Secret Dreams

It’s reflection time for Angela. This is one of those posts that I always debate whether I should really write. Should I voice my thoughts and insecurities and give them a permanent place to be seen? But it’s been going over and over in my head, so writing it I am.

I feel at a crossroads lately. A place of undecided futures. I know the future is always unknown, but it seems particularly foggy to me these days. And I know that is because I’m foggy about what I want it to be. You see, I’ve completed some of my dreams, my “maybe some day”, my “I could only dream of that happening”, my “that could never be me”. I’m aware of these things and SO grateful for them and the opportunities I’ve had. I had some friends suggest I list these things out for myself to get some perspective.

I’ve won the Moda Bakeshop Sliced Competition complete with a ridiculous grand prize of tons of fabric, notions and a beautiful Sewing Machine.

Secret Dreams

Secret Dreams

Secret Dreams

Secret Dreams

Secret Dreams

I’ve traveled to teach quilting.

Secret Dreams

I’ve worked with designers and their beautiful fabrics.

Secret Dreams

Secret Dreams

Secret Dreams

I’ve done swaps and bees galore and created some of my favorite pieces I’ve made for other people.

Secret Dreams

Secret Dreams

Secret Dreams

Secret Dreams

And though I haven’t really talked about it yet because I’m still in the final editing stages, I’ve written a book. It will be available in the Spring of 2014 but you can read a bit about it here if you like.

And of course, there is the ultimate goal for me, creating lasting friendships.  I’ve connected with so many people throughout the course of all of the above and they are truly the people who help me get through a day sometimes.  I love to celebrate the victories and drown the sorrows with them.

So that’s all well and good, and some of you might think that I’m just patting myself on the back here. But I’m not. Truly. I’m trying to remind myself of what I have done and figure out what it is I still want to do. I’ve put in an extraordinary amount of work to do all of the above and more (quilt alongs, sew alongs, blog hops, quilts for family members and friends, etc). In some ways, I wonder if I’m done. I had my moment and created some beautiful things. And I probably shouldn’t ask for more.

But I am. Because of those secret dreams. There are clearly some amazing dreams that have come true. They do not come true for free…you have to work for them. And I’m wondering what is it that I want to fight for next. What is worth fighting for? Another book? More teaching around the country, the world?! Designing quilts or fabrics? Working with designers to see their visions come to life?

I can’t get past the feeling that there is more. I have more in me somewhere. I have dreams that I barely whisper to myself because it’s hard when those dreams don’t seem to have a reality. Or when the dreams seem to come at the cost of my health or my sanity or my family (a very real consideration when tackling any big dream).

My dreams. They haunt me at times. They tickle and tease me with glimmers of hope and then dashes of reality. I don’t have an answer.

How do you continue to dream and how do you pursue your dreams?

40 thoughts on “Secret Dreams”

  1. the dream that wakes me up is the one that is closes to the heart.. and so the one that needs to be "sorted" first xx NEVER give up on your dreams without a fight xx

  2. For starters I'm glad that you decided to write this post, because it is important to remember what it is that we have accomplished; yet at the same time question what is next. I've been struggling with this a lot too and decided instead to focus on a different type of list…a Bucket List which includes crafty; but also NOT SO crafty things.

    As an Artist we are always asking what's next, and I don't think that you have to have the answers right away. Maybe for you it's another book, or teaching or travelling, or maybe it's something that doesn't have a measureable goal. In due time, I'm sure that you'll discover what it is and we will be cheering you on no matter what.

  3. Growing up I never knew what I wanted to be, my parents wanted me to be a doctor and after my first chem class at OSU I knew that wasn't happening and I knew that doing something creative would so disappoint them so I never thought of the possibility, in fact there was a quilt store next door once and never once did I walk in there, I just didn't know yet. But now I do and thanks to the support of my husband I am starting to see what I want to be and reading this post makes it even more real. I w ant to be you when I grow up. You are such an inspiration. I know that you feel kind of been there done that but that's the thing about life and being a creative person, you"ll find inspiration where nobody else thought of and head for it, you did it once so be confident that you can do it again. Never be afraid to dream big.

    1. Oh Goodness! I won't lie…this definitely made me tear up. Thank you for your kind words. It's amazing to me how many cheerleaders I have out there. I hope you too never give up on your dreams!

