day 1: #40shoutouts40days

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Lent looks different this year. I started a little something on Facebook and I want a permanent home for it. Here’s the first of forty affirmations.

Hello, Lent. It’s been a year. We still live in the same cluttered apartment but miraculously a pinch of order has been restored, both in my spirit and my bedroom. God is at work.

For this 40-day period of reflection and preparation before Easter, I have decided to do something a little different. Asceticism will be sitting in the corner this year; affirmation and gratitude will be on the dance floor having the time of their life. Here is the reason why.

There was a season in my career life where I was privy to dozens of wonderful secrets. My job was to write weekly newsletters for the American and Canadian lululemon corporate offices and stores. Part of the newsletter was dedicated to what we branded as shout-outs: heartfelt affirmations submitted in secret and published for all to enjoy. One of the perks of my job was reading people’s pure and unnecessary kindness. Word count dictated what I could and could not include each week so many kind words went unpublished. My heart always ached for the people who didn’t receive the praise and thanks they had coming.

As I prepare my heart for our move, I’m uncovering my own bottled up words of praise and thanks for so many people. Some are family and friends; others are strangers. Some are people from my past. Some are people whom I’ve not met but am dying to share a bottle of wine with. (Yes, Anne Lamott. That’s your category.) These words cannot go unpublished like the dozens of shout-outs at lululemon so for forty days I will be publicly saluting people on the internet. Nothing frilly or overly sweet. Just honest truth and gratitude. Apologies to all the people giving up social media for Lent.

First up, Mrs Hoogstra, my English teacher from grade eight and nine. Thank you for your spectacular dry wit and sarcasm. You made scribbling prewriting and dissecting sentences pure joy. You shaped my gift of expression and taught me so much of what I know and without you, I would not have landed my first big girl job. Irene, if you’re out there, I hope you read this. xoxo

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