Tag Archives: Dreams

A Moment

In my classes we’re always talking about capturing moments. Today I had an epiphany.

It started yesterday at in-service when Dr. Cupp told us about the Five Blessings and how they can impact our kids. 

Today was the first day with kids after break. I originally planned a big lesson because we’ve got work to get done. But yesterday I scrapped that.

Sometimes I do a goal setting lesson. Today I decided to make it a dream lesson and to try to help the kids feel connected.

I knew it would work in yearbook, but photo is a different monster. The kids in photo didn’t sign up for what they’ve done this semester. They didn’t know the amount of work they’d be doing for yearbook. At times about half the class has been resistant since Thanksgiving. I almost let the fear of their resistance let me back out of a powerful lesson.

The lesson is certainly not new, and I totally stole bits and pieces of it over the years.

I had the kids grab a piece of blank colored paper and write their name at the top then tape the paper to their backs. Then I had them use markers and write nice things about each other.

I worried someone would be mean or someone would opt out. Once that starts it’s a tidal wave of whiny. But I still did the activity.

When they were done one of kids said “What do we do with this now?”

I said it was up to him. He could throw it out during passing period or keep it. It was completely up to him.

The kids spent several minutes reading their signs and thanking each other before we transitioned to the next activity: the I Want list. That list is powerful. I’ve always loved sharing the power of writing your I Wants down with kids. Often they’ll freak out stressing over the paper until I tell them the list is for them NOT me.

Today at the end of class I watched three kids throw the blank paper with compliments away. But before the end of class I watched several kids fold their papers up and put them away. 

Day one. No deadlines, no regular lesson plan, but today a class of kids felt good about themselves. And today this teacher learned to go with her gut and not let fear keep her from trying. 


The List of Laters

I talk to so many people who say they’re going to live their dream “later.” When they’re “done with school,” “done with this lesson,” “done planning this party,” “done losing this weight,” “done moving,” “done cleaning house, raising kids, getting the perfect job.”
I’m as guilty as the next girl of putting life off until I’m done…whatever.
But, you know what I’ve discovered?
I can put the art off until the end of time if I wait until my list of done’s gets done.
The simple fact is there’s never a perfect time to create. There’s ALWAYS something else to do.
But my art is worth my time. Putting it off until I’m done with the million things that need doing will leave me sitting in my easy chair swearing I’ll get to my book “tomorrow.” And you know how those tomorrow’s go. One day you wake up and ten years have flown by.

When Do Dreams Die?

When my fourth grade class found out I was moving to Texas, they were all excited.
Dallas was our main Friday night entertainment, so everyone thought I’d have a horse, live on a ranch, and be connected to the oil industry somehow.
I didn’t know about any of that because Dallas meant one thing to me: Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, which is weird considering I couldn’t even do a cartwheel.
At nine that didn’t matter. I dreamed of two things: being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader or Miss America. Back then your only chance of being Miss America was to be Miss Texas, Miss Oklahoma or Miss Arkansas.
Miss Minnesota NEVER won. I was moving to Texas and my chances were increasing astronomically.
At nine I believed I could do anything.
The move to Texas was a bit of a shock. No ranch, no horse, and while there were oil wells down the street (and around the corner and across the fields…), those wells had nothing to do with my Air Force family.
That fact didn’t stop me from pretending or dreaming.

I remember in kindergarten my teacher crumpled up my paper and threw it away because I colored my people purple. But that didn’t break my dreams. Not even when she told me there was no such thing as a purple people eater. She was wrong. The end. It didn’t bother me that she didn’t realize it. I believed I could be and do anything.

In fourth grade I was mortified when my teacher crumpled up my paper for writing in the margins. (I thought margins meant the area with the holes! Not the area with the lines on both sides.) I believed I be and do anything.

In sixth grade I was mortified that I couldn’t do a cartwheel in PE when everyone else was doing that and more! But my coach didn’t ridicule me, she just had me do somersaults. I believed I could be and do anything.

In eighth grade I was mortified when my math teacher told me girls couldn’t do Algebra and then made me stand at the board in front of the class until I could figure out the right answer. My friends were trying to signal the answer, but I couldn’t see because I had a cold. I sneezed and the teacher wouldn’t even let me go wash my hands. I believed I could be and do anything EXCEPT Algebra! And maybe Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, since by this time I could STILL not do a cartwheel.

I don’t know when the absolute belief in my abilities to be and do anything changed to a quiet acceptance that dreams were just that: figments of an overactive (ridiculously overactive!) imagination.

Some people call this growing up. I mean, come on, Miss America!?! Really? Part of me gets that. But part of me misses that kid with the imagination, that kid with the ability to do and be anything.

Honor and Lies deals with failure and dreams and daring to live beyond expectations. I wrote it 12 years ago, and I still love the characters. Honor and Lies coupon:  50% off for one month: coupon code is LH94Z. Find the book here.

