Following a vagabond, tumultuous early childhood, Priscillamae's life stabilized in high school. After completing two and one - half years of a four - year nursing program, doctors required a change in careers to a less physically taxing profession due to heart and lung concerns. Following attainment of a Bachelor's Degree in Education, a Master's Degree in both Counseling and Education was achieved. Olson's career as Teacher, Counselor, Administrator, and multi - shared - district Special Education Child Study Coordinator spanned thirty - seven years.
"Teaching Moments" have been evident, and incorporated, in Priscillamae's writing style throughout her entire career in education and continuing on into her retirement. Olson is entuned to youth with reading disabilities, as well as to the reluctant reader, as evidenced by employing "Listing," and "We," techniques that reduce verbiage and book size, and that instill confidence in being engaged in a team - effort of "We can do this together."
In addition to pursuing her writing in retirement, Priscillamae has been blessed to share her joy and passion of watercolor painting by teaching classes and workshops for adults and children, as well as participating in frequent, and multiple, art shows. Olson states that she loves to convey life, color, and vibrancy in her paintings. It is important to Priscillamae that her paintings engage the viewer in an internal dialogue that touches his or her soul. While Olson can paint any subject, she is drawn to flowers, people, animals, buildings, nature, things rural, philosophical, and emotive.
Olson's book covers, for both her own work and that of other authors, incorporate her original paintings. Affordable commissioned paintings, and book covers, are made available to interested persons. Priscillamae is a member of Wisconsin's Chippewa Valley Arts Association, and the Chippewa Valley Watercolor Association.
Foreword of "When I Stumble in Live's Storms"
My early memories of Aunt Priscilla (now Priscillamae) are of Thanksgiving dinners where the grown - ups ate upstairs and the rest of us sat at the "kids" table" downstairs. I don't remember much about those dinners, other than learning to love stuffing - because hers was the best - and eagerly anticipating her signature dessert with the crushed - up candy canes. Inevitably, those Thanksgiving dinners were truncated by the necessity of making it home in time for the evening milking on our dairy farm. What I'm trying to say is that I never really knew much about who she was as a person, except that I was pretty sure she was a teacher.
Now, many years removed from the kid's table, there have been some wonderful additions to the family through marriages, adoptions, and births. There have also been the inevitable losses that time brings. On the rare occasions that any or all of the family gathers, we sit around one big table, sharing stories and conversations, getting to know each other in new ways - as adults.
Through those conversations and through a series of events a couple years ago, I now have a much more nuanced understanding of who Priscillamae is and why she has been compelled to write a book titled When I Stumble in Life's Storms. There are stories - some told in these pages, some reserved for family, and undoubtedly some she has kept only for herself - that clearly demonstrate the challenges of living in a fallen and broken world. Life is hard.
I am a professor and editor. Priscillamae is a lifelong educator and writer. Leaving that semi - colon hanging at the end of the last paragraph makes us both very uncomfortable. And yet, I leave it there in honor of those who have chosen the semi - colon as the symbol of their resilience (www.semicolontattoo.com). It is a connector, when, grammatically, there could have been - as the British say -a "full stop." It is a reminder to persevere. It is a challenge to be observant and to intervene when those around us feel hopeless. It is a call to share the kinds of stories that draw families and friends - and, at times, acquaintances and perhaps even strangers - together to create bridges that will carry us home and back to safety.
That is the message of the book you hold in your hands. Life is hard; you can carry on. Life is hard; you can find Hope. Life is hard; you need to share your story with someone who needs to hear it.
Joann S. Olson, PhD. Associate Professor, Adult and Higher Education
University of Houston - Victoria