I was raised in a family of five girls were mom always made sure we went to Sunday School and church just about every Sunday; from grade school through high school, while dad stayed home most of the time. I sang in the choir from Jr. High to high school, took confirmation as a teenager, where the only thing I got out of that, was memorizing a few scriptures. I attended Methodist Youth Fellowship during high school every Sunday evening and all this time nothing sank in why I was attending or what I was there for, other than I had to! Basically, I was your normal child growing up, but even in my younger years Satan was working in my life, leading me to steal money from my mother and one of my sisters for a short period of time, just a little here and there. I never thought a thing about Satan being the one guiding me then. I mean I went to church and everything! It was the first time I realized God was showing me his grace, as my mom and sister being disappointed in me, yet they still forgave and trusted me.
I was raised in a middle class family of good parents, a younger brother and sister. Parents made sure I attended church and many of the weekly activities there. Was baptized as a child in the baptism pool after attending a confirmation class with other youth. Lived in Massachusetts until age 13 and then Texas when my Dad was transferred to Fort Worth. Attended the University of Texas and majored in Business. Married in 1961, too young, have two sons Jeff and Jason, and divorced 17 years later.
I grew up in eastern South Dakota with good parents and 4 siblings. I was the youngest for 10 years. We spent most of our time outdoors with family, farming and animals. We attended the Congregational Church and Sunday School every Sunday - the message I got (in church and at home) was BE GOOD OR ELSE!
School was fairly easy for me, but socially I was always trying to fit in...and never really did. By High School, I was part of the party crowd. My parents were stricter than my friends' parents (now I know they cared more about me)...resulting in lots of deception (on my part) and tension between my parents and myself. I was very rebellious - looking back I see how incredibly naive and stupid I was - willing to throw away all my family's values.
(* indicates that this name has been changed).
(In order for the full impact of this story to make sense, it is critical to start with a brief synopsis of my childhood).
My siblings and I were raised in Spokane, Washington, by a hard-working, divorced mom. She rose valiantly to the challenges of single motherhood . . . always at the ready with love, support, guidance and compassion whenever we needed it. She was a true champion of her kids, and a staunch cheerleader. She was also a strict disciplinarian when she needed to be. Mama remarried when I was 7, and we moved to Tacoma, Washington. During the few months she stayed with my abusive stepfather, he molested me several times. When Mama found out about it, she obtained a restraining order. From the day she left him, she raised my brothers and me alone. Under her caring and supportive guidance, I grew to be an optimistic, outgoing teenager. Not once did I experience ridicule or guilt over what had happened in Tacoma. Rather, I was told repeatedly that I could do anything I set my mind to.
I grew up in a religious home. My parents faithfully attended a Lutheran church in Aurora MN. I completed confirmation, was involved in a youth group, the church choir, and Sunday school. My growing up years included high school graduation in 1968 and Junior College. I knew as a senior in high school that I wanted to be a forester, and I focused on the U of MN forestry course requirements during my junior college years. Forestry represented to me the good life, and I pursued it with intensity and vigor.