Here it is already the 13th and this is only my first June post… slacker! Let me offer you, by way of explanation, my declaration confirming no lack of desire for posting a blog, but offer up a faulty excuse of not enough time… because so far it has proved to be “not just another June.” This month offers to all of us the end of some things, yet promotes the beginning of so much more, depending on your perspective.
Graduation is a ceremonious end to the school year and, although I have been far removed from the event, I have friends and family involved with this mile marker of life. June, in its simplicity on the calendar, signifies the end of spring as we meld into greener grass, fuller blooms, warmer nights, and longer days… ah, daylight… it encourages so much more productivity. And so with the passing of my favorite season, I welcome June as it comes to encompass the beginning of summer – summer vacation, summer schedules, summer festivals, and in general, thoughts on how to relax and take it easy while enjoying what life has to offer throughout the few warm months ahead.
This June will remain particularly special to me in that I was selected for an award to which receiving is a great honor. The County of Strathcona presents the Pride of Strathcona Award to deserving community members in various areas of achievement. Deserving… wow! I appreciate being included with the recipients for this year. Colleagues (my writing friends and cohorts), under the direction of my good friend Mandy, compiled wonderful letters of support for my nomination way back in January. They were successful in keeping the attempt a secret for over three months until, much to my surprise, I received the confirmation letter just after my birthday in April. I was humbled by their words, albeit pleased that my work has created an impact, and so taken by the gesture – it was something I did not expect. We all like to be recognized for the work we do even if we do it because of a passion we harbor deep inside. I have taken this commitment to my own writing down an incredible path of joy by providing encouragement to others, through support and mentorship, leadership and example, offering outlet and opportunity for others to develop their craft, as I develop mine. This direction has proven to be the right direction for my writing journey, and I have stayed the path.
Following are my words, shared in acceptance to the award presented, on Monday, June 11th:
“I want to thank those involved for selecting me for this award and offer my congratulations to all my fellow nominees.”
“To be accepted for what you do is a reward unto itself; to be recognized in public for a passion that lives deep inside, is truly an honor. Creativity is an important part of who I am and is evident in all aspects of my life. I have come to know my journey through trial and error, dreams and reality – as do many of us throughout our life. Over the last 11 years, a solid connection to this discovery allowed me to develop my own creative philosophy based on the triad of “learn, create, and share.” This belief encompasses not only my own passion for the arts, but the encouragement and support I offer to those around me. To be a part of this community, to share and encourage others, is not only my personal and volunteer mandate; it serves as a guide for my employment and a mission for my own publishing company.”
“A person does not operate in isolation, and therefore, everyone is deserving of thanks in some way for my achievement. Because it is not possible here to thank everyone, I want to specifically acknowledge Mandy Barnett for spearheading my nomination, and thank my mom and dad, and my daughter, Kelsey, for the supportive roles they play in my life.”
“When we, as individuals, focus on our direction as being one with everyone around us, there is a sense of community in everything we do. I will close with a quote:
‘As many arrows, loosed several ways, come to one mark… so may a thousand actions, once afoot, end in one purpose.’ William Shakespeare (Henry V, Act I, sc. 2)
The evening involved many words of congratulations and hugs and well wishes. I want to thank everyone who shared this evening at Festival Place. When our writers group won the award last year, I was proud to be a part of this community and this organization, bringing our work into the literary limelight. This year, I am twice as proud, and just as determined to continue promoting the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, Dream Write Publishing, Strathcona County, and all that it encompasses. I am proud to be recognized for promoting Arts, Culture & Heritage in our community. And it’s a steady road ahead with more to come.
It’s “not just another June.”