What Goes Into a Dream Interpretation?

When someone asks me to interpret their dream, I take their request very seriously.  Sharing their dream with me instantly puts us both on ‘holy ground', because dreams reveal crucial and timely issues in the dreamer’s life, often surprising things the dreamer might not realize at the time. We enter into sacred space—something I always choose to honor, respect, and keep confidential.
Even most of the ‘weird’ dreams, the ones that the dreamers are tempted to dismiss as pizza dreams, can be symbolic and potentially important. 
Personal interaction with the dreamer, either face-to-face, or online, is the treasure of it all for me.  I love solving puzzles, hearing Spirit’s revelation about a dream, and sharing what I sense with the dreamer. 
To interpret a dream, an interpreter learns to ‘walk’ through the dream as the dreamer tells the story….we put ourselves in the place of the dreamer, to imagine the action, to see it, hear it, smell it, to feel it. We need to experience the WHOLE dream, not just a piece.  
The internal questions flow.  Here are just a few that quickly tick through an interpreter’s mind:  When did the dream happen?  Who is the focus or the central character?  Who is the dream about? Is the dream about this person?  What is the source of the dream, light or dark, or self?  What type of dream is it?  What purpose does it serve?  What is the main theme?  What are the main symbols, and what do they represent?  What are details that are important, or not important, and what do they mean? Is this a recurring dream?  What was/is going on in the dreamer’s life? And so forth….
Often, symbols require study or research. (Like, what does a lion represent? In our culture?  In ancient writings? In another culture?  Is it positive or negative in the dream? What color is it?  What are its characteristics? What is it doing? What does it mean to the dreamer?) A good interpreter has many symbolic possibilities memorized, but it still takes time to determine the most ‘weighty’ choice in any given dream. 
Then, there’s the prayer part.  If the dream is from God, it takes time to pray through it and listen for Spirit’s message to the dreamer—straight from the heart of God. What does God want the dreamer to know? Why is the dream given? To miss out on reaching this part is to miss out on the true purpose of dream interpretation. 
Interpreting dreams doesn’t have to be a totally serious or heavy process, but in most cases, it takes a lot of time and mental energy to do it right. Those of you that I have worked with know that I work a dream thoroughly, often diagramming it out, searching diligently to find accurate, encouraging wording to convey my interpretation. And if I’m sensing anything else about the dreamer, I might find a way to add those ideas as well if it is appropriate.

(Subliminal hint:  Everyone, including dream interpreters, only have a certain amount of time and mental energy per day, so they can’t possibly say “Yes” to interpret the many dreams that people email or send through Facebook.  See my 'Preamble to Dream Interpretation' Blog).     

I love to banter with dreamers, asking and answering quick dream questions, and our dream team does a lot of interpreting on the spot during our dream reach-outs. 
But if I agree to interpret your dream, I would be remiss to not give it my full energy. Even with lots of training and practice, I’ve learned that every dream—and every dreamer—is unique.  No two dreams are exactly alike, and they deserve individual focus. And I’ll give yours my very best—it’s a precious labor of love.
P.S.  Click here if you are reading and would like to experience an interpretation for one of your Destiny Dreamz


Preamble to ‘What Goes into a Dream Interpretation’

