To the People Who Gave Me Everything I Needed

Thursday Greetings!

Maybe it’s one of those introspective times in my life when I’m preparing to charge full speed ahead, but I can’t do that until I look back on all the things that carried me steadily (and sometimes less steadily) to where I find myself right now.

I am one of those fortunate ones that can say they were readily handed everything they needed to succeed in life. Just like that.

To the people who gave me everything I needed:

I want to say thank you. In all the years that I’ve wanted to be a writer, I’ve been far less afraid of what critics may say than of not living up to what I know myself to be capable of doing. Do I say that out of conceit? By all means, no. I blame it entirely on you. In those years, I’ve been told the cons of a career in writing; I’ve been told to prepare for unemployment, but a great deal more importantly, I have never not been told that I can and that I will.

It is you, Dad, that reminds me my bestsellers will put you in a nice retirement home and talks about me as if I’m already Alyssa Dulaney: world renown author. It is you, Mom, that gently reminds me I actually have to write to get there, while simultaneously telling me how proud you are. I hear and appreciate every word. It is you, Jamie, my best friend, that mapped out fantastical plot lines and created whimsical names with me at ten years old in a backyard camp out. It is you, Misty, that reads my writing, exaggerates its quality, discusses it with me, and listens to me ramble on about ideas and dreams.

I could go on in a never-ending list–Brookie-lynn, Spencer, grandparents, strangers that have left such kind comments–but suffice it to say that in the mind of this young writer, the voices of faith in me have drowned out any roars of doubt, impossibility, discouragement, and even lack of faith in myself.

Only this afternoon, I rediscovered the photo book from my high school graduation. In it are comments from you all, my dear friends and family. Here are a few that made me tear up (maybe):

  • “Keep walking tall, standing strong, and HE is going to take you farther than you can ever dream.” -Dad and Mom
  • “I love you a latte and am excited to see God use you mightily.” -Spence (Big brother)
  • “I am so very proud of the beautiful, talented, and genuine person you are. I couldn’t have asked for a better sister or best friend.” -Brooklynn (Big sister)
  • “Oh my beautiful Alyssa, you’re one of the most sweetest, happiest, and anointed girls I have ever met.” -Jordan Parks
  • “And I hope your future is as excellent as boiled potatoes.” -Karaline
  • “You’re a very brave person, you’re funny, smart, capable, and are both anointed and empowered to do amazing things.” -Josh F.
  • “I also can’t believe I have managed to put up with you for 7 years… I love you anyways.” -Jamie Marie

So to you all–friends, family, strangers–thank you. You have given me, and continue to give me, everything I need to succeed in life. Because of you, I know that I can and that I will, whatever it may be that I am chasing or dreaming.

Why This Busy Girl Loves to Make Extra Plans

I would say “Thursday Greetings,” but it’s 1:50 am, so there goes that.

Hello All!

Time and sleep are precious and limited commodities in my life right now. It often seems like reading, writing, and other things I love are taking a back seat, which breaks my heart. What’s a girl to do? Homework has a deadline, commitments must be fulfilled, and work calls my name.

I’m exhausted; but what keeps me going?

Plans.

In all the business and bustle of life, one thing I love the most is to have plans. What in the world do I mean? As if I don’t have enough on my plate! But hear me out. There’s just something about making an elaborate plan to do something that makes you happy. Yeah, it’s another date and time on your already-full calendar, but it’s not like the others. It’s escape time. This is why I go to theatricals on a more-and-more regular basis. If I were being completely honest, I would say it’s one of the things that keeps me sane. Just the knowledge that if I can survive until that Thursday evening (or whatever it may be), I can have a few hours to take in something wonderful and catch my breath from running life’s race…

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. There are countless good things in it: my family, education, relationship with Jesus, books, and the list goes on. But great things can still be “busy” things when they are part of the day-after-day. So, I provide myself with something extra special (to me) to look forward to: something for which to count the days down. Recently, it has been another opera (La Traviata), which I went to a couple weeks ago; The Phantom of the Opera, which was a last minute plan that took place tonight;  and in only 14 days, a spring break trip to Vancouver Island. Some are big plans, some are small, some are last minute, and some have been on the calendar for quite some time, but they are all a block of time in which I am not a student, employee, or *fill in the blank,* but instead I can be the person I would try to be if I had all the time in the world.

Here’s my challenge for you: make some plans! If you’re feeling the blah of the mundane or just tired of pushing all day to crash at night, make a plan! Whenever, wherever. There’s something liberating about watching the time tick down on that countdown app. It’s not about forgetting to savor every moment, but it is about setting aside a time that’s tailor-made just for yourself. Then all those other moments seem a little more important, because they’re the stepping stones to the big shebang!

P.S. It’s okay to take yourself on a date. (Even on Valentine’s Day. I did!)

