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My Life and Future Goals

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According to Erik Erickson’s psychosocial theory, I am in stage seven of my life. I am seeking to accomplish goals that make me feel I have made a difference in the world. (Adult Development and Life Assessment, Chapter Two, Gary A. Witt, Ronald A. Mossler, Published by Bridgeport Education, Inc., Copyright 2010 ) I want to be useful and teach the younger generation how to avoid the many mistakes I made in my life. Or as Arlene F. Harder put it; “Strength comes through care of others and production of something that contributes to the betterment of society, which Erickson calls generativity, so when we’re in this stage we often fear inactivity and meaninglessness.” (From an article titled; The Developmental Stages of Erik Erikson by Arlene F. Harder, MA, MFT, Copyright 2002, Revised 2009, Arlene F. Harder, MA, MFT) I am finally trying to get my degree in Criminal Justice with a goal toward being a paralegal. It is something I started in 1979, but put aside because I became discouraged by the background courses I had to take before I could pursue the ones that really interested me. Usually you would begin a story about your life with, “I was born”, and state a date, but I am not going to begin that way.

I truly believe that it’s because of the way my parents live their lives, plus the way they treated and felt about each of their children, that has shaped me into the person that I am today. In the book Adult Development and Life Assessment there is a research that was done by three Harvard psychologists called the longitude research study that evaluated people over a twenty-five year period. This is what they learned: “Surprisingly, the psychologist found that their adult thinking and behavior was not influenced to a great extent by the specific child-rearing practices of their parents. What the study clearly showed, however, was that children who felt loved and cared for were “happier” and showed greater social and moral maturity as adults than those who felt rejected, neglected or unwanted. (Mc Clelland, Constantian, Regaldo, Stone, 1978, P.53) (Adult Development and Life Assessment, Chapter One, Gary A. Witt, Ronald A. Mossler, Published by Bridgeport Education, Inc., Copyright 2010) The love that I felt from my family truly shaped my personality. I will begin this story with telling you about my family first.

My mother, Jean Elizabeth Asker, met my father, Irving Arthur Rogers (Arthur or Art) at a youth activity at the Westbrook Maine United Methodist Church. My dad had just recently returned to Maine from World War II as a sergeant in the Army/Air Force. At the time they met, my mom was sixteen and my dad was twenty-three. In today’s society there are a lot of parents that wouldn’t let their sixteen year old daughter date a twenty-three old man, but things were much different in 1947. They dated for three years and got married on March 18, 1950 in the same church where they met. Right after their honeymoon in New York City, my parents moved to California and they lived there for seven and a half years. They had Christine Lorraine (Chris) on March 4, 1952, Laurel Ellen (Laurie) on August 13, 1953 and James Bradley (Jim) on October 9. 1954. All three children were born in Upland, California. While Jim and Laurie were still in diapers, my parents decided to move back to New England, so that the children could get to know their grandparents.

I (Barbara Lea or Barb) was born on October 9, 1958 at a hospital in Ludlow, Massachusetts (even though we lived in West Springfield) because that is where my mom’s doctor worked. My poor mother had to sit through my brother’s fourth birthday party with labor pains. She has told me that there were times that she had to grasp onto the kitchen table to keep from screaming, the pains were so bad. My dad kept looking at her as if to say, “You want to go now?” Well, my mom waited until the party was over. (Or should I say that I waited?) I almost didn’t make my brother’s birthday because I was born at 11:53 pm. The oldest in the family, Chris, married Richard Berry (now a retired United Methodist minister) on March 20, 1976 in Atlanta, Georgia. They now live in Summerville, South Carolina where Chris teaches kindergarten. They both legally changed their last names to Rogers-Berry a few years after they got married. They had their first child, Rachel, on February 25, 1978. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband Noel Eaton and is due to have a boy in April. Their next child is Mark and he was born on March 3, 1979.

He was married but got divorced in 2009 and he now lives in Cleveland, Ohio working as a chaplain. Their last child is David and he was born April 15, 1982. The doctors found cancer in his shoulder last year and he now wears prosthesis because of it. He lives in New York City and plays drums for a band called “O’ Death”. Next is Laurie who had epilepsy when she was nine. Chris, Laurie and I were all sleeping in the same room at the time of her first seizure. Chris tells the story of how she had gotten up to go to the bathroom and when she came back to the room she noticed that Laurie wasn’t breathing. She told my parents, they called an ambulance, and the ambulance brought Laurie to the hospital. I only remember Laurie being wheeled out on a stretcher. (I was only four at the time.) She hasn’t had a seizure since 1972, but now she has anxiety attacks than can lead to nervous breakdowns. She has to take medication to keep everything in balance. She lives on Social Security Disability because of this. At one time Laurie was afraid to have children because she had been told the seizures might come back when she got pregnant, but they never did.

She married Gene Spence on June 21, 1980 and they had Elizabeth on April 25, 1982. They got divorced when Elizabeth was two years old. Elizabeth has two daughters by two different men. Amira was born on December 1, 2000 and Adrianna was born on July 31, 2008. They all live in Springfield, Massachusetts with Will (the father of Adrianna). Elizabeth is taking courses online for Criminal Justice to be a parole officer. Will just recently asked Elizabeth to marry him and they have set a date for sometime in 2013. Laurie did marry again, but that marriage didn’t last long because the man she married was an alcoholic. He became very abusive because of this, so Laurie divorced him. This past July Laurie’s friend, lover, and roommate of thirteen years (Keith) died of cancer. She is still recovering from that loss. I talk to her on the phone every weekend and try to encourage her to find some way to help others, because in the long run it will help her to be a happier person. Then there’s my brother Jim and as I stated earlier, I was born on his fourth birthday. He married Connie on June 25, 1983. She is five years older than he is and has two boys from a previous marriage; their names are Kevin and Steven. Through Steven Jim and Connie are grandparents to a boy named Dominic. Andrew is their son and he was born on December 24, 1984.

Andy is an accountant (I think) for a big company in Easthampton, Massachusetts. Jim drives a bus for a charter company in Easthampton and Connie works for her sister. The reason there is such an age difference between Jim and I was because my mom had an ovary removed in her early twenties. (My mom also had a hysterectomy when she was thirty-two.) My dad was thirty-six and my mom was twenty-eight by the time I was born. Because my dad was older when I came along, he wasn’t able to do all the things he used to do with my siblings. For example, he would slide down the hill during the winter with them but didn’t do it with me. We found other ways to be close by singing in the church choir together and going square dancing. My dad and I are a lot alike in that we both love to read and prefer to sit quietly by ourselves reading to being around a crowd. He has written a Christmas letter for family and friends every year since I was born. From those letters I was able to get most of my information about my early childhood. Plus I started writing journals in 1978 and have kept all of them. Those journals also helped me with this paper.

