The last several years have been particularly challenging, for reasons I’ve mentioned, and others we don’t need to worry about right now.

Despite that, and my natural default setting of “fret and ruminate,” I am inherently optimistic; as low as I sometimes feel, I can’t help but hope for the future.

Sometimes we get a boost just when we need one. Yesterday was one of those times.

My literacy student was the featured student speaker  at the Literacy Center’s annual fundraising breakfast, before an audience of more than 200 community leaders.  He was open and compelling, talking about his life and how learning to read was changing it. Afterward,  he was approached  by a number of people, who offered support and leads for jobs. He left with an application and list of open positions from the sponsoring venue.

It was our second breakfast as a team, and the realization of a goal set at the first:

On a smaller, more personal note, I noticed that for the first time, a sapling in my front yard seemed to be in bloom. This scrawny little thing appeared  under our real trees  several years ago. From the shape of its leaves and the look of its stem (it didn’t even really have bark yet) I hopefully guessed it was a dogwood tree. My belief had been unsupported by further evidence until yesterday, when I glimpsed the few spots of white among the leaves as I parked my car.

I looked and looked again. There they were: flowers with four petals, yellow centers. I stared. Took a photo. Back into the house and on Google Images I went. There is no doubt. It’s a dogwood. Blooming. I choose to take it as a sign.