Chasing Ideas

I’m a dreamer, I always have been. I have ideas and I flit after them, and chase them until the spark is gone. I quickly find a new spark, and chase away until the light dims.

This sounds whimsical and fun if I write it in the right light, but truthfully, I leave a lot of things undone.

Some of my most recent ideas:

Shoe Buddies (shoe deodorizers) – I was going to sew 20 of these a day and make a nice trickle income for our family. I was going to get my kids involved in the production, and let them earn some commission for their work. I was going to sell them in person and online and wherever anyone had stinky shoes. Reality: I completed one order and never made another shoe buddy. But I have a shelf full of the stuff to make gobs of them

Selling on Amazon – I started reading about selling on Amazon, flipping clearance items and making a steady income. I bought the labels, the scrapers, the stickers, the bags, the thermal label printer, signed up, paid a month of Amazon’s FBA seller service. Reality: I never even shipped in a single clearance item purchased, and ended up returning all of the things I bought so they weren’t lying around to be wasted.

Digital Design/Marketing Company – I bought a domain, I created a logo, I was going to make logos and help people navigate the world of social media. I was going to help small businesses reach the next level, grow, and gain visibility among their target clientele. Reality: I wrote a couple of cute blogs, dabbled with my social media page, and stopped there. (Digital markets are tough, and time-consuming!)

Photography – I mean, I have the camera, right? I did it before, right? Reality: I didn’t even dust it off.

College – I’ve forever dreamed of going back to school, of furthering my education, of holding a degree. But the truth is, I started raising kids at a young age and I didn’t want to miss the best years of their life because I was so wrapped up in school. I was going to take the leap this year, online classes offer quite a bit of flexibility, but I’ve changed my mind again.

Sometimes all of these sparks that have burned out feel like failures to someone who is dreaming big, waiting for the right idea to turn in to a flame, pushing, chasing, running after sparks that don’t seem to last. Sometimes they don’t last because I don’t put the consistent long-term effort in that would turn them in to something more than just a fleeting idea.

Sometimes these sparks die because the truth is, I’m a wife and a mom, and we have a little farm, and my time is limited. So limited.

Our lives have changed a lot in the last couple of months and as such, it was time for me to go back to work, but being stubborn like I am, I didn’t want the kids to go to daycare. So I took a night job. I told myself all the reasons this would be the best solution for us ever, I told myself how it would be nice to get out of the house every day, without the kids. I told myself the adult interaction, the customer service atmosphere, the paperwork, and trips up stairs and down again would all be fun.

I turned it in to a spark.

And I caught this spark. I landed my night job, I work graveyards. And you know what? The hours of sleep I got at night were precious. This isn’t as easy as I made it in my head. It’s incredibly hard to recover from working all night in time to do much the next day before it’s time for work again.

I’m not giving up this time. I’m not giving up that easy. I need this job, it’s part of my written plan and I’m putting action to it.

Writing down a dream turns it into a goal.

Giving a goal steps turns it into a plan.

Putting action to the plan makes it a reality.

The reality is, we are starting a new endeavor this week that has captured my full attention, and I am beyond excited. The reality is, these long nights will pay off in the long run. The reality is, sometimes we have to do really hard things, really consistently, for a time, to create a better future for ourselves and our families.

What hard thing do you need to do consistently, for a period of time, to help launch you forward in life?

With Love,

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Waiting for the Right Time

I spend a lot of time waiting for the right time to do things I want to do outside of raising children, caring for our home, and working with my husband. (Those things sure take up a lot of time, whew.)

The big one is how I wait to write. I’m always waiting until I feel like things are perfect, or just right, or me squeezing in time for a few lines here or there isn’t going to infringe on anyone else. If I sit down to write but the laundry needs switched, it seems to create a false sense of writer’s block, and I have to switch the clothes – a task that never ends there. Somehow once I switch the clothes, I find fifteen more chores to do and the morning has suddenly transformed to the afternoon and I have to feed the kids again. (I feel like I am always feeding the kids. That takes up like 50% of my time I think. They always want to eat.)

