Thursday, June 9, 2011

Author and illustrator Angela Sunde is grateful...

Hello! Tonight I’m extremely happy to welcome to my blog children’s author and illustrator, Angela Sunde. Angela is an all round fab woman I first met in person at Avid Reader in Brisbane at the launch of Manhattan Dreaming in February 2010. We’ve since caught up at writerly events in Brisbane and in between drinks, so to speak, we maintain our friendship on-line and share a passion for books, writing and, as you’ll see below, we both share a passion for being grateful for what we have in life, acknowledging how blessed we are.

Oh, while I remember, Angela is so on the ball (another thing I’m grateful for in terms of our friendship) that she coordinates a writing sprint on-line every Monday via Facebook. If you need some structure and motivation, then you need to be part of it, so click here.

Now, drum roll please.... here’s Angela’s grateful blog:

Thirteen years ago I began a gratitude journal. Life at that time felt flat and predictable. There were no major problems, but for some reason I was unfulfilled. With a loving husband, family and two gorgeous kids it didn’t make sense to me. [Anita: She’s not wrong, how gorgeous is Angela’s family above?]

My sister, although fourteen years younger, understood. She gave me a book called ‘Simple Abundance’ – a Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

“I am grateful for my sister, who instinctively knows what I need.”

Each day of the year had an entry, which brought a different aspect of life into focus and offered a wealth of ideas for finding the abundance of joy in the small things around you. January 6th’s title, ‘Standing Knee Deep in a River and Dying of Thirst’, was just how I felt at the time. Through the book Breathnach went on to share how to quench your thirst for “the good life by acknowledging the good that already exists in our own lives” and “offer the Universe the gift of our grateful hearts.”

And so I bought a journal and in my first entry in July 1999, when my son was four and my daughter seven years old, I wrote: “I am grateful for the kisses my little boy and girl give me in the morning and for sleeping in past 6.30am.” Today I am still grateful for them and their kisses.

As the years passed I kept up with my journal. One day I asked myself the question, ‘Am I following a path with heart?’ The fact that I needed to ask this question was answer enough. I realised I could not be myself unless I was true to my gifts. After two decades of working as a German language teacher in secondary and primary schools it was time to follow a new path – a path that lead me to a life of personal fulfilment and abundance – writing and illustrating for children - and my first publication, Pond Magic, an Aussie Chomp.

“I am grateful for finding the right path.”

My husband, whose support and love sustained me through the illness and passing of my mother and whose absolute faith and blind love for me I strive to deserve, opened the (figurative) window and said, ‘Fly!’
‘Are you sure?’ I asked.
‘Yes, you can do it. I know you can.’

My journal then had a new entry: “If I shine brightly, it is only because you hold me to the light.”

“I am grateful for my husband, who holds me to the light.”

This leaves me with one last gratitude, which is difficult, considering I have a whole journal full. So here goes…

I am grateful for everything I am and have become: for everything I have inherited, for the beliefs and values instilled in me by two wonderful parents, for my childhood spent on an orchard in West Auckland surrounded by cousins, for my Dalmatian heritage of song and food and kolo dancing [pic below], for my wealth of life experiences both good and bad and for the humour, the understanding and the empathy I feel for those around me because of who I am.

“I am grateful for who I am.”


Sheryl Gwyther said...

And I'm grateful you're my friend, Angela. You were there as a strong, outspoken woman when I needed support,(remember when we banded together to fight the good fight?) and your sympathetic ears are there when writing seems like a battle zone with not too many wins.
Go girl!! ♥♥♥
XX to another lovely friend, Anita! :)

Angela Sunde. said...

Thank you so much, Anita, for your kind words and for hosting me on your blog. I truly enjoyed reflecting on the aspects of my life I am most grateful for. Having found my new path, I have also been blessed with wonderful friends in the writing community such as yourself and Sheryl.
There is nothing like that warm feeling of being appreciated and cared about. Hugs to you both.

Elaine Ouston said...

And I am grateful that you welcomed me into your circle of wondeful FB writer friends and show me so much support. Thank you.

Elaine xx

DimbutNice said...

Ditto Anita and Angela. Angela a blog to take heart from. Your words were a resounding reminder that this rollercoast life is really something...something to be grateful for,for no other reason other than we have been given it. Thank you.

Angela Sunde. said...

Thank you, Elaine. It's a pleasure knowing you. x

Renee Taprell said...

Thank you for such a beautiful heart-felt post from a beautiful friend. I too have discovered the benefits of being grateful. I'm yet to write a journal though. For me, it was after watching movie, 'The Secret.' By understanding that I'm responsible for my own happiness and the choices I make. It led me to realising that my true passion was writing for children.

It's so inspirational to see Angela, what you have achieved with your writing and having unwaving faith that it would happen. You are exceptionally talented with writing and illustrating and I hope all your dreams come true.
Renee xox

Dee White said...

Thanks Anita and Angela for a truly inspiring post.

It never hurts to remind ourselves how far we have come or what's important to us.

I'm grateful I became a children's and YA author and stepped into a world of truly beautiful and inspirational people and for all the friendships and support I have found there.

Dr Anita Heiss said...

Hi Sheryl - lovely to see you here. But where are your gratefuls for me (hint, hint!). :)

Angela - thanks so much for being part of my grateful blog and like you, am grateful for the generosity and support of the writing community.

Elaine, Dimity, Renee and Dee - thanks also for dropping by and sharing your gratefulness also.

Much peace on this wild day in Sydney!

Life's a poem said...

Angela and Anita, I'm grateful for your posts and also grateful to learn a bit more about you Angela(and Anita).

Its fantastic to share in the writing journey.

Angela Sunde. said...

I am so touched by the beautiful responses to my post here on Anita's blog. Your belief in me has spurred me on!

bridgetandrobgray said...

Beautiful blog Angela. We're grateful for Pond Magic as Lilly's story has been inspiration for Ally's homework for an entire term. Lovely blog Anita!