read over the guidelines, the process, the plan. Take time to gather everything you need.

4. Get enough rest. Take a nap if you need to. Have a cup of coffee or tea if that’s not an option. When you begin, do so as refreshed as you can be in your present place in life.

5. Go for it! Write it out. Talk it up. Pitch. Believe. Take the first step. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.

6. Take a break. Grab lunch. Play with some kids. Watch a show. Give yourself the afternoon, the night, or the day off.

7. Come back to your work. Read it over. Bless it. Determine what you love and what makes you cringe. Grapple with the art of editing. Trust that you can learn to love the polishing process. Make that thing shine.

8. Hit send. Place the manuscript in the hands of you publisher. Finish what you started. SHIP.

9. Reward yourself! This is the most important step. You did it! You put yourself out there! It doesn’t matter what they think or what they say. You created something. You showed up. That counts! That’s the whole reason we’re here.

10. Study up. Take 20-30 minutes to learn something about your craft that you didn’t know how to do before.

11. Rinse and repeat. Do it again. This time ask yourself how your body feels as you go through the process. Which steps are your favorite? Which ones make you the most uncomfortable? What can you work through with meditation or research or prayer?

Good on you! You reframed rejection. Woot!

I believe this can be adapted to any dream or goal you have. If your goal is to be kinder to yourself, giving yourself permission to have that extra cup of coffee might be the way you ship that day. If your goal is to save more and spend less, than shipping might look like skipping that mocha or making one at home.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Is there a big, audacious dream you’ve made happen? What worked for you? How did you reframe rejection? How did you keep going when you’re scared you or it might not be worth the fight?

Also, if these steps inspire you, and you go through all of them, I would love to hear about your experience! After you do, please come back and either leave a comment below or email me at

If you liked this post, would you spread the love and share it with at least two other people who might dig it? I think it could be amazing for everyone involved.

And, if what I said about mastering budgets and finding healthy ways to find true comfort, you might want to check out my upcoming e-course! Word on the street is that it could just change some lives.

He wanted a cookie.

Little Family


I wrote this piece last October on my new iPad in a Barnes and Noble in Charlotte while my husband was still deployed. And . . . then I lost it. I hit the wrong button and it was gone. I searched high and low because I thought it had auto-saved but I couldn’t find it. Finally, I gave up. Instead of trying to rewrite a piece I had poured so much of my blood, sweat, and tears into, I let it go. That day had been bad enough without trying to relive it, twice.

And then, just now, here it is. It got saved as a page instead of a post! It’s been here the whole time. Waiting for its time. 

I am going through some very difficult things right now. People I love are going through very things right now. I needed to find this today. I needed to remember how strong I am. 

I think God knew that. I’m in a much different place spiritually than I was when I wrote this. But once again, I’m reminded, it’s okay to be where you are. 

He wanted a cookie. It wasn’t even that I told him he couldn’t have one. I told him he needed to wait a little while for it, until after lunch. In protest, he grabbed my glasses off my face. I tried to pry them out of his little fist, but he was unrelenting and enormously pissed off. If I hadn’t let go, we would have simultaneously ripped them apart. So I did. And in his victory, he flung them across the restaurant.

I heard them break. I heard my favorite glasses, my only pair in fact, smash into pieces while my two-year-old stood, still screaming for a damn cookie. He scared his sister. She picked up the pieces she knew I could not see. I felt all the eyes in that tiny sub shop searing into me and my little family. It was intensely vulnerable.

With my daughter’s assistance, we found our car, and I rummaged through my bathroom bag for my contact case. If we hadn’t been traveling, they wouldn’t have been there, and I would not have been able to drive us anywhere. Sadie held Brooklyn as he thrashed unapologetically, still furious about his cookie. At one point, I thought he was going to bash his head on the pavement on purpose. We made our way back into the restaurant. The women’s room was occupied, so I put my contacts on in the men’s bathroom while Sadie stood outside and tried to keep Brooklyn from ravaging the joint.

