Chasing after your dreams

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Lately I have been indulging my love affair with quotes on Pinterest. My dream quotes are inspiring but what if you can’t remember any of your dreams? What if your dreams have all been crushed or ridiculed out of you – what then?  How do you recover your dreams?

I am an only child that spent a lot of time living in her head. I created my own world sitting alone on the staircase of my childhood home in Camberwell with my dolls and soft toys – naming every single one of them! However dreams can be limited if you don’t have any material to fuel your imagination so from an early age I spent most of my recreational time in the library gathering mental images for my dreams. I meant business!

What’s the difference between a fantasy and a dream?

Fantasy is definitely Dream’s younger relative. Why “younger relative”? Generally children are for more creative and imaginative than adults! Untethered to reality, fantasy has no place in the realms of possibility. And I believe this is the place where God has the MOST fun with His Creation.

God wants us to partner with Him and dream BIG.

Many moons ago I was a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant and it was evident from the moment you laid eyes on me what I was championing!  Yet despite no sales experience, I was a successful consultant because of the confidence and love I had for the products. In the same way God is all about US and wants to develop and promote his masterpiece – YOU.

God is the Chief Creator and He created YOU so he wants you to be bold and imaginative with your dreams – let’s face it why dream at all if you’re only going to allow yourself to colour your life within the lines? 

So, back to the dilemma – how do you recover your dreams? Here’s what I did:

1. I asked God to remind me of all the things I have ever wanted to do and/or create
2. I thought about all things I have done that have excited me – that GAVE ME LIFE
3. I looked through my old journals (which go back about 14 years)
4. I asked God for new dreams
5. I began creating new dreams on Pinterest and created a board especially to pin pictures of things I would love to do
6. Started work on my dream board (see photo).

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Recently I was discussing with a friend what it looks like to realise your dreams and she told me she started to prepare for her dreams before they happened.  She asked herself: “Where do I need to be or what needs to be in place when X happens?” If your dream is to be married – what kind of wife do you need to be for the man you want to have? Just about everyone I know dreams about winning the lottery but not many plan for what they will do with the £10 trillion that they will win (I admit I have and I don’t even play)!

Don’t just dream but prepare yourself for when your dreams actually happen.

I was not wired to follow the crowd but to be radical, to impact lives, to be fearless, to do what God created me to do.  To be ME!  To plant seeds of creativity that will continue to spring up – years after I’ve left this world.  That’s my dream.  And you know what?  I have been making small deposits into this dream but now I am being more intentional.  Like Ezekiel (37:1-10) I am now speaking life into my dreams (you may call this affirmations or prophesying) one dream at a time starting right here and now with this blog post.

So, what are you waiting for? You were created to create so start dreaming and go after your dreams!

A day I will never, ever forget …

It’quotescover-JPG-69s Mini Me’s birthday today.

I can remember the day I discovered I was pregnant – just six weeks after her Dad and I decided to start a family. On that day I rushed into the bathroom with my kit as soon I got home from work while a bewildered Dad-To-Be waited outside completely unaware of the announcement that was about to be made to him minutes later.

I remember the day we decided on her name. We liked Robyn but decided on Terri. We always had “May” because it’s my mother’s middle name. When we said her full name we liked the way “Terri-May” sounded together (albeit a little “Southern” – Deep South not South London folks!) and decided to make her name double barrelled.

I remember going into hospital with the first signs of labour. I was convinced I was a lot – and I mean four times – further along than what I actually was! This, to my horror, meant that whatever pain I was currently feeling was nothing compared to what was coming. Oh dear.

I remember the gas, the Pethidine and the epidural – which, I have to say, all felt perfectly natural to me! Then the labour really kicked in and I mean REALLY kicked in. I was informed by the midwife that no more epidural would be administered as it was necessary for me to feel the contractions to know when to push. Oh realllllllly now? WHY would you wait until I’m literally in no position to challenge you before stating this unwelcomed piece of information? Pure evil right there!

I remember my beautiful Mother praying fervently at the end of the bed as she watched her only child writhe in mind altering pain (no I am NOT being at all dramatic …) with an expression on her face that transmitted to me “My darling if I could bear this for you I would”.

I remember my sweet Mother-in-Law patiently coaching me on how to breathe (with six children of her own she was more than qualified in this department).

Oh yeah … and I vaguely remember Dad-To-Be’s overuse (bless his heart) of the word “Puuush!”

