NEVER say NEVER ~ Miracle Girl’s Night Out ~ A Rejoining of Childhood Friends

Left to right: Trenda, Lou Anne, Rebecca, Edie, and me.

I recently took a long visit down to North Carolina to visit my family and friends, bringing my kids with me. It was an adventure!

One wonderful surprise that happened was the reunion of our original friendship ring from middle & high school (Piedmont High from Monroe, NC). This was the first time since graduation we had all been able to go out like this.

My friend, Trenda (first on the left), had a great idea for everyone around the table to answer the question: “What is your list of NEVERs?” – Things you have done or are doing since high school that you originally told yourself you would NEVER do? It was an excellent question. When it was my turn, I had trouble at first coming up with ideas, and added more NEVERs to my list as the night wore on. I thought I’d write about them as well, to see how many more NEVERs I could come up with.

So here it is – MY LIST OF NEVERS (proof that one should NEVER say NEVER):

  • I would NEVER move away from my family and friends in NC ~ Ended up living in Cleveland, OH permanently after college.
  • I would NEVER be able to speak in front of people ~ Since then I’ve earned several public speaking trophies from Toastmasters, and have also earned my Advanced Communicator award.
  • I would NEVER be a leader ~ After many years in Toastmasters, I was elected President of my club, earned the Competent Leader award three times, and I also lead women’s creative retreats and workshops, now.
  • I would NEVER be a freelancer (too unstable) ~ I’ve been living as a freelancer for the past two years, now – a wonderfully flexible lifestyle I’m enjoying until a stable job opportunity comes my way. Lovin’ it, actually.
  • I would NEVER change my religion (Baptist) ~ Finally made the move to turn Catholic after getting married and doing some serious soul-searching.
  • I would NEVER enjoy or be good at marketing ~ I’ve learned that when it comes to marketing something or someone I really believe in, it can actually be EASY and FUN.
  • I would NEVER learn to love boiled eggs ~ I cannot believe it, but lately I’ve been snacking on them for fun. Where did this new craving come from??
  • I would NEVER gain weight (was naturally underweight all through HS) ~ After having two kids, VOILA! OY!
  • I would NEVER be able to look at myself in the mirror and SMILE at myself ~ I’m finally there! I’m believing in myself and my dreams, now. It has been an incredible journey into self love. Thanks be to God and all His messengers in heaven and on earth who have helped me towards this.

Let Your Light SHINE!

During one of my Dream Boogie teleclasses, SARK read an incredible quote that I HAVE to share. I can’t get it out of my head – a sign that I must write about it to de-clutter my brain.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
By Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

This quote spoke to me quite strongly. I wonder how many of us can relate.

It makes me think about a good old Sunday School song I used to sing when I was little:

This little light of mine… I’m gonna let it shine… Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

Life’s Greatest Hits ~ Inspired By Charlie (from LOST)

My husband and I have been watching the LOST series from borrowed DVD sets, and I felt inspired by the episode where one of my favorite characters, Charlie, dies. The inspiring part of it was the fact that he knew he was going to die, and decided to write down a list of “Charlie’s Greatest Hits” — a Greatest Hits list of his most treasured life events. I told myself I would try to do this, and I encourage you to try it out, too.

Wendy’s Greatest Hits (from earliest memory to most recent):

  • My first solo flight from Canada to Florida to visit Nana and Soupy – I was very little. My security toy, Puppy, was buckled in the seat next to me. The flight attendant gave me a wings pin.
  • Chased away a bully (3 grades older than me) with my umbrella in the schoolyard – elementary school.
  • Reaching finalist level in a Shakespeare competition (Middle School).
  • Getting a long stream of laughter from a one-liner on stage during a High School performance – played “Green” in  “True Colors.”
  • Drama teacher stopped us in the middle of practicing The Crucible to point out the pace of the scene we just did was PERFECT – I played Mary Warren, screaming “shut up!” to the girls in the courtroom.
  • Winning the “biggest fish” award at Camp Bearwalla – winning against all the boy fisherman at camp!
  • My BFA presentation before graduating from CIA (Cleveland Institute of Art).
  • My first apartment, living alone.
  • Watching my nephew being born.
  • My wedding day.
  • Getting my CTM in Toastmasters, and EVERY Toastmasters trophy and award I earned since (marked the beginning of a new life, ENDING my prison-fear of public speaking).
  • Watching my one-month old daughter on ultrasound – the little peanut was DANCING! I cried.
  • My daughter’s birth.
  • My son’s birth.
  • Breastfeeding my baby boy at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport ~ I just felt like if I was able to do that, I could do ANYTHING!
  • Couching Session with SARK, where she expresses her support for the book I’m writing.

