January 2017 Newsletter
Pay it Forward
Each year I am more and more grateful for all that I have. And before even thinking of New Year's resolutions, I must give thanks for the wonder-filled year that has just come to a close.
Traveling for my book tour these past few months was a remarkable experience. I had the honor of
US Coast Guard Academy,
New London, CT. , Nov. 10.
connecting with hundreds and hundreds o f people. 

Some ask ed for tips on how to make their o wn life or the life of a struggling loved one better.

"What was the most important thing that helped you in your recovery? " one man asked at a book reading in December.
"My Mother."  The answer is always, "My Mother." Without her, I'd never have made it this far.
But the man pressed for more detail. So I elaborated,  "I recovered because I was never alone. In the hospital, whether consci ous or not, someone was with me, reading to me, holdi
Toadstool Bookshop in Keene, NH December 4.
ng my hand, playing music, talking to me. I literally was never alone. Friends helped me with my therapy and watched as I crawled across the floor for hours, cheering me on. "

"Even though my speech was garbled, and it would have been easier for people not to talk to me at all, they did. They worked hard to understand me and to engage me. My mother organized a network of family and friends willing to do the hard work with me, day after day, inch by inch by inch. Every minute that someone took out of his or her day to be with me, was a gift. The best gift you can ever give or receive."
Love. Loyalty. Friendship. Family. Time together. That's what matters. That's what made the difference between me making it or not.
My mother was in the audience at my most recent author event, and for the first time on my tour, she was drawn into the discussion .  Her response to a question we often hear, "But what if you didn't have the resources to take care of Jennifer and find new therapies...?"  Her response was new, even to me.
My mother and I have always said, that we believed my accident happened for a reason.  I believe I had lessons to learn, and that I am a better person than I was before the accident. My mother and I have always been close, but our bond since the accident has grown even stronger.  We needed to accept help, even be able to ask for it so many times. This was new ground for both of us.
But that wasn't my mother's answer.  Perched on the front of her chair, about four rows back from the podium, my mother leaned forward, her head tilted as she thought out loud, "You know maybe this happened to Jennifer, because we did have the resources.  Maybe it happened so tha t I could move heaven and earth to find ways for her to get better. Maybe this all happened, so we could learn everything we learned and share it with others."

My Mother at the Toadstool event in Keene.
I stood stunned as my mother spoke, nodding my head in agreement. After all these years, I think that is the answer to why this happened and it is my 
New Year's resolution to continue doing exactly  what my mother expressed, "sharing what we  learned with others."
I am so grateful for all of the gifts that I have received, but most of all I am grateful for my new life and my ability to, "Pay it forward."
Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year.

Upcoming Events

  January 19, 2017
  Washington, D.C.

Accepting the "Hero" Award at the All American Inaugural Ball 

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