I believe that I got my writing talent from God and my dad cultivated it. When I was little we lived on Spreg Street in West Springfield, which is considered the poor side of town. I don’t remember much about our life there, because I was four when we moved to Veteran housing at Birch Park Circle in West Springfield. We finally got our own “real” house when I was a junior in high school. We moved to Jensen Circle in West Springfield and I basically lived there until I got married. Stage one of Erikson’s psychosocial development theory states that; “a baby’s entire existence depends on others.” (Adult Development and Life Assessment, Chapter Two, Gary A. Witt, Ronald A. Mossler, Published by Bridgeport Education, Inc., Copyright 2010) I would say my parents taught me trust because they have always been there for me. They also taught me about God, which lead to me to finding out the truth on my own. In the Christmas letter of 1958, this is what my dad wrote about me; “Naturally she has everyone wrapped around her little pinky. When Barbie (my nickname when I was little) is awake during the day, the children seem to be always pestering mother, “Can I hold the baby? Can I, huh?”

Little Barbie (Did I say little?) is getting so fat that the “spare tire” around her neck makes her look like her head is screwed on. She is doing a lot of smiling and makes little sounds. She continues on her healthy happy way oblivious to the colds that all the children have had and me, too. Just one more fact that has Jean completely sold on nursing the babies. She still gets Mother up at night but time will take care of that.” (Irving Arthur Rogers, Christmas letter of 1958) In the Christmas letter of 1959, dad wrote this; “Barbie is now 14 months old, looks like Laurie, and has light-blonde curly hair. A few swirls of the brush or comb make her as cute as a calendar picture. We all have lots of fun with her and hope that we don’t spoil her because her impish smile and cute tricks make it difficult to discipline her. (Irving Arthur Rogers, Christmas letter 1959) I think those two paragraphs illustrate the point that I’m trying to make, that my personality was shaped by the way my parents felt about me. They loved me so much that they were afraid I would get spoiled by them. I didn’t get spoiled though, because my parents always taught me to put others first before myself.

That is something I take everywhere I go and leads me to the goals I have for my future. My first true memory that I have is when I turned five and my school teacher drew a chocolate cake, with chocolate frosting and candles on the chalkboard with brown chalk. I’m not sure why this memory has stayed with me all these years. Maybe it’s because this teacher went out of her way to do something special just for me. Some of my happier memories are the many trips we made going to Maine for Thanksgiving. We spent it with my Aunt Ginny, Uncle Bill, my Asker grandparents and my cousins. We always had great food, laughed a lot, had lots of music (with my father, uncle, brother or sister playing the guitar and my cousin Vicky playing the piano) with everyone singing, and lots of fun. One year the weather became extremely bad with the roads being closed because of ice. We were supposed to go home on Friday because my dad had to work, but we couldn’t go anywhere because of the weather. For some reason my uncle, my aunt and my parents decided to go see Patton at the Drive-In movie theater in town. Don’t ask me how they got there or back safely, they just did.

I would say that was a “God thing” that nothing happened to any of them that night. I went camping with my family for the first time in July of 1959 and we camped until the summer before I graduated from high school. We almost always had a tent, only staying in a cabin maybe once or twice. I bet if I really wanted to, I could still put up a tent. Of course, I would much rather stay in a hotel or at a relative’s house when I go on vacation. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy camping. We always had fun singing songs, swimming in the lakes of New Hampshire or the ocean of Maine. Since I can afford more now, I would rather do other things with my time then put up a tent, cook over a Coleman stove, wash dishes by hand, use an outhouse for a bathroom (sometimes just the woods), have a cold shower in the morning (because the water was NEVER warm), put up with mosquitoes, or the sun burnt skin. My siblings all went to Rolling Ridge in Andover, Massachusetts for Methodist summer youth camp.

My dad had a sign made up that read “Rusty (another nickname for my dad) Rogers and the Rolling Ridge Runners.” Whenever Chris, Laurie or Jim went off to camp, mom, dad and whoever was left over went camping. I also went to Methodist summer youth camp, but I didn’t go to Rolling Ridge. I went to Aldersgate, which is a camp for elementary and junior high children in Rhode Island. I’m not sure why I never went to Rolling Ridge; I just know that I never did. I loved going to camp because I always met new people and learned new things. The year I turned thirteen I got to see a movie at camp that changed my life forever. It was all about Jesus taking his believers away and what happened to the people who were not taken. I asked someone to show me how I could be sure I would be taken when Jesus comes for His people. That person taught me how to pray for forgiveness of my sins and to accept Jesus as my personal Savior. I became a born again Christian on that day and have never looked back with any regret.

I wish I could remember the name of the person who taught me about Christ. The one that showed me that; “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 2:10, Holy Bible, NIV, Published by Zordervan, Copyright 2005) This person showed me that Jesus is the only way to heaven. They also taught me that Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3, Holy Bible, NIV, Published by Zordervan, Copyright 2005) I know someday I will see this person in Heaven, I will recognize them for who they are, and thank this person for leading me to Christ. I don’t like talking about my high school years very much. The reason for that is because I used to be teased a lot. When I was younger I would cry every time that someone teased me and this carried over to my time in high school. The one thing that I did enjoy about those four years was singing in the high school choir. As a choir we went on a trip to compete for the best choir of the area. (I think we did well, but didn’t win.)

The women in the choir even sang in the background as nuns for the school’s production of The Sound of Music. The only thing that makes me proud of this time was that I graduated with honors. I majored in Accounting and graduated with A’s and B’s. I walked down the aisle to receive my diploma with a yellow sash around my neck that proved I had accomplished something while I was in school. Stage five of Erickson’s psychosocial theory states that; “In this stage teenagers try to discover who they really are, their self identity, including sexual identity, and what they want to do in life.” (Adult Development and Life Assessment, Chapter Two, Gary A. Witt, Ronald A. Mossler, Published by Bridgeport Education, Inc., Copyright 2010) When I was eighteen I started questioning my beliefs and that led me to investigate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormons). I took all the “discussions” or lessons that the missionaries teach people wanting to join the church, talked to Rick (who tried to change my mind), and made my parents very upset when I decided to get baptized. In the end, I joined the church in July of 1977 before I left for Thomas College in Waterville, Maine where Accounting was my major.

