Imagine that…

November 25, 2022

A quote I think I got from the Jack’s Winning Words blog was my inspiration this morning (as often happens) – “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” (Mae Jemison)

Jack went on to write – Mae Jemison — who in 1992 became the first Black woman to travel into space — was forced to contend with people’s limited imaginations throughout her pioneering career. I’ll leave that to your imagination; although it is not hard to imagine.

One’s imagination can be limited or influenced by many things – ignorance and prejudice are two. In the case of Mae Jemison it was probable a combination of the two for most people who could not “see” her as an astronaut. A similar story was made into the film Hidden Figures.

Hidden Figures is a 2016 American biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi and written by Melfi and Allison Schroeder. It is loosely based on the 2016 non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly about African American female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race. (Wikipedia)

In both cases the imaginations of many to see the black women as mathematicians or as an astronaut was limited or redirected by ignorance and prejudice. Also, in both cases, the women involved did not let that stop them from being or becoming what they imagined themselves to be.

While the majority of us may never feel the limitations and sting of prejudice, we do sometimes let the imaginations (or lack thereof) of others hold us back. Being told that you are not smart enough, or strong enough, or brave enough to do something or that “you can’t do that” for reasons never fully explained, serves to set artificial boundaries in our lives…unless challenged.

Sometimes the limited imagination is shown through oversight or being ignored. Nobody expected greatness when Tom Brady was selected in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. I can imagine that Brady sat there through round after round of the 2000 NFL draft wondering why no one could see the potential greatness that he could imagine in himself.

The similarity of those two very different situations is that both Jemison and Brady believed in themselves. They could both imagine themselves in the roles that they were being denied in the imaginations of others. They also combined that with a hard work ethic that helped them never to give up on their dream or imagination about themselves.

There is no way to avoid the limited imaginations of others about you, whether it is driven by ignorance, indifference, or prejudice. The key is not to let what others think of you influence what you think of yourself. Keep your goals out in front of you and keep imagining yourself achieving those goals. Let that imagined achievement motivate you to put in the hard work that may be needed to get to that goal.

Remember that The little engine that could in the book you read as a child achieved his goal; of reaching the top of the hill because he did not believe those who said that he could not. His mantra was, “I think I can, I think I can.” He continued thinking that until he did. You can, too. Like Mae Jemison, don’t let yourself be limited by other people’s imagination of what you can accomplish. Just keep imagining “I think I can” and you will.

Imagine that.


What sustains you?

August 19, 2022

I like this quote because it harkens back to hope – “There are times when dreams sustain us more than facts.”  (Helen Fagin)

The facts and reality of day-to-day life can often get tough or boring, but if one has hope and dreams based upon that hope it is more bearable.

You may have been inclined to answer the question in today’s title with the word “faith”. I would submit that faith is based upon hope and the dream of a better afterlife to come.

One may have somewhat passive hope and dreams or one may use that hope and  those dreams to motivate them into action. President Barack Obama put it this way in his Iowa caucus victory speech in 2008–

“Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”

There are many times in life when the “facts” of what is happening around us or to us may not be very encouraging. It is during those times that our faith and the hope that it is based upon sustain us. We get through those times because we know and trust that we can get through them, because we are not alone. We have not only hope but faith in that hope.

There was a quote in the Jack’s Winning Words blog recently that also seems appropriate to use here.

“I trust the next chapter, because I know the author.”  (Unknown) 

If you have faith in God, you know the author of your life and you can have hope and faith in whatever He has laid out for you in the next chapter of your life. What is even more comforting is that the same hope and faith will carry you on into the chapter after this life. You can be sustained when facing death not in fear, but in hope and anticipation, because you know the author for that, too.

We all have hopes and dreams, based upon those hopes. As for me, I trust the next chapter in my life, because I know the author.

What sustains you?


Keep Dreaming…Keep going…

March 31, 2022

In my role as a Realtor® I get a daily email with an inspirational graphic in it. Sometimes I’ll notice that a couple of them just seem to go together to create an entirely new inspirational thought. Such is the case today.

These two graphics came to me weeks apart, yet they just seem to work together –

-AND-

I think the glue that holds these two thoughts together is faith.

One can have dreams that are mere idle musings and it is easy to let go of them. Life changing dreams are seldom so casual and often involve appeals to God for help in achieving them. That brings the second graphic into play. One must have faith to keep pursuing their dreams, even in the face of long delays or temporary setbacks.

