Growing up in a very dysfunctional family involved a military father who was absent a lot and moving often. Home life was an abusive environment and I often found myself going other places rather than staying home. We lived on military bases most of the time and the safe place to go was the military base chapel. Many kids my age met to just hang out in the rec room.
During those times, I heard how God loved me and had a plan for my life. I thought because of all the turmoil in my family that there was no way God even cared. In time, I learned that what was going on in my abusive family was “sin” and that according to God’s word I was a sinner as well, and that all people have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Over time, I began to understand that God’s plan was laid out in the Bible –John 3:16 and God loved me so much that He gave his only son so that I might have eternal life with Him. At the age of 15 and realizing I was a sinner and confessing my sins and turning from my sin and inviting Him into my life gave me the security of eternal life with Him when I die.
I am still a work in progress. Philippians 1:6 says, “He (God) who had begun a good work in you will continue it until it is finished on the day He returns.” He continues to show me His plan and directs my path that I might bring glory to Him in all that I do.
Over the years, the Lord’s plan for me included marriage to my husband Larry of 46 years, becoming a teacher and growing in my walk with the Lord. After teaching for 32 years and being retired for 5 years, I wanted to volunteer my time and had heard about Hope Remains Youth Ranch at my home church. After contacting Melanie, I began volunteering and discovered the wonderful opportunity of learning how to groom a horse, muck a stall and helping a young man work through some personal issues. It was my first experience at working with a horse and seeing how equine therapy brought comfort to a hurting heart.
Today, I wear many different hats as the Volunteer Director, which gives me the opportunity to interview and train individuals interested in being a volunteer/mentor in our ministry. I conduct a Bible Study with our youngest group of children and am a volunteer in our Hoof Prints of Hope program where we take our mini horses to public schools and work with children on the autism spectrum, developmentally delayed, and who have behavior issues.
What do you do in your free time? I’m blessed to be the “grandma” to 5 terrific kids: 4 boys, 1 girl who bring me much joy. Every summer they all come together for “Grandma Camp” where we do crafts, devotions, play games, and go to places like the Children’s Museum, a water park, bowling, and anything else we can find to do.
What hobbies do you outside of work? I enjoy cooking, reading, singing in the church choir, sharing the Gospel with those who don’t know my best friend Jesus, and doing things with my wonderful husband, Larry.