Earlier this week, I gave a talk at Fork Union Military Academy. It was a long day; I drove 3 hours, spoke for about 90 minutes, met a friend for lunch and then drove three hours home. As I was driving down the rural roads of Virginia, I might have asked myself, Why did I agree to this? But then I quickly answered my own question: Because someone there needs to hear this today.

As I was driving home, I knew who needed to hear it: me.

In general, summer is a slower time for me in terms of giving talks, because many of my presentations are at schools. This works well for me, as I enjoy being at home with my boys during the summer. However, the past couple of years have been busier, as I have been invited to speak at conferences and camps during June and July. It has been a busy summer; I have been driving my kids to camps, hosting visitors, trying to figure out high school options for my oldest son, continuing to work on the movie, and juggling work, household and parenting duties with a husband who works in a different state.

So driving down to Fork Union on Tuesday didn’t seem like such a good idea…until I heard myself talk. Perspective. Making a difference. Using one’s gifts. Choosing gratitude. In the the rush and chaos of life, I needed a quick reminder to slow down and appreciate each day; each moment. It took several hours in the car – and 90 minutes of talking – to enable me to take a deep breath and give thanks. I drove home with a renewed peace.

Later that night, I received an email from a mom who happened to stop by camp earlier in the day to drop off something for her daughter. On a whim, she decided to stay for my talk. She too was meant to hear me speak that day. She has her own story, her own struggle, her own need for perspective. In her email she shared with me how my words called her to reflect and view life through a new lens.

She taught me a few lessons: Don’t be selfish; keep sharing your story. We are all in this together.

The greatest gift we can give ourselves, is the gift of giving to someone else.