Your vision

Let the distant vision enhance the beauty of where you are now. Drew on a road in the Yukon, June 2000

Let the distant vision enhance the beauty of where you are now.
Drew on a road in the Yukon, June 2000

“Your vision of the future is not intended to keep you living in a ‘someday’ mode. It is as much a guide to the way you live out each day in the present as it is to direct you toward the future.”Mark Brunetz

This quote from Brunetz pinpoints the difference between getting stuck in unrealistic delusions about the future versus focusing on a destination that will be the inspiration for a worthwhile journey.  Just imagine a glorious landscape far in the distance, at the end of an appealing but decidedly less glamorous road.  Should we sit idly in a wayside meadow and speculate on what details might lie beyond our ability to see from afar? Or will we set out in that direction, determined to discover it first hand, and meanwhile enjoy the sights along the way?

It took me years to get up the nerve to talk about my desire to be a writer.  I felt embarrassed because I knew I was not good enough yet to let anyone know that was my goal.  Somewhere along the way, I began to wonder whether I actually liked the idea of writing better than the the writing itself; whether I was making excuses for myself rather than facing my fears.

I shared my misgivings during a brief conversation I had with the writer Michael Blake, who spoke at our base library while a very young Drew and Matt played in the children’s area. When I confessed my confusion about my writing ambitions, he admitted that there were quite a few people who were more enamored with the thought of being a writer, than with engaging in the activity itself.

Then he gave me some very good advice.  Seeing my children and realizing the time constraints I faced, he told me what I needed to do for now was “keep a relationship with the written word.” He explained I could write every day, in whatever form: it could be letters, journals, diaries, brief essays or articles, anything that would keep me in touch with expressing myself through writing, and for the present time, that would be enough.

“Then you will find that writing will always be there for you, if you want to pursue it more extensively in the future,” he told me. His words made sense to me. I found it easy to take his advice; it felt so much less threatening than aspiring to write a best seller.

Soon I was working as a stringer for the local paper and writing a column for a military spouse newsletter. Not long afterward, I sold a travel story and two photographs to an international travel paper.  But even when I made no money from writing, or very little, the writing itself become its own reward.

Eventually I realized, though I might never be an author, I was already a writer and probably always would be one.  Whatever destination I had in mind in the beginning, I’ve enjoyed the journey itself so much that the vision has enriched me in ways I never imagined.

Do you have ambitions for your future that get stuck in “someday” mode?  If so, can you explore how to let that vision guide the way you live out each day, so that someday becomes now? Getting there really can be more than half the fun.  I wish you traveling mercies– and be sure to send us some virtual postcards to let us know what you’re seeing along the way.

42 Comments

  1. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. ☕️ Your writing beauty has been so uplifting and a true gift to me in these years we’ve shared at Defeat Despair. There have been so many topics, beautiful photographs, insights, personal glimpses, laughter…….and tears. I owe you a special “Thank you” for how your writing has touched me. 📖📸✏️💛 I am needing our Verandah fix, weather is gorgeous, but I’m still in office mode, although just for a few more weeks. I hope you’re enjoying these beautiful days with Jeff. 🙏

    • Sheila, thank you so much for your kind words, and for being here with us through thick and thin. I could use a Verandah fix myself right now. Complete with fresh strawberries and baked scones, or maybe a nice hot cinnamon roll. I hope you are enjoying being back in office mode. If things go well, you’ll still have a few weeks of glorious springtime weather to enjoy when you go back to domestic engineer mode. Wishing you a lovely week ahead!

  2. I am proud of you Julia for you are a great writer! Shine On! ♥

    • Thank you M, you are an inspiration!

      • As are you dear Julia! ♥

        • Thank you M! 😀

  3. Good morning, Julia! Thank you, I was getting stuck in “someday” mode.
    And now it’s starting to get light outside, and yesterday’s “tomorrow” has become “now!”
    (No pressure, I’m just pleased to have this new day.)
    A lot could happen … or it might not. But here I am, on the journey!
    Starting with: breakfast! 😀

    • Susan, I identify so much with this comment that I could probably say it with some accuracy every day! How lovely for us not to know the future. And isn’t breakfast a grand way to start the day? 😀 I raise my breakfast teacup in a toast to all of us — let’s get out there and Defeat Despair!

