Woman of the Week: Sheila

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This week we celebrate Sheila, someone I have known for 40 years.  A mom to three girls, a homeschooler, a volunteer and a grandmother.  Sheila, thank you for sharing your wisdom with all of us.   

1:  If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why?  Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His great love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” I find this scripture to be astounding & a wonderful illustration of love.

2:  In the last five years what have you become better at saying no to?   I'm a helper by nature & get satisfaction by coming alongside others, rather than being the leader. However, over the years my "helping" or volunteering began created stress instead. When my husband was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in spring of 2016 I was forced to limit my helping to just my husband and immediate family. Now that he's cancer free I understand not to over-book myself in volunteering. 

3:  What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the "real world"?  I'd probably tell them something similar to what I told my own daughters in their college years: Focus on your strengths, work on your weaknesses & always be eager to learn something new. Your outlook on life will influence your decisions & your future, so stay focused on the good in people & situations.

4:  What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you've ever made?  (it doesn't need be financial in nature) Homeschooling my three daughters has by far been the most worthwhile thing I’ve ever done. Yes, there was also struggle, doubts & times to re-evaluate my commitment, but it was such an adventure (kind of a rebellious adventure) that kept us close as a family throughout their childhoods. Despite (or because of?) my “patchwork” approach to homeschooling, two are successful college grads & my youngest has two years left to complete at the U of O. All three are strong, confident young women who still like to hang out with their momma.

5:  In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?  Life in general is so much easier when I am thankful. Learning to be intentional in being thankful, especially in hard circumstances, has brought me closer to family & to the Lord. I've always been a very positive & thankful person, but after reading the book, One Thousand Gifts, I have tried to find something to be thankful (grateful) for each day. Some days this was quite hard, especially while my husband was going through chemo & his outlook was uncertain, but just the process of saying thank-you to God for small things was so helpful.

6:  How has a failure, or apparent failure set you up for later success?  Do you have a favorite failure of yours?

7:  What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months or in recent memory?  A few years ago, I started planting flowers & small perennials in pots of different sized on my patio, which I can see them from my kitchen & family room windows. I have found that the process of planning, planting & tending to these flowers really, really makes me happy. Who knew? Just looking outside as I wash dishes from spring to fall makes me smile and uplifts my mood. My planted pots are a hit with the squirrels & hummingbirds, too. 

8:  When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?  When I'm overwhelmed with life I usually unplug from social media, clear off my schedule, pray about the situation & talk it over with my husband over a glass of wine, depending on the situation. If weather permits, going on a short hike or spend time outdoors helps to clear my mind & allows me to refocus.

9:  What is the book (or books) you've given most as a gift and why?  Or what are one to three books that have greatly influence your life?  As a follower of Jesus, the Bible has been the greatest influence on my life. I am an avid reader & book lover.  My favorite books are usually children's or middle-grade books, which is probably because I read most every book my girls did while homeschooling. Powell's used bookstore in Portland is like a candy store to me! I love to buy books for my grandsons in California, my new granddaughter in Seattle & my nieces & nephews. I've even managed to recommend a couple grown-up books to my 25 year old, which she actually liked.

10:  What is one piece of advice you would give to a woman that you wish you knew earlier in life? Don't care so much about what others think of you or at least don't let it stop you from doing what you want to do in life. As long as you are kind & generous, you don't need to be concerned about fitting into someone else's pigeon hole or expectations. (I wish I had heard this as a teenager.) 

11:   What do you think about the theory of "the love of your life", what does that phrase me to you? I think people can have many "loves" throughout their lives. Sometimes we don't actually realize how important (or less important) those loves are/were until we are older & wiser. The love of my life, however, is definitely Bill, my husband of 33 years. It hasn't always been an easy road, but at this point we can look back on our journey be grateful for each other & solid in our commitment for the future.

12:  What is something that you would find most helpful in your life right now?  (what would be the best problem solved for you) My biggest concern in my life right now is dealing with my aging parents & their medical needs. My dear Dad has Parkinson's and dementia and my Mom is having a hard time realizing that she IS actually elderly. We recently moved my Dad into a care facility & my Mom into an independent retirement home, where neither are quite happy. I don't think there's really anything that will help. It's just a hard time for them & for my sister & I as we do what we can to make these last years as comfortable as possible.  

Thank you again Sheila!