How To Create Your Very Own Dream Board

Goal: To create a magnificent piece of inspiration in under an hour (or two) that encourages you to pursue your very own beautiful life.

• Old magazines (libraries sometimes give these away if you don’t have any or ask your friends)
• Scissors
• Glue-stick
• Colored markers (yes, you can use crayons)
• Large poster board (I prefer foam core because I save these for years!)
• Fabric, buttons, embellishments of any kind to add
• Good upbeat or soothing music (depending on the mood you want to create to)
• Cup of tea or a Diet Coke
Hint: This is a perfect project to do with a girlfriend (don’t invite anyone who doesn’t know how to dream…they’ll kill the project.)

How-To Dream: Most of us have tucked our dreams away deep down in the recesses of our hearts. Sometimes this happens because we’ve failed at something and are stuck. Sometimes we were never taught to dream at all and we have to be taught. Perhaps we’re living too comfy, cozy and need to stretch a bit. Wherever you are, it’s ok. Open your heart.

How-To Start: Start by flipping through the magazines. As you flip the pages, I want you to start listening to your heart. Tear out pictures that you love. Lots of them. No editing allowed. Focus on what colors draw you in and inspire you. Let the pictures pile up.

If you have particular things stored on your computer (your Pinterest boards, quotes you love, pics of family) that you want to use, print these out. If beautiful houses inspire you, use home decorating magazines. If you’re a foodie (which I’m not other than eating it), use gourmet food magazines.

You might have 50 or 100 pages of inspiration by the time you’re finished. Watch for words that inspire you and really, really let your dreams come out. Don’t filter your dreams. They are real. They were given to you for a unique reason. You matter. No dream is to big or unreasonable or impractical.

If you’re arty, draw your dreams. If you’re like me, cutting and gluing will be as good as it gets.

How-To Edit: Now, start sorting. Stack up all the pictures and start editing them down. You might have pictures of puppies or families or Italy or the beach. Look at the pictures and decide what you really want your dreams to be. Are those really your dreams? Or are they someone else’s dream? Differentiate.

Edit and start gluing. Overlap photos and words and turn it all into a whimsical treasure that belongs solely to you and your heart. .

Add fabric or embellishments, buttons or old pics. Use the colored markers to draw borders or words with

When you’re done gluing and drawing, stand back. Take a picture if you can. Post your dream board where you can refer to it often and don’t let anyone put a damper on your dreams. They are YOURS. They belong to your life. They are no one else’s. (I post mine in my closet so I can see it everyday, at least twice a day.)

When You’re Done: Celebrate! Do a happy dance. Call a supportive friend. Smile.

Dreams are real. They exist. It is up to you to create the life you want to live, no matter what it looks like today. I want you to make your life your DREAM come true. And I especially hope that your Dream Board will inspire you to do it.

Dream BIG and never, ever, ever give up on your dreams!

Love-Cheryl XXOO


What’s Your Dream?

Dreams. They’re the big things of life. They’re the ‘write a New York Times Bestseller’ or ‘create a foundation’ or ‘make a million bucks’ kind of stuff. The ‘find my soulmate’ or ‘start my own business‘ or ‘have 6 kids’ kind of dreams. Dreams are BIG. HUGE. And scary.

Most of us don’t reflect on our dreams much because well, after you’ve reached the age of 30 or so, most of them seem too hard. Or we’ve listened to so many people say ‘you can’t do that’ or ‘this happened to her’ or ‘you need a ton of money to be successful’ that we quietly fold our dreams up and tuck them nicely into the deep recesses of our heart.

Oh, there are days when they seem to well up inside us, but most of us quietly tamper them down again and reserve them for shower time and long walks on the beach vacation days. They seem so out there. Unreachable.

We quit working on our dreams before we’ve even started.

We give up on our dreams before we’ve even failed.

We believe destiny is what happens to celebrities and millionaires.

But not us.

It’s not true. It’s far from true.

My next door neighbor desperately wanted a 2nd baby. Nature wasn’t cooperating. She was slogging from doctor to doctor with little hope…or the hope she was given had huge dollar signs attached to it.

But I know down deep in her heart she still wanted that dream. Baby number two.

I was sad. She was heartbroken.

I barely had the words to comfort her.

We moved away and didn’t stay in touch.

A year later I was shopping on New Years Eve and I saw a young woman walking and waving toward me with her husband. My eyes did a double take. It was my dear sweet neighbor with her hubby, 3 year old and not only was she strolling one newborn baby in the stroller, she was pushing TWO.

God gave her twins. One of each. A boy and a girl. I was so overwhelmed with joy I almost hugged her to death.

She just shyly smiled and said…’we relaxed and look what happened.’

But she never gave up on her dream. Now she’s playing zone defense as a young Mom with too little time, too many responsibilities and a life full of love.

Dreams are real. If you can see it in your mind and feel it in your heart, it exists. If you consistently wake up thinking about your dream, it’s because it’s a real desire…not something you made up. God gives us desires for a reason.

