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Dream 22: Loving, Living & Traveling

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Meet Jose.

I met him at a skateboard park at sunset. As you might guess, I don’t usually frequent skateboard parks. But I’d gone to the park for a relaxing walk before my mom’s night out at the movie theater. As I was driving into the park, I looked up the hill and noticed two young men skateboarding. I decided it might be interesting to go up and watch for a while. It was then that I met Jose, who was sitting on the ground watching one of his sons skateboard.

I quickly realized that Jose might be a perfect person to interview for this month’s blog series, so I approached and asked him one question. “If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do with your life?”

This was his response.

Jose “would travel.” It’s his biggest passion, for sure. When he was younger, he got a scholarship to study in Portugal. He traveled all over Europe and visited relatives in Spain.

Jose noted that in Europe, “they work to live, not live to work.” He really appreciated how Europeans “work enough to get money to live.” Since I haven’t been to Europe yet, I asked Jose for more details. I wanted to know what this looks like in real time. Jose expanded. Europeans want to “have fun, a good meal, enjoy each other, and help each other.” They’re just “more human,” he said.

Currently, Jose works from home as a web designer. It’s been a great job for him. He’s of Puerto Rican descent and has been living in the United States for 30 years. All of his family and friends who still live in Puerto Rico have “a great life.” (Special note Minnesotans: Warmer weather is definitely a part of Jose’s ideal, great life formula! As a southern soul displaced in the north, I couldn’t agree more!)

Jose’s traveling to Puerto Rico to visit his family for the holidays this year. He’d like to bring his children when he’s able, and when they demonstrate readiness and maturity. They’re eager to have an opportunity to be immersed in the culture and learn Spanish. Ideally, Jose would love to do his web design work from Tampa, Florida, where a lot of Puerto Ricans live. If he lived there, it would be easier to travel back and forth to Puerto Rico to visit his elderly mother, family and friends.

As we wrapped up our conversation, Jose made some excellent points. “It’s very important that you love what you do,” he noted. “Why wait to enjoy life until you’re 65 [and retired]? We’re here for a little bit. Why not enjoy it?”

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So what can we learn from Jose?

The concept of “working to live” NOT “living to work” is the most notable learning from Jose as far as I’m concerned. So many of us climb the ladder, dreaming of the day when we’ll finally reach the top. We climb and climb and climb some more. After a while, after we’ve earned the big bucks and bought the big house, we realize there’s more to life than work. This “dream” we spent years, perhaps a lifetime pursuing, isn’t the end all be all of life. The things that truly satisfy us in life aren’t things.

Perhaps instead of dreaming about better jobs, higher pay, bigger houses and all the disposable income we ever wanted, we should be dreaming about things that aren’t easily quantified – spending time with one another, helping one another, enjoying meals together, being “more human,” and loving what we do?

So what do you think? Do you “work to live” or “live to work?” I’d love to know a retired person’s perspective. Now that you’re no longer “living to work,” how have things changed in your life? Or maybe you decided to climb down the ladder in pursuit of a simpler life. Tell me more. I’d love to chat.

greensig

 

 

 

*This post is a part of a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read more from my series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked! You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.

Dream 21: Food & Shelter

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Meet Jazmin.

I was headed for a night at the movies by myself. Instead of paying $4 for a box of candy at the theater, I decided to stop by the Dollar Store for a $1 bag of Sour Patch Kids. Jazmin helped me through checkout. And bless her soul, when I decided to ask her my question of the month, she agreed to chat!

So I asked Jazmin one question. “If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do with your life?”

This was her response.

Jazmin felt very clear that she’d “still work because otherwise life would be boring.” I agreed wholeheartedly with Jazmin on that one.

Jazmin would “first help other people, too.” Her dream was three-fold and as clear as it could be.

1) She’d make sure “other countries had food.”

2) She’d make sure “men at war had food.”

3) She’d make sure “homeless people have a place to stay.”

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So what can we learn from Jazmin?

Jazmin is one awesome woman. She loves people,  is a servant at heart, and allows herself to dream big.

Jazmin might not solve hunger or homelessness in her lifetime. But I’m guessing she’s going to do her part – in her own way, in her own time, within her circles of influence. Heck, maybe she’s already achieving part of her dream by working at the Dollar Store? Who knows how many people she comes in contact with on a daily basis that might be hungry or need a safe place to fall?

When you really sit down and think about it, none of us know when we’re serving someone in need, do we? That person you just passed on the street? That person you caught a glimpse of across the public library? They might be hungry. Hungry for food,  friendship and companionship, hungry for peace, love and joy, hungry for something more. That person you think has it all together, has everything they need and relationship with everyone they could possibly imagine? They might, in fact, be lonely, isolated, in desperate need of someone to talk to. They might need you. And who knows? Maybe your dream to serve and help others could be fulfilled in an instant if you just reached out and provided for someone, anyone.

What if?

What if?

There’s no better way to spend your life than on behalf of others in need. So thank you, Jazmin, for reminding us of that truth.

Today I’m wondering if many of us have a tendency to view our dreams as too far-fetched, impossible to achieve. What if we viewed our dreams in a different light? What if we started fulfilling our dreams in tiny ways throughout our days. What if we lived our lives as if little things count as much as great big things? And what if a bunch of little things add up to great big things in God’s economy?

greensig

 

 

 

*This post is a part of a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read more from my series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked! You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.

Dream 20: Diesel School & A Diesel Truck

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Meet Maddy.

Her smile and eyes were stunning. The light that came from within was undeniable.

I met Maddy in the sporting goods aisle of Walmart. She was with Mat, the awesome dude I introduced you to yesterday.

I asked Maddy one question. “If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do with your life?”

This was her response.

She’d get her dream diesel truck, a lifted F250 on 38-inch tires. And she’d have her own house.

Maddy would like to go to school to become a diesel mechanic. It won’t happen quickly, but she hopes “eventually.” Maddy shared that “it’s expensive” to go to diesel mechanic school because it requires specialized training above and beyond the schooling you need to become a regular mechanic.

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So what can we learn from Maddy?

Without a doubt, Maddy proves by example that dreams have no boundaries. If you’re a female and you dream of a career that’s primarily populated by males? Great! You go, girl! Don’t let anything stop you. And vice versa. If you’re a male looking into a career dominated by females? Awesome! Go for it!

If you’re called, you’re called.

If you love something, love it freely.

Who cares about human-created boundaries.

Do what you love.

Let your light shine regardless of whether your choices are standard operating procedure or not.

Thank you, Maddy, for your wonderful example. You go, girl. I’m all in. We’re all in, right behind you, rooting for you and that awesome dream.

Is there someone out there who’s successfully pursued a dream that’s outside of the box? Are you currently considering a career, hobby or life’s pursuit that’s nontraditional? I’d love to hear all about it! 

greensig

 

 

 

*This post is a part of a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read more from my series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked! You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.

Dream 19: Diesel Trucks & The Army

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Meet Mat.

I met him in the sporting goods aisle in Walmart. He was looking at camouflage gear with a young woman named Maddy, whose dream I’ll share tomorrow.

I asked Mat one question. “If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do with your life?”

This was his response.

Mat would buy a 3500 Dodge Cummins truck. It’s a diesel truck, so “it’s powerhouse.” Mat loves this vehicle so much that he just test drove one “for fun.”

If he didn’t have to worry about money at all, Mat would go into the army. He comes from a military family. His uncle is a recruiter and his dad is a major. Mat plans to join the army within the next year and a half.

By the way, in Mat’s best life, he would “live in his [diesel] truck.” He’d go to “truck stops and shower, do laundry at the laundry mat,” and would park his truck at Maddy’s house if he ever needed a place to stay.

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So what can we learn from Mat?

Mat was passionate about his dreams from all angles. And I could tell he’d be willing to stand up for what he believes in regardless of the consequence. Mat was a super nice, down-to-earth guy.

I was convinced that Mat could make all of his current and future dreams come true. Because if you’re passionate about life and what you love, anything’s possible. If you’re relatable and real, people are more compelled to be supportive.

So today I wonder…what are you passionate about? What would you be willing to stand up for regardless of the consequence? Are you relatable and real in a way that makes people want to get behind you and those dreams of yours? Or is something holding you back?

greensig

 

 

 

*This post is a part of a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read more from my series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked! You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.

Dream 18: Self Care & Volunteering

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Lisa

Meet Lisa.

She shines shoes downtown Minneapolis.

Her smile was warm. The tone of her voice told me she cared.

I asked Lisa one question. “If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do with your life?”

This was her response.

Lisa said she’d “definitely take better care of [herself].” She’d have a cook, get massages and manicures, and the like.

But she’d also spend time volunteering and helping other people. Specifically, she’d mentor kids and work with the elderly. Lisa and I agreed that everybody should have an opportunity to start and end their lives on the right foot.

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So what can we learn from Lisa?

Dream for yourself. Love yourself, most definitely.

Then spend some time loving and dreaming on behalf of others.

This verse comes to mind…

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Matthew 12:31

What do you dream for yourself? Is there something you dream of that would benefit others? Later this month, we’re going to open up dialogue on the blog. I’m going to share what I’d do if I didn’t have to worry about money, and I’m going to give you an opportunity to do the same. Think about what you might say. I’m looking forward to hearing all of those dreams!

greensig

 

 

 

*This post is a part of a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read more from my series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked! You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.