Sara Goff: How To Soar!

NewSara

Everyone’s Story welcomes back–with much fondness–author Sara Goff. Sara is a wife, mother of two handsome little boys, friend, and an amazing author. It’s always a pleasure to host her! This week Sara shares a lesson that I believe we all face at one time or another, or if you’re like me, face on a daily basis. I hope you enjoy Sara’s feature. Do check out her blurb on I Always Cry At Weddings, which she’s offering as a BookGiveaway!! Both Sara and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

I Always Cry at Weddings-girl

BookGiveaway:

Sara is offering 1 print copy of I Always Cry At Weddings,  to 1 randomly chosen commenter, so please do leave a comment. The winners will be announced here on Friday, July 1st between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: email contact information within comments are no longer required. However, if I have a question regarding yours I’ll leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

 

Visit with Sara during her past features on Everyone’s Story:

I’ll Volunteer

The Two Keys To Success

Book Blurb of I Always Cry At  Weddings:

Ava Larson is the envy of brides everywhere. She has a glamorous career as a handbag buyer at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City; Josh, her wealthy, New York socialite fiancé; and a lavish wedding on the horizon, to be planned and paid for by her adoring mother-in-law-to-be. But things go terribly wrong for Ava when her friends spontaneously decide to get married at City Hall, and Ava is reduced to tears by the obvious signs of true love exhibited by the newlyweds. Their raw emotion makes her question her own relationship and she wonders whether Josh really and truly loves her.

After an embarrassing attempt to re-ignite sparks in her love life, Ava throws her impending future with Josh away, cancels the wedding, and flees to her tiny, dingy studio apartment on the West Side of Manhattan. In order to find true, enduring love she makes a vow to remain a virgin.

Ava is brought to tears over a lot more than weddings when she learns her mom may be succumbing to the ravages of cancer, she gets sacked by Bergdorf’s, her former mother-in-law-to-be decides to move in, and her financial status leaves her in jeopardy. Now she needs to figure out how she wants to live her life and what love really means.

 

Are We Living For Our Fears Or Our Dreams? By Sara Goff

If you were engaged to be married, wedding planned, and then realized the relationship was a mistake, you had been following the wrong path, would you break your engagement? Or would you stay the course, because you didn’t want to disappoint your friends and family, and it was the easier option?

I spent many years writing my first novel, I Always Cry at Weddings. So long, in fact, that I felt I had disappointed my friends and family. When anyone asked what I did for a living, I would joke about the book, rather than hold my head high and proclaim I was a writer. It was easier to give into my insecurities.

These are two very different scenarios with the same premise: Are we living for our fears or our dreams?

The most important lesson I learned while writing I Always Cry at Weddings was to break away from the insecurities impeding my progress. It was the key to me finishing the book and even the key to my main character Ava’s ultimate happiness. And, I might add, I’m still breaking up with my fears; it’s a lesson for life.

SaraMeme

Just to give you a little backstory: I started a charity in 2010, called Lift the Lid. We sponsor underprivileged schools and support the education of students living in poverty. We also encourage them to explore self-expression through writing. I first made a commitment to myself to stop living in fear, to be faith-focused, while judging a writing competition hosted by Lift the Lid at Lenana Girls High School in Kitale, Kenya. The competition required that the girls write about a female role model in their life. As I read the girls’ essays, I noticed a reoccurring theme between the women inspiring them. Women like Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey, Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan activist, and a simple woman selling vegetables, to name a few. They experienced hardships in pursuit of their goals, and they were ruthless in shaking off their fears. They made sacrifices, took risks, and stayed focus on the results they wanted.

Whether you’re trying to write a book or find true love, make a job change or start a family, whatever your goal is, in order to achieve it to the best of your abilities, you need to let go of your inhibitions. It’s a requirement. Call yourself a Writer, if your goal is to write. Free yourself to think and act creatively, test your full potential! You can’t care what anyone else thinks.

In 2000 I gave up a demanding career in fashion to write and pursue charity work. I feel fortunate today that I can still do both and stay at home to raise my boys, but there were many years of uncertainty, working in a nightclub just to pay my bills. If I had let fear control my thoughts and actions, I would have given up my dreams and gone back to corporate America. I would’ve taken the safe route. But I didn’t.