Failures Define Us If We Let Them

The First Time:
The secrets lived in the books on the top shelf.
Some books were paperback, new, glossy with names Like Southern Living’s Best and The Joy of Cooking, but my favorite was the giant, splotched on the outside red and white flecked, yellowed paged hard back Betty Crocker.
I don’t know how old I was, I think 10, when I first dared to take it from its home and make a meal.
French Toast. I served it as breakfast in bed to Mom and Dad.
After that I was fearless.
I made pie crust and chiffon pies. Popovers. Pasties. Pancakes of every kind imaginable.
Once I nearly burned down the house making a surprise anniversary dinner for my parents. Not because of the cooking, but because I didn’t have any matches to light the candles so rolled up a ton of paper towels and caught them on fire using the electric stovetop. Paper towels burn fast! I was 11 or 12.
The food was good, though.
The burnt spot on the new carpet…well, we just moved furniture around to cover it.
In sixth grade my love of cooking landed me in cake decorating classes.
In high school, I worked for Del Taco, and my favorite job was prep where I’d spend two hours shopping and mixing.
A fearless belief in my abilities to cook anything led me to fun in the kitchen.
I don’t know when or how that changed.
It’s funny that The Artist’s Way has brought it back to me.
My failures in the kitchen became fodder for funny family stories, and I let them identify me. I quit trying.
I’m going to reclaim the fun. Unfortunately, I sold the ancient Betty Crocker Cookbook in a garage sale.
Will I still have failures? I’m sure. But they won’t define me. I won’t let them.

Honor and Lies deals with failure and dreams and daring to live beyond expectations. I wrote it 12 years ago, and I still love the characters. Honor and Lies coupon:  50% off for one month: coupon code is LH94Z. Find the book here.

Rekindling the Dream

Dear Stephen King, (Not that you’ll ever read this letter, unless I print it off and mail it using old fashioned snail mail.)
I read On Writing years ago when it first came out, and I loved it. I loved it so much I lent it to a student and never saw it again, but that was okay because I “got it.” I loved your story and your advice, but I didn’t really need it. Back then I was a relatively new writer. I had several manuscripts out, several requests, several requests for revisions. I was young and sure of myself and my place in this world. I was a writer, and nothing could shake that.
Flash forward a decade, and much has changed. Multiple rejections and life have a way of interfering with writing plans.
Last year I didn’t exactly give up on the dream, but I didn’t work it either. I read. A lot. And I fiddled around with a couple stories I’d finished but not submitted. When life came crashing down making it impossible to attend my writer’s group meetings, I didn’t really care. Going just made me feel like a fraud anyway.
And then for some reason, I bought On Writing from Audible and started listening to it every day on my way to work—a place I love, a place where I spend hours sharing my love for words with students, hoping they too will love writing and books and paper and ink and everything that is wonderful about the craft.
Listening to On Writing truly did change my life. One day I found myself on my ten minute commute from one side of Wichita Falls, TX to the other bawling my eyes out as you talked about the craft. I’m not sure exactly what you said. I think it was “Kill your darlings.” I just know as you spoke, I realized somehow, over the course of ten years, I’d let the dream die. Not fizzle, not fade. Die. And then you said something about writing for the words, for the story, not for the publication. And I realized I can’t NOT write. It makes me crazy. Destroys my spirit. HURTS.
So I’m writing, really writing, new words, new people, new everything.
And I’m in a room in the back of my house with the door closed.
Thank you for On Writing. I see that it’s a considered a new classic. I’ve got to say I couldn’t agree more.

Stephen King's On Writing changed my life. You should read it!

I finally get it

I finally get it.
For months I’ve tried to figure out why I can lose weight or write lots but not at the same time. It made no sense to me until the ah-ha moment tonight.
I have absolutely no problem leaving my family alone at night to go work out at the Y.
BUT when I add writing to the mix I end up eating. Lots. Mostly chocolate.
I’m suffering major Mom Guilt (Wife Guilt…). The big MG.
I don’t know.
Something about the time spent.
Which makes no sense because honestly when I do get the call that’s going to teach my daughter something HUGELY important about dreams and my DH something just as important about risk and persistence.
When I lost 50 pounds it taught them both the necessity of eating right and exercise.
Together, all those things create amazing people.
Now if I can just get that message firmly implanted in my brain before I gain the 50 pounds back.
Because not writing isn’t an option. And the guilt needs to skaddaddle. I don’t have time for it.

Dare to Dream

One of my friends from Struggling Writers just got The Call.
I was nearly in tears reading her message and everyone’s congrats to her.
It’s just all so fabulous and amazing.
It’s a wonder to me how many writers in the romance world support each other. How they encourage the dream, supply hugs & margaritas, both cyber and real, when necessary.
It would be easy to give up.
But it would also be giving up and who wants to do that?!
Besides I’ve got a daughter watching me chase this dream. No way am I going to do anything other than show her reaching for dreams is absolutely essential to a quality life.
I believe in dreams. But this isn’t the lottery. It’s not as easy as bubbling in some numbers and sitting back to wait. This is work. I didn’t write the story that captivated an editor right off the bat, but I sure as heck am going to write more stories, and eventually one and then two and then three and on and on WILL captivate an editor and after that readers.
And when that happens, I’ll still be here, hopefully encouraging that writer who’s struggling through rejections, finding writing time, family and job pressures.