The subject of dream interpretation elicits conversation nearly everywhere. Mention that you interpret dreams and get ready to listen for a while, as mostly everyone wants to share their dreams. Sweet connection and joy is sure to follow—as folks eagerly reveal intimate details of their lives, even with a complete stranger.  
Every year, hundreds--if not thousands--of dreams seem to land on my desk from people wanting help unlocking their night-time messages. 
Some people are just curious and perhaps even dubious. They might not even care about dreams but may be a little intrigued.
Some people know their dreams are important but don’t know why—they don’t know where or how to begin to understand.  They would love it if you interpret their dreams AND train them how to do it.  These are the people who will hand me their entire dream journal and ask me to go through it and interpret every dream for them!  (This is why we teach dream interpretation classes—so we don’t have to interpret FOR people—we teach them how to do it themselves). 
Once, a lady stopped me in the ladies’ restroom—I was halfway into a stall, with my pants already unzipped, when she said, “I’ve been wanting to ask you about my dream!  I dreamed that I was ….” And she wouldn’t leave until I listened and muttered a quick interpretation.
Other folks have studied and practiced and trained, but need other crazy dream interpreter cohorts to help in further understanding. We love to discuss dreams for hours. We sharpen each other as we delve deep into spiritual principles and patterns we’ve studied together.  We tell stories, share difficult dreams and dilemmas we face in dream ministry.  
If you have a gift, training, love for people, and a heart to help, you’ve also got to know how to manage the demand. 
I’m learning that I have to discern a person’s level of interest and need BEFORE I agree to interpret--to determine how much effort to give. How many hours have I spent working on a dream for someone—thinking, praying, deliberating, writing it out, and sending it, never to hear from them again?
It makes you wonder if you made any difference for them, or if you both just wasted lots of time. Maybe it’s like an artist fashioning a customized piece of artwork for someone who didn’t order it or even really want it in the first place. 
I admit, I value feedback! I want to know if my insights hit the mark, or not.  Sometimes you can’t tell what’s going on with a dreamer. Quite often, though, I hear YEARS later how one of my interpretations helped change a life. 
If I’m going to be intentional about giving my time and my best interpretive work for someone, I think it would be wise to make sure the dreamer is intentional to some degree about receiving what I have to offer.
I believe nearly every dream is worthy of time and attention, and I love helping folks find dream 'enlightenment'.  After all, a dream un-interpreted is like a hand-written letter unopened.  
Share your thoughts!  In what areas of your life are you gifted?  How do you manage your time and energy in releasing to others?


Headlines Instead of Sidelines

Recently I dreamed that I was relaying a story to someone, and as I spoke, the person was reporting what I said to the media outlets, except they enhanced many of the details, I thought in an attempt to get headlines and more attention for their ‘news’. (I literally ‘saw’ the dramatic captions being scripted by a hand). I felt frustrated at the seeming sensationalism of my 'facts'.
At first I took this dream as a caution to monitor my tongue carefully--to watch what I say—as well as better discern my audience. To develop more awareness of the power of my words, as well as the potential of being used or misrepresented—intentionally or not--by someone else.
It seemed to be a negative dream. 
But I got to thinking how God sometimes works things out by taking our insignificant ‘details’ and adding his divine spark to what we do or say, in order to make our life messages more effective, more powerful, more far-reaching. The goal is to draw people closer to him. 
I pray and ask God to use me however he chooses, and then I get frustrated--because I feel USED! 
Rather than operating out of suspicion or fear, I need to make sure I welcome Spirit's favor, highlighting, and editing, so that I project from a faith that my words and life can make a difference. 
With more ‘publicity’ comes more scrutiny. And that usually means more critics. And further character-shaping. Hence, the continued need to choose words and attitudes more carefully.  It is a constant growth process.
May we daily choose to speak and interact in our world with deliberate, utmost integrity, out of the hope that what flows out of us can make the Headlines instead of the Sidelines


