Chasing Dreams

Today has been a little rough. I’ve felt it all afternoon – this lingering sadness. I’d been tracking this day for a while. But in my distraction over facing a new week (when I don’t want to), it slipped from the forefront of my mind. But it all came back a little bit ago & now I know why today has been rough. Today marks six months since my baby brother passed away.

His death has been tough to process on so many levels. The thing I keep going back to besides missing him – is how very precious our time is. I make constant excuses. “I’ll start on my plan once I get through holiday events. I’ll make a decision after __. I’ll just stay a little bit longer – it makes the most logical sense.” 🤬👎🏼🤮

But time marches on. I know my brother felt time breathing down his neck, too. He was getting older and faced the need to get healthier. He was pursuing that when he passed away. But he had some things that he hadn’t been able to do yet. I know it weighed on him.

Six months since losing my brother. And time passes on without moves in the direction I want to go in. If there’s anything good that can come from grief and losing your only sibling, I hope it’s that I finally get off my @$& and create the life I know I’m meant to live.

I need to be chasing dreams, not counting down days until my next break from work.

Change of Seasons

autumn leaves, change in seasons, seasons change, yellow leaves, eastern north carolina, elaina avalos

Yesterday, I was out on my patio watering my plants. I swear I didn’t see this much yellow (there was no red) in the jungly vines in the woods. The heat & humidity are with us & probably will be all month (maybe into October), but there are little signs the seasons are changing. As I started to write this, a stray rainstorm blew in and yellow leaves fell to the ground. It really feels like autumn is on the way, now.

autumn leaves, red leaves, change in seasons, seasons change, yellow leaves, eastern north carolina, elaina avalos

I always find some renewed hope when the seasons change. There’s not a lot externally that’s changed for me, though change is what I long for. I long for a new place, new people, new relationships and opportunities. I’m waiting for my greatest dream. Usually, when I want something new I just go do it. I go get it. I make the move. I make the change.

For the first time in ages, I feel the pull toward the change, but know my change of seasons isn’t quite upon me yet. There were a couple moments this weekend when that made me uncomfortable. I like change and when I’m ready, I’m ready. It goes against every instinct in me to remain in the same place.

autumn leaves, change in seasons, seasons change, yellow leaves, eastern north carolina, elaina avalos

But something is keeping me grounded. Which tells me God is actually at work here. And while I may never understand the reason, I know the timing is off for the change I so long for.

So, if you, like me – are longing for change but it eludes you so far – maybe stop to soak in the change in the seasons. Let nature’s shifting & changing be enough right now (as hard as that may be).

As I enjoy one last day off on this holiday weekend, I wanted to say that I hope you will find the moments to enjoy what each season brings with it – even when it feels uncomfortable.

Pretty flower photos, from my patio, for no reason…

What Lies Around the Bend

john-towner-3Kv48NS4WUU-unsplash, L.M. Montgomery, Elaina Avalos

“I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend.” ~ L.M. Montgomery

It’s a different kind of Monday Motivation for me, today. I have had most of the day off (worked a little this morning) and I’ve spent the weekend working on, planning for, and thinking about the future (what’s around the bend in the road). Somehow, though I certainly know how I’d like things to go, I’m very much at peace with what lies around the bend.

I’m looking forward to it – though I honestly don’t know exactly what I will find. I am looking forward to a trip out of town next week, as I continue to plan for and think about the future. But no matter what, I’m at peace with what is and what is coming my way. That’s an awesome feeling.

So . . . on that note, what are you looking forward to this week or in the coming months? If the answer is “I don’t know,” I hope you’ll find some motivation in the hope of a new adventure – even if you don’t know what that is.

What Comes Next?

“I hope
you can find
peace
while
breathing
deep
without
knowing
what
comes
next.”
– Morgan Harper Nichols

What I know for certain is that life is uncertain. Making decisions about the future is tough sometimes. As I apply for jobs in California and various other locations around the country, the unknowns are mounting. What I don’t know, far outweighs what I do know. The challenge in moments like these is to keep my eyes fixed on God. My goal throughout this journey is being at peace with whatever comes my way.

I’m always up for an adventure. It has been awhile since I’ve had one, however. I think I’m due for one. So while I don’t know where the path is leading, I’m at peace.

I Wrote a Novel

elaina m avalos, chasing hope, beaufort nc

I wrote a novel. In June of 2017, my novel Chasing Hope was published. As I approach the four-year anniversary, I thought I would share a bit about the book. You can find it here in Kindle and print format. There is a preview available on Amazon. You can also sign up for my newsletter to read the first chapter for free! You can do that, by clicking here or here. You can also view what some of my readers have written about the book, here.

Here is the book blurb, from the back of the book:

Dr. Ava Cooper has it all. Scratch that – she had it all. The day she buried her daughter was the beginning of the end. With one fell swoop her ex-husband took what was left of the life they created together. All that is left is a demanding boxer, her worldly possessions, and the SUV she bought as a first year resident. With nothing left of the old life, Ava heads south to help out and old friend. In the small and quirky coastal town of Beaufort, North Carolina – a tiny hamlet situated on the Southern Outer Banks – Ava quickly learns that her plan to quietly fade into the background to find some semblance of normalcy is not on her new neighbor’s and staff’s agenda for her. As she settles into southern small-town living, she meets a family and a baby in the foster care system that threaten to break through her grief-stricken and heart. Will Ava be able to let hope in long enough to get back the life she desperately longs for?

This book holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons – mainly because it’s the first complete novel I’ve written. It’s also one that took me way too long to write. The process was daunting, to be honest. I let so many things distract me and get in the way (like my day job). Rather than be single-minded in my focus on accomplishing my dreams and using the gifts God has given me, I focused far too much on the job that paid the bills. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself. However, I didn’t put enough emphasis on my dreams or writing what I believe I’m meant to write. I let work take over my life. I mean, take over.

I worried too much about what people would think. I shied away from writing content on my blog (I had a different blog that had a larger audience and community at one time). Overall, I just let my writing wither away under the weight of what other people would think. That’s just dumb. In years past, I was part of multiple writer communities online. Many of the people I have known in these circles over the years have gotten literary agents, publishing deals, and are cranking out books with traditional publishing houses.

It’s not arrogant to say I think that I could be in their shoes too. The only difference is, I didn’t work for it. Phew, what a sucky realization that was when I first woke up to it. It was all my fault and all of my own choosing. But one day I came to terms with this and decided I wouldn’t let my life go unlived. I wouldn’t let the books go unwritten. And I certainly wouldn’t ignore the dreams I’ve long held in my heart.

Today isn’t Monday Motivation – but we’ll call it Tuesday Truths. The only thing standing in the way of you accomplishing your dreams and goals? It’s you. It’s me. We can make all the excuses we want. But at the end of the day, we are own worst enemy when it comes to going after what we want. I just refuse to live that way anymore. So whatever it is . . . go get it, friends.

You can check out a few excerpts here, here, here, and here. To read a bit about Beaufort, North Carolina – the Southern Outer Banks town where the book is set, here are a few posts about my Beaufort adventures (I lived there for a bit, too!):
https://elaina-avalos.com/2017/08/17/beaufort-by-the-sea/
https://elaina-avalos.com/2016/04/28/beaufort-wine-food-weekend-wine-bread-and-cheese-seminar/
https://elaina-avalos.com/2017/09/03/more-from-beaufort-north-carolina/