I was a member of that church for almost eleven years. I even went to the temple in Maine, Idaho and Washington, D.C. where I performed “baptisms for the dead” and got my “endowments”. I went to a junior college of Brigham Young University in Idaho for a year and lived in Orem, Utah for over a year. It was because of the hypocrisy that I witnessed in Utah that made me question my beliefs once again. I came home from Utah in September of 1986 and met my ex-husband John Patrick Welch (Jack) in February of 1988. He is convinced that if it wasn’t for him, I would still be a member of the Mormon religion. (I was excommunicated, but I’ll explain that later.) I know that getting kicked out of that church was the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m truly a happier person today than I would ever have been if I had stayed in the Mormon religion. Ever since I was old enough to stand on a box and hand out small milk boxes, until I graduated from high school, I volunteered to help serve the exhibitors food during the Eastern States Exposition.

This huge fair that includes all of the New England states is held for two to three weeks at the end of September into the first of October at the fairgrounds in West Springfield. When I was a member of the United Methodist church, they ran the cafeteria serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to anyone who bought a ticket. It was fun to volunteer because you got a free ticket to the fair for every day you volunteered. I saw many country music acts at that fair. The one I remember clearly is Louis Mandrel, because I got her to autograph a book for my ex-husband. I know listening to those acts influenced my love of country music. At the Big E (the fair’s nickname), there are these buildings for each state that look like the states’ capital buildings. I enjoyed walking through each one every year because I always saw something different. I loved watching the horses as they jumped over hurdles. I liked walking through where the rides and games of chance were, even though I didn’t go on any of the rides and still don’t like roller coasters to this day. My favorite thing to do was to look at all the crafts and sometimes I would buy something that I thought was unique. I miss that fair now and hope someday I’ll be able to go back.

I haven’t been to the Texas state fair yet, because I haven’t been able to afford it. Maybe I’ll get the chance to go to the Texas state fair this year. My first real job I ever had was being an usher for the summer theater called Stage West in West Springfield at the Big E grounds. At the time the theater was held in a tent, but now it has a brick building in Springfield, Massachusetts. I’ll have to say that this has been my favorite job so far. I got to see all kinds of musicals, I saw my first Burlesque show there, and I held back the audience while Perry Como walked down the aisle to sing on the stage. It made me appreciate the arts, musicals and taught me a little about life. After working that job for the summer, I left for school in Waterville, Maine. While I was going to college for the first time, I decided to pledge for a sorority that a few of my friends wanted to join.

The worst part about that experience was the week of hazing that I had to go through. On the last day of the week, the leaders of the society made the new pledges dress up in weird outfits, they put some awful makeup on us (that we weren’t allowed to look at), put us in a car, blindfolded us, and drove us off to a residential area where we didn’t know anyone. We had been warned by the leaders to make arrangements to have someone we could call to come get us when we finally were able to get to a phone. At the time I thought this was the hardest thing I would ever have to do, because I used to have motion sickness and always needed to see where I was going when I rode in a car. Thank goodness I wasn’t alone in this “kidnapping” because otherwise I would have never been brave enough to knock on someone’s door to ask to use their telephone. The group of girls and I all got back to the college safely.

I am glad now that I failed the last test which was knowledge of Latin words and what they mean, because I don’t think I would want to be a part of a sorority that kidnaps their pledges. I returned home to West Springfield in December of 1977 and decided not to go back to Waterville. I enrolled at Holyoke Community College instead and attended that college for one semester. I learned something very valuable from my last class at that college. I wasn’t meant to be an accountant, because they have to make financial decisions for their clients. I’m terrible at making those decisions for myself, never mind trying to make them for someone else. After making that choice, I delayed going back to college until September of 1979. In July of 1979 I went on a trip with two of my friends, Sharon and Darlene, to New Haven, Connecticut to see the Osmond brothers in concert. Sharon happened to know a man named Bill Waite who worked in some capacity for the family. During intermission of the show, we went to speak with Bill.

We had some special gifts for the family and we asked if there was a way we could hand them to the personally. Bill told us that the family was staying at the Hilton Hotel in New Haven. We took off for the hotel right after the show, while the brothers were still taking their bows. We got a little lost in New Haven, so the family’s tour bus was out in front of the hotel when we finally got there. We found Bill again and he told us that the family was already upstairs in bed, but he would call and see if anyone was awake. The family’s PR man, Ron Clark, came downstairs to talk to us. Sharon explained that she had a check for the Osmond’s charitable foundation, a plaque for the family, and a scrapbook from fans that she knew. Darlene told him that she had a special gift for Jay Osmond. As for me, I was just along for the ride. Ron made a phone call and said that Jay would be downstairs as soon as he got dressed. We waited by the elevators, which opened automatically whenever they reached the lobby where we were waiting.

All three of us jumped every time the doors opened and we attracted a crowd because of it. Finally, one of the elevator doors opened right in front of us and I was the first to see Jay walk out. We talked to him for about fifteen to twenty minutes. (Or should I say everyone else talked. I just answered his questions with a yes or a no.) We told him that we were all members of the Mormon religion and gave him our gifts. He was very nice to us. He didn’t have to come downstairs, but he did. We didn’t keep him long because we knew he had another show to do the very next day. We thanked him, he went back upstairs, and we left. Later on we learned that Jay appreciated the concern we had for him that we wanted to get some sleep and take care of his cold that we had heard about from Bill. It was hard for us to express our thanks to him, Ron Clark and Bill Waite for all they did for us that night. It came as a surprise to us to learn that the brothers’ grandmother Davis had died that day. You wouldn’t have believed it by the way they did the show. That experience taught me that famous people are just like everyone else and they appreciate their fans.

The February before I took off for Rexburg, Idaho and Brigham Young University of Idaho, I met a guy named Gary at a church dance. I didn’t see him again until June at a mini conference in Connecticut for the young adults. We started dating and he even paid to have my ears pierced, something I always wanted done but was afraid to do on my own. We dated until I left in August for college. (He was in the Navy serving on a submarine out of the base in Grattan, Connecticut.) He told me that I could date while I was away at school, but he gave me his Navy ring as a token of his affection. He sent me letters and we talked on the phone every chance we got. One of the things that we talked about was marriage and when I came home for Christmas those conversations became more serious. On Christmas Eve Gary bought mistletoe and hung it over the kitchen door of my parent’s house. While we were kissing under it, I noticed a box he had in his shirt pocket. I didn’t know what the box was, so I started to take it out of his pocket and ask him about it.

