The gift of the magi?

The first dream that I remember, Michael and the kids and I were all on a trip.  We were either in Mexico, or perhaps Honduras.  We were in a hotel room packing up to go home, and someone knocked on the door.  It was three young boys.  They had a baby elephant with them, and they gave me a handful of American money (A ten and some ones.)  I asked what this was, and they said it was a gift.  I thanked them, and I said I would come up with a good way to pass it along.  The main boy gave me a pamphlet, and said his name was Miguel.  A little while later, they came back, and gave even more money.  I was really disturbed and I didn’t want to take the money from them.  At some point, I looked at the pamphlet and it told the story about the elephant and what they were doing, but I can’t remember the story now.

Across the street from the hotel, there was a big community center.  It was designed for teens, and had roller skating, bowling, and all sorts of other things.  You had to be 16 to go on your own, because I was telling someone that this was the first year that Alex and Dylan could go without us.

When we left from our trip, Austin went on his own trip to Mexico-he had booked everything himself.  We told Dad about it, and Michael said that if he was going to do this often, we should buy a timeshare.  Dad said we didn’t need that.

Once I had gotten home from the trip, and went straight to set up for the baby shower.  We had 3 hours to get ready, but there were people already sitting at tables as we were setting up (guests!)  There were 12 tables set up rather than the 8 I had planned for, and I was stressed about not having enough decorations.  But then someone else had brought some of the same wooden cutouts as I had.  Also, I had large stencils and “snow” for windows to put umbrellas (I guess because it’s a baby “shower”?)  on one of the tables, they had set up a grand piano on the table as a centerpiece.  It was just beautiful, with multiple layers of table clothes.  Even on the regular tables, there were lacy tablecloths and they were looking very pretty.  I realized that I hadn’t done anything I had committed to do – there were no flowers, I hadn’t located the vases, I hadn’t printed the stickers and signs for the games, and I hadn’t made the food I had agreed to make!  I was in a panic and said that I needed to leave to go to the store.  I asked Tell if she needed anything else, and she gave me this list:

  • Tampons and Maxipads
  • Hats (for this guy who was creating a photo booth for the shower)

(Plus of course, I needed the flowers, stickers, sign, and ingredients for the food!)  I was in such a hurry to leave that one shoe fell off. I woke up in a panic!

There were a good number of things that made it into my dream from real life this time:

  • The baby elephant: I saw a Facebook video about a newborn elephant just before I went to sleep
  • The baby shower for Sarah in real life is tomorrow, and yes – it’s true, I haven’t yet done anything I need to for it 🙂

The “rest” of the story…. that same day shortly after , I saw THIS ELEPHANT POST from Dee – Archangel Oracle.  I had assumed that the elephant was in my dream because I had seen the article on Facebook, but as my friend Karen would say, YES, AND….

Perhaps this also pointed to the gift described in this card.  The fact that the young boys with the elephant were giving me a gift (and the fact that I titled my post “The gift of the magi”)… it also points to this gift of caring for one another, of family, of supporting and loving one another, and of gratitude for those gifts.


As a bit of backstory: my grandmother Mam-ma is very sick, and has been having a series of health problems.  My Aunt Sandy, who has been disabled for years and years and is not in great health, has been taking care of her.  Clearly – this is weighing on my mind, waking and sleeping….

Last night, my dream began with going to see Mam-ma.  She was very, very thin and was so small that I could pick her up.  I had carried her to her chair*, and she was mostly just a head and torso, her legs and arms were so thin.

There were a number of people at Mam-ma and Sandy’s house.  (This was their old house on Kentwood Street.)  I wanted to take a shower, but there were lots of people around the room in which I was going to shower, so Aunt Sandy said I could use her bathroom.  Now, Sandy’s bathroom was very small in real life, and it didn’t actually have a shower in it – it was a half bath with a toilet and a sink.  In this dream, however, Sandy’s room didn’t have a bed at all*.  It had a chair, two showers, and a big pink bathtub that was very notable.

Before I took my shower, I was looking for clothes to wear.  I had a blue sweater, and I was looking for a dark blue shirt to wear with it.  I was having a hard time finding one, and was getting frustrated.

At some point – I think in Sandy’s room – there was a girl there who was friends with my friend Kathy J.  She was looking for something I think.  Later (in another dream?  later in this dream?) I saw her, and she had what she was looking for – it was a toolbox full of video games.  Her appearance looked different once she had found this toolbox, and I remember thinking how odd it was that having that could have made such a difference.