Many of my “Greatest Hits” I realize I’ve written poems or short stories about (see links). I always have to do that, it seems. I want a record of how the most memorable moments of my life have impacted me. I need to record the emotions, before they begin to dull, inspiration still fresh.

More Greatest Hits to be remembered later, I’m sure…

“Wake Up Your Magic” with Susan Guild

Susan Guild, the Wake Up Your Magic Lady, is one of the amazing women I’ve met through Dream Boogie and I am so thrilled to have gotten to know her so well. She is wonderful. The first thing I realized I had in common with her is that we are both Toastmasters. As we communicated more and more, I realized we have an even deeper connection. I feel I’ve found new friend. Take a peek at a few clips from her most recent show, above. Her personality is so light and sparkly! I just love her.

Regarding the third video, I love the concept that opening your art supply box is like looking inside yourself – all the colors in there – all the layers. I noticed some supplies were well used, and some that were untouched – the watercolor tray especially – some colors were almost gone, they were so favored. This makes me think about the different gifts/qualities we have inside – some have been well utilized and others are yet to be tapped into!

IDEAS FOR SELF DISCOVERY EXERCISES:

Try asking yourself, what qualities do you have inside that you use most often (like the colors of a paint tray)? Which gifts are most utilized within/favored? – And why?

Then ask yourself which qualities do you most shy away from? What colors are they? What medium? Why don’t you use these parts of yourself more often? I think these are all good questions to think about.

“Life’s like a Movie, Write Your Own Ending…” ~ Words of Wisdom From The Muppets

Life’s like a movie, write your own ending
Keep believing, keep pretending
We’ve done just what we set out to do.
Thanks to the lovers, the dreamers, and you.

“The Magic Store”/Rainbow Connection” (Reprise) – Kermit and the Muppets

My kids have been watching The Muppet Movie a lot lately, and this ending (lyrics above) always makes me teary-eyed. Every time I see this part, all I can think about is that these lyrics had to be a testimony for Jim Henson (even if he didn’t write them himself). Every word of these lyrics strike a chord for me.

When I watched this again, something struck me that I never thought about before. The Muppets are making their little movie, all planned out nicely on a movie set, and then chaos strikes — Gonzo’s balloons go out of control and the whole set ends up in ruins, and an explosion busts a hole in the roof. However, a rainbow descends through that hole and lands on the Muppet crowd who watch in awe. This scene makes me think that sometimes it takes an act of chaos in our lives to bring us toward our dreams, and also to make notice of those rainbows in our lives that hover above, otherwise unnoticed.

I’m trying to make more notice of the rainbows in my life ~ those daily miracles.

Ask yourself what YOUR rainbows are ~ big and small. I hope you find one today!

“Artist Dates” and Journeys with Dream Boogie Buds

I painted this plaque at "Spirit of Clay" in Mayfield Heights, OH

I have met so many wonderful women through SARK’s Dream Boogie program. Even though I have made great strides with my dream goal, I am most happy with the relationships I’ve made through this program.

I met Michele McBride, co-owner and creator of sympathy gift boutique, Luna’s Light. Since people joined this Boogie class from all over the world, we were amazed to discover we both lived in the same town! We jumped on the opportunity to connect. Michele invited me to come along to a “girl’s night” at Spirit of Clay in Mayfield Heights. It was SO much fun (I painted this fun plaque, pictured here).

More recently I finally met with another Boogie Buddy, Amy Scott. I discovered I had more in common with her than I ever realized, and invited her to do a workshop for my upcoming Artist’s Way Women’s Retreat in September, 2010. We’re in the process of finalizing the details of it before posting.

There are other women I plan to write about more as time goes on. Pretty incredible people with wonderful dreams. This year has been an amazing journey. SARK says the path to our dreams is a spiral path, not a direct one. So true. This year has been quite a journey in itself, and has been spiraling beautifully. I’m looking forward to see where my path leads me.

I’ve thought of the following quote twice in the past week, now:

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

To whoever is reading this post, I wish you good fortune with your journey up the staircase. Enjoy the wonderful surprises and miracles that find you along the way.