The Unexpected Gifts in Your Life ~ Echoes of the Spectacular

If you’ve seen the Moulin Rouge movie with Nicole Kidman, you may remember the Spectacular Spectacular! play. It was about an evil maharajah trying to woo an Indian courtesan who loves a poor sitar player. What a spectacle!

“No words in the vernacular 

Can describe this great event 

You’ll be dumb with wonderment…”

Spectacular Spectacular!

Guess what? I stumbled across a real-life Spectacular Spectacular in India, from January 23-27! And I’m officially registered. It’s more formally known as the annual Jaipur Literary Festival — also dubbed “The Greatest Literary Show on Earth” and a “sumptuous feast of ideas.” My travel guidebook says it’s the “world’s biggest free literary festival.”

Jaipur Literary Festival ~ Echoes of the Spectacular
Jaipur Literary Festival ~ Echoes of the Spectacular

How could a wandering writer pass that up?

I found the Greatest Literary Show on Earth on December 24, as I was planning my January pilgrimage through India and Nepal. Perfect timing; I couldn’t have asked for a better gift.

What about you — what gifts have you recently stumbled over? Perhaps you picked yourself up, brushed yourself off, and passed on by. 

When the gifts you get don’t seem all that good

A CT scan is another unexpected gift for me this Christmas. In 7 Tips for Traveling Alone with Pericarditis for Women 50+ I described my recent heart diagnosis. I saw a cardiologist a few days later after a stint in the Emergency Room — they bumped me up the six-month waitlist because of the India trip. He said it’s minor, and the medical intern concurred. My pericardial membrane is inflamed but not alarmingly so. 

That’s a relief…but why do I still feel pain and discomfort in my left ribcage? The cardiologist doesn’t know. Neither does the ER doctor, the radiologist, or my family doctor. But they all agreed that we should run one more test before I fly off to Asia for a month. 

So, they gave me the gift of a CT scan on December 24 at 5 pm. Now, you wouldn’t think spending Christmas Eve in the hospital is a gift…unless you’ve been reading my journals. Then you’d know I’ve been wondering about visiting hospitals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, just dropping in and sitting with people there, but felt a little weird about it. It seemed too contrived.

A few months ago I invited God to put me in the hospital at Christmas. I didn’t pray to be sick for the holidays; I just asked the Holy Spirit to give me a good (natural, uncontrived) reason to go to the hospital. And then I let it go. I wholeheartedly planned to go to Alberta with my husband and visit his family for the holidays — and I was looking forward to it. There’s a new little baby girl to meet 🙂 

Less than a week before Christmas, the cardiologist’s office called to say the only time they could get me in for a CT scan was Christmas Eve, 5 pm. So, I sent my husband off to Alberta with blessings and love, and am finding meaningful ways to be home alone for the holidays. This involves a lot of pondering Jesus’s sense of humor, the Holy Spirit’s playfulness, and the joyful nature of God.

Yesterday I heard Deepak Chopra call God a “trickster.”

What unexpected gifts have you received this Christmas — or this year? 

Gifts can be human, such as a newborn baby who changes your life forever. Gifts can be medical, such as a diagnosis that makes you grateful for the simple blessings in life. Gifts can be confusing, such as having to choose between things that are good, better, or best. Gifts can be losses, such as the passing of a loved one, or a breakup, or the end of a season of life. Gifts can even be painful but eye-opening, joy-giving, and spirit-deepening.

And gifts can be Spectacular Spectacular! — such as “The Greatest Literary Show on Earth” in Jaipur, India! They call the festival a “sumptuous feast of ideas” but they’re mistaken. Life is the sumptuous feast of ideas and gifts and blessings. Life — every breath, every bite, every sound, every ounce, every blink, every touch and funny moment — is the gift. 

The festival is one of God’s many infinite, boundless gifts of abundance, love, joy, and grace.

“No words in the vernacular 

Can describe this great event 

You’ll be dumb with wonderment…”

Spectacular Spectacular!

With love,



Previous “Echoes of Joy”

Your Mom Wants to Talk to You ~ Echoes of Self-Compassion

How Many Beats Do You Have Left? Echoes of Uncertainty

You Are More Good Than You Realize ~ Echoes of the Cradle


New “Blossom Tips”

Comfort and Hope When You Feel Like Nobody Loves You – The worst part of feeling like nobody loves you is having no one to talk to. Even if you do share how you feel, people just brush your feelings away. “How can you say nobody loves you?” they say. “I love you, your parents love you, your dog loves you. God loves you! So don’t say you’re not loved, because you are.”

When You Don’t Want to Go Home for the Holidays – Some of us want to go home for the holidays, but can’t. Home isn’t what it used to be. Others of us don’t want to go home for Christmas, perhaps for the exact same reason. Home isn’t what it used to be.

Stories You Haven’t Told Anyone – Spirit Beat – How would your life change if it was an open book? You have stories and secrets you haven’t told anyone…and everything would be different if you were honest with yourself and others.

3 Ideas for Coping With Loneliness After Losing Your Husband – The days are long and lonely after you lose your husband – and the weekends and nights are longer and lonelier. These three ways to cope with loneliness after the loss of your husband won’t erase your grief, but they may ease the pain.


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