I’m going to say this now: I’m proud of you.
That’s it. You can stop reading here if you want. I know you’re busy. So take the kids to karate class, scrub your bathroom mirror, schedule a dentist appointment, wash your dog, live your life. Just know that I’m proud of you.
The thing is, I don’t think we tell each other how special we are. I don’t think people get enough handshakes, back-pats, or five-dollar beer pitchers.
So I’m proud of you. For not giving up. For eating breakfast. I’m proud of you for remembering to breathe. Really.
I’m also proud of Billy. He emailed me. He’s forty-nine. He’s been working in construction all his life, and he couldn’t read until three years ago.
His friend gave him reading lessons every morning on the ride to work. And on weekends. They practiced on lunch breaks.
Billy started with elementary school books. This year he read the Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes Stories.
He reads aloud sometimes, during lunch break to the fellas. He said he’s been practiced reading the same stories so many times, he’s almost memorized them.
I’m proud of Leona, who had the courage to check into addiction rehab last week. She’s a young woman, and she needs someone to be proud of her. So I guess I’ll have to do.
I’m proud of her aunt, too—who is helping to raise Leona’s daughter with Down’s syndrome.
And Michael, who just asked Jessica to marry him yesterday—on Christmas morning. He squatted down onto one knee in front of seventeen family members, one woman, and her three children.
He gave Jessica and each of her children a ring.
He said, “Will you be my everything, forever and always?”
Jessica’s oldest—Brooke, age 11—got so excited she blurted an answer before anyone else.
“YESYESYESYES!” Brooke said.
I’m proud of Boyd, who got his first job as an electrician. And Lawrence, for rescuing kittens he found on his hunting property.
I’m extra proud of Sylvia—who walked for the first time after her car accident. Physical therapists have been helping her ever since doctors amputated Sylvia’s left leg.
Last week, she was fitted with her first prosthetic.
Sylvia’s mother tells me, “I’m so proud of my daughter, she won’t quit fighting…”
If you’re still reading, I’m still proud of you. For the little and the big. For making toast without burning the house down. For telling your boss you won’t work weekends. For forgiving someone who hurt you.
You’re something else. You just forget sometimes. Maybe you’ve lost your mother, your father, son, daughter, grandparents, dog, cat, iguana, skateboard.
Maybe you’ve lost yourself.
Or maybe it’s been awhile since anyone kissed your forehead and reminded you of how damned incredible you are.
Well, I can’t rewind a wristwatch, and I can’t make magic. I wish I could, but I can’t do anything. Sometimes, I’m not even sure I can write.
But I can be proud of you, whether you feel it or not. And I am. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. Whatever you face. You beat all. And I want you to know it.
That’s it. Have a nice day. Go love someone.
You can start with yourself.
Sandra Shell - December 27, 2017 7:44 am
Thank you for each and every thought you give us in your writing, they are so appreciated.
Kay Mixon - March 24, 2018 12:38 pm
Enjoy your work very much, I’m always bragging on you!
Katherine - December 27, 2017 9:05 am
Seems to me when you blog it can feel like making the sound of one hand clapping. You put your heart (you Sean) out there each and every time. There on the page are deep thoughts and feelings shared with unknown strangers and a few people take the time to tell you what they think. I’m proud of you for doing it without fail even tho it might feel like it doesn’t touch enough souls and hearts to matter. It matters. I am part of the army of people who read your missives and am touched by them but who never write back, just move on with the to-do list. Thank you, I’m proud of you that you continue to touch us all in the simplest of ways and you never give up. Keep it up. It makes a difference. You make a difference.
Katherine Maiorano - December 27, 2017 1:29 pm
So proud of you Sean, for putting your heart in words that the rest of us can relate to in the most gentle, loving way.
Newell Gay - December 27, 2017 10:53 am
Thanks for your blog this morning. My pastor asked on Christmas eve services that that we thank some one who we have met that made a difference in our lives this year. I have chosen you. A friend introduce me to your blog earlier this year and I fell in love with your writing. You encourage me to visit the ill, make calls to the house bound. Just feel like that I do not do enough because I do not use time correctly. I love the stories of the people that you write about who assist strangers
I want you to know that you are a writer , you putt me to shame as I graduate high school and law school but cannot put my thoughts on paper as you can.
