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When I was young, I wanted to do two things when I grew up - have lots of children and write books. Although my childhood had been less than ideal, I was determined to make a better life for myself. I loved books and learning so I studied diligently in school. Academics were an outlet for me. I was able to excel and my teachers were a constant encouragement to me.
When I was 13, I moved in with my mamaw (grandmother) and papaw (grandfather). My mother got pregnant with me when she was 16 and I think she still hasn't forgiven me for ruining her life. Although she loves me, she has a difficult time reconciling that with the fact that having a baby changed her life. Of course I had nothing to do with her choices. By the time I was a teenager, I couldn't handle the stress or the abuse any more. I never knew where we would be living, with whom we'd be staying, or whether her husband was going to abuse us. Finally, I had enough. So I moved in with my grandparents and began attending Soddy-Daisy High School.
At the high school, I immediately developed a close relationship with my Latin teacher and she started taking me to church. A year and a half later, I accepted Christ as my personal saviour.
Just because I had accepted Christ didn't mean things were any easier at home. When others say that they came from difficult backgrounds and had dysfunctional childhoods, I wonder if they know how truly bad dysfunctional can get. Even though I would never want anyone to live through my experiences, they shaped me. I learned compassion. I developed a sense of survival. I became independent. I learned to persevere. I became the person I am today.
After high school, I went to King College (Bristol, TN), where I met my future husband, Chris. We now have five precious children, ages seven to fourteen. I spend most of my time teaching the children (who have been homeschooled from the beginning), writing, ministering to homeschool families, and just enjoying life. My dreams have come true. I have a house full of children and we have fostered over 50 teens and younger children from the community. I've published hundreds of newspaper articles, written articles for some great magazines (Homeschooling Today, Guideposts for Teens, Educational Dealers, and others), and authored several books.
Although there are still issues I have to deal with when I visit my family and I still don't know who my biological father is, I now know who my FATHER is. Despite my background, my husband and I have provided a peaceful environment for our own children. That's not to say we're perfect because we're not. Honestly, on most of these biographies, people talk about their spouse and how they're best friends and such. While that's true and Chris is a great man, we certainly have our issues! Sometimes he downright drives me crazy. But even with our differences, our children know beyond the shadow of doubt that we love them. More importantly, we have also taught them that the Lord loves them.
Despite my shortcomings - or perhaps because of them, the Lord has given me a voice. Chris and I believe he chose me long ago to speak to homeschool families and encourage them. God has continued to open doors and allow me to encourage others through articles, books and speaking engagements. I am humbled by the opportunities I have been given, yet grateful that I can do something to help homeschool parents train the next generation.
These days, I spend a lot of my time just spending time with my children. Sarah is in tenth grade. She will be heading to college in a few short years. We have a very special relationship - something I never had with my mother. I am so grateful for the relationship I have with each of the children. After the birth of our last child, I had complications that left me with serious nerve damage and a permanant blood clotting disorder. The pain is sometimes unbearable, but I know I can only see a piece of this tapestry God is weaving with my life. I trust him to know what is best. It is not my place to question, but simply to trust him and praise his name. I can do that. And I do it willingly.
Thanks for taking the time to visit my website. I hope you'll come back. And if you need someone to speak at your church group, homeschool event, or other gathering, please contact me. I'll do everything I can to make that work out!