Anything is Possible!

With Hope, Faith, and Perseverance


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Keeping Our Dreams Alive

(From my September Newsletter)

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Did you ever think something was dead, but it surprised you?

Around this time last year, I pulled up a small dogwood tree growing right next to our church foundation. There was no room for it to grow there. It was not easy, but I got most of the root. I planted the dogwood behind the church and gave it some water. The leaves withered and eventually dropped off. But it was close to leaf dropping time anyway, so I hoped it would come back in the spring. Through the whole season of spring I looked for new growth and saw nothing but a bare stem. I figured it was dead. I should have put some fertilizer on it. Then, in August, I just happened to notice two tiny leaves. Then four. The dogwood was still alive! Its leaves are growing as I write this. I don’t know if it will survive the winter, but there’s always hope.

There was a time when I wondered if romance was dead for me. But I never completely gave up hope. I had no idea that my first love would find me 39 years later, and that the love we had felt for each other as teenagers was still alive, dormant, waiting patiently for the perfect time.

(Sounds like a good story, right? You can order it here.)

 

Did you ever have a dream that you thought was dead? Maybe you’ve thought it was too late. Maybe you’ve felt like giving up, thinking: what’s the use? I’ll never be good enough. I think we’ve all been there.

In high school, I was pretty good at art, and I loved to write. But I didn’t value these talents. I  valued science. I wanted to save the planet. So, I declared biology as my major.  But higher math and chemistry got harder in college. I could have gotten a tutor, but I wasn’t supposed to need a tutor.

Discovering psychology was the best thing that could have happened. As much as I wanted to help others, there were things I needed to learn to help myself. After college, I spent over 30 years as a substance abuse counselor. I learned a lot during those years and was blessed with the privilege of being able to help others. And every now and then, I would dabble in saving animals, caring for the planet, being an artist, and writing. But it was just dabbling. There were long stretches when I did not create art and my only writing consisted of clinical notes at my job. When my marriage ended, I painted like crazy for a while and wrote in journals as part of my therapy. But I didn’t think I’d ever be an artist or writer full time. I had to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. Retirement seemed like a faraway land I would never reach.

But sometimes, I would dabble in my old dreams.

Then in 2011, my first love found me again. People got goosebumps when we told our story, so I started writing that story. I had a lot to learn about creative writing, about details, conveying feelings, and describing scenes. There were times when I wondered if I had what it took to write and publish a real book.

But you’ll never know if you’re capable of something
until you’ve given it a go. ~ Kristina Adams

For much of my life, I’ve had a habit of thinking my work wasn’t good enough, because it wasn’t perfect. But I’m changing that habit.

This article by Kristina Adams explains how striving for perfection can damage our confidence and motivation (not to mention our health). It’s helped me be reasonably proud of my book. It’s a good book. But what I’m most proud of is that Trust the Timing is a book of overcoming challenges and never giving up hope, a book that can help people.

Now, I have reached that once distant land they call “retirement.” Except that I’m not really retired. I’m writing and painting! I dabble in saving the planet, or at least a tree here and there.

What about your dreams? Did you ever think that you weren’t good enough to follow your heart’s desire? I am telling you now that you are good enough. There’s some part of your dream that still lives, a part you can nurture into new growth. Your dream might change, and that’s okay. Maybe you’re already living your dream, or maybe you’re just thinking about it. Dabbling. Either way, don’t give up.

May your sweet dreams become reality.


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Quotes #4: Oprah Winfrey one-liner

I’m re-blogging for today’s One-Liner Wednesday, because I just love this quote Anggelina shared.

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One-liner Wednesday is brought to us by Linda at

https://lindaghill.com/2017/04/05/one-liner-wednesday-elvis-has-left-the-ladies-restroom/

 

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“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams” – Oprah Winfrey

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When Dreams Fade

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This is my offering for the collaborative at Forgotten Meadows inspired by the prompt:

“When Dreams Fade Away.”

(The photo was taken by my friend Caroline in 1972.)

When Dreams Fade, By JoAnne Silvia

When you left me

all those years ago

against your will

and surely against mine,

the dreams in my young heart

faded slowly

into mere echos

of another lifetime.

Four decades later,

after years of doubt

and darkness,

a speck of dream

survived

asleep so deep

it barely breathed.

When the time came

that you found me again,

and you kissed me

by the river at sunset,

and I smelled your neck

just below your ear,

the dream awakened.

Sparks flew because we knew

the dream was more than just alive

and more than just a dream.

© JoAnne Silvia, 2016


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A Forest of Dreams

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In the face of so much sadness and violence in the world, one community came together and created something beautiful.

When they didn’t get the grant they applied for, Professor Janna Robertson and Matt Carvin, the director of Dreams, an arts program for at-risk youth, put their heads together. The goal was to paint a mural on a 240 foot wall to beautify the neighborhood known as Northside where Dreams is located. They decided to ask community groups to sponsor creatures to inhabit the Forest of Dreams. Over 1000 volunteers worked on the mural, and I was honored to be one of them. We worked in the rain and the heat, with lots of ants and other crawly things, and I loved every minute of it. Not only was I doing something I loved, but the  consistently positive attitudes of the people around me gave me hope. I’ve never before seen with my own eyes such a diverse group of people working together to create something so beautiful.

My assignment was to paint a heron reading a book using a rough sketch as a guide. The heron was sponsored in honor of  Dr. Bertha Todd, a veteran educator and civic leader who served as an important mediator during the racial tensions of the early 1970s. The book represents Dr. Todd’s memoir, My Restless Journey, which I’m looking forward to reading. (If you’re interested in purchasing the book, contact me via my contact page.)

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The heron took a few weeks to finish. Then, I added the two bunnies below to another section of the mural, as well as the white rabbit in the bottom left corner of the top photo.

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Among the forest creatures, you’ll see scrolls which tell this sweet story:

 There once was a deer, small and gray,
Lost and lonely, only a stray,
The deer was alone but did not know why
So he lifted his gaze to view the sky.

He yearned for the welcoming stars,
And wished on each one from afar,
Until, suddenly, one star grew,
Revealing a world he never knew.

 In this new light, he saw colors bright
A forest filled with fantastic delights
And amazing creatures unlike any type
He had seen on his side of the night.

He played and talked with them,
Gave to them and got from them
Sage words, gifts, and most above
Acts of kindness and boundless love.

Voices in the wind from souls long gone
Sung to him, the words of a song:
Grow, reach your antlers to the sky
You weren’t born with wings, but you can fly.

So he leapt into the starry night
And became a constellation bright
A Prince for all to see
A guide for those who dare believe

A wall is not always a wall
Sometimes it is not one at all
When you paint the world with dreams
Barriers are not what they seem.

A dream is not just a dream
But a place to start, a place to leap.

By: Jamie La Londe-Pinkston

 

Here are some of the creatures who live in the Forest of Dreams:

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Kids Makin’ It is a program where kids make things from wood. I thought it was very cool that the owl’s wings look like wood.

 

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Memory Tree

The Memory Tree honoring those who have passed on.

 

Deer

The deer

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The deer close up

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”                    Margaret Mead

 

For more information, visit the Forest of Dreams Mural Website


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Wake Up Call

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Summer wanes…

Rustling leaves whisper:

Change is coming…

Time to take inventory.

What do I need?

What’s most important?

What dreams can I grab by the collar,

And haul up from the depths,

To save the rest of my life?

It’s late in the game.

There’s still time left,

But the clock is ticking.

What do we need?

What’s most important?

What dreams can we weave together

In a giant safety net

To save our only planet?