  4. Hello Angela. I really enjoyed reading this post. Your works are very beautiful and I am sure they gave you great pleasure to create. Everything else that came as a result of those works were just icing on the cake. Do you remember what it felt like when you made your first quilt? I would imagine, you loved the process, and it gave you a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. And that quilt was loved. I am just a new quilter/blogger, but this past week answered the question: To what do you aspire? I tried to keep in mind that, yes, I want to dream big, but I don't want loose focus on the reasons I love to quilt either. I invite you to read that post here.

  5. Everything you have done is amazing, but you will always strive for more. Yes, you and only you can determine what more is for you. I will suggest what I always tell my girls, write down you wildest dreams and plan a path. If what it takes to get there is beyond your reach so what, you have a plan. Some will require too much of your core being and if that is the case, burn that slip of paper. Dreams are what make us achieve and shape our world in a positive way. You have done so well in the recent past, that you have proven dreams can come true. Some of what you have done you probably couldn't have imagined before you began this path you are on, but you did it. Take the first step along you next path and be open to changing direction along the way.

  6. Good luck ruminating on all that. I can't help: I left a good job (in the cit-ay) when my eldest was born, and now I just putter around sewing a few gifts for people. I kind of like *not* having aspirations in this time of my life.

    I can tell you this, though: Imma need a copy of that book. I just did my first DP blocks and I loved them. The book looks amazing, and I'm thrilled to hear about it — congratulations!!

  7. Angela this is so timely given what we've been chatting about. I say go for your dreams and do whatever you choose! You have been so successful and will continue to do so no matter where your path leads you.

    I created big dreams for myself over the past year and it started to happen when I forced myself to share it publicly. My essay about my "secret desire" was published on QNM's website and there was no going back after that, LOL! You can read it here:

    If not for writing it down, I probably wouldn't be achieving the goals I set for myself.

    The point is I think we all get discouraged and give into our feelings of self-doubt and insecurity. But sharing these feeling through your blog is not only therapeutic, it allows you to get lots of virtual hugs from us, your followers and friends.

    I can only wait to see where your next adventure takes you – I'll be cheering you on!

  8. Miss Angela,
    I think that some dreams, along with more work than we can imagine, also require the right timing. Sometime that is not our time or picking, :). I think we all feel some of this in different shapes and sizes- the hardest part is waiting and learning what it means for us. In time, it will work itself into the place it is supposed to be within us and we will know. As long as we keep moving forward and doing the things we are supposed to do (there's that work again :)). For me, family always comes first- they are my everything- thus the reason I have been so quiet lately, but I know my time is where it is supposed to be. I hope you can find peace and I know your dreams (even more of them) will come! Have faith and hold strong! Thinking of you…

  9. I really loved reading this! I have barely achieved anything on my Big Dreams List, but I just can't stop dreaming and thinking and ruing the lack of time in my days and weeks to get it all done. With 2 young children, I know I have to wait and be patient. But I don't wanna!

  10. I like reading about the crossroads of others and their thought processes. It shows how similar and human we all are.
    It's good to have dreams and goals to work towards but sometimes too you have to consider the balance in your life and family. I think you can continue to do the things that give you joy and surely your dreams will follow.

  11. Hello Angela, your post was so interesting, I am at a similar time in my life, maybe it's that big 40 looming next year, but I have made a pretty big decision that working in a quilt shop is not my dream job after all and I want more! Admittedly it's not my shop, I'm just the manager, but now I have finally decided to follow another career path, hopefully involving quilting, I just don't know where to start…. And that's the biggest problem isn't it, wanting to follow your dreams, but not knowing what they are or where to start. I do wish you luck Angela, as others have said here, you have done so many wonderful things already and achieved so much, that I am sure whatever you put your mind to, you will achieve great success.

    1. I wish you success with your dreams as well! It is hard to know where to start. But if you know what you want, then you have a vision. And the trick is to find someone who understands your vision too.

  12. Thanks for writing this post. Very thought provoking. Those are some amazing quilts up there. And congratulations on your book.

    I too have big unvoiced dreams and the push me, inspire me and run me ragged. But who would I be without them?

  13. No words of wisdom to impart on next step I'm afraid – I'm wallowing in an oasis of 'quilting just because I want to' and have zero plans any time soon to change that. However, I did want to say very, very many congrats on your book. I look forward to hearing more about it.