I love you and recommend your writings to every one I know and some that I do not know. And thanks to your wife for her encouraging you as we do not thank our spouses for their support in the good things we do,
Please let me know how to assist you in your expenses for your writings.
Cathi - December 27, 2017 11:36 am
Sean, I am proud of you! You make me smile every single morning and I’m so happy I got to share you with my mom. She had been sick for 3+ years and left for her heavenly home Thanksgiving morning but she’d read every single one of your books before she left and loved them. Thank you for writing them and thank you for loving on us in all our flawed glory!
Cindy Turberville - December 27, 2017 11:59 am
You, Sean Dietrich, can definitely write! And you make the people who read your work proud. Proud that we are Southern and proud that you are one of us.
Please don’t ever stop sharing your gift with us!
Betsy Voss - December 27, 2017 12:37 pm
I was going to write something along the lines of what Newell wrote, but he did it so well. Excellent post. May 2018 be the year I am more generous in acknowledging the accomplishments of others.
PJ Johnson - December 27, 2017 12:57 pm
Sean, I love your spirit, your writing, and your music. What a blessing you are to those who are touched by you.
Carolyn Kent - December 27, 2017 1:00 pm
That’s a great idea Newell’s pastor has to tank someone who made a difference in our lives this year! I have also chosen you!
Charlie - December 27, 2017 1:18 pm
We’re proud of you too. Thanks for seeing and appreciating real life.
Deena - December 27, 2017 1:25 pm
You always amaze me at the depth of caring you have for other people in this mixed up world. Sending you a kiss on the forehead and a big hug from Weston Ga.
Carolyn - December 27, 2017 1:25 pm
Sean, you beat all! 🙂
Carol - December 27, 2017 1:49 pm
I love reading your daily stories. I am from Northeast Alabama and I can relate to many of your stories. I am old enough to remember driving down long dirt roads to go visit my grandparents. Now the roads are paved, though not in good condition they don’t have so much dust not them now.
I just want to tell you I am proud of you for all your efforts in writing. I haven’t read your books yet but am looking forward to that in the near future. You bring out forgotten memories, sometimes with tears and sometimes with laughter.
Kayren Owens - December 27, 2017 2:01 pm
You know, Sean, it took me a long time to realize that loving someone else, really loving someone else, works best if you love yourself first. What you are not willing to receive from yourself is very difficult to hand out to other folks. I’ll start with the example of harsh words; hurtful words hurled at you by someone else get thrown in the same drawer with all the other cutting words you have thrown at yourself. You believe that you are somehow supposed to collect those weapons because you haven’t had the self-love to clean all of the junk out of the drawer you call your heart. All of the other ways that we deny ourselves the love we deserve work the same way. I had to just grit my teeth and admit that, here goes: I am not perfect. Once that was done, I could love others, really love others. We were the same. Thank you for reminding me that I am someone to be proud of.
Esteban - December 27, 2017 2:03 pm
Thanks Sean. We needed that.
Donna Saunders - December 27, 2017 2:17 pm
Thank you, Sean, for keeping us in touch with wonderful people and reminding us we have a better self. My prayer for a heartwarming 2018 for you and all those you love .
Kat - December 27, 2017 2:27 pm
I’ll be brief and cut to the point. Thank you. I needed to hear this. Thank you.
Jack Darnell - December 27, 2017 3:33 pm
I’m tired of this gushy crap Sean. 79 yr old boys ain’t supposed to cry! But keep it up we enjoy every word of it. Yes I am proud of you and proud of Sheila for recommending you to start my mornings. I am 50% thru the first book THANKs!
Lisa Snow - December 27, 2017 3:55 pm
Dear Sean, You are amazing! With each sentence you bring a warm cup of cocoa and a cozy blanket into this oftentimes cold and unfriendly world. You are the Norman Rockwell of the written word and I hope you know that all of us loyal readers love you, devour your every word and are so very proud of you!
