Tag Archives: Hope

A Dream Goes on Forever

A little known Todd Rundgren song is a favorite of mine: A Dream Goes on Forever.

My interpretation? Our dreams sustain us through difficult times. They are unsinkable corks, bouncing up as lifesavers (sometimes despite our best efforts to drown in our sorrows.)

Like flowers yearning to break through the cracks of cement, these resilient buggers called dreams stretch onward and upward.

“A dream deferred makes the heart sick…”

Oh, boy (or oy vey!) I’ve had some sick hearts over the course of 56 years. From not getting the part of Dorothy in the 4th-grade play (and instead, cast as the Lion) to watching my younger friends marry during my single 20’s and 30’s, life dumped some #$%^@ on some of my dreams.

“…but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12

Beating out thousands to land a job as one of the original QVC Show Hosts! Finally walking down the aisle to a packed church cheering the end of my single days!

Some of you quizzically read those last two lines, knowing that I was unceremoniously dumped by the shopping network and cut bait on an unfulfilling marriage after 14 years.

Hey, weren’t those dreams fulfilled supposed to be trees of life?

Well, they were. For a season.

My tears dried after losing the part of Dorothy. Life went on. Life marches on! What mattered SO much once is just (as my friend Roseann likes to say) a pimple on an elephant’s ass.

Gotta love my spicy Roseann-isms.

Thoughts of dreams stirred my soul this week when immersed in a Sex and the City marathon. The show begins in their twenties with invincibility fueled by cosmopolitans and a fabulous foursome of friends. Over the course of a decade we watch breakups, losses, cancer, babies and so much more that Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte could never have imagined.

Had they a crystal ball, they might have avoided most of their adventures to avoid pain.

And so might have I, as I pondered this photo from my past:

This photo captures the moment in time when I prepared to graduate from college. Already working in my chosen field, there was no doubt in my mind I would be the next Diane Sawyer.

It was my dream to write and speak words. To use them skillfully to inspire and inform.

Also, to be fabulously wealthy and famous. (Look, I’ve never claimed to be Mother Theresa.)

Oh, had I a crystal ball I would have definitely bypassed that QVC audition, kept driving past the church (that ended up being a cult)…

…but in the choices made to avoid pain, I would have lost some of my best stories. And my best friends.

I may not be Diane Sawyer, but I’m really glad to be Brenda Viola.

Yes, Viola. I loved my ex, still hold affection for him, and love that last name. It fits!

Just as I have changed over the years (my taste for pitch black, sky-high hair replaced by golden highlights), my dreams also evolved. Some have come true! (Published author, anyone?) Some remain to be fulfilled.

But that’s the beauty of life.

I believe the dreams of our hearts are Divinely planted. And they must grow! They will materialize in perfect form when the gestation period has ended.

But aren’t we supposed to learn lessons from disappointments?

Sure!

And once learned, we move forward. To think that life is meant to be a constant string of lessons learned from heartbreaks runs counter to the idea that God (Source, the Divine, All That Is) is good and life should be happy.

I believe life should be happy.

Perhaps my message today is if you are pregnant with a dream, don’t abort it.

Turning your back on your dream is to turn away from your very self.

Your dreams are intertwined with your gifts and answer the question, “Who am I?”

They light you up. You feel most alive when expressing from that deep, holy part within you where the dream lives.

This is what you were made for!

John Russo croons a standard from the Rat Pack. My sister, Shirlee, acts on a moment of inspiration and whips up a calligraphy masterpiece. Artists are brave souls!

I have friends who claim they don’t have dreams. Oh, but when they express their gifts, they so beautifully live their purpose.

Maybe that’s a better word…purpose.

But I’ll stick with dreams. And I hope you stick with them, too.

On this topic of how what we want evolves over time and how when WE change, everything changes, here’s this week’s video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7S8BZ-CNsc&feature=youtu.be

If your dreams are feeling choked, your hope has been deferred, and you feel a bit adrift – take heart. We all weather such storms. These, too, shall pass.

Ask for the grace to help in time of need (and don’t be afraid to ask for help.)

Much love –

Brenda

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Tunnel Times and Waiting for a New Season

It is the dark tunnel known as snowbird season in Sarasota. We snobby native transplants hate it. Traffic is tripled and it takes forever to get from point A to B (or to snag a table at your favorite restaurant.)

This is the price we pay for living in paradise, but the light at the end of the tunnel is knowing snowbird season doesn’t last forever.

So, too, with the tunnels of our lives. The dark seasons of our souls are just that – seasons.

Where I get off track (and maybe where you do, too) is when I take the tunnels all too seriously. Instead of distracting myself with a better-feeling thought, I build monuments to the dark ones and envision my future around their bleak paintings.

As if the tunnel times are the end-all story of my life.

When they’re just seasons.

These, too, shall pass.

Oh…but when you’re IN the midst of a tunnel time? Let’s belt out a rousing chorus of “Ain’t No Sunshine…”? Only Bill Withers’ soulful voice perfectly captures the depths of despair. Wailing is apropos.

Milk that darkness for a day or two and it can spin into weeks of not wanting to leave the bed and face the world.

