How a Cardiac Arrest Killed My Dreams—and Brought Them Back by Ocieanna Fleiss

Early in my writing career, I ached desperately for success. Anxiety rattled. Fear of both failure and success stilted me. My fingers wrapped around my goal of becoming a “real author” with a fervent (painful) intensity.

My dream had become an idol.

I know this not only because of the stress it spurred in me, but also because I often ignored my other responsibilities (like my marriage) and especially because of this weird fear I had of telling God about my writing (as if he didn’t know!). I never talked to him about it. I didn’t pray for his help. A part of me felt guilty for wanting this dream so badly, so, like Adam and Eve, I hid.

Eventually the activity that used to fulfill me became a sour chore. When I sat down to write, a dread took over. I had to force myself to do what my heart had always delighted in.

I’ve found this to be true in many areas of my life: parenting, being a housewife, homeschooling, marriage. When I crave success in a certain area too intensely, the joy melts away replaced by a sludge of irritable, drudging duty.

Five years ago, while I was watching TV with my husband, my heart stopped. You can read the whole story in my book, Love Like There’s No Tomorrow: How a Cardiac Arrest Brought My Heart to Life. I died and through a team of glorious life-givers, God brought me back.
After I woke up from the sleep of death, friends, I didn’t care about my dreams. I didn’t care if my books sold, if I was a good housekeeper, a perfect mom, the dutiful wife. All those outward appearances meant nothing.

I just wanted my life back and not my former stressed, busy life. I craved my simple life—to care for our home, the smell of my sweet kids after a bath, my husband’s kiss.

As I mention in my book, “After I woke up, the world where I still dwelt had somehow transformed to a glorious beauty.” I finally embraced the joy that was already there.

I haven’t let go of this truth I almost didn’t get to learn. It wasn’t wrong of me to dream of being a writer, a great mom, and the other things—I just gripped them too tightly. I’ve now learned to pursue my dreams not apart from the Lord, but walking step by step with him, always embracing the journey. What a difference this made! As I seek him moment by moment, the goals are met—maybe not as quickly as I hope for—but with a peaceful joy.

And I don’t miss out on the beauty he has made my life.

Friends, never stop chasing those dreams, but remember to enjoy the journey today. And remember, he loves you like there’s no tomorrow.


Ocieanna has a special offer for you. If you buy her book this week, you will receive a mini adult coloring book FREE! Just e-mail her a screenshot of your receipt or scan your printed receipt at

Seattle, WA: A few years ago, Ocieanna Fleiss wife and work-at-home mother of four young children would have described herself as overwhelmed, stressed, and focused on finishing her to-do list. But when at age forty-two, a sudden cardiac arrest stopped her heart, everything changed.

During those quiet months of recovery, as she reflected on her life, a pattern arose. Like a loving father, Christ has always walked her through childhood neglect, miscarriages, the death of her parents, and even through her own death!

Amazed by God’s loving hand in her life, Ocieanna overflowed with a desire to love in a new, more profound way. Out of this desire, transforming truths gently came to light: truths that changed her life forever and will show you how God can weave everything in your life into His elaborate plan.

OCIEANNA FLEISS has written three historical novels with Tricia Goyer in the best-selling Love Finds You series. She speaks at churches, parenting groups, and writers conferences and teaches a Bible class to homeschool junior high students. She penned a writing column for eight years and contributes to the Seriously Write blog. She has also written for MOMSense,, Hearts at Home, Guideposts for Kids, and CBA Marketplace. She is a member of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and the Writers View. Ocieanna makes her home in Seattle, Washington with her husband and four kids.

You can learn more and connect with Ocieanna by visiting these sites:


Meme – Inspirational Quote on the Cost of Not Dreaming

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Meme – Inspirational Quote on Changing the World

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Purpose, Priorities, Perfectionism … and Letting Go of the Dust Rag

I’ve been living in “that place” longer than I want to admit—that scene where I’ve neglected the dust rag and my array of other cleaning supplies neatly tucked away in the laundry room.

Keeping my house spotless used to be a priority. My mother raised me to be a perfectionist when it came to a sparkling home. My parents ran their own business, so it was my weekly responsibility to clean the house from top to bottom, and if I dusted on Friday and we expected company the following day, I had to dust on Saturday morning all over again. 

I appreciate living in a dirt-free environment—it helps make me feel like I have control over a small part of my world.

There have been times—and I’m ashamed to admit it—when I’ve gone into other homes and been awestruck at the dust accumulated. How could those people ignore it?

Lesson learned. Be careful of judging others … it may come back to haunt you.  Oh, yes … I’ve become one of those people!

Now thick layers of dust in my own home mock me. So, during the day, I stay in my office where a blonde desk and shelves camouflage unwanted particles. I remove my reading glasses and move into rooms with darker surfaces in the evening when the lighting is turned down low. Time spent there while the suns bright rays spotlight the white carpet covering the furniture and glass tables is taking a risk at escalating my blood pressure.

I’m trying to learn to be okay with not having a perfect house at all times, because there are seasons when we need to shift priorities in order to follow our dreams or do that thing that gives us purpose. 

And sometimes … we just need to give ourselves a little grace.

Instead of embracing the dust cloth, my time has been spent on other things—accommodating my editing clients’ needs, meeting deadlines on my own writing projects, and even more important—time with family and friends. I stay one day a week with my grandson while my daughter and her husband are at work. That time with him is one of the most precious things in my life right now. It’s also far more life-giving to keep friendships healthy than to sit alone next to shiny, nonliving objects.

Next week, I’m traveling out of state to help give a baby shower for one of my other daughters. It’s her first child, and I’ll be returning the following month to help when our new granddaughter arrives. Who would choose a clean house over that?

But between trips, I’ll renew my relationship with the dust rag, and I’ll dig in and once again enjoy seeing my reflection in the woodwork. At least for a day …

If you’re struggling with not being able to “do it all,” how might you give yourself a little grace?


Meme – Inspirational Quote on Dreams and Life

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