Happy One-year Publishversary to my book baby! I am a proud Mauthor of “I Did Not Miss the Boat”!
(Credit to my friend, Amy M. Le, who came up with these words and I love them!)
Having a book published is like having a baby, if you are a mother or an author, I am sure you can relate. In the past, many of my close friends in the corporate world sowed a seed in my head that my life story is a piece of history that needed to be told. I was grateful for their encouragement but never thought I would have the courage or the capability to write it myself. Perhaps I would hire a ghostwriter someday, I contemplated.
The truth is I was not mentally ready to be vulnerable to expose my personal life to the public. I was afraid of being judged or looked down on. After all, who wants to flip her shirt to show people her scars! (As my mother often said)
My mind shifted when I launched my first window drapery business in 2005. I learned that people remember you and like you for who you are, not on the surface but as a whole package of your authentic self through your life history.
It gave me comfort to think that my insignificant life story might be able to help people understand why refugees fled their own birth countries. How they had to face a tremendous number of risks and uncertainties to obtain freedom. In my family’s case, there were three generations of diaspora from China to Vietnam to America. The PTSD in our family was constantly escalated from these generational bondages.
In 2009, when I joined Toastmasters for the first time, I was impregnated with the idea that someday I would be brave enough to bring the message of my story to the world. It was the longest pregnancy of my life. It took eleven years and a pandemic for me to give birth to my memoir in Sept 2020.
So much has been happening in a year since the launch of my book! COVID confinement has led to many online speaking opportunities. I had participated in dozens of podcast interviews from all over the United States and even a few overseas. I also have given virtual presentations to various organizations and groups such as the River Falls Public Library in Wisconsin, The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs in Orlando, The Tavares Public Library, and the Oklahoma City Writers, Inc (OCWI) just to name a few.
It was an honor to be the in-person keynote speaker at the Toastmaster District 84 Conference in May of 2021. The connections and feedback were positively overwhelmingly filled with love, compassion, and kindness. I love how my story inspires others to re-examine theirs, to reflect on the goodness of their families, the hidden advantages of their past misfortune circumstances, so they too can thrive.
I look forward to impacting more people in various organizations and associations around the country or abroad to bring them the message of hope and courage. It felt wonderful to have people came up to me and tell me that I had motivated them to write their stories, share the lessons they learn in their past traumas.
My one-year-old memoir also has legs. It traveled to Switzerland, Japan, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, and many other countries, thanks to Amazon. I have no idea who cuddled my baby at night, but I appreciate the amazing kudos via emails and reviews on Amazon. They inspire me to be brave enough to step out of my comfort zone to achieve more than my limiting beliefs. In return, I can inspire my readers, my audience, my clients to do the same.
In late July, my family and I were able to go back to Onamia, Minnesota to pay tribute to the town and the people who welcomed us with opened arms with affection and love forty-one years ago. They showered us with kindness and demonstrated that human loves have no skin color distinctions. My book baby was christening and debut at the town library and at our Bethany Lutheran (our sponsored) Church. Reconnecting with those who touched our hearts and accepted us without knowing what we had been through made it a very emotional ride for me and my family, but it made us feel complete.
I am thrilled that my memoir has the capability of giving them a deeper insight into the people they support. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to give them our gratitude in person. I am forever grateful for those who took us in our most desperate situation as foreigners when we first came to this country.
As a former refugee, who is fortunate enough to have a second chance to prosper my life here in America. No matter what business I am in, my focus is always to have an outlet toward helping people who suffered from traumas and need support for their second chance to rebuild their futures.
This past October, serendipity brought me to Jana Stanfield who led me to a group of young people who are in the same predicament that I was forty-one years ago. These are the refugee teenagers from all parts of the middle east. They are living in limbo status in Malaysia. Many have spent almost a decade waiting on resettlement with no ending in sight.
Can you imagine staying as an unwanted guest in someone’s house? Where they look down on you, give you no respect, and treat you as an outlet for their anger? Yes, that is what refugees get when they are not welcomed by some governments who are temporarily hosting them.
Lucky for us, there are many people in the world who think of refugees differently. They believe in treating all humans with empathy and a compassionate heart. After all, who can be sure that they will never encounter disasters or lost everything they own at an unexpected moment? I sure hope no one will ever be in the position of losing your freedom and have to flee for your life in a hurry.
I met Jana Stanfield virtually at a networking group. She is one of many kindhearted people who founded www.Refugeefilmschool.com to give digital skills, hope, and confidence to young refugees in Malaysia. I was so lucky to be able to tap on her mission to use my voice to represent the voiceless. I am proud to be their ambassador, their advocate. I bring the message of hope to these brave teenagers and the message of deep appreciation to the kind, humanitarian people in this deeply divided world that we are constantly fighting to bring awareness of diversity and inclusion.
And oh, while I was helping Jana, her friend, Dez Stephens, founder of the Radiant Coaching Academy gifted the volunteers a six-month training of becoming a certified holistic coach. Without hesitating, I signed up and have since been certified as a transformation coach. I am grateful for that opportunity.
I believe coaching adds value to my mission of making a positive impact on people who want to thrive. I take that coaching service beyond the speaking platforms to expand the message of building one’s hopes and dreams through the action of change. This was an unplanned surprise blessing that I am so thankful for.
Last, but not least, the proudest byproduct of my memoir is the podcast produced by my son, Alexander. He read my book and was amazed at how much he didn’t know about his own family history. He wanted to ask me so many in-depth questions regarding my childhood and the escape journey of his refugee family. He initiated the idea of a mother and son podcast called “Family Roots.” We believe that this podcast will also help other “Boat People” refugees find some answers to our story. To communicate with their prior or next generations in order to heal their hurts. It was a brilliant idea! We actually just finished ten episodes of the first season. If you are curious, go ahead, subscribe to our website to get updates for season 2. https://www.leatran.com/podcast
So, you see, my one-year-old book baby has grown quite a bit. It taught me to always seek out opportunities to elevate regardless of our life’s conundrum. Many meaningful connections were made and unexpected goals were accomplished because I accepted the pain to give birth to my book baby.
One thing I know for sure is when you are impregnated with an idea of anything big or scary, don’t discount it right away.
Let it runs down your spine and permeate through your courageous gut.
Give it time to digest, but don’t be shy to take action when the timing is right.
Let your dreams develop, let your baby grows. Allow it takes you to the opened doors to serve the universe.
Don’t hold back! Go ahead! Give birth to something meaningful to you and share it with the world.
I promise you will grow along with your baby, whatever your baby might be!
P.S. I would like to thank all the readers who gave feedback on Amazon for my book. If you read the book and have not had a chance to do so, my baby and I would very much love to hear from you. We appreciate your help in order to further spread the message.
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