going after your dreams

It's Your Turn - Time to Make Your Biggest Dreams Come True - DreamsCo

For five and a half years I've been pursuing my list of dreams. It started with a question, "What If I wasn't afraid and didn't play by the rules?" By asking that one question my life drastically changed. I'm humbled by all that I've gotten to experience and the people I've met who've become friends. I've seen the world, become a published author, spoken in front of crowds, learned new skills, and I've flown literally and metaphorically. But now it's come to a point where my journey needs to become about others. I guess it's true, when you're selfish and fulfill your needs you have more to give back to the world. I've gained so much that now it's time to share. I felt so alone when I made my list, but as I embark on this part of the journey I'm no longer walking alone. I have a vision of a community of dreamers. People coming together to name their dreams and to pursue them together.

I want this to be a movement of people who don't settle in life but reach for magnificence, because only in dreaming can we see the life we're meant to live. I believe a world filled with people who achieve their dreams will be a world that's safer, kinder, more giving, and loving because we all know that we need a little good news these days!

To be honest I have no idea how I'm going to do this, but I'm just walking this path and figuring it out as I go. 

Perfect Timing - Being in The Moment - DreamsCo

Here's the truth - there's never going to be perfect timing. You're never going to have all the knowledge you need to go after what you want.

The Power of Determination - DreamsCo

Two weeks ago I made my 91st dream come true - I landed my first double jump in figure skating. Landing a double or an axel in figure skating as an adult is incredibly difficult. In order to make it happen you have to fall over and over and over again. And even though I wear pads on my knees and hips I worry about my hands, my elbows, and getting injured. This fear locks me in, causes me to wimp out and I get stuck doing the same dang mistakes repetitively. So what happened once I landed it? I jumped around, I sent a text to my coach, and then proceeded to lose it. I haven't landed it since. Today, my coach and I went back to the drawing board going through each and every position my body needs to hold in order to create the rotation in the air. Sometimes I think of the money I've spent just to learn these jumps. I wonder if it's worth it, but then I realize, where do I go from here if I don't go for it? I can remain doing the things I do well and be content. Or I can work hard, become frustrated, get bruised, hit exhaustion all with the chance I'll never feel it again. But to feel that rotation, the freedom, the knowledge that I overcame my fear - yep it's worth every penny and bruise.

When I think about 91 of my biggest dreams completed, it doesn't seem real. I have to look at it, to revel in it, to realize all the magical moments from the last five years that have taken place. And then I have to wonder where I go from here?

My priest told me a story one day about a man who was an alcoholic. The man didn't feel that he deserved God's love and Father Anthony said, "For one month I want you to go out each day and sit in the sunlight. You don't have to be anything to receive the warmth of the sun. This is like God's love." The man went out everyday and for the first month he didn't even feel worthy of sunlight. The next thirty days he began to heal and to feel worthy of love. And on the 90th day of receiving he realized he was casting a shadow and needed to turn and share this love with others.

I have ten more items on my list, but at this point I feel the need to turn around. I've been writing about my journey for three years; sharing all that's happened with the hope to inspire. Now I no longer want to hope, but to create a movement. It's time for people to step up, take hold of their dreams, and make them come true. For those who go and sit in the sunlight and soak up its worth have more to give to others in the end. It starts with a simple question. If you could have anything, go anywhere, or do something in the next year what would it be?

 

The Determination to Make Your Dreams Come True ~ Kirsty TV - DreamsCo

I love this story your about to read. It's about an amazing woman, Kirsty Spraggon who gave up her very successful career and flew half way around the world to pursue her dream of becoming a talk show host. She didn't have a job with any of the networks, or a high paying salary to fall back on. But she had the gumption to follow what many would say was an impossible dream. I'll let her tell you the rest in her own words, but realize she's living proof that dreams come true when you take the leap. At the end of her story follow the links to watch her doing what she does best - bringing great stories to the world. IMG_8397WEBFILE-Edit

Sometimes I reflect on where I’m at in my life and I find myself shaking my head and quietly laughing. What in the world am I doing?! I ask myself and in the next moment, I know; I’m listening to my soul and making a way to realize what my core is telling me. I’m one of those “crazy” people who has an outrageous dream.  Mine is to become a talk show host. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but that’s the main idea. For real insight into my dream, think–an Australian Oprah. Did your eyes widen at the audacity of my goal?

The great thing about being a dreamer who shoots for the stars, is that I know I’m not alone! Most of us will admit that we have a dream. Somewhere along the line, I grew to feel that “boldness” is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s key to getting what you want. It’s part of the recipe that gives me fuel to drive forward. It’s 1/3 of my mantra: a pinch of delusion, a dash of audacity and a shot of courage. I believe those three ingredients are what it takes to commit to your dream and be effective. I’ve even engraved it on a bracelet I wear as a reminder to take a dose when my faith is running low. I’m sharing it with you now because it’s working for me.

It’s been a year since I sold everything I owned, at the height of my career in Australia and moved across the planet with 2 suitcases to Los Angeles, or “Lala Land” as some like to call it. Deciding to change my life didn’t happen in the most dramatic leap, there were two parts. The first change came when I was at the top of my game in sales, ranked in the 1 per cent of RE/MAX’s global network of 121,000 sales agents. Something was nagging at me though; I wanted something more and new I wasn’t living my purpose. I wanted to become a speaker & to help others to find success. So, I went to every speaker seminar I could find and got to it I called it my year of speaker university. The best lessons I learned during my time as a speaker, were the power of words and connecting with people. I watch the best speakers make individuals feel like they were the only person in the room of thousands. And eventually, I learned how to connect with people too. It was exhilarating and mutually fulfilling. Something magical happens when people share thier stories and truly connect. I wanted to hone in on that part! That feeling lead to part two of my decision to take the biggest leap of faith in myself, of my life.

