Author * Dream Chaser

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That’s me. I’m an author. I’m a dream chaser. There are some nay-sayers out there that wonder about all this “dream” talk. I get it.

I really do.

But let’s look at this another way. What if your dream was better defined as that thing that makes you, you? What if your dreams are perfect visions of what you were made to do and be?

I believe our “dreams” are part of our calling, or that mark we’re meant to leave on our world. Maybe our world is within the walls of our own home? Maybe it’s something we have to contribute that could literally change our world or make a positive impact on society in a major way? Maybe it’s the way we are called to support others, from behind the scenes?

I don’t know what your dream is or what that calling is. But I do know that you are here for a reason and have something that only you can bring to the world.

So what is it for you? What dream should you be chasing? What dream have you let lie dormant for far too long?

I’ve been chasing dreams for a long time. In fact, I recently realized that my dream chasing goes much further back than the most obvious things I think of {foster care & writing} when I think about chasing dreams.

One thing I’ve learned, as I’ve chased hard, is that the your reasons to quit can sometimes be greater than your reasons to keep pushing. This is a fact. But you’ve got to keep pushing & fighting your way through. Opposition to the dream doesn’t indicate a darn thing.

People of faith are often uncomfortable with this, believing that “closed doors” indicate that it’s time to end the pursuit of . . . whatever it is.

But this is faulty thinking. Maybe it’s our “first-world” issues in America that make us give up so easily – as if everything should be handed to us on a golden platter.

What I know? Sometimes the most beautiful gifts in my life have come after the toughest climb. Sometimes opposition actually means you’re in exactly the right place. Some of you are there right now.

In a way, I’m kind of there too. There’s a lot of reasons I can’t or shouldn’t. But I’m going for it anyway.

I don’t know what your dream is, but I’m here cheering you on. I’m cheering you on, while I chase mine.

Tell me about your dreams {if you feel a need to “speak” this dream aloud}.

 

 

 

Tell the Story

elaina avalos, chasing hope by elaina avalos, maya angelou, writer

Tell the story.

Tell your story.

For far too long I’ve known it was time to tell my story.

There’s a story to share, because by God’s grace, I am not where I was. There’s a story to tell because He has redeemed and restored me.

I need to share my story. But beyond that, I’m called to do so. I’ve resisted for one reason or another. But most of the reasons ultimately come back to living my life for the betterment of an organization, versus my larger purpose on this earth.

In recent months, the why I’m here on this earth has crystallized and yet even still, I’m working my way through the details. But I do know that I need to tell my story.

Years ago I heard Anne Marie Miller (aka Anne Jackson) speak at a church. She talked about how there may be times in our lives where we’re called to give the gift of going first.

What does that mean? It means that we might need to tell our own story so others know there is hope, healing, freedom, etc. We may need to go first so they feel free to seek help, healing, and take a chance on hope.

I knew before that evening in Corona, California, that I needed to go first. Listening to Anne confirmed it.

And then life happened. I made choice after choice after choice that put me at odds with that calling. I put everything in front of my faith and the calling on my life.

The organization that deposits a paycheck in my checking account every two weeks, won. What I was being called to do by the God that chases me down, did not.

But in recent times, I’ve grown more and more certain that God is asking me to leave this old way of life, behind.

I’ve become more certain that telling my story is what He’s asking of me.

And yet, I’ve still held back.

After some of the hardest weeks and months of my life in 2016-2017, in which I lived in fear, some of the worst anxiety I’ve ever experienced, and my heart was broken (so very badly), I knew something had to change. And I knew I had to tell my story.

But I’ve still held back, ya’ll. I have such a hard head. Tell me I’m not the only one…

Fast forward to tonight. Our worship team at church somehow picked the exact songs I needed tonight. The words, as I sang them, were prayers, commitments, and reminders of the God that chases me down and is owed all of my life – every part of it – to include my story.

I didn’t notice our worship pastor’s shirt until the service was almost over and we were singing the last song (Do It Again).

It has been a favorite worship song for a while. But as the song started, I saw George’s shirt. White letters on black, “Tell the story” it said.

I smiled big.

You may think it’s a coincidence. You may not think it’s a sign. You may deny that there’s a message there for me or anyone else. But I know, like I know today is Saturday, that God could (and did) use a black t-shirt to slap me upside the face.

Do you know how many times this week I’ve begun this post? Not about a song or t-shirt but about “telling the story?” I’ve started this countless times but stopped myself every time.

So no. It’s not a coincidence.

Tell the story.

In my heart of hearts, I think we all know what our calling in life is. I think you know, yours. I know mine. I may not always know what that looks like or how the pieces will come together, but I know, that I know, that I know.

My friends – I’ve got some writing to do. Non-fiction…a devotional, a book about how the trauma of my childhood has impacted my entire life (but isn’t the end of the story because of God’s grace). I may have some other stuff to write, too.

