Cookbook Launch: My first cookbook released!

Galaktobureko - Greek custard pies

Galaktobureko - Greek custard pies

Have you had a dream in your heart for so long you’ve wondered if it would ever become reality?

I remember when my first resource book was published. I returned from my trip to Fiji where I specifically went to volunteer in the local schools, reaching out to kids and teenagers, motivating them to reach for the stars.

Although it was a stretching time for me, seeing the differences and not allowing them to affect me adversely but to motivate me to have a positive input in this culture, a dream was growing in my heart to write and publish books.

At the time, I was not really entertaining this thought, it was such a big deal just to go to Fiji and give what I had. As I went from one school to the next, I was confronted with the fact that many had very little – you know, the things we take for granted each day, they would love to have just a portion of that!

Nadi Christian Community School

Nadi Christian Community School

Everywhere I went, teachers would ask me for resources. “We need resources to teach our children,” was a cry I heard wherever I went.

My heart was moved, and having experience in writing my own children’s programs in the past, I decided I would roll up my sleeves and get to work.

Within 6 months, I had written and published my first resource book! I was so excited to receive it from the courier; I will never forget that feeling of having my very first published book in my hands!

Really, as I look back, and after writing and publishing a couple more resource books, my autobiography and earlier this year my very first culturally-relevant children’s picture book for the African continent, I am amazed at what I have achieved and how much I have learnt.

Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Imagine if I decided I was under-qualified, lacking experience, afraid to fail and every other excuse under the sun, and didn’t begin with that very first resource book?  What if I used my age as an excuse? Or my very real feelings of wondering what do I have to offer the world after spending over 20 years full time at home, educating my daughters and simply I am out of touch with the business world? What if I used my lack of expertise with technology as an excuse? What if I decided the mountain ahead of me was too big to conquer so I am better off just doing what I am familiar with and not branch out? What if that very mountain was the answer to conquering all these fears?

What I discovered is that when you choose to press forward, you not only overthrow that mountain standing in front of you, but that very mountain becomes the vehicle to you gaining greater respect and favour and understanding of the world around you.

When I finished home educating my daughters, I wondered what on earth did I have to offer outside of my home. Technology had changed so much so no use going back to working as a secretary, it all looked so different now. I was feeling quite overwhelmed and out of touch but I decided well the best approach was to get with the program and qualify myself for something – anything!

I decided to go back to TAFE and start with Early Childhood Education. I figured I’d spent the last 20 years at home with my girls, surely this was a good start and I should be able to conquer this.

Haha, it was so daunting being back in a classroom with strangers and having to do exams was no fun at all! But I loved how it stretched me, I conquered it and I received my Diploma of Early Childhood Education. But still, I wanted to achieve a higher education. Off I go to Newcastle University and commence my Bachelor of Early Childhood Education.

Wow, was I in for a cultural shock!! Essays..how do you do essays? Tutorials? Oh, man people can talk about a whole lot of off topic subjects and I realized I had no patience for this!

Online learning was the answer and that was going brilliantly until I did my first work practicum at a local school and realized why I enjoyed homeschooling! The freedom to take your time on a particular subject and really get your teeth into it, I realized that was not something that was easily achieved in the school system. This frustrated me to no end and I pulled out of this course.

I really hate not finishing what I started but I knew my heart was not in teaching in a school setting.

I loved writing – and I wanted to pursue a career in writing; writing about food, travel and culture excited me. I came across a course called Professional Writing and Publishing through Open University. Long story short, I was able to receive credits for all of my education subjects and I only needed to complete the core subjects in this new degree and after a year and a half of fluctuating between sheer joy and pulling my hair out, I received the Bachelor of Professional Writing and Publishing majoring in Education. That’s what I call the best of both worlds!

Since then I completed a Diploma in Tesol, a Cert 4 in Training and Assessment and now, after 8 years of getting myself back on track with the modern world, I am enjoying the ‘new’ in my life.

My dream goes beyond publishing my books. My dream goes beyond running a successful mobile cooking school. My dream goes beyond setting up a successful catering business. My dream is more about you – to inspire you to achieve your goals and your purpose in life.

As I achieve, as I conquer, as I live my dream, my desire is you will see that mountains can be overcome, age barriers can be dismantled and new pathways can be formed so that whatever you have in your heart, whatever is your passion, you will choose to be brave and not shrink back but you will overcome your mountain and begin walking in all that you are destined for.

Photography credits to Amelia Grose

Photography credits to Amelia Grose