One year ago, on Nov. 8, 2006, my first column appeared in this newspaper. I consider that an important milestone in my life.
It has been a wonderful year for me. When I think about and reflect on this past year, my heart is filled with gratitude and thanksgiving.
It has been said, and I really believe it, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." When I am ready to ask, believe and receive, opportunities will come my way.
I am thankful that God gives me the gift and passion to write. Each one of us is born with a certain gift. Some people are good performers, some are good athletes, some are good leaders, and some are good writers. It is our personal responsibility to discover what our God given gift is and what our passion is and then to use it for good.
I am thankful that even though English is not my native language, I have mastered it well enough to write and express myself and, more importantly, I have mustered up enough confidence to share my writing with people I don't even know.
I know there are people out there who like to write or do something, but are afraid to do it and show it, because they think they are not good enough.
The truth is we can only be good enough and get better if we just do it and practice more every day. Please don't let self-doubt and fear get in the way of doing what you love to do.
Sometimes I do wonder about whether people read my columns and what they think about them. It feels like I am sending out letters, but have no idea whether they are received and read or lost somewhere and end up in the trash.
Three weeks ago, while I was helping at the annual library book sale, two women recognized me through my name tag and asked me if I was a columnist for the Woodbury Bulletin. One of them said she read my columns every week.
I wished I had asked her some questions and get some face to face feedback.
I regretted that I missed the opportunity. But just that one casual question and the short comment meant a great deal to me. Thank you for letting me know that you do read my columns.
I am also thankful to all the readers of this newspaper, especially those who enjoy reading my columns so much or are so passionate about a topic I write that they take the time to write to me and give me feedback. Your comments and encouragement are very much appreciated.
I read every e-mail I receive and respond to every single message.
I am especially thankful to the individuals who write to me more than once. I can't tell you how much your appreciation and encouragement have meant to me.
Recently, I received an e-mail from a reader who told me that she enjoyed reading my column topics regarding Chinese cultures.
She thanked me especially for writing the column about Weili Shen and her Acupuncture Woodbury clinic. She had been going to Shen for a few weeks for severe menopause symptoms and the treatment with acupuncture was working wonderfully.
"I wouldn't have known about her except through your column. I'm recommending her to everyone I know. Thank you so much," she wrote.
It is very gratifying for me to know that I have helped someone through my writing.
Writing this column in the past year has really been very energizing and rewarding for me. I am thankful in knowing that I can make a difference in someone's life and be an inspiration to someone.
I am very thankful for the Woodbury Bulletin's managing editor, Bob Eighmy, for his trust in me and giving me the opportunity to write as a columnist for the newspaper. When I approached Bob over a year ago with a brief introduction about myself and asked him if I could write for Woodbury Bulletin on a regular basis, I only had two articles published in the newspaper at that time. He said yes without questioning my background and experience as a writer. I am thankful that he believed in me. Without his trust, I wouldn't be here today.
I am looking forward to my second year writing for Woodbury Bulletin. I will keep writing what's on my mind and from my heart to inform you and to inspire you.
May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and may your heart also be filled with gratitude.