I am a recently retired teacher — 33 years teaching in public schools, primarily middle school.  For 22 years I was a Special Education teacher or administrator.  Most of my teaching career has been in Tennessee.

I’m a preacher’s kid with three younger brothers.  We grew up in many states east of the Mississippi where Daddy preached for small churches.  I graduated from Christian colleges with undergraduate degrees and met my husband, Larry, in our junior year.  We have been married 43 years this month.  We were blessed with a beautiful daughter in 1980, and I became a stay at home mom.   Jennifer died in a hiking accident when she was 21 years old.

My writing began while I was a full-time mom in the 80s, creating a newsletter for the education ministry at our church and writing Vacation Bible School curriculum for a publishing company. When Jennifer was four I returned to public school teaching, and my writing focused on curriculum and grants.  I’ve had articles published in Christian women’s magazines and professional journals.

Teaching has been a part of me since I was old enough to read to my younger brothers.  I began teaching Bible classes to children when I was in high school.  When I combine my professional teaching with teaching at church, I’ve taught every age in many settings, from preschool to adult, in tiny rooms in a country church, crowded rooms in a Jamaican church, college classrooms, large auditoriums, church camp, and middle school rooms in brand-new buildings.  I taught middle school so long that my husband sometimes reminded me about using my “teacher tone” at home.  Since I’ve retired, that doesn’t happen as much.

I’ve mentored student teachers, beginning teachers, and teaching assistants.  I’m a workshop presenter and speaker for special events, both professionally and for church.  I’m an occasional teacher for an adult women’s class at our church.

I received a Master’s degree in Special Education and a doctorate in educational leadership. Even though I did “time” as an administrator, my favorite teaching was 8th graders.

I’m also a crafter, a reader, a swimmer, and a story teller. I love to research and enjoy collecting stories about our family.

Larry and I live in Middle Tennessee and despite growing up in other places and making several moves as a young married couple, we feel at home here.  Larry has his own videography business; you can find him at www.SouderProductions.com.  You can see some of his work on the website  -– he’s a very creative guy!  He also has a video on YouTube.

I have several stories to tell – my story, Jennifer’s story, and my mother’s story.  There are some important lessons within each one — the teacher still comes out when I’m writing.

9 thoughts on “About

  1. Stephanie

    I miss Jen every day and other recount memories of the years of fun we had together. She was one of my best friends. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories of her.

  2. Dianne Wright

    A friend shared this with me. I would like to subscribe, but did not find the avenue to do that. I am not on Facebook or Twitter.

    1. JoyMartell Post author

      I did not realize my sidebar was not showing up. I’ve changed the theme and you should see a place to enter your email. Thanks for following my blog! Let me know if it does not show up.


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