      • Yes!
        I remember that post. Maybe “next time” I’m through, we can go for breakfast, if you happen to be in Yorktown. 😀

        • YES! Or if you are in Virginia Beach, I can meet you there and maybe even Raynard, Mary and Ms. Ella can join us this time. 🙂 We had planned to go there together before, but traffic intervened. It’s a fun place, definitely one-of-a-kind.

  4. P.S. You’re a writer! And, I guess when I write back – so am I!

    • Yes! That’s it! We are a community of writers around here.

  5. Renee West

    Julia I’ve known – for as long as I’ve known you – that you are gifted as a writer and published author. Remember that God’s gifts are irrevocable, whether we use them or not. Just keep writing! Our mutual friend Doc King gave me an excerpt from a book. The book is titled: A Confident Heart and sometimes we just have to settle down into believing and receiving that confident heart (you know what I mean)! Love you–keep on keepin’ on!!!

    • Renee, you are a never-ending source of renewal for me when I am most in need of it. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to see your strong, beautiful self each Sunday, celebrating all that is good and right and holy. Thanks for helping me to “keep on keeping on!” You are certainly one who knows how, and can show me the way. I am thankful to be blessed with your friendship!

  6. Susan Vossler

    Julia,
    You are already a writer and a wonderful one at that. Your words convey much wisdom, insights, blessings and help one see different ways of viewing life challenges. Rather than feeling overwhelmed with difficulties, you have learned to filter down and see the good in the storms of life. You have a gift of words and a photographic eye. I am glad you share it on your blog.
    Blessings,
    Susan

    • Susan, thank you! Have you ever seen the film The Truman Show? I’m not generally a Jim Carrey fan, but that movie really resonated with me. I thought of it again tonight when I read your comment about “seeing the good in the storms of life” — about how Truman (phobic about water since his father was killed at sea in a storm) was forced to sail through a terrible storm created intentionally by the evil director who (unknown to him) had made Truman’s entire life, from birth on, into a reality TV show. I have never identified more viscerally with any movie line than I did with Truman’s anguished cry of defiance (seen about 3:07 into this clip) when his fear of death was surpassed by his dawning outrage at what was going on in the unseen world that lay behind his seemingly “real” life. As in that movie, if we hang on no matter what during the worst of the storm, we will end up in a better, more enlightened place. I really believe that. Thanks for being here!

      • Susan

        Julia,
        I have not seen the Truman Show, but I think I will watch it, it looks interesting. I appreciate referrals to good movies since I rarely watch them or know what to choose when I do have a time to watch one.
        Susan

        • Susan, Jeff and I hardly ever make the time for a movie anymore. We’ve been so disappointed in so many of them (maybe a sign of getting older?) that we enjoy doing other things most of the time. We liked Downton Abbey partly because it was easier to make time for (and stay awake during 😀 ) a one-hour show as compared to a longer movie. Having said that, there are some really great movies out there, though of courses tastes differ wildly. The Truman Show was one of the most unique movies I’ve ever seen, and it has been on my personal top 10 movie favorite list ever since I first saw it. I hope you will like it too.

  7. Sue Vossler

    Julia, You have shared many beautiful photos. This one was taken from Ecola Park looking north. This area is north of Cannon Beach, Oregon. We visit Cannon Beach a few times every year as it is special place. Susan

    >

    • Susan, for some reason your photo did not come through. Could you email it to me as an attachment (defeatdespair@verizon.net) and then I can upload it to the blog? I’ve never figure out how to insert a photo into a comment either, though some readers seem to know how to do it. I can imagine the Oregon coast is beautiful! Thanks for being willing to share it with us.

  8. Sue Vossler

    Julia, I just had to share this Cannon Beach photo too! This is Ella my 2 1/2 + year old granddaughter in front of Haystack rock. This rock is home to the most adorable nesting puffins starting in the Spring. Susan

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Susan, no luck with this one either, but I’d love to see it! Could you send it as an attachment to me via email, and then I’ll upload it? (defeatdespair@verizon.net) I don’t know how to embed photos into comments either! Does anyone else know?

