I love what I do! I hope you don’t mind that I have two careers to talk about today.
I am a 5th-grade public school teacher in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I can’t remember ever waking up dreading going to my job. Even when I’ve had students who were a handful behaviorally, the days would just fly. No two days are ever the same. I am never bored. And at the end of each school year, I think, Where in the world did that year go?
My students are the perfect age, in my estimation. They are still somewhat innocent, yet sharp enough to get a teacher’s jokes, and they can come up with some pretty witty class comments. Their imaginations are so much fun. Currently my classes are learning about narrative writing. Each student has plotted out a story, and then written a short scene in play form. Tomorrow is performance day! The students will act out their scenes with paper bag puppets. Check out what they did with a few simple supplies!
I have no doubt that God planned for me to become a teacher. He placed in me a love for learning and a desire to share knowledge with others. He made certain I would love children. He gave me gifts I can use in the classroom such as artistic and musical abilities. I am so blessed to know I found the career I was meant to have.
I am still just a newbie at my second “occupation”--that of an author. I cannot tell you the joy I feel when yet another storyline flows into my mind, then seeing the characters come to life on paper. When a reader lets me know her heart has been touched by my writing, or she has fallen in love with my characters, it is thrilling. Even when I recently received a couple of three star reviews because readers wanted to spend more time with my characters, I had to take it as a compliment.
Just like with teaching, I have no doubt that God authored me with the ability to write. He engineered it so I would be placed in the perfect family to hone my creativity and love for reading. My grandparents were avid readers and many Sunday afternoons were spent with them in book discussion. My mother made sure I did an early phonics program and was willing to take me to the nearest libraries weekly, even though both libraries were a bit of a drive. As a toddler, my father read to me every night, even though he was probably half-asleep after working two jobs with long hours.
God gave me brothers with equally vivid imaginations, who loved to hear my stories and enjoyed collaborating on our own Ol’ Time Radio Shows on cassette tapes. Furthermore, I was gifted with teachers who would encourage my creativity while emphasizing other traits such as conventions and organization.
I love what I do. And I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to bring God glory and point readers toward a Savior through my stories.
Next week my seventh novel will be released. Nellie is the second book in a multi-author series that takes place over a century, one decade at a time. During each decade a different heroine receives the same cookbook, Mrs. Canfield’s Cookery Book.
Finances are tight for the O’Dwyer family who live on a mountain outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1931. Life gets even harder when their beloved Dadaí must cease work as a coal miner to become a patient at the West Mountain Sanitarium.
Nellie is her preferred name, but family and friends have heard Mam shout “Fenella Aileen O’Dwyer!” all too often with the countless predicaments she got herself into throughout childhood. So, it’s not altogether surprising when Nellie impulsively accepts a job as an assistant cook at the Clarinda House in a case of mistaken identity -- though she’s the last person her family would ask to prepare a meal.
Fortunately, along with determination, a talent for acting, and the gift of blarney, Nellie has Mrs. Canfield’s Cookery Book, a treasure she discovered at a Red Cross drought relief sale. As her reluctant admiration for her employer grows, Nellie wishes she could be the truthful woman of faith that Mr. Mason Peale esteems. If she confesses all, will she lose her job along with the friendships she’s formed at Clarinda House?
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