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  • Writer's pictureDarlene Dennis

The Waiting Room .. and Dreaming while you wait. .

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

This topic of dreaming and praying and being hopeful .. it can seem cliche ..

This view right here. These days, I get to start my mornings seeing this viewpoint every single day after the long commute from driving Maddie to her now new school. Life is all so different on so many levels - but that doesn't always mean "perfect". All of us here resettling are having to process things unexpected. Emotions buried. Moods emerging... and then JOY too. It would seem easy on the surface but it is not.

Some of you may know how this path of Restore to Soar came to be .. how Debbie and I had a friendship that collided over a desire to share with others how they too can get off this crazy road of not enough thinking etc after being at a retreat in Idaho. A spark was lit. A friendship. A calling. A new way to do things.

It is rooted in hard times and the stories that were attached to those hard times and trauma. . and also in FAITH. Faith that our Creator has designed us for more than what we've seen, touched or even felt.

In case you do not know .. here is a small soundbite of the tsunami that hit my world. . .

My 'Waiting Room' ..

I thought up until my 47th birthday that I had it all together and most of things we are pushed to strive for was there. A beautiful home, a marriage, pretty kids and other tangibles hanging near that were PROOF that I was valued and had worth and meant something. All that was blown up. . and in reality my life was a shell .. not to anyone's fault but to my own. I accept responsibility for not learning about life on a much deeper level and handling it with care. Divorce, Cancer and then the loss of my mom - all within one year - stripped my life to the core and I had to rebuild. Rebuilding is not pretty and for sure is not fun. Especially when you have a diverse audience. You have to learn new skills and new thought processes. You have to allow the old to pass and you have to forgive. FORGIVE. Forgive yourself, Forgive others. And you have to pack things up selectivly and walk a new road.

How is that for a depressing soundbite? Well, finding gratitude carries you far and is a necessary and key component of starting over. Noticing things. And taking NOT one thing for granted -- even the hard stuff. I am 'noticer' these days .. and I try to sift things from all perspectives. I grieve as needed. The very big things and I also grieve the little things. Grief is a gift if you choose to let it side beside you - it allows you to reconcile what has happened and allows you to break it ALL down .. sifting through the rubble and keeping the good parts that now get to be packed in your luggage and become part of the framework of you evolving ..

I am GRATEFUL for every last bit of my journey. EVERY. SINGLE. BIT.

In retrospect, I was gifted a blank canvas. In the midst of the rubble of my old life, as I cried bitter and angry tears, God sweetly whispered to me .. it maybe sounded a bit like this:

GOD: Sweet girl .. you get a do-over. . you can rewrite all the things you wished thru the years .. you can work towards what you now WANT life to look like without feeling stuck .. you can be true to you.

ME: Wait, what? you got to be kidding - - At 47? I'm old, rounded out, tired. I'm not really funny anymore, actually I'm quite sad. I don't have much time left, the cancer has reminded me of that. I'm not really that lovable, my divorce reminds me of that. Yeah .. I think it's best I just finish my time out, stay out of the way and just age on out of here .. (pretty pitiful but the truth is I was pitiful on about every level LOL)

GOD: um, no. That is NOT my plan for you (Jer 29:11 in case you need to open your bible and review!) You have 40 good years left .. there is plenty of time to change some things up. Sleep if you're tired - even better - rework your schedule to where you are content. Learn to say no more. Saying yes to everything like you've been doing takes away from what you want to do - so figure out what you wish to do and start saying NO to make room. Eat better if you feel rounded out - you will never have the body of your youth but look at how well your body has survived all your bad choices and all the things you didn't choose. Honor it better...and no surprise,there are people who love you .. LET THEM .. and love them back .. love better and harder .. now GO and figure all this out. .and I will be here .. beside you .. all the way..

Alrighty then .. .

So I started not giving much thought to what the critics (and there were LOADS of them on the sidelines along with many who left) and I started writing things in a journal .. I am now about to finish my 5th one. The stuff i write? mainly the things that catch my breath, writings that people have gifted out on the internet that is relatable and pictures of things I love, or how I aspire life to look like. A total and complete MishMash of hope, thoughts and whatifs?

and wow.

I started writing down small things that I was grateful for .. NOTICING. . and then I began to dream. DREAMing bigger, overriding the thoughts I wasn't enough and why on earth would I even think? . . About loving someone again. About people and the complicated ties that occur. About what I could do with very little that would pour LOVE into others. . and over the years it began to SHAPE decisions. It shaped my BOUNDARIES. It became a mirror of who I was and it was what I wanted life to be on my terms.

Were there tears? Oh my gosh, I could have cried you a river. . ask some of the beautiful women who managed to hold my hand and would dust me off, remind me of love and God's provisions and get me going again - - and so much confusion and doubt .. learning to trust others and also myself. Do I still screw up? You betcha I do.. but now I do it with the finesse of owning it and being committed to work harder at the rewiring of my thoughtless intentions. It will never be easy. . but life will be represented of what a true me looks like. You can not go to war with yourself if you are authentic in knowing your soul.

