Colleen C Orchanian
So you want to know more? Here are answers to some common questions:
Have you always been a writer?
No! I used to struggle to write. I would make five revisions to a simple cover letter to accompany sales materials. Over time the words have come more easily. Often times I return from a motorcycle ride or from church with an inspiration and sit down to write. Even if I don’t like the exact words, I put down my thoughts and come back to it later to polish things up.
What else have you written?
I wrote training materials for 30 years while working in the corporate training field. I founded and managed Results Through Training, Inc., developing courses on project management, communication skills, sales training, meeting skills, and management training. It was easy because most pages were bullets rather than paragraphs. (You will find that I still use bullets in my writing today.)
When my son was young, I wrote stories for him and his classmates. Each story was an exciting tale of their adventures, complete with pictures of each child. I had copies for every person at the end of the school year. It is a special keepsake and reminder of the people in his life through the years.
I have also written some cookbooks with my husband and given them out to our friends for Christmas. (We love to cook.)
How did you come to write about the spiritual life?
After retiring from corporate training I began volunteering at my local Catholic parish. Eventually I was hired as the Director of Religious Education, and then Adult Formation Director, working in the parish for over ten years. Through those years I wrote retreats, Bible Studies, educational classes, youth skits, and even a Vacation Bible School program. My goal was to present authentic and faithfully Catholic teaching in an engaging manner.
I began training as a Spiritual Director and graduated from the Heart of Christ Spiritual Direction Program in 2021. Many of the courses in the program were through the Avila Institute (a great place to learn!). I am continually learning about God, about the teachings of the Catholic Church, and about how I can listen better to God’s voice and follow His lead. That’s what I share in my retreats and in my book.
What do you do for fun?
My husband and I ride motorcycles. We have ridden all over the US and Canada for more than 40 years. It’s our favorite way to travel because we get to experience things in a different way than by car. I like it because it gives me a lot of quiet time for prayer and meditation, pondering things of God and what He desires for me. Yes, I ride my own bike. I was a passenger for the first ten years of marriage and then took a Rider Safety Course (twice) and began riding solo. We have ridden all makes (Japanese, American, German, Italian) and now ride Harley Davidsons.
What about your family?
I have been married to Tom since 1980. We were blessed to have a son in 2001 after 20 years of marriage. It was a great surprise and miraculous blessing. Tommy is now in college. We were also blessed in 2010 to have a young woman join our family. Although she only lived with us a short time, she has remained a part of our lives. Jennifer has two children, Maggie (12) and Noah (3).
I am one of 11 children – ten girls and one boy (the last one). We get together for a long weekend every year to play games, catch up, and love on each other. We also have a weekly video call to share what's going on in our lives.