I considered many possible careers throughout my childhood, the most prominent of which were probably those of veterinarian or dental hygienist. I was thinking of who I liked and what I liked, but it did not occur to me until some time later that I had an option to consider what I liked to do. As years went by and my schools hosted “career days” to learn more about various occupations, I started thinking more along the lines of pet groomer, cosmetologist, or psychologist.
I started my first “real-world” job when I was fourteen years old. I worked for Taco Bell in Lodi, California, for several years and loved it. The owners were Christian, and it showed in the way the business was run and the care that the managers and various employees were encouraged to show for each other. I also greatly enjoyed the challenge of racing the clock or the relative ease of interacting with the customers. (Interacting with people has always been something the Lord has to nudge me into—although I enjoy it, it does not come naturally!)
Various circumstances led to a growing burden to do something with my life that would make a difference in the lives of children who would follow in the path of life behind me. I ended up attending the California Nanny College to get my Early Childhood Education credits, and in time I also completed the Fundamentals of Art course through Art Instruction Schools, which my grandparents had graciously funded for me.
Meanwhile, I had moved away from Lodi, married my high school sweetheart, and spent some time working for children’s shelters, mostly on graveyard shift. The work I loved; the children I loved; but something else was tugging on my heart….