February 14, 2017

The joy of words - Ruth L. Snyder


I will always remember the day I understood how the squiggles on a page translated into words that told a story. A whole new world opened up to me that day!

As a young child, I lived in South Africa with my parents who served as missionaries. My father worked as a printer. I loved visiting the print shop and watching the paper fly through the machines. My Dad showed me how he set the type and checked the ink. It was fascinating. This was when I first fell in love with the smell of paper.

Around the same time, I started to pay more attention to the letters my mother read to us. Letters from people far away. I learned about my paternal grandparents who lived in Canada, where my grandfather also worked in a print shop. Letters from my maternal grandparents in the United States were full of descriptions of family adventures and funny family nicknames like Uncle Snort and Uncle Bub.


When I learned to print, my Mom encouraged me to write thank you cards and letters. My sister and I used to set up desks and play school and office. I also remember signing my letters, "Praying for you." Several months later my paternal grandmother thanked me for my prayers.

Stories were immensely enjoyable to me. I looked forward to the mobile library that visited our village. Not only did I learn life lessons, but I also experienced different places around the world through the eyes of many different authors.

A few years later, my siblings and I attended school five hundred miles from where my parents were stationed. Weekly letters were the only connection I had to my parents. I worked hard to describe interesting events and people and appreciated when my parents did the same. Each letter was a treasure.

In high school in Three Hills, Alberta, I had the privilege of working on a school newsletter as reporter and layout editor. I remember exploring events from different perspectives, including that of a mouse. Language Arts was one of my favourite subjects. My sister and I stayed with our paternal grandparents for one year during high school. We would visit the print shop where I observed my grandfather proofreading a book with one of his fellow printers by reading the words, letters, and punctuation out loud. That year I also served on the yearbook committee and received training in layout and font styles. At that time the layout was all done manually with actual pictures and type.

During my Bible College years I enjoyed being an administrative assistant for one of the professors. He taught me the difference between using a typewriter and entering information on a computer. When he noticed my ability to produce well-formatted documents which contained no spelling errors, he recommended me for a summer job producing syllabi.



After Bible College I worked in the Prairie Bookstore in customer service and then became assistant manager. Along with lessons in stock control, specialty orders, and placing orders through major distributors, the manager taught us many life lessons. During this time my mom encouraged me to take a writing aptitude test from the Institute of Children's Literature. I was delighted to be able to study article writing with a published author. Later that year I met Sigmund Brouwer when he did a book signing in our store.

As I look back, I am amazed at how God prepared me for what I am doing today:

  • Writing articles, devotionals, blog posts, copy, short stories, and books
  • Working as a layout editor for a quarterly newsletter as well as formatting my own and other people's books and book covers
  • Coaching other writers so that they can share the messages God has laid on their hearts
How thankful I am for the joy of words! What do you enjoy about words, reading or writing?


Ruth L. Snyder spent the first ten years of her life in southern Africa where her parents served as missionaries. In 1977, her family moved to Three Hills, Alberta. She now resides close to Glendon with her husband and five children. 

For more information about coaching or publishing visit http://ruthlsnyder.com

 

15 comments:

  1. Ruth,

    I love to see how God directs our steps and prepares them for the work we do. I enjoyed hearing about your own joy of words story.

    Brenda

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    1. Thanks, Brenda
      God delights in equipping us and using us for His glory. Thanks for your encouragement along the way :)

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  2. This is so interesting! It reminds me of when Les Stobbe shared at last year's Aboriginal Christian Writers Conference in Winnipeg. It is a wonderful exercise to look back at all the things you've done and all the lessons God has taught and see how they come together for His purposes!

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    1. Thanks, Tracy
      We truly need to look back and count our blessings. God takes the light and dark threads and weaves such a beautiful tapestry when we allow Him to work in and through us!

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  3. This was such a blessing to hear more about your story, Ruth! The Lord certainly has had His hand (and His eye) on you over the years, preparing you for where you are today. And to where you are going; your best is yet to come! Blessings!

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    1. Thanks for being a blessing to me, Sally! I am grateful for the journey God has lead me on and am excited about what He has in store for the future. Blessings on your journey too.

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  4. Oh yes, the smell of the printing press! My high school paper was printed old school. Great history you have, Ruth.

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    1. It's interesting how those smells bring back memories! Sounds like we share some :) Thanks, Marnie.

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  5. It's amazing how God gives us the direction we need to follow our life's path. I not only liked to play school and office, but I also played at putting together and "publishing" my own newspaper. In high school, I was the editor for our school yearbook. Now I'm the editor of FellowScript. It's truly a joy to serve Him!

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    1. Yes, it is amazing, Nina :) Thanks for sharing a bit about your history. You are doing a great job on FellowScript.

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  6. I enjoyed reading more details about your childhood and I smiled to see how you were "in training" at an early age to be the the writer, publishing expert, techie and media person, and president of our writer's group. God continues to have great plans for you. Thank you for sharing this story, Ruth.

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    1. Thanks, Sharon, for your unwavering encouragement and support. You are a blessing to me!

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  7. Thanks for sharing how God prepared you for your current writing, Ruth. God uses all our past experiences to bring together the work He has called us to do. Thanks also for your leadership in InScribe!

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Sandi. It takes a team to keep InScribe functioning, and I'm thankful for everyone who works to help InScribe support and encourage writers.

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  8. Janelle Baldwin11:12 pm GMT-7

    Thanks for sharing some of your story, Ruth. It sounds like we have a few things in common :) I was going to go to PBI for high school, though I ended up not going (couldn't find a billet and the dorm was full). My great aunt used to teach there a long time ago. The Prairie Bookstore is where I bought my first copy of Love Comes Softly. :) My dad was a printer, too. I still love the smell of ink and paper and the sucking swoosh of paper going through a press. When I took the graphic design course at SAIT, computer graphic design was just starting to take off, so along with that we were still taught how to run a press, cut color keys by hand and use a darkroom. At my first job at a classified paper we were still cutting rubylith and using wax for pasteup. Now, of course, everything is digital and the newspaper I work for now uses an extension in Indesign where we can just drag the stories onto the page and adjust them, no importing or copying and pasting from Word. Things have changed a lot in the past 23 years! I love words. I've always had a passion for them, for their meanings and the way they're interpreted. Before I could read, I'd tell stories out loud to a menagerie of stuffed animals and dolls. When my younger sister was scared at night, she'd come into my room and I'd put a pair of socks on my hands and turn them into dinosaurs, using them to tell her stories until she fell asleep. I love how the Lord places passions in our hearts and then develops them for His glory. I bet each one of us has amazing stories to share about how the Lord led us to this time and place in our lives and the talents He developed along the way. Blessings to you, Ruth, as you continue to move ahead in your journey. You certainly have been a blessing in mine.

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