Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One Small Step

Ever since I can remember, writing has been a part of my life. In school, I was the only kid to get excited when the teacher gave us an assignment to make up a story using the week’s spelling words; but then, I was the only kid to get excited when the school cafeteria served liver and onions too. Later in life I also tried my hand at writing songs with my brother, Richard. He would play the guitar and just start making up a song as he went along. I would join in with my own words and before we knew it, we had written a song. I also wrote plays that were performed in the church I attended as a teenager. Writing just seemed to come naturally for me and I used it as a tool whenever the opportunity presented itself.

When I joined a team from my church to visit an orphanage in Russia, I immediately started writing down ideas for programs and skits we could perform for the children. I used puppets, props, sound effects and anything else I could get my hands on to make the stories and skits come alive for the kids. It opened up a whole new creative outlet for me and with every visit to Russia I would try to top the last program we did there. Just seeing the kids’ faces light up motivates me to write something bigger and better each time.

In addition to writing, I enjoyed telling stories to relatives, friends, coworkers and even strangers if they would listen. My first book, Life is a Buffet So Save Room for Dessert was created from these stories. I was always sharing embarrassing and humiliating experiences that have happened to me and to my family over the years and people loved it. They would ask me to tell and re-tell the stories over and over again and they would listen as if they had never heard them before, laughing and howling every time. My boss used to make me tell my stories to every new employee who came to work in our office. He would actually call a staff meeting and ask me to tell the stories to this poor person who had never laid eyes on me before. It was how we indoctrinated them I guess. Everyone would gather around the long conference table and yell out different stories for me to tell. It was great fun, for me at least, although, the new employee would avoid me around the office for the first couple of weeks because they thought I was a bit crazy I think.

People were always telling me I should write a book. I would always laugh and say, “yeah that would be fun.” But I never gave it serious consideration until I left my human resources job and decided to try my hand at writing a novel. I spent a year writing, editing, rewriting, and changing the story until I finally came up with a finished manuscript. I even sent it off to some publishers, but rejection notices piled up in my mailbox, leaving me a little disillusioned and questioning my ability to write. In the meantime, friends were still encouraging me to put my funny, true life experiences in book form. They even drew up a written contract for me with goals that I had to meet within a certain timeframe. I had to sign it, agreeing to give it my best shot.

My sister, Robbie has been my biggest encourager from the beginning. She would come in from work and the first thing that would come out of her mouth would be, “Did you work on your book today?” I sometimes would let many other things take priority over my writing, like yard work, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. She always pushed me to finish the book of short stories, motivating me by laughing hysterically as she read and re-read each one. Finally, Life is a Buffet So Save Room for Dessert was finished. We found a publisher through a couple of newspaper articles regarding other local authors promoting their respective books and we took off from there.

I would have never finished my book had it not been for the constant encouragement and reinforcement from Robbie and my friends. God places desires and dreams in our heart, but desire is more than wanting; it’s the pursuit of the desire that’s important. God wants us to investigate our desires and He equips us to accomplish that pursuit. It’s up to us to take the necessary preparation and then to turn those steps into action, whether it be writing a book, playing a musical instrument, photographing foreign lands, buying a dream home, earning a college degree, or any other goal you’d like to accomplish. If you take the first step, God will meet you there to direct your steps. He’ll place people in your life to encourage you and push you to reach your goals. He won’t hang you out there to dry by yourself. He wouldn’t have placed those dreams and desires in your heart if He did not intend to help you achieve them.

If you have a dream in your life that just won’t let go of you, it’s probably because God is saying, “Come on. Let me help you bring this to reality. Take the first step. I’m already ahead of you, waiting for you to arrive.” Psalms 37:4, Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

We have a ways to go with Life is a Buffet, but I believe and trust God to honor our steps of action and to give us the favor we need to be successful. I want this dream to become an action that impacts the lives of others and to do my part to make His name great in the world. We’re starting with baby steps right now, but I have the faith to believe God will change the baby steps into giant leaps, taking us further than we ever dreamed we could go. Turn your dreams into reality by starting with one small step and see where it takes you.

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