I was angry. We got back the car, and all I wanted to do was turn the music up as loud as I could get it and inhale my sandwich. My chips. My soda. I wanted not to feel all those feelings.

I recognized inhalation as a viable option, but over the past couple of days, I had experienced another. And I wanted to try it on. So, I took a deep breath. I ate half of my sandwich sitting in the parking lot, instead of driving, so that I could look at it. Smell it. Actually taste it.

“Does it taste like you thought it would?” Geneen Roth’s voice cooed in my ear. I am in the middle of reading and listening to her book (on CD) Women, Food, and God.

Does it? I thought to myself. Hmm. Well, it’s pretty good, but I suppose it’s a bit drier than I thought it would be. The question kept me present in that moment. It kept me from the numbing place.

As I chewed, Sadie tried to tell me something.

“I can’t handle new information right now!” I said sharply. So sharply, that I felt guilty immediately. But I couldn’t. I needed a minute to remember to breathe.

It wasn’t just the glasses. It wasn’t just my fiery two-year-old. Or the stares I felt in the restaurant. It wasn’t even the vulnerability I felt not being able to see.

It was Jermaine. It was the thought that kept bubbling, over and over again. If only he was here. If he was here, I wouldn’t have had to drive. If he was here, he would have intuitively allowed me the space I needed to decompress. If he was here, he would have taken complete charge of the Brooklyn situation and I wouldn’t have had to even look at our son until I’d fully calmed down.

Sadie was a ridiculously huge help. She’s amazing. But. She’s still a kid. And I have to work hard to make sure she gets respected as one. That I don’t ask too much of her. And so, because of that, I couldn’t numb out. I couldn’t disappear. I still had to manage to get all our food and drinks out to the car. I had to figure out how to see again. I had to pin my crazy, tired, cookie monster down into his car seat and bribe him with—wait for it—a cookie, so that he’d let me buckle him in.

Earlier that morning at church, I was compelled to do something I would never normally do. There is a makeshift altar at the front of the sanctuary. I hate kneeling at it because it’s so public and at this particular moment in my life, I don’t want to be publicly prayerful.

But I had to. I can’t explain why. I just knew I did and so, I followed those impulses. I found the least public space, in the corner that I hoped wasn’t as well lit as the rest of the altar. I knelt down and the tears flowed. The God I don’t know what to do with right now whispered, “You’ve got this.” And for the first time in a long time, I knew it was true.

The irony, of course, is that I have no trouble telling you this altar story in what is a decidely much more public space. But it’s comfortable to wax and wane intellectually about the deity formerly known as God.

Letting God into my gut, that’s where things get tricky.

But that’s exactly what I did yesterday. Instead of choosing to numb out and eat my feelings, I let myself feel them. I let the anger wash over me and I breathed it in and let myself feel it without trying to figure out what the lesson was or forcing my brain to make light of this entire situation. I mourned the fact that without my glasses, I won’t be able to read in bed for a couple of days. When I was done with my sandwich, I asked myself, Geneen Roth style, if I was still hungry. If I actually wanted my chips.

And you know what? I did. But, I didn’t want to inhale them. They lasted off and on for about 50 miles. Let’s just say that’s progress.

More than that, I didn’t explode with anger. It didn’t destroy me. In Geneen’s book, she describes a pivotal moment in her life where she realizes that she is not a madwoman. She stopped dieting when she realized that she could trust herself to not devour everything in sight.

Reading her story was a powerful experience for me. The idea of trusting myself made something come undone inside of me.

Maybe I can trust myself. Around food. Around my child’s ridiculous outbursts. And maybe for much, much more.

Maybe I do, in fact, truly got this.

If you’re new to my words, but you’ve fallen in love with them or with me, in spite of the fact that this post is hella long, I would like to cordially invite you to sign up to my mailing list. I can’t wait to get to know you more.

We Broke Dress Codes . . . And I Broke Other Things

Be Meeting


In February, I finally finished my e-course, Breaking The Dress Code. This is quite a feat, considering I started the class last September and it was only supposed to run for seven weeks.

