Dreams and Aspirations: The Long Road There

This is the 1st post in a 6 week series joining Ginny who is guest posting at Mommy’s Piggy Tales hosting the Young Adult Years version to record your youth.
I’m also linking this up to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop
1.) What was your big dream for yourself when you were 18 and had graduated from high school? I also linked up #5 here and #6 (vlog) here

Today I will be talking about the dreams and aspirations I had when I graduated high school. The pages of a book that you’ll see contained in this post are from an actual book that I filled out before graduation called “Senior Year Reflections”.

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a ballerina. I thought that they were beautiful and I loved dancing. We didn’t have the money for lessons so I would check out books and videos on ballet from the library and teach myself. I would watch ballet on tv and try to mimic the moves. When I was 11 years old I was able to take ballet lessons for the first time and I loved it. However, I was realistic enough (even at 11 years old) to know that I was too far behind at that point to become a professional ballerina.

It wasn’t just ballet. I have the performance bug. I love to act, and sing, and dance, and make people laugh, and otherwise get attention. I wanted to be an actress. I loved acting and during high school I was very active in theater. As much as I would have loved for someone to come along and drop a movie or television deal in my lap…I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t want to leave my hometown and I certainly didn’t want to go to California or New York. I knew that it was a tough life with all of the auditions and rejections. I also knew that I desired a normal family life that may never happen if I “made it big”. At 17 years old I was realistic enough to know that as much as I loved acting I did not want to pursue it professionally. (Little does the world know that the greatest actress that ever lived spends her days elbow-deep in dirty diapers and her nights writing mediocre blogs 😉 For this I apologize to you my unknowing public.)

While I was in middle school I realized that I liked helping people. My friends were always coming to me for advice (although they rarely took it, ugg!). I thought that maybe I should be a guidance counselor or something like that. I even thought about being a talk show host which would pair my love of performing with my love of helping people. Although “talk show host” isn’t really one of those jobs you can just walk up to and fill out an application…so I had to be realistic again.

I enjoyed teaching others and I had thought about becoming a teacher. But then I thought about how I wasn’t a great student (a good student with a 3.0 average, but not great) and figured that a teacher should probably be smarter than that (or at least more ambitious) if they’re going to teach other people.

I’ve always loved to write. My “heaviest” writing years were during middle school. I wrote a lot. I wrote in my diary. I wrote poems. I wrote short stories. I created a series of books. I began a novel. By the time I was 16 any desire I had to write had left me. I had some very bad experiences with my 11th grade C.P. English teacher (Including having her tell me that I had written the best argumentative report she had ever read. I received a D- on it. Others received considerably higher grades). Unfortunately she turned me off to writing for a very long time.

When I was 11 years old I felt God’s calling on my life to minister to youth. I don’t remember one particular experience or moment that brought me there. I just know that sometime during that year I began to feel very strongly that one day I should minister to teenagers. I wasn’t even a teenager myself yet, but that’s how I felt. I knew that the calling was there, I knew that the desire was there, I knew that the passion was there…but God didn’t give me any other details. I had no idea how I should minister to youth. Should I go to college for youth ministry? Will I marry a pastor or youth pastor someday? Will I be offered a youth ministry position at my church? Would I start a ministry in my community? I had no idea. I left it up to God and figured that He would let me know what to do and how to do it when the time was right.

The dream that was the most important to me was to become a wife and mother. I knew that I wanted a family and I knew that I wanted to be able to stay home with my children if we were able to afford it. I think this might be why I never really gave too much thought to what I wanted to be when I grew up. Maybe I would be a wife and mom that was also a ballerina, or a movie star, or a guidance counselor, or a teacher, or a writer, or a youth minister. Or maybe I would be “just” a wife and mom. It didn’t matter to me which way it happened but I knew that I really wanted to get married and I really wanted to have children. My parents had met in high school and got married a few years after graduating. I always assumed I would meet my guy in high school and get married young. Although I did have boyfriends in high school, none of the relationships lasted. Some of them broke up with me, I broke up with some of them, but I didn’t find the one. The summer before my senior year I met a guy who was a P.K. (pastor’s kid) that wanted to become a pastor himself and we began to “date” and everything seemed perfect. We decided right away that we were meant to be together that we would get married some time after graduation. Our long distance relationship consisted almost entirely of letters (the kind that you mail with stamps and everything!), a few phone calls, and a few visits. I didn’t have a good feeling about our relationship, so I broke it off only a month before graduation.

It would be another 3 years before I would meet my hubby, 6 years post-graduation before we get married, and 12 years post-graduation before I would give birth to our daughter. But those are stories for another time.

