“Why Don’t You Do What You Dream?” Pt 2

Check out Part 1 of this post to be pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down… Part one is the intro, Part two is the list of dreams.

Obviously, everything on this list will require work. No dream just pops perfectly into reality, fully born and working in all its glory, regardless what the movies would have us believe. So this list is not the place where I try and keep my feet on the ground, to realize the impossibility of these things. These are my dreams, not my to-do list. So no squashing, no moaning that they’ll never happen, no discouragement. When and if the Lord points toward one of them and says, “Go!”, He’ll make the path open before me. But it’s hard for Him to point out the path if I’ve not even opened my eyes.
So here’s some of the answers to the question, “What do I WANT to do?” Actually, the first is more about “How do I want to live?” And the answer is “Small. Very small.”

Living small is my primary, starting place dream – #1. Of course, this has multiple layers…

Becoming clutter-free – Vicki and I are both messies and have lived with that all our lives. But we yearn to have a home that doesn’t look like a bomb just went off, to actually be able to find things without a half hour of searching, or to be able to say to friends, “Come on over!” That’d be amazing…

Living much, much smaller – I’m not going to smack down a dream with reality here… We’d like to someday move to a new house. Now, by “new,” I don’t mean “bigger.” We’d like to go small – very small. As in less than 600 square feet. There’d be a couple of extra buildings for other activities, but the main living space would be really small. Look up “minimalism” to get a feel for my shift in attitude and outlook.

Staying a one-car family – we’d like to have one vehicle, one that’s capable of pulling small trailers, or of putting a whole load of equipment for a gig inside. Front runners include the Ford Explorer Sport Trac or a Honda Element. (I’m leaning toward the Element, but only if we get it repainted purple. Vicki’s leaning toward, and I quote, “Anything we could afford.” Amen.)

In order to remain a one-car town, we’d need to have pedal power available year round. Enter the Velomobile! Feel free to look up these wonders of the modern age, and imagine the Captain scooting down the Beltline inside of one of these puppies, laughing at the frigid temperatures right before he gets buried in a drift all the way up to his… um… April.
But still smiling.
A little land – with the idea of the small house and a couple of extra buildings for specific things, we’d like a little bit of land to produce some of our own food. I’m not talking totally self-sufficient, off the grid, greener than Yoda – just to be able to garden, to can and preserve, and to live at least partially off of the work of our hands.
Areas for tasks – in this grand plan would be a few outbuildings:
1. office / music / writing studio (potentially could be separated – office / music / technology lair; and a writing / thinking / devotions place);
2. hobby / craft / making stuff and selling it place;

3. garage / storage / wood / metal / glassworking place;
4. guest accommodation – living in a tiny (or at least small) house, it’d be best for guests to have their own little space, that they might not feel run over. Oh, and able to use the necessary without the whole world hearing the outcome.

(I saw one amazing example of a great guest room for a tiny house – a couple bought an Airstream trailer in need of some work, refurbished it inside, parked it in their yard, and built a roof over it to keep it from leaking in the rain. That’s their guest bedroom – brilliant!)
5. Greenhouse / prep kitchen – I do think this is a bit brilliant, and I don’t say that about my ideas often…

Attached to a moderate but useful greenhouse would be a moderate but useful kitchen space, complete with freezer, dehydrator, sink, stove and lots of counter space for cleaning, chopping and washing. Why? To take our produce after harvest and prep it for storage – either canning, freezing or dehydrating. And to be able to take the produce, cook it into soup or whatever, and can it right there. In a small house, we’d have a kitchen sufficient for day-to-day life and a little more, but to do the kind of tasks that food preservation requires, it’d be nice to have a little more room to work with. Wouldn’t need all that space daily, but having it available for use would make things run smoother.
6. Exercise – I’m not talking home gym, spa, or anything extravagant here. Just a space to have room to do Tai Chi without standing in a snowbank, to have the trike on the rollers without having to try and find a place in the living room to set it up, or to use a treadmill without having to redecorate. A few weights, a balance ball and some resistance bands would keep it simple.

