Posts tagged #dreams

where dreams go

I heard about this book last year from some of my creative friends but hadn't read it until today. (The full book is online if you click the above link)

I wonder what would happen if somehow this book was read to every single adult in America? I mean, this guy wrote the book for his kid - but I think we can all agree those of us over 21 need our fair share of creative inspiration. I consider myself an artist. I love to write and concoct stories full of hope and centered on what could be if we see the beauty in everything.

However.

I'll be the first to admit sometimes, the creativity just isn't there. The desire isn't there. The what is sucks dry the what could be. I don't think it was meant to be this way.

Right now I'm reading The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani. It's rocking my world. The premise? Christianity has lost its imagination to the clutches of consumerism. According to Jethani, "consumerism is the dominant world view of North Americans. As such, it is competing with the kingdom of heaven for the hearts and imaginations of God's people." Looking around, there's not much battling his presumption. Christian retailers buy into the idea of "TESTAmints" and A Bread Crumb and Fish parodies - knowing we will see these purchases as proof of our greater faith.

The idea that the amount of Christian CD's, bumper stickers, videos, conferences, books, t-shirts and merchandise equates to our level of faith is highly absurd and deeply convicting.

We serve a mighty God. He is the Creator of the universe. Creativity and imagination is central to His character. Thomas Kelly says that "holy is the imagination, the gateway of Reality into our hearts."

I believe this and I think the world notices this as well. (Why do you think beauty - even in the twisted shape of lust - is so celebrated?) I believe God intended for His children to dig deep into their imaginative tendencies to create deep change within their society. We are not meant to look the same as the rest of the world. It's time we follow the dreams of our Father.

My challenge: read Dallas Clayton's book. Pay attention to your heart - the inner workings and stirrings of your core. Read it as it's intended: a letter from a Father to His child. After you're done, do something creative.

And more than anything, consider how He wants you to respond.

What is your biggest, most wildest and ridiculous dream?

Posted on May 5, 2010 .

the power of fear

Fear will suffocate you.

I said this to Devonte and Nijalon the other day at our first meeting. Of course, I was speaking in terms of writing - fear of rejection, fear of going blank, fear of not being good enough. But it rolls deep, this fear.

We talked about how fear can paralyze you so completely, you don't ever achieve your dreams. The little whisper you hear telling you to make the jump or take a step is overrun by the blindingly familiar shout of fear. And as I spoke this, as I looked in their eyes and encouraged them to take the sheet of paper stating what was keeping them from their dreams as writers and storytellers and destroy it, I silently prayed the truth would sink into their hearts.

Because I know what it's like to buy into the lies.

It's been three months since I've pulled out my novel to write. At first, it was to allow myself some space. Writing about human trafficking is tough - and thanks to some incredible friends and an amazing husband - I knew when to back off and take a breath. Weeping at the keyboard usually doesn't equal emotional stability, you know?

But, it's been three months.

As I sat and listened to the dreams of these two high school kids, slowly mine began to resurface. Words began to dance around in my head and scenes began to form themselves.  There's no way I'm going to let 65,000 words go to waste.

So, I'm going to start writing again. Along with a few other things I've let fall to the wayside, I'm restructuring my priorities and editing my goals.

Might as well start now...

oh - and the dreams of these kids? inspiring. devonte wants to write novels using his background as the foundation for his stories. he also wants to develop a mentoring program for inner-city kids to get them to open up through writing. um...yes. beautiful.

