Little things matter. Along the way you discover they weren't so little after all.

Tag Archives: Goals

Harp

Harp (Photo credit: spike55151)

It was a strange emotion, one that I couldn’t easily identify. It felt like a physical shift had taken place, like something had snapped off in my heart. It left a dull ache, a shortness of breath.

One moment I was fine, feeling confident and positive.

The next I felt hollow, as if someone had just let me in on a joke, and I was the butt of it.

I was the butt.

In trying to trace it back to its source, there was a conversation, the one when I was supposed to be thinking about new ways to develop my writing, except that 90% of the suggestions were things I already do naturally. So not only am I a know-it-all, now I’m a snob since I feel like I’ve got it pretty well figured out. Not that my novel’s published but I am on the right track.

It might have stemmed from the music on the radio, a harpist in the background playing a fairly simple, repetitive riff that was lovely and making the harpist millions. “I could do that,” I thought. And then it hit me: maybe I couldn’t do that. Maybe, although I play the harp and have since childhood, maybe I could never be that person who revels in being onstage, performing under pressure that way.

And that was it. The cogs clicked into place.

Maybe I’m a fraud.

Maybe I just think I’m a writer.

Maybe I just think I’m a good harpist.

Maybe I like the image of those roles and the sense of being set apart from regular, workadayjob people. If I can say I’m working on an article or preparing for a “gig” (see? even that sounds pretentious doesn’t it?) then I am doing something worthwhile, something more than simply being a stay at home mom.

In response to a failed attempt to make a tiger mask for my daughter’s school program, a dear friend gently pointed out that I can be domestic and not be crafty.  WHAT?? I’m not crafty??

In the same way, I’m afraid that somewhere down the line a friend will gently pull me aside and tell me I’m more of an amateur writer than one with professional potential. That’s where the fear kicks in, when I think I’m on the road to being a writer and could discover, after I’ve worn out five pair of shoes, that I’ve been deluding myself this whole time, that I’m a dabbler not an author.Paper Shredder

The harp thing, I can take that or lose it. I know that I was a skilled musician at one time, and in order to be one it takes a big investment of time and energy (having a pedal harp doesn’t hurt either). I don’t choose to invest my time that way now. I enjoy the music, I value music, but I don’t have to be the one playing it to benefit from it.

Is writing the same thing?

Will I look back on this time, shake my head and chuckle at my grandiose aspirations?

Possibly.

However, even while it is terrifying to say it out loud, I think I will always be glad I invested my time and energy in pursuing this dream. I don’t belittle the time I spent pursuing music, even though I don’t play in an orchestra or prestigious ensemble now. Why must a person continue the same activity over an entire life-span for it to count as a valid pursuit? Is it enough that a person put her whole heart into an endeavor, no matter how long that endeavor lasted?   

I may be the butt of the joke, I may not realize how tiny I am or how microscopically small my chances are of being published, but isn’t it better to go after something with passion rather than sit idly by on the side-lines? What’s that phrase? Go Big or Go Home.

So even while it scares me and I think I may end up being a statistic,

I’m willing to invest time and energy in something I love doing, something that brings connection and joy, is a creative outlet and a salve for mind and soul, even if it ends up being for my own health and well-being. Even if people choose to look at my attempts as a joke,

I am willing to be the butt of that joke.

I’m going to be the biggest, best butt you ever did see.

Do you have any dreams that are taking a long time to happen? What do you do to counter-act fear in your life?


This blog post is part of a link up with Lisa-jo Baker. Anyone can be a part of it! Just check out Lisa-jo’s site (http://lisajobaker.com) for the word prompt and further instructions. The idea is to write for five minutes with out constantly editing or second guessing ourselves. It’s a supportive, positive community, and I’ve been blessed just by dabbling my toe into it.

Louie was a goofy friend of mine in seventh grade. He always wore a white baseball cap, most time paired with a turtleneck and a hockey jersey (I never did figure out why the turtlenecks). He was tall and gangly, with a fountain of brown bangs and a very prominent (read: big) nose.