(Those last two might be combined, by the way – greenhouse with room for exercise and kitchen addition. Working out in a sunny space always makes Cal a happy boy…)

7. Outdoor entertaining / clay oven – if you look up the word “yurt,” you’ll see what I’m thinking of as an outdoor space that would allow for entertaining or even guest lodging. This could also become the exercise area. The clay / brick oven would let me do some baking and other type of cooking – ok, it’s an extravagance, but a pretty cheap and fun one to build.
Does that sound like a little much? Why not just one house, with areas for all that garbage?
Honestly, I’m easily distracted and a messy person, at least in my home persona. I tend to be neater at work, where it counts. In order for me to actually function, multi-tasking is my nemesis. So one area, one function is my path to efficiency, or at least making one area do multiple things by being able to completely switch it over from task to task, getting rid of distractions and clutter in the switchover.
Dreams sometimes are shaped by reality, and how we’re wired.
Ok, now we live in Smalltopia (to borrow the word from Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens). Now, what do I want to do when I get there? Well…

(Steve ramps up the “suspense / big revelation” music, using not only his tiny kazoo but a really small hurdy gurdy...)

Storytelling – being able to tell stories in churches, camps, libraries – wherever – is the most amazing thing I could imagine. Of all the many things I do, being a storyteller brings me so much joy.
One of my fondest memories happened in the fall after Mom retired from teaching… We did something we had promised each other we would do for years – we went to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN. Three days of some of the most amazing storytellers I have ever heard. On that trip, Mom discovered that she was a speaker who likes to use stories – I confirmed that I AM a storyteller.
One area of storytelling I’d like to explore is Kamishibai – Japanese paper storytelling. It’s amazing, and I think it could be a niche that would work well with my gifts. I just realized that an area of ‘telling I’d like to explore is hospital visitation, especially for children. Kamishibai would be a great technique for this, as would some of my musical gifts. (Probably not the tuba though, for the record. Tuba good – hospital tuba bad.) Anyway, I’d like to see how it would work to be able to minister to sick kids in that way.

Writing – I had no idea that I’d ever consider this one, but I’m learning and growing so much from my writing. And I’m finding myself desiring – even compelled – to spend time at the keyboard, writing away. One of a gazillion bloggers, typing away, believing that someday our words will catch on, thousands upon thousands will flock to our doors, and we will be “there.”
Yeah. Right. I’m a dreamer, not delusional.

If the Lord would show me the link to be able to write stories that I could then tell, that’d be amazing. So far, not yet. But there are seeds here that could lead to something else – more than one person has whispered the word “book” in my hearing, and they weren’t talking about the type of thing that happens on “Hawaii Five-O…”
(Too old of a reference? How about on “Cops?” Better? Alrighty then.)

(Here’s a Steve the Hamster Memory Moment: The whole dorm was gathered in Quincer Lounge, watching the last ever episode of Hawaii Five-O [before it was ushered into rerun pergatory], waiting for the ending, and the last uttering of the immortal words by the terminally tough Jack Lord, “Book ’em, Danno…”
And he said, “Wait, Danno – I’ll book this one myself.”
Thanks, Steve – now get back on that wheel…)
Moving on…
Gospel magic and clowning – this goes hand in hand with storytelling. I love being a magician, because I love the wonder of it. Being able to teach or tell a story and have some of the wonder of it happen right in front of others is such a kick!

As for Eye-Bee the Clown, the only reason that he got stuffed into a trunk for years was my physical condition. I never lost the desire, even though I said I did. I just couldn’t do it when I was way over 400 pounds. This past October, I wandered around our church’s Hallo-luia party in face, doing some marginally funny stuff, dreadfully out of practice, but found that it’s fun once again. So I’d be open to working on my character and routines, and getting back to “bumping a nose.” (The clown equivalent of “breaking a leg.”)
BIG DREAM… I’d like to go to Clown Camp this summer. It’s the week before our 30th anniversary, and it’d be amazing to go and camp there. I’d toddle off to clown camp while Vicki has the days free, and I’d get to learn so much. There’s no way it can happen from what I can see on the horizon right now, but these are dreams – no stomping.

