The story sat quietly inside my computer, taking up barely any space in the multiple megabytes of available storage for great works and creative ideas. I began to feel guilty that I had not put into service something the Spirit had obviously given to me for a reason. Could it have just been given to me for the express purpose of softening my heart toward the designer of the universe? I didn’t see it that way at that time. I acknowledged what scared me most about it–bringing it to life and then having it fail. If God was truly the author, and I failed to get it produced in a way that brought Him the glory, then I have failed GOD! Who gets to heaven that way?

I’ve since learned that waiting on God’s timing is a crucial part of discipleship. His timing is not our timing and His ways are not our ways. But it’s still early in this walk, so I am not attuned to the waiting game for the perfect moment just yet.

I decide to pull the story out, select a few publishers, and send it off in neat little packets with cover letters on special paper, and included self-addressed stamped envelopes. My dreams included opening the “acceptance” letter while rose petals fell from the skies, seeing the story on the New York Times Best Seller list, and being interviewed by major outlets about the little place in Talladega-where? Alabama that was so near and dear to my heart. I had always known I wanted to write, from grade three on, when Ms. Edwards liked my poem about flying to my grandmother’s funeral. But, as dad said, I probably wouldn’t make enough money at it to live the lifestyle he wanted for me—he said I should go to college and become anything (else) I wanted to be. Writing could come later in my retirement years.

I sent out eight carefully-worded cover letters and story copies to eight carefully-researched publishing houses. I received eight nicely worded rejection letters. I appreciated their comments (none were negative about the writing or story, most were just not looking for such a story, or one from an unknown author). I screamed silently, “Unknown author? Are you kidding? Who do YOU think YOU are? I told you I didn’t write this! I hope God’s not keeping notes, for your sake.”

A bit further down the road …

By January of 2000, AIDB had a place for me among its staff. I was overjoyed to join the group of very special teachers and administrators that were fortunate enough to love their work and to perform miracles on a daily basis. I gave up my teaching position in a local college, leaving in mid-year, to capture the opportunity. Now, instead of a staff-spouse, I was staff. My position was called MIS Coordinator, but basically it involved three major areas of responsibility: setup/maintain individual desktop computers/printers for department staff, write a software system for student health records that included a billing function, and teach classes to staff members on how to use applications like Microsoft WORD, Excel and PowerPoint.

I especially loved this teaching, as this was my first position after 30 years in the classroom with no homework or tests to design and grade and no course grades to determine. I could enjoy teaching a subject for the simple joy of watching a staff member learn something that would really impact their job that very day in a positive way. And in between those duties, I got to participate in AIDB’s daily life, dressing up for Halloween, cheering at the football games, taking visitors on tours of the flag-making department at the Industries, helping decorate for fund raisers affiliated with Talladega’s NASCAR races, and still be the spouse of the Vice President. Toward the end of Ken’s tenure and prior to his retirement, he became acting President of AIDB, and I was its “first lady.” That meant I got to do special projects close to my heart, like a children’s art display in a downtown storefront, and host the community Christmas party to help fund-raise for special-needs projects. I loved every minute of it. And, with each passing day until retirement, I grew more aware of the special place and the special people that was AIDB.