Saturday, April 26, 2014

What is your dream?

Yes, it's been two years since I was posting on here. I blame Facebook, lol.
But today I am sharing a new goal and some wonderful answers to prayer.

A few weeks ago I attended Time Out For Women in Long Beach, CA.

One of the speakers, Whitney Johnson, asked the question, "What is your dream?" She shared that she had asked several women and one of them responded, "I don't have time to brush my teeth. What would I do with a dream?"
I began to consider 'what is my dream?' For the past decade or so I have been trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I have thought about so many career choices and paths that I could take. One by one they have all fallen through as I get bored and no longer want to do that anymore. When I get up in the morning and let my head fall against the cold shower tile and I think to myself, "I am tired and can't do this anymore," I conclude that it is NOT my dream. (It takes me a while sometimes. I can be kinda dense.)
I contemplated teaching, which I love, but not as a day and day out, dealing with all the politics of modern public schools career. I love substitute teaching, but since teachers are paid nothing and substitute teachers are paid waaaaaay less than that, it is not a viable career option.
I contemplated Human Resources. I do love HR, decoding the legal mumbo jumbo, latest interpretations, compliance, assuring that employees are cared for while balancing the finances of the company. It's actually interesting for me, BUT I hate being in an office 9-5. I don't like all the distractions. I can't stand feeling that I am trapped at the office when I might really prefer to be elsewhere. It's especially hard to be a mom, when my heart is at home with my son.
I contemplated starting a home organizing business, children's party entertainer business, seamstress business, tutoring, etc. None of them seemed to pan out beyond the initial beginning.
BUT, the most prominent part of this search has been my total and utter lack of answers to prayer.
Please bear with me as I explain: Since childhood I have consistently and very assuredly received answers to prayer when I ask for them. I kneel to pray and usually I know the path I should take or I am enlightened by an idea almost instantly. Depending on your beliefs you may consider this to simply be my own intuition telling me what I subconsciously know, but I feel it is direction from the Holy Ghost.
So, you can imagine my frustration when things seemed to change from getting immediate answers (sometimes I hadn't even asked the questions when answers and promptings seemed to come out of no where) to nothing, nada, zilch, sip, you get the idea. I prayed, I fasted, I went to the Temple looking for the holy grail of answers...what should I do to support myself and my son? The response time and again was "No." Just, "No."
Me: Should I go back to school?
Him: No
Me: Should I apply to work full time?
Him: No
Me: Well, we're getting kinda hungry and we need a place to live, how about I...(insert any number of ideas, a few of them I shared earlier)
Him: No
Me: Seriously?
Him: No, just kidding. Yes, I am serious, the answer is No.
Me: Any help as to what job/career/profession/circus You will say Yes to?
Him: No
For those of you who know how extremely patient I am (NOT) and what a complete control freak I am (Yes) you can imagine my frustration. And frankly, my pride was hurting because I wanted to be successful. I had made this huge move from Utah back home to California and I had dreams of living life to the fullest in sunny Southern California. That so did not happen. In fact, without direction my financial life has gone from grim to bleak to desperate.

Three years ago, while working as a Human Resources Admin I started writing a book. It is a juvenile novel aimed at 9+. I wanted to tell a fun story where kids could imagine themselves in place of the main characters and learn that they too could be a hero. The main characters were going to be everyday kids without any special skills or magic, put in amazing situations where they use their wits and smarts to escape evil and conquer with goodness. Small goals, right?
Last year, after my unemployment payments ran out I got serious about writing. I have 40,000 pages saved on my computer and then I got stuck. I have learned that many writers get stuck at this point. You are half way through completing your story and you know how it starts and you know how it ends and you somehow have to connect the two without getting bored. Rock and hard place time.
This last Christmas I had two weeks off. There isn't any substitute teaching over Winter break and tutoring stopped too. The Chiropractor I work for headed off to see his daughter for two weeks and my son, Shaun, was at his dad's for the holiday break. I literally had nothing to do beyond running with my puppy each morning and brushing my teeth at night.
I blame my next dream on watching too many Hallmark/ Lifetime holiday movies. I began to think about what it would be like to be an actor trying to find love. How would you go about it? How could you trust people that they were not just wanting to be around you because they liked fame and fortune or were star struck? Marriages between two entertainers never seem to work well, so maybe a non show biz person would be better? A story began to emerge. A nice guy, I know that is a bad word to most single guys, but I wanted him to really be a nice guy, who had a hard time finding someone to love. So, now I am 60,000 words along with Gabe's story.

Here's the exciting part: I now have an answer. While listening to Whitney Johnson I suddenly knew my dream and what's more than that I know where my future lies. I have stories to tell. A few may be simply entertaining. Others may be exciting. Hopefully, I will get to share some inspirational stories of real life people, living their stories in the best way they can and are willing to share their strength with us.
An author I have begun to follow posted the other day her reason for writing. She has become a popular, successful author. She's worked very hard in the past couple years and is seeing the blessings of her efforts. She shared that the reason she started to write was not for any of the reasons most people give, but simply because that is what Heavenly Father told her was right for her to do. Plain and simple.
Right now I have 5 stories running through my head, 2 different series. It is terrifying for me to take this chance. I REALLY dislike failure. I know that I have missed out on opportunities because far too often I avoid a challenge rather than taking a chance and risking failure. It's a shortcoming I know, but one that I have not yet overcome. So, here I am sharing my most intimate hopes and dreams and I am nearly paralized with fear. I keep switching back and forth between deleting this whole post and going ahead and posting it. Years from now I may look at this and think I was crazy. I may be sad that I failed. But, hopefully, instead of letting this dream disappear in the waking morning light, a few years from now I will look back on these words as the beginning of something wonderful.

I am scared!!!! What if I fail? What if no one wants to read what I write? What if I'm not really any good? What if despite it all, I can't get anyone to publish it and I only end up having 3 people read it? What if I spend all this time, effort, emotion and love and only earn $5? I guess we'll see.
'Tomorrow is another day.'

Author (hopefully) Shauna Stokes

1 comment:

  1. That talk really hit me too! I am still trying to figure out my dreams, but I am so happy you found yours! Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Good luck :)


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