What dream is waiting for you?

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When I was young I knew what I wanted to do for a career.  My dream at 14-years-old was to be a d.j. on the radio.  Music has always been a huge part of my life.  From the moment when I first started to discover music and develop my own musical tastes, to all of my years playing clarinet and saxophone, to watching my dad practice d.j.’ing for weddings and his weekend job.  My biography has been written with sharps and flats, with whole, quarter, and sixteenth notes, with rests and repeats, and all on the flowing lines of a musical staff.  Music is still a huge part of my life.  I have been in radio for the past 16 years

Being in radio has not been the only dream I’ve had though.  People tend to say, “what is your dream in life.  What would you do if you could do anything?”  They say that as if a person is only allowed to have one singular dream in life.  But dreams are reach.  People grow and change.  Priorities change.  Desires change.  New talents are discovered and honed.  Dreams can be born anew no matter how old you are.  Sometimes dreams can also fall by the wayside.

When I was in broadcasting school in 2000, it came to the part of the program where I had to considered employment options as the placement office started looking for potential radio stations for me to interview at.  The placement director had me fill out an information-gathering form . . . “What are your goals for your career?  What kind of radio station format would you like to work for?  What cities would you like to work in?”  I wanted to go everywhere, but every city that I wrote down was a big market city.  I wanted Chicago, New Orleans, New York City (which happens to be the number 1 radio market . . . Los Angeles is the number 2 radio market).  I remember writing down on my paper for my placement director that I wanted to be the next Dick Clark, the next Casey Kasem.  I had dreams of taking radio by storm and revolutionizing the field.  That was my dream at the time.  My first job was at a little, bitty 6,000 watt station in Paducah, Kentucky.  16 years later I a still living in Paducah.  I am now at a 100,000 radio station.  In the course of my career my dreams changed.  I found new dreams, and I realized those dreams.

I always wanted to be a wife.

I always wanted to be a mother, especially after being told when I was 19 years old that I shouldn’t have children.

Today I have been married for almost thirteen years.

Today I have an eleven-year-old son.

Dreams realized.

I have always loved to write.  If you’ve followed ATaleOfATrex for any amount of time, then you know that when it comes to writing, I love it so much because sometimes a pen can speak better than my mouth can.  I love to freewrite.  I love to write poems.  Sometimes I even write short stories, usually about something that is going on in my life right now.  Since I was a teenager I had always dreamed of being a writer, of having one of my works published, and having people say that I am a good writer.  Another dream.

A few years ago I decided to write a book.  A whole book.  A book with chapters, and covers.  A book with a dedication page, and a table of contents.  A real . . . actual . . . book.  My dream was to put this huge part of me down on paper and then put it out into the world.  It took me a year to write and edit the book, and then self-publish it on Amazon for Kindle.  Was the book good?  NO!  But it was my baby.  I poured myself into those words and sentences.  I stepped way outside my comfort zone with scene descriptions.  I set this goal for myself, and followed through even when I wanted to quit.  I forced myself to finish because I didn’t ever want to look back with regret.  I hand wrote the original draft in 2 purple 3-subject spiral notebooks.  I typed and edited the whole thing.  It was a labor of love, and each letter written, each page typed, each chapter edited took me closer to seeing that dream come to fruition.  It sold on Amazon.  It didn’t sell well, but it sold.  I got positive reviews from a couple of friends that meant nothing to me because they were from my friends, and I got a negative review from a complete stranger that fired me up, pissed me off, and completed the cycle of the dream.  In that negative review from that complete stranger I was validated as a writer in my own eyes.  I took a risk and didn’t run from it.  I realized that dream.

I have since taken the book down from Amazon, because I no longer need that validation about myself or my writing.

Dreams can change as a person changes.

Now my dream is to get my Masters degree in social work.  I went back to college a year ago, and it is going to take years to reach my new dream.  But I have a dream for the future, a dream that I can see, and each class I take gets me closer to reaching that dream.

You see, the point is not to just live your life.  The point is to dream.  The point is to set goals for yourself.  Dream big and reach far.  What do you dream of doing in your life?  What have you always wanted to do, to achieve, to see, to write, to travel to?  What is your dream?

What is holding you back?

You have dreams for a reason, and unrealized dreams only turn into realized regrets at the end of your life?

Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams.  The pursuit of your dream may not work out in the end, but at least you will be able to say that you tried.  What is your dream?  What is keeping you from the pursuit of that dream?  Now take to a moment to think hard . . . is the reason you aren’t pursuing your dream a legitimate reason, or is it just an excuse?

