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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fulfillment of Dreams

Having finished my first six months temporary employment at the factory, I am now happily settling in to a new schedule. Beginning this week I am working there only three nights in a part-time permanent position and putting my new free time into reporting jobs and preperations for releasing Swords of the Six.

With my focus returning to writing I must admit feeling a little confused where to begin. When I was writing full-time I averaged 2,000 to 3,000-words per day. But my focus then was on writing my novels. My focus now is coming up with new, richer short fiction stories to submit to magazines and e-zines.

I remember sitting in Steven James's class at Glorietta Christian Writers' conference almost two years ago. He told, in summary, how he had started off his writing career. One year his income was $10,000 and someone at his church asked his wife "Why doesn't your husband get a real job?" If his wife had not supported him during those rough times, had not cheered him on when he was plugging away at stories though few were selling, he would not be the successful writer he is today.

Steven James pursued his God-given dream to become a writer. He pursued it in spite of other peoples' opinions.

Too many people let the opinions of those around them not only influence but sway them away from their dreams. But the successful person ignores the scoffs and plugs away at his/her dream, honing their skill, seeking opportunities to put to use what they have learned along the way . . . until one day the door upon which they've been pounding budges and then gives way.

Who are the happy people in the world? Who are the lonely? The happy are often the poorer, from what I can tell, and the lonely are often the rich. In another vein, the happy are often the people outside of the social circles, those who seem to close themselves into their own little universe and don't let others' bring them down. And if you are thinking I am crazy for saying so, then consider how many prominent and successful singers sing of their poor beginnings and how they valued those days and the love they remembered. I think of Loretta Lynn's song "Coal Miner's Daughter." The line in that song that goes "We were poor but we had love, that's the one thing that Daddy made sure of . . .," is the summary of my point. We need to place value on what has true value; the things that make a diffference in this life and beyond.

Three things I greatly value in my life and these things I guard jealously.

1) A family life that is not an open book to the rest of society; this provides an irreplaceable feeling of security. My parents provided that for my entire life and both I and my siblings greatly love them for that. What was said or done in the family and was meant to stay in the family, did.

2) My dream of becoming a successful writer; and steering clear of people who discourage me. I have disassociated myself with a couple individuals because they were questioning the wisdom of pouring my energies into writing.

3) The happiness of one person above any other: my future wife. Without this as a priority I could easily let slip the greatest asset I have. When her spirits are high, mine are too. When I am down she encourages me. I would be a fool to not place her happiness before others'.

Maintaining these three things and having the Lord as my strength, gives me wings to fly to places most people never do. Most people start life with dreams and, as time progresses, they allow the busyness of life--and the pressures of society to be 'successful' as the world determines success--to push their dreams backstage. It is true that adjustments have to be made along the way. Falling in love and getting married is something I genuinely believed was a long way off but it has always been my greatest aspiration and now I am making adjustments accordingly, putting marriage and writing as my top priorities.

I believe in the fulfillment of dreams . . . but only so long as the dreamer refuses to listen to other people who would influence him otherwise and only so long as he is willing to make sacrifices to achieve his dreams. To be content with little is a concept not accepted by society, but if we live our dreams we can be content with less.


Pais Charos said...

What about those who are lonely AND poor? Or those who push their dreams aside not because of anything outsiders have said or done, but because they themselves don't feel they can ever be good enough for such lofty dreams, or they don't have anyone right beside them cheering them on?

I'm afraid I fall under both categories.

It's not that I'm looking for "the praises of men". I just want to find that one person with which to share my dreams, who will stick beside me and encourage me, giving me the ability to keeping plugging away at them. That's my biggest dream, the one that seems the furthest off, and I feel that if I can't even reach that dream, what's the point of trying for the others?

I'm so happy for you, Scott. I've watched God bless you over and over again since we've become friends. I wish you the best in your writing career, and with Kelley. And I can't wait to see Swords of the Six in print (other than from my printer).

Anyways, thanks for listening :)

Scott Appleton said...

Good questions, Connie. First let me say that I commend you because you say your biggest dream is to find that special someone. But I should say that, even though things are coming together for me now, it was not always so. My number one dream in life has always been, since I was ten, to find a wife. But God did not see fit to bless me with Kelley until I first put that dream on the back burner and focused on strengthening my relationship with Him and on my writing.

If you feel inadequate for lofty dreams, then I must ask: Why? Your hope and salvation is in Christ. Your dreams are tied in to your relationship with Him. Is it really our own capability that makes us acheive great dreams? Or, is it His strength?

It is difficult to know exactly how to answer your questions because I am a guy. Things are a little different for you than they are for me because God wired women to be supporters, encouragers for their husbands, to help the men go out and conquer the world.

I'll ask my fiancee to comment on here. She may have some insight that I missed.

Don't give up on your dreams, Connie. Focus on "knocking" on the doors you want opened and patiently wait for God to bring the right man into your life. Christ said "Knock and it shall be opened to you; seek and you shall find." That promise is for you, too.

Pais Charos said...

Thanks for you comments, Scott. I've wanted to be a wife for as long as I remember, and sadly searched for that dream in the wrong people in the past. But that's in the past.

Don't get me wrong, I want to be able to support my future husband in all that he does, but I would hope that in turn he would be supportive of mine, you know? Aside from getting married, my biggest dreams include horses and writing - especially horses.

Heh, thanks for the spiritual slap on the hand :P I know I need to rely on God's strength for ALL of this, and that's something I'm still learning, to remember that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Kelley said...

Hi Connie,
I know we don't "know" each other, but I don't mind sharing with you. As young as I am, my deepest desire has always been to find "that someone." Without even knowing who "he" was, I was always lonely for him. Since I couldn't do anything about it, the only thing I could do was turn to the Lord. My relationship with the Lord really grew as I started turning my whole heart to Him and trusting Him in everything (including who my future husband was, where he was, when the Lord would bring us together and what I should do in the meantime). The Lord started teaching me to be content with where I was and COMPLETELY trust Him. I kept focusing on what was in front of me and pursuing the things I really enjoy. The funny thing is that I was completely content and happy with where I was when God brought Scott and I together. I was content to go on another 10 years without finding "that someone" if the Lord wanted me to. I still struggled, but I just kept bringing it all to the Lord.

Pursue the things you enjoy, don't worry about whether you're good enough or not. Trust God, it's not easy, sometimes it's incredibly difficult but God is so faithful. And remember, He always answers our prayers (even if it's not exactly what we want).

And you're right, your husband should support and encourage you. It is great to have someone to encourage and support you. But in the meantime, keep looking to the Lord. He'll give you signs of encouragment.

I'm going to send you an email, so if you would like to correspond, we can. :)


"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.