Posts filed under tomorrow's dreams

The shape of a year.

I knew it even then.

I could smell it on the wind, I think — the newness coming in 2014. Last year, December carried with it a holy level of anticipation.

This would be the year I claimed myself.

I started the year with the official launch of Story Sessions. January brought our first twitter party and with it, our numbers grew from 40 to almost 100. 

I spent most of January in teary-eyed wonder. Every time someone else would sign up, I'd whisper a thanks and push deeper. February brought confirmation. Sitting at a dining table at a ranch in Dripping Springs, I watched women from all over the country walk around the grounds and talk on the porch and rest on the couch. I can't tell you the gut-level conviction I felt in those moments. It can't be articulated. I will always remember that weekend as the moment I reached for my calling and chose to embrace it.

I think back on those moments and am amazed at how quickly this year passed. Everything else feels blurry and translucent, bits and pieces of conversations and arguments and tears and misunderstandings merging together into one thick fog that covers everything that happened from March until September.

One thing I've learned: claiming yourself isn't for the faint of heart.

I realized in July changes needed to be made in Story Unfolding. I was learning something: risking is huge. Articulating what you want or like or believe is scary. But you can't just stop there. You have to do it. You have to own it.

And so I did. 

.::.

In October, fresh off the month from hell, I signed up for Hey, Sweet Pea's My Own Irresistible Brand. This itself was a risk. September brought a massive hit to Story Unfolding and Russ lost his job 30 minutes after I signed up for this course. 

But I had to do something. I was at my limits in so many areas and I knew I needed to remember that why — needed to remember the moment I knew this was what I was supposed to be doing with my life.

You see, I thought I just wanted to wipe everything clean. This fall was one of the hardest I've ever experienced. I told a mentor of mine that I was just going to give it all up and do something else. One of my closest friends said, "maybe you'll just need to start over..." 

But I started to remember. I got into this to breathe life into other people. I wanted those who interacted with me to feel electric and inspired and empowered. I wanted to awake the stories caught in our bones. 

So I renamed Story Unfolding. 

Here's the thing: I thought starting over looked like offering something completely different. I thought it would mean creating something from the ground up and re-visualizing what I already did. I thought the subscription — now called The Storytellers — would just be a small offering in the grand scope of my business. 

But one night while I sat at my desk doing homework, I looked at the question "what have you always wanted to get paid to do...." and started crying because I'm doing it. I've never stopped.

It's the group of women I interact with every. single. day. It's hearing their dreams and sprinting with them in our manuscripts and hopping on a Skype call with them at all hours in order to iron out the stickiness of their storylines. It's penciling in release dates on my calendar and celebrating when another one of us pushes out another book. It's laughing at the solidarity behind capturing ideas and realizing (yet again) that if you don't write, you get stuck. 

I thought of this time last year, prepping for the launch and being blown away by the yes-ness of January and the life and movement pouring into the community. 

My storytellers? They are the core of Awake the Bones. They are everything. From there, everything made sense. 

My year had come full circle.

Posted on December 10, 2014 and filed under tomorrow's dreams, writing, {soft}.

for when you quit.

I almost didn't finish my novel. I knew the ending and was well over 50,000 words, but the plot was too messy and I feared what others would say when they would read it. Plus, I never planned on publishing it, but lately I couldn't get the idea out of my head and ohmigosh - who would even take this story of a girl prostituted by her father?

I cringe just thinking about those months of fear - this story isn't my own anyway. It's meant to be shared.

But I didn't believe anyone would want to read it. I chose to believe the lie that people would think I'm just a messed-up freak who writes about dark things and I quit. I shut the manuscript away and let the manila folder with some edited pages collect dust on my dresser.

Until I heard Andrew Klavan at the STORY conference in 2010.

I'm over at People of the Second Chance today sharing about what happens when you quit - and asking the question of what if you finish? Join me?

Posted on October 7, 2012 and filed under tomorrow's dreams.

dreaming :: break down to build up.

this weekend, i got a card in the mail from a friend. who would have thought this year of abiding would be one of the most difficult in your 30 years…it said, and i had to laugh. obviously, this friend sent the card before my minor breakdown saturday evening. but as i read the card and looked at the snippets of paper speaking of courage and rest and risk taking, i realized the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

i’ve been really frustrated lately. actually, it’s been threatening to boil over since i started the study on tomorrow’s dreams today. in fact, the day i read part one, i was sitting in my husband’s coffee shop with pink hair from the color run and waiting for my appointment that afternoon to dye it back to an appropriate color. something began brewing that day, and saturday evening it all came to the surface in one ugly, maniacal, snotty-faced sob session.

you see, i’m in a predicament where my dreams are just within reach – but not close enough to where i have any idea what step to take next.

and to be completely honest, this leaves me in a very dark place emotionally.

and here’s some more honesty :: sometimes i feel left behind.

i hear the voices. i know timing is everything and saying no is crucial. but what i haven’t anticipated is the sacrifice of what makes me most alive and the diving in to that which sucks me dry.

there have been moments these past few weeks where i’ve been filled with an incredible hope – perhaps this is my timei’d believe. and maybe it is. maybe this brief dark spot is just that – brief. but from where i’m at, it feels like everything is falling through my fingers.

my dream? to write. to pour my heart onto page and encourage others to pursue their story. i want to write full time. i want to mother. i want to hold my baby and the ache at times is palpable.

i want to see my book in print.

but we’re at a stalemate, here.