Escape to Writer’s Paradise

Hello All!

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt as if your life entirely lacked adventure and you might find yourself going insane if you don’t happen upon an adventure soon? Yesterday was one of those days for me. It was an overwhelming mixture of loneliness and wanderlust. I found myself venturing into the woods in search of a temporary remedy.

A walk in the woods led to my sitting under a tree off the path for a couple hours… thinking, praying, soul-searching, singing, and dreaming, ultimately. I think dreaming among the trees was just the remedy my soul was searching for. I felt freed… The beauty of it all… Somehow it had a way of making me feel as if I could do anything. As if I had somehow cheated myself by not having bigger, more impossible dreams. It could have made anyone believe in fairytales again and wonder how they ever could have abandoned them. I was so inspired to do whatever it is I set my heart to.

My afternoon excursion to writer’s paradise made me question why I haven’t escaped into the woods more often. I hope future me does it more than ever.

I am convinced that another adventure shall be thrown in my way before I have gone completely mad.

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The Definition of Living-by Alyssa M. Dulaney

Life, as seen in the most optimistic and pure form of imagination, is more than merely surviving… continuing… succeeding, even. Life, as seen in said optimistic view, is laughing, crying, and then laughing more. Life is running at the highest speed into the unknown… the abyss, one could say. Who can tell what will turn up around the next bend, or who will show up on your figurative doorstep? No one. No one is to know but the God who created us and our destinies with us. Life is striving to fulfill purpose. A purpose sought after, day after day, only to be revealed in the deepest moments of searching. Life is loving. Loving, laughing, living. Are they not all one? Life is scanning the horizon with a smile on your face, despite not knowing quite what is beyond, because the beauty that accompanies that horizon is worth every risk. The colors of the horizon blend and change with the passing of time, and yet, if one could look back at the end of it all and see the passing of the time as one big picture-masterpiece-it would be a beautiful marvel. Life is opening the pages of an empty book, dipping a quill into ink, and beginning to write; recklessly, passionately, cautiously, insightfully… all in their time. Life is jumping into a car and pushing the gas pedal to the floor. Going full speed in what others deem to be a 35 mile zone, because tip-toeing is not living. Far from it. Life is doing what you love dearly and being with those whom you love and who love you endlessly in return, in spite of your every fault, shortcoming, imperfection, and failure. Life is nothing if it is survived. Life is nothing, if not lived. Crying at the things worth crying over, and laughing unashamedly at everything else… That, my friend, is living.

{On Dreams}

Hello All!

I’ve been thinking today, and I can’t help but wonder why so many people give up on their dreams… Honestly, what is it that makes a person say, “Yes, this has been my dream for a while, but it’s not that important. I can set it aside.” Is it timing? Is it money? Is it pressure from those around you? What stops a dreamer from reaching his dream? If he’s willing to give up on his dreams, could he even be classified as a dreamer to begin with? I can’t confirm or deny. What I can confirm is this: we live in a society that makes it easy to give up on and push aside those things we’re most passionate about. Unless your dream is to become a lawyer or a doctor (a noble dream, don’t get me wrong), we are told everyday why our far-fetched aspirations aren’t good enough or why they’re just too difficult, or what would be a wiser option, or why we should get an education in something else so we can have a backup plan. “Cause y’know… I hear an English degree makes it difficult to get a job.” “Oh? So you want to be an artist? That’s great. Have you thought about doing it on the side instead?” “A coffee shop, huh? Better be careful. Such-and-such percent of new shops fail within the first year.” They mean well. They’re talking about playing it safe.

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I want to be a writer and work in a literature area (surprised?). I have for years. I know its hard, and I know it’s not a field overflowing with money. I know these things, because these are the things that people tell me first off when I mention that I want to be a writer. But, do you know what? I’m willing to fight for it, so that’s okay. No one told me to start this blog. No one made me do it or asked me to do it, but it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. So I started this site, did lots of research to make sure it was presentable and stylish, brainstormed for content ideas, and decided to make this blog a representation of who I am: a little sporadic and literary and filled with laughs. Sure, it’s tough to keep up with sometimes and I don’t always post right on time, but I’m gonna keep at it, because it’s what I love to do.

I also want to open a coffee shop or cafe someday. Crazy, I know. My Pinterest boards are loaded, and I plan on dreaming on until it happens. What can I say? I’m an optimist! Besides, realistic has never really been my thing…

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I guess I just see it this way: Life is too short to shrug off your dreams or live trying to please other people. Life is to short for playing it safe. I’m not against being cautious, but I am against being unhappy. Do what you love! Spend your days working at something you’re passionate about! And this is not just about your job… this applies to hobbies, clubs, and blogs, for heaven’s sake! Be a dreamer! Why shouldn’t we reach for the stars? They shine pretty brightly, after all.