I heard something at church this morning that really stuck with me:  “You are always pursuing something, whether you realize it or not.”  In the context of the message at church is was meant that we are either pursuing a relationship with Christ, or we are pursuing a relationship with ourselves and our own desires and thus a relationship with Satan.  But I think the statement, “You are always pursuing something whether you realize it or not,” also fits this post.  You are always pursuing something.  You are either pursuing your dreams, or you are pursing your regrets.

Which one do you want to hold in your hand as you face your last days on earth? Do you want to look back on your life and declare that you left no dream unchased, or do you want to look back on your life with regret at the things you never did or the things you never tried?

My dreams have changed, have evolved, have grown over the years.  But if I were to die tomorrow I would not be able to look back on my life with regret.  I have chased my dreams.  Sometimes I chased them with fear, not knowing what would happen in the pursuit of that dream, but I chased my dreams.

What dream is waiting for you to pursue it?

afraid

Until next time . . .

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Rising to the challenge

Earlier this year I decided that it was time to go back to school.  I graduated from high school 21 years ago, and completed three aimless semesters on community college.  Now, at 39 years old, I have found myself back in the classroom.

For a student my schedule is light.  6 credit hours.  I have a class on Tuesday night and Thursday night.  When I registered for my two classes I remember thinking, “this is perfect.  One class that I know I’ll struggle in and one class that will come fairly easy for me.”  I thought they would balance each other, and I would have no problems at all.  Well, I had the thought correct, but the classes switched.  I thought I would struggle in the math class, and breeze through the writing class.  Ha!  I am maintaining a high “A” in my math class and am on track to finish the course work within weeks.  The writing class . . . totally different story.

Creative writing has always come easily to me.  I can write poems and stories with little effort.  But my writing class is a completely different beast.  Research.  Objectivity. Neither of those things are strengths in my writing.  In the end the class will benefit me, and the rest of my education.  But the one thing I know I’m good at feels completely foreign.

To be honest, I considered dropping the class, but didn’t for a few reasons.  First, I’m going to have to take the class no matter what.  It’s basically a prerequisite for everything.  Second, I knew that I would encounter classes that would be challenging so why give up before I got started.  Third, what kind of example would I be setting for my son?  And finally, God says he will get his children through the difficult times, but that does not mean the road will be easy.  He will be the light on the path, but it’s up to me to follow his light wherever he leads.

So, I could look at this challenge in one of two ways . . . I can give in to the challenge and quit.  Or, I can rise to the challenge and come out stronger on the other side.

Besides, if I can’t get through one little challenging writing class, how can I expect myself to (hopefully, one day) work with the children at St. Jude who are up against the fight for their lives.

Until next time . . . 

Wasting Today (Poem)

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Seconds pass so slowly
Years are gone in a blink
You never see the changes happening
But nothing stays the way you think
Yesterday is gone
Tomorrow may not come
But today is wasted in a rush
in moments we wish were done
Tomorrow we’ll want today’s moments back
Tomorrow we’ll want today
But yesterday swallowed today’s moments
and buried them in memory’s haze
So as you hang your hat on tomorrow
You are missing all of today
and today will pass just like the cloud
Gone with all of your yesterdays.

Heather L. Flood
07.26.16

Tears (poem)

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If a tear could speak,
what would it say?
Would it lament over bygone memories,
or a path that went astray?
Would the tear speak of laughter
in the face of ruin and defeat?
Or would that tear speak of joy
held in the heart where no one can see?
Would that tear be in mourning,
the heartbreak of a lost love?
Or would its words be bitter,
A festering rage it can’t rise above?
Would the tears words speak of such beauty,
To behold, you can only weep?
Or would those words open an old wound
that cuts into the soul so deep?
The tear is the silent witness
to everything we feel
Every moment that we laugh,
And every scar that will never heal.
For every tear that escapes,
you give a little of yourself away,
a portion of your heart and soul
in voiceless tears that fall like rain.

Heather L. Flood
06.17.16

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 25 – 4 Weird Traits You Have

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To define something as weird means that people view it as out-of-the-box, not normal, and possibly even socially unacceptable.  But if you think about it, we are all weird.  We are all a bundle of quirks and idiosyncrasies that keep us from being just like everyone else.  Could you imagine how boring this world would be if everyone were exactly the same.  If you think that sounds like a good idea then take the time to watch the movie “Stepford Wives.”  Hopefully then you will see that weird traits, quirks, and idiosyncrasies are beautiful and embraceable, and not at all weird.

Day 25 – 4 weird traits you have

I don’t find anything about myself weird.  I am unique.  I am an individual.  I am colorful, and sparkley, and an embracer off all things happy and joyous.  So to try to write this post I would have to try to look at myself and see me the way someone boring and unsparkley would see me.  This may prove to be quite a task . . .

