The Beginning Was an Open Window

Ten years ago, in 2011, I was grieving the loss of my beloved career and workplace. I had been teaching a handful of different science classes, day, night, and online, to adult learners. It was my dream job! Each group needed different levels and branches of science. I created hundreds of lessons, and excitedly delivered them to eager students. The school was a successful, busy place, and the oldest adult learning center in my town. Looking back on that time in my life, it feels like a dream. It was a dream, but it sadly became a casualty of state budget cuts and grant loss.

I was distraught. Everything about it was irreplaceable. I was given total freedom there and I ran with it. It was thrilling, fulfilling, and ruined me. I felt like my career plateaued at the age of 31. Of course, I still had Vintage Learners, which I created a couple years prior, but those classes only accounted for 15% of my old position. Plus, the online modality may seem ideal to an introvert, but I enjoy the interaction with students.

So the spring of 2011 was a pivotal moment, I had no sense of what was coming next. I certainly never would have guessed it would be “author” or “creator”. It all started with these persistent rhyming, lyrical thoughts. I’d quickly work them out in my mind, and repeat them until I could write it down. At first, I wasn’t keen on the rhyming, but that how it kept coming out. I made a collection of those for a while. I soon realized I should be expanding upon those, individually. When I finally allowed myself to sit down and write, Bear’s in the Moss came out. Then, in very short succession, I wrote Space Trip, Parsimony’s Disguise: Fractals, and Plate Puzzles.


​It’s now been over a decade, creating Poetic Empiricist materials with nearly all my spare and borrowed moments. Otherwise, I eek a living from Vintage Learners, my small business. I offer Chemistry, Biology, and Algebra courses to adults returning to school. It is very rewarding, but all 15 of my Poetic Empiricist books are what I’m passionate about. They are an outlet for teaching thrilling subjects, and a means of promoting science literacy. These books, and their subsequent videos, became part of my life’s mission. It’s creation. It’s art. It’s love.

My pace changed with the birth of my child, yet my goals never diminished. If anything, I feel more compelled to advance my creations. When the baby sleeps, I work. Things get done in their own time. However, it’s been imperative that I work smarter, savvier.

​Recently, despite always being an independent worker, I had a video collaborator. I never thought about, or planned for my 2 year old to be involved in a Poetic Empiricists creation. It just happened. I needed to record audio tracks of some instruments we have here. This small project needed to be enjoyed, not overthought; I realized this was definitely a kid’s task. It was a fantastic experience (see video below) and I was so glad I didn’t automatically, thoughtlessly plod through it myself. I’ll be looking for more of those opportunities.

I believe it is important to let our children see us in our “purpose mode”. It’s formative for them and gives them a different glimpse of us. They may not fully understand what we are doing but that doesn’t matter. In the education field, we are taught to make things slightly more challenging than the students’ current potential. Kids rise to what is expected of them, they lead with their curiosity.

This is why I consider my Poetic Empiricist books “kids’ books”. Is it the same level of science I teach adults? Sure, that is actually another impetus for me writing the books. The science my adult students need is the same science we were exposed to in middle school, high school, and college. It all starts with the basics and builds. It’s obviously easier to build from a solid base. Scaffolding is the education term, great symbolism, building structures that reach new heights.

​Every day, through play, and games, and direct conversation, I am gently scaffolding my child toward the person they are going to be. At the same time, I actively scaffold my own life and continue building. Looking back on where I started, I am proud of the climb and everything I’ve taught myself along the way.

​My Top Shelf

The idea of Differences in Time had been percolating in my mind for over a decade. Evolution is part of the mandated Biology class curriculum. I’ve taught it many times over the years, as a prerequisite for practical nurses going on for their RN degrees. Being an Earth Space Science teacher, my topic outline also included: speciation, modes of evolution, earth history, mass extinctions, fossils and radiometric dating, transition series, and vestigial features. I absolutely love teaching all of it, but it can feel confrontational.

One memorable night class, in the fall of 2009, a friendly student informed me she was ok with evolution. She said she was a Christian but was aware that the Bible states time is different for man and God. This was my missing piece. After class, I immediately googled the passage. She was right; it was there.

​ “Differences in Time” was subsequently named. To me, a difference in time was the only difference that makes the difference in the argument of science versus religion. When taken from the long view, the seven days of creation essentially line up with the scientifically derived history of earth. Science and religion can coexist, no need for denial and Flintstones’esque creationist teachings.

