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Buying a ticket / December 14, 2014

This summer, armed with an idea, a laptop and some quality time, I unknowingly began a new adventure. On October 11th I published my first book, “The Contest”. I’ve always wanted to write a book, but until I sat down and started typing, I never knew just how much I would love bringing the characters in my mind to life. The week that it took me to write the book was probably the most fulfilling week I’ve had in a long time. Let me tell you a little about myself…

When my oldest was born, I willingly and happily gave up my career in Human Resources to be a stay at home mom. I loved being home with both of my boys. Seeing their first smiles, hearing their first words and watching their first steps was a precious time that I wouldn’t give up for all the money in the world. Yet, along with all the joy and happiness, and believe me there was plenty, I also found that there were no performance reviews, rare pats on the back, no pay raises, few to zero breaks and often, a limited sense of accomplishment. Making dinner and picking up toys was to be expected, even though to me it seemed like a feat in itself. If you made a delivery to my house or came to fix something, I talked your ear off. I was happy to talk to complete strangers in the grocery store just to have a little adult conversation. As the boys grew and needed me less, I did some direct selling and substitute teaching. I considered going back to work part-time in HR. I considered just about everything I could think of, but somewhere deep inside, my heart was just not fully into anything. I simply went through the motions.

I remember watching an episode of Oprah where she talked about listening to God’s whisper. About paying attention to the little things, leading you down a path or solving a problem on your mind. I began to believe that energy put out into the universe would in fact, come back. I held onto the belief that somewhere, sometime, I would figure out why I was here and what I was supposed to do. That quite possibly I was more than just a mom, a wife, a daughter and a friend. That I would and could, find my passion, if I was open to taking chances and listening with an open mind and heart. Looking back now, I heard a lot of whispers about writing. I’d even joke about writing a book to a friend of mine. Yet, I never really gave it a shot. I ignored the thoughts in my head. I placed it on the shelf in the back of my mind as a crazy thought and an impossible dream. This was a long process for me with negative thoughts and “I can’ts” invading at every turn.

There’s a scene in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” where Julia Robert’s character goes to a guru, or something, and he tells her a story with a lesson. Don’t quote me on this. I simply remember it the way it spoke to me. This story was about a man who prayed to God that he would win the lottery. Every day he prayed and prayed and prayed. Day after day, week after week, month after month he prayed to God to please let him win the lottery. He never won. Finally one day after praying and begging, God spoke to him, yelling down “Buy a ticket!” Let me repeat that. If he wanted to win the lottery he needed to buy a ticket. It resonated deep down inside. I heard it and replayed it in my mind. I repeated it to everyone who would listen. It became the thing that I said to myself whenever there was a change I was concerned about, or an opportunity I didn’t think I could handle. Buy a ticket. As moms, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, wives, friends and human beings in general, how often are we ready or willing to buy ourselves a ticket? We get caught up in doing what’s expected and needed. We get caught up in the giving and being there for everyone else that we forget to be there for ourselves. After giving for so long without taking, we often forget who we are or what we want. Then begins the process of trying to decide who you are apart from your kids, or your family, or your friends. We begin to wish for an answer. I wished for an answer. It was so easy to get caught up in the idea of giving and wishing, that I forgot that in order to see a change, I had to take a step in one direction or another. To do more than dream. To do more than wish. To do more than put pictures on a board. To buy myself a ticket. To take a first step.

I’m not sure what possessed me to sit at my laptop that day in June. The kids were playing Minecraft and weren’t fighting for once. The dishes in the sink looked like they wanted to be dirty for a while longer. I had this story in my mind about a musician and a college girl who thought he was too far out of reach. I had a middle, but not a beginning or an end. I thought I’d write a page or two just for fun. As I started to write, the words began to flow. It became fun. I didn’t want to stop for dinner. I didn’t want to go to bed. I just wanted to write. When I was in my story and my fingers were typing, I felt joy.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that day, I bought a ticket. It may never win me a jackpot, but it’s a ticket that wins me a purpose. A purpose for me, and me alone. The perks? I get to share my stories and try to make other people smile. And I hope that I also get the chance to help other people find the courage to buy tickets of their own.

So as I begin this journey, I hope you’ll stay with me. I hope you’ll read this book and all the ones I have yet to write. I hope you’ll read what I have to say and that maybe someday, one thing I say will reach down inside and grab your heart or make you smile. Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for helping me continue to buy a ticket, each and every day.

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