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.”