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Retired minister finds new life in writing children’s books

Children’s books brought unexpected joy into Kizzie Jones’ life.  When she needed consistent self-care, they have given her a meaningful outlet and made a smooth transition from ministry to retirement.

In retirement, Kizzie Jones has become author of children’s books. Photos courtesy of Kizzie Jones

She served 18 years as director of spiritual care at Horizon House Retirement Home, retiring in January 2015 after a medical diagnosis meant she needed to retire early.

As author of two Tall Tales books, she found an outlet for whimsy and make believe, creating stories that model and honor kindness, compassion, collaboration and diversity.

“I hope each time the books are read seeds are planted to further the cause for a gentleness of spirit for all humanity and nature,” said Kizzie, who lives in Edmonds.  “Picture it: a world of friends delighting in the whimsy of life bringing out the best in one another. I can think of no greater legacy.”

As reported in the June 2013 Conference News, while she and a girlfriend were spending a week vacation on the Oregon Coast, they stopped in an eatery with “Tall Tale” placemats.  They agreed they each would write a tall tale

“Within a couple of days, my friend, a fiction writer, had her tale polished and ready to be shared. The day before we were to leave, she asked how my tall tale was coming along,” Kizzie said.  “I hadn’t written a word. I’d been a non-fiction writer for years, but had no clue how to make up a story.”

Having agreed to the task, she recalled the magic of the days there.

“For three days a pod of whales had been close by our lodge window. I could look out from my writing table and watch them spout and glide under the water with their massive backs,” Kizzie said.  “During two of the lowest tides of the year, I had the time to observe normally hidden sea creatures. Interpretive signs at the ocean’s edge indicated sights on land, sea and air at different tides.

“The crowning glory was that each day I saw dachshunds with friendly owners who allowed me to get my doxie fix!” she said.

With her friend’s urging and collaboration with illustrator Scott Ward, “How Dachshunds Came to Be: A Tall Tale About a Short Long Dog” was born.

Kizzie won first-place for nonfiction writing from the Write on the Sound writers’ conference and first-place awards in the Tall Tales category of Readers’ Favorite, the National Indie Excellence Book Award for Cover and Graphic Design and New York’s Beach Book Festival.

This March, the second book, a coloring book, “A Tall Tale About a Dachshund and a Pelican: How a Friendship Came to Be” was published.

In March, she read from her books and joined naturalists at tide pools during Cape Perpetua’s Winter Discovery Series.

Meanwhile, Kizzie’s life has shifted to reading to children in schools, participating in Reading Across America events in honor of Dr. Suess, reading for Global Points of Light, donating books for dachshund rescue fund raising and the Edmonds Off-leash Park, reading for Whale Watching Week at Cape Perpetua Visitors’ Center in Oregon, guest on Pet Talk Radio, speaker on marketing to writing groups, and meeting many new people.

She spent March on the Oregon Coast doing research for book three, “A Tall Tale About Dachshunds in Costume: How Dogs Came to Be.”  

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Copyright © April 2016 Pacific Northwest Conference News


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