This post by Gayle M. Irwin
I spent the weekend at our cabin. Inside the little wooden abode are many signs, these days called ‘wall art,’ as I understand. “Home Sweet Cabin” and “Cabin Livin’ is the Life I Love” are two such placards hanging on walls inside our woodland dwelling. These signs depict the feelings my husband Greg and I have about our little forest hideaway – in fact, “Cabin Livin’ is the Life I Love” is wall art I purchased for Greg as a Christmas gift a few years ago. Shaped like a ski, it also reflects my husband’s enjoyment of the winter activities of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, the only two modes of transport into our cabin during the winter months.
Wall art is also part of home décor at our house in town. Many of these sayings are about pets, such as “The Road to My Heart is Paved in Pawprints” and “My Kids Have Paws.” My latest acquisition states “I Work Hard So My Dog Can Have a Better Life.”
Signs such as these I’ve noted reflect my thoughts and values.
Last year I purchased a piece of wall art at a craft show that simply says “FAITH.” The “T” is shaped like a cross and the shape is outlined in green. The primary color of the inside of both my house and my cabin is green, therefore, that little bit of color fits at either place. So does the saying. Greg and I share a deep faith in God, a faith that has often been tested. I saw this piece of art at the show and knew it was meant for us, whether stationed on a wall at the cabin or at our main house. For now, it resides at the cabin.
Signs are everywhere. Stop signs. Yield signs. Garage sale signs. House for sale signs. These are physical “see with your eyes” signs. Then, there are the “gut signs,” whispers in one’s heart and soul and the premonitions we are given if only we listen, feel, and pay attention. My favorite TV character is LeRoy Jethro Gibbs from NCIS – often mentioned on the show is “Gibbs’ gut,” the feeling he has regarding a case or a suspect; he listens to his gut, his team listens to his gut, and, of course by television magic, Gibbs’ gut is usually right. And, when the team, or Gibbs himself, ignores the gut feeling, bad things happen. Even though it’s a TV show, I find a good lesson from Gibbs’ character: be in-tune, listen to that whisper, that still small voice, that gut, but don’t be rash, be thought-filled, pondering, exploring, investigating, and you will find the answer.
To me, that’s also where faith comes in. We can’t see the future, we can’t know the outcome, we simply step out in faith after we’ve pondered and explored. I’ve been rash and rushed into things during times past and been regretful of the outcome. But, when I’ve contemplated, meditated, prayed, and sought guidance, usually it’s been time well-spent and produced a better result.
This month two positives are taking place. I’m serving as guest editor for WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric News) while the primary editor takes a several-week leave of absence. I never expected this opportunity to come my way. I’ve persisted in writing for this publication nearly five years and I’ve explored many other writing opportunities, some to good results, some to rejections. Several other opportunities I had fizzled due to project ending (i.e., Vietnam veterans) or publication folding (i.e., Our Town Casper magazine). The income from both was very helpful, so when they went away, I went back to queries and full article submissions with little positive results. Then, this new opportunity, which could turn into a permanent part-time position as another WREN staffer is leaving in two weeks. My gut tells me temporary and/or permanent provides an excellent opportunity and the pondering, discussing, and prayer has led me to this juncture.
The second positive is that Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Really Did That? released this week, featuring my story “Jazmine’s Journey.” This is my seventh short story in a Chicken Soup book, and later this month and into next, I have events scheduled. I’m also hopeful to be on a Chicken Soup podcast this fall. Being part of this “family” is a true blessing and it takes pondering and persistence not only to start, but also to continue, submitting.
Signs – they are all around. What signs do you watch for and listen to? What pieces of wall art or other types of art surrounds you that serve as sources of inspiration or reflections of your values? Do you listen to your gut?
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, and friendship. She is a contributing writer to magazines and newspapers, including pet stories in the Colorado-based Prairie Times. Her short story about a rescue dog, titled Jasmine’s Journey, appears in the August Chicken Soup for the Soul 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.