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QUINTESSENCE

The Year in Gratitude

Be in a state of gratitude for everything that shows up in your life. Be thankful for the storms as well as the smooth sailing. What is the lesson or gift in what you are experiencing right now? Find your joy not in what's missing in your life but in how you can serve.
-- Wayne Dyer

Last Saturday all across America we celebrated our favorite local independent bookstores. Here in Spokane I joined fellow authors at Aunties Books. The experience of mingling with shoppers in the aisles, talking books, life, meeting other area authors…all of this was deeply affirming for me. I am grateful, beyond measure, for the beauty that writing has brought to my life. How much there is to give and receive.

I learned from a young Canadian man about adventure literature of the 1930s. ("The White Spider"...anybody?) I talked with a lovely woman who radiated such quiet gentle strength it was no surprise to learn her story of survival infuses the grace she lives by. And of course there was the funny family from Florida, in town for the holidays - all of them opinionated, smart, verbal - who split to the far corners of the bookstore, browsing and reading in the stacks. I met grandparents searching out perfect book gifts for grandchildren, young couples browsing, outdoorsy guys killing time before a Pearl Jam concert. The talk was so much about favorite books (and life stories) I jitterbugged my own little "Snoopy dance of joy' down the aisles. (Sorry if you saw that.) This season, may every good book find its devoted reader.

I am grateful for what is present, this very moment, in my life. A loving family. A quirky, funny, devoted spouse, who brings all that is fresh and new from his realm of medical science into the bookish hours of my day. I am grateful for the gifts of friendship - especially those of you I have known for years now, you are gold. I hope there are surprises of utter joy in store this coming year.

I am grateful for my publishing family. My "knights in industry" who do battle with the odds, flying their faith in books and writers, in me, daily. Where would I be without your loyalty and love and insight and determination? Where would writers be without you, and readers without writers? Thank you all for this amazing year, and for the work you do. I hope your stockings are filled with bows and garlands of royalties and accolades.

And finally, I want to express my gratitude to the unseen hands throughout the world - the angels that bring peace, ensure safer hours and places for children to play, bring knowledge to dark corners, protection in danger, leadership through passages of fear. I stand daily in awe of the many humans, anonymous, official, noble and humble alike, who give and serve and build community within the human race. We are all of us connected by family and community and hopes for a better world. May the stars atop your dreams cast the brightest light.

I wish you the long-abiding warmth of gratitude. Thank you. Thank you for your presence in my life and your presence in the world.

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