*The rest of the story?  While this may be a bit of a stretch, it could also be a bit of synchronicity.  Later in the day following the dream, I called and talked to Aunt Sandy to get an update on Mam-ma’s condition.  Last night, she was lying in bed and having trouble breathing.  She was in a lot of pain, and Sandy had to help her move to her chair where she is sleeping.  She is not very comfortable, and wants to be in her bed lying down, but is spending all of her time in a chair for the moment.

Mam-ma, very thin

Sandy – no bed, chair, and two showers and pink tub

kitchen full of people shower in Sandy’s room

Kathy’s friend

toolbox of gamer stuff

appearance looked diff

Blue sweater – looking for blue shirt

A first look at synchronicity…

In looking back through my prolific posts over the last month, I realized that I never really provided “the rest of the story” from that first, monumental dream.  After my “K” character promised to be back in two weeks, I was eagerly anticipating that night’s sleep two weeks after Easter.

Well, that evening, it was a rather chaotic night.  I’ll spare you the details, but suffice to say it entailed teenagers, curfews, and an ugly 2 am confrontation.  All that to say, if I did dream, I don’t remember it!

That Sunday, Michael and I were supposed to go to church and make announcements at each of our four services:  7:30 am, 8:45 am, 11 am, and 5 pm.  Now, we are normally 5 o’clockers.  When we show up at the earlier services, people ask, “Are you feeling ok?”  After the night’s activities, I could NOT make myself get up and go to the 7:00 service, and so Michael (bless his heart) got up and did it.

At 8:45, I dragged myself from the bed, and arrived at the church in time for the announcements.  In addition to Michael’s announcement, Ben mentioned that there was a Sunday school class starting at 10:00 called “Understanding your Dreams.”  So, I told Michael that I’d like to stay for that class, and that I would just stay, then do the 11:00 announcement as well.

At this point, I wasn’t really thinking much about my previous dream, or the fact that it was two weeks later.  But when the teacher opened the session by saying “God speaks to us in our dreams” – it all came rushing back to me.  At the time, I didn’t know the teacher’s name.  (I know, I know… I feel terrible.  But remember – I’m a 5 o’clocker!!)  After the fact, I found out her name was Karen.  Karen with a K.  Coincidence?  Synchronicity?  Regardless, it got my attention.

As a result, here we are today.  Lost together in the dreams woven since that fateful Easter….

Thanks for joining me.

The Rest of The Story – Future Plans from the Past

Below is an email that I wrote to a few key people who are working on the Capital Campaign.  This is interpretation #1 of my amazing dream, and it really embodies my hopes for the Chapel…

Some of you may know that I’ve been participating in Karen Bonner’s Sunday school class about dreaming.  (It’s wonderful, by the way!)  One of the things she encouraged at the very beginning was to write down our dreams.


Last night, I had the most wonderful dream about the new sanctuary and the capital campaign, and I felt compelled to share it.  Karen said that dreams talk to us in symbols, and much of what a dream “means” can be attributed to what it means to the dreamer.  This one shouted so clearly at me there is no mistaking what it meant to me.


I had gone to the Chapel, and there was an aerial tram that had been put in to “tour” the site of the new sanctuary. (Can we add that to our master plan? J)  I got on this tram in our existing parking lot with a group of others and it took a path into the woods behind the chapel, though the path went much further than our existing land.  We rode past the backside of China Grove, and back past an original (and very beautiful) cemetery that – in the dream – was an important part of the history of the Chapel.  Along the way, there were people in need who were following the tram:  a woman who was sick, groups of children. All of them were following us to get help.  When the tram stopped, there was a building there at the site that would be the church.  Inside, to the left, there were all different people from different cultures.  People were sharing food and tasting new things.  One family was celebrating Christmas!  To the right, there was a big room, and in the center was a group of kids.  Overhead, there was a blimp that was dropping gifts.  The children would get the gifts, and then slowly leave.  Eventually, the kids were all gone, and the blimp dropped another stuffed animal that someone ran in to get, and then it slowly flew away, waiting for the next group to come in.  Everyone was happy, and having a great time.  The dream was filled with enthusiasm and joy.