After an eternity had passed and started all over again, I remember in my delirium concerned looks being exchanged by the young midwives, then a doctor being consulted and then being rushed into theatre.

Then not long after, I remember the moment – the very instant (some 24 hours after entering the hospital I might add) that we were told “It’s a girl!” and saying to Brand-New-Dad, “We have Terri-May!”

And finally, I remember as if it were this morning, the moment My Beating Heart was carefully placed into my arms. Up until this point I had no idea that God had buried deep inside me a secret trust fund of love that would only be released when THIS child was born. I was overwhelmed then and I am overwhelmed now – 20 years later. I am in awe that God intentionally designed it that I should carry, deliver and be blessed beyond reason to guard and watch our baby grow into the most amazingly beautiful, sensitive, ambition, creative, hardworking and generous woman that I lovingly refer to on here as Mini Me.

Is there a day in your life that you will never, ever forget? I would love to hear about it.

Sleepless in South London (1.6.14)

I hardly slept last night. I tossed and turned and eventually got up at 4am (I went to bed just after midnight) to talk to God or to be more accurate, to hear what He had to say to me. After an hour I went back to bed hoping I would sleep but alas, no. So again I got up and this time read.

Later in the morning off I went to the 11.30am service at King’s so tired I could hardly stand for the first 20 minutes and can honestly say I worshipped with all that I had today. During the worship the first word came … the scripture God gave me this morning (Romans 8). Then the second word came … this also resonated with me. Then the worship leaders sang “I surrender all …” This song encapsulated the essence of my conversation with God this morning – I surrendered to Him a question I had been too afraid to ask but I’ve had it with playing it safe and God can be trusted right? Then the message came – entitled “David, God and Goliath”. This very week I defeated a Goliath that had taunted me for years. As if that wasn’t enough (because by now I’m holding a very wet tissue with my carefully applied make up on it!) the worship leaders sing one of my favourite hymns “In Christ alone”.

To close we were encouraged to share our story – to share things that we have battled with that will change the lives of others. Those close to me KNOW what this word means to me. Then (yes another “then”), a lady I don’t really know invited me to an event to share my powerful testimony (she couldn’t possibly know what my testimony is but powerful it is) and then proceeded to pray over my life things that only God could have led her to pray over me (also answering the very specific question I asked Him earlier).

This may all sound pretty random and perhaps if I wasn’t so tired I would write a little more clearer as I have left a lot out but if I had slept all night I would not have anything to share and share I must because God deserves a shout out!

I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God … the same God (because there is only One don’t you know) who created the Universe, sat and carefully put my life together. One of my talents is organising events and I work hard and well with the resources available to me. Is it any wonder then that the God of All has planned a destiny for me (and you) that far exceeds my (and your) imagination and expectation? I don’t think so. Not at all!

No guilt in life, no fear in death, This is the power of Christ in me; From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand: Till He returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

“In Christ Alone” by Stuart Townend

It’s never too late to go on a play date

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I recently went on my first play date – some forty years late, I know! When I was growing up – a time when there were only three (yes, three) TV channels and you received a small bottle of milk in the afternoon at primary school – the term “play date” just didn’t exist.


play date

noun

anappointment made by several parents to have their young children play together.

Origin:1985–90


The very idea of my mum and dad arranging an “appointment” with the parents of any of my friends to spend a couple of hours playing together was as likely as them allowing me to play hide and seek in the most sacred room in all West Indian homes – the “front room”. In fact, I didn’t really have any friends (that my parents approved of) – I had cousins and lots of them! Back then all the families I knew had at least four children – except mine – so although I grew up as an only child I was never short of children to play with.

My play date was with two male friends from my secondary school (now known as high school) and as I haven’t been on a date in, well, forever it was for all intent and purposes a “play” date! Yes, I’ve been out of the dating game for that long that when a male friend takes me out I regress to playing pretend but to be fair it wasn’t really difficult for me not to and here’s why.

My friend arranged everything – he sent a car to pick me up, there was chilled champagne waiting for me at his home, the restaurant reservation was made, we talked and laughed all evening and then at the end I was dispatched home in a taxi. All of this for me AND our mutual male friend so although it sounds like a good old fashion date (with a chaperon thrown in for good effect) it was definitely a play date!

What can I say, I’m fortunate to know what a good man and/or date looks like. Which is another reason why I enjoy being single – there’s no shortage of great male friends in my life for me to spend time with. To think it’s possible that I could meet a man who would be uncomfortable with my male friends or, worse, threatened by them, is enough for me to high tail it to my local RSPCA and bring home all their unwanted cats!