Get Your Dreams Interrupted

My English major buddies or left-brained friends will probably enjoy what I’m about to say. The rest of you might read with perplexity, wondering, ‘What is the big deal?”  The subject: Spelling and Proofreading!  I can hear some of you groan already. 
Many years ago, I worked my way through college editing and proofreading…for English professors. I was trained to spot and correct grammatical errors with the fluent red ink pen, much to students’ dismay.  Hence, my friends would never let me read anything they wrote…for fear I would find a mistake and call forth the Spelling Nazis. 
Over the years I have mostly learned to silence my criticism and take it all in stride, because let’s face it—there are a lot of poor spellers out there, and it does little good to complain!  I confess, though, that I am a closet punctuation perfectionist. 
Even with the famous computer spell check, I’ve noticed that the ones who don’t spell well, don’t care and therefore, they refuse to use this fabulous tool.
We can get piqued by errors, or sometimes use them for entertainment, as long as our reputation isn’t being tarnished by association. We must have grace for our linguistically-lacking loafers. 
But, I do save some of the ‘gems’ and pull them out once in a while for a good laugh. 
I still remember with amazement the college freshman whose major semester paper was supposed to be about Don Quixote.  Obviously this person never even cracked the book, because her whole paper centered in on someone named ‘Donkey Hotee’. 
Today I received an email from someone who asked for support because they are going through a ‘lot of testing and trails.’  I’m praying for their journey!
An email writer recently lamented the years in her life eaten away by ‘locus’.  Ouch!  Could she be more ‘specific’? 
Then, there is my good friend who loves me but isn’t sure about the validity of the whole dream interpretation thing that I love and do full time.  She meant well, I think.  She sent out a mass email to friends, telling them that “Merry does Dream Interruption” for anyone who might be interested. 
I’ve only had a few takers.
What about you?  What are some of the funniest spelling bloopers you’ve experienced? 
Or, are you one of THOSE people who doesn’t use spell check and are a source of frowns, raised eyebrows, or . . . snuffled snickers and sarcastic blogs? 


Weight Loss! Lose up to 2,000 Pounds (about a Ton) In 21 Days or Less--And Keep It OFF

We’ve all experienced it.  Your diet plan has been going great.  You’ve worked hard to maintain healthy weight and yet you’ve hit a slump where you are experiencing a heaviness and sluggishness in your life.  The masses of pressures are proving difficult to shift--spiritually speaking. 
How do we reduce the load and get ourselves streamlined and functioning with better balance? 
Spiritual Weight Loss Tips: 
1.    Assess your health and weight situation.  Ask yourself how much unnecessary load you currently bearing.  Are you carrying too much of the weight of the world on your shoulders?  In what areas are you healthy?  Where do you need to make some changes? 
Make the commitment to do what is necessary.  Whet your appetite for victory!
2.    Find the right diet plan.  Choose what is healthy and feed your mind and spirit on what builds you up and cleanses you.  Cut out the spiritual junk food that saps energy and time, the stuff that drags you down.  Things like over-busyness, spending too much money, negative people, obsessive worrying.
Listen to your dreams.  Point your inner compass toward long-term preparation, exercising strengths, and reaching your life-goals.  Know ‘where’ you will BE when you get where you are going. 
3.    Start!  No procrastination, no excuses.  Getting started is the most difficult part. 
Expect some withdrawal toxicity—you may experience some doubts, cravings, fleshly turmoil that threatens to derail your progress.  You can conquer!  Just press through.
4.    Use hunger to your advantage.  When you are craving MORE, weigh your options wisely.  Satisfy your longings with meaty, substantial sustenance for your spirit, things that will make you thrive.  Stay away from dead, empty, quick fixes. 
5.    Exercise with a friend. Go to higher levels of expectancy and success by getting your friends to join you.  This provides an atmosphere of support and accountability. It also helps you avoid self-analysis paralysis. We sharpen each other as we work together and encourage each others’ growth. 
6.    Lift weights. Give up your ‘hefty’ concerns.  Release your burdens, guilts, expectations, and worries to the Higher Power—the One who knows you and loves you.  The One who sees what you are carrying and wants to support you.   
7.    Stick with it.  Experts say that doing something twenty-one days in a row creates a habit.  Create the habit of letting go of the stuff that weighs you down.  Embrace the joy that comes with being ‘lightened’. If you get stuck, be grateful for progress, and start again.
Imagine living life as the new, slimmer YOU—a lean machine able to fight any battle in life because you are fit and confident in spirit, not hindered in any way.  You are even stronger because of the TONS that you have faced--and overcome. 


What if I Don’t Understand My Dreams?

