When I was a little girl, growing up out in the country, I read a lot. (I believe that if you listen, you can hear my mother laughing hysterically.) I read a LOT. I liked to be outside, though. I tamped down nests for myself in the hayfield and hid there, reading. I piled up leaves around me like walls and read in my little leaf house. I read while swinging on our backyard swingset (So why can’t I read while I use the treadmill?) and laying in the sun on the beach at the lake. My sister and I created our own library. We had a lot of books, so Dad made us shelves and we stamped and put cards and pockets in all the books. I still have some of those books. I read a LOT. And I knew that someday, I would be a writer. I wrote poetry and little stories even then, but someday I was going to be a real writer. Mysteries, like Carolyn Keene, or maybe something along the lines of Anne of Green Gables or Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm or Laura Ingalls Wilder. My tastes were eclectic.
Then I grew up. I married a wonderful man and we had three fine sons. So… for the past 30 years, I’ve been a little busy. I knew I wanted to write. I planned to write. I expected to write. For all of those years, I collected people and places and conversations and ideas, but I was busy with a growing family and other projects. I homeschooled my sons (all grown, married and dutifully presenting me with grandchildren), and that was a little time-consuming. I’ve done some of everything. I have led it, coached it, planned it, organized it, run it, managed it, supervised it, chaperoned it, taught it… I started a list of my amazing accomplishments, but I got tired and had to stop to take a nap. Just believe me… I have led a very eclectic life and can do just about anything I put my mind to, if you give me a little while to figure it out.
And I do have another job. For over twenty years, I have been teaching quiltmaking locally and across the United States, meeting interesting people everywhere I go. I also sell garments and quilts online and by commission. Ten years ago, I created a “Women of the Family” ministry, facilitating bridal quilting bees and ministry events for women. Women’s family relationships are something I am passionate about. I wanted to write about that, too. I had planned to develop this business – GloryQuilts – after I retired from homeschooling, but God had a different project for me. He wanted me to get a real job.
Now, homeschooling moms are pretty hard-working people, with a strong sense of responsibility and duty. But we don’t necessarily play well with others. The actual “work” wouldn’t be a problem, but the whole workplace environment, with all those people… that would be hard. And you know, we aren’t good at following rules or taking directions, especially if they don’t seem logical to us. And being on someone else’s schedule would not sit well with us. We would either end up running the company or be fired within the week. If we need to bring in an income, it would probably be better to be self-employed.
It started simply enough. I worked as an in-home caregiver, about 24 hours a week. It was meaningful work, and I was fascinated by the people I cared for. Then I gained more clients and I was working nearly 40 hours per week. Then I was promoted. Within four years, I was managing the daily operations of the business and managing 75 caregivers and over 100 elderly and disabled clients. I was in the office for 45-50 hours a week, on call 2 nights a week and every other weekend. Elderly and disabled people and their loving families need a lot of emotional support as well as physical care. Every day, I talked to crying people and had to find solutions for them. A few months ago, the stress became unbearable and God released me from that responsibility. I am glad it’s over, but those four years affected me profoundly.
I’ve known it from childhood – I would be a writer. I planned it, I waited, I set it aside in obedience to what I knew God was telling me to do for all those years.
So why write right now?
Because I can.
I am a writer.