Updated: Dec 3, 2022
God gives us hope in many forms. A warm January day in the middle of a rough winter, your favorite song on a challenging day, or a call from a friend when things seem dire. I believe he often sends us signs in the form of our angels. Maybe that's a deer coming up to your office window, a groundhog tapping on the glass or a bird singing on your windowsill until you open the curtain. The biggest sign of hope that God has given me is my grandparents, great grandparents, and stories of those who have already gone Home to His Kingdom.
Growing up, my grandma Potter was at every event, big or small. She was there when I rode the bench in sports, accepted a participation trophy at a school awards ceremony, and was my biggest fan at every turn, even when there wasn't much to cheer for. She saved every newspaper clipping, and was always the first to call or leave a voicemail on my birthday.
When the idea of Pacific Hope was born, it was first written as a short story for a contest, and though it was strictly online, she made sure I printed it all off and gave it to her to read. The next day, I had a call from her telling me her thoughts on it and asking if a book was next. By this time, the story had not made the final round of the contest, and I was motivated to turn it into a full fledged novella and prove the judges wrong. Her push validated those ambitions, and we were off.
On the night I finished up chapter one of Pacific Hope and went to bed, there was a sense of both accomplishment and doubt. Yes, the hardest part, the beginning, was completed, but could I really do this? Throughout the next day, I contemplated if the talent and resilience was there, because up until this point in my life, I had not seen much success. That evening, as I readied to go home, I received the news that my grandma had cancer. Selfishly, I used finishing Pacific Hope as an outlet to get away from the realities of her illness and after only a bit over 100 days, the first draft was complete.
During her battle with the disease, we were told everything they were doing was to ensure the cancer was gone and it didn't come back. There was nothing to be worried about in regards to permanent damage or worse. As the winter months came and the holidays arrived, I sat beside my grandma at Christmas talking about where we would go on vacation after her battle was won and when she would be able to read my book.
With rejection letter after rejection letter rolling in from publishers, doubt crept in my mind, silently from the outside, on if the story was even good enough to be read or if this was just going to be another failed attempt at success. These doubts, among multiple steps of editing and a continued path to a publisher, delayed publishing into 2022 and past that fateful day.
On March 5th, to the shock of myself and everyone around her, my grandma went Home to God. She was one of those people in my life I never imagined living without. Obviously, it was bound to happen eventually, but not yet. Not before she saw me get married, grow into the path I was finding, or publish this book we had been talking about for months.
Her funeral and the months after were a numb period and in many ways, I am still in denial of the whole thing, but one thing's for sure. From the first moment a deer came up to the glass at work and looked into my eyes, a groundhog ran up behind me or a bird chirped from the windowsill; I knew she was there and always would be.
An odd sense of being secure and the most confidence I have ever felt, swept across me in those moments and has never left. She's there, my grandpa is there, my great-grandma is there and the grandma I was never able to meet, is also there. They're all with me, my guardians and those ready to go to battle with me no matter where this life goes.
I didn't become a storyteller by chance and it isn't due to an unbelievable talent. My abilities are because of the stories my grandma told of her meeting my grandpa Potter, grandpa Treon's rants about how racing used to be or how my great grandma Wilma's family dealt with the Second World War and my dad speaking about what my grandma Sharon was like or what she'd think of me.
From the moment she left this earth, my path to publishing Pacific Hope became as clear as the signs that she was there. First the cover, proofs, and then finding a release date; December 2nd, her birthday, was the only option. I've worked every single day for the last nine months to give her something to be proud of and on page four of Pacific Hope, her name, Christina Potter, will forever rest in memory.
The path to publishing may be complete, but my story, Pacific Hope's story and the story of those who came before me, has just begun. I want to thank those who have both doubted me and believed in me, because each are equally responsible for every step we take.
To the nearly 5,000 of you that have connected with my journey, I can never repay you. I feel an obligation to myself, to you, God and my guardian angels to never settle for being ordinary and to never waste any step of the path God has given me the opportunity to walk upon.
With the book publishing tomorrow, 12/2/2022, I hope each of you enjoy Pacific Hope as much as I did creating it. 'Together we will reach heights only dreams are made of.
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”