As it turns out, a deployed husband, a short-term move across several states, and the process of starting back and then dropping out of seminary do not work together to create the most friendly environment to run an e-course. I made some crazy decisions along the way. The class was originally supposed to be 14 weeks. But before I went live, I changed it to seven. BUT THEN, after starting the course, I changed my mind back to 14. BUT THEN, that was nuts. And it put us ending right after Christmas. So, I put it to a vote, and we decided, as a class, to run for seven weeks, take a break, and finish out with seven more weeks after the New Year.

Bless their patience with me.

The whole thing felt like a grand exercise in how to fail. I second guessed every turn. But I became certain about one thing: when this was over, assuming I made it out alive, I was never ever EVER going to teach another e-course again.

Today, we’ve reached the halfway point in Be. What’s Be? It’s my latest e-course offering.

Yeah. Let’s back up.

As it turned out, the break was exactly what we needed. I came back after Christmas ready to rock BTDC. My New Year’s resolution: Finish BTDC strong—just finish the daggone thing, any way you can. So I did.

Along the way I realized something. Not being good at teaching e-courses was a thing I could choose about myself. It’s not a truth in my being. It’s a skill. And so, I chose to improve. To look back at my mistakes and learn from them. And that feels pretty freaking awesome.

A couple of days after BTDC ended, I got several emails. Despite my mishaps, on the whole, my students loved the class. It was good and helpful and it brought them closer to their paths and purposes in the world. Yes, I screwed up along the way. But I owned it. And I tried to share and apologize and move on with honesty and integrity. I learned a hell of a lot about what NOT to do.

Today, a friend told me that last year, she was inspired to create her own e-course because of me. Because she’d watched me show up, imperfectly, and sort things out as I went. What the what? I thought I was just failing!

And I thought I couldn’t teach e-courses because I wasn’t good at it. I could have left it at that. Honestly, that would have been fine. There are a lot of other ways for me lead a happy and fulfilling life as an entrepreneur/writer that don’t involve online meetings and Facebook groups.


When the time came and I felt that divine tug to teach a second round of my Lent e-course, I was ready. I knew I could get through it because I had learned so much, and honestly I couldn’t screw up as bad as I did with BTDC.

And I made one crucial decision in the plotting of Be that changed everything.

I decided not to push.

I knew I wanted a theme, but I wasn’t sure what it was. Instead of brainstorming my ass off, which is just as ridiculous as it sounds, I let it go. I trusted that the right idea would come when it was ready.

And it did:

Sabbath. Radical Rest. What it looks like to sit down before you get to the point where you fall, fully dressed, into bed at 6pm and sleep until the next day.

And then a second idea presented itself: What if I ask other artists to help me teach? So I did, and they said yes and the rest is becoming historical. Can I just gush for a minute? We are halfway through the class. Bianca, Jamie, Jennifer, and Nicole have all led (and are leading) classes that are changing the way we think about ourselves, our shame, the way we look at the world, the way look at our own bodies, and so much more. And I have no doubt that the weeks that Jenipher, Elora, and Tara teach are going to blow our minds even further (for more info on these amazing teachers, check out their bios here).

This whole thing, it feels held. Like God is excited that we’re beginning to see ourselves the way God sees us. That we’re beginning to let go of the striving, the lists, and the lies, and just . . . BE.

Unique. Beautiful. Called. Cloud-Spotters. Here.

BTDC felt like pushing a boulder up a mountain. Be feels like being pulled into a magical, sparkling whirlwind, where, in spite of the chaos, you just know you can trust the Movement.

And I find myself asking, is this really an e-course? Is this really my job? I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

But, you know what? Want to know something horrible and wonderful at the exact same time? If I hadn’t made those mistakes with BTDC, if I hadn’t pushed, and then, if I HAD given up. If I had kept the vow I made to myself to never teach another e-course again . . . none of this would exist.

