Director of Family Ministries
Leads Community West Kids, coordinates volunteers, serves as lead teacher
Also responsible for church communication strategy, various special projects
What's your favorite zoo animal?
Orangutans—at my most recent National Zoo visit, I watched an orangutan family play on the ground and on the high wires for over an hour!
What's your favorite family tradition?
We decorate our home for EVERY holiday from Christmas to the First Day of Spring to Hobbit Day. Lots of candles, do-dads, and themed trinkets are utilized with meals designed to amp up each celebration.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My challenge is to sustain an adventuresome Christ-focused life that includes worship, family, friends, ministry work, and those necessary, un-fun adult responsibilities like finances, home and car maintenance, managing my dog hair collection, and hanging up my clothes.
What does your perfect day look like?
An extraordinary day for me would include extra cups of coffee, meals with family, friends, and grandkids, a long walk, reading a few pages of a good book, munching on a proper portion of peanut M&Ms, and exploring a new nook by foot, car, or bike, knowing the Lord is hovering near it all.
Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?
Galapagos Island is a spot off the South American coastline that I long to explore. It’ll help me toward my ongoing life goal of touching foot in unique places. Plus I’ll get a close up look at a few of the most unusual sea and land creatures that God ever designed!
What motivates you as you do ministry at Community West?
A quote that I love from an unknown author is "Passion: What I’d miss a meal for." My passion is to lead a meaningful life centered around relationships with people and with my Lord. It dovetails ideally with my calling to family ministry and communications. My hope is to make a positive difference in one small corner of God’s world. As a dedicated life-long student of life and God’s ways, I’ll gladly miss many a meal to fulfill all that God has for me, including doing life with Community West.
Life before God was unfocused in my younger years, but I always wanted to be the “good” girl, looking for ways to please, to excel, and to matter. While I was baptized in my hometown church and was sincere in accepting Jesus at 13, I was profoundly transformed by a children’s sermon 3 years later. It’s still crystal clear in my memory: Jesus saved me at 13 for a love relationship with him in spite of my selfish and sinful ways. The Lord showed me at age 16 that he fashioned me with gifts and personality to serve Him and to make a difference in people’s lives.
In college, I got distracted from God’s ways. After a marketing job brought me to Richmond at 24 years old, I knew down deep something major was missing. God put a co-worker on my path who invited me to St. Giles Presbyterian Church; there I experienced tremendous spiritual growth in community. That co-worker became one of my dearest friends, and a guy I sang with in choir became my husband. God’s handprints of grace were all over life in my twenties.
In my 30s blessings abounded: marriage, an instant family with four step-daughers, a small group to do life with, and the miracle of our daughter Leah’s birth. At 41 however, I struggled through my first cancer battle when Leah was just 7. God saved me, not just physically, but spiritually from going totally brittle. Like others have experienced, God used my brush with death to be re-awakened to my first love and for His good.
Just shy of 10 years cancer-free and completing my graduate program with a Master's of Education, I was slammed hard with a second cancer. God chose to save me for this earthly life again, though another 18 months of treatments ravaged me. While the why’s of this crisis may never be revealed to me, I’m alive and have a second miracle of possible long life again. I am so grateful that I get to wake up here to continue on the path God has for me.
Now in my fifties, the Lord continues to anoint my days with spiritual and physical energy to pursue new adventures in the midst of my husband’s health limitations. Ministry work stretches my imagination, more grandchildren widen my heart, and friendships continue to deeply enrich my life. Currently, I am an awed witness, watching God’s ample hands create stunning beauty by continuously entwining the loveliest and the ugliest moments of life. When I awaken each morning, I know that God is near. He is always faithful to envelop me with enough mercy and grace for whatever is next.