Peggy - December 27, 2017 3:59 pm
I’m going to say this now. I am proud of you!
Thank you for your uplifting and encouraging blogs.
Pamela McEachern - December 27, 2017 4:07 pm
Thank you Sean, I am proud of you and the positive messages you give us each day, for the love you have for Jamie and your families. It restores my faith in humanity to read your blog, you are the humanity whisperer we all need and I am proud to know you if only through your writing.
Peace and Love from Birmingham
Pat - December 27, 2017 4:11 pm
Absolutely love this. I love to hear of those who never give up, those who do not consider themselves victims, those who love and care for animals, those who do for others while expecting nothing in return, those who do for others anonymously (probably my favorite, as my mother taught this to me) and the list goes on and on and on……………………..
Judy - December 27, 2017 4:27 pm
Thank you…it has been a long time since anyone has said “I am proud of you.”
But I am proud of you. I have been reading your stories and you are pretty incredible.
Pat Byers - December 27, 2017 4:41 pm
others have already said my sentiments in the comments above. we ARE proud of you. of who you are, how much you care, and your INCREDIBLE gift of writing.
we don’t exchange Christmas gifts, at my age, WHAT do i need? nothing. it has been said of me that if you picked some cast off out of a ditch i would be happy with it. happy? more like thrilled. (i like old stuff, beat up stuff, stuff people no longer see the beauty or value in.) but. my daughter brought a gift in spite of asking her not to. her gift? Volume 1 and 2 of ‘Sean of the South books’. !
now my library is COMPLETE ! this gift ranks up with the very best chosen for me, from the summer country road ditch !! AND that says a lot about my love of your writing!!!
Mary Embler - December 27, 2017 5:44 pm
Sean, I am new to your blog and look forward to reading it everyday. We are all surrounded by amazing people who accomplish great works and deeds daily. Sadly, we don’t take the time to recognize their efforts, today you have reminded me of the importance of acknowledgment. Thanks, and I am proud of you, looking forward to being proud of you for many days to come! Write on!!!!!
Kathy - December 27, 2017 5:51 pm
I have three favorite writers – Max Lucado, Jan Karon, and you. All tell great stories in words that are understandable, spiritually instructional and heart warming. Stories that reflect the heart of God in that He created and loves us all and He expects us to love and appreciate all his creation. Thank you for sharing your stories with us all.
Debbie Brown - December 27, 2017 5:58 pm
Today is my birthday, and I was feeling sad. Thank you.
Sue Cronkite - December 27, 2017 6:26 pm
One of the best ones yet. I’m jumping-up-and-down whooping proud of you and what you do! Give yourself a hug from me. And keep writing.
Sue Riddle Cronkite
SuzyatdaBeach - December 27, 2017 6:32 pm
Thanks for a much needed reminder that all of us to keep Christmas in our hearts all year long… Sharing and caring for others
Diane T Pate - December 27, 2017 7:33 pm
Thanks fort this story. I lost my beloved husband of 45 years in May and have gone through my first Christmas by myself. I’ve always had my mom and dad and then Dan but not this year. But I made it with the help of incredible friends. And a writer who makes me feel good about life even the pot holes in it. Thank you, Sean, and I’m proud that I meet you inn Marianna, Florida, and that you are a part of my life’s. Good bless you and your wife and the smelly old coonhound. I Ann beginning to heal and forgave God a couple of weeks ago for taking Dan from me. He’s a big boy and knew I would come around. Just takes a little time.
Ruby - December 27, 2017 8:52 pm
Thank you, Sean. Everyone needs to be told that someone is proud of them.
Marti Bunnell - December 27, 2017 9:16 pm
And I am proud of you Sean! I love the way you always find something positive! We need many more people like you in the world
Mary S - December 27, 2017 9:23 pm
I shared this with my family, and my mom (she and my dad need to heed the last line of the piece probably the most of anyone I know) wrote back, “Well, isn’t this just about the nicest, LOVE-liest written piece of kindness!!”. Thank you.
