Tag Archives: risk

BIG NEWS – A Dream. A Risk. A Leap. Now we’ve landed.

 

 

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I packed the bags up in the middle of the night while you were sleeping.

I have moved us and I hope you don’t mind. See, I spend so much time talking about dreams and all the ways they spin inside us – twisting and turning with the beats of life. Over the past few months I’ve gotten pretty clear about something.

There was one thing I dreamed of doing. Of being. But I just couldn’t muster up the courage to take the leap. I’m not graceful by nature and knew if I jumped there is a good chance I’d break my ankle. But, this is life and trips to the ER can’t be avoided. I’ve got to live it out and jump with the energy of a Beyonce concert. So, I did.

I have started a new website, and this place will soon be no more.

This is a place I’ve been dreaming of for awhile. I started blogging seriously about three years ago. And in that time I’ve realized so much of what I am passionate about. Most surprisingly you. I’m passionate about you and those crazy ideas that bounce in your head. And that destiny in you? Gosh, it gets my blood pumping.

That got me thinking. How can I turn this passion into something bigger than a blog? Well, by starting a business to make sure that I have the time and opportunity to help pull those things out of you.

I’ve built us a bigger house friends. Let me break it down:

  • Blog -this new website will house a blog just like Lark & Bloom. About once a week I’ll post same as I always have.
  • Baller Status Club – a new couple-times-a-month email for you movers & shakers. Where we get down to the nitty gritty of life and seeing these dreams unfold.
  • Shop – I wish I could sit on your couch every morning when you woke up, hand you a cup of coffee and make sure you started the day with a pep talk. But I can’t. So I have designed some prints you can scatter around your life to help you remember you were made for big things.
  • Storm Sessions – Basically, I wanna be your wingman. One-on-one mentoring sessions with me via skype. This is where I get to hear about the things rolling in your head and get down to business helping you figure out how to let these dreams and goals gain traction.

I’ve taken what we already had going and took it up a notch or twelve hopefully.

And you know what? I’m terrified. As we all are when we step up and say, “What the heck. Let’s do this.”. Maybe I’ve laid out a picnic and no one will come. But I’ve got a feeling.

I’ve got a feeling that life is about to break wide open for us. Big things are ahead and this is the place we can gather to talk about them.

‘Cause we are the dreamers & doers. We don’t play small.

Welcome home friends. Go ahead and browse around OUR NEW HOME! 

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No small plans. No timid dreams.

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The summer between my senior year in high school and my freshman year of college I had this same exact feeling. I remember sitting in my front yard late one night next to a boy. I found myself pulling grass out by the fist full – doing anything I could to delay the inevitable. He and I had said all the things there were to say until there was nothing left but the one thing. The thing that hung so heavy on my eighteen year old frame.

“We have to break up.”.

It was hard. There were tears and doubts. Years have taught me now what love is and that wasn’t love. But it was sweet and kind to me – whatever it was. I let him walk away that night unsure if someone better would ever find me, but I knew that sometimes you have to let go in order have space for the next thing. He was a good thing no doubt. But he wasn’t my good thing.

I snapped this pic a few weeks ago on top of Table Mountain in South Africa. This summer I have put in some miles and these feet of mine have carried me through numerous cities in the US, walked me through London and led me over the hills of Cape Town. It has been a journey. A journey that has given me the opportunity to hear some of your stories and see some of your faces.

Those of you who have mustered up the courage to start new businesses, go back to school or who have gotten together with other readers to share the things you carry on those pieces of paper. I am moved. Always, deeply and humbly moved that something I have said or done has sparked inspiration in you.

As I have heard the stories of featured readers over the summer that I have posted to my blog, I have realized something. I have settled for a “good enough” dream. The way you all risk and are pushing the boundaries has sparked something in me.

Courage is contagious. And I have caught it from you.

I sat at my computer three years ago and wrote the first blog entry on Lark & Bloom. Thinking to myself that the thoughts rolling around in my head might be better left unshared and unspoken.  Away from scrutiny and rejection. I hit that publish button and that’s when this all started. That’s when we started. 