Posted on March 18, 2010 and filed under story.

being joshua and caleb in a no name world

let me introduce you to some friends of mine. i met some of the most incredible teenagers tonight. and it's not because of their attendance or their grades or their achievements in sports. it's because of their faith.

in the fall, these kids were introduced to Kibera, Kenya through a video created by their teacher during her trip last summer. they fell in love with their peers thousands of miles away and mentioned the idea of actually answering the call and going to help.

an idea turned into action because of these kids' faith.

these kids truly are Joshuas and Calebs in a no-name world. in a world where people will most likely look at them like they're crazy, they are standing tall. in a world where most kids their age save money for a new car or prom tickets or the latest fashions, these kids are brainstorming ways to get to Africa - because they want to help others.

they know love conquers all, and they are taking a risk. a risk so many adults would hesitate to take.

but, no one tells your story better than you - so i'll let you see (and hear) for yourself.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSnZY_p3Yq4&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x006699&color2=0x54abd6&hd=1]

Posted on March 8, 2010 and filed under africa, story.

stories for stories

A good storyteller doesn't just tell a better story, though. He invites other people into the story with him, giving them a better story too. - Donald Miller A couple months ago I introduced you to my sister Blanche. Two years ago this summer, she went to Haiti. I couldn't have been more excited - I took my own trip to Haiti which sparked an inciting incident in my life the summer after my senior year in high school. Once there, I was never the same. But more on that story later. During Blanche's trip to Haiti, I prayed. I prayed and waited and prayed and waited some more...so anxious for her to come back and tell me stories of the country I missed so much.

Blanche's inciting incident occurred in Haiti as well - while holding a little boy in the middle of an orphanage. She took pictures, wanting to etch into her memory the faces of these precious children who stole her heart. Hearing their story, she never wanted to forget.

She went to Kenya this past summer - loving on orphans and falling in love with Africa. Once again, she came back with pictures. With tears in her eyes she would tell us the story of the little girl in the picture who had been found herding goats at the age of four - so far removed from society she had no knowledge of any language. For every picture, there was a story.

We dreamed about what it would mean to actually go and just listen to people's stories. We planned a trip - flying into Cape Town and traveling up the east coast of Africa just listening, writing, taking pictures, filming...no agenda. No hope for money making or gaining popularity because of the trip. Just curiosity and an urge to fill blank pages of our life story.

Since then, her love for photography and story and living a life centered on James 1:27 has blossomed. But, it was after a particularly rough semester filled with failure and redemption, she found her own story.

She called me one night - breathless with anticipation. "I have a BRILLIANT idea" she said as her words tumbled over one another. I couldn't help but smile because I recognized the urgency. All three of us Jacobson sisters inherited it from somewhere - a sense that our idea needs to be written down, filed, locked away and kept under high scrutiny until it's come to fruition. It was in this conversation that Stories for Stories was born.

Her idea resonated with me - particularly because the same week she was in Haiti, I was at Lake Junaleska, realizing my purpose was to tell the stories of those forgotten. Immediately, I knew she had something huge.

We launched Stories for Stories last weekend. Our website is rough. Our twitter followers are few. But people are getting excited. And I'm realizing all over again the beauty within a story.

There's always a risk - always some challenge. There's always some situation or incident that catapults us into the unknown. There's always pain and tears and black moments where we don't believe we can make it another day. But. There's hope and beauty in risk. The unknown is scary, but worth every blind step. The pain and tears and black moments make us question why we ever bought into this story in the first place, but once we're on the other side, our ragged edges serve as a reminder of our survival - and it's beautiful.

We'd love to have you join us. It's really quite amazing, hearing all of these stories. And if you are one of those people who believe you have no story - that you are just another ordinary person with nothing extraordinary to your name - I say one simple phrase: you're wrong.

You have dreams. You have aspirations - however secret or pushed down deep under your comfortable life. Answer this question: what would you do if you had the opportunity to write your story? What would you attempt - what would you hope to accomplish in your life time? Don't limit yourself. Most importantly, don't limit the ultimate Storyteller who is dying to write an epic tale with you as the main character.

Live. Risk. Write your story. Listen to the Storyteller within you - chances are he's been begging you to do something for awhile. And when resistance comes, push harder. Go deeper. Find the courage to pursue a life abundant with adventure.

We'll be waiting on the other side cheering you on - waiting for you to share your story.

