231: Italy Trip Recap! When A Dream Comes True (All the Feels + Surprising Challenges)

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What happens when one of your God-sized dreams comes to fruition? In this episode of The Christian Mindset Coach, I am sharing with you what I learned about dreams from my trip to Italy! Join me as I reflect on my 10-day trip including how I dealt with my inner critic when it came up, why it is important to touch base with God around our dreams, and how Italy changed how I want to show up in my life.

If you want to go for your dreams but aren’t sure where to start, I would love to help you with goal planning in my Live Goal Setting Workshop!

What happens when one of your God-sized dreams comes to fruition? In this episode of The Christian Mindset Coach, I am sharing with you my reflections from my 10-day trip to Italy! If you want support in goal planning and going for your dreams, make sure to join me in my Live Goal Setting Workshop!


  • [02:16] The Fulfilment of Alicia’s 30-Year Dream To Go To Italy
  • [17:41] Traveling In a New Way
  • [19:12] Alicia’s Experience Dealing With Her Inner Critic in Italy
  • [29:04] The Importance of Self-Reflection After a Dream Comes True
  • [32:46] What Alicia Learned About Dreams After Her Trip – Nothing is Out of Reach!
  • [36:24] Touching Base With God Around Our Dreams
  • [38:58] Live Goal Planning Workshop

[02:16] The Fulfilment of Alicia’s 30-Year Dream To Go To Italy

It has been a dream of mine to go to Italy. In college, I took a class called Italian Renaissance art and I made a commitment to myself that I would someday go there. I went on an urban sketching trip with 17 other people and my mentor who taught me about urban sketching. We stayed in an all-inclusive villa and our hosts were amazing. I have never met a couple who had that much hospitality and have never eaten so well. They had the most amazing five-course meals prepared for us for every meal. Even though it’s a Mediterranean diet and everything is simply prepared, it was delicious and the quality was amazing. I am also gluten intolerant and normally get a stomach ache, headache, and brain fog when I eat it. The gluten in Italy did not bother me at all. 

We also went to a family-owned 600-year-old vineyard. We sat on an old balcony tasting wine and olive oil which was out of this world. I got to see a Puccini concert in one of the cathedrals and we did some day excursions. Going to Lerici was one of those little twinkle-from-God type of moments. If you have ever heard of an area called Cinco Terra, mostly known for its beautiful coral and bright blue houses built into the hillside, Lerici is about 20 minutes south of this. Visiting this area was a hidden dream of mine. A month before the trip I was looking for pictures of Italy to draw I happened upon a picture of Cinco Terra and I thought “What an amazing place.” I drew and painted this not knowing it would be one of the places we were going. Once we were there, it was one of those moments where I knew God was confirming this in my heart. 

On the last day of our trip, we went to Florence. I was very excited about this because this is where so many of the famous paintings and statues are. If you have ever heard of the famous cathedral in Florence called the Duomo, it is unbelievable. It was one of those buildings that you look at and are blown away by how big it is. It is also covered in marble from different parts of Italy. I also went to the  Accademia Gallery and saw the statue of David which was beautiful. So many of the things that I had thought about or sketched for years, lead to this moment.

[17:41] Traveling In a New Way

Throughout this trip to Italy, everything was planned out and taken care of. I did not have to worry about where I was staying, how I was getting from place to place, or what I was going to be eating. This was the first time I took a trip where I was pampered in this way and it was such a gift to me. If you are a mother then you know that we are normally doing all the planning and organizing. It was great to just show up and be taken care of. I was also continuously caught up in the moment and in disbelief that this dream was happening in real life. I highly recommend that you take a trip where you can fully unwind and escape.

[19:12] Alicia’s Experience Dealing With Her Inner Critic in Italy

A few unexpected mindset issues did come up for me in Italy. There have been a lot of emotions around finishing and turning in my manuscript for my book that is coming out fall of 2024. Then my family and I went to Disney and we got back a few days before I left for the Spark Podcast Awards. There were a lot of wonderful things going on in my life but I was also tired. For the first few days in Italy, there were a lot of emotions about my dreams coming true. 

Then the inner critic came out. On the first day, we went out to paint in the city of Lucca. I was excited but it was busy and we were given 45 minutes to sketch a street. I was feeling a ton of pressure because the last time I sketched was in college and never with a big group of people in a location like this. I felt the pressure of wondering what my drawing was going to look like compared to everyone else, what my mentor was going to think of mine, and everything started compounding on me. 

I looked back at my drawing and it was the worst one I had done. I was so discouraged and sad because I wanted more than this. The inner critic kept saying “You came all this way why can’t you do more?” This continued for a couple of days. If you have ever been in a place where you were surrounded by greatness and you can not quite get to the level that you want to be at, you know how it feels. I understood the concepts but I could not create it. I had to really walk myself through the idea of acknowledging why it made sense that I felt like this, seeing that it was real, and understanding that this old critic was coming up and wanting to prove itself. 

I had some time with the Lord and He was able to help me as we worked through these things together. By the end of the trip, I really began establishing who I am as an artist. I started to use my own techniques and I made peace with how they were coming out. This was a journey for me as an artist and a journey for my identity. I made peace that even if I did not pick up a pencil and draw for the rest of the trip, I knew this did not matter. I was enjoying the place, the company, the food, and the atmosphere. I noticed once I let go of the expectations I had of myself, my drawings were more relaxed and calm. I am grateful to God for that experience!