KirstyTV group on couch discussion

The self help guide, ‘So You Want To Be a Talk Show Host,’ was a life saver. Kidding! I don’t even know if there is such a book out there. And my inbox wasn’t full of invitations to host a show, so I did what I always do when I want something badly enough. I do it. I wish that sentence was longer, more profound and not as easy for people to throw away because that cliche is gold! Please keep in mind that I am not super human and building a show without any experience as a host, or interviewer and no camera training whatsoever, has left me paralyzed with fear at times. If I were to sum up my toughest times, I would say that Sir Edmund Hillary said it best, “It’s not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves.”  It really has been about conquering myself emotionally and mentally.

What keeps me going at even the most challenging of times is a ‘knowing’ that this is what I am supposed to do, an inner guidance that keeps pushing me forwards.

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Here we are today and Kirsty TV is a real online show with incredible guests, amazing stories and a real audience. I’ve received videos and messages from people across the world telling me that what I’m doing is important and that they are watching. I am connecting with people indirectly and directly! I can’t put into words what it’s like to sit with someone as they share their story and let you into their vulnerability. I’m truly honored to be an outlet for these people to share their message with the world.

So what do I know for sure a year into the journey? I know that I could have lived with loosing it all and having to go home and live with my parents but I could never have lived with the not knowing or the not giving it a go.

This journey has been my biggest learning. I have grown, stretched and become someone I wasn’t 12 months ago. The lessons you get when you put yourself into such an uncomfortable situation are profound, they make or break you.

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So there it is. Whatever your dream may be, make your way to it. See yourself as what you will become, especially when everyone else may think you are delusional. Be bold, be persistent, make it happen and ask for what you want. In the beginning, you may be perceived as a ‘nobody’, but you must have the audacity of a ‘somebody’. Audacity gives you the ability to fake it till you make it. Above all, you need courage, as without this I don’t know how you would survive the dream crushers and naysayers. You need the courage of a lion to stand strong in the most uncomfortable of situations, to keep moving forward, to keep getting back up when you fall, pushing onwards and upwards.

I hope you find your own recipe for success but in the meantime feel free to borrow mine, all you need is ‘a pinch of delusion, a dash of audacity and a shot of courage’.

KX

Check out Kirsty's Show:

 

If you missed me on The Today Show click here to watch.

www.kirstytv.com

www.kirstyspraggon.com

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A Mother's Dream ~ Meg Munson - DreamsCo

I met today's guest at Chick Lit Central. (I love the woman over at Chick Lit Central's website and Facebook Page who tirelessly champion for women writers and fabulous books so please check them out!) On the day of my guest blog they asked their readers to post their biggest dreams in the comments. I loved reading the comments and seeing so many women doing fabulous things in their lives. When I came across Meg's dream I had to contact her. Meg Munson wrote that her dream was to become a stay-at-home mom and she did it. What was once considered normal and expected of women, today is a very tough dream to realize. Most households need the double income to survive, but Meg had a dream and she found a way to do it.

Sometimes I believe there's a battle woman have whether they're stay-at-homers or working-moms that causes them to feel the pressure to stand-up for their choice. I think every woman should be supported in whatever choice she makes and I love that Meg fully embraces her dream.

Before I give you Meg in her own words, as many woman feel, Meg didn't want to self-promote so I'm going to do a little raving for her. You have to check out her website and all her talents and the amazing things she does. www.megmunson.com.

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Photo by Stacey Colton Photography

 

My name is Meg Munson and I am honored to be your guest blogger.  I am a mom to two beautiful girls ages 9 and 7 and I also have a very athletic stepson age 13.  I have been married to my husband for 10 years and I am lucky enough to be a stay at home mom.  When my husband and I got married and decided to start a family, it was my dream to stay at home with our daughters. I did not want someone else to raise them.  My days are now filled with delight in watching each new accomplishment my daughters make.  I can't imagine missing their first smile, first step, first word or first day of school every year.  Being a mom has brought me so much joy and I am extremely grateful for finding a company that has allowed me to be at home with my family everyday.

After my first daughter was born, I started researching home-based businesses.  While on one of my favorite mom sites I came across a great article written by another stay at home mom.  It was all about these great gourmet candles and amazing all natural products.  I did a lot of research on the company and loved what I found. The best part about this company is they offered more than one way to make money. They offered retail, wholesale, and fundraising opportunities as well as building my own team.  There were no monthly quotas or commitments to join. I figured if this other mom could do it, than I could give it a try too. I love our products and they practically sell themselves. (I mean who hasn’t burned a candle before? LOL)  I have helped many other women and men start their own home business.  I have been with my company for almost nine years and have met the most amazing people and have found lots of joy in helping others achieve their dreams.

Don’t get me wrong there have been some bad days and struggles along the way, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  We have had to keep a tight budget and not go on as many vacations as other families, but we make it work.  My days don’t always go as planned, but that is the great thing about working at home. I can make my own schedule and work around my kid’s activities. (Boy do they have a lot and my first job is really a chauffeur!)  I know many women out there don’t think they can work at home with small children, but it can be done. Knowing what your schedule is like daily and writing it all down helps you plan out when you have free time.  Believe it or not there is free time!  I use this time to blog, make connections with new people, call leads or update my website.  I may only have an hour of free time during the day, but I am a night person and accomplish most of my work after the girls go to bed.  It is all a balancing act and knowing what is right for you.  If being a stay at home mom is one of your dreams, I am here to tell you it can be a reality.  The smiles I see on my girls’ faces are my reward and I can’t imagine anything better!!!