He wants us to go DO something with them. To impact someone. To help. To spread joy or inspiration…or maybe God just wants to make us deliriously happy. (He does that you know.)

Dreams come with a price. You may have to give something up to go after your big dream. You might have to be patient and watch the dream unfold over a decade instead of a year. You might have to turn off the TV or give up a few nights of fun to realize your big dream.

Dreams are worth waiting for. Working for. Praying for. Sacrificing for.

My neighbor now drives a mini-van with three carseats in the 2nd seat. She rarely puts on make-up and the dog doesn’t get walked that often. But the dream she stored inside her heart…the one she never quit wanting was real. Is real. In the form of a tiny girl and a tiny boy and a big brother named Tre.

Dreams do come true. What’s yours?

The 8 Gifts of Successful Parenting

When I brought my brand new daughter Candice home from the hospital (after the nurse slammed the door and we drove off), I was completely overwrought with my lack of parenting skills. Even the thought of spending the first afternoon alone with her while my husband went to get the pictures developed was terrifying.

Fast forward 26 years. Candice is an accomplished Stylist married to a US Air Force Soldier named Quintin. She’s a Mother to my grandson Max, has 2 dogs and 2 cats and real responsibilities. She’s making her own way in this world.

In thinking back on my parentings skills (or lack of), I was amazed that it wasn’t what to do about a fever or how to do the laundry that are the most valuable gifts we give our children. The gifts that really matter the most are intangible…faith, love, hard work, fun.

Gift #1: The Gift of Dreams
Even human being is born with a dream. Not just small dreams. big ones. Ask any child what their dream is and they’re tell you. They don’t hesitate. As we grow, people deflate our dreams and tell us to “get realistic”. That’s perhaps the most debilitating things we do to humans. Steal and kill their draems. I met a cashier at a clothing store who was majoring in political science. I asked her what she was going to do with that and she said “I don’t know.” Her minor is theatre. When she talked about theatre, she lit up. When I asked why she was majoring in political science when she really loved the theatre, she said it was because her parents’ thought she needed something secure, and theatre wasn’t.

Gift #2: The Gift of Work
Work is therapeutic. Doing work you love is joyful. My generation of parents spends an inordinate amount of time “making it easy” on our children. Simple things like chores and family responsibilities are sometimes non-existent. Children learn through work. Mowing the law. Scooping the cat poop. Helping with dinner. We spend too much time running our children to events and too little time teaching them how to work.

Gift #3: The Gift of Enthusiasm
Charles Kingsley said “we act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us yhappy is something to be enthusiastic about.” Toast with orange juice glasses on the first day of school, a theme for the family vacation (ours was “No Worries”), being each other’s cheerleaders. Children pick up on our zest for life…they know whether we’re really living or just existing.

Gift #4: The Gift of Faith
Building life on a strong spiritual foundation is the greatest gift you can give your child. It’s more than singing “Jesus Loves Me” and going to church on Sunday morning. It’s a total trust and reliance on someone we can’t see or touch. Turning the details over to God and letting him lead the way.

Gift #5: The Gift of Fun
Fun is a gift that cildren are naturally born with. As adults, we minimize the need for fun or we settle for passive fun like watching videos or surfing the internet. We compartmentalize our fun into Friday and Saturday nights. What happened to building a sand castle or making a race car out of a box, or playing football with the neighborhood kids? Fun in the first person (doing it!) is always better than watching someone else’s fun.

Gift #6: The Gift of Discipline
Last Friday I spent the evening with a family who I believe is parenting with great insight and grace. My friend asked her 8 year old son to leave us alone so we could work on a project–after the 2nd request she looked him square in the eye and said “I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.” He promptly wheeled around and left the room. She never raised her voice or even looked mad. She simply looked determined. Had he not left, she was prepared to follow through. She has 3 kids are are delightful, well-mannered and loving. Consistent disciple is one of the keys.

Gift #7: The Gift of Love
Total unconditional love. Love and acceptance even when we don’t like their behavior or their decisions. Hugs and kisses. Saying “I love you” and meaning it. Letting them know they can always trust us. Bedtime prayers. Showing up when we say we will. Taking care of their needs and teaching them through our own actions how to become independent, happy adults.

Gift #8: The Gift of Marriage
Children need two parents. You can’t minimize the need for two, even in an era of single parenting and divorced families. Parenting is a tag team event, when one of you is worn out and fed up…the other parent can step in. One of you can be the marshmallow while the other one of you can be the disciplinarian. At a wedding reception I attended, the father of the groom challentged the bride and groom to never make a decision without asking themselves how it impacts the other. Good advice for anyone, whether you’ve been married 24 years or 2 years. Children need unity and their parents are who they need it from the most.

Every child desperately needs the 8 gifts of successful parenting. When they receive these priceless gifts, they can build their life on a solid foundation and aspire to happy, successful living. Which of these 8 priceless gifts have you given your children?