Sailing Takes Me Away

This post is a little out of the norm here on my blog, but it’s something worth sharing. If you can’t share on your own blog, then where can you share?

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This is my cousin Randy and his wife Angela. Randy has probably one of the most interesting life stories of anyone I know. In all honesty though, I think everyone’s life story is interesting (because it’s not my own). Randy was always the cool cousin who lived at the beach. He set off after high school to be a lifeguard at the beach. He did that for a few years, when he met Angela. They fell in love, married, and have two amazing sons.

Both have worked hard and long for years, like many Americans. They saw one son join the Marine Corps and is now on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. They worry and fret like any parent would. Randy had a passion, a dream of one day building a boat and sailing it.

You know what he did? He started on that dream. He saved, he scraped, and he sanded his 12018_4795074398725_689999902_nway to what he wanted to pursue. At this very moment, as I type this, he and Angela are sailing the boat he built by hand (from wood on my uncle’s farm) to Costa Rica to live permanently. They will journey for three weeks to their new home they have constructed on the water. This is their new learning phase in life. I am excited for them both, and love seeing someone’s Start cycle around. It also doesn’t hurt that I got an invite to come visit once they are all setup at their new home…and I am one of a very few in the family who has a passport.

I think one thing we don’t talk enough about is a continued pursuance of a dream. We start so often with good intentions, but get mired in the day-to-day, the fears, the busyness of life. Right now, my cousin is sailing after years of toiling, of scrapping plans, and replacing boards. Many hours went into this, along with work that he enjoyed but didn’t look like his dream. He started though. He continued to start, not knowing what the finish line looked like for him. My hope is that inspires you to start on what you’ve been putting off.

Now I’m off to start saving for a visit to lovely Costa Rica, but I’ll be traveling via plane thankyouverymuch.

Escape Average.

fb_acuff_start_v2That’s a relatively easy statement to believe in, right? I don’t know of anyone who sits around going, “Yep, I’m average and I like it.” But the large majority of us are in fact average. Our lens of average may differ a bit, but for the most part, we are sailing the high seas on the Average cruise liner.

With Jon Acuff’s new book, Start, you find yourself not on the Average cruise liner, but having just been pulled from the water of the Average Titanic. Start is the iceberg here. But you don’t just clip it, you slam headlong into it. That is my opinion though as someone whose leaving Average behind for the Awesome dinghy.

Acuff brings both heartfelt passion for encouraging and motivating you to begin pursuing your dream, while also being realistic in those pursuits. If you like lists and need check-offs, probably not your best bet because Start is more along the lines of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. And that is refreshing.

Why? Because my awesome path, that navigates through the same areas as yours, has a different end point, has a different terrain, and I go at a different pace. That’s what makes Start different from other motivational books, simply because it’s not a motivational book. It is inspiring, yes, but it’s practical. It doesn’t build you up with promises of instant stardom and overnight changing of habits. Jon weaves a blanket of trust with the reader while also giving just enough tension to shock you into action.

To quote Jon, You only control the starting line when it comes to your dream. Might I suggest you start with this book?

And to spur you along, I am giving away a Start book, upon it’s release on April 22nd. Winner will be announced on Saturday, April 13th!

Here’s what you have to do though to be eligible:

  • Leave a comment stating what your dream is you’d like to start, by Friday April 12th.
  • Include your first name and email address.

When Life Gets in the Way…

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”-Jon Acuff

Easier said than done, Acuff. Lately that is all I can dwell upon. I see my fellow 5 Club friends hitting goals and small wins left and right. I have to admit, I get a bit jealous. I am over here plugging away on writing but not really feeling any different about my pursuit.

I keep hearing myself go, Is this how it goes? I see (fill in the blank) getting a huge goal met and I am here, writing…feeling like I am going nowhere.

Do not get me wrong, I love the dreams each person has and the different pursuits they have in going after them…as we all work at different paces with different dreams. For me I just keep seeing life get in the way. I do not want to take that for granted, or deny it in any way. I want to enjoy time with friends, seeing shows, and time spent learning.

I just feel this tight grip that if I am not writing, I am wasting. I need to call it what it is…fear. It’s the small voice telling me that I should pull away, in order to create. The truth is that I am most inspired when I am with others, when I am hearing music, when I am reading. I do not want to force it, but I want to work at it. My desire is to produce good writing, and I can only do that when I am in creative mode. It’s a tension I struggle with daily these days.

and I do not like it, one bit.

Anyone else struggle with the tension of life and pursuits?

