The Day My Life Changed Forever

It was my first time at the Cincinnati homeschool convention. We were armed with the usual homemade packed lunches and snacks and enough water bottles to keep us well hydrated. Of course, we arrived early because that’s just who we are. Daddy I believe was volunteering and had to be there before the doors opened anyway.

While we waited for opening time Mom and I flipped through the brochure listing all the vendors, looking in particular for The One Year Adventure Novel, which we would be looking into that day. But it wasn’t listed! I was rather disappointed, thinking they had canceled. But I figured that if they weren’t there God didn’t want me to get that curriculum so no sweat.  I continued to wait with anticipation while staring at traffic through the large window in front of us. I happened to see a van painted up like The Mystery Machine and had a long fangirl moment.

When we were finally inside the vendor hall the familiar drone of hundreds of voices met my ears. The shopping commenced. We walked up and down the aisles, stopping to talk to interesting vendors. I had a couple booths I was especially eager to visit. But they all pale in my memory because of what happened next.

The One Year Adventure Novel was indeed there (under the name of Clear Water Press, though. It’s a confusing thing.). I thought the guy at the booth was just a representative, of course. I never dreamed he was Daniel Schwabauer himself. (I laugh about that so much now.)  Mom and I flipped through the curriculum books, studying the content for anything morally objectionable. I was a little wary about that chapter about Boy Meets Girl, because *gasp* romance!!?? (You get the feeling of how we were at that point? Yeah, thought so.)  Anyway, after talking with this “representative” guy, we walked around so more to think about it.

At the end of the day it was time to make our purchases, and Mom asked me what I wanted to do about the Adventure Novel thing.

That moment was the turning point of my entire life.

What if I, who so often struggles with decisions, had said no, never mind, it’s too much money I don’t know if it would really be fun or not. What if Mom had suggested I wait until next year?

Who would I even be?

I don’t have an answer to that question.

It is terrifying, really, to even try to think of it.  Because when I said “Yes, I want it.” I set in motion a complete life change for me and my family.  It was a moment that seemed so insignificant. Sitting at a table against the wall of a busy vendor hall, trying to decide if I wanted a High School English curriculum. Who would have thought that simple little insignificant moment in time would be the most important of my entire life?

But it was.


My first critique group at my first ever OYAN Summer Workshop. This was one year after I bought the curriculum.  (We were the Laughing Lothlorien Ladies)

We bought OYAN that day. Got a yellow slip of paper in return stating our order and being assured that we would be getting it in the mail soon.  Mr. S even threw in a free T-shirt for me (that I didn’t realize he was giving to me at the time) because I wanted one of the old versions that they didn’t have much left of.  A week or so later it came in the mail. I started the curriculum that very day in my living room with the window open letting in the new spring air. And I listened for the first of many times to those blessed words… “What makes a story a story?”


Favorite pic with fam

Today I can tell you that OYAN has effected every single area of my life. It has grown me spiritually. It changed how I viewed myself physically. It has put me through more emotions than I ever thought possible. I met the best friends I have ever had on this planet. I met my husband. My sister met her best friends. My family now makes annual trips to Kansas for the OYAN Summer Workshop. I gained confidence in my ability to be me by flying for my first time all by myself so I could go to Texas and sell OYAN at a homeschool conference down there.  I’ve written books and short stories and have a career path all because of The One Year Adventure Novel.


At my first homeschool convention as an OYAN rep with the lovely Tineke.

It’s nearing seven years now, since I joined the OYAN community. Seven years that were more beautiful and more heart rending than I ever thought possible.  Seven years that I would not trade for anything, and I am so grateful for.

And it all balanced on the head of a pin, relying on a 14 year old’s decision about school books.

God works in amazing ways.


At our wedding with our best friends, all students of The One Year Adventure Novel.


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