Title: On Seraph’s Wings: Memoirs of a Country Girl by Sandra Palmer-Peart
Published in Jamaica by Sandra Palmer-Peart 2010. 140 pages
Reviewed by: Mary Hanna
I recalled reading somewhere that children were not ours. They are sent to this earth and we have the privilege of taking care of them and helping them grow their wings and learn to fly. Then we have to release them to fly on their own.
This delightful and heartfelt story of hard work and good faith is told in simple language with gusto and right-thinking. Sandra Palmer-Peart is a fine story-teller and an even better entrepreneur who wants to share her life’s lessons with those who would like to rise through a similar trajectory of perseverance and grit. Her tale of individual struggle to arrive at owning her business, SSP APTEC, and being the loving mother of a beautiful small daughter, J’Nae, is filled with ups and downs, and is always interesting and well described. Palmer-Peart embodies her own philosophy, so carefully presented and encouraging.
My father once told me that if you were in a hole you might find it necessary to dig it deeper and make it bigger in order to get out. I never quite understood what he meant by that until I went into business. Paying more than four times more for rent, taking on new employees and increasing the office space by a factor of ten was certainly digging a bigger hole. But it had to be done.
This particular hole occurs on her return from Florida where she tries to set up a branch of her business and raising her daughter as a single mom. Times are indeed hard but she struggles through, remaining calm and energetic. Her faith is rewarded and she works her way out of the hole to a bigger and better construction of her company in which all the employees work as a team and raise up the business to new heights.
Palmer-Peart is a wonderful boss and singularly hard-working entrepreneur. Her real life story will grab your interest from the first page. She is a young girl from rural Jamaica who defies all odds and makes it through UWI while working at jobs in Kingston. Her journey is an inspiration and will set the example that will help the reader build wings to give his or her dreams flight.
Every action in this memoir leads to a life lesson. Palmer-Peart discovers truths in every difficulty and builds wisdom from every thought. For example, when she is in Florida with no help in the household or with her young daughter, she takes courage from the swimming lessons her daughter enjoys:
I took her to swimming classes which was more an ordeal for me than it was for her, as I couldn’t take my eyes off her once she got into the pool. She was enjoying herself quite unaware of the lurking danger while I stood on pins and needles worrying that something might go wrong. I guess that happens when you cannot swim yourself.
The most difficult time in her life arises on her return from Florida to try and recuperate her business in Jamaica. The business has suffered from her absence and Palmer-Peart must virtually start from scratch to rebuild. Instead of sinking under the weight of this challenge, she reorganizes her own thinking and from this radical endeavour she begins anew.
I changed my reference point and the universe noticed this and started to deliver. As soon as I had a shift in my thinking by taking control of my mind, everything got better. I went to the library every week and read constantly. I refused to keep worrying about the bills to be paid, the fact that my car kept breaking down or that the business in Jamaica was in crisis. Instead, I made a conscious decision and made the effort every day, to focus on personal and spiritual growth and do the best I could.
The list of recommended reading at the end of the text shows the spirit behind this approach to living. Palmer-Peart offers her readers Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, Success Principles by Jack Canfield and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey among others. These texts underscore the life lessons that she learns as she works her way to success in her business and her life. Her own book takes on the aura of a self-motivated work and as always, she draws lessons from the hardships she endures.
Palmer-Peart writes of achieving her doctorate:
As I got closer to the goal, it seemed harder and harder. It is very true when they say that the darkest hour of the night is just before dawn. I can honestly state that I do know and understand why many persons never finish because it is not about brilliance. It is all about sticking to the task until the job is done.
Writing a book on her life experiences must have been similarly demanding. There are some errors in this final text (like “the share volume of work” instead of the “sheer” volume) but they do not distort the message and Palmer-Peart is to be congratulated on sticking to her guns and writing through all difficulties to arrive at a completed text.
Sandra Palmer-Peart is a graduate of the University of the West Indies (BA. Hons) and Nova South Eastern University (MBA, DBA). She is CEO of SSP APTEC Group of companies and a lecturer in New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at the Mona School of Business. Her life as well as her writing proves that it is not about where you start, or where you come from but it is your attitude that determines where you are headed. She has appeared on leading television shows like Profile and Smile Jamaica on Television Jamaica, CVM at Sunrise and Jamaica Magazine. She is an entrepreneur and an academic.