1.  I blog under the pseudonym of Carrie Leigh, although I have used my real name in a few posts, and even came out of the pseudonym closet several months ago, revealing my entire real name and several pictures of myself.  But since A Tale of A T-Rex was born under a pseudonym I decided to continue to use it.  Just think of me as a much shorter, more sparkley, less horrific, female Stephen King and Richard Bachman.
2.  I am only 4’10”, and my feet are small enough that I can wear kids shoes.  They are way cuter than adult-sized shoes, and cheaper, too.
3.  I choke easily.  My little flappy-thing that covers your windpipe when you are eating doesn’t always function properly.  When I was a baby I spit up A LOT more than the average baby, and once spit up all over the Christmas tree (sorry, mom).  Now I just randomly can choke, which leads to a lot of coughing and always ends with exactly two sneezes, no more and no less.
4.  My eyes are grey.  Not ice blue, cornflower blue, or even gunmetal blue.  They are grey, just grey.  My mom’s eyes are blue.  My dad’s are were blue and changed to green.  I got stuck with grey.

For the record, no of those things listed above seem at all weird to me.  They all seem like pieces of the pizzle that make me an individual, but whatever.

Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 15 – 3 Pet Peeves

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Everybody has pet peeves, things that just drive them crazy.  Things that make them gnash their teeth and want to say curse words.  Nobody can say that they are without pet peeves.  There are just things about life that we just like the way that we like them, and we would be a lot happier if everyone else liked them our way as well.  As soon as I saw this writing topic at least two things immediately came to mind.  So let’s start on the journey of today’s writing topic . . .

Day 15 – 3 pet peeves

  1.  A messy desk at work . . . I can handle my house being a mess.  I can handle my car being a mess.  What I can not handle is my desk being a mess.  Everything on my desk at work is need and tidy and in its place.  This carries over into the studio.  I share that studio with 3 guys.  2 of them are on the air together for the morning show.  The other one is on the air after me in the afternoons.  Between the three of them there is a lot of potential for that studio to get very messy, and it does when I’m not here.  But as long I am in the building that studio is perfectly tidy, because I can not function or concentrate until it is.
  2. A fork with a textured handle or bent tine . . . There is just something about the feel of a fork handle that has a textured design.  I can’t hold it.  I will not hold it.  And if it has a bent time then game over!  I will search for another fork until the offending one can be replaced.  I don’t have a fear of texture, design, or misshapen items.  Symmetry is just very important to me, which is why I can’t use a fork with a bent time.  And eating utensils do not need design.  We are not hanging them on walls as a piece of art, so why do they need to be decorated.  Nope.  Can’t do it.  Just give me a plain-handled, unbent fork and I will be a happy camper.
  3. Tardiness/Lack of promptness . . . I go out of my way to be on time, and preferably early, for everything.  To not be on time is rude and shows a lack of respect.  I can not stand for people to leave me waiting.  There are few things that make me angrier than when someone is late.  There is no grace period in my world.  There is no 5-minute-window.  If you are not exactly on time then you are late, no questions asked, and you have shown me that you feel your time is more important than mine, and thus you have little to no respect for me or my time.  This is an inexcusable offense that will lead me to manipulate information regarding future plans to ensure that you arrive on time.

Good grief!  Reading that list and I realize that I sound just like my grandfather, especially on number 3.

Until next time . . .

Happy anniversary!

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2 years A Tale of a T-Rex was born as a place for me to talk about things that were going on in my life at that time.  I never saw it lasting more than a few months.  2 years and almost 300 posts later it is still going.  Things have certainly changed over the past two years, but there is still plenty to write about.  I look forward to the 3rd year of A Tale of a T-Rex.

Last year, to celebrate the one year anniversary, I did a recap of my favorite posts from year one.  That post will be coming soon . . . the year two recap.  It will be an interest adventure down memory lane.  I hope you join me.

Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 8 – A Book You Love and One You Hate

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Books.  A cover.  Pages.  Sentences.  Words.  A story.  Fiction Nonfiction.  Ebooks are convenient and an easy way to carry your entire bookshelf with you wherever you go.  But there is something about the weight of a book on your hands.  The scent of the new ink, or the slightly musty aroma of an older book.  Absentmindedly playing with the pages edges while you are lost in the story. ? Fighting the urge to skip to the final pages because you can’t wait to find out how the story ends.  Admiring the cover art each time you reach for your book.  Rereading an old favorite because the story in those pages captivates you.  Books.  They are a magical piece of art that can transport you through time, space, and emotions with the simple turn of a page.
Suffice it to say, I love reading.  There are some days that can not be better spent than by cozying up on the couch with a good book.  I love those days.
I developed a love of reading very early on, and over the years it helped to foster my love of writing.  There is still little that I love more than getting lost in a good book.
Right now I am currently reading the Life Application Study Bible.  I have tried many times to read the Bible all the way through, but have not made it.  This time I’m not letting myself not finish it.  It’s beautiful and life-changing.  It truly is THE Good Book.
Today’s writing challenge topic, in case you haven’t already guessed:  books.

