I had this teeny tiny dream.
I wanted to create a line of rodeo-themed greeting cards.
That SOUNDED so simple, but I had no idea that I would have more than two years of delays and dashed hopes in my pursuit of getting that teeny tiny dream to become cards-in-my-hand and on the market.
The first pictures I took were at a rodeo run by a big rodeo association. I wanted to do things right and get the appropriate permissions necessary. When I spoke with the PR director, she was very interested and asked me to send her some samples. She LOVED my work! She loved the pictures so much she wanted to not only get me permission to make my line of greeting cards, she wanted to use them in the souvenir programs that would go out to all their rodeos in North America the following rodeo season, AND give me a byline, AND list my website!
Victory lap, right?!!
Since I was not a licensed photographer with her association, the powers that governed such things would not give approval for any commercial use of my pictures, at all, anywhere, for any reason. They said NO.
The PR director was bummed, I was bummed--big disappointment.
Long period of thinking my teeny tiny dream was dead.
Eventually it occurred to me that there are more than one rodeo association in the world and maybe there would be others that would have less stringent rules about licensing. I started researching and found a local junior rodeo association. This time I made contact before taking any pictures and asked for their permission ahead of time. The woman who was the president was very excited and gave me the requested permission and promised to help me secure model releases after the pictures had been taken.
The weekend of the rodeo arrived and I took 1200 pictures in two days trying to capture what I find incredibly beautiful and inspiring about rodeo, both the people and the animals.
For the next three months I worked feverishly to select and artistically process the pictures I wanted to use for my greeting cards. When I finally had my final selections made, I contacted my friend again to enlist her promised help in identifying and contacting the people in my pictures to request model releases to enable me to use them.
To make a long story short, something had changed. She told me she was too busy and didn't know when or whether she would be able to help me.
I think a kick in the stomach would have been less shocking and less painful. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. I didn't even know what to say. I mumbled something in my bewilderment and tried to gracefully end the conversation without losing it.
After I hung up the phone, I sat motionless in my living room in a silent, tearful meltdown wondering why, after all that work, it was going to end like this. Lord, where are you? I know it's just a teeny tiny dream, but it REALLY matters to me. Does it matter to You at all?
Just then Hero Husband walked in the door and all my upset spilled out in a tumble of words that probably weren't very coherent, but he got enough. Sympathetically and without any fanfare, he gently gave me calm, godly wisdom, "All you can do is let it go. You have to release her." If I needed evidence that it mattered to God, Hero Husband's on-cue entrance and heaven-sent words were that and more.
I hated how deeply I knew he was right. He was ABSOLUTELY right. If I didn't let it go, it would eat me up inside and my teeny tiny dream would become a mighty nightmare.
Minutes later, before I could overthink it or chicken out, I pulled out a copy of my "Hard Place" encouragement card and wrote a heartfelt (and heartbroken) note, thanking this woman for the help she had given up to that point, and not to worry about anything more. I told her I understood feeling overwhelmed by too many responsibilities and that I would pray for the demands on her time to ease up.
That's all. I didn't plead my case, or ask her to help me when she could, or list any expectation beyond asking her to accept my gratitude, and my prayer for her life to be blessed.
THAT was HARD. But as soon as I dropped the card in the mailbox, I was the one released. It still hurt like crazy to think my teeny tiny dream was dead (again), but the anger and resentment just melted away.
Three weeks later I received something unexpected in the mail--a short note scrawled on what looked to be a piece of scratch paper snatched from the day's junk mail. It was from my overworked contact, saying she hoped this would help and there were 6 names with phone numbers on it (only a few of what I needed) and she said that was all she could do. I immediately sent her an email thanking her profusely for taking time to help me.
Over the next few weeks, with the unbelievably generous help of those first six people, I got all but one of the model releases I had hoped for, and the Rodeo Dreaming Collection was finally no longer a teeny tiny dream, but a reality. Here's a little proof:
I tell that story, not to sell greeting cards (although that would be lovely), but I share it with you, FOR you, just in case you think your teeny tiny dream (or maybe great big God-sized dream) has breathed its last and that God has let it die. If that describes you, if you're sitting in a pile of dashed hopes or feel that repeated delays have killed your dream, don't panic. Sometimes it is in the release of a dream that you are made ready for it to come true or for something better to come in its place.
We can trust God with our dreams, even when it seems all is lost.
If you haven't read it recently (like, TODAY), I invite you to read the story of Joseph, a dreamer well-acquainted with delays and dashed hopes . . . AND dreams come true at the hand of His VERY GOOD GOD!!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
Have you ever had to release a dream before it could come true?
How has God honored your obedience when you've done something hard because you knew it was right?
I've thanked them many times, but I happily do so again--my deepest gratitude to everyone who helped me realize this dream, particularly all the parents who helped me contact people and who signed the model releases for my images of their beautiful children!
Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
"This also is Thou!"
491. Breakfast made by the talented hands of She So Sweet
492. Mother's Day cards from Hero Husband, Drummer Boy and She So Sweet that made me laugh and cry
493. TOTALLY unexpected, and very thoughtful gifts that will be a blessing to me every single day!494. William Wilberforce and the movie we watched together that told his story, Amazing Grace
495. The joyous tears that roll when I hear Larnelle Harris and Ladye Love Smith sing "I've Just Seen Jesus" (my parents were on this cruise and heard this performance live!)
496. A whole day spent together!
497. The thrill of seeing my favorite bull rider, Chris Shivers, win his 21st career PBR event! So humble, so inspiring.
498. Unexpected rearrangements in my schedule that actually make things go easier!
499. Fun with Drummer Boy, She So Sweet and Sparky
500. House full of music--band rehearsal for the first time in a long time!
501. A chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance
502. Laughing with Drummer Boy watching Horton Hears a Who!504. Packages that arrive after thinking they're lost!
503. Finding out that the AC repairs were extremely minor!
505. Allergy medicine that works