Whether you are new to the world of dream interpretation or a trained and seasoned dream interpreter, the most common complaints concern confusion in comprehending dreams.  Dreams are symbolic, mysterious, and quite puzzling most of the time.  No one understands every dream.  So, if you are perplexed, rest assured that you are not alone. 
Common questions that can give us a reality check:
1.  Does every dream need to be interpreted?
Not necessarily.  Every dream may contain meaning that could be beneficial, but not every dream is a spiritual dream that needs interpretation.  (read more about this question)
2.  How do I know if my dream is important enough to spend more time and energy trying to understand?
I believe every dream is worth some time and effort—even if we never fully ‘get it’.  We always learn something in the process of trying.  The more you work with dreams, the better you become at recognizing the ‘weightier’ dreams that may carry more significant meaning.
3.  What can I DO to unlock my dream?
A number of habits help us with interpretation.  Value your dreams more (thank God for dreams)!  Journal them.  Make a list of symbols and possible meanings—search and meditate on them. Draw a picture of your dream. Pray--ask Spirit for revelation. Ask gifted friends. Keep going back to read and ponder. Wait and listen. None of these practices are wasted effort. 
4.  What if I’m missing out on something very important because I don’t understand?
Many people experience recurring dreams because there is a persistent issue in their lives that needs addressing. God is gracious to us by gently reminding us and prodding us to delve deeper.  Often, for timely and critical matters, revelation seems to come much clearer. If we are truly seeking and listening, I believe it is harder to miss out on destiny direction.
5.  Why do dreams have to be so difficult?
Whether dreams are from our own soul, as a result of a busy day and unmet needs, or whether they are spiritual direction from God, they are communicated symbolically, and most western minds are not used to processing metaphorically. 
It requires effort to venture beyond our normal ways of thinking.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but it takes practice to wrap our brains around symbols and pictures, to arrive at the release of intelligible words.
An author, Sandy Warner, shares this story:  “One time I said, ‘God, I can hear you just fine, why don’t you just talk to me and tell me what you mean?’  God answered, ‘Sweet One, I am not teaching you YOUR language, I am teaching you MINE.’”
Dreams from God are divinely designed to draw us into relationship, not just to get answers, but to develop communication and communion. We learn to lean on Someone much bigger than ourselves—someone who knows our circumstances and sees the Big Picture. 
Wisdom says to keep asking, seeking, knocking, keep studying, waiting, listening.  All are disciplines crucial in developing receptive hearts and attentive ears.
Keep up the good work!
Question:  Where do you seem to get ‘stuck’ most often in interpreting your dreams?


Read more about Puzzle Solving--in Dream Interpretation and in Life 

Humility Will Get You Everywhere

Have you ever tried to work or minister with people who are ‘experts’ on every topic? They have an opinion about everything and seemingly have nothing to learn. They are excellent, proficient, and magnificent in all areas of life, even if they are just twenty years old.   
Their arrogance erects walls that no one can scale. They don’t stop to ask questions or listen because they know it all, and they think everyone should cherish their advice. Listening to people for understanding seems demeaning to them--a waste of their precious time. 
In short, they come across as big-headed but small-hearted.
It’s kind of like bragging about your musical skills (when you have had two lessons)--to a world-class musician, expecting admiration for your abilities. 
I know I have had my egotistical seasons, which I remember with a cringe.  The older I get, I realize that the more I learn, the more I see I need to learn.  There is always more to study and experience.  We will never know it all.  Even if we know how to Google.
So we’d best quick acting like we are The Hotshot Pro, or we will be blinded by our own en-LIGHT-enment. 
How many of our interactions with people would go better and earn us more favor if we made it our practice to humble down and treat people with respect and honor, assuming the best about them and not treating them like we think they are ignorant morons—in comparison to us?
We communicate love and respect as we practice preferring others above ourselves in our speech and actions.  Serving and not promoting ourselves develops character, strength, and integrity—and gives us authority. Kindness always takes us far. We value and bless others instead of ignoring and revealing our lack of maturity loud and clear.
“Agree with each other, love each other,
be deep-spirited friends.  
Don’t push your way to the front.
Don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. 
Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. 
Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. 
Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
--Philippians 2:2-4 The Message