Dreams are seldom accompanied by detailed plans and an exact timetable. Initial prayers are seldom requests for the patience and perseverance needed to achieve one’s dreams, yet that is what is most often required. Instead of questioning God as to why he hasn’t helped you achieve your dream yet, it is better that you should thank him for helping you get as far as you are and try to understand the guidance that he is giving you. If nothing else, at least acknowledge that it is not over yet, so your dream is still alive. Keep praying for the patience and perseverance to continue pursuing your dream.

We are told in the Bible –

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)

That quote from James also alludes to the real payoff of faith; not so much the achievement of earthly dreams, but the realization of eternal life through Jesus. Perhaps that points out to us that we have not been dreaming big enough.

If you haven’t realized that yet, don’t worry, it’s not over yet.


Dream bigger…

August 17, 2021

I saw this little quote from Laird Hamilton, a world class surfer, in a series of quotes from athletes – “Never let your memories be bigger than your dreams.”

Athletes seem to always be focused upon doing better, running faster, scoring more, achieving greater. That focus on doing better in the future is what keeps them going and training.

As one gets older, it becomes more difficult to keep one’s dreams ahead of one’s memories, especially if one has lived a full and satisfying life. However, I think it is important to continue to have dreams and goals that you strive to achieve. Perhaps those dreams are a little less ambitious than they once were and maybe they are more focused upon doing things for others, but they still provide a purpose in life and one can still strive towards achieving a new personal best in whatever they are trying to do.

The physical limitations that creep in with age can seem to put a cap on the things that we can dream of personally doing, but we may just need to dream of achieving them in a different way. Many top-level athletes become coaches when their playing days are over. They use the knowledge and wisdom that they collected when they participated to teach others how to do it even better than they did.

There are opportunities like that in the non-athletic world, where there is a constant need for teachers, mentors, tutors, and coaches. There is something very rewarding about seeing someone whom you have taught or mentored being successful and being able to think, “I taught him/her how to do that.”  Your dream may shift from thoughts about yourself to hopes for your protégée.

Of course, one never completely stops thinking about one’s own future and dreaming about what that may hold. Thoughts and dreams may shift towards what comes next. It is then that the reassurance that there is a “next” can bring the most comfort. There are many passages in the Bible that talk about Jesus’ promise that those who believe in Him shall have everlasting life. Perhaps that is the biggest dream of all. I can’t imagine any of my memories of life here on earth rivalling what is in store in that dream – what is next.

But, while I’m still here, I choose to continue to dream – to have work to do, unfulfilled goals to pursue and personal bests for which to strive. I have lots of great memories, but I also have lots of new memories to make, new friends to meet and new goals to achieve.

Never stop dreaming; in fact, dream bigger.


Never stop dreaming – Never stop flying

July 21, 2021

I happened upon today’s quote while searching for something else recently.

1936 photo by Carl Van Vechten

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
 “Dreams”
by Lanston Huges

[From Wikipedia] James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1901 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. One of the earliest innovators of the literary art form called jazz poetry, Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

It is hard to imagine what it must be like for a bird that cannot fly, because of a broken wing. When flight comes as natural to you as breathing, to have that suddenly taken away must be a frightening and confusing thing. The bird is still alive, but not really “alive” because it cannot fly.

If we cannot dream of a better tomorrow, we become like that bird. Perhaps we lose all hope because we cannot see that better tomorrow in our dreams. People suffering from depression experience that feeling because they can see no way out of the situation that they find themselves in. They sink into despair because they have lost the ability to dream of a better time. They cannot fly on the wings of their imagination.

Most of us don’t sink into despair, but we may occasionally get so wrapped up in our day-to-day lives that we don’t take time to dream – we lose sight of our hopes for a better day tomorrow. I saved this quote from a cartoon character and it seems to fit –

 “Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.”

— Charlie Brown, from “Peanuts,” on pacing

Maybe Charlie Brown could have added something about taking time to dream while you are resting.

Rest is certainly important, so that we don’t burn out physically; however, taking time to dream, to have hopes for tomorrow, is also important so that we don’t burn out mentally.

Taking time to pray each day can provide a great setting in which to take that break from the stresses of your day-to-day life and set aside a moment for yourself to dream of a better tomorrow. Then you can ask God for the perseverance to never lose sight of those dreams and continue to pursue them. Perhaps that prayer will be the only step you take today towards realizing those dreams, but it is a step in the right direction and it keeps the dream alive.

So, don’t allow yourself to become like a broken winged bird. You can still dream. Keep your dreams alive. Keep your hopes alive. Keep your faith alive.

Take some time to pray and dream today. Someday soon you will fly again.


Do you deserve it?

June 29, 2021

Yesterday I wrote about the journey towards a goal or dream being as important as actually achieving it. Later in the day, I saw this quote – “Deserve your dream.”  – Octavio Pas

That simple three-word quote has tremendous power when you think about it. It also ties in nicely with the previous day’s quote. The truth is that some people do “luck” into their dream, or at least what seems like a dream. It would be hard to say that a Lotto winner deserved that dream. It was pure luck.

