wave.jpgWhy is writing a bio so hard? Who am I? What do readers want to know about me? Maybe it is these things. I am currently joyfully employed at Liberty University as an Assistant Professor in the Theatre department. I am a native of Cleveland Ohio. I started out in a lovely town called Chagrin Falls, moved closer in to the city so my elementary and teen years were spent in Shaker Heights. I grew up Catholic, my Dad, in Catholic thinking “was not”, but he belonged to a Protestant church. I rebelled and walked my own headstrong way through my college years and right into work and marriage.  College gave me some abroad experiences even living in Helsinki Finland for half a year at one point. I never expected to get married, yet alone raise children. I settled into a job after college still in the greater Cleveland area, married and was an instant mom of a 12 year old and soon found myself raising my family in the Chagrin Falls and Geauga county areas. I started Homeschooling when that was a new thing and quite controversial. I raised 5 children and have a wonderful stepdaughter that led the pack making a total of 6.

My life changing moments involve experiences of grief and loss. My third daughter was a babe in arms, only a few months old when my Mom died of a heart attack at age 62. The impact led to my coming to Christ. I say I am a slow learner and it took 5 kids for me to learn, yet it was when my 4th child was a year old, that I could no longer cope. Cope. A false belief that you can somehow do it all. That is when I turned to Christ, gave him my wreck of a coping mind and said “help!” The next child would have been a boy if he had made it through the pregnancy. I lost him at 4 months and that experience drove me deeper in my new walk in Christ. Following that with the birth of my youngest, this also formed much of my walk in trust. Sometimes I fondly refer to my brood by the names of “Eeny, Meeny, Minie, Mo and No-mo”!  (Hmm, maybe I had better order t-shirts this year for Christmas gifts.)

surprise.jpgLoss has impacted my life even more with a year of tragedy. It started with the suicide of our eldest daughters husband, leaving her a widow with 2 children.   Within 5 months my mother in law, who had lived with us prior to requiring the care of a nursing home, passed away peacefully at age 99. Two months later, my brother in law, in the same facility due to a debilitating disease, was diagnosed with cancer and he died 2 ½ months later. My husband held a lovely memorial for both his mother and brother and 5 weeks after that, he too died from a heart attack.

During this time period I was in the later half of a masters degree program. I watched God provide as I struggled financially to deal with the consequences of not having mortgage or life insurance, finishing my thesis, managing the commercial property that was supposed to be our “retirement” plan yet was in need of much attention and settling the estate. Not a year later another loss experience was with my third daughter’s pregnancy going awry in it’s fifth month.

concern.jpgCompared to all that, it just seemed normal when the building that housed the main tenant caught fire and was a complete loss and I had to learn to be a contractor in order to rebuild and move on.

I was also dealing with the varied side effects of living with Hepatitis C, something we had discovered in late 1999 and had been unable to treat effectively at the time..

Needless to say the weight of all this stress, the needs of my youngest daughter and all these new pressures and responsibilities not laid at His feet in my mind so that I could live trusting fully in Him, required another lesson for me and I suffered a type of stroke called Global Transient Amnesia, triggered by cold and stress while I was at an outdoor prayer meeting. I lost 3 hours of my life that I shall never remember. It was like a cork popped and all the pressure went away.

Resting safe in the arms
Resting safely in the arms of love

I will add to this bio with my Virginia experiences.  I was blessed to quickly get involved in several Grief Share groups, eventually going into leadership there.  Good thing, because  2016 started with the loss of my dad in February, followed in August by my step mom. January of 2017 rounded out the 12 month period of loss with a six day separation of the deaths of my husbands’ sister and brother in law.  I had just visited them the first week of January.  Total shock.

I guess I am a slow learner. But God is ever faithful and trustworthy- as I have learned, even in the “this” of everything that has come my way.

Please dear reader, love your family every chance you have.  You never know when it will be the last time to share with them on this side of eternity. Be sure they know the gift that was given them when Jesus exchanged His life for ours, and thus we join in His inheritance with the Father.