Truth be told, it is easy to take one big leap and then convince ourselves that we have landed. That this is as far as we will go – as far as we want to go. We’ve got something to show for ourselves now. No one can fault us for not trying. We tried. We succeeded. But then we stopped. 

We got far enough, did enough, lived enough.

Your stories have highlighted places in me where I have begun to settle. And I’ve decided something.

No small plans, no timid dreams.

If I am honest with myself – really gut honest – I want to contribute to social change in more profound ways than I am doing now. I want to mentor dreamers and creatives to a greater degree than I am at the moment. I wanna give a pep talk to the world – I want to be an author. There I said it. Out loud and online.

But that requires something terrifying and vulnerable. Something that may or may not work.

I don’t have a business plan, but I have a dream. And for now that’s gotta be good enough.

Your tales of triumph, ache, of stumbling through the mess to find the next steps. You have moved me.

So here I am again on another summer night. Looking at what has been and saying that this is lovely, but I have to let it go. Because there is a bigger dream in me that needs chasing.

Let’s be clear. You and me? We aren’t breaking up. 

I’m just risking on taking this to the next level. I’m going way out of my comfort zone to build a new website that will house this blog as well as other projects.

But we are in this together – me and you. So, I wanted to be transparent from the start. ‘Cause sometimes we need reminding that risks aren’t always polished or easy. That sometimes it means letting go of what is to chase something bigger. Even if it feels too big at times.

And maybe some of you champions need to take some risks with me. Letting go of  “enough” to chase the fuller picture.

So let’s be honest about the things we carry inside us. The version of ourselves we long to become. And let’s do this again. Let’s pioneer something new. No small plans. No timid dreams. Just brave. That’s us.

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Get out of bed, dreamers. It’s time to go.

Somewhere beautiful

 But, really. We never signed up for this.

We never signed up to be taunted by our dreams – to be teased for all that hasn’t happened yet. Peeking out from the covers each morning wondering if this day we will fail just like we have in the long succession of days before. Or maybe, just maybe, today we will be someone great. The kind of someone we crave to be.

Then doubt gives us a fresh dose of  reality and reminds us of all the days we never got where we were going. Best efforts that never quite lifted us out of our ditches. Wheels spinning, flinging dirt all over our hearts and coating us with shame.

We haven’t been enough yet.

Or maybe we go into the world with our shiny new shoes, but the world doesn’t seem to want us. Our freshly unpacked visions and breathtaking ideas – no one has time to see our beauty. So we pack up, go home and crawl into our beds. Under the sheets we go where it is safe and we await the coming of another morning.

This isn’t what we signed up for when we decided we wanted to be dreamers, doers and original gangsters. We didn’t expect to lose or be broken down. We never expected to stop fighting.

And yet , we did. We stopped fighting for the things in us that we want to do and become. We stopped believing that Something Bigger is out there and we are meant to find it.

Each day we dull down our dreams to soften the blow of life. Each day we expect a little less because we can’t stomach the thought of coming up empty again. We sell our dreams for the comfort of our sheets. Where we hide and wait for something to change.

The thing is, I don’t want to be a timid dreamer anymore. I don’t want to stay here in this muted world I’ve created for myself.

I want to break out, have brawls with doubt and lay back with my bloodied nose knowing that I didn’t surrender. I didn’t quit. I fought and I got free.

I’m ditching this joint and I’m inviting you to come.

Remember how good cold rain felt on your face as a kid – when you weren’t worried about it ruining your makeup or your suit? The smell of honeysuckle in the summer and excitement of a new box of crayons? Remember when you expected to make beautiful things? Dreaming of seeing the world – the actual world – instead of just pinning it on your Pinterest board?

Remember when you thought you could do or be anything?

Let’s go back there.

We were meant for something far greater than this, far more grand than we have been told.

Wake up dreamers, doers & original gangsters. It’s time to go. —> click to tweet 

Life will have it’s hard days, and sand will be thrown in your face by people who don’t believe in you enough. Some circumstances won’t change no matter how hard you yell and push on them. But those are the places we simply pass through, not where we have to remain.