Oh, you do. Because you HAVE to. The lottery tickets haven’t paid off yet and there are people, places, and things requiring our attention.

Have you ever felt like you were walking through quicksand?

Such has been my experience for about a month now. I tried to pin my mood on the new moon, which is supposed to influence the emotions of sensitive people.

But the new moon wasn’t so new anymore. So how to explain this malaise?

And in trying to figure it all out, it seemed I dug a deeper hole.

And then it dawned on me.

This is just a season.

When you’re in the frost of winter in your soul, it can feel like the buds will never sprout again.

Friends, don’t be so hard on yourself. (It never makes matters better.)

Faithful Mark, my loving partner, always wants to make things better. When he sees the dark storm clouds hovering over me, unlike some who would run for cover, he seeks ways to offer light. And I hope the story I am about to tell you sheds light on any darkness you might be feeling.

When I thought I couldn’t even remember how to feel happy again, he said, “Come outside for a minute.”

Still in my bathrobe, with Phyllis Diller hair sticking out and sleep in my eyes, I mustered enough oomph to shuffle out to the lanai.

And there was our avocado plant. Purchased as a housewarming gift nearly a year ago, it always looked healthy, but never offered hope that it would ever bear fruit.

Take a closer look…
It’s a baby avocado!

At first, I didn’t see it. But I looked again, and there was not just one, but a whole family of baby avocado buds.

Just like when the Grinch’s heart melted because of Cindy Lou Who, mine stirred with a lately-unfamiliar feeling.

Hope.

“…and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!”

Sometimes, it feels like NOTHING is happening. You’ve planted the seeds, watered, fertilized, and weeded them. And nada.

As if it’s Groundhog Day and it’s the same ‘ole same ‘ole and it’ll always be the same ‘ole same ‘ole.

You can feel like all of your effort is for naught. That all of your believing was just a pipe dream. That you should just settle for ordinary since CLEARLY this season of discontent is on an endless loop of auto-replay.

But take heart.

You may not see progress, but something’s getting ready to sprout.

I promise you, it’s getting ready to sprout.

Because there is an end to every season. Even a dark season of the soul.

The treasures you will mine in this fertilizer of darkness will richly serve you when the fruit arrives.

Keep looking for the sprout. It’s coming.

And celebrate the coming change. Because seasons always do.

Here’s our new WOW:

https://youtu.be/4Efzw2cs_Uo

Oooooooh…let’s all go and take a nap!

xoxoxo

Brenda

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Getting Your Hopes Up (and the New WOW)

Are your hopes UP?  Or are they DOWN?

The nice thing about hope is that it is elastic enough to spring UP when it has been in a deflated state.

If you are like one of those inflatable Christmas ornaments that sits in a puddle on the front lawn during daylight hours…it’s comforting to know they don’t stay there.

 

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Here’s a little funny:  I didn’t realize that those puffy Santa’s and snowmen intentionally deflate during the day.  For years I decried the horrible Grinches that slashed them, ruining peoples’ decorations and rendering them flat.

Then I discovered it was just how those decorations roll.

So it is with life.  You might feel like a puddle on the ground, but mark my words, you’ll only stay there if you commit to the fallen state.

A good word, a card in the mail, a compliment from a stranger…next thing you know, your vibe is high again.  Or, for the savvy CEO of their own love tank, you talk nice to yourself. You give a stranger a compliment.  You bake a loaf of bread and welcome your new neighbor to town.

Voila!  Your love/hope/faith tank is full again.  You’re doing the Snoopy happy dance again.

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What is the quality of your hope?  Is it an “oh me oh my” Eeyore kind?  Or is it a Tigger-ish “yippee it’s on the way!” kind? 

Both are in a waiting mode.  One is just much happier waiting.

All of my single years (two whole #$%@in’ decades) were spent in Eeyore mode.  Instead of enjoying the freedom of being un-beholden, I focused on “What was WRONG with me????” Too many woe is me holidays were spent feeling “less than” because I was unattached.  I didn’t enjoy the love of those that WERE around me because the love I WANTED hadn’t yet arrived.

The older you get, though, you realize that life is too short to waste on sad yearnings.  

You get busy loving the ones you’re with…and that gratitude spills over and next thing you know promises keep popping up fulfilled without a single tear shed!

For the hope-filled (who are the faith-filled), life is a profusion of blooms.

That’s why I say, “Get your hopes UP!” Expect something wonderful to happen.

Here’s a bit more on that topic, and a new WOW that is the peanut butter to FAITH’s jelly:

 

Let’s all be rubber bands this week, shall we?

If you are traveling, be safe.  Sing carols at the top of your lungs instead of screaming at the traffic.

Enjoy the journey.

You may not be there YET —- but you ARE on your way.

xoxoxoxoxo

Love,
Brenda

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Enthusiasm is to be Taken Seriously (& the New WOW)

Enthusiasm is NOT to be taken lightly.

It’s not for the fainthearted (or boring, for that matter.)

Knowing this has helped me stand up a bit straighter this week and walk in a little more power than usual.

