Doing What My Hands Find to Do by Ada Brownell

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We arrived a week after I gave my resignation to a daily newspaper in a mountain village of 7,000. That evening was my first shift as a general assignments reporter in a city of 100,000.


I’d never had a journalism course. I had no college degree. Two large notebooks full of published free lance articles opened this large newsroom to me. “We need you to cover the weather,” the editor told me, handing me a telephone number for the Weather Service.

So, I interviewed the weatherman and wrote a short report. The editor brought it back. A major snowstorm swirled our way and he wanted it covered well. “Tell us what’s coming from the north, and what’s happening south, east and west.”

“O.K.,” my mouth said, but my head felt as if a mound of snow landed on it. How could I do that? I got lost when I went home for the lunch break. I’m directionally challenged. I had no idea where nearby communities were located.

I phoned the weatherman again and grilled him about all the points on the compass and what the cold fronts had packed to dump in our area. I survived and lived to learn, report, and write a decent story.

Before the mountain town job, I worked as a stringer for the newspaper in a tiny community near my hometown. When I started, I was given a handbook about how to recognize a good story, how to interview, how to write news and features. I almost memorized the book which told in a nutshell almost everything taught about newswriting in the college classroom later when I earned my mass communications degree. Yet, I’d had few opportunities to cover important events.

But I was determined to learn. Despite success free lancing for Christian publications, when I made my first a big sale, I invested in a writing course. Later I took a class in fiction writing. I hadn’t planned to be a writer. It all started with submitting ideas for youth services as a teen, and then articles.

As a child, I memorized the advice of Solomon, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Thus, when an idea came I felt might draw people to God, I put it on paper. That’s how a career grew from almost nothing but grace.

The task wasn’t easy. As any writer, I received rejections. I had to quit the news business and take out 15 years to stay at home with our five children, and then find a way back into doing the only thing I knew how to do besides manual labor—so I could help send them to Christian colleges.

One discouraging day I opened the Bible and my eyes fell on this scripture, “Be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).

I’ve found those words to be true. I landed the needed job and worked until retirement. I’m still listening for the Lord’s voice, working with my hands, and seeing results.



Ada Brownell bio

ADA BROWNELL is a free lance writer who has sold articles to 45 publications. She is retired journalist who spent most of her career at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado.

Her books:

Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult

Swallowed by LIFE: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal:

Confessions of a Pentecostal:


©Copyright Ada Brownell Jan. 1, 2014

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