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STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

SCARS book cover

Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself--before it's too late.

Awards: #1 in the Top 10 ALA Quick Picks, ALA's Rainbow List, a Governor General Literary Award Finalist, Staff Pick for Teaching Tolerance.

Yes, it's my own arm on the cover of SCARS.

HUNTED book cover

Caitlyn, a telepath in a world where having any paranormal power at all can kill her, must decide between saving herself or saving the world.

Awards: A finalist for the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award.

PARALLEL VISIONS book cover

Kate sees visions of the future--but only when she has an asthma attack. When she "sees" her sister being beaten, and a schoolmate killing herself, Kate must trigger more attacks--but that could kill her.

Awards: 2013 Gold Winner, Wise Bear Digital Awards, YA Paranormal category.

STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

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Follow Your Dreams

by Cheryl Rainfield, 2002

Dreams. What are dreams? Dreams are soul food. Dreams are things that give us hope. And when they come true, they often give us joy and happiness. Dreams are important for us to hold onto, and to follow. I know when I have a dream inside me, and I listen, really listen, and work towards it coming true, I am filled with energy, and hopefulness, and happiness. Often, when people let go of a dream, when they lose it, something dies inside.

If dreams are so important to the soul, to happiness, then why do so many people try to discourage us from following our dreams? Maybe it's because they're afraid of seeing us blossom into our full selves, because that's a place they've never dared to go themselves. Maybe it's because their own dreams have withered away. Or maybe it's because they're just scared, scared of the happiness and energy that comes from a person following a dream--and scared of the vulnerability that someone can open themselves up to when they truly follow their heart.

It shouldn't matter what other people say about your dreams. If you have a dream that makes you feel good, follow it. Don't let sour criticism spoil your dream. Hold onto it, and do the best you can to make it come true. Hold onto your dream in the long nights it takes to get where you want to go--and notice each small step of success as you get there. Nurture your dream. Nurture yourself.

But other people aren't the only ones who put down our dreams, or try to suppress us. Sometimes we can be the most critical of our own dreams, by dismissing them or telling ourselves that they can't happen. When we let go of our dreams, we let go of a part of ourselves. We suppress a part of ourselves. And that can deaden us inside, to emotions, to hope. It can bring a lot of pain--because we're not letting ourselves reach for something that fulfills us. We're not letting ourselves try.

Not allowing ourselves to follow our dreams, or even to just dream, can eat away at us, and cause us to become bitter, angry, and self-loathing. But following our dreams--ah, that's what releases us. Even when it's hard--even when it's scary adn we feel liek giving up and we can't think how we're going to get there--even then, there's something that feels right to us, deep in our souls, something that speaks to our hearts and makes us feel alive.

Dreams are vital to our well being, and we should all have them. What can you do to bring yourself closer to your dreams?

  • First, figure out what your true dreams are. It may take you a while to figure out what you really want, so take the time you need. Listen inside yourself, listen to what you really want. It doesn't matter if you think it can't come true, or if you think it might be silly. Ask yourself what it is you've always wanted to do.

  • Ask yourself what's stopped you from coming close to your dream. Are you afraid, in some part of you, of succeeding? Are you afraid of being happy? Do you think you don't deserve to have something good, or something that wonderful? Are you afraid of being different than other people, or of appearing silly? Or does the dream just feel too big, too huge to accomplish? Find out what's been stopping you. Really look at it, examine it. Then ask yourself whether your dreams and your happiness are more important than that thing, and if you can work with it, with those feelings, toward what you really want.

  • Think about what you need to do to get to your dream. Write out the steps towards it.

  • Then break down the steps you need to take to accomplish your dream into steps as small and as manageable as tiny baby steps. Even if you just do something as small as write down one thing on a list to do, or write down a phone number of who you're going to call, you're making steps towards your dream. SARK calls this micro-movements.

  • Is anything still holding you back? Figure out what would help you take a small step towards your dream. Do you need to tell someone your dream to make it real? Do you need to allow yourself to feel something? Do you need to write it out in a book, or draw it so you can see it?

  • Then hold onto that dream, and keep trying to take mini steps towards it coming true. Try to always be gentle and kind with yourself, always. And when you do do something, even something you'd consider miniscule, celebrate it. Notice it. Know you're coming closer to your dream. Feel the joy and wonder of that.

So reach for your dreams. Follow them. Believe in them. And they can come true.

Resources:

©Cheryl Rainfield, 2002

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