Collection of Perfect Moments - DreamsCo

I’m a collector of perfect moments. Those times where you wouldn’t change a thing and though you know that in a flash it will pass, for that brief whisper life is miraculously beautiful. The collection sits within my mind and heart and during rough patches I can revisit knowing that the pain will slip away just as the perfection has.

Sometimes I journey back to a hillside in Futaleufu, Chile on a starry night where I sat in a field with five other people some I’d just met a few hours before. A young man’s fingers plucked guitar strings sending a melody into the soft, quiet breeze as blazes of color streaked across the sky in a meteor shower. From within the pocket of my sweatshirt I pulled out a chocolate bar from Bariloche, Argentina a hot commodity in this tiny town that has groceries delivered once per week. I broke pieces and handed them to my new friends. As the candy melted in my mouth I lay back and detailed the moment in my mind.

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Then there’s the bank of the Charles River on the Fourth of July with the water lapping against the grassy shore as the first fireworks exploded into the dark sky, timed to the music of the Pops.

 

Boston Pops Fireworks

 

And of course Florence, Italy in Piazza Signora. Alone, I curled into the stonewalls of the ancient buildings reading a decadent book as I sipped wine and listened to flute music fill the square. An artist sat across the street, looking up at times and I realized he was drawing me. Immediately shy, I tried to hide under my hair. He crossed the street, lifted my chin, nodded and began to draw again.

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And last Friday, I sat in Cafe Vittoria in Boston's North End writing my second novel. I listened to the cappuccino maker steaming, the crowds of children lined up for gelato, the tourists making dinner plans, and the locals speaking in Italian. I drank my latte while I tried to find the perfect words for the opening of my story. Joined by a very good looking man, I put my writing aside and for a couple of hours had one of the easiest conversations of my life. Though I was hopped up on caffeine, exhausted from lack of sleep, and feeling a little overcooked from the day's heat, as I watched him smile and laughed with him, yeah, it was another perfect moment.

When you ask people about their life stories, many will tell you the hardships, the pain, the worry they’ve encountered. As a writer, I collect these stories as well, trying to reach the depth of emotion so that someday I can create the hearts and souls of my characters.

But for me, the moments of bliss, the fragments of life that seem touched by the grace of God when I’m so amazed by this incredible world, these are what I try to imprint on my soul. They’re the moments that make me realize why I’m alive – to touch, taste, love, and be embraced by the majesty of life.

Becoming the Writer No One Thought I Could Ever Be - Caroline Leavitt - DreamsCo

The first time I met Caroline Leavitt was by reading her New York Times Bestselling Novel Pictures of YouHer beautiful book has been kept in a special place - in the short stack of novels that inspire me to be a better writer. Since publishing The Lake HouseI've gotten the chance to meet Caroline through an online writer's group. She's a warm, caring, and humble person who comes straight from the heart. I'm so honored that she's taken the time to write about what it took for her to pursue the dream everyone said was impossible.

I hope her words help you to find the inspiration to continue to pursue your dreams no matter how many times you're told "no." We all hear about instant success when we see someone accomplished, but so often there's a long struggle behind it. I give you the amazing Caroline Leavitt.

 

caroline earrings

The first word I heard, about my writing, was “no.” I was a little girl, eight-years-old and sickly with asthma, and I spent most of my time writing stories in the library while my friends were outside in the damp or the rain or the humid heat playing.  While they romped around, I imagined I was a ballerina in Spain or a doctor in Africa, or sometimes, an asthmatic little girl who was a famous writer. But when I told my mother that what I was going to be when I grew up was a writer, she shook her head. “Be a teacher,” she advised. “Or how about a nurse? You can help people that way. Stories are just a waste of time.”

Being stubborn, I didn’t listen. All though school, if I could write a story, I would. I never wrote a real book report, but instead, made up the books and then wrote reports on them, and I wasn’t discovered until my senior year of high school, when the teacher went to find the book and discovered it didn’t exist. When I had to go see my guidance counselor about college, I told her I was going to be a writer. She blinked at me. “Pardon me,” she said. “But I see no evidence that you could ever be a writer.”

I was seventeen when I began sending out my stories, packing them in those big brown self addressed stamped envelopes and sending them off to magazines. They always came back with form letters. “You’re wasting postage,” my father said, but I kept sending them out, anyway.

In college, I got into a creative writing class, one of 15 terrified kids under the scrutiny of a then famous writer. The first time he talked about my story, he held it up at the edges. “Let’s be frank,” he said. “This is totally crap.” I felt the tears streak my cheeks as he talked about how my lack of characterization, my lame plot, the deadening affect of my prose, but I didn’t leave. The next day, when I came back, he raised one brow at me. “Back again for more punishment?” he said.

“I’m here to learn.”

And learn I did. Every night, when the other kids were at parties or in the city, I was in my tiny dorm room, scratching out stories, working to make them right, sending them off, and always, always, getting those big brown envelopes back again.teenCaroline

When I graduated college, I had to have a job, but to my parents’ shock, instead of going for teaching jobs or nursing, I took low level terrible jobs so I could write. “Where’s your future?” my parents cried. I was fired from my job at an answering service, when I kept giving the emergency messages to Dr. Foot the obstetrician to Dr. Foot the podiatrist. I was fired from a job at a puzzle factory when I was too frightened of the glue press. And I was fired from my job typing because this was before computers and spell check , and I just made too many mistakes. I came home, discouraged, and when I did, there, in the mail, was a big brown self addressed stamped envelope. Disheartened, I ripped it up, scattering the pieces on the porch. I was about to walk inside when I happened to look down and then I saw it. One word.

