IN THE PEWS: Staying active is in Connie’s DNA

CONNIE-WATKINS

Connie Watkins was a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Church before making the transition to Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament. Now, this is her parish, and she keeps herself busy by volunteering and helping out wherever she can. In addition, she has many other interests, primary of which is writing children’s books.

You’re retired from the Unified Court System of New York State. What was your job and what did it entail?

My position was in the Office of the Commissioner of Jurors. My duties included greeting, briefing, orienting and advising potential jurors when they reported for jury duty. I also dealt with the jurors via telephone, answering their questions and assisting them with their duties. I also traveled to Rome to perform the same duties for that court.

What was the most interesting part of the job?

Dealing with the public and the myriad of personalities. Most people had no idea how the juror system worked. My job was to explain it to them and make them comfortable with the system.

What lessons did you learn?
People are different. Every one of them requires a different approach, a different method of communication. Each person deserves any help I could provide them.

You write children’s books? How many have you written and how did you get started?

So far, I have written six books. My first book came about as I was recalling a wonderful day I spent in the snow with my granddaughter. We had so much fun I wanted to share it with others. I wanted to write it down so it would never be lost. And, so I started my first book. It was very well received and everyone seemed to love it. That inspired me to go into book No. 2. And, as they say, the rest is history.

What do you find most enjoyable about writing?
I just love bringing happy stories for people to enjoy. When someone enjoys my work, it makes it all worthwhile. When I see a smile on a child’s face with one of my books, I feel grand!

You have a number of interests including painting, knitting, crocheting, photography, golf, making jewelry, playing cards and Mahjong. How did you get into those hobbies?

I got started in all these hobbies one at a time. As my interests and experience expanded, I tried more and more things. I found I liked more and more things and even found some I was good at.

Where do you find the time to do all that?

It is difficult for me to find time for all these. I am always juggling schedules, appointments, new and old commitments and trying to find the time just to schedule all of this. But I love it, even when the schedules sometimes conflict.

You also are involved in our parish. What are some of the things for which you volunteer?

I am a lector and also qualified as a Eucharist minister. I sell tickets for church events. I work at the pizza fritta sales and other events of our Social Committee. I am a member of the Mount Carmel Society. I am available wherever I am needed.

What do you get out of volunteering?
The joy of helping others. By giving to others, I receive much joy for myself. It feels good.

You also have a number of good friends. What is your definition of a good friend?

Someone who knows my faults and likes me anyway. Someone I can be with without being on guard.

What does Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament mean to you?

After belonging to Blessed Sacrament for so many years, the change to Mount Carmel was a little challenging, but now that the change is complete, I am at home with Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament. It is now my church, my parish, my people; and I feel that I belong here. I am comfortable now.

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

“The less said the better.”

What words of wisdom can you share with younger members of our parish?

If you have a dream, follow it. There is nothing you cannot achieve.

Is there one thing you haven’t done that’s still on your bucket list?

Yes, star in a play on Broadway!

CONNIE WATKINS

Age: Not to be revealed due to homeland security regulations.

Where you live: North Utica.

Education: High school and college courses in criminal justice.

Former occupation: Secretary, working for the Commissioner of Jurors, District 5, New York State.

Family: Parents and brother deceased. One sister living in Syracuse; daughter Tracy, living in Utica; son Daniel, living in Florida; son Samuel, living in Oklahoma. Five grandchildren: Nicole, Elizabeth, Samantha, Joey and Hunter.

Favorite book: My children’s books.

Favorite movie: “Avatar.”

Favorite TV show: “American Ninja Warrior.”

Favorite musical artists: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.

Favorite quote: “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”