I have ALWAYS lived an enthusiastic life and my zest for even little things like greeting cards and puppy dogs is sometimes met with a head shake.  Really?  C’mon Brenda, it’s not THAT exciting, is it?

I once interviewed an elected official in my previous job as a Public Information Officer, and I found one of her answers to be so interesting I responded, “WOW!”

She literally (on camera) said, “Wow?  What’s there to wow about?”

Fast forward 15 years and I’m still “WOW-ing” with my Word of the Week.

Only on a few occasions have I considered ramping down my approach to life a bit – particularly when it is met with an eye roll – but this is the way God made me and I’m sticking with it.  

And, if I need further reinforcement, here are a few good ones:

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none-are-so-old-as-those-who-have-outlived-enthusiasm-quote-1

And one final kicker:

opportunities

Why do we curb our enthusiasm?  It’s the old “Don’t get your hopes up and you won’t be disappointed” scenario.

In my early teen years I lived that way and it didn’t work for me.  Since then, I’ve always got my hopes up.

Each week, I literally EXPECT to win the lottery.  (I haven’t.  YET.)  When I check the numbers I say to myself, “Oh…not this week.” (With full enthusiasm that it MIGHT be next week…)

I could list a million things that make me enthusiastic…but one of the tricks in life is to summon enthusiasm for what OTHER people find thrilling.  Instead of accompanying them under duress, it doubles their joy if you get into it, too.  So while at first, the band YES was a no for me, I am now completely taken in by Jon Anderson’s voice and wouldn’t miss a chance to see him in concert.  (YES is definitely a Duane thing.)

No, I don’t like to eat blue claw crabs.  But I am enthusiastic about the picnic tables at Peace River Seafood where you sit with strangers for hours.  Duane gleefully tries to beat his world record and I make friends.

I will never be enthusiastic about the Dallas Cowboys, but I’ll gladly go to a game (enthusiastically wearing my throwback Randall Cunningham jersey.)

Some of my greatest experiences in life have been those where I swallowed my LACK of enthusiasm and just joined in (parasailing, zip lining and snorkeling come to mind.)

Interestingly, all of the above involved my friend Anita.

You may not be enthusiastic about WHAT you’re doing, but if you are stoked about who you are doing it with, it can still fan your happy flame.

So no matter what this new WOW will be, let’s keep the fires of enthusiasm stoked (and stay stoked about life.)  It just may be the fountain of youth!

Here’s the reveal of the new #WOW:

With all of your sweet comments about Duane’s special guest appearance last week, THIS week is a bit more subdued.  (Hopefully we can get him to come back in the future and jazz things up.)

For now, may it ALL COME TOGETHER – for all us this week.

Love,

Brenda

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Big Can Be Scary (But Do it Anyway)

Here’s the funny thing about talking a BIG game (or dreaming a big dream):

When the opportunity comes to DO something about it, it can scare the bejeezus out of you.

Oh, there are those serendipitous times when you have so LIVED that thing in your mind, you’re quite prepared when it shows up.  You welcome it like a long lost friend.

Sometimes we’re so used to slugging a thing out and waiting and waiting that we’re shocked when it shows up, seemingly prematurely.  (Like when the doorbell rings and it’s unexpected company.)

These “surprise” answers to prayer often reveal the level of our unbelief.

But hey, just like when unexpected company shows up, you can pull it together!  Fire up the coffee pop, defrost that coffee cake, do a quick Febreze and you’re ready to go! (Maybe not your Class A, gold standard ready to go, but at least you answered the door!)

Have you ever had those times when company shows up and you LOVE them but you decide to act like you’re not home?  I know, YOU would never do that (!) but some people have been known to.  Like my favorite comedian, Sebastian Maniscalco in this bit:

Getting back to my thoughts on EXPANSIVENESS – our fear to “answer the door” is often related to the unknown of the BIG opportunity facing you.

Or the security/comfort presented by the KNOWN “not so big” situation in which you currently find yourself.

One thing I’ve learned in life though is “if it’s meant to be yours, it WILL come to you when you are ready.”

In my professional life, I started out talking a big game and beat out thousands to win a slot as one of the original QVC show hosts.  But my talk didn’t really reside in my heart…and within months the opportunity disintegrated.  I was devastated.  Heartbroken.

It took a long time to even begin to dream again, let alone to think big.

And life is a progression, isn’t it?

What was BIG to me in 1980 seems like small potatoes now!

Every time I start to feel comfy cozy in my station in life, I get a little nudge in my heart that says, “Don’t stop.”

For those of you who feel today like you missed the boat in life (or that a particular ship has sailed) – shake that off.

If it is a desire you can’t shake, it is meant to be yours.  Prepare yourself on the inside to RECEIVE it…and then to be able to SUSTAIN it. 

If the internal script is a negative one (I’ll never…No one ever…It won’t…) CHANGE it.  No one else can do that for you.

Interestingly, MY lesson learned this week had very little to do with thinking and dreaming big.  It was about being a BIG person on the inside…and it humbled me.  True confessions and the new WOW, coming right up:

May we all summon the STRENGTH inside of us and face this week with courage – with BIG, forgiving hearts that let love win.

x0x0x0x0x

Brenda

 

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