(Alright – I did stomp a bit… I didn’t fill out the application for a scholarship since I knew that there’s no way we could make the rest of it work, even if I had gotten a scholarship. “The difference between an adult and a child is the ability to delay gratification.” [Dave Ramsey] Since the Lord didn’t open a path, that’s enough for me.)

– If you know me at all, you know that just saying the word “music” opens quite a vast chasm – I do need to narrow that dream down a bit, but continuing to use my musical gifts is important.

For the record, I still really want to learn to play the Chapman Stick. And the cello. And possibly a folk harp. I have plans for a series of hymn albums called Quiet Strength, as well as finishing the series The Church Year (my Advent album was the first of these), but reality has put most everything on hold. So we’ll give those dreams CPR when the Lord says to.

The amazing man to the left, by the way, is Emmett Chapman, the inventor of the Chapman Stick. I sigh, I swoon, I drool. Sorry about that last bit…

Fiber arts – this includes loom knitting, weaving, sewing, machine knitting, and (since we’re dreaming here) learning to crochet. (I’ve tried, I’ve died. My dad had the gift of crochet – and didn’t pass it along, apparently.) Weaving is a biggie – I’d love to get a floor loom.

Woodworking – building stuff, doing things with a scroll saw, making stuff. I’ve always wanted to work with wood ever since I was little and my great-grandpa cut me a very simple bunny out of some plywood with a bandsaw. No time to learn growing up, no dad in the house to learn from (and a mom who wasn’t a handyperson) or anybody else for that matter, and shop class always conflicted with music – thanks, public school. 😀 No complaints – I’m a musician born and raised, but it would have been nice to make some sawdust along the way. Someday, Vicki may even trust me with tools. Maybe.
Jewelry making – I love bending wire, either in sculpting a pendant or weaving a bracelet. And I really like soldering and making pieces with that technique. I like metal work in jewelry more than beading or stitching.
Glass fusing – this has applications in jewelry but there are many, many other projects for fused glass, and I’d love to explore them. I love glass and the boundless things you can do with it.
Audio workI really do love editing and sound design, even though I have to kick myself to get to work on the projects on my plate. The storyteller in me finds it so rewarding to take a spoken word performance, adjust it to make the words have the best rhythm and impact they can, and then add to it the special touches of sound effects, music and those other things that bring the story to life.
Those are pretty much all personal dreams. They all have Vicki’s support (although the instruments she wavers on a bit – she’s more behind the Chapman Stick than the cello. And is neutral about the harp. She is VERY positive about me continuing to record music, loves it when I do magic at children’s church, enjoyed seeing Eye-Bee get out of the trunk, and would join me in glass fusing. She also wears the jewelry I make and the scarves I knit.

Floor loom for weaving? Um… not so much.)

As for dreams involving the two of us…
Traveling – I’m not going wild here, not dropping everything to trike across the country (although triking Route 66 did cross my noggin – wouldn’t that be amazing?…). But too many people that I know, including my mom, said for too long that they’d always like to go to *insert selected destination*, or to see *insert selected attraction or other cool thingie* and never did. Life interrupted, opportunities never came, and it didn’t happen. I think seeing some stuff is really important, I think it deserves a place on our radar and, in my world of dreams, getting out and seeing new things is a biggie. So here’s some traveling stuff that is on the list:

