Q. Who are you? What is your background?
A. As I consider this question, I realize that, in my sixty-six years on this earth, I feel like I have lived several different lives! Growing up in the Midwest (southern Michigan) with my parents and sister, my childhood was a happy one, and I guess could almost be considered a “Leave It To Beaver” existence. School was extremely important to me, and I was never satisfied with anything less than excellent grades. Looking back, I realize that my parents didn’t put pressure on me in that area, but my perfectionist tendencies dictated that I get things “just right” on every assignment, sometimes starting over and over again until my high standard was met. This obsessive trait has proven to be both a curse and a blessing through the years, but I hope I’ve learned to manage it to my advantage.
In 1974 I married my college sweetheart, Doug, and moved to Texas where he was stationed for four years serving out an Army ROTC scholarship. Life number two…a gung-ho elementary school teacher who loved her students and found great fulfillment in teaching! I also loved the opportunity to live somewhere completely different than where I had grown up.
The next phase of my journey carried me to Tennessee, a place I have now lived for thirty-nine years and a place I dearly love. Raising a family, starting a Christian school, and going on to serve thirteen years as school administrator brought some challenges for sure, but sharpened and shaped me in many ways. Once my children graduated from high school, I resigned and helped take care of my dad the last two years of his life.
Fast forward to my present, which I would consider life number four. Family remains high priority as I enjoy being a grandmother to five beautiful granddaughters. But I also have some new things going on about which I am very excited. Finally in a position to indulge myself in some ways, I have developed a passion for travel and photography. During the last four years, Doug and I have visited ten countries with plans to continue going and going and going just as long as we can. We share the desire to actively see and do and make memories! I feel closest to God when out in His amazing creation and especially enjoy capturing breathtaking landscapes and wildlife with my camera.
Q. What is your work?
A. As a retired educator, being a lifelong learner is very important to me, so even though I don’t report in to an office or a classroom these days, I am working diligently to learn as much as I can about photography. When I purchased my camera 2 years ago, I didn’t even know how to load the battery or put in a memory card. I have come to the point now where I actually produce pictures that I’m proud of (most of the time), so I’m striving to expand my craft into different styles and become more creative and artistic. Most of my progress has come through just taking thousands and thousands of pictures, but I’ve also taken online classes. Doug and I have a travel blog, and I have a facebook page documenting my journey as a photographer. As I think about the future, I hope to someday be good enough to sell some of my work online, but right now that seems more like a faraway dream!
Q. What is one thing you’ve done that’s scared you and took courage, but you’re glad you did? A. From the time I gave birth to my first child (1979) until 10 years ago, I was grossly overweight and very unhealthy. Never happy with myself, I tried every diet that came along and failed again and again… losing some, gaining more, trying again, and repeating the cycle. At fifty-five years old and 346 pounds, I was desperate and miserable and decided that once and for all, I was going to conquer this issue. I made it a mission and, through eighteen months of obsessive diet and exercise, lost 198 pounds. I was going to be healthy, no matter what I had to do to get there! Since 2008, I have maintained my weight, and this has been the happiest period of my life because I am finally happy with myself. After failing so many times, it took a lot of courage for me to believe in myself again, but it is amazing what a profound difference the weight loss has made in my life, particularly in my confidence level.
Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not, what’s stopping you?
A. I would love to have the opportunity to help others lose weight and learn how to live a healthier lifestyle. Just not sure yet how to go about this right now, but I’m trying to sort out the possibilities and come up with a plan. Praying for direction in this area and hoping that I’ll be able to inspire others who are ready to change their lives for the better.
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. Strive to make the most of every day. Get up early and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Be confident in who you are and who you are becoming!
Q. What’s one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share?
A. As a Christian, I often rely on favorite scriptures. Lamentations 3:21-25 is one of many that I love. “This I recall to mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.”
Q. What keeps you creating when you don’t feel like it?
A. Being happy within myself is an incredible motivator. I’m a joyful person by nature, and I’m rarely not ready to be taking pictures, even if it’s just walking around my yard trying to see common things differently or in a more artistic way.
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. I truly find delight in little things, especially in nature. With my faith, my family, my home, and a daily fresh appreciation of small things, anabundant life is almost inevitable!