Actually, now that I come to think of it I’m probably single because of my male friends, they are the reason why I am able to set a very high standard for the man I will eventually marry.

For example, my friend V grew up idolising Bill Huxtable from The Cosby Show – do I need to say any more? The Huxtable’s were an upper class African American family living in New York in the 80/90s. They had strong family values and raised their children to respect a) themselves b) elders and c) each other. Pretty much how I was raised really but my mother wasn’t a lawyer and my father wasn’t a doctor! V is ambitious, driven and puts his family first. Then there’s A, he has the heart of Mother Theresa (just the heart, nothing else!), is dependable and a man of his word. R is sensitive to the needs of women and isn’t afraid of being vulnerable. He’s a dreamer, a risk taker and doesn’t follow the crowd. Finally, D who is my very own T D Jakes offering sound Biblical counsel, a great listener and is humble; and all these men treat the women – sisters, wives and daughters – in their lives like Queens.

But the truth is that whilst I’ve had all these men in my life for almost 30 years, for a long time I was attracted to men who didn’t come close to manifesting any of their noteworthy characteristics. Why? I didn’t believe I could win the attention of a good man (including my ex husband who is the most amazing father to my daughter) and settled for much less than what I really wanted, needed or deserved. Two things changed my attitude towards men and dating.quotescover-JPG-28

  1. Time alone. I didn’t press “pause”, I pressed “stop” and “rewind”. I took time out to review, explore and identify why I was so needy. Then I spent time affirming and investing the energy I use to spend seeking approval from men in myself.
  2. My role in Mini Me’s life. I am her role model – she tells me often that she wants to be just like me. No pressure! I have a responsibility to be everything I want her to be and now that she is 19 it is important to for me to be more discerning where men are concerned. I don’t, I won’t and I can’t accept for myself anyone I wouldn’t want for my daughter and she deserves the very best – as do I.

So, when will I press “play” again? I’ve already pressed it and I’m enjoying how my life is now playing out. It’s taken a little time to get the tracking just right but now I think I’m there.

Play on, play on.

Who are your male role models and why? What doesn’t a good man look like to you?

All the single ladies put your hands up

singleladiesBeing forty *cough* something and single I should be restless and keen to be in a relationship right?  No, not me.

Most people are surprised when they discover that I am single and then they assume that being single I must be looking for a man.  Nope, not me.

After three years, singleness now feels like a comfortable pair of flats after having my feet squeezed into four inch heels that are half a size too small! The flats feel so good that I now look at those heels, that once made me look statuesque and feel authoritative, with unadulterated contempt.

If you had asked me yesterday afternoon – why are you single?  I would have taken a deep breath, as I do, and replied with my well-rehearsed answer “I’m not ready for the type of man I would like to be with”.  I thought that was a good enough reason – until I used it on my girlfriend E when we met for dinner.  We’ve been friends for 12 years so she knows a fair bit about me and with the lyrical flow of a seasoned rapper she catalogued all the reasons why I was qualified and stated quite emphatically “that any man (when I’m ready) must be worthy of me”.  I was speechless.  Everyone and I mean EVERYONE needs a friend like E.

So, I will fall back on the other reason why I am single – I’m enjoying myself (really I am) and here are some of the reasons why:

  1. Sleeping alone in my king size bed (no prizes for guessing where my favourite place to be is then) – I can sleep on the left, right, in the middle – even horizontally if I feel like it.  And most importantly my sleep is uninterrupted by blood curdling snoring
  2. I can reinvent my style whenever I want.  Did I have to consult anyone before shaving all my hair off? Nope but I would have if I were in a relationship
  3. Freedom to impulsively go anywhere in the world that I want.  So what if more recently it’s only been up to Manchester to see Mini Me?!  Some of my most memorable holidays – Barcelona, Dubai, St. Lucia – have been when I have traveled solo.  I’m a little more outgoing and chatty – talking to complete strangers and discovering things I probably wouldn’t otherwise.
  4. Predictability (which contradicts point 3 but bear with me) – when I return home everything is exactly as I left it.  The remote is where I left it.  The bed is as I left it. I don’t have to sulk because no one washed up – it’s my job to do (and I can leave that too if I want)
  5. Cooking elaborate meals for one isn’t fun or cost effective so I cook when I feel like it (usually once a week)
  6. I have more time to give to my friends – especially my other single friends
  7. My sexual health isn’t an issue because I’m celibate
  8. I can volunteer for different things at church
  9. I’m far less anxious and this means I am far more creative
  10. I can develop the areas in my character that are weak – getting me ready for the man I will be with one day (I should really delete this point but maybe E won’t read this so … moving swiftly on)
  11. I can flirt shamelessly – I mean look at men appreciatively and thank God for His creation

Do some of my points sound a little self-interested? Errr … hello?  Exactly! The pleasure of being single is being available to live for you and having more to give to others.  No apology needed here – so none offered.

