Monthly Archives: March 2014

‘Later’ is a dream killer

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I’m about four days into my return from Burundi. Africa left it’s mark on me in so many ways – as it always does. I’m sure I will ramble words here in future posts that explore more of what happened in me during my time there. For now, most of those thoughts are still unraveling in my mind.

There was this phrase though that tumbled across my mind. It popped up when I was sitting with orphans in shelters, listening to drummers up high in the mountains and watching the hippos climb out of Lake Tanganyika. It was there when I laid on my bed under the mosquito net that draped like a canopy over me.

‘Later’ is a dream killer.

All throughout Africa I thought about this – a million reasons that trip shouldn’t have been able to happen. Except we decided that this was the time to move forward with our adoption. For all the reasons ‘now’ seems impossible, it isn’t.

And so we said, not later. Now.

We took a risk. And people showed up. Donations came in to help cover the cost and  a village of people surrounded my husband and helped him take care of the kids while I was away. I found myself thinking how amazing the world really is when we just step outside our front doors and start walking towards the things we feel called to.

That dream we want to chase, the idea we feel destined to birth or the relationships we aspire to build are all threatened by this simple thought. I’ll do it later.

It is true that we don’t know what tomorrow will hold and that the future has zero guarantees. But, I don’t think that is what makes ‘later’ so dangerous.

Putting things off until later reveals not only a false view of the future, but a troublesome insight into the way we see our present.

What is wrong with right now?

I am not brave enough.

I don’t deserve it. 

There isn’t enough money or time now. The future will be different.

I can’t handle it yet. There is too much I still need to learn.

I am too afraid. Afraid that I will fail, that I will loose or even worse – that I was not made to do it after all.

There are a million reasons we say ‘not now’. And those are the very reasons that ‘later’ will never happen.

The future version of ourselves is always better. We have more money, we are confident and shake off the haters with a passing glance. Our future selves don’t fear failure or making bad decisions. Our future selves are deserving of good things – weaknesses are a thing of the past. We are no longer afraid of ourselves in ___ years.

The future is where we imagine our dreams can happen.

Our assumption is that things will change by the mere passage of time. But, that isn’t how it works.

The future is painted by what we do today.

We gotta look at all the real reasons we say ‘later’. All of our walls we hide behind or the excuses we make that let us get away with being people we aren’t proud to be. Time doesn’t change the way we see ourselves. We gotta deal with our reasons head-on. If not, today’s excuses will become tomorrow’s excuses.

Yea, we may not be able to do all of our dreams right now. We have families, jobs and financial responsibilities that we need to take care of. However, most of the time it isn’t really responsibility that stops us. It is a belief that right now, we can’t. We aren’t enough and don’t have what it takes.

It is my personal belief that we are all created by God with an eternal destiny within us. We were made for more than haphazard living with idealistic views that one day it will all be different. Each of us holds something valuable. Right now. Today. Even if it is baby steps, we gotta start walking towards something bigger.

Let’s create the things, have the conversations, board the planes and start the businessesLet’s be honest about the lies that tell us that it can’t begin now. ‘Cause we got dreams people. And ‘later’ is a dream killer.

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It’s like a field trip of sorts – but without the permission slip and sack lunch

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I was gonna be all impressive and grown up, but it just didn’t work out. I’ve known this was coming for weeks and had lined out some posts to automatically publish over the next two weeks so you guys wouldn’t even notice that I was in Africa.

Yea, Africa. Life didn’t quite follow my highly-detailed plan this past week and therefore I didn’t get any posts lined out to publish tonight. I sat down to do it now, but my malaria medicine is making me a smidge loopy so I decided creativity probably isn’t a wise attempt at the moment.

So, I’m gonna get personal and just tell you the truth.  I tend to stay away from talking about the ins-and-outs of my personal life on here since Lark & Bloom isn’t really about me as much as it is about us. And it certainly isn’t an adoption or parenting blog. B I’ll briefly take a moment and fill you in on whats happening with me.

This isn’t news really if you follow me on social media, but I’m going to Africa tomorrow. My husband and I have been in the process of adopting for over four years now. It’s been a long journey – a story for another day – but in November we shifted our plans and began the process of adopting from Burundi. We are hoping to adopt a set of siblings actually. I refer you to my previous post about doing the crazy thing.

If you’ve never heard of Burundi, I suggest you read about itI will be giving my paperwork to the government officials in Bujumbura and be introduced to the amazing country nestled in the heart of Africa.

I went to Africa for the first time when I was 15. I have been back twice since then and am beyond excited to return again.

I am unsure if I will be able to blog from there, so we are gonna do something a bit different. I’ll be posting photos from my trip on Instagram and I’d like to invite you along. Its kinda like a field trip of sorts, but you don’t have to sign a permission slip or bring a sack lunch. It should be fun.

Follow me on Instagram @larkandbloom and come to Africa with me. We were made for adventure.

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Go ahead, dreamer. Do the crazy thing.

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You know. That ‘thing’.

It never seems to go away. The idea, the dream, the passion, the vision that stays ever before you. The ‘what if’ scenario that resurfaces in your imagination – over and over and over. No matter how you try and rationalize it out of your psyche, it keeps coming back. As if you were made to think it. Born to do it.

