Two lives, yet one story.
On the outside I lived like any other child when I grew up in the States. I was born in inner-city Boston, then moved to the country. I went to school. But, on the inside things were different. My family belonged to a WWII immigrant community and attended an East European church. It made for a richness in living, two cultures, two languages, two identities that didn’t mix. I reveled in living two lives.
My first children’s book was a high school project. Our literature teacher asked us to write one and illustrate it. I wrote about two children who were lost in a world of giants and they had to find a home. I drew simple drawings and handed it in.
A week later the teacher set the pile of books on her desk. “I’m going to read the best one out loud,” she said. She picked mine up.
I gulped. Most of the sixteen-year-olds in that class room were trendy and well-off, wearing bell-bottoms or mini-skirts. I doubted they would like such a fantasy story. But as the teacher read, there wasn’t a movement in the class. She finished and there was silence. One student, a rebel, he finally sighed. “That was good,” he said.
After that accolade it could have occurred to me that I might have some talent in writing. It didn’t. Instead, I went to a Canadian Bible College to prepare as a missionary and studied Religious Education. With a degree under my belt, and three years of teaching at a mission school, I planned to go to South America. I wanted to work with orphans and street children. But, then I met an English man and he whisked me off to England.
It was there I began to work with children in our local church and primary schools. I began to write stories for each of the session and even set up a website – funfish.org.uk . Out of it came my first published book, “The Great Big Surprise,” about a child who finds a friend. And it gave me the courage to write a second, my memoir, as I clung to that same dear friend.
I still enjoy living two lives. One in writing and the other in working with my husband. For the last thirty years we have been a part of a international Christian charity called the Navigators. We have worked in England and Portugal, leading Bible studies, mentoring people , and in leadership. At the moment I head up the Navigator UK publications team. (A note here: If you are interested in how to grow in your faith, or how to help someone else grow, please visit the Navigator website.www.navigators.co.uk We have some excellent resources.)
I would like to share a favourite verse that has kept me going throughout this adventure. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) Often I feel totally out of my depth, but God holds me up with my nose out of the water. He is good.