Gratitude and Much-Needed Rest

Gayle_Cheyenne bookstoreThis post by Gayle M. Irwin

Thanksgiving is behind us here in the United States, but reflectively I wanted to pen a few thoughts on what I’m thankful for this year — there is indeed much in my life for which to be grateful:

  1. Writing articles honoring Vietnam veterans – I’ve interviewed and written about 12 veterans and have a few more assigned to me for the coming few months. This long-term project has been very enlightening, educational, and humbling. Never again will I take Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day for granted or view them as “just another holiday.”
  2. Writing articles in general – My work appears in three different magazines and two different newspapers this year; although I had more articles last year in those publications plus another newspaper, taking on the Vietnam project added to the repertoire so I stayed busy and had several bylines in the various publications – and “Cody’s Cabin…” appeared as part of the children’s section of the local paper this fall, an endeavor by the paper in conjunction with our local school district and library – that’s been REALLY COOL to have and use in the school visits I’ve done!
  3. School speaking – Today I’m visiting two first grade classes at a local elementary school and teaching the kids about writing nonfiction animal stories; I love being called upon to instill knowledge upon young minds and hearts, whether that’s educating them about pets or about writing. Sometimes the classes are challenging, especially in the behavior department, but many times, especially this school year, the visits have been fun and inspiring.
  4. My family – I still have both of my parents whom I can visit and shareGreg Gayle Mom Dad_cabin fun adventures (like last year, traveling the southwestern US with my dad), and I have a faithful, loving husband who also loves and cares for our pets and encourages me in my writing career.
  5. My “day job” – I work with a wonderful group of ladies and together we help women in our community who experience an unplanned pregnancy, providing them with resources to help them carry their babies to term and either become parents or make an adoption plan; our services include medical care, parenting classes, community resources/referrals, and connections to licensed adoption agencies. Each staff member and volunteer is filled with grace and compassion – so wonderful to be around vs. a negative, back-stabbing environment, which I’ve experienced in my life.
  6. Surviving the flight day from hell! On Friday, Nov. 20, I was returning to Casper with a work colleague after spending three days in Rochester, NY training on the new medical records programs our clinic plans to implement in January. Our flight plan was straight-forward, but didn’t happen that way; we ended up getting into Casper around 1 am, nearly 12 hours after we first entered the Rochester airport, and upon encountering a flat tire on her car, it was another 1 ½ hours before I crawled into my bed at home. So many negatives occurred that day/night, but the positives were we were both safe and we got home. Oh, and my lost luggage showed up around 3 pm on Saturday, Nov. 21!
  7. My pets – What can I say? I love and appreciate my two dogs and twoCody and Mary_outside cats! Their presence in my life brings me joy, comfort, and companionship. And, I love being involved with pet rescue, helping other animals get to their forever homes, and have a place to be warm, fed, and loved until they do get that special home.  murphy bailey front door1
  8. My friends – Whether near or far, in person or virtual, each person I’m honored to call friend means a great deal to me. And that includes this wonderful group of people who are also great writers!

Writers Group at Cabin

Gratitude – something this world needs a bit more of, looking at blessings in our lives and not “what I don’t have.” Life is challenging, there is no doubt about that, and some people I know face great challenges, whether at home, at work, in their families, or their own personal lives. I remember these people in my prayers and always hope they come through their respective challenges stronger, better people. Reading a book called “A Complaint-Free World” this fall and keeping a Gratitude Journal these past few months has certainly changed my perspective quite a bit, and I hope my attitude eventually turns around a bit more as well. Like most people, I’m still “a work in progress” but I hope I’m improving little by little … in many aspects of my life.

journal and pencil graphic

I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately, for fun (to southern Utah with my husband and dogs one weekend  in October and the next weekend being with my parents in Montana) and for work (the trip to Rochester). I fully admit, I AM EXHAUSTED! I don’t have many writing assignments in December so I took Thanksgiving (and will take most of December) to accomplish two things: (1) work on book marketing strategies and (2) REST! I need a lot of both! I have five books that I’ve written and published during the past seven years, and I need to spend more time marketing them. They are helpful and uplifting, and more people need to know about them. And, I need significant “down-time.” Day job is going to be very busy in December as we train our staff on electronic medical records, and the “other job” (writing/marketing) is going to take a significant amount of energy as I do book events prior to Christmas and anticipate making more online sales. So, Thanksgiving was spent with time at home resting and marketing …. and preparing for December’s onslaught. I greatly enjoyed this Thanksgiving holiday for the rest, recuperation, and rejuvenation that took place!

