Words of Appreciation

Thank you. I appreciate you. I love you. These are such simple words to say, but too often we don’t take time to say them. I’m sure we’ve all been in that place where we needed a word of encouragement. Remember how you felt? Hopeless, fearful, lonely? If you were lucky someone was brave enough, someone loved you enough to speak life and courage to you when you needed it the most.

TI can think of numerous times when I needed to hear a little encouragement, and I have been fortunate that there were others nearby ready to perk me up.

Anytime I’ve faced a big decision , my husband has encouraged me; he’s believed in me sometimes more than I believed in myself.

When I first started writing I wrote at night when the house was quiet, when everyone was asleep, and when no one could criticize me. OK, I admit that sounds a little insecure. But when I finished the first, first draft of Shaman Priest (still a long way from having that title!) and my husband discovered my secret he was delighted. When he read that first draft he was excited. I was writing about Guatemala,a place we know and love. I was writing a story we had discussed together over many years.
When I threw out the entire first half of the story and worked it back in to the middle he cheered. When I was ready to give up he told me to go ahead and publish the darn thing. And so I did. Shaman Priest took me two years to write, but it would never have been published without words of encouragement and appreciation. On the books that followed we worked together, fleshing out characters, setting limits, trying to make an exciting story that we both liked and that others might enjoy!

When our eight kids were little our mornings were always a rush. Kids had to get ready for school, my husband and I had to leave for work, breakfasts had to be eaten. What a nice surprise to see my young son had used my (off limits) label maker to print a note, “I love you, have a nice day”. It reminded me that I didn’t need to “control” the kids, I just needed to love them. They love me just for who I am. It was so nice to get a little unexpected message that sometimes I slipped notes into their lunch boxes with small messages.

On Valentines Day, I send cards to my grandkids. It brightened my day when the two year old opened her card with a kitten on it and laughed and clapped her hands. Such a small thing, so easy to do. It made both of us happy.
Another card that made me smile said, “You’re a princess in progress”. I hope so! I would send it to all my grandkids, but the grandsons might not appreciate it! I do know a lot of princesses out there.

Think of all the resources at our fingertips: email twitter, Facebook, even paper and pen! How nice it is to get a note of appreciation. Oh wait, what about the phone? Facetime, Skype?

A note might simply say: “Thanks for your help and for the hours you put in to make others happy, or thanks for being a good example to your brothers and sisters, or thanks for doing better, I’m proud of you! Or, thinking of my husband’s health: Let’s take this thing one battle at a time. We can overcome our obstacles together. It’s when people I care about say encouraging things like that, I am reminded that I may be doing something right.
I think it works for others too!

So, Who do I need to encourage today? And who do I need to thank?

Thank you to my husband and children for making me smile every single day. It is those moments of love, respect, and daily recommitment to doing your best that make me proud and happy. Let’s all do our best!

Two minutes can change an entire day.


About Karen Hopkins

Karen Hopkins (1949-) was born in Los Angeles and raised in Martinez, California. At seventeen she moved to Talcahuano, Chile. After completing her university degree she worked in London, England for Pan American Airlines and traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, and India. For twenty-six years Karen taught Spanish and English as a Second Language in a variety of settings including a private school in Panama, the "most remote school in the United States" in Ticaboo, Utah, the Navajo Reservation, and a teacher exchange in Hermosillo, Mexico. Karen and her husband traveled extensively throughout Mexico and Central America, spending many summers in the highlands of Chiapas and Guatemala . Karen currently lives in Southern Arizona, near the Mexican border.
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