Day 8:  A book you love and one you hate.
(It was hard to think of one that I hated, but I expanded on the topic with several that I love.  I could just narrow it down to one loved book.)

Books I love:

Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil
George Berendt

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A murder in old-money South.  I wouldn’t think this story could actually be true, except that it is.  Sometimes truth really is stronger than fiction.  Thought-provoking.  Unusual.  Funny.  Wonderful.

The PD Chronicles: Blatant Confessions Of A Radio Guy
Jack James

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This is a must-read for anyone that works in radio.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
Betty Smith

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A beautiful look at early-1900’s Brooklyn, New York, and a girl on the edge of adolescence, watching her world change around her as she leaves childhood behind.

My Sister’s Keeper
Jodi Piccoult

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How far is too far for a family to go to save their dying child?

The Bronze Horseman
Paulina Simons

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I’m not generally one for period books.  Too hard for me to relate to.  But this one grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.  A love story set in World War II Russia.  A wizened soldier and a naive civilian as they fight to be together, and fight to stay alive.  The backdrop of the story is relatively true to history.  The romantic in me wonders if a story like could have happened during such a dark time in Russia’s history.

The Time Traveler’s Wife
Audrey Niffenegger

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Despite how much I loved this book, the movie was a slight disappointment.  It never reached the emotional level that the book did, no matter how hard it tried.

Phantom
Susan Kay

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Tells the entire story of Erik, the Phantom Of the Opera.  The original book by Gaston Leroux starts with Erik already living beneath the Paris Opera House.  This books starts with Erik’s mother while she was pregnant with him.  It tells an enchanting and tragic story of a disfigured genius who just wanted to be surrounded by beauty and to find love.
On a side note:  I have literally read the cover off of my paperback copy of Phantom, and had to buy it in hardback.

Lucky Man
Michael J. Fox

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Truly inspiring.  Thrown a huge curve ball at the height of his acting career, and he has caught that ball and run with it while keeping a smile on his face with his unfailing optimism.

Book I hated:

Eat, Pray Love
Elizabeth Gilbert

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I am sorry to all those that loved this book and said it really spoke to them or changed their life.  I tried.  I really tried to enjoy this book, but I just couldn’t do it.  I just flat out intensely disliked this book.

This is just a small number of books that I have read over my (many) years, the ones that grabbed my attention from my bookshelf as I remember to write this post.  I am sure that as soon as I click “publish” 9,000 other books will come to mind that I have loved or hated over the years.  And such is the joy of a book, it’s always there to remind you of and take you on its wonderful journey all over again.  All you have to do it open the cover.

Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 1 – 5 Problems With Social Media

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I am not generally one to look for writing prompts, but as I was scrolling the Facebook (ironic considering the prompt for Day 1) this evening I can across this 30-day writing challenge.  I’ve seen them in the past but never taken one on myself.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to stick with it the entire 30 days, but here’s hoping.

Day 1:  Five Problems With Social Media

I am a woman in my late 30’s.  I am not the social media junkie that my stepdaughter is.  She is on more social media sites and apps that I knew existed.  I do well to keep up with Facebook, and I could go months between Instagram posts.  I don’t tweet at all, simply because I’m too wordy to keep my tweets to 140 characters or less.  That’s one of the reasons A Tale Of A T-Rex was born.  Unlimited space to be wordy!  With that being said, social media, with its instant gratification of a “like” on your picture of tonights dinner and your post about how much you need coffee, is taking away from the younger generation everything that our parents and grandparents fought to instill in us.

1.  Phone manners
I work at a radio station, and during when I am on-air in the studio I take phone calls.  The callers that are of the pre-social media generation are always most of the time polite.  They offer a friendly greeting.  The say “please” and “thank you” when making their song request.  The say “goodbye” at the end of the call.  The callers of the social media generation have no phone manners.  Because they do most of their communicating via text and instant message they have no idea how to interact with a person on the phone.  Their calls generally end with them simply hanging up on me.  If I had done that when I was a kid my mother would have ripped me up one side and down the other, and then given me a lecture on proper phone manners.  If the social media generation behaves like this now, how will they behave when they are in the work fore and responsible for moving this country forward?  How will they teach their children to interact with others.