How about you? What are you thankful for as we enter into this wonderful season of the year? As December dawns, I wish you all many blessings!

Gayle_BozemanFamilyChristian_smallGayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspirational dog books for children and adults: Cody’s Cabin: Life in a Pine Forest, Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God and Devotions for Dog Lovers 2: Sage Advice. She is also a contributing writer to five editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, including The Dog Did What?, released August 2014. She’s also authored a guidebook for owners of blind dogs, available on Kindle. She has a passion for pets and volunteers for and donates a percentage of her writing revenues to several animal welfare organizations. Her speaking engagements include presentations for children and adults about the lessons people can learn from pets. Visit her website at

SageBigAdventureFront-small     Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final   Dog Devotions 2 Book Cover Sage Advice Cover

Cody Cabin_New Book CoverImage   Walking_FrontCover_small   Blind Dog Ebook Cover_updatedMay2014


18 thoughts on “Gratitude and Much-Needed Rest

  1. Gayle, not only are you very giving, but you take the time to be thankful. Those are two virtues I’ve been raised with all my life. I wish the very best for you this year with your writing, marketing, speaking and travel. Just know that we as a group are thankful for you – you bring a little light into my life each time I read one of your inspiring posts. Happy Thanksgiving!


    1. Thanks, Linda! I’d forgotten that I had switched days with Cher’ley so I took down the post from pre-Thanksgiving and re-posted for my scheduled date after Thanksgiving. I do appreciate your sweet, kind, encouraging words, and though there are many days of struggle and challenge, I do know I have much to be thankful for — including my fellow writers at WW&W! 🙂 Thanks for the share on your blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish you the very best rest since your timetable has been very eventful this past year, Gayle. I think the surprising thing about doing lots of different activities (Writing and teaching etc) is that you can get a huge buzz of energy followed by almost total energy zapping exhaustion – yet it’s all in a good way. Being thankful and sharing your thoughts like this is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been great to have “downtime” these past several days! I had hoped to accomplish a lot of marketing research/reading/video viewing but it seems my mind and body just needed additional rest, so I took the opportunity to do so. It’s good to rest and it’s good to ponder our blessings and many times we ignore both — I’m thankful I’ve had opportunity and time to do both these last few days. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


    1. Thank you so much, Doris — I am honored and humbled to know you virtually and personally, and I look forward to sharing time together again in the New Year when I make a trek to Colorado! And, I hope you come up this way for a visit sometime soon, too!


    1. Thank you, Darrah! I’m so glad we were able to meet for coffee and get to know each other a bit and I hope to see you again in the New Year, perhaps at the Wyoming Writers conference in June … or sooner. I’ve been mindful lately to learn to be more thankful, to write down and/or verbalize my blessings — it helps combat the negative energies within and around me (plus, not listening to news helps! LOL)


  3. A gratitude journal is a great idea, and while I say “thank you God” as much as I can during the day, writing it down is a great idea as my memory has holes. You have a great list and are definitely blessed as well as a blessing to all of us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments and thoughts, Neva — one can truly get “sucked into” the negativity around us, so it’s been helpful to me to verbalize and write my blessings as well as to ponder and remember them in my mind. You’re a blessing to me as well, and I’m grateful for our friendship!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I did not know you had a day job. Did I know all along and your writing trumped it? I worked with battered women, and shelter families for years. It is fulfilling, and sad at the same time. You do wonderful by humans, and animals alike–not to mention your encouragement to children. God Bless You. May you Christmas by Merry and your December full of sales. Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m going on six years with my current “day job” and though I may not often talk about it, I do have many major responsibilities there. I’m blessed to work only 3 days a week so that I can “the other things,” like writing and speaking. All of it can be overwhelming at times, but all are blessings as well, just like my pets and helping animals in need. Thank you for your kind words, Cher’ley and for your lovely thoughts. Blessings to you as well!


  5. You are very lucky to be so busy doing things you love. It sounds like you have much to be grateful for indeed. And yes, rest and rejuvenation is very important too, especially as the holidays are now upon us. Thanks for a special post, Gayle.


  6. As I sit here in my cozy office I have so much to be thankful for this year. Hubby and I have accomplished so much in midst of the chaos that became our lives. I am truly thankful that we emerged together out of the darkness. Once again we are enjoying time with family, friends, and the great outdoors.


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