Friday, March 30, 2012


I started pulling together this recent issue of the TwinkleGram back in February. I love writing TwinkleGrams, and yet, they are a task. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. When I don't get one done in a timely fashion, the "fun thing" weighs on me.

But life happened. FINDING OUR WAY HOME released. There were guest blog posts to write, radio interviews to blab, book stores to get to (still are). All the while, I just about melted down my Google Calendar by grabbing the TwinkleGram task and drop-and-dragging it forward (boy, that describes the emotional weight!) another day or two. Another day or two. Another day or two.

But finally--FINALLY--I finished the TwinkleGram, complete with survey and all. This after changing the original topic of Today's Message to The Joy in Second Chances because Hard Things came down in my extended family, and I write as a way to process. To file. To circle my wagons around hope.

Often, after finishing such a time-consuming task, I ask myself, Why do you bother, Charlene? Who really cares anyway. Nonetheless, two main goals were accomplished: 1) Writing Today's Message (the heart of the TwinkleGram, complete with a survey to help readers process the gist of the message in their own lives) and sharing news about the new book.

Then, like the small green shoots pushing Spring's compact crusty earth aside, something wonderful sprouted in my email INBOX. I received cheery notes from TwinkleGrammers who appreciated the message, spoke of its timeliness in their lives.

And there it was, today's word: Encouragement. This is why you "bother", Charlene, because encouragement is a circle. You pass it on, and somehow it returns twofold, energized to spin forth again.

I don't mean to suggest we encourage so that we can be encouraged, for where would the genuine giving be in that? But offering encouragement seems to spawn a magical cycle of begetting. More encouragement begets more encouragement. Pay it forward. Pass on the feel-good. Who else needs a lift?

When you encourage someone, next thing you know, YOU have more energy and your burdens seem lighter. Neat-o.

It's always fun for me to check the survey results, see how people are processing. So many of the TwinkleGrammers post fun pithy answers that make me laugh out loud--yet more surprise payback for my investment. But this more serious message inspired people to think on their past, how they process it. How often do we look back, consider where we've come from, what we've survived? Some of their answers tugged at my heart.

Fueled by the encouragement of thank-you emails (thanking me for my encouragement in the TwinkleGram) I felt especially "right" about personally encouraging two survey respondents whose hearts seemed heavy. Although I've never sent e-cards to people I don't know, today I did.

Encouragement. Think it. Live it. Give it. Pass it on. Catch it when it returns. Fling it out again. 
Who doesn't need a good dose of ENCOURAGEMENT.

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