Greetings and welcome!
I don’t know what set of circumstances may have landed you here on my page, but I’m glad you’ve come and if you have a minute, I’ll tell you a bit about myself.
I used to say my life is multi-faceted, but perhaps I should just say I’m busy and my heart is pulled in many directions and many things seem to demand my time and I often neglect my blog because I have too many other ‘irons in the fire’. But the truth is my life is multi-faceted; it is fissured and broken and pulled in many directions. But here is where I write about God’s grace to this broken vessel and His love and kindness to my divided heart. So often God uses the very things that pull at my heart to both bless and slowly sanctify me so that in all the shattered pieces of my life I see His goodness reflected back to me.
I have been a mom for most of my adult life and the Lord has graciously allowed me to raise three children to adulthood. My children have truly been some of the greatest blessings in my life. One son, Jacob, has roots close to home and while he works a full-time job he also raises goats on the land once owned by his father and grandfather. Another son, Jerrod, spread his wings and joined the US Air force. He now lives in Oklahoma and though he is far from home he is often in my prayers. The youngest of my four children and my only daughter, Jennifer, and her husband, Josh, live in the Texas panhandle where Josh farms. Josh and Jennifer will soon be the proud parents of my first grandson.
While I enjoy the blessings of being both a parent and a friend to my three adult children, my oldest son, Justin, was tucked safely in the arms of God before he ever reached adulthood. A few months shy of his sixth birthday, I watched him with his red hair gleaming in the sun and pride glowing on his freckled smile, ride his bike down dusty, dirt roads. Then just days later, tragedy struck our household. Twelve years later, twelve years without speech or mobility, I handed him back to God. For almost eighteen years he was on loan to me and God used his life to drastically change mine.
In February, 2012, I took a major step of faith and left my full-time job to work on a book about how Justin’s life impacted mine and how the Lord used his handicaps to open my eyes to the handicaps that lie hidden in my heart. It is a story of deep grief, disbelief, intense anger, heartache, surrender, grace, and over-whelming joy. It has been a difficult story to write, but one that has been on my heart for many years and in March, 2014, My Journey With Justin was published. I hope to someday finish a second book that continues to tell the story of God’s faithfulness as my children and I struggled with grief and the unique challenges of living without a husband and a father, and I pray the Lord will continue to use the words that I write to His glory.
Just a few months after leaving my job, a position with the Post Office as a substitute rural mail carrier literally landed in my lap – over whelming evidence of God’s divine provision – and so now I also carry the mail. I started my position two days after finishing the first draft of my book and just before I completely exhausted my savings. God’s provision is always sufficient and while I struggle not to worry when I don’t have much work and complain when the days roll into weeks without a day off – there is always enough.
Thirty years ago I married my high school sweetheart right after graduation. A country girl who loved sunsets, riding bareback, raising chickens, and reading books perched on the top rail of a fence or in the crook of a tree united with a farm boy who hated books but loved tractors and good, rich, soil. He left this earth on May 18, 2001, but I still take flowers to the place where father and son lay side by side. I know that it is only a shell that lies beneath the ground, but I return to remember them.
I am still a country girl who cannot imagine life without the tranquility of a starlit night or the silent pause of the earth that seems to occur just as the sun drops below the horizon in a golden ball of color. I enjoy a cup of hot coffee in the morning and I like to watch the sunset with my hands wrapped around a warm cup of tea. I love gardens, trees, vines, and flowers and spend lots of time trying to make things grow in the dry, barren, soil of the Plains. While I love all things beautiful including pretty clothes and jewelry, I also enjoy calves, goats, and chickens, wear mud boots and jeans, and am not opposed to getting dirt under my nails.
For eighteen years I had the privilege of educating my children at home. I managed my household and educated them for nine years alone, as a single parent. Homeschooling taught me a lot about myself and my children and I loved every moment of the journey. It was a journey that completely changed the direction of our lives, and now the crossroads lay so far behind us that I cannot even imagine life lived differently. For several years I wrote about the lessons I learned on that beautiful journey in the His Joyful Homeschooler column of The Old Schoolhouse magazine and in the Texas Home School REVIEW and a few of these articles are still available online today.
And as I’ve already mentioned my life is fissured, broken, and incredibly busy and it is always difficult to find time to write – something that has always brought me great comfort and pleasure. For as long as I can remember writing has been a part of my life. And while I would never say that writing has brought me more comfort and pleasure than my precious Lord, it is an extension of my praise and worship and adoration for Him. I have often found myself scratching out words in a spiral notebook late at night or in the dark, wee hours of the morning. Occasionally, those words would find their way into a small magazine or publication. When mere words don’t seem sufficient, they sometimes flow out in the shape of a poem. Words feel like color and music to me and I write them regardless of whether anyone ever reads them or not – I simply must write. When I am not writing I am often pondering life and writing thoughts in my head sometimes never finding the time to scratch them on paper or losing them before they find their way to paper but always I am writing.
But of all the many facets of my life, none are of any value were it not for the Grace of God that holds them all together. Were it not for the redeeming blood that covers my sin, all would be for naught, and it is only through Christ in me that there is any hope of glory. It is by His grace alone that any good comes in or flows through my life, and so to Him alone is all the glory.
Josh, Jennifer, Sheila, Jacob, Jerrod