So I wait through the afternoon crazy hours, dinner, baths, brushing teeth, prayers, and bed time. The sun is long gone, it’s dark outside, and I sit down to try again. But the laundry needs switched again, or our small business needs a marketing boost, or my husband has stories from his day to relive. I don’t want to miss out on any of those things, so I often find it hard to pick to write instead of be present or accomplishing other tasks. Despite the fact that I want to publish novels, despite the fact that I love this silly blog, despite the fact that writing is like a salve to my soul. I keep waiting for the right time.

It’s not always waiting for the right time that stalls me. Sometimes I sit to write at the right time, and what stalls me is waiting to have the right knowledge to be able to truly speak in to a situation, circumstance, or idea. I disqualify myself from sharing my thoughts on my blog or in a book because maybe I just don’t quite have the right experience. Or enough experience. Or maybe my experience is too unusual (or too usual) and it won’t really help someone else.

So I wait some more, I wait to get older, I wait to experience more, learn more, do more, see more. I wait until I am smart enough, bold enough, old enough, wise enough. I wait and I wait, then I wait some more.

God has been tugging at my heart and reminding me of all the times He’s inspired me to write. He’s been showing me ways and places and spaces where I have something to offer to the people around me – stories, experiences, age, wisdom, youth, a fresh perspective. He’s really been pushing me to quit waiting for things to be perfect and to step out in faith with the words He’s called me to write.

So then I wait some more, to make sure it’s really Him. Or I find myself saying things like, “I don’t want to just be part of the noise.” “There are already so many great authors covering this area,” or “There are already enough people writing confusing stuff about xyz,” and I don’t want my contribution to be futile, convoluted, mixed up, messed up, or mistaken.

The waiting has to stop, and it has to stop now. Even if I mix up, mess up, or mistake a message. Even if I have to apologize for something I said that I shouldn’t have, or explain further because my first explanation fell short. There will be grace for the failures, and failure is part of the path to success. The truth is, writing is part of who I am, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, is getting in the way of me living out God’s call on my life, and a dream that means so much to me.

What are you waiting for? When will you put the waiting aside and start?

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Husband and Son

 

Pictured here are my oldest son and my husband. See that hat my boy is wearing? I teared up when I saw him in a flat bill hat. I always saw myself raising country boys in wranglers, boots, and cowboys hats. I had a brief time when I lived away from town on a little piece of land, with a creek in my backyard. But that time came to an abrupt ending and our lives changed and we ended up in town, then in a bigger town, then in the city. We’ve been in the city for 4 years, and I know another 4 years will pass by before I can think too much of it. But that’s life for you, isn’t it? We don’t always get what we want or think we’ll have.

Momma would probably elbow me and wink, saying something like, “Ya shoulda married a cowboy.” I laugh at the thought but I only joke. I love the man I married, and aside from the city part, I do love our life.

What really weighed down my heart after I cried about the city boy hat was the realization that I’ve already had 10 of my 13-15 years of influence on this young man. A friend’s husband recently took their boy on an adventure with the purpose of ushering in his new season. He is a young man and it is time to change the focus of his lessons and help him develop strength of character so that he will be a bold man of God and will be equipped to lead his family one day.

I need to do the same for my young man. I need to help him really focus on God and who God wants him to be – because while his momma always envisioned him in wranglers and a cowboy hat, I think God’s vision is better for him. (And I’ll be honest, I don’t know that he was born to be a country boy.) I believe who he is in Christ is far more important that what career he picks, what house he picks, or what he spends his spare time doing.

A pastor once told me that statistically, our influence on our kids is significantly reduced between the ages of 13 & 15 years old. That in that range the influence of their peers, other leaders and teachers, media, and the culture they are part of takes over. If, by that age range, we have not established people, peers, and activities around them that point them toward Christ and help them seek His purpose and plan, it is likely they will flounder in their faith and in other areas.

I’m sure it’s not a hard & fast rule and there are exceptions, but I don’t want to hope for an exception. I want to surround my young man with the resources and people and peers that will help him build his foundation on Christ. I want him to serve God first and foremost, and build the other parts of his life in accordance with living for Christ.

As I am writing, I am also realizing that I need to be on my knees giving these goals of mine to God and really letting Him speak to my heart about how to lead this young man, how to teach him, how to guide him. God knows exactly how He knit this boy together, and He has the master plan for his life. So I commit, once again, this young man to God as I pray for his future and make intentional choices to help him grow into all God has for him.