  9. blseibel

    Hmmmm, I am in a season of change and my future is wide open. After security returns with a job and home I’d love to get back to traveling. It s something a love and used to do quite regularly. Maybe even combine that with some mission work our church does in Honduras.

    • B, that sounds wonderful to me. Travel is a great way to raise our awareness of so many things, not least of which is how much we appreciate our own homes. And if you can combine that with humanitarian efforts, so much the better. Our older son went with a medical mission team to Guyana each summer during his three final years of high school. I believe it changed his life, in a very good way. Nothing looked quite the same to him after that.

  10. Gosh, this post jogged me! When I was very young my ambition was to marry a [rich] farmer and write the great NZ novel 🙂 I was VERY young!! I too love writing – I love language and enjoy seeing it used to convey emotion, possibilities, events – and when it reveals an accurate emotional response to an event or scene or vista. I became a teacher and spread my love of language about freely there. I used to sometimes swap classes with a colleague, he would teach my science programme and I would teach his English programme …. I haven’t thought about my childhood ambition for a long time. I gave it away somewhere. I suspect I don’t have the tenacity to write and rewrite and edit and all that effort that goes in to polish a story. 🙂 So I paint and play with beads and make stuff 🙂 You write beautifully Julia! xo

    • Oh my, how fun to hear about your early ambition. Well, the farmer’s loss is our gain. A love of language is a wonderful asset for a teacher, and especially for her students. After so many years of teaching young people, you certainly have earned the right to “paint and play with beads” (aka be an artist) and send your gifts into the world in new ways. Thanks so much for being here, and for your encouragement!

  11. That’s a very powerful piece of writing work! So you ARE a writer and a published one at that. I think you would love Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic” You are a writer if you write. Simple as that. Now a published writer is the next step and many never get the best seller but they are still writers. I sell myself short too. I don’t have your way with words but I write every day! Every single day. If someone asks, I say “yes, I’m a writer”. The rest is a judgement. Keep up the good work. You ARE a writer.

    • Marlene, thanks so much for the encouragement. I think you’re a wonderful writer. You have a way of bringing us into your world and making us feel familiar and welcome, which is what the best writers do. I can’t wait to read Big Magic. I had never heard of it before this comment, but already I found it and put myself on hold for the digital version through my public library, where I can get it for free. 😀 Without you I might never have found it, because to tell the truth, I was quite disappointed in her book Eat, Pray, Love possibly, in part, because of all the hype I had read before I read the book itself. I just didn’t see why it became so phenomenally popular. But then again, my tastes have always been eccentric. Hope you are having a nice March!

      • Eat, Pray, Love probably didn’t resonate with you because you have not had your heart so broken by someone you loved deeply in that way. I was at a stage of needing to end yet another long term marriage that had taken a huge emotional tole on me. The idea of traveling around to put my pieces back together was but a delicious dream. I think the book went over so well because there were so many of us feeling the pull to collect ourselves and find a new path. I have marked up my book “Big Magic for later referral. It’s nothing like the novel so rest assured. Thank you so much for the compliment. That’s the second one today and it’s only 6 a.m. !!! I’m stunned! Like I said in my post, books that you need to read, find you. We all need different books at different times. That why there is so much diversity. I think that is the magical part. I can tell you what I loved but you may not need to read that book. It’s an exciting world. We are all a bit eccentric. 🙂 That’s a good thing. Hugs,

        • Yes, I definitely think we all are drawn to the idea of beginning again and switching gears when we get stuck. It’s funny how the same book can affect us so differently if we pick it up again years or sometimes even months later. I keep 4-5 books going at any one time because I like to have something to read that fits whatever mood I’m in. Sometimes I need something to motivate me to get things done or learn something (nonfiction) and sometimes I need something light (when I’m under stress) or heavy (when I’m in the frame of mind to be able to absorb it) or suspenseful and/or adventurous (when I just need to get away, mentally, from all the worries). It really is an exciting world, and for me, there’s nothing like a library or bookstore to shake me out of a rut or the blues. Yes, eccentricity makes the world go round.

