Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Training for Our Dreams (And a Giveaway!)

Dreams. We all have them -- though some of you might have lost sight of them or might have buried them under piling to-do lists. But that's a post for another day.

Today, we're talking about dreams, tenacity, training, and ... admiration for those who do this well. There's a reason so many watched the Olympics. There's a reason I love Ninja Warriors and why I celebrate every time one of my friends receives a book contract or promotion, or whatever.

Dreams--a universal, sometimes fanciful, spark. But, other times these dreams were placed within us, I believe, by a loving, attentive, eternal God. This morning, my sweet friend, Shannon Taylor Vannatter, shares her thoughts on dreams -- and the recently concluded Olympics. As an added bonus, she's launched a fun give-away to celebrate the release of her latest novel, Reuniting With the Cowboy. Read through what Shannon shares with us, then make sure to read the instructions on entering her fun giveaway!

Training for Our Dreams
by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

I don’t do sports—at all and don’t have a competitive bone in my body. I love to swim, play badminton, and baseball, but that’s as close as I get and only for fun. I certainly don’t want to sit around and watch sports on TV.

Yet I anticipate the Olympics, can’t wait until they come around again. No matter what country the games take place in, for me they’re patriotic and I enjoy watching the medal count as the U.S. stomps everyone else. I was beside myself when the decision was made to separate the summer and winter games. Olympics every two years—yippee!

My favorite all time Olympics was Atlanta 1996. Despite the bombing, I enjoyed it most because my husband was out of town, I didn’t have a child yet, and wasn’t writing then. I had a long weekend off from work and slept in the living room floor because the TV was bigger. I watched the Olympics 24/7. I’d doze through reruns and then watch some more.

These days, I record every event, and spend my evenings watching for two solid weeks. When my
family wants me to do something like feed them—I complain, “You’re ruining my Olympic experience.”

My fourteen year old son’s two cents, “Can’t we watch something else?” In most individual events, I fast forward through the competitors and only watch the US. In swimming, track, and skiing, I fast forward through all the heats and see how many of the U.S. team qualified, then cheer them on in the finals.

If I wasn’t trying to pack twenty-four hours of events into one evening, I’d probably watch it all. If it’s something pretty, I watch every second. My favorites—synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, and ice skating. When the games are over, I always feel slightly lost. What am I going to do with my evenings now? There’s nothing on TV.

I also love singing competition shows. I’m still grieving American Idol. Though I don’t listen to secular music, nor do I appreciate some of the judges’ language, off-color remarks, and innuendos. Again, I record the shows, fast forward through most the commentary and listen to the competitors sing. I even fast forward through some of the songs if I don’t like the style or lyrics.

I cry with the contestants when they get cut. I whine and complain when the judges send the ones home that I really like, though I’ve never voted for my favorite. And when my pick doesn’t win, I rail
at the people who did vote.

So what do the Olympics, the Voice, X Factor, and American Idol have in common? The athletes who compete in the Olympics have dreamed, worked, and trained their entire lives. The singing competitors have dreamed, worked, and trained their entire lives. In pursuit of their lifelong goal. Watching these competitions inspires me.

I understand their tenacity. I share the same drive. Though it took me longer to figure out my goal, I dreamed, worked, and trained for nine and a half years. Then learned, cried, stressed, and hair-pulled through twelve published titles. I’m most at ease and most me when I’m with other writers. Because they get me—more so than my family and loved ones ever will. Now I teach writing at conferences and local group meetings because I want to share what I’ve learned. To feed the dream and stoke the drive in others like me.

And I cheer on Olympians and singers because though our dreams are different, we’re a lot alike.

A charming cowboy moving in next door shouldn't be bad news. But veterinarian Ally Curtis knows Cody Warren—she'd never forget the boy who left her when she needed him most. Cody is doing everything he can to show his beautiful neighbor he's not the wild bull rider he once was, from helping her find homes for her beloved strays, to protecting her when her business is threatened. But Cody has a secret that keeps him from fully reaching out. Yet as they continue to work together to promote her shelter, he can't keep himself from hoping that Ally might have a home for him…in her heart.

Get your copy now: AmazonChristianbookBarnes and Noble


Comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Reuniting with the Cowboy. Ten copies will be split among names drawn during the blog tour from Sept 1 - 27. One winner will receive a Noah’s Ark themed memory board personally crafted by the author. This fabric is special since it was in the Vannatter nursery 14 years ago and goes along with the float the characters in the book build for a parade. Great for a shower gift or displaying kids or grandkids. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on Oct 8th. Sign up to enter more giveaways: http://shannonvannatter.com/sign-up-for-shannons-newsletter/

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Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/award winning author. She once climbed a mountain wearing gold wedge-heeled sandals which became known as her hiking boots. Shannon writes inspirational contemporary romance and it took her nine years to get published in the traditional market.

Shannon hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as her characters struggle with real-life issues. Their journeys, from ordinary lives to extraordinary romance through Christ-centered relationships, demonstrate that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her family, flea marketing, and doing craft projects.

Follow Shannon on her web site, blog, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Twitter.


  1. great interview Shannon! Shelia Hall sheliarha64@yahoo.com

  2. Thanks Shelia. Even though he's not American, I watch all of Usain Bolt's heats and races. He's just amazing.

  3. I will watch car racing every so often but I too do not sit in front of the tv and watch sports. I do like to watch minor league baseball in person more fun than the major leagues.

    1. I love playing baseball for fun and was at my happiest when my son was on a team. But he didn't like it as much as I do and doesn't play anymore. I miss it.
      Sometimes you can tell what's going on in my life by my books. I wrote my first book when my husband answered the call to preach after 16 years of marriage. I dealt with my unworthy feelings by writing a book about a woman dating a preacher. My last book was about a baseball mom. I wrote it when my son decided not to play anymore and I was crushed.

  4. sounds interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com