[29:04] The Importance of Self-Reflection After a Dream Comes True

Something that really surprised me when I came back home was how hard it was to step back into things. I did not feel like I was on vacation but was also not present in my everyday life. This may also be something that you experience when a dream comes true. I know that I will be reflecting on this over the next few months but I do know that I was dramatically changed from this trip. 

Using a journal and asking yourself reflection questions can be really helpful in this space. A question I have asked myself is: “What is the number one thing I want to take from this experience?” While I was there, I noticed that I was the fullest version of myself. If you know me, I am very authentic, but there are also things that you carry in your everyday life and in the roles that you have. I realized that I have been tiptoeing around and walking on eggshells and I am still processing this.

I felt like by day 5 I was very friendly in the most natural way. I was able to talk to a group of people that I never met while making them feel comfortable and having fun doing it. I saw myself doing this over and over again and wanted to bring this into my everyday life. 

I also want to learn how to relax and have fun because this is not natural to me. There have been a lot of heavy burdens that my family and I have been going through over the last few years. I realized I had been holding onto them but as the veil lifted in Italy for those 10 days, it made me realize that God is going to keep working on me to help me process some of the things that we have gone through. And it is also okay to step away and put those burdens down for a bit.

[32:46] What Alicia Learned About Dreams After Her Trip – Nothing is Out of Reach!

I also learned that I am the one who limits myself. I am the one who says no to things that are possible and that nothing is out of reach. If God has put a dream in my heart, nothing is too overwhelming or hard for Him. I learned that I need to get out of my own way and not be afraid of these big dreams that He has put before me. 

This reminded me that we can place our dreams in God’s hands and give them to Him. This does not mean that we are forgetting about them, it means that we are surrendering them to Him. We had an “ask me anything” call in the Christian Mindset Makeover and someone was asking about the surrender board exercise that we do. She shared that using the word “surrender” vs the words “letting go” made a big difference for her. When you are surrendering something, this does not mean that it is not important to you anymore. It means that the responsibility of how it is going to come about is coming from God. We can keep feeding and watering our dreams, but sometimes we do not know when they are going to come to fruition so we need to surrender. 

Imagine this: Your dreams are little potted plants on a windowsill. All of them started with seeds but they were planted at different times and each one of them is at different levels of maturation. Some are seeds that have not sprouted yet, some are growing, and some are blooming. All of them require ongoing care and maintenance. All of them are blooming at different rates, for different purposes. There are some things that I understand and some things I do not understand. That is how our dreams are. We need to keep visiting them and giving them to God. They will be coming to fruition in His time and often in ways we cannot imagine yet. 

[36:24] Touching Base With God Around Our Dreams

Touching base with God around our dreams is so important. I try to do goal planning every six months because goal setting is not only for the immediate future, it is also a reminder to God and to ourselves what dreams are still in our hearts. Dreams give us hope especially when life is difficult, we are grieving, and barely making it. We need something beyond what is happening right now to focus on. We need something to empower us forward.

Taking the time to look back and honor what God has done for us, looking around right now to see the opportunities that are present, and taking the time to look ahead to see what is next, is critical. It is critical for our mental health, hope, and our walk with the Lord. We were not created to just exist and make it through the day. We are created with a purpose and a calling. This is why goal setting is important and I wanted to give you some reflection questions that you can use for your dream planning:

  • What are you calling me to do, God? 
  • How does this fit with the desires, passions, talents, and experiences you have given me?
  • What is next for me and how can I step into it? 

We have been talking about dreaming big and creating big goals but these goals can be smaller things as well. We may need to set some boundaries or push ourselves a little bit. This is why having these touch points with God is so important because we can lay all of this down before Him.

[38:58] Live Goal Planning Workshop

If you missed my last goal planning workshop, I am hosting another one on December 7th at 1 p.m. PST! Within this workshop, you will get a workbook to go through and access to the replay if you cannot make it live. I know that sometimes it is hard to think about goal setting in November so if you could not make the last workshop, I wanted to have another time that you could come.

I want you to have the gift of moving into this new year with the hope and direction that God can offer when we take time to slow down. We will be celebrating what has happened, grieving what needs to be grieved, and looking around to see how to move forward. We will be focusing on ONE step that we need to move forward because I know that goal-setting can be overwhelming. This is an opportunity for us to dream with the Lord and see what could be. Taking the steps forward with compassion and grace knowing we do not have to be perfect and that God is there with us through the ups and downs.

In the Live Goal Planning Workshop, my prayer is that not only will you walk away with the next step of what could be for you in 2024, but that you will have your hope restored. For many of my clients, it has been a tough year and we are carrying a lot of heavy things. We need the hope that there is purpose and calling in our lives. Join us to start the new year off with a focus on what God could be calling us to do next and how he wants to nurture you and bring you to the next level.

Make sure to join me over the next few weeks as I talk about boundaries, assessing what is going on inside our minds, and restoring our relationships. You will see how these small tweaks make a big difference in your life!



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Live Goal Setting Workshop


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