This post by Gayle M. Irwin
No, it’s not November, which is when American Thanksgiving is celebrated (however, the holiday is only about four months away!). I’ve been reflecting lately on blessings, on reasons to be thankful. In a world filled with negativity, trauma, drama, and tragedy, I’ve decided to spend more time in gratitude. For, I have much to be thankful for.
Here are just a few of my most recent blessings:
- Having more than 20 stories published in the book They Served with Honor: Vietnam, a collection of the articles about Wyoming’s Vietnam veterans published by the Casper Star Tribune/Casper Journal during the past two years. A booksigning was held in Casper on Saturday, July 15 in which veterans and their families gathered in the morning to sign each other’s books (the veterans and the writers were each given a complimentary copy) and to meet the story writers. Afterwards, a public reception/signing took place. I feel blessed and honored to have taken part in this important and special project!
- Expansion of my writing endeavors. Not only did I take part in the Wyoming Vietnam veterans project, but, with a new editor at WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric News) this year, I’ve had additional assignments in 2017, helping her fill the magazine when other writers had to step away. Additionally, I’ve been asked to fill in for the editor during the month of August while she is away, serving as guest editor. That means added responsibility and added income – I’m truly grateful and humbled to have been asked to fill her shoes for the upcoming month! Additionally, the Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Really Did That? comes out in a few weeks, and I’ve arranged some readings for August. Also,I’ve garnered more writing activities in my day-job, including press releases to the media, stories for the newsletter, and blog for the non-profit’s donors/supporters. I’m grateful for a boss who recognizes my gifts – and desire – for writing and provides me with opportunities to share that gift through specific endeavors.
- Visiting my parents … and still having them in my life. The trip to Alaska with dad and my husband was AWESOME, and this weekend I’ll be in Montana helping celebrate my dad’s 81st I enjoyed a delightful childhood, and though my parents weren’t perfect, they loved and encouraged me. I know I’m blessed as many don’t experience a good childhood and some adults have a fractured relationship with parents to this day. I also have a lovely mother-in-law, whom, though I don’t see her often because she lives on the East Coast, I’m thankful for her.
- Spending time in nature. Whether it’s at the cabin, traveling through Alaska, visiting family in Montana or friends at the Kaycee ranch, or spending a weekend in the Bighorn Mountains covering Becoming an Outdoors Woman for an upcoming WREN story, I’ve had many opportunities this spring and summer to bask in the tranquility of nature. Zipping hummingbirds, dancing sandhill cranes, honking Canada geese, brown-coated moose, gigantic whales, and splashing sea otters … all bring me joy and provide relaxation. Even sitting in my backyard while the pond trickles and the squirrels chatter help me smile and unwind.
- Being with my pets and husband. Whether in the back yard under the apple tree, on the mountain in the cabin or under a towering pine tree, traveling in the car, or sitting at home reading or watching a baseball game, Longmire, or NCIS on TV – quality time with my immediate family (including my four-footed critters) also delights my heart and fills my soul.
My thanksgiving in July (and truly, in all times) boils down to one word: LOVE. Love of family, pets, friends, nature, and writing, and they are all blessings from God (“Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above” – James 1:17). Love — a powerful little word. And, the best ways to combat negativity and anger are through positivity (gratitude) and love. Just as the old song says, “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love.” I hope you find many opportunities to love and be thankful in the coming days and weeks.
Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning Wyoming author and freelance writer. Her inspirational pet books for children and adults teach valuable life lessons, such as courage, perseverance, friendship, and nature appreciation. Her sixth children’s book, A Town Dog Named Mary Visits a Ranch, is scheduled for release soon. She is also a contributing writer to magazines and newspapers, as well as Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her short story about a rescue dog, titled Jasmine’s Journey, will appear in the August 8th Chicken Soup release called The Dog Really Did That? This will be her seventh contribution to the Chicken Soup series. Learn more about Gayle and her work at www.gaylemirwin.com.