Now, I’m not an expert, but to me – this dream embodied all of the wonderful reasons that we are taking this bold step at the chapel.  This dream mirrored back all of my hopes – that by moving forward, we will be connecting our rich history with our future.  We will be bringing different people, families and communities, together, and we will be able to better help those in need.  And the gifts that we will be providing the community and our children will continue to give, long after we are gone. Most importantly, perhaps, is that the reach of this is so much larger than we can see right now.


I know that each of you are working so hard to set the stage for success, and so I wanted to share with you a small taste of the hope and excitement that came to me last night in my dream.


The rest of the story – Easter in July

Sprinkled throughout the crazy ramblings of my dreams, I’ll try to insert commentary, and more importantly, those stories that compelled me to learn more about what’s going on inside this noggin of mine….

As you might know, we are beginning a capital campaign at the Chapel of the Cross to build a new sanctuary.  This is top of mind, and in fact, there have been a few blog posts that alluded to this.

One day, I called my friend Becky with a  question about the campaign.  After she answered my question, we were just chatting.  She told me that she had been at the Chapel that afternoon, because our friend Bill was looking for paperwork in one of the filing cabinets and couldn’t find it.  She went and got it for him, and she mentioned that while she was in there, she found some old letters from Helen Johnstone, as well as an ornate cross that looked to be very old.  She went on to talk about how we needed to get the letters archived, but I was distracted by the thought of finding an old cross at the church.  Why did that seem so familiar?  Why was I getting a feeling of deja vu?

Once we hung up, I thought that  I vaguely remembered a dream about finding an old cross at the church.  So I flipped back through my trusty dream notebook, and found Easter in July.  I thought to myself, “That’s really weird” and so I called Becky back, and I asked her, “Where did you find the cross?” and she said it was in an old box – like a jewelry box. I read her an excerpt from the dream…

“Toward the end of the service, she made us get up and go through the old boxes that were in the chapel.  In the boxes, there were budgets, jewelry (in particular, a cross necklace), photographs, and stickers.”

At that point, Becky told me that there were also ledgers in there from old cemetery plots, as well as a scrapbook with photographs.

I was a little overwhelmed, and so the next day I asked Ben if I could come in and look at the scrapbook and cross that Becky found.  My “ego” was still trying to explain away the dream as coincidence, and I still wrote off the rest of the dream.  I told myself, “There’s no way there are stickers in with this stuff.  There probably weren’t even stickers back then.”

As I sat down and started flipping through the book, I was stunned, because while there weren’t children’s stickers, spread throughout the scrapbook were labels off of candy, cookies, etc.  Very much like stickers.  And a few pages in, there was an American flag….

Remember, if you will, the earlier part of the dream…

“I noted that the service was strange, although I don’t recall all of the specifics.  There was recorded music (as opposed to our traditional organ music.  There was clapping, and there were American flags (or maybe just one.)”

In the scrapbook, it was noted under this American flag that “these were printed as part of our July 4 service…”

In an almost state of panic, I asked Karen about this in her class “Understanding Your Dreams” that she taught at Millsaps, as part of their Continuing Education series.  She said it’s not alarming, and that there was a theory that linked events (whether waking or dreaming) through time called synchronicity.  I did a little bit of basic reading on the topic in Wikipedia, and found this…

Synchronicity is a concept, first explained by psychiatrist Carl Jung, which holds that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related.[1] 

In his book Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, Jung wrote:[8]

…it is impossible, with our present resources, to explain ESP, or the fact of meaningful coincidence, as a phenomenon of energy. This makes an end of the causal explanation as well, for “effect” cannot be understood as anything except a phenomenon of energy. Therefore it cannot be a question of cause and effect, but of a falling together in time, a kind of simultaneity. Because of this quality of simultaneity, I have picked on the term “synchronicity” to designate a hypothetical factor equal in rank to causality as a principle of explanation.

1-Tarnas, Richard (2006). Cosmos and Psyche. New York: Penguin Group. p. 50. ISBN 0-670-03292-1.

8-Jung, Carl (1973). Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle (first Princeton/Bollingen paperback ed.). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-691-15050-5.

