Friday, June 15, 2012

My Never Surrender Moment

So this week has been the Never Surrender blogfest. I have read so many amazing and inspirational posts that have helped me to feel less alone in the whole quest toward publication -- as well as this thing we call life. Thank you.




You can follow the whole list here, and it's not too late to sign up! The blogfest runs through Sunday. 

Today I thought I'd give you my Never Surrender moment. This is my life one, and I'm going to be sharing my publishing Never Surrender moment in a vlog on Stasia Ward Kehoe's blog on Tuesday. 



LIFE: I got married very young. (This is not the Never Surrender moment! Ha!) I had a child within the first two years of being married. I was 20 years old, not a college graduate, and taking care of a baby while my husband worked long hours in the retail market. We'd recently moved 350 miles away from any family, and we were together, but alone. (I know that doesn't make sense. Keep going with me.)

Because of my AP classes in high school, I was able to earn an Associate's degree after just one year of college, before my son was born. And I wanted to finish college. I waited through the semester and started at SUU in January 1999. My son was 5 months old. SUU was 50 miles away, one-way.

So we bought a beatup Chevy for $300, and I loaded my son in the backseat every day and drove to school. After attending classes, I picked him up at the daycare and drove the 50 miles home. Let me tell you the only thing that saved me: Tape deck + Paul Simon cassette. No lie.

18 months later, I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and a math minor. My son was almost 2. By this time my husband had quit his job and gone back to school. We were poor, driving two beat-up cars to work and school, tutoring college students in Math 101 to help pay the bills, and ready to get to the next stage of our lives.

We prevailed. It was hard, but at the time, I didn't realize how hard. It's only now, looking back that I realize it would've been so easy to quit. Quit school. Quit tutoring. Quit everything. So easy. 

But I didn't surrender then. I try not to surrender now.

"Never give up! Never surrender!" ~Galaxy Quest

Do you have a Never Surrender moment? Share it with us!

And don't forget about today's blog tour stops. It's the end of week 2, so be sure to go to the blog tour page and enter to win a $15 gift card from Barnes & Noble:

51 comments:

Christine Danek said...

Wow. You're an inspiration. Thanks for sharing and hosting this blogfest.
Have a great weekend!

Anita Saxena said...

That is an inspiring story. You and your husband are tough cookies. Thank you for sharing. Can't wait to check out the other never surrender moments.

Heather Murphy said...

That's what I call dedication. Good for you!

Heather Murphy said...

That's what I call dedication. Good for you!

S.P. Bowers said...

So often we don't realize how hard something is while doing it. We just know we need to so we start working.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Wow! That's an amazing story of dedication to following your dreams. Thanks for sharing it. And I love that Galaxy Quest quote. I think of it often.

My Never Surrender post is up today too. Hope you'll stop by.

Liza said...

Oh Gosh. I am beyond impressed. You sound like you really knew your mind, even at so young an age.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've been a starving student, but it takes on a new meaning when you through a baby into the mix. Awesome story, Elana. Way to go on not surrendering. :D

Angela Brown said...

Setting your mind to what you truly want to accomplish can really light a fire under 'perseverance' and 'stick-to-it-tiveness'. You had that fire then and still to this day.

Never Surrender!

SA Larsenッ said...

Great survival story. I swear, the more I learn about you the more I realize how similar our paths have been.

Thanks for sharing this. (Ooh, I've been meaning to email you. I'll be in Utah this coming week!! Got any good advice or places I should go?)

Kimberly Gabriel said...

And now look where you are....Thank you for sharing your story of true perseverance. It's inspirational.

I have LOVED reading the Never Surrender stories from this blog hop. Every story has shown the strength of the human spirit from the day to day battles to the really tough life changing ones. Thank you so much for hosting it.

I'm a 7th grade English teacher. I've already had several kids pick up your first book and love it. I'm totally going to steal this writing prompt and use it next year with my kids when we discuss your book. ;)

Teresa Coltrin/Journaling Woman said...

Aww, I love this story. I can tell you are a fighter.

I always wanted to go to college but could't afford to. Then life crisis just kept hitting me. I went back to college at 40, quit because I was missing out on my daughters after school activities (she's an over achiever) went back at 47.

Great story, Elana.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sometimes we go through phases of our life like that and we don't stop to think about it - we just do it.
And then we look back and wonder how on earth we did do it!

Barbara Watson said...

Thanks for sharing YOUR never surrender time, Elana. I've been inspired by each blog I visit, each story. It reminds me how unique we all are. How we have common bonds because of our humanity. But that we each have a story to tell.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Quitting probably never entered your mind at the time. You expected you were going to have to work hard and you did what you had to do.

Sometimes it's hard to appreciate one's own work ethic until you meet somebody who doesn't have one. (And yes, I have someone in mind.)

Melissa Sarno said...

Love this. Sometimes, when you're in it, you don't realize that what you're doing is quite a feat and it's only when you step back that you do. It's good to reflect, I think.

Julie Dao said...

It's a testament to your courage and bravery that you and your husband never gave up :) I loved this story. My mom also married young, had three kids right away, and never had a chance to go to college. It's the one thing she regrets more than anything, I think.

Liesel K Hill said...

Great story! Sometimes it's not the epic, sudden, or tragic moments that we need to overcome, but just the plodding, exhausting, tediousness of daily life that we have to get through in order to get to "the next stage" as you put it. I've seen so many people give up when this happens! I'm so glad you didn't! Thanks for doing the blogfest, Elana! I think it's been a roaring success!

