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May this year be filled with unexpected good things for you. “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,” may you find solace in your imagination if there’s nowhere else to go. Because sometimes that’s all we have.

The poem below by Mary Oliver is my New Year’s inspiration (and the quotes I’m referencing). I sit here tonight reflecting on my past year and the one ahead. And because it’s the holiday season, inevitably I also think a ton about my childhood past years.

Those memories come connected with my favorite stories and books. In the past several years, I started a tradition of revisiting my childhood books and I’m always surprised by how much those stories influenced me. They made me believe in myself and feel that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

I was different from everyone around me and the authors of those books guided me through a life that didn’t appreciate and value who I was. I owe so much to the writers for playing such a powerful role on my path. The world of imagination is no joke. I hope that I, too, will be a source of comfort and validation and inspiration for children long after I’m dead.

My 2021 vision is inspired by this. To create and produce good works/materials that will live on and make a difference for children, some of whom might also feel misunderstood and alone.

"Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

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To education and children’s rights,
Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation – www.AmishHeritage.org
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