As I am writing this, a beautiful, heavy, wet snow is blanketing Stillwater and much of Oklahoma. Still, I won’t be surprised if as you are reading this, it is sunny and unseasonably warm. Some folks may even be wearing shorts and t-shirts. The weather is just one of many things I love about Oklahoma, although the older I get, the more my love for winter turns into greater love for fall, while my dislike for the hottest summer days intensifies.
In a couple of days we will be gathering with family, eating way more than we should, and napping or watching football or both. Some families will share around the table for what they are thankful with many of them most certainly including each other on their lists. I, too, am thankful for my family. Petty resentments of the past have long faded away and new slights are quickly forgiven. My family extends beyond the biological to close friends, church family, former and current colleagues. It is my hope that yours is just as full or even more so.
Speaking of thankfulness, the Oklahoma Library Association, a professional membership-based organization that works to strengthen the quality of libraries, library services, and librarianship in Oklahoma, conducts a leadership training every three years. One of the activities frequently included during the week-long program is establishing the practice of writing a gratitude journal. The concept is that each evening prior to lights out, one reflects over the day’s events and writes three good things that happened. Although the study results are mixed, some show a propensity for gratefulness means better mental and physical health overall.
I have to work at seeing the positive. It does not come naturally like it does to others I know. Still, when I stop and reflect, I recognize just how many reasons I have to be thankful. Stillwater is a new addition to my gratitude journal (mine is theoretical, by the way). The reception I have received has been quite overwhelming! Not only does the community love its library, the people take every opportunity to let us know just how great they think their library is and even why – the staff are so friendly, everyone is so helpful, I love attending library programs, I love that I can download my books now, we have such a great building… I am definitely reaping the fruits of the labor of others who were here before me.
Folks I meet are instantly supportive and agreeable and often turn to someone nearby to widen the scope of any introductions. Friends and colleagues from “years past” have dropped in to welcome me back to Stillwater. In Library School, where one gets a Masters in Library and Information Studies, there is considerable talk about engaging and serving the community. How refreshing it is to join a group that puts that philosophy into action, every day.
Thank you for welcoming me to Stillwater!