Boy did he get mad! Gary said that he would give me what was in the box as soon as he found a proper place to hand it to me. He brought me to his apartment and took out the box. Inside was a ring box and I knew that it was an engagement ring. He started to open it, but I shut the box on him. I said, “I’m not going to answer you until you do this proper, get on one knee and ask me.” At first he thought I was kidding, but he could tell that I was dead serious, so he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and of course I said yes. We made plans to get married on June 27, 1980, but the wedding never took place. When I came home from Idaho in May and met Gary at the submarine base, he seemed very distracted. I thought it was because we were planning on a trip to his hometown in Kentucky and he was nervous about the drive. Now I realize that he was having doubts about our relationship. His mom had a hard time with the fact that my niece Elizabeth is half black. What that had to do with my relationship to Gary, I never understood.

We got into two huge arguments with her about it. Gary thought we shouldn’t get married, because his mom would never understand and would do everything in her power to break us up. I tried to write her a letter explaining my feelings about this choice we were making, but Gary told me that she would never change her mind. We even talked to the local church leaders about the situation, but they left it up to us to work it out. In the end, Gary broke off the engagement. During our time in Kentucky Gary and I had gotten involved in having oral sex together. I think that made me very cautious around men because of it. I didn’t have another serious relationship until I met Jack. Not that I didn’t date, just none of them were serious. After I came home from Kentucky, I decided that I didn’t want to go back to college and instead I started working. I did everything from cleaning off tables at a steak house, to preparing the salad bar, to being a cashier at a grocery store, to working at an arcade at the mall. While I was working at the arcade, I heard about a school that taught people how to do data entry. I decided to go to that school and my parents paid the way.

I had been typing since I was in high school and I was quite good at it, so I did well in my data entry classes. I graduated with ten thousand keystrokes for typing numbers and nine thousand keystrokes for typing words, which is quite good. This school even helped me find a job. The only problem with the job was that I worked in the mailroom and didn’t even use the skills that I had learned at school. While I was working in the mailroom, my friend Trish started talking about going to school in Orem, Utah. She needed someone to share the expense of an apartment with and convinced me to go along with her. I thought I would be able to find the money, financial help, or whatever I needed in order for me to go back to school once I got there, so in January of 1985 I went out to Utah with Trish. I wasn’t able to find the money to go to college; instead I worked two jobs and took the religious courses the church offered because I could afford them. I lived in Utah for a year and a half and this is where I saw how the Mormon’s truly lived.

They were such hypocrites, saying one thing and living another. People, who had been members all their lives said they didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, or have sex before marriage, were doing it all around me. By the time I returned home, I was disillusioned about the religion and I started questioning my beliefs once again. Stage six of Erickson’s psychosocial theory states; “The adult stages rest firmly on the successful resolution of challenges of earlier stages. Although intimate relationships may have formed prior to this stage, the challenge here is to form deep and intimate relationships. In such relationships, young adults are able to express their deepest fears, hopes, and dreams to another person and accept those of their partner. If the risk of disclosure is not taken, then fully intimate relationships will not be formed, and a sense of isolation from others may develop.” (Adult Development and Life Assessment, Chapter Two, Gary A. Witt, Ronald A. Mossler, Published by Bridgeport Education, Inc., Copyright 2010) This statement sums up my marriage. Before I tell you about my life with Jack, I think I’d better start with how we met. On February 14, 1988 I was sitting up in the choir loft of the Mormon Church in Springfield when I saw my friend Lucy sitting next to a very cute guy.

After the service, Lucy introduced Jack to me, explaining that he was there checking out the religion. She gave me the impression that I should go out with him on a date, but I thought he was her boyfriend so I didn’t pursue it. The next Sunday he didn’t come to church, but Lucy asked for my permission to give Jack my phone number. She explained to me that he was just a friend and not her boyfriend, so I granted her request. The Tuesday after I gave Lucy my phone number for Jack, he called me to ask if he could take me to church service on Sunday. I explained to him that I had to do inventory on Sunday and wouldn’t be going to my normal service but to a later one. He still wanted to take me, so I agreed. Then he asked if I had made any plans for Saturday night. I had made tentative plans to go to the movies with a friend, but nothing was definite. He asked me not to make any permanent plans until the next afternoon. The next day at work before eleven o’clock, a dozen sweetheart roses were delivered to me at the front cashier booth where I was doing my job. (I worked as a cashier for a drug store at the time.)

Attached to the box was a small card that read; “This gentleman would like to take you out to dinner on Saturday evening, Jack.” I talked with Jack at lunch time and told him that I would love to go out with him. That night we talked on the phone for over two hours. During that conversation we made plans to watch movies at my parent’s house (since I lived there) after dinner. March 5, 1988 Jack and I went out on our first date to a fancy steak house. I let him order for the both of us. He ordered the prime rib and made me wish that I had ordered for myself, because I couldn’t eat it all. We talked a great deal on that date, but it wasn’t until the next day that I found out he had been married before. He met his first wife while he was in the Army stationed in Hawaii. She got pregnant and he thought the child was his, so he married her. It wasn’t until the child was born with darker skin than either one of them, that he realized the child wasn’t his. He got transferred to Colorado and she left him to go home to Oregon. At the time that we were dating, he didn’t think he was legally divorced and was working with a lawyer to get a divorce. In actuality, she divorced him when she moved back to Oregon.

She even sent him papers that proved they were divorced; he just didn’t think it was legal. One month after we started dating, Jack convinced me to have sex with him. I was still technically a virgin, so I was quite nervous about it. (Plus I believed it is wrong to have premarital sex.) My parents had gone somewhere for the weekend, so we had the house to ourselves. That was when I finally gave in and lost my virtue. At the time I was twenty-nine years old and Jack was twenty-four, so it wasn’t like either one of us were teenagers. Besides, after that we started talking about getting married and making plans to do just that. Afterwards I felt guilty, because I had made sacred vows in the temple and one of those vows was to stay pure until I got married in the temple. Sometime in June I made an appointment with the Bishop and two other elders of the Mormon Church to confess my sin. Jack went with me because he knew he had part in the sin that we had committed. At the time I thought this meeting was the hardest I would ever have to go through.

Those men asked if I was willing to stop having sex until the wedding. I was honest and said no. I just thought, “What’s the difference? Would it make any sense to close the barn door after all the animals escaped?” Stopping what we were doing didn’t make sense to me either. Jack challenged those men to prove that they never had sex before they got married and none of them could. In the end, because neither one of us was willing to stop our sin, I was excommunicated from the church. I truly believe that God intended that to happen so I could become a follower of Christ and not have a religion that I followed. I did visit the Mormon Church a few times after that meeting, but I never felt the same about the religion again. It wasn’t until Jack and I moved to North Texas that I found a church where I felt like I truly belonged. Milestone Church is a local community, Bible believing, Bible preaching, Spirit filled, and evangelistic church in Keller. This is the church that I belong to and love. This is the first place where I haven’t felt condemned for my past and where I have found friends that treat me like family. Around the time of my excommunication, I finally got a job using my data entry skills.