My novel I Always Cry at Weddings is about a woman who finds out who she is and what she wants, while simultaneously discovering what it means to be unconditionally loved. Ava Larson is a flawed leading character in that she makes wrong decisions and suffers the consequences of those decisions, but we love her because she learns from her mistakes and she never stops trying for her dreams.

The story is also about homelessness. I used to be an instructor at a writing workshop for the homeless through Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in Manhattan. A group of regulars from the soup kitchen, along with two or three instructors, got together in the vestibule of the church on a weekly basis throughout the spring to free write. I wrote stories from my life, keeping in mind sentence structure and vocabulary, while the homeless participants poured out their souls, lost themselves in self-expression, and let their hearts guide their pens. I always left the workshop in awe, wishing I could achieve that level of unfiltered emotion put down in writing. They wrote for themselves and no one else. By not trying to impress others they were able to be completely open and honest. No fear.

I heard a lot of life stories that expanded my understanding of homelessness and inspired my leading male character, Chris. He’s homeless, he’s got a plan, and he’s living true to himself. Throughout much of the story, his life is more stable than Ava’s. She reaches a point where she realizes her wedding, her entire life, meets other people’s expectations. Will she start over on her own and get to know the real Ava . . . or will she take the ‘safe’ route and get married? I think we know that answer!

We’re always evolving, experiencing new phases and learning about ourselves, but are we letting our fears undermine our dreams or are we making decisions that feed our passions, our needs and beliefs? Live for your goals, not your fears, and let your abilities surprise you!

Sara’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Author @sarajohannagoff asks: Are we living for our fears or our dreams? (Tweet This)

How did unconditional love, homelessness, and charity work influence author @sarajohannagoff? (Tweet This)

Like #ChristianFiction? Check out @sarajohannagoff’s #BookGiveaway on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Sara Goff is a former New York City fashion designer and merchandiser who, after seven years in the industry, left her career to follow her dreams of making a difference in the world. In 2010, Goff founded the global education charity Lift the Lid, Inc., which supports underprivileged schools and encourages young people to exercise their creative expression through writing.

Philanthropy has always been part of Goff’s lifestyle. While living in Manhattan, Goff especially loved being a writing instructor for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Writers Workshop, which was founded by author Ian Frazier. Goff has also participated as a writing instructor for The National Arts Club’s creative writing program for students. She has spoken at the Soup Kitchen, several inner-city schools, and Saint Francis College in Brooklyn about the writing process and the power of the written word. Ever the world-traveler, Goff was also accepted into Sewanee Writers’ Conference and received two fellowships to Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia and Nairobi, Kenya.

Goff recently moved to Connecticut with her husband of 14 years, their two children, and a Yorkie named Pia after living in London and Sweden. I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS is her first novel, and proceeds of the book will go towards Lift the Lid, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit organization. Visit www.lift-the-lid.org for more information on the charity.

Places to connect with Sara:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon

~*~*~*~*~

Starting today on my Facebook Author Page

www.elainestock/AuthorElaineStock

A little something different–hope you will visit!

 

 

Sara and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. 

Click “Comments.”

42 comments to Sara Goff: How To Soar!

  • Wow! It is so encouraging to see someone follow God’s calling on their life. Your post encourages me to step out in faith more. And don’t enter me in the contest–I just bought the book. 🙂

    • elaineadmin

      Hmm? Oh, wait. I know who that is… it’s Sara jumping up and down in joy about you purchasing her novel! Double smiley 😊 😊

    • Patricia, how nice of you to go ahead and purchase I Always Cry at Weddings! Yes, that does fill me with joy. 🙂 Ava is a courageous young woman who follows her heart when God’s reward is not yet visible to her. Throughout her journey of self-discovery, she certainly makes mistakes, but from my own experiences, I’ve learned that much of life involves stumbling and getting back up again. Thank you!

  • Ann Ellison

    I enjoyed the interview with Sara. Do not enter me in the drawing. I have already read and thoroughly enjoyed her book.

