Raised by a fun-loving, atheist single mom who struggled with depression and mental illness, I spent my childhood backpacking around Europe, visiting yoga communes, eating vegan, living on a houseboat, and then an old pony express outpost in the backwoods of Montana. My teen years took a drastic turn when my mom got saved, got married, and joined an ultra-conservative Mennonite church. Faith, step-parents and unquestioning obedience is a dangerous combination when mixed with mental illness, legalism, and heavy-handed physical correction. I became a confused believer with a heart for Jesus but drowning under a sea of rules, regulations, and legalism. I became a missionary teacher and then a nurse and escaped to the mission field, the one avenue open to single women. I taught VBS on Indian reservations and led school for missionary children in Haiti and Africa. All around me was heartache and disease and glaring need. I longed to make a difference but was limited to working on the mission compound – teaching, cooking, cleaning. Work outside the walls of the compound was reserved for the men. On a furlough, I met my future husband – a new believer who wasn’t looking for a door mat in a wife, but a partner. As he grew in his faith, I reexamined mine and what Biblical womanhood looked like. Timidly at first, but then eagerly as I discovered a new relationship with Jesus Christ based on grace and not performance. I left the Mennonite church and married the love of my life twenty years ago. We have made our home in Colorado Springs at the base of the Rocky Mountains for the last eleven years. We have five beautiful teenagers, two by birth and three through adoption from Haiti. My husband is adopted and God used the time in Haiti to prepare me to understand my children’s culture and language and ease their transitions home. Two people in my family have mild Asperger’s and one has Reactive Attachment disorder, PTSD, and ODD. Our house is not a quiet, well greased machine but a chaotic, happy, crazy, nerve-racking, love-filled oasis where we all try to help each other grow and thrive. I am so thankful for my life – the good and the bad. I feel blessed to have experienced so many unique situations and to love and be loved by so many wonderful and eccentric people. It is from these experiences I draw the fiction stories I write. I like to think of them as fiction with grit – fast paced and entertaining stories that make you want to read till the very last page while at the same time tackling real life issues – Legalism, abuse, divorce, adoption, Asperger syndrome, mental illness, etc. I hope you’ll pull up a chair and stay a while. Drop me a line and share your own story. I’d love to hear it.
* Transitioning from a Mennonite lifestyle to a contemporary one