Grace, Gratitude and the Element of Surprise

By: Paula Boland

Running is full of surprises: how does a physical activity allow your mind to think deeper and open your soul to feel more intensely? I am writing this post-run, reflecting on how grateful I am to be here because of Ember’s Grace Award.

I have been surprised in my life: a mountain top marriage proposal in Vail, finding out I was having twins, amazing job offers, my son’s college acceptances, birthday celebrations with confetti guns and to top it off, being the third recipient of the coveted Grace Award.

A trip? Anywhere? Where to go? I went directly to my friend Google and searched “best beaches”. Grace Bay in Turks & Caicos has been awarded top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. It was a sign from “Grace”!

GRACE award pic.jpg

One of the criteria for the award is to have an amazing, memorable culinary experience with someone you love. Since food is not a passion of mine, I left that task of planning the special evening to the experts of the island to surprise us from start to finish. Wearing my lucky Grace Award dress, we arrived to the most spectacular spot on the island: Infiniti Restaurant at the Grace Bay Resort. The waitstaff surprised us with a breathtaking beachfront table and a beautiful meal. Tropical cocktails with fancy fruit, kale salad (which was mind-blowing for my husband), Sea Bream plated like a work of art and for the finale, a life-changing sinful chocolate dessert. A surprise celebrity sighting of Drake at dinner completed a 5-star evening for the both of us.


Surprises are unexpected but something as simple as disconnecting from technology for the entire vacation was a WOW moment. To be able to give full attention to my husband, to the beauty of nature and to allow my mind and soul to rejuvenate was a souvenir to cherish. When is the last time you put your phone or laptop away for a full week, day or hour during vacation or after work hours? I challenge you all to give it a try. You will be surprised at how freeing it feels…living in the moment and engaging in real life interactions.

Although I couldn’t take the team with me, I want to express my gratitude for their support and for welcoming me this past year into the Ember family. Each team member has enhanced my life in so, so many surprising and meaningful ways, it fills my heart.

Oh how I love being SURPRISED. Invite SURPRISE in 2019!

Mindy Wright