Part I - I Heart This Big Dreamer

photo-1416431168657-a6c4184348ab.jpeg

If you've ever had a dream
and had your doubts
of it coming to reality,
this one's for you, baby.

I first met Sophie M. Lee at a summer camp when we were high school sophomores, learning about becoming a teacher.  (Crazy how life changes.)  Although summer camp ended (with lots of tears), our friendship continued. 

Sophie and I live exactly 957 miles from each other, and maybe once a year, we get to see each other.  It's a very small maybe.  

Tu siab heev. 

On our last phone call, I gave her two air hugs, because (1) I wished we lived closer to each other and (2) because of something very special...

I’ve always known that Sophie enjoyed singing. 

During summer camp, we each did a solo at the talent show.  Then in college (we unknowingly got in the same college!), she and I practiced a Whyteshadows song spontaneously in her dorm room where we shared singing tips and I got to hear a hilarious story about how dab tsuam nws.  

Then life happened. 

She went on to pursue another post-secondary degree, married a super funny man, and became a mama to two beautiful baby boys. 

Years past and I hadn’t heard Sophie’s singing voice since that day in college. 

Then just this past September, Sophie shared with me that she had a dream.  Actually, she had always had this dream: to share her voice with the world.  Only her family and closest friends really knew of her love for singing.  No public videos.  No public performances.  

But something kept pushing her, and she wanted to revive her dream. 

And I was soooooo happy.

When someone dreams big and shares it with me,

my
eyes
sparkle.   

I imagine myself literally standing under her propping the weight of her and her dreams with my hands and arms.  (Looks like a bar mitzvah party, now that I think about it.) 

I HEART BIG DREAMERS…like Sophie.

On that September day, she contacted me asking for advice as a singer.  She wanted to send me a couple recordings to give her some critiques. 

But before I could even reply and download the recordings from her e-mail, she sent this:

“If you haven't listened to it yet, may I request that you don't listen to it? I'm going to practice more, re-record, and then send you an updated one.

I'm really disheartened right now, no matter which song I sing, I seem to struggle with it. I don't know if it's a confidence issue or if I really just don't have the talent. I will keep trying and hope that by pushing all my boundaries, I will be a better singer one day :) Thanks much for your patience and understanding.”

I’ve been where she’s been. 

When I reach for a dream or a desire, I am always the first to judge my progress and undermine my own abilities.  Ultimately, I dismantle my own efforts of making a dream reality.

I respected Sophie's request, but was not going to stay silent.  

That's what friends are for, right?  :)

She needed to know that her pursuit in becoming a singer, of moving toward her dreams, was neither simple nor an indicator of her worth.  Instead it was inspiration and a contagious act to empower those of us who have a dream as well. 

After I told her that, I left her with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that I love, love, love:  

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat.

I told her I was looking forward to hearing the “dust and sweat and blood” of her work. 

And when Sophie called me again last week, I did.

The recordings and the story Sophie shared

left me in awe,
filled me with deep inspiration, and
gave me faith in the human spirit.
  

Because I believe you have dreams too - even ones you've tucked away - I thought you might feel the way I did if she shared her story with you, personally.  

It is my pleasure to have Sophie as my first guest blogger, where she will share her story of dreaming big, in her own words. Head over to for PART II now!

YOUR TURN:  Did you see bits of yourself in Sophie and her story?  Or have some advice for someone who is pursuing a BIG dream?  Share your comment below!  

And If you don’t want to miss out, join my community today by signing up HERE!  

Until next time…

Dream BIG,
Pagnia