Dissatisfied and Dry

isI have written three posts, and scrapped all three. I have topics rolling around with no motivation to have them flow onto the keyboard or the notepad. Right now I am dissatisfied with my writing and feeling increasing dry when I sit down to type. I realize this is just a blog and I am pursuing a small portion of dream currently…but frankly I am in a silence mode.

Any other writers, artists, etc feel this? Suggestions on how to push through? I welcome anything currently as I am just at a complete loss.

Sucker Punching Wednesday

I used to be the biggest night owl around. It’d be 3am before I’d roll into bed and then drag myself to class at 8am (or 9am in some cases). I’d be lethargic and worn down by 2pm and need a nap. That all flipped for me as grad school started. I had to manage my time wisely and efficiently between class, homework, a full-time job, and an assistantship. I look back and say, “Wow, that wasn’t me…that was some robot pursuing that.”

It was me though. I remember it was me, and those nights of managing 80 pages of reading while working on a 20 page paper after having dealt with unloading a shipment of truck, knowing that the next day I would need to be advising a student group on one of the largest events at UT. I’m not bragging, as that’s not the way to do it.

It struck me though, that somewhere along the way I became a morning person. Just like my parents. For as long as I can remember both of my parents have been up before 5 am. I always wondered if I was the neighbor’s kid, since I would physically be drug from my bed on Saturdays at noon.

My dad would always tell me, “You’re sleeping your day away.

Now I see that for truth, as I pursue this dream of writing, while having a career that is not a typical 9am-5pm. While having a life that doesn’t stop at 7pm every night. My days were spent pursuing sleep and lethargy rather than a dream and the answer to a call on my heart since childhood.

Intentionality is key when wanting to pursue this, and lately I have not been intentional. I have been lazy. I have not set myself up for success when I stay up later than I know my body and mind can handle. I caught myself slipping into habits which were not the best for me as a Quitter. Today is about sucker punching Wednesday as I write at 4:30am, letting Wednesday know that I beat you to today, and I am not sleeping it away.

So I encourage all of you who say “I cannot do it” to tell you that you can. Set yourself up for success by being intentional, by pouring who you were out and start putting who you are meant to be into your dream. You’d be surprised at how good a solid sucker punch can be.

Reflections from a Quitter Pt. 1

Last weekend I had the immense opportunity to participate in the Quitter Conference. Quitter is a book by Jon Acuff on bridging the gap from your day job to your dream job. I have to be honest, as I know several of my supervisors read this blog (I see you A and B), and say that I truly love my career. God has called me to work in a higher education setting with college students. I get joy from what I do, and while there may be times of stress I know at the end of the day or week or year that I get to pour into the lives of college students and their development. That for me is why I serve in the role I do in my career.

So Quitter was a leap for me as I wasn’t looking to get out of a miserable job or jump careers…and frankly, that’s not what Quitter is, to me at least. For me, the first big realization is that I can have a dream and love what I do in my calling, those don’t have to be an either-or situation. The second one was a bit rougher and it took me several days of reflecting before I could process it into words.

For too long I have said my dream is to pursue missional work in Haiti. While I will not discount that dream in the least, neither will I allow the lessening of my passion for the Haitian people, I realize my dream was more selfish in its pursuits. And to be honest I wasn’t really pursuing it with any kind of passion.

Right now, my dream is to write. It’s also my biggest fear. Ask my colleagues. I have absolutely zero faith in my writing, and I don’t post half of what I write. I have allowed fear to tell me that I am not good. I have allowed it to destroy a dream I have honestly held since I was a kid. I have loved to write, I just never felt confident in it. I am beginning to see that God has plans for this dream and that I have to stop buying into the lie that fear is telling me that its not perfect and no one cares what I write ultimately.

A great dream is hidden in a great weakness. -Jon Acuff

I Only Run When Chased.

I am not a runner. Let me say that again with feeling, I am definitely not a runner. I have never liked it. I distinctly remember doing the mile run in middle school as a part of Presidential Fitness, and I hated every single moment of it. Let’s be honest though…I was a chunky kid. Bigger kids don’t like to run, we prefer to take our own pace and get there when we get there. After all, we bring the fun. Or to quote that pop icon swathed in glitter, “the party don’t start til we walk in.”

For the last three years, I have made a concerted effort to make myself run. I get about four weeks into training and then stop out. So with a renewed clear heart for exercise, I am planning to run in an 8K in November. I am beginning training today and will hopefully get through the nine weeks of it in order to complete the race.

My question today is, what is one thing you have always wanted to accomplish (within reason) and haven’t? What’s stopping you from starting today?