​With Differences in Time, I wanted to give an overview of Earth history while weaving in all my favorite topics and lessons. I kept a list. When it started to feel overwhelming, I stepped back and set my goals and themes. I pulled some amazing lines out of a story I wrote in 1999 and got to work on the rest, rhyming and counting meter for months on end. I completed the book and illustrations early in 2013 and applied to federally copyright it all. The book was officially copyrighted in 2014.

Prolific Ideas and Investments of Time

​As an independent author, all the planning, rhyming, counting beats, and illustrations are just the beginning. This is the main friction I have, slowing me from writing hundreds of books. I have to do something with them, to push the stories out in the world. Starting off slowly, I taught myself to create movie versions. My early books have several iterations of videos, posted to YouTube and TeacherTube. Each time, I try to make it a little more palatable for the viewer. I embraced social media. I have also written lesson plans fully aligned to Next Generation Science Standards, which are free on my website.

I create so much to give away. Why would I do all this? Besides the desire to provide equal access to all learners, it’s because I believe in the books. All I have to do, to recommit myself, is reread them. It is bigger than me. While I am happy that both teachers and students have found appreciation for them, I know their full potential has not yet been reached.

Growing New Fruit!

At the beginning of 2021, I realized I had to celebrate 10 years of Poetic Empiricist. I wanted to put out an anniversary collection series of books. I started by divvying up all my books and stories according to content area. There ended up being 5 different collections. Each text includes additional learning materials, from my online science classes, and illustrations I enhanced to make the collections look cohesive.

I decided to start an Etsy site to sell signed copies of these books. I opened the shop in late August and will fill it with the different formats of my books, original paintings, post cards, posters, prints, coloring books, and more. I am really looking forward to connecting with science enthusiasts, seekers of peace and beauty, and those looking for a deeper meaning in life.

​Five years ago, I designed a “Peace Program” for at risk youth. However, as life took its twists and turns, I never got to implement any of the program. This year, I made it a goal to reexamine that program and turn it into a self-paced manual. Thus, Poetic Empiricist’s Peace Through Science Self-Paced Manual was created. This book pulls from all of my experiences, writing, teaching sciences, psychology, life coaching, owning a business, and life in general. The 100 page manual also contains the complete versions of Poetic Empiricist’s Differences in Time (2013) and Thought Sparks Fire (2015).

Overall, the manual aims to deliver peace and acceptance through deeper knowledge of the universe and the self. It’s designed to be an academic and spiritual program. Like the two main books it contains, it combines science, psychology, philosophy, history, self-help, and emotional health in a personal way. Through the various readings (and or videos), readers are better equipped to consider difficult questions about themselves. This program also draws from other materials I created for Poetic Empiricist and my Vintage Learners classes.

Once complete, I realized it was more like the middle step, step 2 of 3. So, I created the Poetic Empiricist’s Mind Your Mind Prompted Journal as step 1. This prompted journal guides reader to apply the knowledge and wisdom from seven different My Brother’s Talks (2015) stories, contained within the Brain and Mind 10th Anniversary Collection. Step 3, Poetic Empiricist’s Living Beyond 3D Prompted Journal aligns with my “Live 3D” video from 2018. The video is free online and pulls from my books and many other sources.

I am a trained and certified life coach. My 9-months of training was specifically Urban Youth Life Coaching, but my personal specialty is whole-life, creativity, passion and purpose coaching. I wish I had the time to coach clients on a large scale, but that’s not currently possible for me. These handbooks aren’t exactly an attempt to coach, but they are my best attempt to prepare young readers’ minds to be reflective. Certified Life Coaches, those certified by the International Coaching Federation, are extensively trained. We believe clients can direct their own growth and spark the changes needed in their own lives (we do not tell you what to do, give our opinions, or share stories of our similar life experiences). We ask a lot of good questions and deeply listen.

As I continue to scaffold and construct my life, I can’t imagine what the next ten years will look like. In my mind, there are a couple certainties. First, I will be writing more; I have many ideas holding. Most importantly though, I will be involving my tiny partner, my child, in more creative projects. Overall, I am full of patience, hope, and excitement for what is to be.

Intro Differences in Time
Poetic Empiricist book list