The Charm of Encouragement

The Charm of Encouragement

This week’s inspiration comes from a special gift from my new friend, Gina. After weeks of struggling to find an accessible venue for her book club, we finally arranged to meet at her local library, the marvelous North Carroll Branch, who not only offered space, but also created a public event for the evening.

We had such fun!

Gina’s thoughtful gift was just what I needed this week. Note the little bee with its own sparkle, a “Bee Strong” charm, accented by a heart shining with even more sparkles.

“Be strong and let your heart sparkle with love,” it said to me.

How I needed to receive that message! Only eight hours earlier, I was in tears.

Although I enjoyed the slower pace in August with my “Unbaled Hay” series, I had trouble getting into presentation gear. It had been almost three months since my last book talk.

Thankfully, my sister was in town for a brief visit.

We decided I should practice my readings.

I nailed the first scene, our pre-vacation breakfast-for-dinner quarrel over canned biscuits. But when I began reading the passage about our brother’s funeral, I lost it. Seeing my sister, revisiting the pew we shared that launched our family of five into that awkward and foreign configuration of four—it was too much. The tears wouldn’t stop: I could not speak.

“I can’t do it, Sissy. I just can’t do it.”

“Then don’t. You have other scenes you can read.”

Within the hour, she had to leave to return to her home in Georgia. She hugged me tight, assuring me that I’d do a great job. I poured a fresh cup of coffee and hoped she was right. Then, I went at it one more time.


I worked on other passages and then came back to it. My voice quivered, but no tears.

My cell phone lit up with a call.

“Just landed. How’s it going?”

“I’m going for it, Sissy. I want to do it. I want to honor those honest feelings.”

And I did.

What were you doing? Where were you looking? Why didn’t you pay attention? I am angry at you–for being careless, for being thoughtless, and, yes, for leaving me here to miss you for the rest of my life. How dare you die on me! I crammed tissues into the tears that weren’t what they seemed. I was supposed to be sad and yet I was hurt and angry—and then ashamed for feeling that way.

What is wrong with me? What is wrong with all of us?

I made it through, a little shaky but no tears. I’m not sure why, but it felt good to share the rawness of that pain and the confusing feelings of anger and hurt. I hope it showed the depth of my love.

The next day during my quiet time, Mark Nepo’s meditation, In an Eagle’s Eye, comforted me.

. . . as magnificent as the heart is, it is not the source of love, but a conveyer of forces often out of view when we are struggling. . .our pain and grace; our fear and hope, our confusion and certainty.

Be strong and let your heart sparkle with love.

Thanks, again, for that charm of encouragement, Gina! And thanks to all your book club attendees who made me feel so at ease and welcomed.

So, how’s your transition into your fall schedule? Any encouraging words to share? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Click the button below to check out my new Events page. A book club, two library events, and a trip to N.C. are coming up! Hope to see you!


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