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At first glance, it seems like a storybook life. My childhood was spent in beautiful San Diego, California, attending Christian schools for all but my last two years of high school. After graduation, I attended a Bible college in Kansas where I met and married my prince. I went on to obtain my Bachelors of Science in Education degree from a Christian university in Texas, the state where we make our home. I spent the next 27 years (until my retirement) teaching public elementary school and acquiring numerous certifications, including one to teach students with blindness and visual impairments. Still holding fast to a deep appreciation of Christian education for children, I worked consistently in kids’ ministries for three decades. My husband, who is a retired teacher, school counselor, and educational diagnostician, also worked alongside me in church ministries. He and I have a resilient son, daughter, their spouses, and four delightful grandchildren.

However, a closer look at my life before I married my prince reveals the hardening of my heart in the cinders of my childhood. Abandonment, abuse, and losing the only mother I knew took their toll on my young heart. Still, even as an eating disorder was ravaging my body, a prince found me lovely, and he reminded me that God did, too. Though I struggled for years with a past that wouldn’t let go, my merciful God and family continued to work with me until my heart became truly tender to the Lord.

This is not to say that God now finds my heart tender 100% of the time, but He finds it so much more tender than ever before. As a result, He opens doors for me to share my story with my “fellow heart patients” through writing books and articles and through speaking engagements. I also volunteer to assist with the sexually abused. What Satan meant for harm, God meant for good (Gen. 50:20).

I am an author of Christian nonfiction, focusing on Christian living, memoirs, devotionals, and poetry. My previous projects include my book
Sand Crab Sentiments: A Tide Pool of Poetry, my memoir And the Award Goes to … She Who Shed Hypocrisy, as well as numerous articles in devotional magazines such as The Secret Place (Judson Press) and Light from the Word (Wesleyan Publishing House).

I am most often asked to share my life testimony when I speak, and while I can barely wait for them to finish asking before I give a resounding YES, I proceed with the utmost care in considering my audience. There are portions of my story that may be too difficult for children to hear. Pastors and community leaders have been so good about providing another place for children to be during my time with their congregation or group, and in situations where it was impossible to remove the children, I tailored my talk accordingly.

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