Dawning Time

There’s nothing like waking up in the morning within a deep, restful bubble of tranquility, before the day’s swirl of thoughts and activities begin to jar me fully awake.  My unconscious mind becomes vaguely aware of the approach of daylight, yet there is still time to fiercely guard the ‘dawning time’, where I can remain in the posture of spiritual listening and receiving like a pitcher waiting to be filled—so it can be used to pour out.  Without connecting with Spirit’s Voice in the morning, the day just isn’t the same—it seems . . . less inspired.   
I’ve been dreaming.  Do I remember?  What is the message?  What are my directions for the day?  What creative flow can I jump right into?  Who would be blessed by a phone call or a word of encouragement?  What do I write about today?  What needs are around me that I can tend to? How can I partner with the Creator to make a difference in the world today?
Better yet, to linger in the stillness, for just a moment, to enjoy the sensation of God’s tangible presence all around me—in the calming sounds of nearby snoozing puppies, my husband preparing for his day, the birds chirping happily outside my window. I can feel the weight of Spirit’s love and affirmation, and sometimes the words materialize to thrill and bring energy to anticipate this day’s surprises and challenges.
Something FUN is ahead, I just know it!
Even if the day is rough, with painful situations to deal with, things just seem easier to deal with because I am supernaturally empowered and recharged.  Spending time infused by an eternal God widens my vision and changes my limited perspective. Today’s troubles don’t seem so devastating. Carry the peace forward!
“People with their minds set on you,
you keep completely whole,
steady on their feet,
because they keep at it and don’t quit. 
Depend on God and keep at it
Because in the Lord God, you have a sure thing.”
Isaiah 26:3-4 The Message 


Are You Normal or . . . (gasp) . . . One of Those Weirdos?

One of Life’s persistent challenges dogs every one of us from early childhood until the day we die—becoming unique within a society that values conformity.  Peer pressure to blend in with the crowd strongly influences our daily choices regarding work, friends, how to dress, what TV shows to watch, which church to attend, how to spend time, and even how to think. 
I remember my children’s middle school days, when ‘someone’ decided that a certain kind of gym socks were popular—the knee-high kind.  But scrunched down to mid-calf.  And they had to have THREE color stripes, not just two.  Of course, those kinds of socks were difficult to find in the stores.  But we searched until we found the RIGHT socks, because to settle for socks with two stripes might evoke scorn for my child for being ‘different’—which potentially meant disapproval and rejection from the “in” crowd. 
Peer pressure among adults seems equally as ridiculous, though it is not a frequent subject of discussion. Most men and women feel inadequate in their appearance, thanks to media portrayals of photo-shopped Hollywood stars that set an impossible ‘beauty’ or ‘studly’ standard. 
We buy things we can't afford, we decorate our homes with the colors and décor that are popular, instead of what we really prefer.  Because of our yearning to ‘fit in’, we choose the same cars as our neighbors, which in our region, are certain brands in neutral silver, black, white, or tan, with an occasional blue or red.  Without even thinking, we shake our heads with displeasure at the occasional person who drives a yellow car, gets a wild haircut, or paints their front door purple.
A friend of mine called to tell of a couple of dreams he had about old friends.  He shared the powerful messages from the dreams with these friends, who were blown away with his supernatural insight.  As he excitedly told me this story, he exclaimed, “Isn’t this weird?”  Since I am a dream interpreter and I do this kind of thing all of the time, I responded, “It is not weird—it’s NORMAL.”  
It's weird how 'normal' gets defined.  My friend David McQueen asked, “Why is it that when we call other people ‘weird’, we assume that WE are the ‘normal’ standard?" 
We tell our children how unique and special they are.  We want them to develop their abilities and desires to follow their destiny. But the expectations placed on everyone to conform to the status quo may be weighty enough to squash all creativity. 
Many of us give up allowing our originality to shine.  Because we don’t want to risk feeling rejection or being called ‘weird’. We may never step out to do what we are called to do because fear keeps us in our conventional, conservative box with little room for mistakes or criticism.  We don’t want to stand out, yet we long to stand out. 
I encourage us all to dare to dream big! May we risk being called ‘odd’ as we follow those dreams into our destiny. May we all be willing to break through limitations and expectations to become people who do something extra-ordinary.  May we become supporters of diversity, world changers, and trend-setters, seeing the potential in people and blessing them in their ‘weirdness’ to release color and swirly imagination into our world.