And so, the mystery continues.  Why were these things linked to my dream?  Is there more I should know?  I feel compelled to find out who the items belonged to, and why now they should come to my attention.  Perhaps soon there will be “even more to the rest of the story…”

Future Plans from the Past

Another dream was about building at the Chapel.  There was a tram that was suspended in the air somehow that was to take you past the new building.  I got in it for the first ride and it followed a path where a gravel road would be built.  Instead of going to the current site though it went far back in the woods.  We saw the back of China Grove and then a river (?) water area with old septic tanks in it.  Someone said “It’s a shame you can’t find those anymore to build up that installment.” Like it was art!  Then we went through what was the “original” Chapel cemetery.  It wasn’t our current cemetery but it was lovely and peaceful.  We then passed people who were in need – an old sick woman, hungry children.  I leaned out of the tram until I almost fell out.  The old lady was trying to touch us for healing, and I remember wondering why she thought we could help, and then thinking maybe her faith would heal her.  I almost fell out I was leaning back so much and someone yelled at me to get back in the car.  When we stopped, there was a building.  We went in, and to the left was a series of stalls – like Greenhills.  Mostly food.  At the very end was what looked like popsicles, but they weren’t cold.  They were called “Crunchies”.  I thought about getting some but didn’t.  They were a Mexican treat, and the family that sold them lived across the hall.  They were in the floor of a living room celebrating Christmas.  They spoke to me and the mother asked me a question.  Maybe what I liked to eat.  Then I went back the way I came and there was an Indian woman selling Indian food.  She was telling someone that you had to be careful if it was the first time you were trying Indian food.  On the other side from where the tram dropped us off, there was a big open room with a corral in the center.  There were tons of kids in the corral, and a blimp was flying around dropping toys.  Once a kid got a toy, they left.  Eventually, they were all gone, and it dropped one stuffed rabbit then left.  Ben was there.  I then realized it was time to go, but instead of getting in the tram, there was a weird convertible truck/limo.  I said I love those types of cars and climbed to the back, putting up the seat.  On the drive back, I said to Ben, “So we’ll have to move some of the original graves if the train will be on the ground…” He said “ok” and I wasn’t sure if he was just acknowledging some or if he was agreeing.  He looked annoyed.  Someone else (maybe Dick???) started yelling at me saying they’d asked before and were told no graves had to be moved.  I asked how that was possible and don’t remember the answer.

For “the rest of the story” – please see The Rest of The Story – Future Plans from the Past – which tells a part of it…..

Easter in July

Initially, I disregarded this dream as insignificant (which I have later learned is not possible… all dreams are significant.)  In hindsight, events have caused me to go back and re-analyze this in a different way.  But for now – my first description.

In this dream I was trying to get to the Chapel to do one of my favorite things – make palm crosses for Easter.  I was immediately blocked by a car in front of me.  They told me to go around (the driveway is split in two around an entrance sign.)  I did so, and when I tried to go around, I hit the entrance sign and got very annoyed that I’d damaged our Suburban.  Then, about that same time, there was another set of hands on the wheel, so I thought “Fine – I’ll let them drive!” but they didn’t steer and neither did I, so we almost hit the car that was blocking us until I started steering again.  The next thing I remember, I was in the chapel.  Our church is configured with normal pews up to the front, but then there is a section of sideways pews to the front left side.  I was sitting in the second one of those sideways pews (which is a little odd, because I don’t really like to sit there.)  We had a guest priest that was a woman.  I didn’t know her, and the sermon was “weird” in my words.  She made me move to the front row, and I was sitting with a little boy that I thought was a preacher’s son.  He was great – playful and fun, and I enjoyed sitting by him, even though I was annoyed that I had to move.  I noted that the service was strange, although I don’t recall all of the specifics.  There was recorded music (as opposed to our traditional organ music.  There was clapping, and there were American flags (or maybe just one.) Toward the end of the service, she made us get up and go through the old boxes that were in the chapel.  In the boxes, there were budgets, jewelry (in particular, a cross necklace), photographs, and stickers.

NOTE:  For a re-write/interpretation, please see Rewrite – Going to Meet Joy

Went to set up for Easter at the Chapel for altar guild.  I thought it was to make palm crosses, but it was too late.  Was pulling in the drive and someone was in front of me so they told me to cut through.  Hit the black sign in truck – very annoyed.  Then someone had hand on wheel so I stopped steering and they didn’t so I almost hit the car. Got into church and there was a guest priest and a very weird sermon.  I don’t know who she was but I’d set in the 2nd sideways row and she made me move to the front next to a child I think was a preacher’s kid.  Very sweet kid.  Playful.  There was recorded music, clapping, and an American flag.  Strange.  Then she had us get up and look in these old boxes and I found old budgets from people who donated to the chapel years ago.   There were also small jewelry boxes with pictures, stickers, and jewelry stored in them.