I think most of us, at some time in our lives had a “knowing” what we were good at and what we had a passion for. These are our God-given gifts. Sometimes, if you really love your job, that can be one of your gifts. But, there’s always more than one talent. It can be anything from cooking to baking, painting, a good listener, active in your church, a letter writer, singing in the choir, playing an instrument, a care-giver, a Sunday School teacher, a tutor, just smiling at someone, a volunteer, a mother, a father, a grandmother. All of us have a talent of some kind. How many of you know your God-given talent?
First, I want to tell you what writing means to me. “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one to every man, according to his several ability.” (Matthew 25:15) I believe that I have a gift in writing and if I don’t do anything with this talent God gave me, it will not be blessed back to me. Every time I plant words in my Garden of Life, my special gift is reaped in a harvest of joy in the mind of my readers. Knowing my words bring joy to someone the pleasure for me is always multiplied. So I continue to plant words and reap abundantly.
At a young school-age, I certainly didn’t realize it was a talent, but I knew I loved books and I loved the illustrated book reports we had to do in the one-room school I attended. I even wrote a few stories of my own, but threw them out thinking they weren’t good enough. I couldn’t tell you how many times in my life I accepted “not good enough.”
When I was about 14 years old, I read the Kutztown Patriot was looking for someone to write up the Monterey news. Since the village of Monterey was near our farmhouse, I wrote the Patriot and asked if I could be the reporter. They agreed. I was the youngest reporter they ever had. All it really consisted of was to visit the families in Monterey and ask who they visited, and if they had a special birthday or anniversary celebration in their family. I wonder how many readers remember reading the Monterey News in the 1950s. I don’t recall how many years I did this. I never saved the clippings, but I believe the college has the old Kutztown Patriot’s on digital.
When I was a teenager, I found the Grit newspaper had a pen pal section. Since I loved to write, I managed to get up to 10 pen pals. That is until Mom insisted I could only choose one due to the postage.
I did write a few essays when raising children, but again, I threw them away thinking they weren’t good enough. When I was about 35 and still raising teenagers, I decided to take a course by correspondence (before computers). I learned a lot through that course.
At this time , I started to feel better about my writing abilities. When I lived in Easton, my husband and I joined the Memorial UCC church. I read in their newsletter that they wanted an editor for the newsletter. So I up and made myself an editor. Later, after I got the position of the church secretary, I continued doing the newsletter. Still later, I up and made myself the editor of the UCC Secretary’s newsletter. It’s been great voting myself in as an editor. This is when I started doing research for the church newsletter and ended up writing Christian themes on Easter, Christmas etc. Later, I was able to sell these stories to Christian magazines. I even wrote up the members love stories and hobbies.
After several more years, I up and made myself an editor one last time. Once a year I did my family’s Christmas newsletter. I not only wrote up the siblings news for the year, but the 50 nieces and nephews as well. I also had a feature story each time on such things as the history of the Christman name, the farmhouse history, family love stories, bio on Mom and Pop, Pop and his twin brothers World War I experiences. After ten years of this newsletter I quit. I became tired of being an editor.
Through writing these newsletters, I must have decided I could write after all. I finally believed in myself. Don’t get me wrong, I make mistakes. I’m in awe of myself when an editor doesn’t have to make any corrections.
I had my first published story “Taking Care of Our Own” in Our Family, a Canadian magazine, in 1983. I was a contributing writer for the Pennsylvania Magazine a number of years.
When I was close to retirement, I decided no more research, no more interviews. I only wanted to write “from the heart” and everyday things. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I must say I had always dreamed of writing for my hometown paper, the Kutztown Patriot. And here I am. All in God’s timing.
What is your passion?
Carole Christman Koch grew up in Berks County and has been published in numerous publications. She has a passion for writing and has many stories from growing up on a farm to raising children to humorous stories about her and her husband to everyday stories to season stories and more.