First of all, to make traveling possible, we’d like a teardrop trailer of some sort – it’s basically a mobile bedroom, camping at its simplest without putting two people in their nifty fifties in a soggy tent, (ok – Vicki has a few months before she joins me in that happy club) and just about the right size for the two of us. Vicki would like one that we can sit at a table in (a “standy,” as they’re sometimes called), but I’d be happy with a very small one – just enough room to sleep. Taking our own tiny home on wheels would make traveling affordable, and it can be pulled by a tiny car instead of a honkin’ truck or SUV. Best part – this could be something that we build ourselves, if I had some of the aforementioned skillz (or could get some guidance from some of the dreadfully talented folks I know.)
As for where to go…
1. Route 66 – ever since I saw “Cars,” I’ve been wanting to get my kicks on Route 66. I’d like to travel the length of it, not necessarily in one trip, although that would be outrageous, but I don’t want to wait until I’m too old to remember what I saw yesterday.
2. Alaska – we’d like to see it someday. I’d really like to do a short term mission trip to our denomination radio station in Nome, even in the dead of winter – that’d be a hoot!
3. San Francisco – I was there when I was like 8 or 9, and I’d love to take Vicki there someday. I still remember Fisherman’s Wharf – loved it.
4. Florida / Disney World / Universal – I was at Disney World in the first year they opened. They set a record for reaching park capacity early that day, so the lines were obscene, the crowds immense, and my memories vague. The only ride I remember is “It’s A Small World.” *shudder* I’m told EPCOT is amazing – I’d like to find out for myself.
(Alright – you got me. Yes, I do really, really, REALLY want to see the Wondrous World of Harry Potter. There, I said it. Happy now?)
5. New England – does one really need a reason? I think not.
6. West – Montana, Mt. Rushmore, and other big ol’ amazing rock formations – Land, spreadin’ out so far and wide…
For the record, you’ll notice that these are domestic locations. I don’t have fantasies of flying off to exotic destinations, since you can see some pretty awesome stuff right here. But there are a couple of places…
1. Ireland & Scotland – I’m a whistle player. That’s all the reason I need.
(Our eldest Niecelet left for some studying abroad in Scotland, and although we’d dearly love to go and see her while she’s there as well as to do a little touring while on that side of the pond, unless the Lord makes a way, that won’t happen. No squashing – just truth.)
2. Israel – as Brian Hardin puts it, to see the Bible in 3-D.

“Ok, Cal – this is all interesting, but utterly useless for most humans. Why in the name of Fats Waller would you put this, a cross between pure flights of fancy and a very useless letter to Santa, out there for public view? Who cares??”

That is a fair assessment and question.
Bear in mind that this blog and journal are tools to help my mental recovery and rebuilding. These are the things in the physical world I use to help remake my inner landscape – to try and sort through all the twists and turns on this path of being reborn. If this list were all fantasy, there’d be a LOT more stuff, MUCH more whimsy, and perhaps a few ponies.

Or at least alpacas.

What it gives me is some sort of picture of the many, many things rolling around in my noggin. If I ever needed proof of being reborn, consider this: I’m a 52 year old man, who still thinks that maybe someday I’ll have time to learn the Chapman Stick or the harp. That I might be able to learn to be a clown – a good clown. That I just might start on that writing career, “tho’ no one read me, still I will write-o.” (Just trying to make it fit the song…) Honestly, dear ones, there’s nothing on this list that seems ridiculous or fanciful to me – they all seem good, noble, practical (sort of) and possible. Nothing so outrageous that it’s out of the range of what might just come into being.

In short, “Hey – it could happen.”

Maybe buried someplace in all these ridiculous notions is a glimmer of reality, a nugget of possible, a tiny diamond of hope in the rough of the mundane. And therein would lie a compass, a spark, a direction to help point the way in this adventure God lays before me.
And maybe, just maybe, someone else dreams. Maybe someone else feels like they’re looking at a brick wall, no path, no way to move. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll think, “If an old dude like Cal can dream like this, maybe I can too.”
Hey – it could happen.
This is the dream list, with stuff that catches my attention and imagination. Some of it is downright fantasy, some of it possibility, all of it resides somewhere in my heart. Getting it out into the world gives me the opportunity to sort through it, see which ones really move me and which ones don’t. Hopefully I’ll reduce some mental clutter, get some focus, and allow God to shape my sight and illumine the path.
To continue this grand experiment, Part 3 will ask the question, “What do I do with this stuff now?” Steve, play us to commercial, then we’ll be back…
(insert sound of “Hampsterdance” being enthusiastically played on a very small kazoo, along with bongos being played by tiny hind feet…)

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