Let’s head somewhere beautiful again. To a place where we work hard and make things happen. Where we sit with neighbors on front porches and connect to humanity. Where dreaming makes us smile at the possibility instead of cringe at the defeat.

It may take us awhile to get out of our habits. To crawl out of our beds that we have come to seek comfort from at the start of every morning. We will trip over our own feet more often than we’d like. But, we will get there.

I don’t care how long it takes us. Let’s go somewhere beautiful again.

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Living Your History

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image: Joel Robinson

It was the start to a truly great love story. A boy. A girl. A chase through the rain…

I was 19 and running through the pounding rain. The library could be seen through the science buildings about 100 yards away. My legs were getting tired. They had carried me out of my dorm room, down three flights of stairs and across campus in a mad dash.

But I was driven.

You see, there was this boy. He’d been crazy about me for some time, but I was just too slow to see it. A million reasons and excuses blocked my view of the good thing right in front of me. I had dreams and ideals that I stubbornly clung to.

What if I  could meet a guy in Italy instead? What if a stranger with a killer accent approached me from across a crowded room? What if my dream job will get replaced by falling in love? What if this is the peak of life – and it’s just all downhill from here? What if this story is really a tragedy?

The soundtrack to my own life was drowned out by my  self-doubts. It was safer to fall in love in my head. Things always went my way – I never had a bad hair day or said awkward things on dates. And, of course, he was always charming. Any argument was resolved by the arrival of a large bouquet of my favorite flowers.  Love in my imagination always worked out.

Truth be told, I always played it safe in real life. Friendships, goals, career plans, my social life – you name it. Always lived in the realm of my control.

Yet, another life was happening in my mind. I was bold. A vibrant soul who made the witty comments and traveled the borders. A life full of chances and risks that made my heart pound and my mind race. The kind of daring that only comes when you really, truly understand just how much this life holds within it. That was the life I lived in my mind.

And that was the kind of love story I wrote inside my head. One of risk. Of being so in love it didn’t matter what he said back. My tongue just had to utter the words.

I don’t know what exactly came over me during that thunderstorm. I guess God hit me upside the head enough that the narrative burst and exposed the truth in front of me. I liked the boy back. And I had to tell him. Now. I had to tell him right now.

He normally studied in the library at night so I took off across campus to find him. I didn’t have a cell phone at the time, so I went blindly.

Soaked to the bone and out of breath I ran into the library. I know I must have looked a mess, but I didn’t care. I had something to say to a boy. For about 30 minutes I roamed the aisles of books, peeked in the reading cubicles and scanned the study groups. He wasn’t there.

I headed back out into the storm. A smile flashing across my face at the absurdity of it all. Back through the rain to my car. I drove to his house. Knocked on the door. Dripping wet, I stood before him and blurted out “I like you.”.

Next month we will have been married 11 years. 

So often we miss the story before us because of a preoccupation with our internal narrative. We have clever conversations with others inside our minds, live daring adventures and feel emotions deep in our bones. So deep it is almost terrifying – but we are safe because it isn’t real. It’s just a fantasy we feed to satisfy the hunger within.

Our hunger for the life we imagine.

It’s time to do and become. It’s time to live the stories we write in our heads. –> click to tweet.

Real life hurts sometimes. Makes you want to curl up on the floor and cry out for some relief.  There are years where the failures just seem to keep piling on. The friendships are intertwined with rejection and love has to be fought for day in and day out. Plans crumble before your eyes and our lifelines fray at alarming rates.

But, live we must. Because we are made to do it. Because for every tragic turn there is a persistent Hope that whispers, “It’s gonna get better and I’ll hold you until it does.”.

Go on. Hash out the stories you’ve been writing in your head. Hold the hands of the people who walk beside you. Create the adventures you crave in that nearly forgotten part of your soul. Give grace to yourself and others along the way – you’re gonna need it.

Your history cannot be borrowed. It must be lived. 

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‘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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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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