Confident, Creative Coping—and Conquering--in a Constrictive (E)conomy

Cash seems tight for nearly everyone these days.  Skyrocketing prices, sluggish economy, and unemployment contribute to the difficulty of meeting even the necessary expenses of food, water, and shelter. Unmet basic needs cast a discouraging pall over every other area of life. The cost of living can sour even the most optimistic, hardworking soul, when out-go outweighs in-flow.
When it rains, it pours.  Multiple expenses seem to hit all at once.  Inventory runs out. The air conditioner needs replacing (it is 90 degrees--inside), someone breaks into our car and steals, an appliance quits working, we get sick and need a doctor. It all adds up, and we have the tendency to get grouchy.
Continual complications compound when we splurge on unnecessaries, or make poor money management decisions that can land us in a widening hole of financial hopelessness.
What’s a responsible, honest person to do?
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to climb out of that pit of despair.  All is not lost.  There is hard work to be done--to earn, manage, profit, spend wisely, but also to develop the most crucial part:  the Attitude.
Use this season to think outside of the grumpy box.  Expand your perspective.  Better yet, include the Creator of the Universe into your struggle—perhaps to reveal the bigger picture of the times.
1.  Allow your values and your identity be shaken and tested.  While it is painful, this is a good thing once in a while.  Ask yourself, “Have I gotten too materialistic? Who is my real Provider?  Where do I get my strength? How much of my self-worth belief is tied up with money?  What is going on spiritually in my life right now?” Go ahead and ask God the hard questions, dare to confront and make needed changes. 
2.  Determine the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’.  We might think we couldn’t live without that new TV or particular cell phone.  Put it in perspective.  We might have to sacrifice and do without something for a while until we get back on our feet.  Eventually we may discover we didn’t need that particular addictive influence in our life anyway.  You can pare your budget down to needs only.  A little discipline never hurt anyone. 
3. Keep giving.  You will reap what you sow—so keep sowing into other people, even though it seems you are not experiencing a ‘reaping’ at present.  Give stuff away. Open your closet and give some of your nicest clothing away. This breaks off the hoarding mentality, blesses other people, and makes you feel good!
4. Get dirty.  Go out and serve a neighbor or someone also in need. Don’t stay inside and allow depression or self-pity settle in, but go outside and do some sweaty work! You will see others who are worse off than you. You will get ‘grounded’ and feel more balanced as you move out of your own troubles and focus concern on someone else.
5.  Ask for help, support, prayer.  You are not alone.  Everyone goes through difficult times—we need to lean on each other.  It is not a character flaw to struggle from time to time, and people cannot read your mind.  Ask for what you need and let people give to YOU.  We all need to learn how to RECEIVE.  Ask God for a miracle--and then prepare to watch it unfold!
6.  Develop a thankful heart.  Instead of complaining and focusing on LACK, take stock of the GOOD things in your life.  
7.  This too shall pass. Often when circumstances seem the darkest, breakthrough is just around the corner.  Don’t give up! 
Crucial character refinement is happening within right now—you don’t want to miss it.  Keep your chin up and learn the art of experiencing increasing joy even amidst trying times.   
Remember!  You are in a season of testing and that you will emerge  stronger and wiser in the end.


Second photo:  Joe Whiskers Martin and my husband, Jesse, replacing our backyard sewer line last year.  Joe was unemployed at the time, and his wife recently passed away from cancer.  You know he's a good friend who sets his own troubles aside and cheerfully jumps into your sewer-dirt. 

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