Not the first hottie you’d notice. White Hat

But he was so funny.

He was generous and helpful. Louie was kindhearted.

When you’d known him more than a day you realized how handsome he was, how unique and athletic, how his brown eyes were warm, his height and stature comforting. Suddenly Louie was quite a looker.

I’ve started to wonder how other people look at me, not so much physically but how they view my dreams, my aspirations and quirks, probably because lately I’ve run into so many roadblocks and rejections.

Do they play along with my goals, no one willing to tell me I’m being unrealistic?

Do they pat me on the head and humor me so they won’t hurt my feelings?

Do I look different from the outside than I do to myself?

Does it matter what the view is, except that it comes from the One who made me who I am? The One in whom I am most fully myself?

It shouldn’t make any difference if I achieve “success” on earth if I have been faithful with what was given to me in the circumstances I’ve been placed. Sometimes, though, when I’m being really honest, the view from outside does matter to me.

It’s like the difference between current trend of ombre hair color and just being overdue for a trip to the salon so you have really bad roots. Or to use another hair analogy, it’s the difference between having beachy texture and a frizzy windblown mess. What if while I’m walking around thinking I’ve got it down and lookin’ good, everyone else can see that my dream is really a snarly hairdo in need of a comb and a dye job?

What are your dreams right now? How do you keep hope in a dream when it takes a long time to arrive? Most importantly, how do you maintain your focus on the One who made you?

Attractive waves or crazy mess? It's a matter of opinion.

Attractive waves or crazy mess? It’s a matter of opinion.


My 2nd grader had “Sports Day” at school. In a bizarre exciting twist, it turned out to be 98 degrees for the outdoor event — or at least that’s what the weather people said it hit and it felt like they were right — when it had been a high of 60 the day before. These were intense conditions for Sports Day, but the kids had a lot of fun and the organizer had the good sense to pass out freezies to cool off the children at various times. She won extra points for that, in my opinion.

Sunscreen is supposed to go on ALL exposed parts

Sunscreen is supposed to go on ALL exposed parts

I helped pass out stickers at the Sit-up station, and I feel I did a very fine job. Here’s further evidence of my dedication: ——>>>

Yes, I know. I am a wonderful model of motherly sacrifice. Sorry, no autographs at this time.

I was also the crowd cheerleader, and inspired the children to come up with cheers of their own, maybe because they thought my cheers were too basic. They cheered for individual children’s names, fish, “feel the burn” and various colors. They were very creative. It’s probably because of the great example I set. I’m a very enthusiastic cheer-er.

An interesting phenomena occurred a couple times through the course of the day. Certain kids figured out that yellow was the color for the highest performance. Categories were orange, blue and yellow. People who went the farthest, dribbled the ball enough times, or completed the most earned a yellow sticker. Once they figured this out, kids would ask us how many sit-ups they had to do to earn a yellow sticker. Surprisingly, many of the children who asked this question went on to attain the elusive yellow badge of honor.

This started me thinking about goals. Is it beneficial to know the outcome you’re striving for before you begin so that you can push yourself to a certain level? If we know the cut-off for a certain goal, will we naturally aim only for that goal and no higher? Can I be content with a blue or orange sticker?

This year I decided to enter some writing contests. It wasn’t a written out and posted sort of goal, something stuck on my bathroom mirror to remind myself, but I wanted to get my writing out there for feedback.

Be careful what you wish for.

I have heard back from two of the four contests I entered and it was not with letters of congratulations. I didn’t even make it to the next round.

BScorecardut technically, I met my goal. I entered. The goal wasn’t to win (good thing!), although that would be a lovely outcome.

Would it have served me to have a goal of winning a contest, of getting a yellow sticker? I don’t think so. I think I would feel my accomplishment of entering, which was a big step for me, would have been diminished.  I’ve got room to improve, but I showed up, had fun and did my best.

I’m happy with my blue sticker for now, thank you very much.

What goals are you working toward right now? How will you know when you’ve met your goal, and how will you reward yourself?  



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