I worked at Bank of New England (which was bought out by Fleet Bank and then the Bank of America) in the automobile loan department. Besides entering loans into the computer, I also verified jobs and checked on credit scores. Jack and I got into a huge fight sometime in July. He told me that he had gone out with another girl and we had already talked about marriage and had been intimate many times, so I became very upset. When he told me that he didn’t “sleep” with this girl, I changed my mind about ending the relationship. Jack asked me to marry him the night we made up, but it was a much different proposal than the first time I had been proposed to. For one thing, he never got down on one knee or asked “Will you marry me?” He said something like, “We love each other and I think we should be together.” I agreed to marry him and we set a date for sometime in September of 1989. We had to change the date to August 5, 1989 because I wanted Chris, Rick and their children at our wedding.

We found an apartment in West Springfield and moved all of our furniture into it before we got married. We decided to have the wedding at Stanley Park in Westfield because neither one of us belonged to a church where we could hold the ceremony. Rick performed the ceremony, Elizabeth was my flower girl, David was our ring bearer, Dad walked me down the aisle, Chris sang duet with Jim, Jim played the guitar, and Mark took the video of it all. My mom made my dress, most of the bridesmaid’s dresses, and the silk flowers that all the girls carried and the guys wore. All around it was the kind of wedding that I had always wanted, with my whole family involved. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24, Holy Bible, Published by Zondervan, Copyright 2005) Or as another author added, “He didn’t say “should not” or “might not want to attempt to”; he said “cannot”. Jesus teaches us that competing values cannot coexist. One will over whelm the other. Those who try to love both God and money end up loving just money.” (The Relationship Principles of Jesus, Tom Holladay, P. 33, Published by Zondervan, Copyright 2008) While we were dating, Jack gave me the impression that he loved God, but I learned very quickly that impression wasn’t true.

I didn’t realize how much Jack cared about money until after our wedding reception. We had gone back to our apartment to rest before our drive to the Poconos on the next day for our honeymoon. He did carry me over the threshold, but left me standing there still in my wedding dress while he started counting the money we had received as wedding gifts. I needed help to get out of my dress, but didn’t get it until a friend stopped by to visit and got me out of my “costume”. Of course, I thought that I could change his heart about putting money first in his life, but I never did. A month after we got married, the National Guard sent Jack off to Fort Lee in Virginia for cook school. Jack loves to cook and at one time he was going to go to school at Johnson and Wales in Connecticut to learn how to be a chef, then he met me. There were times in our marriage that he would say it was my fault that he never became a chef, because I wanted a husband that was going to be around most of the time. Not a husband who would be gone every weekend and holiday working in a restaurant. I seriously believe that he didn’t have the true desire to follow the dream of being a world class chef. Jack was at cook school until a week before Thanksgiving.

During that time we talked a lot on the phone about starting a family. He asked me to wait a year before we even tried to have a child. I agreed to this, because I thought we really needed more time to get to know one another and grow as a married couple. Once he came home, we did find a square dance club that we decided to join, which gave us something to do together on Saturday nights. We stopped dancing when our financial situation changed and we could no longer afford the fees. I sure enjoyed dancing and still miss it sometimes. My parents moved to South Carolina in May of 1990. I think that change in my life made me rely on Jack more than I should have. I didn’t have a lot of friends, because I had lost most of them when I left the Mormon religion. Jack is much more outgoing than I ever thought of being, so our friends were mostly his friends. In 1991 Jack started to become dissatisfied with our sex life and made phone calls to nine hundred numbers to have phone sex with women.

On top of that, he lied to me about it by saying he knew the person he was talking to. It wasn’t until I saw the phone bill that I was able to get the truth out of him. I promised that I would work on satisfying him more by trying new things that he suggested. I didn’t understand what he really wanted from me until October of 1992 when I came home from work to find Jack crying. At first I thought he was upset because I was trying to get pregnant and he didn’t think we could afford a baby. That wasn’t it at all! He told me that he had watched Oprah that day and realized that he was a cross dresser. Before we were married Jack told me that he liked to wear women’s underwear, but I never thought that it meant anything. Who cares what you wear under your clothes? Besides, I had to wear “special underwear” after my “endowments” at the temple until I got excommunicated, so I didn’t realize what a man wearing women’s underwear really meant. That day Jack sat me down and explained that he liked dressing as a woman.

He even has a different name for this “other person” he becomes when he is dressed. (He calls her Tammie Hayes.) Soon after this confession, he decided to go to Colorado for four days to be with one of the “girls” he talked to on the phone. While he was there he would be able to be Tammie without any condemnation from me. He even talked about divorcing me, until I agreed to let him go on this trip. I also said that I would help him go shopping or do whatever he needed so that we could stay together. Jack went off to Colorado, he also went to Arizona on another trip, and the last time he took off to be Tammie was to New York City for a weekend. This was all before he decided to be a truck driver, but more on that later. Jack is also very emotionally controlling and has the charm to get you to do things his way. He has quite a temper, where he blows up and then is sorry afterwards. There were a few times that he became physically abusive to me. Once he pulled my hair, once he hit a wall next to my face, once he threw a small box of products at me, once he put some pressure on my throat to get me to shut up, and the last time was in April of 2008. That last time is one of the reasons I finally divorced him. I finally convinced Jack that we could afford to have a baby, so we tried again and in December of 1995 I got pregnant.

I’ll never forget the day that I told Jack that we were going to have a baby. He had these weird hours at Strathmore Paper, working swing shift. One week he would work first shift, the second week he would work second shift, the third week he would work third shift, and then he would have four days off before he would start the whole cycle again. I was working as a temporary data entry worker since the last two permanent jogs I had worked got downsized and I was laid off. My cycle was always predictable, so when I was late by a few days I thought I’d better get an over-the-counter pregnancy test. The day I took that test, Jack was sleeping in order to get ready for his third shift job. I tried to very quite but when I saw that the test confirmed I was pregnant, I had to tell him. I woke him up and tried to explain the reason why. He didn’t seem very happy about the news, all though he knew that we had been trying to have a child. Jack became more concerned about how we would be able to afford to have a baby.