Jody - December 27, 2017 9:37 pm
To receive a hug, a squeeze of the hand,or a kiss on the forehead all say you matter to me. Thanks Sean for reminding us that these are important messages we can send to others.
Susan Codding - December 27, 2017 10:16 pm
And I am proud of you!
Lisbeth Garecht - December 27, 2017 11:24 pm
No one has kissed me on the forehead and told me how proud they are of me since childhood. Don’t get me wrong, people have said they are proud of me, but a kiss on the forehead and saying they are proud, that would be something!
Janet Mary Lee - December 27, 2017 11:50 pm
Thank you Sean! I put my 19 year old border collie to rest on Christmas day. He had a pampered life with just a few hiccups.I needed someone to be proud of me anyway for going on and trying the best I can do. I am older and it is hard to get around now, and hard to take care of him at the end, when you wish you could get down on the floor. Bringing me beautiful examples of people who keep going under all kinds of conditions is a Blessing every day. So proud of you! So proud of you!
sandysewwhatever - December 28, 2017 7:39 pm
Dear Janet, Here is a hug and a kiss on the forehead for having to say goodbye to your best friend on four legs. I agree on the hard to get down part, though it isn’t my age, but when our dog goes into a fit, there I am on the floor before I know it, making sure she doesn’t hit something. It is the staying there and the getting up again that brings me back to reality.
I hope you get to pet somebody else’s dog. It really helps.
Lynn Rucker - December 28, 2017 1:48 am
Well, maybe you can’t rewind a wristwatch or do magic, but you sure can write. I’m proud of you, Sean!
Michael Hawke - December 28, 2017 3:11 am
And I’m proud of you, young man.
Susan Hammett Poole - December 28, 2017 9:23 am
In a comment above, Lisa Snow hit the nail on the head when she called you the “Norman Rockwell of the written word.” I wholeheartedly agree with her assessment, and I am sooo proud of you, Sean. You make thousands of us happy every day with your blog. For Christmas this year, my sister Sandi gave me the best gift: seven (7) of your books. I feel so rich! And extra happy coming into the new year. Thank you for enriching my life with your writing. God bless you & Jamie and that coonhound. ♡
Margo Green - December 28, 2017 12:53 pm
And I am proud of YOU!
Melissa Nelson - December 28, 2017 3:36 pm
Amen to this article k
muthahun - December 28, 2017 9:45 pm
Love that your illustration is peanuts… the sentiments are surely NOT peanuts, in the small things, no matter way of the word, but rather in the small but oh so very important way of Charlie Brown who just keeps on believing, Hugs, my southern friend, from a very chilly Yankee
Susie Robinson - December 29, 2017 9:57 am
Thank you, Sean! I’m a loyal reader, too, and you are the best!
Lauren Smith - December 30, 2017 1:25 pm
Thank you, Sean! Another good one to start the today!
Sandra - January 1, 2018 3:58 pm
i just found you yesterday, Myra posted one of your post on FB which i promptly shared with friends. I am going to share this post with my son, he needs to know i am proud of him
Dora Huelsbeck - January 6, 2018 2:49 pm
Sean, sometimes that is all a person needs. To hear someone say, good job, way to go, I’m proud of you or I love you. Thanks for giving a lift to me every time I read your post. I am PROUD of you too!
Kathy Grey - March 24, 2018 2:33 pm
Oh, Sean, never doubt that you can write! You are a bright spot in the world. Sending a hug and kiss on the forehead to you. ?
Julie Poehlman - March 24, 2018 2:55 pm
Sean, you’re a new friend. Words can be weapons. My alcoholic Dad used them that way. Words can be a balm to a sore, heartbroken soul. Thank you for using words in the best way. I needed these this morning. I love to compliment strangers. Oh what a lovely scarf. Sir, you are a gentleman, when he holds the door for me. I don’t think you have time to read all your feedback, but if you get this far. Every word we speak, write, & think we are accountable for. Bless you.