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April 9, 2012

The Dream Project

The dream project started in my heart many years ago. It was probably around the time that I was 5 years old that I discovered that words have meaning and power as I began to learn to read. Actually, I struggled to learn to read but the more I struggled, the more I had a desire to understand how words put together could tell stories, ideas, thoughts. It could bring a picture to life, evoke a memory, or allow you to get lost in your daydreams.

At about age 12, I began to understand that words could hurt too. That they could scar and wound us if used in a certain way. I remember hearing over and over, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt." I tried to believe it will all my might, but let's be honest.....words do hurt. So I spent part of my teen years wounded by hurtful things and perhaps wounded others with my word choices as well.

However, the summer I turned 14 was life changing for me. I spent it volunteering as a candy striper (not stripper!}. The main goal of my job was to sort mail into different sections of the hospital and then hand deliver them. It was during that summer that I realized words can breathe life back into a weary soul. I wish at the time I had a better understanding of sickness, of death, and of the depth of the pain those people were experiencing. As I knocked on each door, I was almost always greeted by a smile when they saw me with cards or flowers in my hand. While I did not personally write any of the letters, I was able to see the firsthand positive effects that words can have on people. It seemed to be what kept these patients fighting, holding onto hope, and cherishing every moment they got here on earth.

As a young girl I watched my mother write thank you notes to others and eventually picked up the habit myself. I learned that extending gratitude to someone for their gifts serves to further them along in continuing to use their gifts to bless others. Kind words start a cycle; a cycle that breaks down the walls we build up to protect ourselves from words that cut, scar, wound, and hurt. Inspiring words pick us back up when we've fallen down. Encouraging words help us chase after our dreams and help us realize the potential we have in ourselves that was somehow forgotten along the way.

The dream project is about 

kind words,
celebrating life,
spreading encouragement,
loving people well,
lifting one another up,
finding hope,
failing and then getting back up again,
never giving up,
and chasing dreams.

It starts with YOU, with ME, with THEM. All you need is a piece of paper, an index card, a post-it note, a torn receipt, a gum wrapper, etc...and a writing utensil. Really it's quite simple. Write an encourage quote, word, saying, etc. on a piece of paper. {see example below}. Hang it on a mirror, in a dressing room, on a magazine cover, on a windshield, on your neighbors door,  or hand it over to a stranger in passing. Be sure to include "" at the bottom of your paper so that we can build a community of encouragers and dreamers here on this blog. Take a photo of your encouraging words and email them to They will be used in future blog posts to encourage others!

I'm going to be brave with my life. Will you be brave with yours?


  1. I love this! I'm going to incorporate a version into my 2nd grade classroom. We have had a lot trouble with mean words lately and this is the prefect way to change the focus to positive. :)

  2. Ooooo I have plans for this one! Will not reveal until completed. Fab idea!

    Rosie x

  3. An amazing idea!

    ♥ Duckie.

  4. Love it!

    (You have mixed up stripper and striper. Clothes off = 2 p's.)

  5. Love it! I have those posties!

  6. Carrie, you are so very sweet and such a nice post. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Awesome project/idea! There are so many hurtful words out there that something kind and encouraging is a great way to counter the negative.

    Brook @