Most of us have to work for our dreams…we have to take the journey to get to the dream. For many that involves hard work, long hours, and personal sacrifices. When they finally get there, they deserve their dream…they have earned it.

For some, a dream may become just something that we continually think or fantasize about, but don’t really do anything to achieve. They don’t get their dream because they really don’t deserve it…they didn’t work for it.

Some people spend their entire life making up excuses for themselves and for others to hear about why they haven’t achieved their dreams. For them life is a giant conspiracy theory bent on holding them back from their dreams. They have focused all of their energy on the excuses instead of taking any positive steps towards achieving those dreams. These are people to be avoided.

Some confuse deserving a dream with entitlement to that dream. We often hear people shouting on news casts that they have a “right” to this or that. Many times, those things that they say they “deserve” are not rights at all, but privileges that others work for or work to pay for. What they deserve is the equal opportunity to realize those dreams or goals. What they are really facing in many cases is systemic roadblocks to those opportunities. Martin Luther King’s dream was to achieve a world were the roadblocks of systemic racism were removed.

Some people may pray for God’s help in achieving their dream; however, many do not pray for the right thing. I like a quote from Bruce Lee that I saw recently – “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” Too many people pray for God to make their dream come true. That is not how God works. Pray instead for God to give you the perseverance and strength to keep progressing towards your dream.

So ask yourself, the next time your dream comes to mind, “What am I doing to achieve it? What steps have I taken to realize that dream?” If you have no good answers to those questions, then place that dream aside with other fantasies and get on with life. You don’t deserve it.

Deserve your dream.


Ask and you shall receive…

May 7, 2021

Paster Freed used this quote from an Indian philosopher today in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words“Reach high, for stars lie hidden from you.  Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”   (Rabindranath Tagore) 

Tagore might have added, “Pray fervently, for through prayer the hidden path to your dream is revealed.”

Prayer makes you stop and think, it also makes you formulate what it is that you want God to help you with. You don’t just ask God to make your dream come true. That’s not how it works.

Perhaps the path to your dream requires only the courage to try. You can find that courage through prayer.

Maybe the path is long and arduous. God will give you the patience, perseverance, and endurance to stay the course, if you but ask.

It could be that your dream is not realistically achievable. It that case, asking God for help letting go of that dream and finding another, more realistic, dream to pursue may be the best course of action. So, maybe God’s role is similar to that of Dr Phil on TV and he’s telling you to get real. Pray about it.

Ask God for the right help and then listen in your heart for His answers. Whatever you approach it is that last part that matters the most – listen to his answer in your heart and do the right thing. Sometimes you are not going to like the answer, but you must accept it and move on. Ask for God’s help in dealing with the disappointment. You might be surprised how fast a new dream, one that you can accomplish, pops into your life.

Indeed,  “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to  perform” (from a poem by William Cowper)

So pray for God’s guidance and help with your dreams and the path will not be hidden from you.


Getting there from here…

April 29, 2021

“All you need is the plan, the roadmap, and the courage to press on to your destination.”  (Earl Nightengale)

I’ve had that little quote hanging around for some time and thought it deserved to be commented upon.

Many people have hopes or dreams, most of which never get beyond that stage, because they remain in that vague, unorganized state in their minds. Hopes and dreams at least made it further than “passing thoughts” that pop in and out of our heads and are gone forever. Hopes and dreams that are not acted upon eventually turn into regrets and that’s not a good thing.

What keeps those hopes and dreams from becoming reality is the lack of a plan of action to make them come true. It is those plans and the road maps to success that results from them that Nightengale is referencing in his quote. Once you turn a hope or a dream into a goal, you can begin breaking down the steps that are necessary to achieving that goal (that dream) and making plans on how to approach and achieve those steps.

Hopes and dreams are a little like problems. Sometimes they can loom so big that they seem impossible to solve. But, just like big problems, one can break hopes and dreams down into smaller incremental steps. You begin to think in terms of, “I’ve got to do this, before I can do that.” Each this and that along the way to achieving your goal (your dream), becomes a stop along the roadmap. Reaching each stop on the roadmap by accomplishing that task represents a little victory. Take time to celebrate each victory to keep yourself motivated, but make sure that it is only a pause to celebrate and not a reason to stop.

