Gratitude and Other Musings

Wiggy the cat

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and I’m sitting warm and dry at my kitchen island. Outside
there are leaf blowers making noise as yard cleanup begins in earnest here in Missouri. I’ve got
the next five days off, and even though my extended family won’t be gathering, I’m meeting
with former students, visiting friends, writing, and enjoying my time at home.

Life is good. But a look at world events reminds us that life is tenuous and can change in an
instant, in both big, horrific ways, and in small, personal ways that can tear at a person’s soul.
Joy is one end of the spectrum and heartbreak and agony is another.

That’s why I write romance—because I know that I’ll get a happy ending. The outcome of the
book is a foregone conclusion before I even start page one. It’s why people watch Hallmark
Movies—because happily-ever-after is guaranteed.

This year I’ve kept a gratitude/manifest journal, and while I didn’t start it on the first of the
year, I have reached the final 13 weeks or so. Overall, the highs have outweighed the
lows—which included losing our beloved 19-year-old kitty, Wiggy.

I’ve had book launches that didn’t go as planned, but at the same time, my friends were there
in full support.

In life, we don’t always get what we want (and I’m still manifesting three books of my
heart—come on universe!).

But what we do get (think of that story of Pandora and her box) is hope. Emily Dickinson wrote
a poem about it:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

Hope is always simply there. It never asks you to even think about it, but it’s with you nonstop. I
hope you remember that as you go into this holiday season, which can be the darkest part of
the year both mentally and literally as the sunsets come far too early.

I want you to know how grateful I am for you, and that you matter. Always.