  14. I wish I had an answer for you. As I think this dilemma over in my mind I realize I have gone through this myself…..many times. I truly believe that these are phases, or hiccups in our life to keep us moving forward. No matter how wonderful our accomplishments are we keep striving for more, better, greater dreams. Perhaps this is normal. I don't know, but it is nice to know I have company. Keep on dreaming the dream that is what makes you who you are.

    1. I do think that it is something that we all have to evaluate at multiple times in our lives. And I have hope that you are correct…that these dreams do keep us moving forward.

  15. Thank you for posting this. Sincerely, your post just clarified things for me personally. I hope you are able to make those secret, deep dreams you have a reality. And it's made me realize that I truly do not want to accomplish the things that you've done (which is good and praiseworthy, but not for me). My husband keeps pressuring me to make things to sell, become more and more (money-wise). And I really don't want to. I don't want that pressure, I don't want that accountability, I don't want the limitation. I want to be free. Thank you! And congrats on the book!

  16. Congrats on the book!

    It sounds to me like you have been working crazy hard in the last year. When I find myself at a crossroads, I sometimes need to sit back and just take a little break until I sort out what comes next. Although I know that you also don't want to lose momentum. Can you even just take a few retreat days?

    Also, your list is awesome. I'm so glad all your secret deadlines were book related!

  17. I am still dreaming . . . and I just retired after several different professional careers. But I had to retire early because I burnt myself out so badly it affected my health.

    I only share this because your first picture actually showed me your most precious dream, your children. I so admire all of you young mommies who are doing so much and are so creative! But I worry you are missing some time with a part of your dreams that are growing up so so quickly.

    Though my dreams were cut short, I so so value the time I had with all my children. When they were small, I also strived to work from home so that I could raise them myself. At that time many of my dreams were put on a shelf until later but as I look back I have so many wonderful memories . . . 18 years goes way too quickly :-).

    I now look at my amazing adult children and am so proud of the incredible people they have become. Though they've all moved away to other states, I have turned my early retirement into a time of being able to go visit each one. Oh, and I'm also back to my first dream . . . sewing along in my own sewing room 🙂 and thinking about new dreams!

    1. My first and ultimate dream has been my daughter. And I will never let anything come in the way of her and my relationship with her. No worries there. She is my miracle and I fought long and hard for her. I gave up a lot to have her and never regret it for a moment. My dreams now are for her as much as for myself.

  18. I'm so curious what is churning in the back of your head and heart…
    And the new book! I'm so excited for it! The cover looks awesome!
    You do beautiful work friend. Praying you grace for the next stage of the journey.

  19. 🙂 I have had a similar time of thinking about what's next for my quilting/sewing/creating. I had a banner year for me and my quilting. I also found I needed a bit of a hiatus over the summer and more time to relax, think and be creative. Sometimes we just need to "go with it" in the creative ideas department but balance it with our loved ones. I hope that you can continue to reach for the stars. Your work is lovely and the book is a wonderful accomplishment. Hug the kiddo because that precious time goes in a flash.

  20. Thank you for sharing what is on your mind. I think we have all been there, a time or two. I struggle with my own dreams, too. I want to sell my creations, I want to work with designers, I want to be published, I want to be a fabric designer… So many of them!!

    But right now is the time I am raising my children. I am home schooling them. I am running a catering business with my husband. I am a pastor's wife. So while I am living some of my dreams now, the others must be put on hold. Such is life, I suppose!

    Congrats on your up coming book! I can't wait to crack it open!!

  21. Thank you so much, Angela, for sharing your open heart with all of us who read your blog. That took courage. I love following your blog and seeing your creativity flow. Can't wait to see your new book! You have so much of your life still ahead of you…your precious daughter is still so very young, and yes, they do grow up awfully fast! I'm at the other end of the life spectrum, being a mother of two adult sons and four young grandchildren I dearly love – and yet I totally identify with where you are right now…I think it's the same question we all ponder and chew on, young or older…what will I do with the life I'm living? A very helpful blog post I read recently has been quite helpful to me in my dreaming process so I share it with you and other readers for what it's worth – to you. I hope you'll continue to share your heart with all of us…it is a real blessing.

  22. Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane

    I love this post because I love that you are sharing this with us. I love that we get to see your favorite projects which happen to be some of my all time favorites too. And I also know the feeling that you feel. I have big dreams inside and they are jumping to get out even though I am not sure what shape they will take yet. Here's to listening to the whispers and letting them play out in the way they are meant to. Blessings to you my friend.

