I started this blog way back on December 20, 2008 to journal through various discernment processes I was going through. I have several hobbies about which I am passionate, and there are several things I do for a living that I am very good at.
Three things I have enjoyed making a livelihood through are:
- wordsmithery (writing, editing, proofreading),
- leading musical ensembles, and
- teaching others what I know.
The past thirty years have included serving in various music ministry leadership roles for several denominations and learning a lot about the strength of my faith when it got tested. Repeatedly.
Three years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma, and on my 50th birthday began seven months of chemotherapy that took nearly two more years to get rid of the brain fog caused by the toxic chemical cocktail.
The past decade saw the coming into this world and leaving much too soon of my beloved dog child, Nemo. I started a second website, Big Black Dog Studio, in his honor to focus on my artwork when I first moved to Florida. This year, Nemo passed away in my arms from heart failure one week after my 53rd birthday.
This autumn I decided to plunge back into academics by taking a Statistics course. I felt that it was one sure-fire way to determine if the brain fog were gone for good. I got a 97% on my final exam and a 98% for the semester, so I’m feeling pretty good about my brain being back in business.
I have always had the personality to be a helpful person, one who teaches others what I know so that they know it, too, and can take the knowledge with them going forward. I strive to make a positive difference in people’s lives. In fact, when people used to ask me what I did for a living, rather than go into all the esoteric details of ministry and teaching that made it seem like I was in all directions, I would respond: I’m nice….for a living.
I am in the process now of collecting many of the musings and academic papers – many of the ones on this particular site – and putting together two projects.
The first one will be a “how to write” guidebook that has been burning in the back of my mind to be developed since I first wrote the basic three-point essay format on a whiteboard and explained it to some high school seniors when I was substitute teaching. The blog post, Miss Ryan’s 5-Minute Guide to Stress-Free Writing, is what I went home that evening and penned out on this blog. It was used for several years – that I know about – at that same high school as a student reference and teaching tool.
What gets even more visits – despite the fact that I fell off the face of this blog for literally two years while focusing on my artwork for Big Black Dog Studio – are my posted academic papers. The persuasive writing samples I posted at the time were for the additional benefit of those high school students I was working with. I considered them simple tutorials by way of demonstration of what college-level essays would look like, but the internet traffic that is driven to them every semester since posting them has been between 150 and close to 500 per week during Spring and Fall semesters. My essays on this site are so well-entrenched in college link and plagiarism searches that I don’t dare reconfigure this website and risk altering the URLs. One college in Ohio’s English Composition course has my Hemingway essay linked directly to here as “one example of a literary analysis.”
The second project I am working on has to do with the music ministry work I did for over thirty years. I browsed my posts going back to the start of this blog and realized that I still feel very strongly about certain things that have to do with my vocation, and I’ve decided to focus on writing about them. Don’t know yet how long that project is going to take or whether or not I’m going to publish my “musings” in general or use the collection of them to launch into my Master’s thesis. At any rate, I wanted to post an update here at the ten-year mark.
If anyone visiting because of a specific essay has any thoughts or questions, by all means, please feel free to use the comment section there for that essay to ask the question. The system sends me an email right quick and I will get back to you right away. One of these days I’m going to try the free MailChimp thingee and build something called a “mailing list.” But that’s for another day.