Thursday, September 10, 2015

Gratitude and the Amazing Day

by M. L. Buchman

There are good days, great days, and Amazing Days!

I've just had an Amazing Day (which I'll get to in a moment). But the day has had a lot of odd baggage in it that I've found to be an excellent reminder to put everything into perspective. Or better yet, kept it there.

There were three events in the M.L. Buchman household today of varying importance.

Event 1: A new sofa and chair 
The last sofa and chair survived over a dozen years of kid, cats, and general living. As the couch decayed, so did the nation's economy and our own finances. There were times, while unemployment was tinkering with my corporate career time after time, when a cup of coffee wasn't in the budget. When the extra two tanks of gas to go visit our kid in college wasn't really happening either.

Today we bought a brand new couch and chair. Nothing exotic, but it marked the end of an era in so many ways. This new furniture, and the fact that we were simply able to write a check and say "That one," is a seminal change in what is now my full-time writing career. Over the last three years I was able to wrest my life from my corporate career and make my living as a writer.

I spent an hour just sitting in the chair and being thankful (and a little bit stupefied) by the change in fortune. I was sitting on furniture that was paid for by the joy of the written word rather than the often spirit-breaking corporate grind. The shift is ginormous! Way bigger than a new piece of furniture.

Event 2: A deposit
My wife checked our bank accounts, as she does every day (a highly recommended practice), and saw a deposit for $42. There was a moment when we were ready to go "Oh, just a little one." But we caught ourselves. My first ever income from my indie writing (the traditional books were already starting to pay a little) was $53. That money arrived during one of those desperately broke moments, just three years ago.

We wanted to honor that hope, nurture that feeling. We went out to the first dinner in months, and lunch a week later. Yep! We "blew" all $53. We didn't pay a bill. We didn't save it. That memory carried us for months. It was a ray of light in a very hard time.

Then we looked at the $42 that came in today. We didn't need to do more than look at each other. There was a time when $42 was a life-changing, or at least hope-changing amount. We remembered to be thankful for the dozen or so people who purchased books so that we could have that $42. In honor of the memory, on the same day we received our new furniture, we decided that we were going to take ourselves out to dinner on that $42 and be thankful for every step that got us here.

Event 3: A list of 101
Nope! Not Dalmatians. Booklist (a major industry journal) released a list today entitled: "The 101 Best Romances of the Last 10 Years." That's a pretty daunting title, I thought when I saw it. The surprising news is that I'm on it...twice.

For 2012: The Night is Mine (the first book of my Night Stalkers series)
For 2015: Hot Point (the latest book in my Firehawks series, just released in August)
Gratitude is an amazing thing. Sometimes it's hard to remember to be thankful even when things aren't going well. That $53 taught us so much about being thankful.

The same is true when things are going well. It's easy to lose sight of what we did to get here. But that little $42 served to do that.

So to whoever is listening, just let me say, "Thank you!" This was an Amazingly Amazing Day! I have three things to be immensely grateful for.

Whatever you can find about your day, this day, to be grateful for, I'd love to hear about it. Because it is only in that awareness that we can understand how far we have come and just how far we might grow.

All the best!


  1. Congratulations on getting two books on the list!
    Me? I am grateful for everything--everything.

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  3. Hi Sally,
    Exactly. It took me a long time to learn that lesson, and yesterday was a great "refresher course" in gratitude.

  4. What a wonderful, uplifting post! It's easy to forget to be grateful for the things we have. When I get down, I look at my feet. Yup. My feet. I say, "I'm grateful for the ability to walk..." and go from there. ;)

  5. Congrats on the list and on the $42!

  6. Ha! Ashlyn, I am totally stealing that! Thankful for the simplest of the every day essentials!

  7. Thanks Shana, and I'm not sure which feels like the bigger achievement, so I'm just being thankful for both.

  8. Congrats on all of the things that you have accomplished, and bravo for getting on the list twice--they were both wonderful stories! I am always thankful to have a brand new day to work with (0: