Hitting Pavement

There’s always a moment when pursuing a dream when it hits you,

“This is actually happening.”

MotorcycleWhen I was learning to ride a motorcycle, that moment arrived with a  smack against the pavement. I dumped the motorcycle I was riding during the class. As I stood up, my body shaking and my mind racing in a hasty injury check, it struck me in one clear thought. “Either get back on or forever walk away.”

I got back on. It took months before the terrified, almost vomit-inducing anxiety left me every time I got on a motorcycle, but now I can say with total confidence, getting back on was the right choice.

The updated proof of The Adventure arrived in the mail today. As I hold it in my hand and see all the work from the last year culminate in an actual, physical book, it hits me, “This is actually happening.”

I might hit the pavement in the process, but it’s worth it. I’ll never question if it’s possible again.

Don’t get me wrong, I might have vomit-inducing anxiety as I move forward, but that’s natural and no amount of anxiety will keep me from getting back on and moving forward.

Where are you at in pursuing life? Any “this is happening” moments?

Blessings,

Jennifer

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The Value of People Amidst the Chaos

I would never have learned to ride a motorcycle without the support of certain key people. Fear and the resistance of time played too strongly in my mind for me to break through that barrier all by my lonesome self.

I’m not a bold person by nature. So my husband finding a motorcycle I could touch the ground on happened because he cared enough about my dreams to urge me forward.

Likewise, taking the class to learn happened because my neighbor wanted to learn as well, and she loved the idea of hanging out together. She encouraged me on when the bike flew from under me and I hit the ground.

This reminds me strongly of the verses in the Bible that say, “Two are better than one…For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Whether you believe in the Bible or not, there’s a lot of truth in those verses. Our society emphasizes personal strength. We glorify the person who did something on his or her own, but we often forget the quiet supporters who stood behind the person and urged him on when the storms threatened to drown him.

This creates a false image in our minds of what true strength looks like. We think achievements must be all our own or we’ve somehow failed. This sets us up to fall…and often we’re alone when we hit the ground.

This past week has emphasized the power behind having a team as opposed to going it alone. We are made for connection.

I wrote last week about my struggle. The Fligiwagit! moment when I received yet another rejection and the tears that followed.

It was my husband in that moment who encouraged me past the tears. It was my dad who started asking questions about who else I might look at for editing. It was a friend who offered to lay a fresh set of eyes on the manuscript for Moonrise Mountain.

I could go on. There were numerous people who saw my bleeding knees and reached to pick me up.

As Jeff Goins encourages, I’m finding my tribe. And, since last week, I’ve found an editor and continue to move forward. All because of the people encouraging me on.

People are beautiful and amazing. Don’t hesitate to reach out. Bring them along side you in your dreams and you’ll be amazed at the joy it can bring.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Frustrated Childhood Dreams

dsc_0612In my childhood, my dad always had a motorcycle sitting in the garage. Every spring he’d head outside to bring the beast back to life with some tuning and then a couple sputtering coughs and finally it’d roar with joy.

If we were lucky, my sisters and I would get to ride with dad along the dirt roads and through forestland near our home. Not a care in the world, I’d lean back and grin with the feel of the bike and the world around me full of warm weather and life.

I’d dream of driving my own motorcycle and exploring the world. I’d see new places, introduced to me by the smell in to my nostrils before I even left the road. The sights would be that much clearer because they weren’t framed by the outline of a car window and were brought to me through the rush of wind on my face. The possibilities were limited only by my imagination.

As years passed, that dream sat in the back of my head, a tiny nugget of “I wish.” But with that nugget grew a malignant dose of reality. I realized, at some point, that most motorcycles sit too far off the ground for me to hold up with my short legs. (4’ 11″ of total height equals a very short inseam =)) Mixed in there came the realization of just how fast a motorcycle can go without the comforting metal frame of a car.

When my husband got his motorcycle a few summers ago, I thrilled to ride with him, but as soon as I threw my leg over that back seat, all those reality fears swarmed in to smother me. No longer could I simply sit back and grin, enjoying the wind in my face. The road passed by with alarming speed barely inches from the bottoms of our feet. Cars and trucks passed within feet of us, blowing their exhaust into our nostrils as they rumbled by, and the motorcycle itself tilted farther into the turns than I realized as a child.

img_0609My “I wish” clouded over, smothered in exhaust and noise. The desire still pulled at me but drawing it out, even to think about it, felt doomed. But my husband knew my childhood joy. Despite my reservations, he continued to talk about finding me a motorcycle and encouraged me to take rides with him. Then, last summer, he pulled the desire out of the sludge of exhaust by finding me a motorcycle I could touch the ground on. Never before could I fully lay the soles of my feet on the ground when straddling a motorcycle and the reality that maybe, just maybe, I could make the “I wish” come true filled me with a hesitant glimmer of hope.

Excitement and terror warred within me. I signed up for the class to get my endorsement and away I went to face my reality demons. For two days, I breathed down my terror, which sat like a sickness in my stomach, and let the excitement carry me. Even when, at the end of the first day, I totally messed up, and the motorcycle flew from under me, I found the excitement enough to put me back on the bike.

I knew then that, without a goal, the motorcycle would sit in my garage, taunting me that my reality demons were stronger than my courage. I determined to not give myself a choice. If it was sunny out, I was riding to work.

Every morning the sun lit my morning and I swallowed down that now very familiar terror. Maybe four or five weeks into it, I realized I was grinning on my way into work. Getting on the bike still terrified me, placed a deep ache in my stomach that threatened to keep me from following through, but actually being on the motorcycle brought me back to that kid, enjoying the wind and the sun.

With the New Year, just like most everyone else, I’ve looked at the coming year and contemplated what 2017 should bring. Especially with writing, this is always my point of re-motivation, where I find the drive to keep pressing forward.

In shock and sorrow, I’m seeing a trend in my writing just like in the “I wish” of riding a motorcycle. The thrill and joy are becoming clouded by the noise of reality.

Several years ago I jumped in with both feet and started my blog in conjunction with posting on other social media sites. The thrill of it left me grinning.

img_0607Now, the thought of working on a post feels very much like breathing in the exhaust of other cars. My goal to expand my platform led to more and more stuff and less focus to the point that the blog takes precedence over my other writing despite the fact that novels are my passion.

This isn’t to say I’m quitting the blog altogether. However, just as with the motorcycle, I found actually doing the activity I enjoyed most returned my enthusiasm. I had to cut down on the noise, take the fall, and press forward.

This is an extremely difficult decision for me but this year I’m looking at self-publishing the first adventure story and I need focus. I’ll continue to post updates and perhaps short stories as they arise; maybe I’ll rerun some of the adventures. I’m thrilled to share how the self-publishing thing goes and I plan on still checking in on other blogs, but for now, please understand if I’m quiet on my end.

The support from everyone here humbles me, and I promise to return in the future. Until then, I wish you the best of luck with 2017.

Blessings,

Jennifer