Congratulations.

Swooping down, I frantically put all the pieces together. I had won the Redbook Young Writers Contest. Seven thousand dollars and publication.  An agent. A book deal.

“I’m finally a writer!” I told my friends.  But really, when you think about it, wasn’t I always a writer?  If you put your whole heart and soul into something each and every day, if you are on the journey, isn’t that as important as the destination? I was a writer--my dream--the first time I picked up a number 2 pencil and wrote, “once upon a time” when I was eight. And the dream’s never over. Every day now, I sit at my computer and there isn’t a moment I don’t feel lucky and blessed. Not a moment I don’t also think that the best way to make dreams come true is to never stop dreaming.ITT

 

Caroline Leavitt is the New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You, which was one of the Best Books of 2011 from the San Francisco Chronicle, The Providence Journal, Bookmarks Magazine and Kirkus Reviews. Her new novel, Is This Tomorrow, is a May Indie Pick, and a San Francisco Chronicle Editors Choice. Visit her at www.carolineleavitt.com

When a Dream Comes True - The Lake House Makes Its Way Into The World - DreamsCo

The last two weeks have been a blur of activity. Each morning I wake to new exciting news: a good review; being chosen as one of the six best summer reads by CBS; The Paper Store choosing my book as their June Book Club event; Costco carrying my book; great first week sales; book signings; and emails from people who have read and loved the book.  ReadingOnBeach Everyone keeps asking me what it feels like, but I'm not certain how to respond. When you've wanted something since you were a little girl and suddenly it's happening the emotions are overwhelming: excitement, pure joy, and of course the ever present fear that I"m not doing enough or I won't be enough in the end. (Dang that pesky feeling!)

The strange part is that there's also the touch of fame. People want their pictures taken with me. They smile and stare at me telling me that they can't wait to tell their friends that they've met me. The book is taking on a life of its own as people tweet and repost and rave, while others make comments that the book has scenes that are too "steamy" for comfort. (Hey, I write about life, and sex is part of life. It's not romance, but men and women share intimacy and I guess true love scenes that aren't bodice ripping crazy or only hinted upon haven't made their way to stories.)

Suddenly there's a video of me talking about, The Lake House, and articles written by journalist. My private world, hidden behind a blog that's completely controlled, is no longer the only place to find information on me. And though this moment is one of the greatest in my life it's also brought out the insecurities.

As a young woman I lived through my insecurities. When I lost enough weight and exercised away my curves then I could go after my dreams. If I acted in a way so that everyone liked me, then I was acceptable to society. More than not, I hid from the world.

Going after my biggest dreams in life, following the path of this list, caused me to come out from behind the shadows. I became confident in who I am and I stopped making excuses for my perceived flaws. Then the night the video was released, it all came rushing back. I couldn't look at it for fear that the person I saw in the mirror didn't live up to the one on the camera. Reviews were something I tried to hide from in case they said something that would hurt.

The Lake House Video

I know it's all quite silly. I know it's time to shake it off, be proud of all that I've accomplished and say, "This is what I've done, this is who I am, and whatever anyone says, well it doesn't matter." The great part of becoming an author is that I get to be surrounded by incredible female authors and it turns out these emotions I'm having - well they're common even amongst the most successful.

So if you're putting off going after your dreams until the perfect moment when no one will be able to find your perceived flaws - there's never going to be a time. The good thing, no one else will notice those ideas of weakness you see. They may view you through their perceived flaws but for the most part they'll see you as someone who took a risk and they'll remember the dreams they wish they could make come true.

 

Going After More Dreams - DreamsCo

You would think after completing 88 of my biggest dreams in life that I would be done, bored, or tired. I mean come on, five years of pursuing everything I want with everything I have - the ups and downs, the focus needed - exhausting right? The funny thing, I want it more now than ever. My life is coming together in a way that I couldn't have perceived five years ago when I sat in a park without a career, a plan, a home, or much of anything else. As my book, The Lake House, comes to publication suddenly my world is opening up. I'm speaking at women's events and talking to people about taking the time for self-care. My bridal business is helping to promote my book and my book is helping to promote my business. This website is being seen by people all over the world and I'm getting emails daily from the far reaches of the globe from people who are deciding to pursue their dreams. My books will be in airports, Walmart, Sam's Club, gift stores and thousands of independent booksellers. The Lake House_invitationI wake every morning wondering what exciting news will be coming my way and go to sleep each night grateful for what has come to fruition.

As I stand here at this moment, I realize that this life was the big dream I had so long ago. The list was more of a map, a delightful gift wrapped present that showed me the way. The journey was filled with new friends, excitement, travel, adrenaline, fear, and fulfillment. Instead of feeling like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff about to jump off and wondering if I have the materials to build my wings on the way down, I feel like I'm standing on the highest summit of a mountain range looking back at all the hills I climbed to get here. Each summit was hard to achieve and fulfilling when I arrived, but this is beyond even my wildest dreams.

I'm planning a huge book launch party on May 10th. Having this party is one of my dreams come true. It might even be number 90 depending on if I have time to get another dream in before the 10th. The party is about celebrating and promoting the book, but for me it's about the deep gratitude in my heart for all that has come true.

Knocking Ourselves Down Instead of Building Ourselves Up - DreamsCo

Today is a rather glorious day for me. My book, THE LAKE HOUSE, that's hitting the shelves in three weeks, arrived on my doorstep. It was an incredible moment.IMG_0145 Last week I was near tears, alright if I'm honest in tears, worried about the fate of my novel. I was also stressed about stepping out onto the ice at the National Adult Figure Skating competition for fear of falling on my face in front of people. I felt like everything was falling apart, and I thought about canceling my trip and hiding under the blankets.

