I met Noi in California four years ago...
Yes, I thought she was gorgeous but our relationship simply began as a new friendship in my life and a connection to someone willing to assist me to organize a service tour in Thailand, since Thailand is where she is from.
Our relationship blossomed and led straight to the joy in my heart. We celebrate each autumn coming together and cherish finding each other.
Her name Noi is a nickname and in Thai means little or small. Nicknames are very common in Thailand, it was Noi’s mother who gave her this name for Noi was very tiny and wore the name well. Noi’s birth name is Kanlayanee (which means beautiful woman) and if you heard me try to pronounce Kanlayanee properly, you would know why I am hugely grateful to her mother for anointing her simply, Noi.
What inspires me most about Noi is her ability to accept whatever experience is in front of her. A tragic car accident forced her into a wheelchair almost twenty-six years ago. Noi was only twenty-six years old when it happened so has now spent half her life in the unexpected necessity of the chair. I marvel in witnessing Noi embracing each day the life she has been given, even after that life-changing event altered so radically her future at such a young age.
A year before we met in California she lost her best friend and loving husband Denny of sixteen years to a sudden heart attack. Facing life's challenges with grace and beauty comes in handy with life and what I have noticed with Noi is that it doesn’t come across with her as something she insist’s on struggling with, rather it is part of who she is to be the observer of an experience rather than being controlled by it. Oh she feels the pain of loss deeply yet moves gracefully and steadily forward, breathing one breathe at a time.
Perhaps her buddhist upbringing helped to mold Noi’s generous and giving personality or she is simply lucky to be able to lean a little further towards joy rather than life’s sorrows. It is my joy to share a little about Noi with you and give you a small glimpse of her depth and inspiration in my life. We have had many fun adventures in the last two years and so I will share the rest of my story of Noi with a few special pictures. May you be reminded often by someone you love to lean a little more toward JOY on the other side of every challenge.