  • I love sharing the week with you on Everyone’s Story, Elaine! Thank you for hosting me, again. I hope we make one of our guests very happy with a copy of “I Always Cry at Weddings”!!

  • Thanks for your wise words of encouragement, Sara, needed to hear those today! Now I really want to read Ava’s story! 😉

  • Laura Conner Kestner

    Great post, Sara! I appreciate you sharing the story of your journey – the ups as well as the downs – and wish you much success in the future!

  • Ian

    Great message, Sara. It’s important we change our internal and external vocabulary when we caught in a rut, whether of the writing or any other-kind. It’s a conscious decision to intentionally think and speak differently. Fabulous that the Holy Spirit and the Word area always at hand to help us.

    I already have a copy, Sara & Elaine.

    Elaine, wonderful seeing Sara feature again on Everyone’s Story. Waving to you from chilly Sydney.

    • elaineadmin

      And I’m waving to you, Ian, from cool but soon to be hot and humid upstate NY. So nice to see you again! Stay warm.

    • Great to hear from you, Ian! Yes, I don’t know where I’d be without the Holy Spirit, or what I call God’s hugs. I’m also very grateful for the power of words. He really equips us, doesn’t He! Sending warm thoughts your way. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  • Patty

    Sara sounds like a delightful lady😀 Bravo for pursuing your dreams and not letting fear get in the way! That is something we all have a tendency to do I think.
    There are a lot of changes going on in my life right now and I tend to let worry and fear get in the way of many good things!

    • elaineadmin

      Hi, Patty. Thanks for visiting today. I hear you about letting worry and fear get between you and the good things in life … and that’s why I too appreciate Sara’s words.

    • Patty, the flip side of letting go of our fears and embracing the confidence God wants us to have can be very debilitating. Anxiety consumes so much of our time and energy. At first, when new fears arise, I find that it takes almost constant prayer and focus to release them (or fight them down.) I’m praying for you and the changes you’re facing!

  • Hi Sara:

    You are so right about living our dreams. And yet, it is not only our fears that undermine our dreams; it can also be the ‘voice of reason’!

    All her life my wife dreamed of going to Africa. She even tried to go there by joining the Peace Corps. That didn’t work out. For her fortieth birthday she took most of her savings out of the bank and, against the advice of most of her friends and relatives, went to Africa for a two week photo safari and tour of Kenya and Tanzania.

    Now, twenty some years later, we can easily afford such a trip but everyone’s health is so bad, it is impossible to travel outside the country. One of my best decisions was encouraging my wife to take that trip!

    Yes, we should live our dreams! But we should do it sooner rather than later. And remember: dreams follow their own logic because dreams, by their very nature, inhabit a world well outside the rules of the syllogism.

    How interesting that you’ve been to Kenya. Have you visited Karen Blixen’s home and the grave of Finch Hatton? As much as I love, “Out of Africa”, my heroine is Beryl Markham, a pilot, who wrote “West with the Night”. If you have not read this book, I think you might really enjoy it!

    BTW: the artwork on the cover of “I Always Cry at Weddings” has the ‘two-dimensional’ art deco look of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Jazz Age” novels. I’ve notice that flat style is very popular today on some romance novels. What do you think the style of cover says about the type of story the reader can expect to find between the covers?

    Absolutely: place me in the drawing for a Kindle edition of your book. I’d love to see how your dream came to life!

    Vince

    • elaineadmin

      Vince, your wife is certainly blessed to have your support!

    • Vince, thank you for sharing your wife’s quest to experience Africa, and Kenya and Tanzania, specifically! I understand her fearless desire to go. It’s unexplainable, really. The first time I went (and, yes, I visited Karen Blixen’s house) my grandmother, whom I was very close with and always valued her opinion, actually asked me not to go, but I went any way. It changed my life, and I returned the following year to visit schools. I love how you put it, our dreams inhabit a world outside all reason.

      The cover alludes to the jazz age music in the book. I’m glad you like it. I hope you get a chance to read I Always Cry at Weddings, and I hope you share it with your wife. It’s a real-life story, full of trial and error in a reckless pursuit of dreams. Thank you for stopping by today!