Breaking down your hopes and dreams into small steps and mapping out a road to success also makes getting up the courage to press on easier. After all you aren’t trying to do it all at once, just this one little thing today. Rather than asking God for the courage and strength to take on the whole dream at once, you can ask for His help on achieving the little step that is front of you. And at the end of the day, when you have achieved that little step, you can thank God for his help and line up support for the next step. You might also acknowledge the need to ask God for the patience to take on the journey in the small steps that you have mapped out. Patience is one of God’s strong suits.

So, what are your hopes and dreams? Have you really thought about them enough to start mapping out a roadmap to achieve them? If so, have you started down the path that you have defined? If not, why not? After all, you have a plan.

Perhaps it’s time for your to ask God for the courage to begin or continue that journey. Your hopes and dreams await. Just take that first step or that next step. You can do this, and God can help.

Have a great day and good luck with today’s small step in your journey. Maybe we’ll bump into each other along the way to our hopes and dreams.


Got to get to work…

July 25, 2018

OK, so I didn’t win the big ½ billion lotto drawing last night. I guess the quote that I saw in a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog applies to this situation as well as to life in general.

“The six W’s: Work Will Win When Wishing Won’t.”  (Todd Blackledge)

Many people seem to spend their lives wishing for things, instead of working for things. They may wish that their life had turned out differently or perhaps that they had been born into different circumstances. It is easy to allow wishing to degrade into wallowing in self pity.  Wishing and blaming also seem to go hand-in-hand for those type of people.accountability They wish things were better and blame the fact that they aren’t on things that they feel like they can’t control. Yet others who had the same starting point in life take the path of hard work and a dedication to bettering themselves and their situation. They work at a job and go to school. They work at a job and raise a family. They work. And, it works for them.

There is a big difference between just wishing and pursing a dream. Having a dream of aman daydreaming better future provides the foundation for the desire to achieve that dream. As Napoleon Hill once said –

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”

What separates the achievers from the dreamers is the will and determination to achieve that dream.

“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re to go to bed with satisfaction.”  (George Lorimer)

In between those two quotes is a good place to put today’s thought – “Work will win when wishing won’t.”goal

Well, I’ve got to go now. Got to get to work. I’m still working towards my dream. How about you?


Sometimes achieving your dream turns out to be disappointing…

April 25, 2017

From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes today’s thought –

“It hurts to find out that what you wanted doesn’t match what you dreamed it would be.”  (Randy Milholland)

That quote sort of goes along with the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” The origins of that saying are somewhat obscure but may have come from a Spanish proverb.

We often romanticize things in our dreams, seeing only the beauty that we hope is thereman daydreaming and none of the warts that may go along with it. That is often the case when we dream about things, owning things or doing things. Somehow we have this belief that we would be happy, if only we owned that thing that we don’t now have. It could be a car, a house, a boat, whatever; we’re just sure that it and owning it is the key to our happiness. Then we finally get it and guess what; it’s just a thing. Owning it may make us feel happy for a few moments, but then something else out in the distance that we don’t own catches our attention and acquiring that new thing becomes our obsession.

The same issues arise when dreaming about people, or maybe about Mr. or MS. Right. Our fantasies are encouraged and fed by the world of advertising and the entertainment industry, both of which tend to show us only images of beautiful people with apparently perfect lives. Of course the drug store tabloids have headlines that scream out that all is not as it seems in those perfect lives and Hollywood divorces certainly seem to outnumber the success stories of married famous couples. So, it would seem that being married to Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie isn’t all that we might have imagined it would be.

mother with childHow do we avoid the disappointment of reality not matching our dreams? One could just say stop dreaming; but that is not realistic either.  Perhaps rather than stopping dreaming about some ideal person we’d like to or about things that we wish to possess, we could start appreciating what we already have in life and the people that we already know. Maybe the next step it to see a path to achieving our dream that is comprised of small steps in the general direction of that dream, maybe we could buy a newer car, with some of the features that we’ve been dreaming about; rather than buying that ultimate dream car. Maybe going out with Mr. OK is a step in the direction of finding Mr. Wonderful, and at least you have someone real to talk to and not just another lonely night with a dream. Life is full of compromises and you might even find that Mr. or Ms. OK turn out to be better than you had thought. You might even find love. Dr. Seuss even had an interesting observation about that – “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

So, go ahead and dream; but, dream with your eyes open to the reality of life. Making the most of your life by appreciating those people and things that surround you on a daily basis is much better than moping about those things and people in your dreams that you don’t have. If you find that your commitment to achieving your dreams is strong enoughgoal and persistent enough to pursue as a goal in life, then start turning your dreams into plans and start working away at them. Your dream has now turned into your vision of where you want to go in life and what you want to achieve and you are now on a journey to turn those dreams into your reality.  Mark Victor Hansen put it this way – “You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands – your own.”

Let’s hope that you are not disappointed when you get there.