Obviously I've given up on my "something I'm thankful for every day" blogging effort. Even weekly fell by the wayside. But, this morning I received a lovely email message from my Aunt Mary (92). Aunt Mary and Auncle Tony (96) are my mother's aunt and uncle and my great-aunt and great-uncle. Uncle Tony is my grandmother's brother.
Aunt Mary and Uncle Tony lived on the next street from my family when I was growing up. They were always there for us. My brother and I could walk to visit whenever the mood struck, even from a very young age. It's that sort of neighborhood. They were our Sunday School teachers when we were in high school. Our class forged lifetime bonds through the church, and even more so through their Sunday School class. We'd go on field trips, have adventures, and explore life and growing up together in that class. Aunt Mary and Uncle Tony always thought of fun and different things to do. We didn't just have a bake sale, we had a donut sale. And we made the donuts ourselves. We went camping and hiking, took leadership roles in the church, and became better Christians with their guidance. Aunt Mary and Uncle Tony knew the meaning of that word, too. Care for others, don't judge them, those who are blessed with much have a moral responsibility to help others.
Today, Aunt Mary sent the sweetest, most encouraging message to me. She just re-read Marina Melee and wrote, "Today I decided reread your first book. I am more in awe than the first time I read it. You definitely have talent as a writer - don't let anyone discourage you. I am so proud of you."
Letting Aunt Mary--a very devout woman whose reading taste tends to Christian fiction and nonfiction--read my novel caused me a bit of angst. What would she think about sex scenes, swear words, a lot of drinking, and a little bit of drug use? She did mention it was a bit risque and not her usual reading matter. The second time she read it, she told me she was fascinated by the words as she read--the thought of me stringing those specific words together to tell that specific story intrigued her. And this time, her third read, well...I'm honored, touched, and moved that my aunt would read my book three times, and take the time to tell me she thinks I have talent as a writer, and to encourage me.
More than just thankful and pleased by Aunt Mary reading my story and encouraging me, I'm thankful and amazed at her timing in sending that message. I just started the query process for my next novel, Chupacabra. Querying is an exciting and nerve-wracking exercise. I've scoured my list of potential agents and narrowed it down based on who I think might really be interested in my funny, paranormal mystery. Over the weekend, I sent my first 4 queries out. I've already received two rejections. Aunt Mary's message was the perfect antidote to the self-doubt that creeps in with each rejection. I'll take her advice and not let anyone, even the agents who reject my story, discourage me.
The rest of Aunt Mary's email message told about her receiving a book called God Winks, and her own experience with God winking at her and Uncle Tony today, through the loss and recovery of a hearing aide. Little does Aunt Mary know, her message was God's wink to me, through her.
This month, I am very, very thankful for my Aunt Mary and Uncle Tony, who have always been there, supporting and encouraging both me and my brother, and offering us unconditional love. I love them both so very much, and am very luck and blessed to have them in my life.