More about me, in case you are interested.
My mom sent me an email recently and told me that I don’t even have my name on my own page. She also wanted me to share some of my personal story too. When I started this blog, I was mainly concerned about stating what I was hoping to accomplish, and why I was going about it the way I was. I guess now is as good a time as any to peek behind the curtain and meet me.
This is hard for me to do because I don’t know what parts to share, so I’m going to go with some of the highlights from beginning to now. Feel free to skip any part you think too boring.
I am the second oldest child in a family with five children. We are my older sister (Karen), me (Annette), my brother (Tim), my second brother (Daniel), and my baby sister (April). Our home was seldom quiet with all of us running around getting into mischief. One of our favorite phrases, when my parents would leave us at home for some reason, was “Nobody tell on nobody and nobody gets in trouble.” My poor parents probably still don’t know half the things we got into, and I’m still not telling! The celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2011 so we at least didn’t destroy them in the process.
I got my first pair of glasses when I was 13 months old. I had such severe vision problems that it interfered with my gross motor development. It is a good thing I was born a stubborn child and muscled my way through anyway. I never have been good at taking “no” or “you’ll never be able to do that” for an answer. Just ask my mom about the MANY lessons I had to learn the hard way because of that attitude. But I was also a child who loved to “help”, so my mom got smart and asked for “favors” or “help” to get me to cooperate.
I was first introduced to writing when I was a Sophomore in High School. We had to keep a journal for my English class. I discovered that I loved to write, especially poetry. I didn’t pick up serious journaling after the assignment was finished, but did begin writing poetry whenever my feelings overwhelmed me to the point that I just HAD to get them out. I wish I still had all the poems I wrote over the years. Check out my book (and blog page) Lessons Learned on Daddy’s Lap if you haven’t already. I returned to journaling while in college the first time because of a Creative Writing class.
Yes, I said “college the first time.” I actually have completed three college degrees and one vocational training program over the years. I initially returned to college to support myself and my children. After 10 years in the military (he did the service and I was the spouse) and 11 years married, my husband decided he didn’t want to be married any more. “I don’t love you like I used to. Nothing you can do about it. I want a divorce.” We had four beautiful children over the life of our marriage; my oldest son Don, my daughter Sasha (who changed her name to Kelyana), my middle son David, and my youngest son Joseph. At this time my children were 9, 7, 5 1/2 and 2 1/2. I needed a better income to support “my four and no more” than my vocational training in Child Development could provide. I also didn’t believe I could count on child support and REFUSED to live forever on government programs. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe in using whatever is available when you need it, but government programs are supposed to be used as a hand up, not a hand out.
After graduating college the first time with my Associates degree in Occupational Therapy, my children and I moved from Oregon to Tennessee. I drove the Ryder truck with my van on a car trailer behind it, while my children read the maps and street signs. It took us four and a half days to complete our trip to our “new future.” We remained in Eastern part of the United States for three years; living in Tennessee and Virginia and driving to Kentucky for church and shopping. Those were lonely years without our extended family, but we did make some very good friends there. My oldest son even got his driver’s license while we lived there. I also redeveloped my eating disorder, that started in High School, which landed me in the hospital for a month and eventually lead to me losing my job. My mom came out while I was in the hospital to stay with my children and, once I lost my job my, dad flew out and we all “wagon trained” back to Oregon.
This was a very dark time for me and only through faith in God, journaling, and MUCH support (including counseling and medication) did I survive it. I fought suicidal urges on a near daily basis for several years. VERY FEW people know how bad it got inside, but my post “From the Caterpillar to the Butterfly” is a thank You letter to God for carrying me through it. During this time I also went back to college because the field I trained in initially was shrinking and I was unable to find employment. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Systems with a minor in Business Management and STILL couldn’t find a job. Things were REALLY dark for me after that. I was finally hired at Wal-Mart and by a local naturopathic clinic. One shining moment in that dark place was the birth of my first grandson, Damion. He is my oldest son Don’s oldest son.
While working at the naturopathic clinic I met my wonderful husband, Steve. I had been single and faithful to my children alone for twelve years. I only had two dates during those years. I refused to subject my children to a string of boyfriends and step parent relationships that might not work out. They, and I, had been badly hurt once and I wasn’t taking the chance on it happening again. My oldest two children had left home by now and my youngest two were constantly engaged in doing things with their friends. I was beginning to feel the emptiness. I was still in the dark place, though it had lightened some. I was also still fully engulfed in my eating disorder. We met in January and were married in November of the same year. We have now been married for 10 years and plan on a lifetime more! Marrying him also increased my count of children. Steve’s daughter Stevena, and his son Jon merged with my bunch. We are now “my four and two more.”
I left both jobs that I had found after graduating for a position with Miracle Ear. I served many wonderful people through that office for five years. One of the scholarships I received during my last time in college offered me the opportunity to continue on in school if I wanted to. At this point in my life I was finally in a good place emotionally and wanted to help others like they had helped me during the dark years. I went back to school and earned my Master’s degree in Applied Psychology. I had great plans for after graduation but, again, things didn’t go exactly as I thought they would. My husband had, at a much earlier time in his life, suffered from a brain tumor. The resultant treatment, including five brain operations and radiation therapy, left him with serious disabilities. I knew of his history when we married and they did not frighten me away. Over the years though, his issues have grown to the point where, by the time I graduated, he was not safe to remain home alone. I willingly chose to become his caregiver, and was mercifully able to do so through a program that hires me to provide his care.
Through the years we have also added many members to our ever growing family. We welcomed our eighth grandchild in 2015 and my middle son and his wife are actively trying to bless us with a ninth. We have (in birth order) Damion and Jared (Don’s sons), Akuma and Aurora (Kelyana’s son and daughter), Eve (Jon’s daughter), Cailyn (Joseph’s daughter), Eli (Jon’s son), and Angeline (Stevena’s daughter). Ages for these gracious gifts from God (as of May 18, 2016, which is Cailyn’s birthday) are 12, almost 11, 10, 9, 4 1/2, 4, 3, and 1. Eve will be 5 in September and Jared 11 in July. All but Eve and Eli live within 25 miles of us and we see them often. Eve and Eli live about a four hour drive away. We don’t get to see them as often as we would like to, but Facebook lets us peek in on their lives a lot more often.
I guess I will end with my hobbies and interests. I LOVE music! I sing every chance I get. I just sang for the first time at a funeral last week for my husband’s step mother. I have always loved children and have ministered to them through many different avenues, but especially enjoy just playing with them on their level. Cailyn and I had a princess/animal party today. I enjoy sewing and just discovered quilting last year. I completed over 25 quilts in 2015. I have a few more to go before all my children and grandchildren have their own special one (or two) made. I love reading. My favorite genres are mystery, Christian fiction, drama, and most any children’s book. I LOVE reading to my grandchildren and making the characters come alive with different voices for each. My two favorite children’s books are Love you forever by Robert Munsch and The Monster at the End of the Book by Jon Stone.
If you have any questions that I didn’t answer or questions raised by what I did share, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you. I hope you enjoyed meeting me and that we have a long friendship ahead of us.