I definitely had my share of challenges just starting with my health. I was born with a heart murmur that was life threatening and required a major surgery that I could have died from. I LIVED! A few years later, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. Eventually, my body developed arthritis as well. In high school, I was diagnosed with ADD. In those days, that usually was treated with medication but in my family, you got lots of whippings from being too hyperactive. These few issues had a huge toll on my self-love and identity. Most of my peers were cruel and talked badly about me.
I did however have 2 teachers who were very instrumental in my creative writing and drawing skills.
The creative outlets were a lifeline for me. Growing up in a broken family structure where verbal, mental, and emotional abuse were normal everyday life… I found myself liking to be alone and creating my own
friends (characters). Because I did sought to be happy with myself and others, I would write poems and draw clothes to make for my dolls (who were my models).
The turning point for me came during a time of praying and crying myself to sleep. One day I had a breakthrough when I knew my life would be more than my health issues, mental issues,financial issues, and the abuse I endured. As I grew and found hope/freedom, I encouraged others that if I could survive all of this, then they can too. The keys I found are through developing -
1) Personal Relationship w/God
2) Meditating on/studying the Word of God (The Bible) and Prayer
3) Praise and worship
4) Helping others
5) Treat yourself great
Growing up as a First-born young woman of many talents, I felt a lot pressure to be successful, and I worked hard to gain that place. I was proud of my accomplishments. Then, to have a negative
relationship (resulting in my husband's death) destroy mine and my children's lives and find myself incarcerated… to go from being a successful business person to the prison environment… was a
traumatic culture shock! I lost all monetary worth and status but more importantly, I lost my self-worth. I felt everyone hated me including my children. It was my breaking point. I felt empty when I fell on my face before God. And in His mercy and love, He showed me I was
worth more than all of that…there was nothing those things could give me more valuable than my own self-love and self-worth. Through His love and acceptance, I found how to value my own self and put it all
in His perspective. I would not be any good to anyone as I was living. It was a life-changing moment of choosing to get myself together, understanding that I had to rebuild me/my life one-moment-at-a-time!
I took the time to focus on me as an individual in every position where God allowed me to be, and I discovered a new me, and I share it my journey with others who are willing to learn. I also journaled through those experiences and have been pouring that into books to help others.
I have been sewing since I was 7 years old, and I started working professionally as a Seamstress at 21. About 31, I began my profession as an independent entrepreneur sewing and designing for my own clients. The moment I lost it all and the feeling of failure, of no longer being able to pursue my passion (my jobs in prison were only hard labor without light or creativity). This is the memory that stands out most for me. The bottom of my life. But - what I gained from the experience is that the positions did not define me or my purpose in life. I needed to see that I could actually be productive and learn something from everything I went through with each job. God told me I would learn how to SOW into the lives of
people more than SEW into the lives of people…that my life would be a living example of not letting one moment of time define my complete existence. I am an overcomer and I share with others that if I can do
it, they can also!
Three things I know for sure:
A) we are all sinners saved by grace. All wrongdoings are created equal.
B) to forgive is to live, otherwise you are just existing. Forgiveness isn't for someone else - it's for you and your own freedom.
C) there is power in your voice; power in your words - use them wisely. Every thought… write it down make it plain and clear…allow it to manifest itself into Go's vision for you.
One thing which would serve as very instrumental for women recently returning home, is creating more safer places to live with an accountability person or team of people would assist her with her
specific needs. A lot programs put women in co-ed groups/classes where most times they do not open up, due to embarrassment of their past or current situation. The majority of the women I have encountered express how they do not have the family love and support needed to sustain them… especially if they have had to change people, places, and things.
Never, ever, give up on your dreams! There's always hope for another chance. We serve a God that is greater than any mistake. As an artist and creator, I've discovered that there's always new ideas that are birthed after a mistake or failure. Therefore, as long as you stay focused and remain encouraged, you will see the blessings within the lessons… learned from the most costly errors.
One of my personal goals is to complete my degree in business and music, as well as my doctorate in philosophy. Another one of my personal goals is to become financially debt free, purchase an RV and travel with my husband doing full time ministry. Another is for thrift boutique that sells my custom pieces/designs, as well as second-hand pieces. And which offers basic sewing classes. This would be a business that will provide job opportunities and volunteer service hours for those on parole or anyone needing to obtain community service hours. Another professional goal is to complete and publish my sewing educational material and have it available via our website… as well as retail stores such as Walmart and Jo-Ann stores. This is just a small list of my dreams, I have many more. I'm an artist - I create all the time.
"To forgive is to live, otherwise you are just existing."