If you would be interested in joining us, please go to our facebook page for more information.

Posted on January 17, 2010 and filed under story.

best of 'o9: julie&julia

Earlier this summer, Russ and I took some friends and went to watch Julie & Julia. It was mostly for him: he's the chef in the family, and he went to Le Cordon Blue - just like Julia. However, as I watched the movie, I realized just how much I connected with Julie. Far too much, actually. This deserves a repost because it's what put the burr in my saddle to begin writing again. If it weren't for this movie - I never would have given myself a challenge. And my manuscript may still be sitting at 1,014 words instead of almost 60,000. Russ & I went & saw Julie & Julia yesterday afternoon.

What struck me the most was Julie’s perception of herself as a “writer”.  Having finished half a novel – with no prospects of being published – she hangs her hat & forgets that part of who she is as a person. She shuts it off. I empathize with her mentality more than I care to admit.

More often than not, I find myself shutting off my “writer’s muse” because of fear or insecurity or just…laziness. Friends who find out I have a blog or that I have been published look at me quizzically & ask, “You write?” My answer is usually a sheepish nod & something along the lines of, “well, yeah…sort of.”

A couple years ago I was involved in a three week writing institute. Every day, for two hours, we got to write. About anything. It was absolutely glorious. One morning, I walked through the dusty hallways of the old school, found a not-too comfortable position on the wooden floor, stuck in my earphones & let everything out on the empty pages of my journal. That day, I wrote about who I was – how I viewed myself. The first words on the page:

I am a writer.

As I was writing, I wasn’t considering reading it out loud or sharing it with others, it was more of a manifesto of sorts. Something I could have as a memento; something my heart desperately wanted me to never forget. At the time, writing was just something I did. It was a part of me.

Somewhere, I let that go.

There’s a scene in the movie where Julie has just been interviewed by the New York Times. The next day, she’s walking around the city & she sees all of these people reading the column – her column with her face on the front page of the paper. I guess you can say it’s the moment where she has reached her goal – at least – the goal of finding herself. She isn’t lost anymore. She’s found her purpose.

It was during these five minutes of endless messages from publishers & journalists & what-have-you that she turned to her husband and said, “I’m a writer!” He replied with the belief only a husband could offer  - “you already were a writer.”

And oh, the tears flew down my face. (Good thing the theatre is always dark because I would have been quite embarrassed)

You know the feeling I’m getting at here. It’s when you are watching a movie or reading a book or talking to someone else & something happens or something is said & BOOM! electricity fires through you. Your heart demands you to pay attention to what is going on around you because…it’s important. It means something. It’s the moment you feel alive.

Like most people, writing – the thing I most enjoy – is the first thing to be sacrificed in my schedule.  I’m too tired, too busy, too wrapped up in everything else around me I can’t even stop & take a breath because it would mean feeling the nagging sensation of an empty muse.

I’m so tired of that feeling. And, the more I force myself to write – the more I give myself a strict regimen – like Julie did for herself, the more I remember the addicting sound of fingers slapping the keyboard & my mind going a mile a minute just to keep up with my hands. And I can’t help but wonder…what if?

What if I grabbed hold of my dreams? What if I threw out all of those nasty fears & insecurities & actually started writing. Really writing…allowing my words to take shape into whatever my inner Virginia Woolf has concocted – what would happen?

So, consider this a tipped hat to writer’s block & bruised egos. I am a bit done with waiting for movies to inspire me into acting out my passion. I’ve decided to set a goal for myself  & quit wishing I had the cojones to pursue writing & actually (wo)man up & do something about it.  At first, I thought three published pieces within one year would be sufficient – but that seems kind of easy. I want a challenge. I want to force my writer’s heart into submission, work its muscles & see how much it can handle. Rejection? Pshh. I’m ready.

I think.

Five published pieces. One year.

I think I may be crazy.

Posted on December 31, 2009 .