Then I competed and for two minutes ten seconds I let it all go and I flew across the ice. My skating felt wonderful and everyone told me that I was beaming to the rafters. I took the bronze medal out of fifteen solid skaters.

The next day I had marketing meetings with Gallery Books / Simon & Schuster and found out all the incredible work that had been done behind the scenes. By the time I took the ice on Friday night for my second number I was beyond emotional as I realized that all the years I spent hoping, dreaming, praying, and keeping my vision alive had really paid off. The emotions came harder as I skated to the song, "On My Own" and the judges obviously felt it because they awarded me the silver medal

It's strange how we believe the worst is going to happen. We fear all the things that could go wrong that we don't even wish to take the leap. It's a weird part of human nature - the fear of imperfection or failure will keep us knocking ourselves down and hiding from our biggest dreams.

Last night I saw Dove's Youtube video "Sketches." It had women sit in a chair behind a curtain and describe themselves to a forensic artist. Then the artist sketched another photo of the same woman using a strangers description who had seen the person very briefly. Ultimately, the description from the stranger was more beautiful and true to life. Watch the video.

What if we saw ourselves not through our perceived flaws and fears, but through the beauty of who we really are? What more could we accomplish in life and how much happier would we be?

It's not easy to walk past fear or old beliefs: you're not good enough; no one in your family has done it so why should you be able to; I'm too fat; too ugly; I hate this about myself; I'll make a fool out of myself; I might fail. What if we turned that into: I'm grateful for everything I am; I'm going to enjoy this moment and have fun no matter the outcome; I'm going to go for everything I can because if I don't there's no chance; I believe in me and it doesn't matter what other people think.

Imagine what your life could be if you believed in you. That's what I did and it wasn't easy, but wow was it worth it!

The Power of Discomfort - DreamsCo

You would think that after accomplishing almost 90 of my 101 Dreams Come True that I would be comfortable jumping off cliffs wondering if the parachute is going to open or heck if I have enough material to sew the wings mid-air. But to be honest, going after my dreams doesn't seem to get easier. I wish I could say that the fear has stopped, that the nerves are just excitement, and that I now know that I can do anything. If I told you this, it would be a complete lie! I remember just a few months ago, telling you how afraid I was to go to South America for two months as a solo female traveler. I actually felt sick to my stomach and couldn't sleep, yet it turned out to be one of the most magical experiences of my life. So how come, as I stand here, on the brink of going after what feels like the biggest dream of all am I losing my confidence once again?

9781451686722My book, THE LAKE HOUSE, hits the shelves and online in four weeks, and I've never been more afraid in my life! What if no one knows about it? What if no one buys it? What if it hits the shelves, gets back-listed and I don't get the second book deal? All this work, all this dreaming my entire life to fizzle out in the end. I wake in the middle of the night afraid. I constantly google my name and the book to see if anyone knows about it. I realize every moment that I have no idea what being a fiction author really entails.

Top it off, I'm headed to the Adult National Figure Skating Competition this week, and though I'm excited to see friends and to skate the thought of more adrenaline has me exhausted. Why can't I just stay in a comfort zone?

But there is one thing that I've learned in the last five years - discomfort means that I'm reaching for bigger things that I can see myself being. Fear is the emotion that tells me how badly I want something and that it will actually hurt to not get it.

Someone asked me the other day how to make going after your dreams more comfortable. As a society we want instant gratification because we don't like the unknown or discomfort. We want the quick diet or exercise solution - the knowledge that everything will be okay right away. As humans we don't like the in between state. But the truth, pushing hard and taking risks, living in fear for awhile, these are part of the steps to achieving your dreams.

So for now, I have to relish in the discomfort, and know that I'm going to be terrified of failing. But in the end, it would hurt more to have never taken the chance!

Elegant Bridal Designs - DreamsCo

MK-21_2There's something so satisfying about owning your own business: you have control of your dreams; you make your own hours (though sometimes that's every hour); you create something that's uniquely yours; and the possibilities are endless. When I made my list of dreams I wanted to be a professional novelist more than anything, but I also wanted a business that was fun, didn't take up all my emotional being, and was there to build a strong financial future.

I'd thought that I'd build a motivational company inspiring people to go after their own dreams, but I realized after starting this blog I didn't want to turn my journey into a business - it was too personal. If it became something more on its own, then that was fine.

IMG_8684_3As I went after my dreams, the money became an issue. I didn't have a career and the writing wasn't taking off. My savings were dwindling and I was beginning to look at waitressing jobs in order to get by. That's when my best friend approached me to invest in his bridal business. He needed capital to buy products from China to sell in the United States. I wasn't really interested, but he's a good friend and I wanted to help him.

Over the year, the business did okay and I received dividends that kept me going financially without a whole lot of time investment. I found that I was having fun helping him, and I enjoyed going to bridal shows seeing all the products we could sell. I especially enjoyed meeting female entrepreneurs who were going after their dreams of owning their own companies.

The more small companies I came into contact, the more I wanted to create an online boutique with couture products. I started working with web designers and it took another whole year to create a beautiful online Bridal Boutique filled with shoes, purses, dresses, and jewelry many made in the United States.

Because of  Elegant Bridal Designs I've been able to complete more of the dreams on my list.

When I began this journey, I had no idea how I was going to make my dreams come true, but doorways opened. Somehow I ended up in the bridal business, a career I'd never imagined, and I love it with all my heart. I mean really, what girl doesn't want to be surrounded by beautiful items everyday.