Last week, I pulled together all of the pieces of the stories I’ve been writing toward my forthcoming book, Permission To Glow. Y’all . . . 75,000 WORDS. That’s insane!

I had no idea. Honestly, when I realized how much it was, I was tempted to downplay it. A lot of them are morning pages. Some of them are posts and emails I wrote. They don’t all count. I’ll have to throw away at least half, if not more. And I still have a crapload to write.

But you know what, FUNK THAT.

I started edited the other day and, I had to admit, it’s pretty freaking good! Here’s a little piece:

Who cares? No, really. Who? Who cares about your dream? Who cares if you give yourself permission? Do you? That’s important. Listen, harsh truth: If you don’t care about your dream, no one else will. You can go on about your life and get by and, sure, there might be a few people who grieve the lost potential. But honestly, if you don’t make it a priority to find the reason you were put on this earth, not many people are going to notice.

The thing is, if you are dreaming big, your dream is likely to affect a lot of people. There’s the paradox.

No one would have cared if JK Rowling had not written the series in her head. But if Harry Potter suddenly disappeared today, 400 million people would be devastated.

Show people what they’re missing.

If I hadn’t risked—and faced—failure, no one would have missed it. And I could have saved myself a good deal of anxiety and other icky feelings. But, because I did, and because, quite honestly, I’m just getting started, I’ve bumped up a little closer to my calling. I’ve spread joy and hope and shalom.


At this point in the juncture, this is what I know:

Our decisions matter. And there is always room for grace. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn and grow and become truer to ourselves, to the divine light that shines in all of us. Desires and pleasure and “gut feelings” come into play much more than we realize. Wanting something is not always bad and sometimes it’s very very good. How we interact with our desires means something. If you’re feeling pulled to take a grand risk that could make change lives and there is massive room for failure, there’s a damn good chance you should leap.

A Few Places I’m Leaping

I freshened up the Shalom Sessions. I created an opportunity for you to apply for a scholarship! If you’ve been reading me for a while, you dig my shalom-y vibe, and you are searching for clarity and direction, I strongly encourage you to get yourself shalomed. I’m really good at helping people figure out what their calling is, why it’s worth risk, and how to push past resistance and do the work.

I’m also officially writing bios again! I’ve been doing it quietly for a while now, without a page to ground me. But the feedback from the work I’ve done is astounding and it’s time for me to own the fact that I’m pretty daggone good at speaking in someone’s voice and sharing their’s life’s work with honesty and integrity. If you’ve claimed your calling, and you’re trying to figure out how to tell the world about it and about who you are, this is a beautiful next right step.

On the home front, I started homeschooling my 12-year-old at the beginning of 2014. Nearly three months in, it’s been tough! Thankfully, most of that is pure resistance: fear of failure and very very high stakes. A couple of weeks ago, an intense journaling session and a really good talk with a wise friend helped me come to terms with the idea that we are unschoolers. And school doesn’t have to look any certain way. I am learning to trust myself. And I am learning to trust my daughter. So, we watch TED Talks and do interesting science projects. We read lots and lots of books together at different times and, inevitably in our excitement, spoil the next chapter for the other person. We play and laugh and question everything. I have no idea if we’ll learn this way long-term, or if she’ll return to middle school next year. But for now, we’re enjoying the ride and one another’s company.

As for my son, well, he’s still a live wire. He keeps us entertained and he talks a big game. Every day I am blown away by the words coming out of his mouth. He is emotional and passionate and interesting and intuitive and very, very funny. I am so grateful I get to parent these amazing kids.

Last of all, I have new project in the works that I am ridiculously excited about. I can’t say too much just yet, but it’s an idea that’s been percolating for two years, and I’m ecstatic that it’s almost time to share! I’m launching in May. More details will be coming very soon.

If you’re new to my words, but you’ve fallen in love with them or with me, in spite of the fact that this post is hella long, I would like to cordially invite you to sign up to my mailing list. I can’t wait to get to know you more.

{Photo credit: Nicole Romero and Jennifer Upton}

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