Tell the story.

I’m going to tell the story.

 

Hold Fast to Your Dreams

chasing hope, elaina avalos, fiction, novel, hold fast to your dreams

A year ago today, I posted this photo on Instagram & Facebook. I had finally finished editing my novel, Chasing Hope. This novel, set in beautiful Beaufort, NC, had taken me far too long to write. Over the years, as I grew and changed, the novel did too. In many ways I’m thankful for that.

However, there is one primary way I would change things if I could. It is this . . .

I would not have let anything stop me from writing every day (or starting the foster care/adoption process sooner). I take on too much. I put things off in the name of my job. It was always, “Later. I’ll get to it later,” with me. I am sensitive – sometimes too sensitive. The way people treat me deeply impacts me. I take those burdens home.

chasing hope, elaina avalos, beaufort nc, fiction, novel

Or, I am burdened by other’s hurt, trials, etc. On one hand, this is not a bad thing. I don’t want to change who I am. However, I didn’t do such a great job separating out my own life from my career or the organization that employed me.

When you’re weighed down by the extras, it tends to hold you back from what it is you actually want to be doing. At least that’s true of me. I’m sure there are many others out there like me, however. Especially those of you that are sensitive, artists, or just generally don’t believe in yourself.

Even after publishing Chasing Hope (read an excerpt by clicking the link) last summer, I have done what I did for so many years – I put off writing the second book and stopped working on promotion of the first one.

There is an extra person in my house that impacts when I can write. But that’s really not the biggest impediment to me holding fast to and pursuing my dreams.

It’s the way I let my day job impact my personal life. Here’s the thing. I love what I do. I love the people that I have been working with since 2010. I truly do. I wouldn’t trade these 8 years.

What was so badly needed, was for me to learn sooner, how to leave work at work. The truth is, after all this time, the Marine Corps has made major changes to the program I love. And though I won’t lose my job (this time), in an instant, they’ll part ways with me, without a second thought.

chasing hope, elaina avalos, chasing hope by elaina avalos, fiction, novel, beaufort nc, pamlico county nc

A wise man, who knows this organization so well, once told me that it will do what is best for itself. No matter what. So . . . I probably should just go ahead and do what’s best for me and be who God has called me to be, right? Why silence, hide, or put other things first?

I do not regret for one second the two units I have invested so much of my heart in. Not even for a second. What I do regret is that I forgot to do that at home. That was my choice. No one else’s.

In the last two weeks, I’ve come to face some hard truths about myself and the organization I love. I’ve come to realize how patient God is with me as I put off the me He created me to be.

elaina avalos, chasing hope by elaina avalos, maya angelou, writer

Waking up this morning to that post was a reminder of what I want so badly for my life. In the book “Draw the Circle,” Mark Batterson talks about “circling” people, situations, dreams, etc., in prayer. Essentially that just means pray without giving up. I have a 3×5 card of the main things I want to circle in prayer.

On that card is my dream to write full time. Now that I have a little guy living in my house, this has grown in importance. Every time I pick him up from childcare and I’m reminded of what I wanted to be true of my life, I know that I need to throw everything I have at being home full time with him and whomever else joins our little family.

This is the dream. It may not be your dream, but it has always been mine.

For those of you sitting on your dreams, don’t do it any longer. Maybe that dream is your side hustle right now. Maybe you can’t begin to imagine how you’ll make it all come together. I understand.

You know what they say? Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Here’s the thing, I can pray until I’m blue in the face. But if I’m not out there doing my part, how exactly do I think doors are going to open for me and my family? If I’m not hustling, how exactly do I expect this dream to happen?

So, my friends . . . hold fast to your dreams. If you’re a pray-er, pray.

But get to work.

I’ll get to work with you.

What dream of yours has been languishing, as you put other things first? Care to share? Maybe it’s time to share and speak that dream out loud?

Waves

elaina avalos, missing you comes in waves

There are some days and nights when I’m not sure if I’ll ever get over you. This seems a little dramatic, no?

You can’t make this $%^&, up, right? The months that have passed leave me with more questions than answers and resolutions.

This can’t be the end.

If it is, this is the biggest (maybe second biggest) punk’d moment God has ever pulled off, in my life.

Tonight, I am drowning. Last night, I longed to talk to you. Tonight is no different. I pray for the ability to let go.

“Hang on, hang on.” I hear in my head when I’m standing on the edge and about to say, “NO MORE. I can’t wait any longer, pray any longer. I can’t wait for you anymore.”

And then, I can’t let go.

I miss you. I may, always.

You can’t make this up.

Things I Would Like To Do . . .

elaina avalos, romance, love, relationships

Where are you, Baby?

Still somewhere choosing your words carefully, I presume?

There’s a hole here in this big house. It feels even bigger than normal.

There are things I’d like to do with you.

I’d like to cook an extravagant dinner with you, music playing, and candles burning.