          • I don’t think you are eccentric as much as interesting. I read the same way you do. When you read such a variety of books, you become a more interesting person to be around. But then I think of myself as an odd duck too. At least I’m a happy duck in my odd pond. 🙂

            • Marlene, thank you! Of course, “eccentric” is interesting in itself, at least sometimes. A happy duck in an odd pond…I like that! I think most everyone can identify with that one.

  12. Amy

    I am still working on what I expect from myself and in a way I feel like I better hurry and figure it out. My children are grown and I have little else to hold me back from whatever it is down that road and yet here I sit in the field. But aren’t the flowers here pretty. HAHA. Seriously maybe it is meant that I should go slow. I don’t know yet but I shall keep you informed. BUT I do want to be careful not to be the servant who buried his talents. Thanks for the post. Your writing has inspired me in many ways. Keep up the good work. Love ya.

    • Amy, those flowers in the field are gorgeous, and nothing wrong with taking some time to enjoy them. I think going slowly is sometimes necessary– in fact, I suspect it is necessary far more often than we think it is. Do keep me posted — and know that, if anything I write has inspired you in any way, that makes me feel very happy! 🙂

  13. I like his advice! When I was raising a big family, I wrote letters and journals and poetry mostly, in small snippets of time, of course. Now, since retirement, I write most days of the week for several hours–after writing as often as possible for nearly 60 years. Ahhh, so it goes. Have you submitted anything to journals or magazines? That can motivate. Seeing something in print is lovely, too. Blessings and best wishes!

    • Cynthia, I agree with you that there’s a special joy that comes from seeing something in print with our names attached (as long as the editing is good and not horrible — there’s nothing more frightful than seeing writing that bears only a slight resemblance to what we wrote originally, especially if there are even more grammatical errors than we originally made! But fortunately that seems rare). In recent years, I’ve published only in Upper Room and similar devotional magazines, though I do hope one day to be able to go back to it. I’m so happy for you, that you have been able to enjoy more time for writing. I hope to be in that situation myself eventually. Thanks for being here with us!

  14. HarryS

    I have to write it down to see what I’m thinking!
    Harry

    • Harry, I find that’s true for me, too (unfortunately, of both talking and writing, it seems). Many years ago a friend who knew me very well pointed out to me that talking was important to me because it’s how I work through my own thoughts. Writing is a much less offensive way to do that, as it’s less intrusive — nobody has to read it! 😀

  15. When I see a young Drew standing there, my first thought was, “oh that must be from a while ago”. Then I saw the year and decided it wasn’t too long ago at all, he’s just managed to do a whole lot of living in a short time. It seems like as I age (to others anyways, inside I feel 15), I get way less accomplished and time goes faster. Does it seem that way to you? I can’t even remember what my vision was when I was younger but I know it didn’t play out as planned at all. Probably more interesting than I thought, more challenging than I thought and luckier than first seemed. My goodness I do know how to take a lot of scenic routes to any destination worth arriving at, HA!
    I feel like my whole younger adult life was like an episode of Survival. The one where they have to do all kinds of hurtles, mazed, puzzles and what not to come out ahead. I tend to feel like I took the road less traveled and I’ve come along at the right time, in the right place to be here with you. It’s all really amazing I think. xK

    • Yes, it definitely seems that way to me. I keep telling Jeff “I thought life was supposed to get simpler so that we could handle things as age.” NOT! Or as Ashleigh Brilliant says, “I’m afraid I’m getting older much faster than I’m getting wiser.” But as you say, it’s all amazing and wonderful and the most remarkable people come into our lives to make it all bearable. The scenic route is the only way to go! ❤ 🙂 And yes, inside I feel even younger than 15. Maybe 8 or 10, very good years as I remember.

  16. michael

    ” Keep a relationship with the written word.” There was a writer they intervirewed yesterday who mostly does e-mails now- so I guess that also might count.

    • Yes, I think it counts. At least I hope it does. Between my business emails and my personal emails, I’m quite sure I’ve written the word equivalent of several long novels in email alone! I am too talkative to get the hang of Twitter for all my communications. 140 characters usually doesn’t cut it for me, though it’s good practice at trying to cut back on being overly wordy. I suppose one might say that I’ve had a long and intense relationship with written words! 😀

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