The Fine Line, part 4, by guest essayist Amy Fernaays

Besides his family, the reservists’ has the added worry concerning his job. In our economic climate today, it is very possible that his job could be phased out or the company could close. Many National Guardsmen work for fire departments, police, and in hospital; which can cause a hardship for a small community when a unit is called up. (Jim Garmone 2004)
“’Large corporations have the depth to absorb a year-long loss of personnel,’ Said a state Guard official. ‘Smaller companies do not.’ Some companies have continued the Guardsmen’s medical coverage. Still others have made up the difference between the Guardsmen’s civilian pay and their military salaries.” states Garmone.
Some reservists’ take a pay cut when they are activated because their civilian salary is not connected to their military pay. The soldier must be prepared for the loss of certain income, benefits, retirement contributions and other investments.
Even though reservists are worried about their jobs, and benefits the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) does try to protect reservists. Judy Greenwald reports, “’Typically, the employer must reinstate within two weeks of the application for re-employment,’ Ms. Farmer said. ‘If there’s been several years of active duty the regulations recognize that it may take a little bit more time because you have to open up a position, which can mean laying off another employee or transferring someone else.’”
Judy Greenwald discloses, “Thousands of veterans could return to the workforce given President Barack Obama’s commitment to withdraw 23,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the summer and his plan to turn security entirely over to the Afghan government by 2014.”
This could spell trouble for businesses because some issues have already surfaced. One of those problems is that the USERRA is ambiguous in its wording. As troops begin returning home; reservists wishing to return to their civilian jobs are faced with employers unprepared to re-instate them. (Greenwald 2012)
Judy Greenwald asserts, “’Employers have to pay close attention to deadlines regarding how soon they have to bring the veterans back, which depends on factors including the length of time the service member was deployed and whether he or she was injured,’ said Shannon D. Farmer, a partner with law firm Ballard Spahr L.L. P. in Philadelphia.
It may seem that this act favors veteran’s and be a hardship for businesses, but this act doesn’t help veteran’s if there job has been completely phased out due to the recession or if the company has shut down. For a reservists income is only obtained through employment. Once they are out-processed from their active duty tour their income, and benefits come from a civilian job. This puts a large amount of stress on a returning soldier to become re-employed as quickly as possible. Knowing that you will have to fight for your job after spending a year fighting for your country is a hard pill to swallow for most reservists.

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The Fine Line, Part 3, by Guest Essayist Amy Fernaays

The composition of America’s military has changed a lot in the past 20 years. With increasing military budget cuts the military began shifting more of its assets, i.e. military soldiers, into the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR). This creates a workforce military. A workforce military transfers a majority of the financial responsibility on the worker and on companies to support the soldier and their families. There are approximately 550,000 Army National Guard and Reserve in the IRR. (Zoroya 2012) About 188,000 reservists are serving on active duty. That leaves a large military reserve army being supported by businesses and corporations. (Garamone 2004)
Even though the Ready Reserve was established in 1908 it wasn’t used very much because we had a large military force. As times have changed and the economy puts pressure on the country to finance an affordable military this brings the Ready Reserve to the forefront of the battlefield. The military has to turn to the surplus of qualified and skilled soldiers in order to fight any war or conflict the U.S. engages in.
America has been engaged in many wars, conflicts and humanitarian reliefs since the 1980’s. From Desert Storm to the War on Terrorism soldiers have been and are currently deployed to various foreign countries fighting many battles. When a conflict or war is initiated the need for more qualified and trained soldiers’ increases. This is where the IRR can be activated and used to its full potential. An example of this is the 30th Heavy Separate Brigade that was deployment on February 12, 2004. The brigade includes units from New York, Minnesota, Maryland, California, West Virginia, and Illinois.(Jim Garamone 2004) Jim Garamone states, “The core of the brigade is the 3,500 members of the Old Hickory Brigade base in Clinton, North Carolina. This brigade will serve with the 1st Infantry in Iraq.”
Being the largest activated reserve military doesn’t come without drawbacks. The differences between enlisted, and reservists become more apparent during a deployment. For many reservists they will leave behind a family and a job. The military has concentrated support on the base for active duty families. This doesn’t work for the reservists, whose family might be hundreds of miles from a military base. There are new organizations forming every year to help the reservist family with support. (Jim Garmone 2004)

