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The greatest gift you can ever give

Today my husband and I have been married for twenty-six years. The greatest gift he has ever given me is not the all-clad frying pan I accidently left at the campground. It is not the diamond ring he proposed with, or the pitchfork I asked for on our fifteenth anniversary.



He gave me the gift of believing in my dreams.

He believes in me.

The power of encouragement

I still remember unkind words that were spoken to me in 2002, in 1978, and in 1972. (Not my Nick, my husband.) And, I am not sure why the negative words spoken to us seem to stick harder and stay longer that the kind words we hear every day.

Dreams are fragile, like the shell of a robin’s egg after the bird has flown away. Dreams are easily shattered and blown to the wind like a dried out dandelion.

I have held onto my dream, a small fragment of the robins egg, a single seed from the dandelion, never giving up.

You may feel like it’s too late. Too late to dream again. You might feel like the world is telling you, “You are too old.” And maybe there is no one to encourage you.

If you feel like there is no one in your life to give you the gift of encouragement, you have forgotten one person. You have forgotten yourself.

Treat yourself how you want to be treated.

Look in the mirror and say, “Hey, you got this. You can do it.”

Be a dream builder

For the people you love,  for the people you call friend, and for the random stranger you meet on the street, and on the internet. Be a dream builder, encourage people to be themselves. To believe, to dream.

I believe in you. Believe in you too.


Click here to comment. I would love to encourage you.

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About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Beth Smith Cochran

    Pamela, your sweet post is now four months old, but I just now found it. I remember the day of your wedding…Cole and Michael and Steven and I were all so very happy to be there! You were such a special person all those years ago, and I’m sure you have continued to grow even lovelier in the ensuing years. I’m so grateful to have found you again! With many happy memories, your TBC friend Beth Cochran.

    • Hello my dear friend Beth,
      I am so happy to be connected again. Your smile brightened my days when I lived in Japan. I was so happy to be invited to your home. Sadly I lost the painting of the fish Steven gave me.
      Thank you for making the long drive to our wedding. Yes, many happy memories.

  • Pamela, this is awesome! I’ve always loved the CS Lewis quote (hopefully, it’s him!): “You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” It’s always been one of my favs. Thanks for your inspiration and encouragement. I LOVE, LOVE “You are an artist.” Big things in store for you, my friend!

    • Hello Doris,
      I love that quote too. We are never too old. Thank you for your encouragement on my little book.
      Hope you are well.

  • Congrats to the couple. What a beautiful thing is to encourage your partner to make their Dreams come true.

    • Hello upsana,
      Thank you for the congratulations. May you never forget to dream. Love your smile in your photograph!

      • Thanks for the compliment Pamela

  • Robn Patrick

    Congrats to the two of you!! You look so much like Piper in this picture! What a cute couple. And yes, you are right, both when you say that the unkind words stick to us, and that we can be our own encourager. And just so you know, when you write these words, they remind me of these truths. And I need that.

    • Hello Robin,
      I always love to give you back your vowel. I think I should paint a picture of the letter “i” and mail it to you.
      Thank you for your kind words. And please remember, unkind words don’t have to stick. I think we can think of them as post-it notes, not hot glue or crazy glue. The ones that we have kept for years can fall off now. The glue has dried and we are not our past anymore.
      Let God define us, and not the words of meaners.

      • Susan W A

        HIP HIP HOORAY for the Post-It note approach!

  • Great advice, Pamela. And congrats on your anniversary! Here’s to 26 more!

    • Hi John,
      Thank you! 26 more would be sweet. Funny though, I always think of my numbers as not ending. So I will take ten million more years married.

  • Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful way to honor your husband and encourage the rest of us!

    • Hi Kathy,
      Thank you! Sending you hugs for your day.

  • Ms. Pamela, That’s a powerful testimony. Thanks for sharing that!

    Yes to this…
    “For the people you love, for the people you call friend, and for the
    random stranger you meet on the street, and on the internet. Be a dream
    builder, encourage people to be themselves. To believe, to dream.”

    Thanks for arranging the lunch during Tribe last weekend. All the best on propagating more silly and fun!

    • Hello Arlen,
      You are very welcome.
      Thank you for being a friend. I hope today you have a fun day with a touch of silly. Maybe you need a sock puppet?

  • Susan W A

    Happy Anniversary, Pamela, to you and your husband! Wonderful picture.

    Thank you for the inspiring message … be a dream builder. I love that you share how you are following your dreams.

    Below is a love poem I wrote a couple years ago on the occasion of the first child from my group of college friends to get married.

    Hugs for a wonder-filled day.
    – Susan

    How could it be
    that with all of life’s swirling movements,
    I found you

    How could it be
    that our life paths crossed
    at just the perfect moment

    How could it be
    that I get to learn and grow with you
    as an individual and as a couple

    How could it be
    that you understand me so well

    How could it be
    that we know each other’s weaknesses
    and our love is stronger because of it

    How could it be
    that butterflies flitter through my veins
    whenever I catch a glimpse of you

    How could it be
    that the rhythm of our souls
    complement each other beautifully

    How could it be
    that I love you so deeply

    How could it NOT be

    [susan w. akhavan . 23 august 2014]
    [photo: swa at Stanford University]

    • Hello Susan,
      Thank you for sharing the poem you wrote for your friend. Friendship is something to be treasured.
      And I treasure yours.

  • Berdeane Bodley

    I can’t believe I got in here, I haven’t been able to comment for months, but, I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth, (goofy saying). Today is your special day Pamela & Nick. i remember it like it was yesterday. You were such a beautiful bride & Nick so handsome beside you. Now with 3 lovely children and the next 26 years to look forward to. I always treat myself with kind words & they work. I love you Pamela…………..mom

    • Hi Mom,
      I am so happy you are able to make comments again, where did you find a horse?
      I love you Mom. I remember it like it was yesterday too. So happy you and Eddie were there to share it with us.

      • Berdeane Bodley

        Let me tell you, it sure was not easy finding that horse!!!!

  • Rita Jacques

    Sometimes we never know the effect our words have on others. Say those words anyways.

    • Hi Rita,
      The kind words that can save a life. Thank you for saying hello today. I hope your day is filled with sunbeams and love.

  • GirlGriot

    First, I love this pic of you two! Second, congratulations!! Twenty-six years is wonderful and amazing! Third, I love this post!

    It’s so terrible how easy it is to believe the negative things! I’ve gotten (marginally?) better at believing the good things, but I still find myself slipping into the old mode, still find myself repeating some of the negatives and dismissing the positives. Happily, I have a new crew of friends — you among them — who help to steer me back on course. I so appreciate you!

    • Hello Girl Griot,
      Thank you for your warm wishes on our anniversary. I have no idea how old I am, and twenty-six years must be someone else. I was twenty-six when I flew to Tokyo. How did that happen.
      Yes, believe all the good stuff, and throw away the negative. (Maybe we need to put the negative in the garbage disposal and grind it up, so it won’t keep popping back up.)
      I appreciate you too dear friend.