Faithful Feedback

Right after high school I worked a couple of summers at the License Bureau (boy did I have to gain some thick skin). My supervisor, Libby Ward, was an exceptional leader. She told me I could continue a great career there. She wanted me to stay and work for her (although I did not like the experience of being lunged at after telling someone he was in the wrong line after he had waited so long–but that did prepare me for being a principal). It was good money for an 18-19 year old and it definitely helped my typing AND communication skills. My typing was fast I and knew shorthand too. It gave me a “leg up” according to my friend who helped me attain the position. On the side, I would clean a few motel rooms for my aunt and uncle who owned a family restaurant and tiny motel. Of course they always gave great feedback; especially when I needed to fold sheets. ;-).

It was 1991 and I was relieved to make it to my senior year of college. As a student aide for that winter semester I was preparing for student teaching for the final semester (the best job I was preparing for was motherhood; I was carrying my first born). At 4:30 a.m. I would rise and shine and drive 30 miles from my rural town to my preschool job in the “big city” by 6:00 a.m. For six hours I would read with, chase, giggle, play, and attempt to “herd” and teach 18 3-4 years old with Ms. Edna. I’d get off work at noon and have time to grab lunch on campus before my afternoon and evening classes began. Typically it would be 9:30 before I got home. Ms. Edna inspired me to keep on keeping on. Ms. Edna Stockstill was in her 60’s at the time. She grew up a farm girl and could run circles around me it seemed. I decided I’d be like Edna. She wore her faith on her sleeve and kids and parents adored her. She could be rough and gruff at times and then soothe them with supple soul words. She was authentic and always provided great feedback and wisdom. My supervisor at the child development center, Marthann Hoover, was such a quality leader too. She’d drop by the classrooms and give immediate feedback. I felt blessed. After three years together we all shared some sadness when I could no longer work there due to student teaching. I was always so nervous when the university supervisors would evaluate me during student teaching (I said “you’un’s” over 20 times in my first evaluation–I give all credit to my rural roots ;-)).

All of my jobs in my teens and through college (McDonalds, the license bureau, babysitting, cleaning, and teaching pre-school) set me up for a career with expectations. And at every experience feedback was given. I paid it forward by always trying to give feedback to staff. There’s a difference between needing a pat on the back and truly wanting to know if you’re making a difference and meeting marks of mastery. We all need encouragement though, even if a “needs to improve” is identified (and still with me, daily lol). Each year as a leader I would attend trainings to further my feedback familiarity.

I wanted to take a few to feed feedback to you. To my fellow writers: I love your creativity, authenticity, talents and gifts, humility, humor, truthfulness, effort, timing, interests, thought-provoking statements, commitment, courage, and approach. I appreciate how many of you keep me informed, raise awareness, and further my own success through your encouragement. Being a writer isn’t going to bring a million bucks (yeppers, I can name several it did); but this journey has been essential for my own health and healing. My goal isn’t to be famous. Being a do-er dreamer is in me still. A couple of weeks ago I visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum with great friends. Soaking in the history, and of course goosebumps, while walking through she and Almanzo’s farm again reminded that no matter the age, there are dreams to be achieved if you can and so choose (Laura was 65 when she was published).

My time is more crunched lately with a myriad of goals I try to meet each week; and I like it. One day a week I have the privilege of being coached. We have developed such a partnership that our hour can turn into two. And once we depart one another, I’m jumping on my goals for the next week. Like most of you, I’m on my own as far as editing, marketing, and building my audience. I’m going to work on a page on the website solely for my publishing-an “author page” if you will. There will be a description of the children’s book series in which I’m writing. And I think I may have found an illustrator. That’s a wonderful story to share later. 🤍

Three months ago today I became a house dweller. The foundation is below me and I’m doing my best to build on it; and strengthen it (I was giggly over gravel on Monday). Many days, aside from house chores, I’m zeroing in on social media for short spurts (ugh, it’s HARD because I’m not a huge fan of it–but in this day and age, it’s a must to connect with others; and I’m finding such amazing artists). Other weekly activities include placing book in print house form, editing and re-editing over and over, and trying to READ. As a writer I need to be READING. Which leads me to my title Faithful Feedback. I’m averaging about 1,000 e-mails a week (how about you?) and I SEE YOU. Your names pop up in my inbox each day. And I smile. The names of your posts make my mornings. This family of friends and fellow writers has been my portion of professionalism to propel my projects (adequate alliteration?). It would be my wish to read each and every post daily. I’m amazed by the talent of this community. I’m in awe of your commitments. And I just marvel at the marvelous magic you make on your keyboards (from “punny” poems, quick quotes, to anecdotal adventures and achievements) Congratulations on making it this far in life and doing what you’re doing. I’m proud of you all. And it’s my pleasure for knowing you. Truly. Stay safe, healthy, and blessed. You are loved. Stay encouraged please.

Have faith 💚

Photo by Jeffrey D. Payne

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