my book’s release date has been pushed back and i’m waiting to hear from the new publicist. the timing for this is good – i honestly believe it. but there’s a small part of me that questions, since it was supposed to be published in november. will it ever see the light of day?

with the adoption, we’re in need of a miracle. there’s no way we have the funds for the next leg, and there’s no more energy to fundraise. it seems waiting will be our future for awhile.

and for the writing, well…i’m hoping i’ll have brief moments to scribble something in my journal these next few weeks once testing season begins.

sometimes, the road to our dreams doesn’t look like we planned.

but i’m learning something in the waiting season :: just because it’s not going as planned doesn’t mean the dreams are any less important. it just means they need that much more protection.

so i had a bit of a breakdown. the darkness clouded over for a minute this weekend. but you know what? when i came out of the fog, i had a whole heck of a lot more clarity.

so much so that i've been waking up at 4;30 every morning to write. i mentioned before my ability to have time to myself has been stripped away these past few weeks, so sunday night as i wiped the tears from my cheeks and blew my nose, i threw a middle finger toward the best laid plans and decided to lose a little more sleep.

and it's been hard. my coffee addiction loves it.

but it's good.

this morning, on my way to work, i paused at a stoplight and watched as the wind took over the wires and rain swirled around me. for a brief moment, i stood absolutely transfixed by the beauty of it all. in the middle of a storm, surrounded by darkness, i couldn't get over the art dripping down my windows.

re-reading mandy's book has been challenging and healing and inspiring. to be honest, i'm not sure i have anything nailed down. i still feel like a little girl most days, trying to figure out what i want to be when i grow up. there's a lot of whimsy to this approach, and i'm learning a lot in the process.

the dreams i do know though? those are being held tight. protected. developed.

and after this weekend, refined.

it's the only thing i'd ever hope to happen as i work to build them into reality.

Posted on March 20, 2012 and filed under tomorrow's dreams.

a dream refined.

a few years ago, my sister called with an idea. "what if we had this...i don't know...place for others to share their story? or we could tell the story of other people - in videos, poems, prose...

we'd call it stories for stories."

immediately, i was bit. devonte shared his spoken word and we watched amos find his forever home. almost 500 people "liked" us on facebook in the first 48 hours. but, as much as i loved helping my sister and as much as i loved hearing stories, this was her dream.

but it was about story - that which makes my heart skip beats. it didn't take long for me to see how it could fit within my own talents and abilities.

one day i called her with the same excitement she expressed in the first conversation. "i think i have it. i think i know how i want to help stories for stories. i want to travel around to high schools and give writing classes - preferably in lower income schools - and share the importance of story to these kids. the end product will be a narrative they've written - a piece of their story. and then? we can publish it on the website."

i could see it all - could feel it.

and just as soon as it appeared, the dream vanished.

not because i didn't foster it. that spring i mentored devonte, nijalon and devyne in writing and in the summer i taught a class in the for the city:: arts camp for teenagers in our area.

but for some reason, another dream started forming...perhaps a more crystallized version of the original. i did a series on my blog about playing in the pain and something started stirring in my heart about noticing the dark spaces in order to find the light. i stopped wanting to write others' stories and started craving the ability to encourage others to believe in the power of grace and healing and restoration - and the beauty of sharing those broken pieces with others.

and i started noticing the church shying away from topics because of discomfort.

so in my case, a dream didn't die - it just went through the fire and came out refined.

now, with everything changing around me, i can see how this dream - the one that keeps me up at night - is more tailored for my soul. i do teach, yes. i love teenagers. i love their heart and their built-in vulnerability and how their stories speak of resiliency and hope and belief. but i don't see myself traveling to high schools anymore.

instead, i see myself encouraging the church to swing wide the doors to story in order to see the Story in our lives. if there's anything this past year has taught me, it's that grace doesn't come without brokenness and healing doesn't come without some sort of shattering.

and we need to see the broken pieces set right. we need to be reminded of redemption - true restoration - and to celebrate the way Love rescues anyone.

even me.

even you. 

Posted on March 13, 2012 and filed under tomorrow's dreams.

a gathering of belief.

last thursday, we gathered to dream.  through the magic of the internet, we connected and planned an evening to share stories and pray. before, i was hurried. stressed. caught up in the day-to-day drama of disappointments and getting over sickness and just...twaddle. 

but thursday night? thursday night was exceptional.

i arrived late due to a meeting at work and horrible traffic on the freeway. as soon as i walked in, the air felt electric. i glanced at the clock, frustrated that i already missed an hour of connecting. we only planned on two hours. with a majority of the dinner party involved in a local conference, we wanted to make sure they wouldn't miss the evening session.

the party lasted until almost midnight.

for four hours we talked, laughed, cried and prayed. for four hours we dreamed, remembered, whispered and believed. and even though i was exhausted, even though i slept horrible the night before, i left feeling completely rejuvenated and ready to take on the world.

THIS is what mandy talks about when she encourages us in her eBook to forget the mundane. it's very, very easy for me to focus on the negative if i'm not careful. especially when it deals with me and my time. but this group? the ones i broke bread with a few nights ago? they challenge. they listen. they encourage.

i can't help but feel like i'm a little closer to God once i've met with them - it's almost as if i've touched the hem of Jesus' robe. there's always some level of healing - always some release of pent-up breath.

and after i leave, my creativity is the better for it.

do you have a tribe who makes you forget the twaddle of day-to-day life? 

* photo taken from our super-cool new friends cassidy and daniel roach. like them on facebook and follow their story here.

Posted on March 7, 2012 and filed under tomorrow's dreams.