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The Fine Line, Part 2, by Guest Essayist Amy Fernaays

New laws add to the confusion, and businesses are having a difficult time understanding the obligation they have to a returning employee. Organizations, companies, and the government are trying to find solutions that help meet the needs of the workforce soldier, the Reservist.
To understand, you must first know what an Individual Ready Reservist (IRR) is and why they are important.
Since 1908 there has been a Ready Reserve of soldiers that waited until they were needed to defend America. The IRR was a small army of men, skilled in various areas that would be able to fill the gaps in the active duty brigade. The concept remains the same, but the evolution of the reserves has changed into what we know today. (Tillson 2006)
A person who joins the reserves will have many of the same experiences of an active duty soldier. They will both attend basic training (Army/Coast Guard), boot camp (Marines/Navy), basic military training (Air Force), or basic combat training (National Guard). Once basic training is completed; the next step is Advanced Individual Training (A.I.T. Army), or School of Infantry (S.O.I. Marines) to become educated in the M.O.S. (Military Occupational Specialty) of choice. If the reservist has completed civilian education in their desired M.O.S. they may be able to skip A.I.T. This process can take up to six months or more depending on necessary schooling. [U.S. Army and U.S. Marines.com]
This is where the reservists and enlisted soldier will part ways. The reservist will be assigned to a post. Once assigned and out-processed, the reservist will report to their post commander and receive information on when to report for duty. Reporting for duty will consist of one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. (Army.com reservists)
Reservists are only compensated during “active” duty periods. On average a reservists earns around $3,000-5,000 a year for one weekend a month and two weeks a summer. (Army.com benefits)They do not receive many of the benefits that active duty members enjoy. This makes their civilian job the main source of income, health care benefits, and retirement.
The military used to be made up of many active duty members, but it is very expensive to have a large active duty military and in recent years our economy has put a strain on the military system.

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The Fine Line, Part 1, by Guest Essayist Amy Fernaays

This is a nine-page essay written by one of my friends from college. I’m going to break it up over several posts. Her essay is about the problem of men and women serving in the armed forces and coming home to find that there are no jobs for them.

“Inside the Churchville Veterinary Hospital, veterinarian Rick Parsons is busy performing cancer surgery on a 5 year old German shepherd.

It’s a bitter winter afternoon, and Parsons’ friend and accountant, Dave Young, has stopped by to go over some financial records. Stepping outside the operating room, Parsons asks his friend if he would like to watch. Glancing at the bloodstained operating table, Young politely declines.

But Young says he’s happy to see his buddy again wielding a surgeon’s knife. Parsons is just glad to see Young back handling the practice’s books.

Both Young and Parsons are part-time soldiers, majors in the Army Reserve whose recent tours of active duty in Afghanistan wrenched them from their lives in western New York for a year each, nearly destroying Parson’s veterinary practice and putting strains on Young’s tiny accounting firm.

When Parsons came home after a yearlong call-up to Afghanistan in August 2003, he was within a month of having to file bankruptcy papers. He’d been unable to find another doctor to fill in during his absence. Meanwhile, Young spent most of 2002 in Afghanistan, forcing his wife to go to work with his father to keep clients from abandoning Young and Co., the small firm he had started five years earlier.

The lives of these two officers and a half dozen of their Army Reserve comrades in Rochester offer a window into the growing strains that many warn are threatening to break America’s part-time military,” explains Dave Moniz.

Flash forward ten years and the stories are even more bleak than anticipated. An economic recession sent our economy into a downward spiral. Businesses closed, jobs were outsourced, or eliminated completely. The job market is small and the competition is high. Not only are reservists returning to civilian life, but are now in a new battle. The new battle is for the jobs they left behind.

To be continued…..

Works cited

“Back From War, Still In a Fight.” Albany Times Union [Alban, NY] 19 Nov. 2009: C1. New York State
Newpapers. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.
http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA212515070&v=2.1&u=finger_main&it=r&p=SPN.SP04&sw=w
“Enlist, Reenlist, Benefits | Army.com.” Enlist, Reenlist, Benefits | Army.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

Garamone, Jim. “Deploying Unit Shows Differences Between Active, Reserve.” Defense.gov News
Article: Deploying Unit Shows Differences Between Active, Reserve. U.S. Department of Defense,
14 Feb. 2004. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=27318&gt;.