For more information go to www.elegantbridaldesigns.comEBD Ad

Buenos Aires Dream Trip - DreamsCo

Considered the Paris of South America I arrived in Buenos Aires with high expectations: beautiful architecture, incredible food, tango dancing in the streets. All my friends who'd come to this city told me that I would never want to return to the states. I couldn't wait. But what was this? Why did the streets looks so dirty? Why was there so much poverty intermingled with wealth? And who was spraying graffiti everywhere? For the first time since arriving in S. America I was afraid to walk the streets at night alone. Where was Paris? Where was the dancing? Where was the city I was looking for?

My friend Jim joined me from the states. We walked the city along Embassy Row. Here the buildings were beautiful and I finally understood why they call it the Paris of the South, the buildings are similar in architecture. But this city wasn't opening itself to me like so many others had. We went to the cemetery where Eva Perone was buried and marveled at all of the mausoleums. We walked through a street fair, but I still wasn't coming to life. Was I becoming immune to the beauty of a city? Was I becoming over-traveled? We walked so much of the city that day and wondered what the heck we were going to do with the rest of the week.

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The next day proved to be different. We made our way to the Sunday Market. Here is where Buenos Aires comes to life. Miles and miles from the government center to bario San Telmo are vendors mostly selling Matte Cups but also clothing, jewelry, art, photography, and leather wares. Matte is huge in Argentina.

In San Telmo square we perused the vendors and watched live Tango performances. An incredible band played and handed out flyers to a local Milonga. I was salivating over the dancing and music and if I'd been alone on this trip, I probably would've spent my entire trip in Tango classes.

 

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We made our way along the roads listening to one band after another while eating empanadas, and drinking coffee for me - beer for my friend. We decided to walk to bario La Boca because it looked rather close on the map. Nope! About two hours later we arrived at the famous painted buildings with a few stops in a park, a museum, and ice cream. (I don't suggest you walk the entire city unless you're in great shape!)

 

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From here we made our way to Puerto Madeira - the modern waterfront. People were rollerblading along the shores of the riverfront. We followed a crowd of people and ended up at a free concert. Suddenly we were in front of a stage with a live band playing and everyone around us singing at the top of their lungs. Los Nocheros was the band and they were fantastic.

The city had opened up - the place beautiful. It's stunning parks intermixed with the grittiness of hard life. The people were kind and most of all I fell in love with the music and the dance.Copy of S, America 499

Iguassu Falls Dream Come True - DreamsCo

What is it about waterfalls that fascinate people? We flock to the large ones, making them into tourist destinations. We hike into jungles and take long drives on vacations to find the prettiest pool at the base of falling water. If there's a waterfall at the end of a hike we'll keep going just to make it there no matter how hot or tired we are. As I came to my first site of Iguassu falls from the Brazilian side, I thought, hmmm, is that it? I instantly caught myself and berated my mind for having this thought. People dream of seeing these falls their entire lives. I came so far to see them, and I was here. Maybe I just needed a nap and that's why it wasn't wowing me.Iguassa falls

But the first time I saw Victoria Falls its majesty brought tears to my eyes. What was wrong with me? I followed the other people as we walked the paved path. I felt a little like I was in Disneyland since I had to take a bus into the park and follow the crowd. But as I got further and further along the falls became closer. The pounding water soaked everyone in mist and the massiveness of the falls changed my perspective. This was phenomenal.

The next day I went to the Argentina side of the falls. Tired of long bus rides, a new friend and I took a taxi to the border, walked across the three mile stretch between countries in the heat, and then caught another cab to the center of town, where we took a bus to get to the falls. We were separated at this point and I had no choice but to follow the crowds once again to the base of the falls. This time, my first glance was a bit different.

Where the Brazilian side has the major part of the falls at a distance, on this side I was immersed in the power that is Iguassu. The pounding of the falls felt like the earth's heartbeat. It's not a constant sound but a swooshing every half second. The mist soaked my hair and clothing as the wind picked up, but I didn't care. These falls were the essence of nature's power and beauty.

I hiked for hours around the falls never tiring of their beauty. At the end of the day I met more friends and that night we went for dinner, had drinks, and I realized that I was ready to leave South America and head home. It was the perfect way to end two months of travel.

My words aren't enough to explain Iguassu, so I hope the pictures take you to this magical place for just a moment.S, America 2029 S, America 2027 S, America 2021 S, America 1989 S, America 1932

Getting Kicked Out of my Room in The Amazon - DreamsCo

Through books and movies I'd learned of the mystical Amazon filled with deadly creatures, malaria, and indigenous people who have very little contact with the world. The Amazon that I encountered was very different. First of all, malaria pills weren't necessary. Deadly creatures? Well there are poisonous snakes and spiders, but I'm not certain that anyone has been bitten in any of the camps. Indigenous people, yes, but many have plenty of contact with the outside world as scientists and tourists along with private hotels invade the area.Copy of S, America 290

I chose to go to the Amazon in Peru. From Cusco I took an overnight bus. Now the buses in S. America are very luxurious and the full sleepers are great. The seats were comfortable and almost fully reclined. After a light supper and a movie, the lights were turned low and I had eight hours to get some sleep before we arrived in Puerto Maldonado. But who knew that I had gotten onto the bus from "Harry Potter." The bus sped forward, rocking back and forth around sharp mountain passes only to stop short, flinging me forward as we came to a speed bump. Then we were off again at a break-neck speed.

Upon arrival I was a bit tired and really wishing I'd spent the extra money on a plane ticket. But soon I was on the Amazon River. The boat sped along the calm, muddy waters. I was there in the rainy season, but the skies were clear and bright blue. On either side of the river was thick jungle and Scarlett macaws sat in nests high in the trees and flew over us.Copy of S, America 300

At the small research camp I'd chosen far away from the tourist center of Puerto Maldonado, my room was built with logs, lit with candles, and had running water but no electricity. The dining hall had one generator where electronics could be plugged in for a few hours each night.

