“My name is Gayle and this is my Aha Moment!”
So started the videotaping session as I talked about a time in life that impacted me greatly. The story I shared with the Mutual of Omaha’s Aha Moments tour crew traveled us back several years, to 2006 in fact. I related the story of losing Sage, our blind Springer spaniel, for three days in the forested mountains of Wyoming and how that experience catapulted my desire to become an author. That experience, and Sage’s bravery and tenacity, birthed Sage’s Big Adventure and other books and established myself as a speaker. Losing and finding and living with my blind dog were certainly Aha Moments!
There have been numerous others, especially during the last decade, including having both parents hospitalized the summer of 2009. A few days ago my parents visited us from Montana and we celebrated my dad’s 78th birthday. Five years have passed since one or both of them could have died; I still vividly remember kneeling in the chapel of that hospital in Lewistown, Montana and though I didn’t beg God to spare one or both, I did commit to spending more time with them should they pull through. They did and I do, and I cherish each moment I share with them. Having them visit our cabin and property during their annual trips to Casper is such a delight as we talk and walk amongst the pines.
My writing career and my personal life have been chalked with “aha moments,” times when I’ve either re-set a direction in my life or made a decision that has positively affected me. As more magazine and newspaper writing assignments trickle in, as the shelved book manuscripts beckon me once again, and as new business endeavors take root, I envision life as a freelancer, something terrifying yet exciting. That idea is something which tickled my spirit subtly in 2008 upon receipt of this email from someone who discovered Sage’s Big Adventure and purchased a few copies:
It is so wonderful for you to write such a great book for children! I will be using your book with our HIV/AIDS children as an educational tool. All children need exposure to the many disabilities we continue to be challenged by, especially our group, as they face the daily struggle of being different. E. E., Medical Care Manager, NC
Talk about an “aha moment!” I treasure that email … and the notes given and words spoken which encourage, affirm, and confirm “yes, I am a writer!”
As I continue to share Sage’s story through my writing (our story “Seeing with the Heart” is part of the upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What, being released August 19) and speaking (I’ll be talking about life lessons we learn from dogs at two senior centers and a library in August) two years after my beloved dog’s passing, I hope to provide “aha moments” for others – and I hope I continue experiencing a few more of those enlightenments myself in the weeks, months and years ahead.
What “aha moments” have you experienced?
P.S. I should receive a link to my “Aha Moment” video from the video company in a few weeks – I will post the link after they contact me.
Gayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking 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, including the latest dog book The Dog Did What? to be released August 19, 2014. She also writes for WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric Network), Crossroads, and Our Town Casper magazines, as well as for the Casper Journal and River Press newspapers, and she’s had articles published in Creation Illustrated magazine. She’s also authored a guidebook for owners of blind dogs, available on Kindle. Learn more at www.gaylemirwin.com.