100 Books Project :: New Jersey Update

This week is my official week of Catching Up, and it is going to be a busy one, as I leave yet again next week, bound for the east coast and my Book in a Day class at Squam Art Workshops (SAW).  Today's list was created to get all my latest Etsy orders out the door, as well as an Amazon order, Book #71 and #72 of the 100 Books Project - bound for India and South Korea (wow!) - and two packages filled with goodies for SAW.  Whew.  Today was a day of cardboard and packing tape. Another list that I will tackle right here over the next couple of weeks is my list of all the latest updates from the 100 Books Project and let me tell you, these are some gems.  This project just gets juicier and juicier, and we've been on a roll lately with responses - I think I've heard from five people who have found books in the last month or so!

I'll start with the follow-up to Book #42, deposited in New Jersey by Book Fairy Jennifer Belthoff.  There's not much I need to say here, this lovely email I received last month says it all:

"Hello  Christine,

I can only imagine what joy you must feel when an email comes to you and confirms what you have set out to do.  My name is Yvonne and I was blessed to come upon the gift that you cast into the universe.  Although it has taken a couple of weeks to connect, my excitement has not diminished.

On that beautiful spring day I, like so many others, decided to enjoy one of the first warm spring days with a bit of exercise.  The trail is in Ridgewood, NJ and I had just embarked on my first full-fledged spring power walk of the season.  I had been walking for a while, and as I approached this bench I saw this package...this brown paper package.  In this post-911 world brown paper packages are always suspicious, but as I got closer I saw the message:  "This is a gift for you".  It was the second line - "Yes You" - that caught more than my eye...it spoke to my spirit.

I really did think it was for me...but who gives unconditional gifts???

Still feeling a bit cautious, I sat down on the bench as if I was meeting friend.  I then thought maybe I had interrupted someone else's surprise, so I decided to wait a minute or two.  I looked around to see if maybe someone was playing a prank.  What could be in the bag??  So I tied my sneaker (but I was really looking under the bench - lol.  I thought, 'Oh, I know, someone left material to promote their group, religion or business.  Oh well.'  I thought if it was something I wouldn't want, I will have to carry it for the rest of my 4 mile walk...hmmmm.

So instead I decided it was a gift and it was for me!

I opened the package carefully, and as I slid the book out of the package I was shocked.  Just before I stopped at that bench I had been thinking about my life, my career and contentment.  I am an attorney that oversees a large public interest law firm, a mother, wife, etc.  So when I pulled the book out and saw "Reflections on Success and Contentment" I was floored.  I began to walk and read - which I hate to do - so I walked to another bench and read the first few pages, and the blessing continued.  I decided to stop after the first few pages because my commitment to my new found exercise plan had come to an abrupt halt and I wanted to savor the pages.  I like to absorb and reflect when I read.

So I finished my walk and on the way back I decided to put the book back in the bag and take a picture of where I found the book. I wanted to memorialize that moment in time.  (Photography is my hobby.)  I wanted  to capture all the people who were walking around, realizing how many other people were out on the path that busy beautiful day and how blessed I was to be the one to receive the gift!!  I wanted to commemorate that day and time because I knew immediately that the book was special, and then I saw the plaque on the bench which read:  "life without regrets".

I had to share this with others and that is what I have done.  When I tell others how I came upon the gift most people say would have kept walking, that fear of the unknown would have kept them from picking up that "brown paper package".  But I have never lived in fear and have always approached life with an attitude of never regretting.  I never wanted to look over my shoulder and wish I had done this or done that, and if you approach life this way you tend to be a risk-taker.

After reading most of the book I knew I had to share it with one of my best friends who also works for me. She is battling breast cancer and had brain surgery two years ago.  We drove to work (I was driving and asked her to read).  As she read aloud about two pages in she began to cry, and through her tears the blessing continued.

You gave her HOPE.

Several days later I met my college-aged son for dinner and read him a segment about finding his way in life ('sometimes in an unruly way and not in the order we think') and the blessing continued.  I have spent a great deal of time sharing the gift with others.

I could tell you so much more but I just wanted to let you know that your baby #42 is safe and sound.  I travel a bit with my job and it seemed every week I just couldn't capture the time to sit and write this note to you.  I just did not want this month to end without letting you know that your dream continues.

Thank you for depositing this gift into the universe.  I hope one day we meet.

Yvonne"

Thank you, Yvonne, for trusting that the gift was meant for you!  (Yes, YOU!)

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide