Gratitude for the little things of life

This is the first day of Advent and as well, the beginning of Hanukkah. Holiday songs and colorful lights abound independent of our religious beliefs. For all of us, it is a time of remembrance and celebration, a time we focus on family and friends. During these December days, we remember those we love and often through a gift we say, thank you for being you.

While children excitedly enjoy the magic, most of us wander through stores looking for gifts or delicacies for the family gatherings. Sometimes in the midst of our activity we forget that the season is really about thanksgiving. Why would we not?

When weather threatens us, fires surround us, and elected officials leave us gasping, why would any of us feel gratitude?

If we can step back from our troubled world, we can be overwhelmed by gratitude evoked by a kind word, a helpful hand, a warm embrace, or even unexpected laughter. The little things of life come alive, when we pause long enough to listen to our hearts. Aren’t these little things what is most important in life?  

Sometimes life’s challenges help us value the little things. This year, I’ve been dealing with an ailment requiring a lot of bed rest. It’s been an adventure that I would not have chosen, but I can honestly say that I’m grateful for the experience. I’ve learned so much about love, about life, and about our collective and individual journeys. Most of that learning has come through seeing the little things of life that often go unnoticed.  

Even with the health handicap, much was accomplished. Author John W. Howell and I published The Contract, and to our astonishment, we are ready to send its sequel to the editor. Amazing, right?

Through one challenge or another, life goes on. So it is that I share that I’ve a medical hurdle to tackle over the next couple of weeks. Because of that, I may be absent from social media for a bit. I look forward to wholeheartedly rejoining you in the New Year. Till then, thank you for accompanying me. You have become family and from you, I have learned so much.

I close with a brief but beautiful message from Br. David Steindl-Rast

November 11

Veterans Day is fast approaching, and in the little town I call home (Branson, MO), that means a full week of thank you celebrations for the thousands of veterans who come for this homecoming event. Shows are discounted or free, as are meals and housing. Additionally, there’s a huge parade and a veterans’ village to connect with friends and to learn about available services.

This seven-day celebration is an emotional time for most, certainly for me. Though I did not serve, my dad, my husband, my brother, and many relatives all served or are currently serving in the military. During WWII, my mom and her twin joined thousands of other young women to work as a Rosie the Riveter in San Diego. It was the “patriotic thing to do,” mom would say, “they needed our help.” 

I grew up knowing that each of us has a responsibility to serve our country in the ways that we can. And, on November 11th, we pause to remember those who wore a uniform on our behalf. 

To all the veterans, my heartfelt thank you for your service. You gave your youth that we might have the freedoms we enjoy today. I wish I could repair the hearts of mourners, the minds of the traumatized, the bodies of the broken. But, I cannot. I can only honor your courage and your efforts by how I choose to live today. 

Our common goal of liberty and justice for all is a weighty aspiration, but together, there is the possibility that it can become a reality. That is my hope, that is my dream. 

Thank you

This week author John W. Howell and I learned that The Contract between heaven and earth was selected as a Finalist in three categories by the Independent Author Network’s 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards. The three categories were Thriller/Suspense,  Paranormal/Supernatural, and Romance.

This is an honor of no small measure, because John and I attempted to co-author a story having not met each other or having partnered with anyone else on such a project. We literally epitomized the concept of the blind leading the blind. We stumbled, we got up, and somehow, we found our way. One of the reasons we reached our goal was the helpful advice of beta readers. Another great assist was the patience of our spouses.

I’m ever so grateful for those who have read our book and especially grateful to those who have offered their thoughts, either in a review or in an email. You are the reason we writers write. Thank you!