Living the Dream

It has been some time since I blogged due to our busy slate of holiday activities but I had to post today because we got our first snowfall here in Franklin. Snow is only covering the ground but it adds a festive touch to our already joyous holiday season. It has been such fun celebrating the holidays here that it has reminded me how very much I am “living the dream.”

The holiday festivities kicked off earlier with Historic Franklin’s “Dickens of a Christmas” street faire, complete with costumed characters from A Christmas Carol playing live at the circa 1937 Franklin Theatre. And speaking of the theatre, on Christmas Eve my wife, Linda, and I saw our favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, at the theatre and we return on New Year’s Eve to swing to the sounds of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

It is so awesome being able to walk downtown to the different cafes and shops and soak in the ambience of an old fashioned Christmas. We recently invited friends to visit our circa 1930 home in the historic district and to join us for a stroll downtown to the festivities when one of them exclaimed, “This is so romantic!” And it was just last year that another friend of ours remarked, “Your lives are like a movie!”

So perhaps we could describe our experiences as being like a dreamy, romantic movie? Whatever the description, Linda and I frequently feel the need to pinch ourselves to remind us of how blessed we are to live in such special places. As regular readers will recall, it was just this type of lifestyle that we envisioned a couple of years ago when we placed our house for sale and our dreams in the hands of the One whom we celebrate.

Nantucket Noel

My wife and I agree that this Christmas has been our favorite one together, which is rather ironic given that we are several hundred miles from family and friends on an island thirty miles out to sea. One contributing factor is that winter here strips away the distractions of life and helps us to focus on the reason for the season: the incarnation of Christ. Another factor is that we are living in one of the most beautiful places in the entire world, particularly during the holidays.

For its part, Nantucket has several hundred colonial-era buildings, more than anywhere else in America, a fact made all the more astonishing when you consider that many more were lost in an epic fire. Add to the historic buildings the cobblestone streets, old-fashioned lampposts, and traditional decorations of evergreen trees and wreaths with white lights and candles, and you experience a holiday dreamscape capable of soothing even the most jaded of holiday shoppers.

And speaking of shopping, its absence in our lives was another major contributor to our holiday bliss this year. With our yearlong downscaling of possessions, whereby we gave most of our stuff to friends and family before moving here, shopping wasn’t a big deal. As for us, we had bought each other several gifts before the holidays as the need arose so we simply exchanged a couple of gifts on the day of Christmas. The only thing missing was the snow that was forecast but failed to fall.

Testing Your Dream

I enjoy books about dreams and I thoroughly enjoyed one I finished today titled Put Your Dream to the Test, the latest by leadership expert and bestselling author John Maxwell. Subtitled “10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It,” the book suggests you analyze your dream in order to move from merely believing in it to actually buying into it.

As Maxwell points out, it is one thing to dream and another thing to live your dream, and the determining factor is often whether or not your dream has been tested. He gently guides you to answer questions of ownership, clarity, reality, passion, pathway, people, cost, tenacity, fulfillment and significance. In his trademark style, the book is peppered with motivational quotations and moving stories of people who achieved their dreams by practically testing them and then tenaciously pursuing them.

No matter where you might find yourself on the dream continuum, it would benefit you to read this book and practice its principles. Whether or not you have mapped out your dream destination, you will find here the help you need to navigate the challenging detours of life and continue your journey toward a life of passion and purpose.