|The Good Life|
What is the good life?
When I was asked to write this piece for Wilson Living Magazine, I began by trying to define, at least for myself, this thing called the “good life”. Upon reflection, I decided that the “good life” means different things to different people, but there are commonalties: having our finances in order, enjoying good health, being able to help others, doing meaningful work, sharing deep, personal relationships with family and friends, and experiencing true love. It also means being able to do the special things that we long to do, also known as our “bucket list”.
Not that I’m counting the years, but it just so happens that I reached a momentous birthday last year. I won’t name numbers, but I’ll tell you that reaching this milestone prompted me to really think about my life and make an honest evaluation of where I have been and where I hope to go. I found myself asking - am I truly living a good life?
It only took a minute or two of reflection to reach the answer, which was a resounding, Yes! I have a beautiful home and a wonderful husband of 32 years. He doesn’t mind that I’m not domestic, because he loves to cook. We have two great children, as well as many wonderful friends and extended family members.
My work life is an important part of my life as well, and I must say that I’ve been truly blessed in this department. I’ve had several great jobs over the years, nearly all of them here in Wilson County. I’ve been a freelance court reporter for the past 20 years, and the last 10 have included working with Judge John Wootten, Jr., as his parttime criminal court reporter while also working private freelance jobs. My job has allowed me to forge many great friendships that enrich my life on a daily basis.
I’ve been blessed to be able to travel extensively. I’ve been to over twenty-five countries, including Russia where I studied the Russian legal system and was able to tour the Russian Supreme Court. I’ve also helped with mission work in Cuba and other parts of the world, as well as the USA. In addition to this, I’ve spent many years working in music and youth ministry. Helping people is my passion and so is living life with a purpose.
I’ve crossed off just about every item on my “bucket list”, which includes whitewater rafting on the Gauley and New Rivers, crossed the Continental Divide on a snowmobile in a blizzard, dog sledding in Colorado, and dancing under the stars by the sea in Hawaii with the love of my life, my husband, Keith.
And just recently, I crossed another item off my list -- writing a novel. This one is a rather interesting story, if you’ll pardon the pun. A long-time friend and lawyer, Donna Wilkerson, and I co-wrote a Christian fiction novel entitled The Deliberation. It started with me asking her to help me write a lesson for my youth group. We had such a good time collaborating that we decided to take on a longer project: a full-length novel. Neither of us had done creative writing before, so we had a lot to learn. We started by deciding the genre and setting for the novel. Because we are both Christians, we knew our faith would come through in whatever we wrote. It was a pretty simple decision to label our efforts as “Christian fiction.” The setting of the novel – a courtroom in a small town – was also easy, as that’s where we met and where our professional lives have played out.
Before long, a plot began to develop in our minds, and we were on our way. The Deliberation became the story of a jury trial in a vehicular homicide case, as told from the shifting perspectives of a juror, a prosecutor, and a public defender. It’s a story about forgiveness, resolution, redemption, and closure.
The Deliberation was released nationally in late June of 2011. The writing, publishing, and promoting of the novel has been a long and unfamiliar road, but I am enjoying the ride. Some of it has taken me out of my comfort zone, but I suspect that’s a good thing. It’s led me to do some interesting things that weren’t on my “bucket list”, but I’m glad to be able to check off anyway. They include radio and television appearances, invitations to appear at book fairs, signing events at different venues, and seeing my name on the shelf at Barnes & Noble.
We’re currently working on a sequel, tentatively titled The Decision. And so when Angel asked me to write this piece, the thought occurred to me that I could see the bottom of my bucket. I hesitate to say that my bucket is empty, because I’m sure something else will catch my eye that I’d love to try or do, but at this time, I can’t think of anything else that I need to do to feel fulfilled.
What does that mean, exactly? I’d say it means I’m living this elusive thing we talked about earlier. It’s called - living the good life.
Dawn and her co-author, Donna, will be signing copies of their book, The Deliberation, from 10 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 19th at the Wilson Living Holiday Expo. Make sure to come by and meet these lovely ladies!
The Deliberation is available in print or for Kindle from Amazon. com, for Nook, tablet and smart phone at Google Books, and at most major online bookstores including Barnes and Noble and on the shelf at some Barnes and Noble stores. It can also be purchased locally at The Paper Mill in Lebanon.