A Work in Progress

By Karen Jurgens

Whenever I asked my students to write a journal entry about what they wanted to be when they grew up, I would ask them to go back into their childhood and think about which games they had played. That seems to be a treasure chest of secrets that unlocks the hidden desires lying at the core of the soul.

From my earliest days I have always loved babies. When it was my mother’s turn to volunteer in our church nursery, I accompanied her. I loved to watch. Since I was the baby of the family, there were no little ones to practice on at home. I peered into each bassinette on tiptoe, wide-eyed at the real tears rolling down reddened cheeks, quite unlike my dolls at home. I had to make-believe cry for mine, but these real ones pierced my ears with their hiccupping waahs. Their legs pumped furiously and their fists waved in protest against gentle hands changing their diapers. Offering a warmed bottle and rocking them back to sleep was the only consoling solution.

baby bottle masterfile

I once tried pretending that one of my dolls was inconsolable. She was the kind that really drank water and wet her diaper, but on this occasion I filled her bottle with real milk, just like they did in the nursery. After the milk came through, I realized my mistake too late to save her. Over the years, her sour smell never diminished. Poor thing.

My second desire surfaced as I grew into elementary school. My dolls graduated into the role of my students, and teaching them math and reading was my new passion. Seating them in pairs in front of my blackboard, I had them recite their multiplication tables. I read aloud for them from an old school book used by my great-aunt in her former classroom, learning all about the West with its wagon trains and pioneer families. The love of teaching led me to earn advanced degrees in English and French, and I confess that it always will be at the core of my soul.


My third love came in Barbie doll packages. As the Barbie doll family expanded, so did my collection. I added Midge, Ken, and Barbie’s little sister, Skipper. Their world grew to have a furnished house, a sports car, and clothes, but Barbie boasted an armoire filled with beautiful outfits and accessories. I never grew tired of creating scenarios and talking for the dolls as the scenes played out. Practicing on my Barbie family gave me the desire to marry someday and have a happy family.

Then a fourth dawned. By the time I had learned how to write in cursive, I began scribbling down the stories floating inside my imagination. Growing up, I used to spend a lot of time in the car where writing stories became my main source of entertainment. They ranged from non-fiction, such as How Pillsbury Got Its Name, to a romance novel, Love Is Forever. Writing has become another lifelong passion where I still find great satisfaction in expressing myself through the written word.

stars orbiterchspacenews.blogspot

Reaching the seventh grade, however, delivered new desires. My introduction to astronomy set my imagination flying as to what it would be like to travel in outer space. Space travel has always made me drunk with awe and wonder…to witness firsthand God’s creation of the heavens…to taste a crumb of infinity. I imagined the vast blackness, with stars twinkling silver against the midnight heavens, whizzing at incomprehensible speed while seeming to be stock still…weightlessly floating past Orion, turning at the Big Dipper, and slicing through galaxies…avoiding black holes and dodging collisions with shooting comets. Even today, astronomy continues to hold great fascination for me—from star gazing to lunar and solar eclipses.


My middle grade years unlocked one last desire when I was enrolled in drama classes at the College Conservatory in Cincinnati. Although I had studied piano there since the age of five, music didn’t spark my passion like acting did. Whenever I was on stage, I found true happiness becoming another character, not to mention how it permanently erased every trace of stage fright. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I found out that there had been a real Hollywood actress in my father’s family. I never met Adele Jergens, a movie star during the 40’s and 50’s, but I think I inherited my love for acting from her.    adele jergens

How did the Lord knit all of my desires together? I have achieved complete happiness as each one has blossomed in my life over the years. I have found deep satisfaction as a wife, mother, and teacher. Now that my teaching career is formally closed, I am taking the next step into professional writing and public speaking to use my gifts in a new ministry called Touched by Him. God has molded me over my lifetime, sculpting these passions and callings together.

But He is not through with me yet…I am still a work in progress. As I yield my life to His will, everyday becomes an exciting adventure where the my ultimate goal is to glorify Him.

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings!

Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing Prompt: Looking back into your childhood, what games did you play? Were they the key that led you to your life’s passions?

Photos courtesy of Orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.com, Masterfile, and Wikipedia

4 thoughts on “A Work in Progress

  1. I liked riding horses & outdoor activities! I ended up marrying a paint contractor & I enjoyed painting along side him for 30 years… Got to spend a lot of time outside. In my days off – fishing & camping so I still enjoyed outdoor activities 🙂

  2. What a great way to spend time with your husband. Sounds like you two are the best of friends both at work and recreation. Wonderful story!

  3. At age 10 was bored one day and decided to cheer my sister up by making her a magazine. I called it “The Fun Magazine.” The first thing she said when I handed her the finished product was, “I bet this is the only issue you’ll ever do.” I was determined to prove her wrong. I produced bimonthly issues of this special girls’ magazine for the next five years for all my family members. Then I went to college and majored in journalism and became a newspaper journalist, and now I work for a digital publishing company where I write and edit. It’s amazing how we can realize our God given talents at such a young age 🙂

  4. How true! You were a born journalist. God has multiplied your talents over the years and you are also a work in progress. 😊

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