This is my crew, seven kids, an amazing son-in-law, and my handsome husband, Scott. I must confess, I look at this photo and think where did all these kids come from?! Twenty years separate our oldest from our youngest. We call this our two families. The first three we had in our twenties, then waited five years and had four more boys in eight years. For a decade I could hardly remember my name I was so exhausted. Things are getting fun now.
A few important things to know about me:
1. When I was ten years old I wrote my first story: The Puppy Without A Tail. Even then brokenness and redemption moved me. Deep down we all know we're missing something. The search to find that something governs how we live our lives.
2. I love mowing the lawn. It relaxes me. I don't sing in the shower, but sometimes I sing on my tiny tractor as I cut the lawn and the little orchard behind our house.
3. I hate change. I like my old SUV. My old jeans. My old Bible. My old horse. I'm an old-fashioned girl.
4. I could live in boots, especially old cowboy boots. Leather makes me feel safe. I blame this on being raised in rattlesnake country. I killed my first rattler with a shovel when I was a fifth-grader because I was home alone and the snake was headed for the front porch.
5. I was born a redhead. Scott says God is still trying to beat that stubborn little red-haired girl out of me.
6. I was a Future Farmers of America sweetheart and raised hogs in high school. I also grew up in 4-H, showing dogs, bunnies, horses, and eventually pigs. I learned to sew in 4-H, but was never good at stuff that required patience.
7. I love math. Okay, that's a lie. I despise math. English is my thing. I left the University Nevada-Reno two classes short of graduating (one of those classes algebra) because I'd just gotten married and wanted to be a wife more than I wanted to be a college graduate. Plus I didn't think I needed a diploma to be a writer. Oh, the arrogance of youth.
8. I don't know how it happened, but I'm a morning girl now, and get up before the horizon brightens to drink my cream and sugar with a splash of coffee. Watching the sunrise feels like a sacred moment. Like this is the first day of the rest of my life and I don't want to miss a moment of it.
9. I want to be a grandma, and when I become a grandma, I want our grand kids to call me "Poppy." Scott laughs at this and says, "You will end up "Poopie" because little ones learning to talk will mess up your name. Well, my grandpa nicknamed me "Poopie Pants" when I was two-years-old running through the orchard and my family shortened it to "Poopie" so I'm used to being called "Poopie."
10. The hardest things in life have been the best things. All seven of my pregnancies were hard, but this gave us beautiful babies. Melanoma was hard, but it granted the perspective that life is a gift, and I want to live the rest of my days truthfully, gently, and bravely. Really loving Jesus is hard. It's turning the other cheek, loving your enemies, and blessing those who curse you, but I can't imagine not loving Jesus. He's everything to me.