My guide handed me large rubber boots and with a machete in his hand we began our walk into the jungle. Green surrounded me. The moisture from the forest dripped from the plant leaves. Howler monkeys jumped from branch to branch and giant butterflies flew from one plant to the next. Vultures stared down at me. Ants made incredible condos under the ground. The leaf-eaters carried their food on their backs deep into the hive. There they chewed the leaves into a paste, spit it back out, and created a garden for mushrooms to grow. This is the food they live upon.

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Everywhere there was life. When darkness came we walked the jungle with only a flashlight. This is when frogs and spiders come out. Huge crickets with razor sharp hind legs made noise and always I could hear the buzz of the cicadas.

One night we took the boat downstream. On every bank were crocodiles. Tiny young ones would come to the boat and we tried to catch them, but without any luck. Then we saw a large one. He stared at us for a moment, then bored he went under the water not to reappear.

 

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There's plenty of downtime in the Amazon, when the day is too hot to do anything but relax. I swung in a hammock, drinking tea, my belly full of delicious food and I thought, I've gotten everything out of this adventure that I desired, but what I really want is to see a Scarlett Macaw up close. We'd gone that morning to the salt lick and watched hundreds of birds in the trees. Not unlike typical couples some of the birds were cozy with their mates and other's slightly ticked off. But though there were many green parrots, the macaws had eluded us that day.

Soon after this I walked to my room and to my surprise a visitor walked through my door. A bright Scarlett Macaw had decided to visit. He waltzed around, pulled the sheet off my bed and made a nest underneath the wooden frame. He decided he rather liked my space and that it was time for me to leave. The next thing I knew this Macaw was moving me out of my own room.

 

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Turns out, he's made the camp his home and though he's free to leave and rather wild he's lived in the camp for many years and is used to people so it took a human resident with a big broom to get him to give me my abode back.

The Amazon is being cut down at an alarming rate. It's without a doubt one the most precious gifts to humans from nature. Within the jungle lies cures to incurable diseases. The oxygen it creates is important to this world being over-filled with smog. If we keep harming our planet for instant gratification we won't have anything for the future.

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Patagonia South America - DreamsCo

There are perfect moments in life where you don't want to be anywhere else but in the place you are.

I sat in a field in Patagonia, Chile outside Las Natalias (a hostel unlike any hostel I'd ever seen). The sky was devoid of clouds and there seemed to be more starlight than darkness. Satellites moved across space and shooting stars streaked and died out. Soft guitar music was being played and new friends sat around me as people discussed life and philosophy. I barely knew anyone more than twenty-four hours, but I'd never felt more a part of a group than at that moment.IMG_9623

I'd always wanted to see the beauty of Patagonia and it's scenic landscapes didn't disappoint. Grand mountains surrounded lush green valleys. Small charming towns were located between winding mountain passes. Aqua rivers rushed beside dirt roads. Hikes brought me to peaks where I looked out over lakes and farmlands. The air was so pure I felt like I could breathe deeply and clear my lungs of the modern world, and the water could be sipped straight from the mountain springs without fear of sickness. The produce picked from local farms was bruised and ugly, but filled with taste and nutrition while free of all chemicals. Copy of S, America 162

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But even with this majestic landscape there's something more beautiful - the people. Within days of staying in Patagonia I was invited to barbecues. I joined friends around tables for home cooked meals. As I walked through town, I was kissed on the cheek and asked how my day was going. I immediately felt part of a community and at home.

It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and as I think about the early morning on the day I left, it still brings tears to my eyes. It never felt so wrong to leave a place, and never felt so right to know that I would return again some day.Copy of S, America 253 Copy of S, America 825 Copy of S, America 824 Copy of S, America 242

Canyoning Dream Come True - DreamsCo

   

I love to rappel. My brother brought me when I was thirteen and ever since I've enjoyed being on a harness, attached to a rope, and whizzing down a mountainside. I've been down into Moaning Cavern outside of Yosemite hanging among the stalactite and stalagmites. But there was one thing I'd always wanted to try - rappelling down a waterfall.

I got my chance in Futaleufu, Chile. A local single mom runs a great little outfit right out the back of her house. She handed me and two other guys wetsuits, helmets, and harnesses and then we took off through the thick wilderness. We stepped over a barbed wired fence, crossed a stream, climbed a hill, and we were there - on top of a waterfall.Copy of S, America 172

She attached the ropes, showed us how to lean out over the waterfall, and the first round she placed a secondary safety rope to ensure we didn't go too fast.

The adrenaline began to pump as I threaded my figure eight attached to my harness. The first step is always the scariest part of rappelling. You have to lean your butt back into the air and sit - well there's nothing to sit on - but you have to let the harness support you while your hips are at a 90 degree angle. This is easy on rocks, but when water is rushing all around your feet and the rocks are slippery, it becomes a bit more intense.Copy of S, America 180

I leaned back and began to let the rope slowly slide through my hands. The rush of the waterfall pounded beside me and over my legs. The spray covered my face and I laughed with excitement as I felt the water's power. In the past I'd sat under a small waterfall  for a few seconds and realized it hurt as the water slapped my head and I couldn't breathe or see. It wasn't the greatest experience. This was different. This was a pure adrenaline rush as I played in the water and descended into the pool below.