I’d like to argue debate pointless & meaningless things with you because you make me laugh when you’re trying to be right & stick to a point for no reason.

I’d like us to unwind from a long day on the back porch, drinks in our hands, and a fire burning in the fire pit.

I’d like to raise some kids with you.

I’d like to find new ways to find each other, when the romance wanes and life gets hard.

I’d like to feel safe with you.

I’d like to curl up next to you, in our big bed – settling in beside you – the only person I want to share a bed with, for the rest of my life.

I’d like to camp with you, beside the ocean or in the mountains. I grew up doing this and there is nothing better than to wake up on a cool summer morning, the scent of our campfire still clinging to the air.

I’d like to make you laugh for the rest of my life. Or at least until I turn into a senile old lady (haha). But more important, I want to laugh with you. It’s the way we will get through.

There are so many things I’d like to do with you.

Let’s start now.

 

Run & Never Tire

This time I'm speeding with no direction.Without a reason. (1)

Dear Future Husband,

There’s a prayer I’m praying right now. It’s really the same thing over and over. I am praying for you. I’m praying we can somehow get past this wall that appears to be in front of us now.

I pray nothing will stand in our way.

I pray you’ll find me, see me, run and never tire. Desire is one of my favorite Ryan Adams songs. It has been for a handful of years. But somehow it’s a good one for right now.

Two hearts fading, like a flower.
And all this waiting, for the power.
For some answer, to this fire.
Sinking slowly.
The water as higher.
Desire

I am 100% convinced that amazing things are ahead for us and for our patchwork family. But floating around the edges of those days when my faith is strong, are so many moments when the fear is greater.

This weekend, as I miss you and worry I’ll keep right on missing you, the fear and faith have mixed. Equal amounts of both. One minute I’m certain. The next, I’m dreading a life without you in it.

I’m working on a novel. It’s a love story. It’s our love story. The one that hasn’t happened yet. This too, like my prayers for you – and for us, takes more faith than I have some moments.

But the man I know you are (and are becoming) makes the risk worth every moment of fear in the midst of all this waiting.

I’m going to keep praying big prayers, Baby.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20

A Love Story

Tyler Knott Gregson, love, poetry, love story

When I was a little girl, I used to dream up love stories. It’s a curse, I tell you. It has followed me past 40 and right on into my 42nd year. Except now I write the love stories instead of just dreaming of them.

When you write love stories, you should probably find a way to balance that creative, romantic mind of yours with real life. I’d rather not sometimes. Lately I’ve been working hard at this. But failing. Miserably.

The love story I’d write for myself certainly wouldn’t start at 40, 41, or 42. But one thing I know for sure? When it happens, I won’t be giving up easily or throwing in the towel when things get weird and it’s easier to walk away.

The other thing I know for sure? All this waiting has worn me thin and tired at the edges. Worn thin and tired. When you find it and it slips away or you question on the quiet, lonely nights if he’s ever going to show up on your doorstep, you convince yourself to give up. It’s all for the best, dear heart – you say to yourself. And then what? I hang on a little longer, my heart ever hopeful until I am reminded of where I sit and where he sits.

Tonight, after 20 hard days that followed some dark months at the end of last year, my heart is tired. My heart is worn thin & tired, friends. The love story I most want to write won’t float to the surface because my greatest fear lives there.

Worn thin and tired.

Won’t you come home to me now? What’s with this waiting, my dear friend? These are the questions I would ask him if I could. The Goo Goo Dolls have a sweet and light song called “Come to Me.” Ryan Adams has one too {he’s one of my favorites} but it’s a little sadder.

“Come to me my sweetest friend…”

“History is like gravity, it holds you down, away from me”

Here on this edge, this quiet place, where I’m tired of living without him, I’m fighting for hope sitting here in this empty house. Won’t you come to me, my sweetest friend? Sit with me – right here next to me – so we can patch up these worn and frayed edges.

Say it. Write it. Do it.

 

Paulo Coelho, Life is short, Elaina Avalos, Chasing Dreams

Life is short. There is no better time to say what needs to be said. There is no better time to chase after those dreams.

I’ve stayed quiet when I wanted to speak. I’ve not written words that needed to be written. And I’ve put off what is most on my heart.

Why? Fear of what others would think is a good place to start, though there are other reasons, too. This is no way to live.

I’ve been half-regretting the post I wrote last week. But I think my calling is to write truth whether it’s about my life or not. I also think it’s important to go first – giving others the gift of going second.

There are people out there, struggling. They don’t know where to turn or what to do. And they feel alone in their struggle. No one should. So . . . part of my calling is to be open in that struggle because I have a Hope in me that can’t be denied, no matter what happens around me.

For me, since my faith defines my life, the safest place I can be is when I’m living out my calling – in spite of what others might think of me.

Is it time for you to do a little saying, writing, or doing? Go for it, my friend!

Say it. Write it. Do it.