Out of My Comfort Zone

Back in January, Harriet, the current president of our local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, emailed me to ask if I’d consider presenting at the DKG State Convention.  She told me that when “they” would get together that they’d often mention my sharing at our November meeting. My gut reaction was to say “no” because…talking in front of groups that aren’t kids or my church family isn’t in my comfort wheel house.  But….then I thought…

1.  Maybe this is a way to shine His light.

And

2. Your new books need buyers.

After agreeing to the request, I asked a very important question.  “How long are the sessions?”  Then, I found out they were 50 minutes.  So, the 5 minute sharing in November needed to be transformed into a 50-minute presentation.  Yikes!

Fortunately, I’m now a Google girl, so I quickly started a Slides presentation.  Hmmm…..   So, I started thinking of how I had always dreamed of writing books, but I kept putting it off and saying “One Day” I’d do it.  I even refer to it as my “One Day Dream” in my chapter books, so my title was created. “One Day Dreams…Turning One Day into Today!”

So, I started with my first “real career dream” which was being a chef and owning my own restaurant.  That was my dream in 7th grade.  Because of it, I took French as my foreign language.  If I had known then that I would end up being a teacher, I would’ve taken Spanish.  I’ve had several ESL students over my 23 years, and some of them have had parents who were beginners in English, so speaking Spanish would’ve been really handy.  In 23 years, I’ve not had one single French student enter my class.  Go figure!  Anyway, after I started doing some cooking at home, I quickly realized that cooking for a living would not be a joy-giver.  I still like to cook.  I especially like cooking when it can help others by providing a meal for the family who’s had a new baby or a member who’s had surgery.  But, sometimes, dreams need to change when you get a dose of its reality.

Then, I spoke of my dream of singing.  I love singing.  However, I didn’t start singing until I was 26 years olds.  Lack of confidence can easily put a talent in the closet until you find the courage to take it out and give it a go.  Yet, I quickly learned that some dreams are meant to remain hobbies.  I sing on our church’s praise team once a month.  I’ve had the pleasure of singing in weddings of three of my friends as well as a funeral of the wife of one of our church’s charter members.  Alas, I was also the hired “wedding singer” once, and I quickly learned that’s it’s not something I’m meant to do.

Next dream?  Teaching.

During the summer of 1986, I went on a mission trip to Gary, IN.  As we taught in downtown Gary, I was overwhelmed with the realization that God has given me skills in working with children.  So, my senior year in high school, I was a cadet teacher in the first grade classroom of a lady who attends my church.  Because of my experience in her classroom, I was asked to teach a VBS class as a 17-year-old with the parent of a classmate as my assistant.  Off to Carson-Newman College, I achieved a degree in elementary education.  I was even given one of two awards for Outstanding Student Teaching (Sadly, I never received the actual award…just a certificate with the award to come later.  Hmmm, it’s been 27 years, so I think it must be lost in the mail. Ha!).  I was certain I’d walk right into a teaching job.  My dream was to teach in Tennessee, but I soon learned a lot of education positions are filled based on relationship to a community, so back to Indiana I headed.  Then…more disappointment as I was interviewed and passed over more times than I can count.  I could’ve given up, but I was certain this was my calling as a career.  So I became a substitute teacher.  In each elementary classroom I would absorb ideas and learn from those who were experienced.  I was a sponge just waiting to squeeze out all of my experience, education, and talents on my own classroom.  Finally, in August of 1996, Southwestern hired me to teach third grade, and 23 years later…that’s what I continue to do.

The dreams continue.  One dream remained.  A dream that started back in high school.  The dream of publishing a book.  The dream remained during college. “One day”, I told myself, “I’ll do it.”  Years went by, but each year when I read a book or did an author study on Patricia Polacco, I thought, “One day…maybe soon.”  You see, Patricia Polacco didn’t publish her first book until she was in her 40s.  I kid you not!  When i learned that I thought, “I’m in my 40s, it’s not too late.”  Then, last spring, I made my summer goals.  An exercise goal.  A new recipe goal.  A reading goal.  And…I was going to do it.  Using Create Space, which is now Kindle Direct Publishing through Amazon, I was going to take the “Jasper’s ABCs” I wrote while modeling for my third graders and turn it into a “real book” and I was going to start that 4-book chapter book series, which I had promised my kiddos I’d do whenever I wrote my books.

Now?  The dream is a seed that has started to bloom.  As each book concludes, I ponder my next.  This summer?  I hope to finish the last two books in the 4-book series and write my third picture book.

My “one day” finally happened.  What about yours?  What’s your dream?  Don’t wait.  Make a plan.  Set a goal.  And….GO FOR IT!

 

 

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