Nothing Lost: Live your Dream

Nothing Lost: Live your Dream

Here we are near the end of another year as 2015 awaits us. This is the time we begin to reflect on our accomplishments over the past 12 months—we either look back in wonderment at how far we’ve come, or with dismay over things not yet accomplished. The things left undone often bother us the most. Regret. It’s an evil thing. It’s big and impactful and has absolutely no benefits. And yet many of us spend much time living in that very realm.

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Years back when the economy took a dive I was out of work for a very long time. As a journalist I struggled and scrambled trying to find work in my profession to no avail. And then a dear friend of mind suggested I come and work at the hotel where she working as a night auditor. It wasn’t the job for me; it was a midnight shift, the pay wasn’t great and I’d be dealing with the public. I didn’t want to deal with the public. It felt like God just didn’t like me anymore. But I did it anyway because a slim paycheck beats no paycheck any day. I work there four years. It was there I begin to sincerely write fiction. I begin with some short stories then a novel that I finished but didn’t quite flush out. Often the nights were solidly quiet and my thoughts would flow freely.

I wrote a second novel. Night after night, page after page I wrote. And yet, it seemed I’d never get a real job. God really didn’t like me. But several years later that novel was published. It was then I realized that those four years dealing with complaining guests, working weekends and holidays, sleeping during the day so that I could be awake and perky at night, I was able to accomplish much on the backend of my dream. I was there in the solitude of the night that I put in the work, honed the craft and figured it out. I was there in long stretches of quiet that ideas flowed. It was during those four years that I learned how to deal with people (a necessary skill at some point in every writer’s life). Before that job I had not been focused on writing. I wrote when I could carve out some time and that was practically never.  But there at the desk, 4:00 am, every morning without fail, I wrote. It was a good friend who helped me to realize that those years had not been wasted. Nothing had been lost.

Every time I wanted to look back on those days and feel sorry for myself I remembered that God’s will and timing is purposeful and perfect.  He doesn’t piddle or mismanage time; he doesn’t get off course or sidetracked. Nothing lost.

Those times in our lives when it feels as if nothing is happening may be the very crux of our destiny. The next time you feel like time has been wasted or you’ve lost ground I encourage you to ask yourself, what was the lesson in this? What was accomplished? Often time accomplishments are internal changes—a shift in the way we think or feel about a matter. Sometimes internally we are developing the groundwork for something bigger. Therefore it is not time wasted, but time well spent.
 

 

The Relevancy of your Faith

The Relevancy of your Faith

disappointments

Note: This post was originally posted in December of 2013, but I felt impressed to repost. Feel free to share!

I’ve watched one or two of those reality shows that gather some of the brightest and gifted minds in the entertainment industry for a game of show; those who have fallen by fame’s wayside for one reason or another and are now attempting to make their second or third resurgence via reality TV. (The genre is a forgiving haven for those cast from the spotlight.) We are always asking, whatever happened to…

After a few painful episodes of this show and that one, I came to this realization: mere talent is not the main variable to success. Being the smartest or most gifted person in the room is become less and less a deciding indication of your escalation to fame. Do such things give you an advantage? Yes, sometimes. But often they are the greatest hindrance.

Those people that believe they are particularly bright, gifted or beautiful or have some kind of peculiar and intriguing talent usually rest in that very talent. They rely on it like an eagle does its wings. And when it fails, the fear settles in as they flutter around seeking Plan B. And no I’m not seething with jealousy or any kind of envy. I am just an observer.

Most of us have to confess our fears and insecurities upfront before we experience any kind of success. Our fears are daunting and undeniable and have to be dealt with head on. For that group of exceptional they can hide it for years behind the glossy beauty of talent and gifts. This is not to say that the rest of do not possess some kind of gift. I believe we all do. But for the majority no one hears us flawlessly playing Beethoven’s Fifth at six years of age, most of us aren’t 6’2 at 12, dunking shots off of grown men. No, for most of us we have to seek and find that place where we fit.  We have to work hard and face so much failure we threaten to quit every day.

It is here that our faith becomes the most relevant factor. It becomes the single most undeniable force; this is the fulcrum for our success. It is the Plan B for the most talented but necessary for us all.

Consider this: more than 300,000 books are published in the U.S. each year; and that is not including e-books. To sit for days, weeks, months and sometimes years at a keyboard with the sincere hope and belief that within that haystack someone besides our parents, siblings and spouse will find us takes some kind of faith. There will be many times where this feeling of ridiculousness will overwhelm you and you will question the validity of your project. And you will press through. Writer’s block will leave you stumped and confused. And you will not give up. Sometimes, you will count time vested as time wasted. You will blow this off.

And when the work is done, they will tell you that the real work hasn’t even begun. You’ve got to market that baby, they will say. You will sigh and roll your eyes and huff. Then you will get to work. You will read; how to publish a book in 30 days; 21 ways to double your Twitter followers in a week; Five thousand Fabulous Facebook Followers. A tiny voice will whisper that it is all gibberish and worthless. And you will initially be convinced to believe it (some of it will be), but quickly realize that doing nothing will result in eminent death of your project. And then your faith will push you, prod and demand from you.

And finally when you have done all that you can do your faith will compel you to release the reins. It is then you will see it clearer. Your marketing will make sense. Those who are needful to you will become more apparent. And most importantly, your faith has moved the hand of God. And He my friend is the most relevant factor of all.

