I didn’t decide to become a writer until halfway through college. I had written a few poems when I was young, but they were lost somewhere in time. A high school English teacher encouraged me, but I wasn’t ready. I started out at the University of Dubuque in Applied Art.
If I hadn’t gone there my first year of college, I would have missed one of the greatest experiences in my life—singing in the University of Dubuque accapella choir under Donald Prindle. I just wish I had a record of our music that year. It remains only an inspiring memory.
I loved music. I sang in the church choir and I played piano. In 4-H, I sang the four-leaf-clover song at the county competition and won, going on to win the state title of 1957 Four-Leaf-Clover girl.
The Iowa Farm
I had grown up on an Iowa farm that cultivated my love of nature and animals. I often walked in a wooded pasture with a dog, listening to a woodpecker’s call or a squirrel’s chatter. Evenings, when chores were done, Dad and I and his parents would sometimes sit on the back porch and talk and enjoy the peaceful ending of the day.
We had an old tractor, but we also had a team of gray Percherons to work on our 160 acres. Grandpa Moats was an old horseman with plenty of horse stories that fueled my passion for horses. One day when I was 10, he lifted me up on Bell, one of the team, and after that I rode her whenever I could.
After earning a journalism degree from Iowa State University, I wrote radio commercials, then worked for a newspaper in the women’s department plus a short time doing religious news. I also wrote scripts for both audio and video training programs. After getting a horse for my 39th birthday. I began to write about horses.
For twenty years, I wrote a column for the Illinois Horse Network newspaper under the heading, Sometimes God Uses Horses. My first book, Sometimes a Woman Needs a Horse, was about my experiences learning to train my first horse and seeing a parallel between horse training and Christian discipleship. During that time, I became obsessed with distance riding. Later, I published a collection of stories by many horse owners in MARES! (ya gotta love em), prompted by my experiences with a new mare, Lady, a headstrong black Tennessee Walking horse.
In 2013, I lost a son who had struggled with a terminal cancer for four years. I wrote a memoir to share how God helped me through that difficult time by leading me on a pilgrimage in a nearby secluded field as I walked our dog. Writing Beyond the Visible Edge helped in my healing, along with finding God’s presence in the peaceful influence of nature.
Pressing on for the Prize
Life has many stages. And now, as I deal with the aftermath of many losses in my life, including friends, dogs, horses and a son, I have to come to terms with being able to do less. Quoting Philippians 3:12-14 rephrased in my own words, I do not consider myself to have achieved my goal yet, but I press on to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”