I had a great time during school. I was very involved in extra curricular activities (theater, dance line, chorus) and having a blast. I was really sad about graduating. Sad and scared. I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to do with my life. I just wanted to stay right where I was. I wanted my senior year to just keep going. But it wouldn’t.

Graduation approached and I had never applied to any colleges because I didn’t have a major. I still had no clear direction on how to pursue youth ministry. I looked into a few different programs, but nothing seemed right. In 1997 I graduated from high school with absolutely no plans for my future.

In September 1997 I would get my first job working at a grocery store. One year later I would leave the grocery store to work full-time at a department store where I would eventually become an area department manager. In 2000 I would meet my Hubby. In 2003 we would get married and I would quit my job.

In 2004 I was asked to choreograph the all school musical for my former high school. I accepted and had a blast creating and teaching dances to the kids. I formed a bond with the girls in the musical. I kept in touch with quite a few of them via email throughout the summer. I felt God calling me to start a Bible study and I began planning that summer. The girls came to my house for a Christmas party later that year and I asked them, “Would you girls be interested in meeting here once a month for a Bible study?” They said yes.

In January 2005 I founded the G.I.R.L. Club (Guiding and Inspiring Righteous Ladies). I was almost 26 years old. The G.I.R.L. Club would meet in my house every month.

We would sing, pray, and have Bible study. We had sleepovers and parties. We would go to the movies. We would go to purity seminars. We would go to See You at the Pole.

We would be weird. We would laugh together. We would cry together.

I tried my best to be there for them and to mentor them in any way possible. For various reasons (the main one being that God was done with it) in January of 2008 G.I.R.L. Club meetings ended with absolutely no fanfare.

In June of 2009 I sat in the same gymnasium that I graduated in 12 years before and watched my girls graduate while I was pregnant with my daughter. Once again I felt sad and scared. Sad that the girls were growing up and leaving, scared to finally become a mom after so many years. But I felt something else that I didn’t feel 12 years before that. I felt peace. I felt like I was right in the middle of God’s will.

In 1990 (the year when I felt the calling to minister to youth) one of my oldest G.I.R.L.s was born 12 days before my 11th birthday. The girls have now all graduated high school and are in college. I am so proud of the intelligent, lovely young ladies that they’ve become. I love each of them dearly. I learned so much while I was mentoring them. It was a part of my life that I never could’ve dreamed up on my own and one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

I’m not a ballerina, or a movie star, or a guidance counselor, or a talk show host, or a teacher, or a writer, or even a youth minister. Now I’m “just” a wife and a mom. I don’t know if there’s another group of girls for the G.I.R.L. Club in the future. I don’t know if I’ll ever minister to youth again. But I know that I have everything that I’ve always wanted. And I know that God is good.

My Young Adult Years
*Dreams and Aspirations: The Long Road There
*Friends and Fellowship: Friends Don’t Get Friends Grounded
*My First Job
*How I Met Cool Daddy Part 1
*How I Met Cool Daddy Part 2
*Colonel Mustard on a Rollercoaster with a Plastic Fork

My Piggy Tales:
*My Birth Story: I’m always late!
*Ages 3-5: Dancing in a box
*Age 6 First Grade: There’s a bra in my lunchbox!
*Age 7 Second Grade: Bossy Wheels and Shady Deals
*Age 8 Third Grade: I will not talk in class
*Age 9 Fourth Grade: I didn’t really need those fingers anyway!
*Age 10 5th Grade: Nothing’s Scary in the Fifth Grade
*Age 11 6th Grade: Jenny Got Ran Over by her Grandma
*Age 12 7th Grade: Youth Camp Stinks
*Age 13 8th Grade: “Talent” Show
*Age 14 9th Grade: (N)O Christmas Tree
*Age 15 10th Grade: The Newsboys Wouldn’t Ditch Their Friends
*Age 16 11th Grade: Acrophobia Gets You the Good Seats
*Age 17 12th Grade: In School Suspension

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About Jenn Rian

Jenn Rian is a mom, blogger, actress, yoga instructor, and cosplayer. She blogs about as often as she showers, which isn't very often. Author of jennrian.com and funanddysfunction.com (coolestfamilyontheblock.com)

Posted on October 12, 2010, in Flashbacks, Jenn, Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, Mommy's Piggy Tales, The Young Adult Years and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. loved your story, jenn!

    We sound A LOT alike! I, too , was a big performer (choir and theater from childhood on up through college) I had a scholarship for theather in college and pretty much minored in it, but majored in mass communications (emphasising in electronic media) hoping it would help me get into the entertainment industry by first working behid the scenes and networking/making connections while still having a steady paycheck.

