I remember... not the usual sepia toned recollection... but a crisp, clear recall to fat pencil in hand and the back of an accordion folded green-white lined dot-matrix printer paper customary to the 70's new fan-dangled printers... "scrap" paper my mom had brought home from the office. Poised with concentration, I didn't understand how to form letters yet but I was convinced that, when squished together, they were beautiful and powerful and I was determined to "write" a novel. Once complete, I ran to my mother, shoving my story into her hands, surely I was glowing with pride over my masterpiece. She invited me to recount my freshly minted story for her (without wavering to the simple fact of how my scribbles were indecipherable beyond myself) and I regaled her delightedly.
I always knew I wanted to write. And I knew it was a Call for certain when my 6th grade English teacher began using my papers on the overhead projector as what TO do when forming essays. I remember walking excitedly to her desk and announcing proudly how one day, she would see my name on books because I was going to be an author. She chuckled kindly and agreed it was possible.
I wrote mostly romance or poetry from the time I was gifted my first typewriter at the ripe age of 9. I had high hopes, especially when my 11th grade journalism teacher appointed me as one of the school paper's editors and recommended me and one other student in my class for the city newspaper and their new section for local aspiring teen reporters. I had actual press credentials - I had hit the "bigs" with circulation topping over 25,000. Friends and family kept scrapbooks of my exploits and I was so excited to breathe my heart onto the page.
Married young and moved west, my stories shifted to pros as I worked with schools and, once I became a Christian, churches in newsletter writing, even starting my own "Crafting With Kids" publication. Dot-matrix was a thing of the past by this point but copy-paste (literally) was still my main mode of cohesive publication. I lost count of the hours I spent at the print-shop copy machine with my carefully taped and glue-stick formatted pages!
Then homeschooling. I had heard of this new up-and-coming thing called "blogging" and, as an avid journalist, I was hooked. I sought to combine my call to scribble words, with my need to share our homeschool journey with family and friends who lived far away. I knew they would want to watch the kids grow and learn through this crazy idea of home education, even if from a distance. I never expected the wonderful community I would encounter through blogging and 'blog parties' - inspiration, support, and friendship... everything a lonely mom needed while teaching her kids out in the boonies.
As my kids grew, I continued to 'journal' our homeschool experiences on my blog site.... I also grew, not just in understanding this homeschool life, but also in my faith and my added Call to teach women... whether that meant sharing how to do this homemaking thing or how to soak deep messages out of God's Word. It all grew and developed over 15 years of digital record keeping and life sharing. I may have set out to share homeschooling, but the adventure grew to become so much more as blogging in general became a passion.
Then, for the past two years the blog got quiet.
I did not stop writing. I still penned devotions and Bible studies and memories in in my journal. We moved my mother-in-law in with us to help her through some difficult health issues, my youngest now graduated, I filled the time with homemaking, elder care, reading... and more reading, and crafts. I thought I would miss the writing more, but I knew God had called me to this quiet and I felt His peace in the middle of it.
I couldn't explain it. Life was full, nothing felt "missing" but this Word came. A quiet, simple Word... I felt like God was impressing on my heart that He was going to call me back into writing beyond my journal pages. It was puzzling. But I just let the Word sit... and I waited. Life stayed full, we kept busy, we traveled and lived and just kept walking forward.... until one July afternoon as I washed up dishes and prepped my kitchen space for dinner fixins, my husband bounced into the room with a smile running ear-to-ear... he was up to something... and as the conversation walked out he proposed: lets start a publishing company!
I couldn't believe my ears. He didn't know of the springtime whispers. He just knew something had been laid on his heart and he was responding. The one thing which kept every book I wrote over the past 15 years from getting published beyond FREE PDF status on my site, was knowing how to do it and needing the support behind the scenes. Not that my husband wasn't supportive... rather, I just didn't know what I needed as far as support. Now, God was opening doors. Teaching both of us how to proceed and giving us a vision for direction.
Now, here we were, with so many years of blogging and ideas whirling around my head. I prayed and researched and prayed some more... Was it time for the fiction series I have been making notations about for years? no Should I begin the homemaking series I have been keeping copious records for since my kids were small? no Perhaps it is time to publish Bible Studies I have written? nope. God caught me off guard by directing me to homeschooling. It seemed an irrelevant topic to where I am now. But God kept reminding me how, while we may be done educating our kids, the memories and experiences are still very real. My detailed records over 15 years of blogging were proof. Moms and their moms come to me regularly for tips, advice, and encouragement. I always love those conversations. What if I took all of my memories, all of my recordings, and prayerfully compiled them into a book.
And that is what I did.
As I prayed and drew together each point, I saw not just ONE book, but many books as part of a series intended to spread hope and encouragement. And even as I proofed the cover with my name in tall white letters across the bottom, it just didn't feel right - I didn't do this - God did. He is not my dedication or bi-line, rather, He is over it all, author and creator, and I was merely his vessel. From scribbles to newsroom... from periodicals to blogs. From freebie PDFs to Amazon print on demand... it never was me, it was always Him.
And here I am, launch day. My mom would be proud, she could actually read these scribbles! Mrs. 6th grade would smile, she believed in her students. Mrs. High School Journalism would say "I knew it all along", she never stopped encouraging.... and me, while I always wanted to write and I dreamed to author, more than anything I saw words and excitement and a Call I simply couldn't help but follow. Now, I feel honored and humbled to get to write far beyond 25,000 circulation.
As we launch our first series under the Faith & Home Publishing moniker, my hope is to inspire others to hear their Call and respond with confidence, especially in this crazy homeschool life full of mountains and valleys and un-ending questions and need for encouragement! I am a nobody who simply followed the Voice of my Father. Thank you to all who read.