Stories of faith, life, and love

Tag: dreams

What I’m Reading Christmas: Once Upon a Silent Night

What I’m Reading:
Once Upon a Silent Night

Dreams are funny things. Not the asleep in your bed kind of dreams. The what do I want to be when I grow up sort of dreams.

Dreams are goals on steroids. They’re the major goal that you meet all the minor goals to reach. And dreams have the ability to motivate you to do all sorts of things you wouldn’t otherwise consider. It’s all in hopes of finally achieving that one thing you’ve been straining to reach for who knows how long.

Dreams can also frustrate, confuse, and discourage you. “Only when you don’t reach them,” you might think. You’d be wrong.

Of course, working hard and planning every step to bring you closer to your dream only to find yourself further away than when you started is definitely a discouragement. I’m not arguing that point. But sometimes, the reality of achieving your dream isn’t what you thought it would be back when it was only an idea shining brightly in your mind.

Then, all you saw was the payoff, the prestige, or the fulfillment it would bring. When you finally succeed, the work to maintain the dream or to move to a new stage of the dream hits you squarely in the face. The dream is still sweet, but the maintenance of it can be draining. Still, you wouldn’t trade anything for chance to achieve the dream.

At least, that’s the thought that keeps Alessia Talbot warm at night in Kimberly Rae Jordan’s book Once Upon a Silent Night. I mean, it’s literally keeping her warm at night since she’s living in her car. Her dream got her kicked out of her home. When her dream didn’t immediately pan out, she ended up with a series of dead end jobs that eventually led to no place to call home except the SUV her parents gifted to her before her exile from the family.

With a low paying job, Alessia has a system worked out to provide her basic needs. She simply cannot afford an apartment. She knows she can always go back home, but it means giving up her dream of singing professionally for life as a lawyer in the family practice. She’d rather fight the cold than give in to their demands.

When a local church sign declares their building will be open 24 hours a day through the holiday season, Alessia takes the chance to warm up after her late night shift at the bar where she works. Gio has the overnight shift at the church, and his welcoming no pressure attitude frees her to come back night after night.

As these hours of warming up continues, Alessia soon warms up to Gio too. Though neither is completely open about their past, friendship is formed as they find they’re kindred spirits in many ways. The closeness they share is new for both of them, and they each battle with being attracted to the one they don’t believe they can ever have.

Gio introduces Alessia to the real meaning of Christmas while helping her reclaim a fondness for the holiday season. In the process, his support and encouragement opens Alessia up to possibilities she hasn’t considered for her life.

Even as they’re growing closer, Alessia knows she has to either give up her dream or walk away from Gio and the hope she’s found in the town of New Hope Falls. But she’s already given up so much to make her dream a reality. She’s not going to throw it away now, even if it breaks her slowly healing heart.

Fighting for our dreams is like that sometimes. We get stuck thinking the dream is the be all, end all. We have to achieve the dream no matter what we leave behind. We get so narrowly focused we can’t see God modifying the dream or changing it completely. We end up down a path God never intended us to travel.

Dreams are tricky. Sometimes they’re born out of our own desire. Other times they are God-given. How do we choose which ones to follow and which ones to leave behind? That’s the question Alessia faces in Once Upon a Silent Night.

Four Christmas Angel Rating

I give this book 3.5 Christmas Angels. (But since I don’t want to half an angel my picture still shows four). It was a good story, and I think it would have been even better if I’d read the earlier stories in the series.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, when I have to determine if a dream is mine or God-given, I start with giving it back to Him. I acknowledge to Him that my heart’s desire is whatever the thing is, but I desire His will above all else. I ask Him to keep me going forward if it is from Him, but to close doors if it isn’t a path I should take. It’s not always 100% clear, but He’s always given me little proofs of which direction I should go.

What about you? Do you have a dream you’ve had to give up things for? Was it worth it?

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I Am An Author

You may be rolling your eyes at me right now. “Of course, you’re an author,” you may say. “With three published books, a complete series no less, did you think you were anything other than an author?”

Seems simple enough, but some days it’s harder than you’d think to claim the title. I’ve known for years I am a writer. And I’m aware that author has fit since my first book was published three years ago. If I had any doubts, books two and three or the signed contract for a totally new book, should have dispelled them.