I just was happy, because I had wanted children since I was twenty-one and here I was thirty-seven! He didn’t come with me when I went for my ultra sound or when I heard the baby’s heart beat for the first time, so I didn’t think he ever wanted the baby. The only time he showed any kind of kindness about the whole thing was on Mother’s Day when he gave me a card. Since I was older when I became pregnant, the doctor had me take a special blood test to check for Down syndrome. The test came back high, so the doctor suggested that I have an amniocentesis. I had to wait until I was four months along to have that test. Jack came with me for that test and held my hand when they poked me with this huge needle. It hurt terribly and I was glad when it was over. We waited over ten days for the results to come in for that test. Jack bowled on a team every Monday night that he didn’t have to work and that is where we were when the call came in from the doctor about the results. She left a message on our answering machine telling us that something was wrong with the amniocentesis and we needed to call her.

We couldn’t call her until the next day and neither one of us sleep well that night. I stayed home from work the next day, but Jack took off for his job with my promise that I would call him as soon as I got an appointment with the doctor. When that appointment was finally arranged, Jack came and picked me up so that we could go to the doctor together. The doctor brought us into her office to tell us that our baby boy had Down syndrome. I asked if the amniocentesis could be wrong. She said that it is 99.5% accurate, which left no doubt in my mind about the diagnosis. I broke down and cried. When the doctor left us alone to talk, Jack also broke down and cried. That was the first time that he had shown any kind of emotion where my pregnancy or the baby were concerned. When the doctor came back into the room, she told us all the possibilities that we had to consider where this situation was concerned. She made an appointment for us to talk to a genetic counselor and a nurse who would help us with termination of the pregnancy if that is what we decided to do.

Jack left the decision all up to me. I thought long and hard about it, but finally came to the conclusion that it would be better for the baby to terminate the pregnancy. I was surprised when I got support for this decision from mom and Chris. I had always been taught that all life is sacred and I didn’t believe in abortion, so this was (and is) the hardest thing that I ever had to do. We had to schedule the termination around the twenty-one week mark of my pregnancy. It was explained to me that a baby can’t survive outside the womb before twenty-two weeks. It would have been illegal (at that time) to do it beyond twenty-two weeks. Jack and I went to the hospital together. He held my hand, walked the floor with me, and made the doctor give me an epidural twice to eliminate the pain I was in. After a full day of going through labor pains, a nurse suggested that I get on my hands and knees. She had me rock back and forth. That is what finally worked and the baby was delivered. After the delivery, the nurse took the baby away to be washed and checked by the doctor. Jack brought our boy back in for me to say good bye. He was very tiny and all wrapped up in a blanket.

The doctor told me that there wasn’t any question that the baby had Down syndrome. We asked the hospital to have the child cremated because I didn’t think I would be able to handle having a funeral or a burial site for the child. A chaplain came and talked with me after the baby was given back to the doctor. She prayed with me and I felt much better about my decision. I never tried to have another child again, even though the doctor told me that there was only a one percent chance that I would have another child with Down syndrome. That experience brought Jack and I closer, but I just didn’t want to have to go through all the tests again and the anxiousness of waiting on the results. After I heard that Rachel was having a baby, I decided to pull out all of the baby stuff I still had in storage. I never felt right about giving these special hand-made things to Elizabeth. For one thing, she wasn’t married when she had her children and for another she would never appreciate those things as much as Rachel would. I washed them all, bought a frame for a picture that I had made, wrapped them in Christmas paper, and sent everything off to Rachel and Noel. She loved everything and even put pictures of the items up on Facebook. I know that when I get to heaven, my boy will thank me for giving him up.

He will appreciate the fact that I let him be with Jesus and not bring him into this awful world. I know in my heart that he is my guardian angel and he watches over me. That is the only way that I can bear the weight of my decision to terminate the pregnancy. In March of 1996 the factory that Jack worked for sold out to another paper company and was closing their doors. Jack had heard about a trucking company that was willing to train you and get you ready for your commercial license, as long as you promised to work for the company for a year. (The name of this company is P.A.M. and they are based out of Arkansas.) He started driving for them in April of that year. At this time I was still working just temporary jobs, so we decided to pack up all we owned and move to South Carolina. I would live in Seneca near my parents while Jack went off to school and then drove with a trainer for three months. We left Massachusetts in April right after a snow storm. Since we decided to take one of the cars with us, I drove the car and Jack drove the moving van.

He purchased two hand held C.B.s so we could talk with each other while we were driving down the road. It made the trip a whole lot easier. While we lived in Seneca, I took care of all the finances. To say that I struggled with this responsibility would be an understatement. I got us into financial “hot water” by writing bills on checks I was sent by the credit card company. Or as my ex-husband would say, “I was writing checks that my butt couldn’t cover.” The result of this was that we had to declare bankruptcy in January of 1997. I had found a job working for a company in Greenville, South Carolina, but I got fired because I took my frustrations about my finances out on the people at work. (In other words, I had a bad attitude.) Jack came home in August of 1996 and we put everything we had into storage so I could go out on the road with him. I didn’t drive the truck, but I did everything else that needed to be done. For example, I cooked our meals in an electric slow cooker, navigated our trips, kept track of all the money that came in, paid all the bills, and kept Jack company. We rode on the truck like that for five years, without me bringing in any money. I saw a lot of the country that I wouldn’t have seen if it wasn’t for that experience, so I don’t regret it. It just put a heavy burden on our marriage relationship.

We were together twenty for hours and seven days a week in a space small enough to call a big closet. Yes, we made friends with other truck drivers and did some fun things together, but it is not anything I would recommend for a couple to do together. In May of 1998, Jack got put on a dedicated run that went from Arlington, Texas to New Buffalo, Michigan to Lima, Ohio and back to Arlington. Jack loved this run because the miles were steady which meant the money was good. In order for us to stay on this run, we had to establish an address in North Texas. We found a place that rented out mail boxes and that became our address until we finally got off the road in 2002. During those five years I tried to make our marriage work. We even went to Las Vegas, Nevada in August of 1999 to renew our wedding vows. We dressed up, had a ceremony, and even got a certificate from the man who performed the ceremony. It wasn’t until we finally got off the truck that Jack decided to find a marriage counselor for us to see. While we were on the road, I ended up with a cyst on my left ovary and had to have the ovary removed. Jack stayed in my hospital room all night after my surgery.

He has been there for me through a lot of tough times I guess that’s why I can still call him my friend. Just like everyone else who lives in the United States, I know exactly where I was and what I was doing on the morning of September 11, 2001. Jack and I were delivering a load in St. Lois, Missouri. We were listening to a talk radio station where the two guys talking loved to make people laugh. When they said something about a plan crashing into the first tower, we thought they were kidding. Since we were going to be there awhile waiting to be unloaded, I turned on our television that was in the back of our truck. While Jack was talking to the people at the docks, I watched the second tower get hit and both towers fall to the ground. I cried and told Jack that the stories we were hearing all around us were true. Terrorist had attacked our country when we weren’t expecting it. We listened as reporters told about the Pentagon being hit and the plane crashing into the ground in Pennsylvania. We cheered when we heard about what the people on Flight 93 had done to keep the terrorist from killing more people. I prayed for the families and hoped that it would never happen again. Jack talked about going back to the National Guard or the Army, but that wasn’t possible because he was too old.

