Life reimagined: A second career as a writer

Living 50-Plus: Up and coming Christian writer says God is her guide

Former Richmond school teacher, Shelley Ritchey, signs a copy of her first book, “ABC Book of Bible Verses, Lessons for Little Ones,” for Dear Elementary Principal Piper Peterson at a book signing at Art & Soul studio on June 10. (Book signing photo by Leah Wankum, Richmond News)

By Liz Johnson, Staff Writer

Parents will know Shelley Ritchie because she taught their children for 28 years. Children she taught will remember her caring instruction in the classroom. Now, children will know who Ritchie is because of her Christian children’s book, “ABC Book of Bible Verses, Lessons for Little Ones.”

Led to retire and write

“I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book,” Ritchie said. “Maybe 30 years ago, I thought about it, but I didn’t really think about it being a Christian book.”

Ritchie said she felt a calling to write the book one day, and then her life began to change.

“It just came to me one day,” she said. “I felt a calling, like the Lord wanted me to serve Him in some way.”

Ritchie said she wasn’t exactly sure what it was she was being called to do – perhaps a women’s ministry or speaking to people.

“Eventually,” she said, “I felt led to write this book for children.”

Ritchie had been teaching in the Richmond school system for 28 years. She taught third and fourth grades for 13 years and then as an instructional coach for 15 years. An instructional coach works with teachers, modeling lessons and then working with the teachers on curriculum and instructional practices.

A few years ago, she became ill and unable to do her job the way she liked.

“I’ve always had such a passion for teaching and have always given so much to the job,” Ritchie said. “I gave my job my everything, and then I got sick,” she paused for a moment before continuing, “I had a hard time with that because I felt like I was called to teach.”

Ritchie said she felt like she was not as effective in working with children as she could be. Her illness was holding her back, and she knew it.

“I felt as if I couldn’t do the right thing for the kids, that I needed to move on,” she said.

Then one day, she was called to a classroom, and before she left for the room, she thought she heard God say, “It’s time for you to retire.”

The complete story is in the Friday, July 7, 2017 Richmond News.

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