  23. This is a beautiful blog post, so thought provoking! You are extremely talented. I believe that we are blessed with certain talents, gifts from God. And with these talents we have a responsibitlities. Our job is to find out what our responsibilities are. You are going to be blessed for sharing your wonderful talents with all of us. But there is a balance, God, family, work. You will find that balance. God will lead you on the right path!

    1. I absolutely agree Jenni! I take that responsibility very serious and discernment is very important to me. I really want to follow the path that God has for me and use the gifts he has given me. It's not always obvious what gifts should be used where. But I continue to search.

  24. I totally know where you're coming from with this post, going down the mental checklist: done this, done that, doing that, and so on, and then casting around wondering what next! I was thinking about this the other day, because when I was teaching in the Alps last weekend, one (very intense!) lady was kind of grilling us about our lives and things we've done, and I realised there's a ton of stuff I've done (sometimes I think just because I could), but there are also dreams I have abandoned along the way too, which I doubt I'll ever resurrect. Some things have involved a lot of hard work to get nowhere, but sometimes you have to take stock and work out if the tons of time and effort you're putting in is paying off.

    Increasingly I realise I don't have another 10 years to waste chasing something that isn't going to happen (done that one already), so it's a case of working out what realistically might happen, and when. Sometimes you end up taking a massive sidestep from the path you expected to follow, and then that opens doors to something else too, and you acquire new dreams, or at least dream add-ons! (yes, my paths have doors lol)

    Anyway, I don't really have an answer for you for what you need to do next, because I think that's a very personal thing, but maybe it's worth talking through the various things you have lurking in your mind with the people that could help you achieve them, and see if it's really what you want to do :o)

    Happy dreaming!

    PS, glad people notice the book this time ;o)


    Great post! I'm about to have my 50th in a couple of weeks and I'm still having a very fulfilling career with the US Air Force (20 years active duty around the world and now 8 years civilian and back to work after recently being furloughed…ahem…) so I know one or two things about life.

    Sometimes it's hard when you feel like you're marking time in your life. In the military, marking time is when you're marching in a group down the street and wait at a corner for cross traffic, all the while still moving your feet marching in place. Your head knows you need to go somewhere and your feet are ready to take you there, but for right now there's a perfectly good reason to stay put. However, to keep cadence and being ready to move immediately again as needed, the motion to march continues vs. stopping. Sometimes this marching in place is a nice breather if you just marched up a tall hill (like publishing a book or sewing your pants off to win a contest) and sometimes it feels like the group behind you is going to domino into you on the downhill and you know you need to get moving again. No matter what, it's only a matter of time before the call is given and Forward March you will go.

    So enjoy your breather. Take a couple of months for your family and make them #2 in your life (behind God). If we always knew the answers in life, it wouldn't be any fun. Not knowing forces us out of bed and keeps our creative minds always on the lookout for another opportunity – which I'm sure you will absolutely excel at! It’s only a matter of time.

    1. May I just say that I found this a particularly helpful and uplifting analogy? Thank you so much for taking the time to write this response. Marking time is EXACTLY what I've been doing, but I haven't been able to put that into words. Marching in place, ready for action.

  26. I think it's great that you still have dreams, realistic or not. I think my dream right now is to have dreams and hope. I'm only in my late 20s, but not at all where I thought I'd be with my life or where my friends are in theirs. And yes, yes, everyone is different, etc., but it's really hard to not be disappointed, especially when it doesn't seem like there is a lot of hope for things to change or improve–it seems dangerous to have dreams and to face the crushing disappointment of just having more things snatched away or not fulfilled. So I can't even allow myself to dream that things might be better or to be honest about what I really want, because I've had little but disappointment for so many years. So I don't dream anymore.

    So dream on, I say. The ability to be able to dream and hope for things is more of a gift than you may know. Appreciate and treasure the ability to hope.

    On another note, congrats on the book! I love your blog, in part because of your realness (as in this post) and in part because you do beautiful work, and I'm sure the book will showcase at least the latter!

  27. I know making wishes and having big dreams are two different things, but not really, and I once had a friend say to me that she didn't believe in keeping wishes secret. She said tell people your wishes, let them be known, and you will find that people will help make your wishes come true. Don't be scared of your biggest dreams, let them be known and watch the people who love you gather to help you achieve them.

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