Sunday, November 13, 2011

Those Not-So-Little Moments of Life

Life's "little" moments are sometimes not so little, after all. I'm talking about those events that give you incredible encouragement or joy--at unexpected times, in unexpected ways or perhaps involving someone unexpected. Let me give you an example. I enjoyed my second book signing ever yesterday at the church where I grew up (and my mom still attends). A woman came over to the table, whipped off her sunglasses and introduced herself. She said, "I was your high school typing teacher." Well, sure enough, she was. I smiled and waved my hand at the stack of books and told her, "As you can see, I haven't stopped since. Thank you."

What was so gratifying (besides her telling me she'd read my first book and wants to read my second) was when she told me, "I've always remembered you. I gave the class an assignment to type one paragraph telling about a favorite Thanksgiving memory. You wrote the sweetest sentiment, and it touched my heart." She went on to say how it didn't surprise her in the least when I became a writer. Seeing her and hearing that story touched MY heart. A short while later, going through the luncheon line, the woman at the checkout said, "Well, hello there, Famous Authoress." I looked over my shoulder to see if she meant someone else. She laughed. "I meant YOU, JoAnn." Those two moments yesterday were surprising and unexpected, but they are two of those wonderful "little" moments that will stick with me for a long time, thus making them pretty BIG. A few hours, and two unexpected memories.

Of course, the very sweetest of moments are those involving my children, and they transcend anything concerning my writing, as passionate as I am about it. My son, Matthew, is 15 now and high-functioning autistic (Aspergers Syndrome). When he was six, we took him to an esteemed child developmental psychologist in Boston who basically told us to have his IQ tested and questioned Matthew's mental capabilities. We're his parents, and we knew better; he's incredibly bright but learns differently than other children. When our son recently brought home his first report card from high school, it was all A's and B's. He made higher grades in freshman biology and math than I did way back when. I received an e-mail from his biology teacher last week telling me he'd received the highest grade on a recent test for the second time running! Even more gratifying? The comments from his teachers on his report card. Things like, "Great kid, the light of the classroom, Matthew makes my day . . ." You see, Matthew has the love of Jesus Christ in his heart. For a person with autism, he's atypical in being highly social. He expresses love to others both verbally and in unspoken ways. At times, his peers and adults don't know how to respond to Matthew since he will say and do things they don't expect. But, I tell you what: my son touches hearts. If you met him today, he'd ask your name and find out about you (if you'd let him). Even if you didn't see him for another couple of years, he'd still remember your name, where he'd met you and what he'd learned from you. And he'd ask how you're doing. And say, "I love you." Matthew amazes me every single day, and I have no doubt the Lord has great plans for my son. In his 15 short years, he's made an impact on many and provides me with a treasureload of those unexpected, incredibly precious memories.

In terms of writing, I like to infuse the plots of my books with similar "little" moments to intersperse with the bigger events. It makes a book resonate with readers when they can identify with the characters and their situation. What may be seemingly mundane or even silly to some may be poignant and meaningful to you or someone else. In writing contemporary romance, if I can touch the emotions and the hearts of my readers, they'll want to keep reading (and hopefully pick up the next book). I think that's true in most genres, don't you? It doesn't have to be anything big or significant, but simply a kind word, a sweet gesture, or a good deed, in an unexpected place from an unexpected source--that ultimately can mean so much.

What "little" moments of life have you had in recent days? Please share with us! I, for one, would love to hear about them!

Blessings, my friends. Matthew 5:16

JoAnn is the author of the popular contemporary romantic adventure, Awakening, and its follow-up, Second Time Around, both published by Torn Veil Books. She is an estate administration paralegal in Louisville, Kentucky, and lives with her husband and three children in southern Indiana. Visit her at


  1. JoAnn! How nice to "meet" you here. I have twins with autism and from what your website states I think we may be around the same age. :-) I enjoyed your post so much. My autie boys bring people much joy at public school, too, and people comment a lot on what happy boys they are. Jesus' light shines!

  2. Thanks so much for your lovely comments, Karla. As you probably noticed either in my post or my website (thanks for visiting), Matthew 5:16 is my theme verse, and it sounds like our guys are definitely shining their lights in a dark world. What some consider a "disability" has become an incredible strength in all our lives. Hope we can "chat" again soon! I love your posts, too. Blessings to you and your family, and happy writing.