“So, what do you do?” It’s a tough question to answer. “Author” is probably the closest to the truth for me, but like a lot of other entrepreneurial artists and solopreneurs, I work on a variety of different projects. More and more our careers are defined not by our workplaces but by these projects. They show how we have developed and how far we have come.
This is a timeline of the major projects I have worked on during my career as an artist and entrepreneur. With each new project on this list, I have grown as an author, speaker, teacher, and solopreneur. These are just the long-term projects and do not include the hundreds of blog posts, articles, workshops, and webinars I’ve done over the years. To see what I’m working on right now, visit my now page.
2017—Praying the Angelus, my third paperback book, was published. I also transitioned into a part-time role at work to dedicate more time to my online business, books, speaking, and family. So far, I’ve also released a downloadable packet of resources on Catholic Social Teaching and the Book of Genesis Worksheets.
2016—To Heal, Proclaim, and Teach, my book on evangelization, was finally published after two years of research and writing. It is a practical guide to anyone who feels compelled to spread the Christian faith, especially those working in ministry. The goal for the book: to help the Catholic Church transition away from over-emphasizing teaching when healing and proclaiming is needed most.
2015—I started a project that would take the next three years to complete: worksheets for every Sunday Gospel. Creating a worksheet is an artform and I got better with each new attempt. I blogged a lot less, but created a lot more. I also released another worksheet packet on the Works of Mercy. I spent a lot of time during this year working on my next book, too.
2014—The Religion Teacher membership website officially launched. I didn’t know what people would find to be valuable at first. It was a constant learning cycle and I never would have known what teachers really needed until I started working on this library of resources.
2013—31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator (my first book!!) was published. I wrote my second book that year, a digital-only study guide that served as an early experiment in digital publishing for Ave Maria Press. I also created two new packets of worksheets for The Religion Teacher on Lectio Divina and praying the Rosary. This was a productive year!
2012—After five years and many late nights and early mornings, I graduated from Notre Dame with a M.A. in Theology. Instead of waking up at 5:00 a.m. to read books for my classes, I started writing them. I also published my two best-selling digital products at The Religion Teacher: activity pacts for Lent and Advent.
2011—I created the first downloadable product for The Religion Teacher to help religious educators adapt their students to the new translation of the Mass. I got one email that objected to the idea that I would sell products for money, but dozens of emails expressing gratitude. It’s amazing how the one piece of negative feedback sticks with you.
2010—I moved The Religion Teacher from blogspot to TheReligionTeacher.com and relaunched the site with a free, downloadable ebook, The Religion Teacher’s Guide to Lesson Planning.
2009—Editors and authors are very different people. At Ave Maria Press I edited a handful of high school textbooks and teacher’s manuals, plus a trade book. I realized I wanted to be an author, not an editor.
2008—I started blogging on a blogspot blog called The Religion Teacher to share some of my ideas about religious education and hopefully get my dream job some day at a Catholic publishing company. (I got a job at Ave Maria Press seven months later.)
2004-2008—As a teacher I created hundreds of lesson plans, worksheets, and graphic organizers. The thousands of difficult hours I spent preparing lessons laid the groundwork for the creative projects I would work on later in my career. The experienced I gained earning my M.Ed. at the University of Notre Dame through the Alliance for Catholic Education program plus the community I joined there have been invaluable.
2004—My big accomplishment before graduating from Miami University (OH) was writing a senior thesis on an obscure group of Jewish-Christians in the second century. While I enjoyed the process of research and writing, I realized I did not want to be an academic. I did, however, want to write and teach.