Sometimes they are big and busting at the seams with meaning. Others are simple whims that buzz around your head making you smile as you think of them. If only, you think to yourself. If only I had the time, the money, the capacity, the opportunity…If only I could do it.

My gypsy soul has done some crazy things.

I fell in love when I said I wouldn’t. So in love, I married at age 21. The thing I was too young to do.

For years I dreamed of Seattle. Going and living in that vibrant city which sits on the edge of the next-big-thing all the time. When I was 23 I went there to plant a church. And I did. I did the thing that looked impossible.

I have a passion for travel. So, I became a travel agent. The dream job for me in so many ways. I made no money at it and didn’t renew my license. I did the crazy thing that failed…and it wasn’t that bad.

Seattle became a home beyond what I could have imagined. So much of what defined me was there and one day we felt the nudge of God to let it all go. Pack up and move on to the next thing. So, despite many tears…I moved. I did the thing that felt like it would kill me, but it didn’t.

Graduate school has been a passion of mine for years. I decided to study for the GRE…hours I studied and then never took it. I did the thing that never went anywhere but taught me so much anyway.

I have two kids and am adopting two more. I am doing the thing that seems beyond my capacity.

I am trying to write a book. I am doing the thing that intimidates me.

I am pursuing my passion to see an end to human trafficking and work with an organization to see the 27 million slaves in the world set free. I am doing the thing that seems too big for me. The dream that has always felt intangible and distant. The dream that scares me the most.

So many things.

Crazy, beautiful, motivating. Ideas and dreams I couldn’t shake.

Thoughts that didn’t seem to matter to anyone else – they were the thoughts that wouldn’t leave me alone. I do things that seem impressive to others and things that people find trivial. I do things that no one else understand but God and myself. Some I do well and others I fumble. But I do them.

Go ahead. You were made to do the crazy things.

The idea you tinker with in your spare time. Things so crazy no one has done yet. Or things so seemingly ordinary people don’t understand your passion for it. Lives so brave they make the complacent uncomfortable. Focus so wild it intimidates the giants who say it can’t be done. You were made for this.

So go ahead. Do them. Do the crazy things.

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Why Yelling From A Boat Is The Right Thing To Do

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These past few weeks there have been numerous people yelling at me from boats. Just when I don’t think I can come up for another breath, there they are. Their muffled encouragements drifting into my ears through the crashing waves. At certain moments I lose my bearings and ability to judge if I can even make it to my destination at all. But the hodge-podge crowd of boat sailing cheerleaders yelled at me telling me that I was so close – almost there. Keep going Liz.

Okay, I think to myself. Just breathe. Keep going.

You may not know this about me, but I am NOT a marathon swimmer. However, some people actually are. And when they set out to conquer things like the English Channel or swimming from Florida to Haiti without a shark cage, they don’t go it alone. They are accompanied by a support boat full of people. People to cheer them on, give them what they need throughout the journey and rescue them if need be.

I have been my own kind of marathon swimmer as of late. My oceans are composed of legal documents. Instead of waves I have deadlines and my sharks are simply too many unknown elements to name. Four years ago, we began the process of international adoption. It has been a gritty and grueling marathon of its own.

I leave in two weeks to travel to Africa and begin meeting with orphanages. After four years of what seems like aimless swimming in an endless sea, it is as if I can see a shore for the first time. But these past few weeks have had some significant challenges. Thank God for the boat full of people yelling at me.

Random texts asking how to pray. Phone calls from people I rarely talk to calling just encourage me and see how I am doing. A $500 donation to our adoption account from a complete stranger. People in a boat. Cheering beside me.

My life has been filled with moments that seemed to hard to endure. Moments that my weary eyes were blurry and couldn’t really see the target anymore. Days when it seemed like the darkness was greater than the light and that somehow in the scuffle of it all I didn’t really matter much. But in those moments that ached with tiredness I heard the yells and remembered that I wasn’t alone.

We all need boats of people yelling at us.

Screaming our rally cry when we have forgotten the very words our own heart wrote.

Gladiators who step in the ring with us saying, ” Have a rest friend. I’ve got this round.“.

Dreamers who never let us forget our vision and  pray for endless hours to a God who gives the strength we need.

But we have to let them in. Tell them what battles we are fighting and give them permission to journey alongside us. Not following at a distance, but close. Where they can see our labored breathing and hear our subtle cry for help. Yes, they will see us ugly cry and wrestle with our inadequacies. But we trust them – so its okay. These are the ones who will cover for us when we fail and who only Instagram our highlights.

Don’t swim your oceans alone. Bring people in.

And get in another’s boat.

Be the the one yelling that the shore is close. Remind others that this saltwater won’t surround them forever, but soon they will be able to put their feet down and walk onto the beach having conquered that which seemed impossible. And when they get there, throw them a party.

Yell, cheer and pray until you have lost your own voice on another’s behalf.

Build a boat and fill it with people who have your back. Hop in a canoe and paddle alongside a friend who needs you.

Our destiny is not to drown alone in the dark waters, but to defy the odds with others.

Love crosses oceans.

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