Linda Jackson said...

Thanks for openly sharing, Elana. I can identify with the poor, married college student scenario (minus the kid). But, like you guys, we survived!

Jaime Morrow said...

What an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing it with us, Elana. My husband and I have had times like this, mostly when I was in University and he was working his butt off as a chef. We felt like we never saw each other, and money was certainly tight. We stuck it out, and now (some years later) things are finally looking up. We didn't surrender either. :)

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I often wondered how we didn't cross paths at SUU, and now I know. I didn't go to the math building, take a math class or anything.

This is so inspirational. I really love you and your determination. When I grow up, I want to be like you.

Alice said...

That's a great story. i love hearing how other people get through hard things. It's encouraging. Thanks for sharing.

Nicole Zoltack said...

You are definitely a fighter. Perseverance and drive are all it takes to make dreams come true.

Claire Hennessy said...

Wow what an inspirational story. What dedication. Congrats on Surrender and looking forward to reading it. My recent Never Surrender story is perservering with my life in America when I wanted to run and hide back to England and my family. Things are coming good and I am so pleased I stayed.

Ghenet Myrthil said...

This is a really great story! I've enjoyed reading all the posts in the Never Surrender blogfest. Great idea!

Clara said...

HOLLY COW, how did you go through all this!! Amazing Elana, thank you so much for sharing! Somehow "inspirational" doesn't even begin to cover it.

Leslie Pugh said...

I have really been enjoy the Surrender blogfest online and so many stories of inspiration. Yours is such an inspiring story as well! I honestly can't imagine how hard that must have been for you and your husband to get your educations that way but you did and it's very inspiring!

Mina Burrows said...

Awesome story and excellent inspiration. I've read a few of these posts this week and they are amazing. Thx for sharing. :)

DL Hammons said...

This has been an awesome blogfest! I've enjoyed each and every post!! Your refusal to give up, to not accept mediocre, is ingrained in you...and it says a lot!

Thank you for this blogfest! :)

Matthew MacNish said...

You are awesome, Elana. Except for, uh, the mat part. Still impressive, though.

Meredith said...

Wow, that is such an inspiring story! Good for you and your husband for fighting to make your lives what you wanted them to be. Congrats!

Martha Ramirez said...

What a great story. I love hearing people who don't give up and work hard. Kudos to both you and Hubby!

Donna K. Weaver said...

We value most, I think, the things we have to work the hardest for. Go you for not giving up on it.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, man--that DOES take a lot! Well done for managing to do what you had to! I finally posted my entry today, too--It's been a crazy week, but I definitely love this theme.

Jemi Fraser said...

It's funny how we don't always realize those moments are so difficult until we've gotten through them - and can look back with pride :)

Leslie S. Rose said...

I'm loving this blogfest. I can feel your admirable determination shining through your characters. If anyone could make 50 miles round trip bearable - it's Paul.

Leigh Covington said...

OH WOW! You are definitely a trooper! Amazing "never Surrender" story! I love it! That is harder than anyone will ever know!

Jessie Humphries said...

Elana! 50 miles one way?!?!? That's insane! You are nothing short of amazing. Wanna play tennis next week ;) ?

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wow!!! That's an amazing amount of hard work and determination! That's an incredibly inspiring story!

Lori Ann Freeland said...

And that is exactly why you've succeeded in the publishing world. I love determination.

Heather said...

Wow, kids, work, and college. That's truly inspiring. Not many would have pushed through to accomplish their dreams like that. You're kind of amazing hon, but then, I think I always suspected that. ;)

Carolyn V said...

I didn't know that about you Elana! That is amazing! What a strong person you are. You always impress me. ;)

Kathryn Purdie said...

Wow, Elana. You are made of awesome if you went through all of that just to go to school. I pretty much call it quits on everything else but baby for the first year, because BABIES ARE HARD WORK!! You are the queen bee. I so admire you. Way to go on never surrendering!

DeniseCovey _L_Aussie said...

I just popped over to say hello as I saw your book had been launched. Lovely gritty story of perseverence. I hope your novel blasts up the charts. D,

Sophia Chang said...

I've heard bits of this story before and I always love hearing your background again to remind us to keep going and not even to let the thought of quitting enter our minds.

in another note - oh no, were we supposed to enter the rafflecopter in order to qualify for the gift cards? I thought just blogging our never surrender story this week entered us automatically until I just saw this post in my reader. Waaaaaaaah!

Hope Roberson said...

That is serious perseverance! I would have quit :) I only made it part way through my Masters in Teaching cause I got too lazy while pregnant. Never would have touched a book once my son was born. Now, I know that degree is creeping back up on me, blucky!
Thanks for the fun blogfest and congrats on another release! Falling For Fiction would love to help out and have you on our blog sometime!!

Andrea Hannah said...

That is seriously a fantastic story! It makes me realize how lucky I am to finish school before my son was born.

Just starting following your blog and I'm loving it! xo

Gina Blechman said...

There are so many almost surrender moments in my life, and it's people like you and the others who entered this blogfest that inspire me and prevent those moments from becoming moments of surrender. thank you.

~Gina Blechman

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Margo Berendsen said...

WOW! Love to hear stories like this, even the $300 car that got you 100 miles everyday! (and my teenager snivels about the old car she has to drive to school). I can't imagine getting through school with kids, even just one kid, it is so hard to concentrate but you did it FAST, too!

Nichole Giles said...

And look where you are for your never surrender attitude! You rock, E.

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