Turning the Pages

Gayle_BozemanFamilyChristian_smallThis blog post by Gayle M. Irwin

As writers and readers, we devour the written word. We soak up the scenes, delve into the dialogue, and scrutinize the characters. And, we turn the pages (if we like the read, that is).

Our lives are like books, and each day is a new page, filled with emotion, sometimes conflict, and certainly crammed with characters, scenes, and conversation. Whether the chapter is filled with joy or with sorrow, we are the protagonists in our own story.

This month has been filled with new chapters in the lives of my husband and me. As we said goodbye to his father, one right next to his hospital bed, the other from 2,000 miles away, tears were shed and joys were remembered. His life, his story, contain pages with scenes of a solid marriage, years of education, work and travel, children playing and growing as well as grandchildren and even a great grandchild. And the pages still turn as his family continues their own story, enhanced by the man who impacted their lives so significantly.

Mary and Gayle_KindersWe all have opportunity to impact lives, whether directly with our families or indirectly through our communities, including the community of readers that we as writers engage. As this post goes live, I am preparing to speak to several groups of students, from Kindergarten through 4th grade. That chapter of my life began more than seven years ago when my blind dog Sage and I visited classrooms and encouraged kids to be courageous and to persevere, inspiring them in their life’s journey through my blind dog’s life story. Today, it’s Mary and I visiting classrooms, showcasing the friendship, loyalty, and caring of pets, in particular, of a therapy animal, hoping to instill compassion and kindness in those youngsters. Standing alongside first Sage and now Mary, new pages of my own life story unfold as I grow not only as an author, but also a speaker.

Like a character in Snow White, I gaze into the mirror of my future with hopes and dreams of becoming a fulltime freelance writer and presenter. As I work toward that goal, I am turning the pages of my life’s book, pondering who I want to impact and how. It’s a scary yet thrilling adventure as I prepare query letters and seek publication with additional magazines, plan the next two books, and look for increased paid speaking opportunities. It’s not an easy journey to freelance, but then again, life itself is not easy. I just pray to live it as well – brave, kind, and loving – as my father-in-law and my own parents, life stories lived with courage, dignity, and love that have impacted their own children and beyond.





Family portrait_Christmas2013

Gayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, includin Sage’s Big Adventure, Sage Learns to ShareWalking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God. She is also a contributing writer to editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, to articles in Creation Illustrated and Our Town Casper magazine as well as the Casper Journal and River Press newspapers. Her future plans include creating newsletter and brochure content for businesses, writing more magazine articles, and authoring additional books. Learn more at www.gaylemirwin.com.

SageBigAdventureFront-small     SageLearnsShareFront-small     Walking_FrontCover_small       Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final


12 thoughts on “Turning the Pages

  1. This is a very fine tribute to a man much admired by you, Gayle. it’s a sad time for you all but you have lovely memories to think on. Hope you had fun in the classroom.


  2. Gayle, I and the other readers are so sorry for your loss. I can tell how much you loved and respected him. You provide a wonderful service to our children and I thank you for that, as well as loving and caring for these rescue dogs. I’m praying for you, your family, and your career. Thanks for sharing. Cher’ley


  3. Great post! And I know you will be a success in your free-lance writing also. You are well on your way. And I think you visiting the schools with Mary is a great thing and so needed by our culture. You are helping change hearts for the better, which is how we need to address today’s problems. Neva


  4. What a touching remembrance to your father-in-law. You are a very special person Gayle. The giving you do by speaking to children with your dog and the love you show is very apparent. People cannot help but be touched by your gentle nature of sharing and giving. I have every assurance that your dreams will come true in a big way. Thank you for this heartfelt post!


  5. Gayle, so often I’ve had the same thoughts. Wouldn’t it be nice to find that magical path to success and fulfillment. Never easy, for sure. The pages of my life are mounting up, lots of chapters and not enough time. It’s so nice to know there are others out there who express my exact feelings. We are not alone. What a joy, Gayle, to be able to express your innermost wishes and be acknowledged and validated by other writers who know exactly what you are going through. When you write, you are one step closer to attaining your goal. Thank you Gayle.


  6. Beautifully written column, Gayle. And so much truth and wisdom in the words. I know from my own life that after the death of a loved one we see the underlying meaning of life so clearly — what’s importance in the grand scheme of things and what’s not — and then the months move on and those sharp revelations dull a bit and we find ourselves back in the rate race. Your post reminds me that I need to pull back and remember the promises I made to myself once upon a time.


  7. What a lovely and generous post, Gayle. You do such inspiring and necessary work, and your generosity shows through in your blog posts as well as in your life. I’m so sorry for your loss, and wish you much success in your writing and speaking.


  8. My dear writing friends — I am SO VERY TOUCHED IN MY HEART AND SOUL BY YOUR WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT AND KINDNESS! I struggled with this post, waffling as my father-in-law wavered between life and death for nearly two weeks. I’d start a post, erase it, start again and nearly finish, then erase that one. I am so honored that these words resonated with many of you and I SINCERELY APPRECIATE your thoughts, words, and prayers at this time. May you all be blessed as well! (and I promise to read your posts and comment as I can this week). By the way, the school visits EXHAUSTED me! — 2 schools, 7 classrooms — WOWZERS!! I feel I’m getting too old for that!!


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