2.  The simple art of conversation
It goes along with the above point, I guess.  Texts, instant messages, tweets, and the like keep conversation not only to a few words as possible, but also to as few letters as possible.  We’ve all gotten the much-hated “K” in response to a question.  “K” is not an answer.  It’s not even a word.  It is 1/26 of the alphabet.  It’s the one that falls between J and L.  A conversation involves an opening greeting or statement, and exchange of thoughts between two or more people, and a closing (or transition to the beginning of another exchange of thoughts).  A conversation involves words and sentences.  It involves emotion.  A conversation is not “K.”  One day somebody who sent you a “K” response to a text is going to be a doctor who is going to diagnose their patient with cancer, or a lawyer arguing to keep the defendant out of prison.  In those situations will a “K” be sufficient?  No. Then why is it sufficient now?  Get your kids off their phones and teach them how to hold a conversation!

3.  Skewed sense of self worth / Popularity contest
This one does not apply simply to the social media generation.  This applies to anyone that is on social media at all.  I have 297 friends on Facebook.  I follow 148 people on Instagram, and am followed by 127 people (many of whom I do not know).  I have 235 followers on WordPress.  This does not have an effect on how I feel about myself.  I would post on Facebook and Instagram no matter how friends/followers I had.  I would continue to write posts on WordPress even if I had no followers.  I remember the first months of A Tale Of A T-Rex when I had no followers at all.  But I don’t base my self-worth on how many people see my posts.  There are many, many, MANY (too many) people who estimate their self-worth on how many followers/friends they have.  I work with a gentleman who told me that he has over a thousand friends on Facebook, but does not know most of them.  He collects friends the way I collect books.  He just has them because it makes him feel more special, more important.  It makes him feel better about himself.  But how many of those “friends” know him, really know him?  How many people know his hopes and fears?  How many of those people know his middle name or what his favorite color is?  But they are his “friends.”  And, on social media, the more “friends” a person has the better that person is.

4.  Social media mask
What is a mask?  It is something we wear on Halloween when we are pretending to be someone or something else.  We are judged by what we post on social media, rather than by the person we actually are.  I can easily put things on Facebook that are racist, antisemitic, or sexist, whether or not I actually believe those things.  People would pass judgement on me based on what I posted.  People would unfriend me, maybe even block me.  They would assume that I am a bad person.  Or I could post on Facebook about tolerance, love for others, and equality, and people would like and share my posts.  People would assume I am a good person.  Yet they don’t know me.  They would be seeing only that mask I am wearing on Facebook.  Social media takes away the personal interaction required to actually know a person.  Instead we put on our social media mask to make ourselves appear one way to others, even is what we actually are is completely different.  We seek acceptance, so we give people what they want to make ourselves look as good as possible.  Just a reminder though . . . we all have bad days.  We do not always poop rainbows and glitter.  We are not all patient, and loving, and kind.  We all wear a mask of some kind.  What is yours?

5.  Time thief
Phone, computers, tablets.  Social media is everywhere we go.  In the waiting room at the doctors office.  In the checkout line at the grocery store.  On the toilet while taking your morning poop.  Minimized on your desktop at work.  My pastor has said that if people spent as much time in their bible as they do on Facebook then they’d have problem reading the bible in a year.  Between reading, liking, and commenting on status updates; following links to interesting articles; posting pictures of your dinner, visit to the gym, and latest family vacation, how much time is lost to social media.  That is time that could be spent teaching your child how to cook, playing a family board game, finishing your work at the office so that you can skip out a little early.  We spend so much time looking at others lives on social media that we don’t have time to live our own life.  How much time could you get back from each day if social media were not a part of it?

I am happy with the outcome of the first post of my first 30-day writing challenge.  I look forward to what tomorrows post will be about.  Thank you for joining me on this adventure.

Until next time . . .

Insecure (poem)

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Insecure excels at being mediocre
A master of being plain
A talent for being talentless
Insecure is in it’s domain
A wallflower struggling to break free
A baby bird ready to fly
As risk looms forward dangerously
Pushing Insecure to hide
Stay where it’s safe
Stick to what is known
Tomorrow will be a brand new day
To again have your failure shown
Disappointment marks your life
Like neon signs on the Vegas strip
Brightly laughing over your life
In a recurring nightmare trip
Maybe one day Insecure can breathe
But today Insecure suffocates
Drowning where they always fall short
Never able to make it out of today

By: Carrie Leigh
09.26.15