    God did a number on my heart in college and helped me be OKAY with performing just for performance sake and not needing BIG stardom as a goal. For my sr. internship I created, managed, and directed a drama worship team. It was SO fun! Now, I’d be happy just to get into community theater some day soon.

    I had to laugh at your silly pics I have some VERY similar ones!!

    Who knows…maybe God’s got some other plans for you on this ol’ bloggy platform? Is family fun really your passion or is there something else?

    Have you checked out that writing blog/website I suggested? THe Author, Christy Holl, has publushed several bible studies for young girls…


    • Heidi,

      I think we do have a lot in common 🙂 I’d love to get into community theater or something again soon. But I think I have awhile since I’m so busy with the little princess!

      I’m not sure where this blog will lead me. I can’t really say that family fun is my passion as much as an interest and considering that my whole world is wrapped up in my daughter right now…it does tend to be a focus. I could totally do a devotional/Bible study blog, but honestly I’m so fried and exhausted most of the time from being mommy that I really wanted to start off with something fun and light-hearted. When I do Bible studies I get real deep, and I’m just not in the mood for deep right now 😉 Still, I’m open to what God wants for me. Maybe I’m only getting my feet wet here. Time will tell…

      I bookmarked that blog that you recommended, but I can’t say that I’ve had a chance to look at it yet. I think I’ll try to make it a priority this week. I’ve been writing stuff for a teen devotional book for years. It’s not anywhere near ready yet, but it’s definitely something I have an interest in and am passionate about.

      Thanks so much for your comment. All of your help and support has meant a lot to me 🙂


  2. Thank you for sharing your journey! I have no doubt that there is mentoring in your future – it may not be formal – but you will mentor the friends of your daughter! I love reading how you are following God’s plan. Looking forward to reading more as we progress!


    • Thank you!
      My husband and I already talk about mentoring our children’s friends and how we hope to become the hang out where all of the kids want to go. I’ve got so many ideas about how to keep things fun for the kids while instilling good morals and values. We’re looking forward to it 🙂
      Thanks so much for your comment!


  3. I loved reading this! Thanks for sharing. I love the G.I.R.L. club too!


    • Thanks, Nicole! I’ve had so many ladies write to me asking to use the name for their girls’ group. It just goes to show you that God was in it from the beginning!

      Thanks for visiting 🙂


  4. Love how you love being used by God! I really don’t want to write down my childhood stories! Good memories are hard to find!


    • Thanks, Sarita!
      Maybe you can write down your children’s stories instead. I’m sure there’s plenty of stories about them that they don’t remember anymore. I love to hear my mom tell stories about my childhood, but she’s beginning to forget them.


  5. My sister once told me not to call myself “just” a mom and a wife, because I was so much more! And you are, too…just look at how important you were to the GIRL club! What a neat thing to have started. Even if you don’t see any of those girls again, you were such a wonderful influence on their lives that they will never forget you.


    • I totally agree, Ginny! That’s why I used the ” for “just”. I think that there’s no more important job than to be a good mom 🙂

      When one of my girls graduated she gave me the most beautiful letter telling me what a good influence I was on her. It’s one of my most prized possessions. Those girls have no idea how much they’ve touched my life too!


  6. Stopping by from Blog Frog. Thank you for sharing a story from your life journey and your walk with God.


  7. How fun! Memories are so important. Often we don’t realize we’re making them, but eventually we figure it out. The GIRL club might be good background for a YA book.


    • Thanks, Donna 🙂

      By “YA”, I’m assuming that you mean a Young Adult’s book. I’d love to write one! I have so many different ideas for books that finding the one to focus in on is my main problem. Do I write devotionals/Bible studies? Do I write a novel or series? Fantasy or children’s stories? What ages? Do I write for women who’ve experienced infertility like I have? Too many ideas…

      I so appreciate an experienced voice 🙂


  8. Your story brings to mind that for everything there is a season. God leads us step-by-step and your story is proof of this! I can look back on my life too and see how things changed along the way, but never my desire to serve my God. That Bible study group sounds very special!

    Stopping by from writer’s workshop.


    • Thanks, Sharon. It’s so true. It’s hard to see at the time and sometimes it’s a little frustrating…but it all works out in the end 🙂

      They were a pretty special group of girls. I’m so proud of them.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  9. loved finding out about you. you sound amazing. I bypassed the performing gene totally but married a man with it! love the GIRL club and all it stands for! so glad to have found you at mamakats writing workshop. jane xxxxx


    • Jane, thanks for your kind words 🙂 I like to think that I’m amazing, but that’s up for debate 😉

      I definitely love performing but haven’t done it for years. Looking forward to my daughter starting dance class next year if she’s interested.

      Thanks 🙂 The G.I.R.L. Club was pretty special.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


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