All Kinds of Thanks

IMG_20191016_113809085Monday night, I spoke to the Women’s Guild at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and thank goodness I did because inspiration has been in short supply lately.

See, the friend who contacted me (way back in the summer) mentioned again how much she loved my blog and how she laughed at my social media shenanigans (at least, I think she said that. I may just be adding that part to make the story better). The point is, she wanted to liven up her meetings and she thought of little old, lively me. And then Eureka (and just in the nick of time, I might add)! An idea popped into my hitherto empty head!

Most of my blog posts are promoting whatever I’ve got out there in the world and I totally forget sometimes that my blog posts are actually promoting…well…me.

Which is crazy, I know, because right up there at the top of the page is Cathy C. Hall in really big letters. Anyway, inspiration struck as I realized that as a writer, I’m always selling me. So I’m always working, no matter what I’m doing. Of course, I went into a lot more writerly detail over at the Muffin today in “It May Not Look Like Work…” But bottom line, I’m very grateful to my friend and the Women’s Guild for the idea.

And did you see that delightfully cute fish they gave me? It’s on my bookcase where all my books are shelved–and it’s pointing in my direction. Because I need to remember that point about me and working.

But also because I’m grateful for the warm welcome from the Women’s Guild, not to mention their generosity. They’re involved in all kinds of service over there at St. Patrick’s so I know how giving these women are. But honestly, even if they hadn’t bought a ton of my Chicken Soup for the Soul books, I would still have been overwhelmed by their kind words and generous spirit, plus their laughter (in all the right places).

See, a writer may be working all the time, but it takes a joyful reader to make her glad that she does.

What’s In YOUR Gratitude Journal?

2013-05-25 20.36.42So the last couple of nights, I’ve written the same word in my gratitude journal: power.

In my corner of the world, the power went out on Monday afternoon, but not at my house. It’s an odd thing, but the first five or six houses in the neighborhood are powered by the local EMC, whereas the rest of the neighborhood relies on Georgia Power. My house is the dividing line between the two, and sometimes, during storms or ice or winds and rain, I’ll keep my power while right next door…darkness.

On any given day, I don’t think too much about the power that keeps my TV humming and my fridge cold, that lets me answer emails and read a good book before I go to bed. But then comes a time when lines go down, when I see post after post of friends without power, or look out the window to the black abyss that’s my street, and I realize how grateful I am for electricity. How comforted I am by the glow of the street light outside my bedroom window.

We just don’t really appreciate what we have until we don’t have it, do we? That’s what I said to Lisa, who moved to Florida a few months ago. We used to meet at least once a month for a critique group but then our group broke up and she got busy with her novels and I spent a lot of time taking care of my parents. So though we lived only ten minutes from each other, we rarely had the time to get together. We could get together, we always figured, so there was no rush. And then suddenly there was a rush for one more lunch that we never quite managed before she left.

I miss Lisa.

And every time I take a shower, I miss another friend from my critique group, Deb. Which wait–that didn’t come out quite right…

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Juniorette Hall thinks it’s crazy that I have a notepad in the shower. I beg to differ.

Deb sent me a notepad that sticks on the shower wall, with paper that somehow you can write on and still read after you get out of the shower. It’s amazing! She knew that I often come up with my best ideas in the shower and so when she found this amazing notepad, she had to send it to me. I don’t know how I managed before this brilliant notepad came into my life, and I never write something down that I don’t say a heartfelt thank you to Deb, even though she can’t hear it.

Deb and Lisa and all y’all, too, are on my mind after this long week. I hope all is well with you and yours, and know that your name, if not in my gratitude journal, is in my heart and prayers.

Oh! And power. Power’s going to be on the list for quite a while!

What’s in a Word (Cloud)?

Way back in the beginning of this year, I picked a word for 2016: CHALLENGE. And boy, has this ever been a challenging year!

But I’ve had my share of blessings as well. Like the friends and family who’ve carried me through lots of challenging days. And so many friends whom I’ve never actually met in person…They’ve been there, walking beside me, too.

So on this Thanksgiving, my gratitude list runneth over. I grabbed a page from the month of November for today’s blog post over at the Muffin, “Counting Your Blessings in a Word Cloud.” Maybe you’ll see your actual name among those words. Or maybe you’re part of the “love.”

That’s really the only word you need, right? Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

A Tale of Two Packages

It’s May! It’s May! The month of “Yes, you may.”

If you’re a fan of Camelot, then you probably recognized that line. And if you’re not…well, I don’t know what to say. I mean, who isn’t a fan of Julie Andrews and all those dazzling lyrics from Lerner and Lowe?

2014-05-01 09.32.15So…yesterday, I received two packages. Inside one was a watch. Not just any watch. A watch I’d given a friend.

And when I saw that watch, I wanted to cry. You see, my friend is suffering from Parkinson’s Plus. My wonderfully witty, smart and professional and generous friend is wheelchair bound now and living in a nursing home. She is not quite a year older than me, and she is divesting herself of her worldly goods, returning gifts to long-time friends and family.

The other package I received was a contract. It’s a contract from a Korean company that publishes in the education market and I’d just completed a book for 4th graders. And though I’m glad to have this opportunity, I hadn’t thought of making a big deal about it because…because it’s the education market, I guess.

My heart is breaking, thinking of my friend, her mind sharp as a tack while her body breaks down. I held that watch, feeling a little bit angry, a little bit guilty. Why must she suffer so? And how can I go on my merry way when others are suffering?

And then suddenly, I felt a lot guilty.

I sort of did choke up a bit then, washed in shame as it were, with the realization that my friend hadn’t just returned a watch; she’d given me a slap upside the head. A reminder to appreciate the gifts given to us, and to make those God-given gifts count every minute of the precious time we have.

2014-05-01 09.31.11And so today, I’m singing with gratitude in my heart. I have a contract for a book! A book with my very own byline! And someday, a Korean student might read my book and learn to speak English just a little bit better because he or she enjoyed my story!

It’s May, it’s May! The month of “Yes, you may.”