Logically, I am an author. It’s what I’ve always wanted to be. Yet, when someone asks me what I do, I look them right in the eyes and say, “I’m a receptionist in a doctor’s office.”

Why?

I haven’t always wanted to be a receptionist. Want is a strong word even now. It’s a job. It pays the bills. I give my best effort to do my job well, but at the end of the day, my 8-5 job doesn’t provide me with any fulfillment or purpose or lasting enjoyment. It’s not what I want to do or how I want to be known.

But it’s almost always my answer. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I spend most of my time in that office. My most productive hours of the day are spent draining all my energy in tasks that aren’t even semi-related to what I really want to do. Or it could be that I currently earn more money through my receptionist position than I do with my writing.

Whatever the reason, it’s wrong. A receptionist is not who I am. It is what I do to pay bills. Yes, it demands a lot from me that I would rather have to give to my writing, but it is currently necessary. Needing the job does not require that the position defines me.

I am a writer, a published author. That is who I am. Yes, I am other things too, but being an author has been a major part of the dream of me for as long as I can remember. I’ve relinquished that dream to God on multiple occasions. He has given it back to me, and when I write, I know I am ministering to others in the way He created me to serve.

I have a series already published. I have another book due to release in July 2021. I am learning more about the craft of writing, seeking to encourage others in their writing journeys, and slowly (painfully, at times) building my skill in the various programs and techniques I need to employ to market my writing. I do these things to better myself and grow as an author. But maybe it’s time I go back to step one and reinforce an important truth until I can claim it without hesitation.

Hello. My name is Heather Greer, and I am an author.

Is there some part of who you are that is more difficult to claim than others? Maybe, like me, it is related to a dream you’ve held for a long time. Maybe it’s a scriptural truth about yourself that is hard to accept.

By the way, all three of the books in my Faith, Hope, and Love series are on Kindle Unlimited. If you’re a member, you can read them for free. If you’ve read them already, pass on the information to a Kindle Unlimited friend!

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Courage to Be

I may have used this quote in the past. If so, I apologize. It seemed fitting for this second day of 2019. It’s something I definitely want to get better at this year. I hope you will too.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”  e.e. cummings

For a long time I had trouble accepting the title of author or even writer. Mother was no problem. Wife was easy. I never stumbled over the title of daughter, sister, or even receptionist. Though I have to admit I never really aspired to earn that last one. Life simply took me there. But writer was another story.

Writer was, and still is, the dream. But dreams are full of unknowns. Dreams hold the possibility of failure. What happens if you reach for the dream, accept the title, and then fail? You’ve become associated with the name only to lose it again. For an introvert who doesn’t like attention, especially negative attention, this would be a humiliation hard to live down.

I didn’t run from the action of putting words on paper. Reading and writing have been part of who I am from the beginning. I think it must be in my DNA like my height or my green eyes. I cannot imagine not writing. But the act of writing is very different from accepting the title writer or author.

Like any dream that tries to define us in life, it brings with it the fear of failure. It is this fear that causes us to hem and haw when confronted with the innocent question, “What do you do?” It’s much easier to spout the easy answers, wife, mother, and even receptionist. The first two cannot be denied. The fact that I am married and have given birth means I belong to those clubs. The last one is easy to admit because it’s what I spend most of my time doing and it’s secure. But the thing I want most? That thing that is so deeply a part of me? To try and to fail at that would be like losing part of who I am.

This is why it takes courage to accept the title. This is why it takes courage to answer the questions with, “I am an author.” To live beyond the fear and not only accept that part of myself (accepting is easy) but to make it known to the rest of the world, this is what it means to grow up and be who I am.

You may not be an author. That’s the dream God gave me. That’s the passion He planted inside my heart. It doesn’t matter. What passion did He give you? What do you feel He is calling you to do? What do you feel if you couldn’t do it part of yourself would be missing?

Are you going after it? Are you praying about how and when God would like to use it in your life and the lives of others? I hope you are. But I also hope this coming year you find the courage to live out loud what you know God has called you to. I hope you find freedom from fears that hold you back and find yourself able to answer the question, “What do you do?” with whatever dream  God has blessed you with.

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