It was all a long haul. Long road. Long path. Long trip. Long season... however you choose to refer to that "Waiting" part of this life, the changing and molding you into what you are called for.

But I do believe I am at the "SOAR" part of all this .. oh, there will always be some sort of "RESTORing" to do .. but I'm done with the core build. . . and working on the continual touches of this part of my story. .

One of the things I wanted so much and prayed so hard over was a space to hold gatherings .. where it was full of light and beauty and music, laughter, tears. A safe place where some women who find themselves in the same place I was so lost in, find their COMPASS. Their way back to themselves .. so that they can love themselves again which in turn makes it to where they love their people better and anyone who crosses their path. Where you try some new art thingy and it casts a spark. And where you can just breathe for the day - play with glue, scissors and make something that reminds you of the goodness you have within. Can you imagine? I thought this place was farfetched and could not happen .. BUT IT IS. God likes to show out and cast your doubt far .. it makes you extremely humble.


I laugh at the below because it looks like the Chaos Fairy threw up in that garage (and she probably did at some point)

But this was what all I had at the beginning of this journey .. I came home from that camp after conversing with God. I cleaned out the garage - hung shelves .. hung everything that made me happy and began to do work on my soul .. and working curriculum with others later. This space made my sister dizzy just looking at it kids would cringe when I would say let's go in there and sort this out .. but it was a healing cocoon for so many years .. I get all teary just looking at and having all the good memories flood in.

and eight growing years later, in moving forward, was the realization that I had to let this go .. this happy space that I LOVED ..


I had to let it go in order to move in the direction of my next season. God blessed me with an amazing man to share my dreams and my life with. . (sidenote: please remember though, I was solo and single for NINE years. It all felt like the desert on some days - - so I am NOT one saying just hang in there it will happen ..because that is NOT my truth. I was willing to keep walking solo .. and the path was lined up to keep doing so .. )

but God likes to throw a wrench just when you are all bowed up thinking you got it going on .. I'm learning.

Go God!! LoL.


Below was what I sketched out months prior .. get a small parcel of land .. a small shed / building .. start small .. and how goofy was I doing it on grid paper and colored pencils .. I mean if you are going to do the effort of making it seem real GO ALL IN! I hung on to this little sheet of paper.

When my husband proposed, I presented it to him. I had done the research .. this was my calling .. and I could save and work extra but this had to be part of my go forward because it was part of me and who I was to be authentic to.

Without a blink, it just became part of the prerequiste of whatever discussions we had on relocating. I have no words what VALIDATION looks like .. but my heart is wrapped up in all the feels .. God is good when you let Him drive the bus. . and to be heard and known by another? That is what we all are looking for. One safe soul.

and now THIS.

This is the reality coming together.

As I type this blog post (because I committed to do one a month from here on out and look its Oct29th / squeezing it in LOL) there are saws going off .. and digging dirt to lay electrical in. A text exchange with the handyman and he starts his part end of next week. Two chandeliers sit in the garage .. and all the stuff the Chaos Fairy packed up in the move? It is idly waiting for placement once it is all good to go. . or to go live somewhere else -the gleaning will not be fun but needed.

There will be gathering tables for picnics or an outdoor painting class, a firepit and hopefully eight campfire chairs to sit around (symbolism about the campfire for all the BraveGirls and how incredibly beautiful it is to be able to sit around a campfire and connect - Ana White plans are going to school me on how to construct them) and a bridge over the pond with twinkle lights .. to walk to the other side .. visit the cross .. these are DREAMS that are in play .. blackberry bushes and blueberry bushes .. and wildflowers .. and whatever else I can dream up. LOL .. ya'll the view is mesmirizing and full of peace - I have to pinch myself because I can't believe that this is becoming so close to reality. .

And GOATS!! Currently my remedy for a bad day is to just go and visit with a goat .. pause, talk to them and within five minutes you can't help but feel a grin taking hold .. I mean GOATS are the best! When you visit you will see for yourself .. I promise.

Most important - - - It will be that safe place to land. To recharge. To laugh. To connect. To play .. and to Dream again.

And maybe .. just maybe .. as others walk this place .. this ground .. they catch a glimpse of something that grabs their heart and takes hold. That inspires them to go a little bit deeper and be true to who they are and who they were born to be .. and what they are capable of .. because He has plans for it all.

We are ALL capable of so much ..and it starts with that very first step. Dreaming is a good first step. .

Once it all of this comes together .. I hope you will let Debbie and I save a seat for you .. whether it be here at Second Chance Ranch or her place at Cedar Hill Farms .. we'd love to have you walk with us. . .

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