As a child at the cottage, I loved lying on the sun-soaked dock staring at my rippled reflection in the water, wondering who I would become.
As the years rolled away the wrap on my life, things I never dreamed possible became visible (both wonderful and traumatic): graduation with the Class of ‘67 from Acadia University; careers in social work, phys.ed. teaching, writing, speaking, graphic design, magazine editing and publishing. My current responsibilities as CEO of LifeNet Ministries Inc. give me tremendous scope to help teens with the challenges families face today.
Following teaching came the birth of my two beautiful sons; two bestselling books; seven years as a regular TV host on “Nitelite,” “Raiders of the Lost” and “Total Fitness – Body, Mind and Spirit;” a stint in provincial politics; the delight of becoming a grandmother and great-gran; 38 years of marriage – and then new seasons in life, following the horror of discovering my first husband to be a child molester.
While I never anticipated divorce being part of my life, I am grateful for the things God is teaching me and the opportunities He continues to reveal along the journey. I’m particularly grateful that bitterness and unforgiveness have no place on my life.
In 2006, at the age of 60 and following the shattering of our family, I went back to school and re-started my life. I registered byDesign Media in 2007, a year to the day after my husband’s confession.
Through byDesign, I not only did graphic design, speaking and publishing, but did a tremendous amount of research and wrote a series of nine booklets to help people protect their families from child sexual abuse, called “Predator-Proof Your Family.” I was determined not to allow the ruin of my family to happen for no good purpose. I wondered how a young mom could ever be expected to recognize a predator – if I could live with one for 38 years and not know it. My book, “Predators Live Among Us – Protect Your Family From Child Sexual Abuse” was published by Castle Quay Books in 2008. Castle Quay also published the legacy journals – “To My Family…My Life” and “My Life Legacy” which I designed as tools for seniors to record their insights, values, experiences and faith for the benefit of oncoming generations.
During the seven challenging years on my own, I prayed and asked God for an invention to help fund my latter years. In the midst of all this, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and forced to wear a (less than glamorous) CPAP machine at night to prevent my heart stopping. When I would wake up in the mornings, it was always depressing to see the marks on my cheeks left from the straps of the CPAP therapy. So I started to experiment with fabrics to fix the problem. The result was the “Face Cozy” – a soft, fleece liner to interface between my skin and the CPAP straps. When it worked well for me, I began to manufacture, package and market it. Then came the “Sleep Cozy – Sleep ’n Spa Mask.” The first sleep clinic I approached bought my entire inventory! God had answered my prayer! Face Cozy International was born in 2012.
Following the seven lonely, challenging years on my own, Morgan Sharp emerged as God’s answer to many prayers, dreams and desires and we enjoyed almost seven wonderful years together. When he passed in Mexico of Covid, I was, once again, alone.
Enter Glen Rutledge, co-founder of Crossroads Christian Communications and Circle Square Ranches, who I had known for over 40 years through all my work with 100 Huntley Street. Married in 2014, we are building LifeNet Ministries together to share hope with today’s challenged teens around the world. I continue to write and exercise my design skills wherever God leads.
I’m still the child on the dock, but the ripples have gone and I see more clearly now. Thankfully, my reflection mirrors a smile of gratitude and joy.