I wish we had given blood, but we were on the road and it wasn’t possible. We had made plans to go on a cruise for September 29, 2001, so I called the cruise line to find out if the cruise liner would still be sailing. I was told that they would be sailing, no matter what. We went on that cruise and no one had cancelled, so the ship was full of people. I guess that proves that Americans are resilient and can bounce back from anything. Jack left P.A.M. after three years and drove for three other companies until he landed at his last company we rode together for. (That company is CFI and they are based out of Joplin, Missouri.) Some time before May of 2002, Jack and I got into a huge fight because I had gotten us lost on the way to Michaels to deliver a load. Part of the deal for delivery was that the driver had to unload the products. This was extremely difficult because all the products were in different boxes, not on a skid (like most of the things Jack had loaded onto his truck), and there were over a thousand pieces that had to go to that store.

I decided to help him unload the truck, because it made it go by faster. The faster you got done with one delivery, the faster you could get to your next delivery, the faster you would get your next load, the more miles you made for the week, which all meant that there was more money in your pocket by the end of the pay period. (As I stated earlier, Jack cared more about money than he did me.) Since Jack was still mad at me, he threw a small box at me. One of the people on the dock saw this, didn’t like the way he spoke to me, and reported it to CFI. CFI brought Jack and I back to their home terminal in Joplin to talk to him. The company explained about the complaint form Michael’s and because of it they were firing Jack. When this was all explained to me, I told Jack that it was about time that we got off of the road and this was our chance. We decided to make North Texas our home and moved into an apartment in Euless. Jack found a job right away, but it took me a little longer. I finally got a data entry job in January of 2003 working for BNY Mellon Financial.

In order for Jack and me to have time together, my hours were Sunday through Thursday from three p.m. to 11 p.m. with most nights going until one a.m. I did this until November of 2007, when I finally decide I had enough of those crazy hours. Jack called around and found us a marriage counselor in Irving. I can’t remember when we first started seeing Roxanne Scott, but she was our counselor for three years. There a few things about her that bothers me now. She had no one to take care of her dogs or house while she went on vacation with her husband, so she asked us. We did this twice for her, which I know now to be unethical. The other thing was that she never gave Jack a hard time for wanting to be “Tammie” or talk him out of going for his ultimate goal of being transferred surgically into a woman. We stopped seeing her because we couldn’t work out a time to see her when our work schedules changed. In the long run, that decision to stop seeing her was what got us in the downward spiral toward divorce. In January of 2007 the apartment complex where we were living was making it hard for us to stay there. They had decided to combine cable with the rent and we had satellite television which we didn’t want to give up. This change made us start looking at getting a house.

We finally moved into our first home on February 19, 2007. It isn’t a real house, because it is a mobile or manufactured house but we loved it. I thought that I had finally got all I wanted, a real house that I loved. That was until June when we got into a physical confrontation and Jack even put some pressure on my neck to make me shut up. I calmed him down long enough for us to get so some sleep and he apologized later for it. Then his mother came for a visit in September and we got into an argument in front of her. That really upset me, because I hated when someone else saw us argue. In November I finally quit BNY Mellon and I didn’t find a permanent job until March of 2008. I had sent my resume’ out on Monster.com and Career Builder.com, not thinking that I would get a job that way, but that’s exactly what happened. I prayed about my job search and left it all in His hands. I got a call from the main office of Sally Beauty that is located in Denton. They told me that the job was taking pictures of products, editing those pictures, measuring those products, and entering all that information into the computer. I asked the recruiter, “Are you sure you want me to interview for this job?

I have never been good at taking pictures.” He told me yes, they wanted to interview me. There are two reasons I think that I was given this job; One, they could teach me the “Sally” way and I wouldn’t have any previous ideas of the way I thought it should be. Two, I was older than the other people who had been in the same position and I might stay longer than someone younger would. My official title is Plan-O-Guide Technician, but I call myself a glorified office clerk. I help the two Plan-O-Guide Specialists. One is Amy, who does all the stuff for Sally and the other is Jane, who does all the stuff for our professional side called Beauty Systems Group. On June 29, 2009, this is what I wrote in my journal; “My life is getting out of my control and I don’t know how to stop it! Jack has joined three groups through this place in Dallas called Sanctuary. They all involve submission and domination. (He is the submissive one.) Because of these groups, he has been away every Saturday night and doesn’t come home until Sunday since he started going there (which has been about a month). He says these groups make him happy. It’s a place where he can be Tammie without ridicule and gets the discipline that he wants, plus the structure that I can’t give him. I have never been the aggressor in this relationship.

Once I tried to be the “master” or “mistress” and it scared me so much that I never wanted to do it again. I don’t like hurting anyone, especially someone I love, even if it is for “fun”. Jack says that he is trying to decide if he wants to be Tammie full time or not. If he decides to change his physical body, our marriage is over! I didn’t marry a woman and I don’t want to be with one. I am not a lesbian! I’ve always believed that homosexuality is a sin. I don’t care if scientist can prove that people are born that way. I feel that it is something that Satan makes people believe so that the population won’t grow and it turns people away from God. I know the world would probably call me intolerant, but it is what I believe and what I’m going to stand on until I leave this world.” A few months before I wrote these paragraphs, Jack and I got into another physical confrontation.

He had asked me to type something on the computer for him. (He is not good at typing or spelling.) I knew that this involved going on the pornography sites he had been visiting, so I refused to do what he asked. He grabbed my arm and dragged me from the office to the living room. My arm hurt for two days after this incident and we became roommates because of it. This became the last straw for me. I wasn’t going to put with his anger or his life style anymore, besides he had found a mistress that he was seeing every weekend. During this time I started looking for a church to belong to. I wasn’t able to go and worship God while we were on the road or when I was working at BNY Mellon. I hated going to church by myself, but I knew that I had to have God back in my life again. In October I finally found a church I felt comfortable in. Milestone is where I’ve made friends and feel like I’m part of a family. It is where I believe that God wants me to be. I made an appointment to sit down and talk with Pastor Jeff Little, our senior pastor, about what was going on with my life.

