My mom read to me and took me to storytelling festivals.

My mom read to me and took me to storytelling festivals.

My dad told me I could do whatever I wanted and I believed him.

My dad told me I could do whatever I wanted and I believed him.

I dreamed of being a writer when I was young. Actually, I was a writer when I was young. Beginning in second grade, I filled volumes of spiral bound notebooks. I won 3rd place in a poetry contest in elementary school and got to have lunch with the governor. "Tennessee, you're my home state. From East to West I think you're great..." Good stuff!

Throughout high school and college, I took creative writing classes as electives and filled folders with printed out materials with the dotted edges you had to rip off. But, somewhere in college, I got the idea that I was being silly. Writing was not a real job, not for someone of mediocre talent like me, anyway. Writing was just a hobby. I needed to get a real major. I liked helping people, and I come from a long line of educators, so I entered special education and became a teacher. Later, I earned a doctorate in Educational Administration.

Teaching is still one of my callings. Sharing something important with children in a creative way can be one of the holiest endeavors on earth. Specific names of students still come to me when I tell my own children stories. Twenty years passed before I came back to writing as a legitimate calling. 

It took me reaching the age where I had succeeded in life enough not to care one whit if I was even good at writing. I have no idea where a comma goes, but I am a writer. I am a writer because I have decided sharing my story is an effective form of helping people. I am a writer because I have to write. I am a writer. 

I began banging out my musings on a blog about our family's transition from 5,000 square foot house buying, SUV-driving consumers, to our attempts at learning to homestead. I wrote newsletters for a nonprofit we started called Gaining Ground and then, The Homestead Education Center, which we still operate. I wrote and wrote and had about ten followers. I didn't care! The sheer joy of owning my calling was enough.

Last year I completed my first book, Rethinking Women's Health: A Guide for Wellness, published by Sartoris Literary Group. I thought this was a dream come true. And it is! But, already I have begun my next project because I figured out something important. The joy is not, like I always dreamed, in the publication. The joy is in owning and sharing your story with one person who has a thin space while they read it. The joy is in the writing.