We spent the entire afternoon descending different cliffs and waterfalls in this beautiful area while sliding in mud as we made our way through the forest. It was a day I'll never forget and one I hope to repeat.Copy of S, America 223

Becoming an International Author - DreamsCo

Reading through my list you might realize how many of the items have to do with my writing career. When I began my journey I'd written a book, but was nowhere close to becoming a published author. The dream of seeing my story on the shelves seemed impossible, but it's something I wanted since I was a young girl. When I wrote the list I was simply fantasizing about a life I desired. The idea of The Lake House becoming an international book translated into many different languages was at that time so far out of reach that I actually laughed when I wrote the dream down.

Then one day, over four years later, I received a call from my agent Yfat Reiss Gendell at Foundry Literary and she told me that my book sang at the Frankfurt Book Festival. Publishers loved it and Leya, a Brazilian publisher, made an offer on the spot. Not only was my book going to be printed in North America, but it would be translated into portuguese by one of the best publishers in Brazil.

When I got off the phone, I danced around my house and out the door to my friend's house. I jumped up and down and screamed, "Thank you!" to the sky. I know, I'm kind of a dork, but it felt good.

My biggest dreams have now come true and the great part is that even though my list is almost complete, it's all just the beginning. The Lake House has interest in many more countries and hopefully soon more contracts will be signed. I get to live my life as a writer. I get to have my dream career. The world is opening up to me in ways I couldn't have really imagined when I made my list.

What I once thought was impossible has become my life.

For more information on Foreign Rights for The Lake House please contact my agent: Yfat Reiss Gendell at yrgendell@foundrymedia.com or by phone: 1 (212) 929-5292.

Writer's Lunch Dream Come True - DreamsCo

For every aspiring novelist there's a brass ring we think about. Sure we want our books on the shelves. We envision our names and titles on the bestseller lists. We think about interviews. But the strange part is that almost every writer dreams of the author lunch. In publishing, most deals take place because of lunches. Writers and editors get together to create relationships and talk about upcoming projects. Authors who have reached the shiny package of a publishing contract know that at some point they will be in New York City, in a restaurant, with their editor and agent, maybe their publicist, and they will sit there knowing that their dream has come true.

At this first meeting, there's no worry yet of outcome and how the book will do once it's published. It's a moment of pure celebration.

My first lunch came at Christmas time in 2011. I was in town visiting a friend and had let me new editor, Lauren McKenna from Gallery Books know that I was in town. She immediately invited my agent and I to lunch.

The day before I walked around the city with my mother and friend. As we walked past Simon & Schuster my friend stopped me and made me look at the sign on the building. Here I was, this was my publisher. Better than any other present under the tree that year, was that moment of standing there knowing what I thought was impossible was now coming true.

The next day, I sat in the restaurant waiting (of course I was about ten minutes early just because I was excited and a little afraid of getting lost and being late). Lauren came in and immediately wrapped me in a hug. Her contagious energy had me smiling and excited as we sat.

As my agent joined us I felt more like was at a table with a group of girlfriends than a business lunch. We shared dishes, drank wine, indulged in dessert and talked about life, men, pregnancy, and whatever else came to mind. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by these two powerful, beautiful business women, I felt part of something special. Because the book business is special. Unlike anything else, this business isn't about a rockstar lifestyle or burying the competition. The book business, though tough and competitive, is about readers curling up with a book to learn, to get taken away, to feel and experience their own emotions through characters.

Over the last year as my book has made it's way to publication, I've had many lunches with my incredible team from Gallery and with my agent. It's become a part of my life, my career, and it's always a pure joy. My favorite though will always be that first one with Lauren and Yfat Reiss Gendell, but then again the one where my editor handed me my cover was pretty spectacular as well.

For more information on The Lake House or my life as an author please visit www.MarciNault.com or my author page at Simon and Schuster.

Trust in God Always - DreamsCo

Cars whizzed by honking their horns to tell me they were passing. Traffic was horrendous, I was blocked in on every side, yet somehow cars were able to continue to weave where I thought there was no room. I was in the middle of Rio, lost, unable to pull off or turn around and return to the airport to get my bearings and I knew that I had missed a turn half an hour ago. People began crossing the roads in this crazy traffic and now I felt like I was in the middle of a video game instead of driving a car. In the past I would've been terrified and at first I was. Then I remembered a dream on my list - trust in God/ Higher Power Always and a calm surrender came. I'd put my faith in something more than me and I'd be guided. I would accept the outcome no matter what and that's when the opening came in the traffic and I saw a huge gas station ahead. I was able to pull over, somehow get directions, and trust that I was going in the right direction. To be honest I had no clue if it was right or not, but I had two choices - trust or freak out. I decided to trust.

On this journey of going after my dreams, I've doubted my decision wondering if I'd end up broke, alone, and without a career. I've had no idea how I was going to complete my list. I've had many days of falling on my knees in tears asking God, "What the heck am I doing?" I've wondered if I was working with all my heart only to fail in the end.

I wanted to trust that everything would be okay - but so many times I tried to pull back my trust telling God that things were coming too slowly. Some of it comes from a past where every time things were really good I felt like the bottom fell out from beneath me, and trying to overcome limiting beliefs was hard to do.

Going after my dreams was like jumping off a cliff on a regular basis wondering not if the parachute was going to open, but if I had the materials to make the parachute or heck the wings I needed in order to fly. But on this journey, miracles have come to my life. I've found strength in my faith, and along the way I've been guided to do the work I can and leave the rest to something more.

I'll still get scared. I'll have moments when I doubt that everything will be okay, but this journey of making almost 90 of my dreams come true has made me realize that not only can I have faith in something more - there's a power in this life that wants us to be abundant and to have all our dreams. We are meant to enjoy this life and live it to the max. It's not a God that punishes, but ourselves who create the pain in our lives. For when you trust in something higher, no matter what is going on, you will be led to a place of love.