He didn’t condemn me, but tried to give me some encouragement. He suggested that I get more involved with the church by attending the next Newcomers meeting, where I could learn more about the church. Also during this time of the unraveling of my marriage, Jack started writing a book that could only be sold at a pornography store. Jack has a learning disability and reads at a sixth grade reading level, so I helped him with his spelling and did most of the typing for him. Because of his book, I decided that I could write something of my own. I love romance novels and at the time my favorite author was Laurel Miller. I’ve been reading those kinds of books for so long; I figured I could write one. I came up with an idea I thought was good and one I hadn’t read somewhere else before. I realize now that I used this book as an escape from what was happening to my marriage. Although I did get the book I wrote published, I only sold two copies, one to my parents and one to my ex-mother-in-law. I had gotten my publisher over the internet and this publisher wasn’t going to charge me to publish my book. The publisher expected me to sell the book.

I couldn’t sell anything to anybody, even if I wanted to, that is just not my personality. I think you can still buy copies of the book, but the publisher has all the rights and I would only get a royalty out of the sale. In October of 2008 I turned fifty and we had a little party at my favorite Italian restaurant. Jack even sent me flowers and a stuffed teddy bear at work. That was the last time there was any joy in my marriage. In November, Jack asked me for a divorce and even had some papers that he had gotten typed up by a paralegal that he showed me. I asked him to wait until the after Christmas because I didn’t want to spend the holidays alone. I still lived at the mobile home, but I started sleeping in the guest bedroom. The only problem with that was the room had no heat. I moved back to our bedroom that Jack refused to give up, so we shared a bed but nothing else. I spent Thanksgiving at a neighbor’s house because Jack was with his new girlfriend. We did spend Christmas morning together, but Jack had plans for that afternoon so I went back to a neighbor’s house again. On New Year’s Eve I ended up by myself watching television.

To say that was the worst holiday season of my married life would be an understatement. Jack had promised to get me a cat for Christmas, but he thought I should pick it out myself. I went to Pet Smart one day and fell in love with a gray colored fat three year old cat. Her name is Misty and she has been really good company for me. She loves to sit in my lap and get any kind of attention that I’m willing to give her. I finally called a lawyer sometime in January and started working on finding a place to live. Even though the mobile home belonged to both of us, I couldn’t afford the mortgage on my own. Jack tried to refinance with my name off of the loan, but the loan company told him that due to the economy they wouldn’t even do a refinance and if they did the mortgage would be at twelve percent. Jack couldn’t afford to buy my portion of the house, so my name is still on the mortgage contract. I keep in touch with Jack because I want to make sure that the mortgage is still being paid. I don’t need the bank to come after me for that payment.

It took me a little while to find an apartment that I could afford. I wanted a place that was on the first floor, because I had lived with Jack in an apartment that was on the third floor. I had just learned that I had osteoporosis and I was afraid to walk any stairs. If I fell, I might end up with a broken hip or something. I now live in an apartment next to a golf course that is a gated community. The gate keeps most people that don’t belong away or so I thought. Then this past November I had things stolen from my outside storage closet (that is attached to my patio). This theft happened because some of the rails that were part of the fence were broken. The apartment complex installed a deadbolt on my storage closet and I feel safe again. I got into a bad automobile accident on March 11, 2009. I was waiting to pull into the mobile home complex when someone hit me from behind. The Saturn that I was driving was totaled and I ended up with a sprained neck. This wreck kept me out of work for six weeks. I wasn’t even to help when friends from church came to help me move.

I was glad to get back to work because my company took all of my sick time and vacation time I had accumulated to cover my time away from my job. I decided not to take the money the insurance company first offered me. I had to hire another lawyer with the promise that the law firm would only get thirty-three percent of any money I received form the law suit. This all got settled without me having to go to court. All my medical bills were paid and I received over two thousand dollars. That money sure helped with the bills for a few months. I had already made plans to go to Massachusetts and Maine for June to celebrate my Uncle Bill and Aunt Ginny’s fiftieth anniversary. The trip was all paid for, so I had to take this vacation without pay. That trip was well worth it! I hadn’t been to New England for seven years, hadn’t seen Chris since my parents fiftieth (nine years before) and I haven’t been anywhere near my relatives in Maine for over twenty years. It was the best time I had for the next year.

Our divorce became final on May 1, 2009, but it took me over a year to get over the depression that I fell into. I had to force myself to go to work, church, grocery shopping, clean my apartment, library, bank, and anywhere else I had to go or had to do. Thanks to my mom (who still listens to my problems), prayer, and God, I got myself out of that depression. I finally decided that I had to go on with my life, because my ex-husband already had moved on by getting married in August. I became unfulfilled at work and started to think about finding another job. One day I was surfing the internet at lunch time and read about the careers that were booming in this depressed economy. One of those careers was court reporting and I thought that job was something I could do because of my data entry background. I learned that there aren’t any schools that offer that program in North Texas, but I had also indicated that I was interested in becoming a paralegal. Because of that interest, I got a call from Ashford University.

They told me all about their degree program and it got me very interested. I believe that phone call was an answer to a prayer that I didn’t even realize that I had made. I’ve always been interested in the law and had gone to Idaho for that same reason. I decide that it was about time that I fulfilled my dream of getting my degree. After thirty-one years of being away from college, I’m back. It truly amazes me sometimes about how much I am learning. I can’t wait to learn more and finally get into the criminal justice classes. As for my future, after I get my degree I would love to work for a lawyer that does legal work for a church or a charitable organization. That way I would be helping people who really need it. I hope that someday I will find another man to marry. This time I am determined to find someone who lives God first and foremost. As it says in the Bible, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.

For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14, Holy Bible, NIV, Published by Zordervan, Copyright 2005) This scripture is something I should have read and lived by before I ever agreed to marry Jack. The other goal I have is to learn Spanish so I can be a missionary with my future husband and go on a mission to South America. I know that I could teach others about Christ. There was a time that I never thought I would be that brave, but I have learned to let go of my fears and let God lead me where He wants me to go. I want to tell everyone what Jesus has done for me and help others who have gone through the same thing. This is what I believe Jesus will say to me when I get to heaven; “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23, Holy Bible, Published by Zordervan, Copyright 2005.) Or at least that is what I am working toward.


God, The Bible – New International Version, Published by Zondervan, Copyright 2005 Harder, Arlene F., MA, MFT, The Developmental Stages of Erick Erickson, Copyright 2002, Revised 2009,
Holladay, Tom, The Relationship Principles of Jesus, Published by Zondervan, Copyright 2008 Mossler, Ronald A., and Witt, Gary A., Adult Development and Life Assessment, Published by Bridgepoint Education, Inc., Copyright 2010.

Rogers, Irving A., Letters written by (my father) from 1958 & 1959

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