I received a text from my friend, Eve. She wanted to experience adventure. She bought a pink bicycle and running shoes. She found a picture of a fit athlete and taped it to her refrigerator. Eve biked around her neighborhood. She started running. She biked to a park 30 miles from where she lives. She biked across Iowa. Twice. She will go hiking at the Grand Canyon this summer. She wants to ride her bicycle across the United States. Eve embodied the picture on her refrigerator … at age 63.
I was so proud of her. And jealous. I was more jealous than proud.
I had no idea what I wanted to do. Until I lost my job. Then the magic happened.
I had no reason to feel ashamed. But I was ashamed. Staff reduction due to downsizing was something I could not fix. I escaped into my basement and cried. As I wiped tears from my cheeks, I noticed stacks of file folders on top of file cabinets and on shelves and in boxes. They were filled with my stories and prayers and journals and notebooks filled with goals. And dreams. I had forgotten. Well, not really. I simply hid them a long time ago. And they found me.
I returned to the big red chair in my livingroom where I spent endless hours searching and applying for jobs that I really didn’t want. I have a doctoral degree in education and 32 years of instructional experience. My education and experience had become a closed door where I no longer felt welcome. Or maybe … a window.
I closed my eyes in the stillness and prayed for God’s guidance. A few minutes later, I entered a bunch of words into a Google search and accidentally clicked on Blogging with Amy at www.AmyLynnAndrews.com. She is the author of an award-winning book AND she blogs about blogging. She admitted she hates to write. But she encouraged readers to start somewhere. Anywhere. Just begin.
I created a domain name, www.JulieAnnConnor.com (clever, huh?). And I put together a website called Inspiration with Julie at BlueHost, a what-I-believe is one of the best domain hosting sites available in cyberspace. I describe ways you can shape your dreams into attainable goals as well as my experiences and stories about remarkable people at (appropriately called) Walk Around the Blog. Then I announced a series of four e-books that will be available soon called An Inspired Walk. The first e-book will be a collection of stories celebrating survival and triumph. Profits from the sale of the book will be donated to Kansas City Urban Intervention, an organization that inspires, mentors, and supports inner-city youth. I invited readers and visitors to share their inspirational stories. In the midst of starting somewhere and beginning, I became a writer. I am a writer.
I thanked Eve for being such a remarkable role model. And my hero.
Like most heroes, she asked, “Really? How did I do that?”
She put one foot in front of the other.
Who are your heroes? Who inspires you?