  • Marilyn R

    Thanks for this great post about Sara Goff. So glad to hear she followed her heart and God’s leading in her life. I Always Cry at Weddings sounds like an amazing read. Reading this blog, reminds me how my life changed after unpleasant events happened and I made some life changing decisions even though others were not happy. God is with me every step of the way. God bless you Sara as you continue your charity work. Elaine, thank you for featuring Sara to encourage all of us to step out in faith and not stay bound by fear.

    • elaineadmin

      As always, Marilyn, I’m thankful for your visit to Everyone’s Story. You help to brighten up this little corner of the world… and that’s what we all need to do for each other, shore each other up in His love. As humans, it’s way too easy to forget.

    • Thank you for your prayerful thoughts and encouragement, Marilyn! It’s good to look back and remember the times we were brave and walked with God. Maybe they were challenging times, but they probably didn’t feel like lonely times. 🙂

  • Caitlin

    I found your post very encouraging. Thank you for the wake up! And I love the title of your book!

    • elaineadmin

      Caitlin, welcome to Everyone’s Story. I’m happy you enjoyed Sara’s feature.

      Hope to see you again!

    • Thank you, Caitlin! I hope you’re inspired to shake off any fears that might be holding you back and go for something you’ve wanted to try, big or small. God doesn’t give us ideas or callings without reason!

  • Terrill Rosado

    This post opened my eyes to how I can sometimes project my own fears onto my kids, especially my ambitious 17 year old daughter. Her zealous nature has already driven her to start her first year of college while still in high school, as well as realize her desire of becoming a world traveler. In fact, she returns from a solo trip to Puerto Rico tonight.

    I tend to be the voice of reason (or discouragement,) because of my own fears which can range anywhere from financial to being rejected. Although it can be hard, I have gotten much better at keeping my doubts to myself and letting her have the freedom to brainstorm through her ideas and dreams. In some ways, roles have reversed and she has become my role model. I admire her fortitude and I am thankful for an equally ambitious husband who helps to balance the scales in our home.

    • elaineadmin

      Terrill, so nice to see you on Everyone’s Story 😊 And speaking of, I’m glad you enjoyed Sara’s.

    • Terrill, how wonderful that you are so proud of your daughter, and that she inspires you! I have two boys, both still young, and I can’t wait until they are old enough to discover different cultures and lifestyles. At the same time, I’m tempted to think about all the worst possible scenarios,whatever they happen to be doing! So I know how you feel.

      You’ve made the first step, acknowledging your fears and understanding that they will not build confidence or strengthen faith. And, yes, I believe fear is contagious, so I, too, try not to impose it onto my boys. I remind myself on a daily basis that they need to know how to learn from their mistakes.

      God bless!

  • dianne casey

    You are a new author to me. Your book sounds amazing and I look forward to reading.

    • elaineadmin

      Nice to see you again, Dianne 😊

    • Dianne, thank you for stopping by! I’m glad the premise of the book and the theme of living in faith and not fear sounds intriguing to you. I’m sorry you didn’t receive the book giveaway, but I do hope you get a chance to read Ava’s story. Thanks, again, for your kind words!

  • elaineadmin

    Sara, thanks so much for spending a wonderful week with my viewers. You’ve been a super guest and I really appreciate it 💗 I hope you will be blessed with many more loving readers and more wonderful books to follow.

    Thanks too for your great BookGiveaway of I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS. And the winner of Sara’s novel is…

    Caitlin. Yay, Caitlin. Happy reading!! Both Sara and I will contact you via direct emails.

    Blessings to all.

    • Congratulations, Caitlin!!! I’ll email you just as soon as I say thank you to Elaine. 🙂

      Elaine, you’ve made my week. I mean it. It’s been so much fun connecting with your readers. Thank you for inviting me back. Thank you for your prayers and your writing support, as well!

      I hope everyone has a wonderful and relaxing summer. God bless your creative spirits!!

      • elaineadmin

        Sara, what a lovely thank-you. You’ve made the beginning of my weekend wonderful! It means a lot to me to know a guest enjoyed her visit as much as I enjoyed hosting her 💗

  • Caitlin

    Elaine and Sara, thank you both!

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