Of course there are the odd occasions when I miss being coupled up, for instance being sick and single SUCKS!  If it wasn’t for my wonderful friends I would probably expire alone in my king size bed from a common cold!

It’s not my intention to spend the rest of my life single in my comfortable flat shoes because the truth is I really do love my heels – but for now … it’s all about the comfort baby!

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“C” List Me

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Receiving a wedding invitation makes me feel so special – like Charlie Bucket opening up his chocolate bar and discovering the Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!

I have had the privilege of coordinating friends’ weddings hence I know how disciplined a couple have to be with their guest list.  This is why I always feel so special – of all the people that the bride and groom could have or wanted to invite – they chose me!

Weddings these days aren’t cheap (they can be but usually they aren’t).  According to this article in the Telegraph, a year ago the average cost of a wedding was around £18,000.  Do you know a bride (not always the groom) who doesn’t want their wedding day to be a memorable occasion?  Nope – me neither so it’s no wonder a considerable amount of money is spent to make sure you, the chosen one, has a great time.

Another reason why I love receiving a wedding invitation is it gives me an excuse to dress up. Not just putting on a dress and heels (that’s work attire for me), I mean REALLY dress up – it would be rude to the bride and groom not to!  And as weddings are also a great opportunity to catch up with mutual friends, you want to look and feel fabulous right?   So once that invite is in my hand I go into “list” mode.

  1. Buy a new dress or can I recycle an old one?
  2. Wear a hat or go to the hairdressers?
  3. Wear sandals or shoes?
  4. Do my nails and eyebrow need professional attention?

And the list will go on!

So what do you do when your invite is to the church ceremony only?  Not the sit down or the evening reception – just the ceremony at the church.  This was my dilemma recently.  Is it any different to receiving an invite to a black tie event and told you’re not allowed beyond the red carpet?

The invitation wasn’t from a very close friend so I wasn’t expecting an invitation at all.  Yet receiving an invitation to just the ceremony left me feeling like I had been offered a consolation prize – and I KNOW this was not my friend’s intention.  But still.

Going to church is a bit of busman’s holiday for me – every Sunday I pull on jeans and my Converse trainers to worship at my local church.  Still, whilst I will be in church for roughly the same amount of time, this is a wedding ceremony.

What should I wear?  Do I dress up or wear something a little more casual?  How much is too much or too little?  And what about the mutual friends I will see and they ask (because they know I don’t own a car) “Do you need a lift to the reception?”  Err … “No, I’m alright thanks” as I head towards the bus stop to go home!

This is a good time as any for me to pull out the WWJD card.  What would Jesus do?

I admit I feel a little ashamed of my unconcealed me-ness.   After all, my friend is getting married.  This is their day NOT mine right?  So, what do I think Jesus would do in this situation?

Ironically, His first miracle was at a wedding -so he liked to socialise and party with his friends (John 2:1-11).  At this particular wedding the wine was  running dangerously low (note: it is the Jewish custom to celebrate a wedding for several days – click here for a guide to a Jewish wedding).  When his mother Mary, knowing He was a special child (all mothers think this but this is Jesus), asked him to help out the host by turning the water into wine (and I’m paraphrasing here) Jesus responded “What’s that got to do with me?  I’m not ready to do my thing, so no.”   Yet He did it anyway and extravagantly too!  It wasn’t what he intended to do that day but his friend’s quandary trumped His agenda. That’s what friends do.

So, I will be going to my friend’s wedding ceremony – they don’t need me there but clearly they want me there and that’s enough.  I have no idea what I will wear but to be honest now that I have my priorities sorted it doesn’t really matter.  I will be there to see two special people say “I do” to each other because really that’s the most important part of the day.

One thing’s for sure – I’m unlikely to be asked to turn water into wine at the church ceremony!

What would you do (okay, I really meant “wear”)?