The Relevancy of your Faith

japanesewomangivingthankstothecreatI’ve watched one or two of those reality shows that gather some of the brightest and gifted minds in the entertainment industry for a game of show; those who have fallen by fame’s wayside for one reason or another and are now attempting to make their second or third resurgence via reality TV. (The genre is a forgiving haven for those cast from the spotlight.) We are always asking, whatever happened to…

After a few painful episodes of this show and that one, I came to this realization: mere talent is not the main variable to success. Being the smartest or most gifted person in the room is become less and less a deciding indication of your escalation to fame. Do such things give you an advantage? Yes, sometimes. But often they are the greatest hindrance.

Those people that believe they are particularly bright, gifted or beautiful or have some kind of peculiar and intriguing talent usually rest in that very talent. They rely on it like an eagle does its wings. And when it fails, the fear settles in as they flutter around seeking Plan B. And no I’m not seething with jealousy or any kind of envy. I am just an observer.

Most of us have to confess our fears and insecurities upfront before we experience any kind of success. Our fears are daunting and undeniable and have to be dealt with head on. For that group of exceptional they can hide it for years behind the glossy beauty of talent and gifts. This is not to say that the rest of do not possess some kind of gift. I believe we all do. But for the majority no one hears us flawlessly playing Beethoven’s Fifth at six years of age, most of us aren’t 6’2 at 12, dunking shots off of grown men. No, for most of us we have to seek and find that place where we fit.  We have to work hard and face so much failure we threaten to quit every day.

It is here that our faith becomes the most relevant factor. It becomes the single most undeniable force; this is the fulcrum for our success. It is the Plan B for the most talented but necessary for us all.

Consider this: more than 300,000 books are published in the U.S. each year; and that is not including e-books. To sit for days, weeks, months and sometimes years at a keyboard with the sincere hope and belief that within that haystack someone besides our parents, siblings and spouse will find us takes some kind of faith. There will be many times where this feeling of ridiculousness will overwhelm you and you will question the validity of your project. And you will press through. Writer’s block will leave you stumped and confused. And you will not give up. Sometimes, you will count time vested as time wasted. You will blow this off.

And when the work is done, they will tell you that the real work hasn’t even begun. You’ve got to market that baby, they will say. You will sigh and roll your eyes and huff. Then you will get to work. You will read; how to publish a book in 30 days; 21 ways to double your Twitter followers in a week; Five thousand Fabulous Facebook Followers. A tiny voice will whisper that it is all gibberish and worthless. And you will initially be convinced to believe it (some of it will be), but quickly realize that doing nothing will result in eminent death of your project. And then your faith will push you, prod and demand from you.

And finally when you have done all that you can do your faith will compel you to release the reins. It is then you will see it clearer. Your marketing will make sense. Those who are needful to you will become more apparent. And most importantly, your faith has moved the hand of God. And He my friend is the most relevant factor of all.

Book Review: When Memories Fade by Tyora Moody keeps reader turning pages

WHEN-MEMORIES-FADE-197x300In When Memories Fade by Tyora Moody, Angel Robert’s life seems to be on the upswing; she has renewed her faith in God and has just celebrated her twenty-fifth birthday with friends. But increasingly with each birthday she is reminded of the missing pieces of her life. Twenty years ago on the night of her fifth birthday party, her mother Elisa Roberts walked out of their home, never to be seen or heard from again. The thought of what happened that night has haunted and tormented both family and friends for years, especially Fredricka, Elisa’s aging mother–Angel’s grandmother. Each passing year she looks into her granddaughter’s face only to be reminded of a daughter who mysteriously vanished; and it seems as if the community is no longer seeking answers. The thought that she may go to her grave never knowing the truth about the disappearance is becoming unbearable.  Angel is also pressed by this realization.

Five years ago Angel began working on a documentary of her mother’s life, but along the way she became sidetracked and it got put to the side. Angel’s interest in finding out what happened on that terrible night is piqued again, especially when her grandmother suffers a stroke.

Angel meets Wes Cade an investigative reporter whose father, an ex-detective worked on her mother’s case many years ago. These days the elder Cade’s memory is steadily diminishing due to Alzheimer’s, and moments of clarity are short and sudden. But this case, according to his son has always haunted him; it eventually changed him in a way that was troubling for Wes to witness.

As Angel and Wes come together to make the most out of what each has to offer, they often push each other to the limits as both have emotionally vested interests, but for different reasons.

When Memories Fade is of the mystery genre, but it is Angel’s faith that keeps her grounded and pushing to find out the truth despite obstacles and setbacks, as her mother’s disappearance is somewhat of a cold case after so many years. And it is the complexity of the relationships that drives the story. Although Angel loves and respects her grandmother, she is often annoyed that she is clinging to hope that, her daughter will suddenly reappear. Wes, on the other hand wants to find out why this case has disturbed his father for so many years. Why this case? What does he know and finds so troubling?

A mystery for certain it is the faith and hope of the characters that uplifts and makes it different from other mysteries. Initially the number of characters seemed to crowd the story, but as it turns out each has a significant role and placement. And Moody is able to intertwine this close-knit community of family and friends in an eerie connectedness that has you searching for the missing pieces and wondering what happened to Elisa Roberts and what does each one really know about the disappearance?

The story also touches on Alzheimer’s disease and the impact it has on family and relationships and the faith and love needed to sustain both the sufferer and the family. Moody’s When Memories Fade reminds you of the importance of hope even when there seems to be no reason to believe.