Prepare Yourself for Transition
How Did Cane Confessions Start?
Though I grew up in a small town in northwest Pennsylvania, for most of my adult life I taught English as a Second Language in Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East—in a wide variety of situations from private schools to the US Department of Defense language programs. I’d found my niche; teaching English abroad allowed me to learn new languages, customs and cultures.
In 1989, home on a short furlough between teaching positions, I stopped in to see my local eye doctor for a quick eye exam. In a candid moment, I confessed to having difficulty seeing in the dark. My offhand comment led to further eye exams and ultimately, a diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP for short), an incurable hereditary eye disease that would rob me of my sight. I was twenty-eight years old. But I didn’t become blind overnight as I feared. Instead, it was gradual and I viewed it more as an inconvenient blip in my life when I resumed my overseas teaching career, adapting to my ongoing vision loss the best I could.
In 2006 after we learned my father had Stage 4 Lung cancer, I moved back home. Unfortunately, the cancer spread to his bones and he died within a few months of his diagnosis. Over the next few years, my vision deteriorated rapidly and my confidence fell right along with the rest of me. With two new teaching jobs to contend with, I sought out help. I learned my RP was part of an even rarer hereditary disease called Usher Syndrome. Not only was I losing my vision, I was also losing my hearing. Learning to cope with and continue to teach in spite of these challenges is the subject of my first memoir in the mobility series, Mobility Matters.
Three years later, my hearing and vision losses started to interfere with my classroom management and I retired from teaching altogether. That’s when I turned to writing. Fortunately, I had always loved writing because it allowed me to share my travel experiences. Now it would serve as an educational tool as well.
This is when God began placing people in my life to help me reach my new writing—and really, career—goals. It all happened in tiny measurable increments. I remember the first step. A woman from church stepped forward to say, “You need to get your stories out there. Let me help you build a website.”
I started out with articles and blog posts. God was building discipline in me and moving me toward bigger goals. I faithfully continued writing and trusting God, who then used the same individual who built my website to match my emerging writing talents with a gentleman who had lost his wife. He wanted help in writing their love story and asked me to be his ghostwriter. Although I was frightened of failing, I took it on. What I learned in writing their story was how to shape a book. Finally, God was ready for me to write my first book, Mobility Matters. He even paired me up with a Christian editor.
Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side to Mobility begins after my first book has come out and I am trying to market it. I’ve started using my cane on an everyday basis and as I continue to post my blogs, I see a thread of humor emerge and God plants the seed for the second book in the Mobility series.
He always has a personalized plan for each of us, one that often changes at specific intervals in our life.
Have you ever changed your career significantly? What steps do you remember taking? How did you overcome the fears in moving forward?