Today's mail delivery brought me a wonderful surprise. My publisher, Covenant, sent me a beautiful trophy plaque called the Silver Trumpet Award commemorating the sale of over a quarter million copies of my books. A month ago they held a formal awards dinner to honor various writers for achieving milestone goals, but I was unable to attend due to my health problems. I'm sorry to have missed that event, but the award means no less to me because it was sent in the mail.
Other writers can boast of higher sales than mine and I'll be first in line to congratulate them, but that doesn't affect the thrill and honor I feel on looking at my award. It represents many hours of writing in lieu of sleep; it represents the many readers who sent me notes expressing their appreciation for a message that made a difference in their lives; it represents the faith and encouragement I've received over the years from friends and family; it represents some deeply personal messages of inspiration; it represents the fulfillment of a dream I've had since I was a child and sold my first little story to a farm magazine.
I felt a little tug of disappointment as I gazed at the award for the first time simply because my parents and my mother-in-law weren't here to see it. Daddy was always my number one fan; it was sometimes embarrassing the way he bragged about me, but he never left me in doubt about his pride in each of my accomplishments. My mother provided a quieter kind of support; she clipped and kept each mention of me that appeared in print along with piles of articles I wrote. She and my mother-in-law both died around the time my first book was published. I was both appreciative and a little dismayed when I received that first contract to learn my mother-in-law called every friend and relative she could think of to tell them the news and let them know they better buy my book when it was released. Her funeral was the same day my book actually appeared on bookstore shelves.
Looking at that award reminds me not just of my work that went into those books, but it fills me with appreciation for all of the editors, artists, marketing people, and the many others that had a part in turning each of my manuscripts into a real book. It reminds me too of all of you, my readers, who have liked my stories well enough to keep buying them and becoming my friends. This reward is a reminder that I have a lot for which to be grateful.