Broken Dreams

Before we moved from Fortrose to Dunoon, Scotland, I made a brief foray into the land of Broken Dreams when I discovered a tarp-covered boat growing in a plot of brambles and tall weeds. Someone had dreamed of adventuring aboard that boat. It had once been a prized possession, as evidenced by the green tarp that had been lovingly gathered around the earth-bound boat for so long that one of the seats had broken through its protective covering. What shattered those watery dreams? Illness? Lack of time? Lack of money? New interests? Whatever the reason, the forgotten boat slips into oblivion in the land of Broken Dreams.

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It seems as if we have forgotten Paul’s wise advice in the Bible: “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (I Timothy 6:7)

Moving took us on a journey to the land of Broken Dreams. We had to condense 35 years of my husband’s ministry career from a seven-room house to a three-room house. Before the moving van arrived, we had already gifted furniture, books, clothes, and cool “things” to a Christian charity. When we got to the three-room house, we had to get rid of more so we could fit.

How many things do we need for survival and how much is space-wasting clutter? Folks who live in RVs, barges, boats, and tents (Yes, some folks live in tents, as per Miz Mike #3 mystery-romance-suspense “Bridge to Xanadu.) have a ready answer for what is vital to keep and what to toss. Space constraints point wobbly accusations at space raiders—things that we simply couldn’t live without when we first got them—and then realize we didn’t need after all.

Allow me to vent briefly. I get angry when people here in the UK talk about “wasteful Americans.” I have never lived anywhere in the US that didn’t have “fix-it” shops, that didn’t sell vacuum cleaner parts, or where folks didn’t continue driving their vehicles until long after they passed the 100,000-mile mark. Here, cars are shiny new. It’s hard to find an old one. No fix-it shops. Everything is tossed out when it breaks. It’s impossible to change the belt on a vacuum cleaner. They are solid molded plastic and don’t come apart. Folks are expected to throw them out and buy a new one when the belt breaks. Leftover food? “Health and safety” warns against it.

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Not that my husband is wasteful. We eat everything. And I’ve lost track of what hubby brought with us to the new house and then discarded, including a huge ball of used rubber bands. He still has his set of “Word Studies in the Greek New Testament,” and enough history books from different countries to start his own library.

We found a rubber band outside on the ground yesterday. I picked in up and started to toss it in the garbage. He grabbed it out of my hand and said earnestly, “We should keep this. We might need it.”

I didn’t say a word.

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Dog in a Tree!

Dog in a tree talking to you? Nothing unusual if you are asleep and dreaming – it even makes sense!

Last night I dreamed about a room full of moving sandwiches. The sandwiches flew, tumbled about and prowled through the room at will. While I was dreaming, it seemed perfectly logical. My task in the dream was to protect the one sandwich that was wrapped in aluminum foil. As the sandwiches cavorted around the room, I kept my eyes fastened on the one in foil to make sure that the foil didn’t come off. Why? I have no idea – but it made sense in the dream.

Not that all dreams are nonsensical. I’ve had dreams in the past that came true. Those are frightening because it seems that they always come as warnings of impending death or danger – and there is nothing I can do to stop the event from happening.

The Bible records dreams as one method God uses to communicate with us. Using wisdom from God, both Joseph and Daniel interrupted dreams that saved lives and promoted them to positions of honor and authority.

There is nothing we can do to take control of the nonsensical dreams that perplex and entertain us during sleeping hours. Fortunately, God has given us waking-hour dreams to motivate us to change the world. Consider Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. His vision of a United States of America where freedom and equality walked hand-in-hand still resounds today and was named the top American speech of the 20th Century.

Dreams do come true and dreams can change the world. Waking dreams are visions in walking shoes and working clothes. They are attainable – but only if we strive for them. As an author, I know this well. My dream to write books has never wavered or changed since I first dreamed it fifty years ago. Achieving that dream, however, has meant constantly striving and working toward it even in the face of bitter disappointment and disillusionment.

Not everyone dreams of becoming an author or writing books (which is good because the market is crowded!) Some dream of owning their own businesses, owning their own homes, becoming missionaries, traveling around the world on a bicycle. Different dreams – but all with the same measure of possibility and attainment. First step: put on the hiking boots and work clothes and prepare for a long journey!

Jesus did not leave us bereft when it comes to achieving our dreams. He said both, “With God all things are possible,” and “Nothing is impossible with God.”

So dream big and reach high. You can do it! Now, if you will excuse me – I’m going to look for that foil-wrapped sandwich and make sure it is still wrapped…

http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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Texas Grit

Dreaming and following your dreams is awesome, but success demands work, effort – and even a measure of true Texas grit.

For weeks now, I’ve wanted to get a picture of a house along the beach with the sun setting behind it, but it’s always been too clear, too cloudy, the wrong time of day, or I’ve been too far away. I wanted to capture the image for my sixth Miz Mike Bridge to Nowhere series. Sunpenny Publishing has yet to release the second one, but I’m working ahead to number six.

When Miz Mike leaves Texas to live in Scotland, she gets stuck in an isolated, lonely beach house. Even there – somehow – trouble finds her and she stirs up enough mystery, romance and suspense to entertain any reader – with a big dose of humor added.

When I went running today, I stuck the camera in my pocket. Since I’m running on a stress fracture, I stuck to the sandy beach. I turned around sooner than I usually do and headed home. I was too tired to run more. My foot was complaining. I hadn’t felt like running in the first place. Then I saw the sky. It was perfect for the picture I wanted…except.

Now to serve up the Texas grits – grit. To get to the cabin would mean turning around again and heading back down the beach, then cutting across a hard-packed path to the main road. Not only would it add about half-a-mile to the run I didn’t want to make in the first place, it would result in running on pavement – stress fracture and all.

I turned and went for it. Yes, my foot throbbed by the time I got home – but I had the picture. My entire writing career has been painful. Dream the dream, yes! Never give up on the dream. I didn’t, even after receiving 150 rejection slips (along with some checks!) over the span of forty-five years. Becoming known as “Author” Stephanie Parker McKean has taken work, effort – and even true Texas grit at times. Everyone brave enough to dream a dream must also be brave enough to make the journey to reach it.

Wise King Solomon got it right in Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might.”

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Real Time Tortoise & Hare Story

I’ve always loved the Aesop’s Fable about the slow tortoise beating the boastful, confident hare in the race because the hare stopped to snooze. The other day, I experienced my own Tortoise & Hare moment.

I’m a slow runner. People watching me “run” might even call me a fast walker! But I can keep going for 4.2 miles, an accomplishment for someone over 60. Still, I’m slow.

Dressed in baggy jeans and sweaters – resembling no doubt a lumpy sock puppet – I went running. She passed me in a flash. She wore trendy, skintight running clothes and looked like a model that had been pulled off a magazine page and prodded to life. Feeling old and slow, I kept running.

At my turnaround point, there sat trendy glamor girl, talking on a cell phone and drinking a bottle of water. Feeling rather pleased with myself, I passed her. I ran down to the end of the trail, turned around and passed her again. By the time I had finished my two miles and was making the turn up toward the house, I saw her in the distance, her effortless, graceful run defeated by the slow-moving sock puppet who never stopped.

Life is often like that. I remind folks often not to give up on their dreams. I had 150 rejection slips before becoming a successful writer. Some of the publishing companies who rejected my manuscripts now follow me on Twitter! My published books include Bridge to Nowhere, by Sunpenny Publishing, and Love’s Beating Heart, Shadow Chase, Heart Shadows and Until the Shadows Flee. The newest mystery-romance-suspense book, Fear of Shadows will be out soon, and Sunpenny has committed to another Miz Mike “Bridge” series in the near future, Bridge Beyond Betrayal. So no matter how slow you think you are in life…never stop. Never give up.

Or as Hebrews 12:1 states, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Running with Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, guarantees victory every time!

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