Greenwald, Judy. “Guidelines Welcomed on Reservists’ benefits; Regulations expected to help as
troops return.” Business Insurance 27 Dec. 2004: 1. General OneFile. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.
http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.flcc.edu/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA126592248&v2.1&u=finger_ma
in&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w

Greenwald, Judy. “Soldiers Return to Civilian Jobs; Veteran’s Rights Put Compliance on us Former
Employees.” Business Insurance 18 June 2012: 0001. General OneFile. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.
http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.flcc.edu/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA293898454&v=2.1&u=finger_
main&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w
Geisel, Jerry. “Law Outlines Employers’ Duty; Call-up of U.S. Reservists Triggers Benefit Obligations.”
Business Insurance 24 Sept. 2001: 26. General OneFile. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.
http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.flcc.edu/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA78734558&v=2.1&u=finger_
main&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w
Lenckus, Dave. “Easing Return to Civilian Life a Must; Employers urged at PRIMA to Consider
Veterans’ Special Needs.” Business Insurance 25 June 2007: 4. General OneFile. Web. 19 Nov.
2012.
http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.flcc.edu/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA165794096&v=2.1&u=finger_
main&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w
Greencard, Samuel. “When Johnny or Janey Comes Marching Home.” Workforce Management 90.6
(2011): 4-4. Academic Search Complete. Web 19 Nov. 2012.
http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.flcc.edu/login/aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=61337538&#038;
site=ehost-live
Moniz, Dave. ” Guardsmen, Reservists Hit Hard at Home by Call-ups.” USATODAY.com – Guardsmen,
Reservists Hit Hard at Home by Call-ups. n.p., 07 Feb. 2005. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.
Tillson, John C.F. “Landpower and the reserve components.” Joint Force Quarterly Dec.2004:41+. General
OneFile. Web 5 Dec. 2012
Zoroya, Gregg. “Army to Expand Citizen Soldiers’ Traning Periods.” USATODAY.COM. N.p., 30 July 2012. Web.
10 Dec. 2012.

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Joining The Conversation

Two semesters ago I took Introduction to Literature; one of the textbooks we used was called Joining the Conversation. That meant reading what has been written about each topic we chose to write about, and then writing with the idea of adding something to the “conversation” that had not already been said; in other words, adding our unique viewpoint to the ongoing conversation about our topic. I am joining the conversation about a topic that has been widely discussed and argued by both sides. A lot of people had voiced their opinions on this topic, and it is one of the hot button issues of my generation. This is the most difficult blog I have had to write so far, but it is one I feel needed to be written.

My topic is abortion. Anyone willing to be honest will agree with me that abortion is wrong. Those who call themselves pro-choice have successfully moved the debate away from whether the act of abortion itself is right or wrong; now the debate is about a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body; but this is not the removal of an appendix, or one’s tonsils that we are talking about here, if it were, then they would have a case; but we are not talking about a body part, we are talking about a living human being, a baby who is its own person, not merely an extension of its mother. So that is my first point, let’s bring the abortion debate back to the ground it belongs on; the question is, is it right or wrong to take the life of an unborn child? Did it become right when it became legal? Why is it wrong to have the death penalty? Is it really wrong to put a convicted criminal to death, but right to put an innocent child to death for the weakest of reasons?

My next point; who profits from abortions? The answer is, a lot of people; abortion is big business, and from what I can see, it is a growing industry. If abortions were legally free, and abortion providers were no longer making money off this procedure, would they still fight as hard to keep it going? I think not.
My third point is the most powerful, and will convince all but the most hardened. A picture is worth a thousand words. These speak volumes. Most of these photos came from http://www.amightywind.com

This is a picture of aborted babies stuffed into a garbage bag.

This is a picture of a mother in China who was a victim of a forced abortion, performed by the state. Her murdered child is lying next to her. Sure, this picture could have been faked, but please ask yourself why anyone would fake a picture like this? Anyone who has morals has to agree that abortion is wrong, and a person with morals is not then going to turn around and lie.

Write to me and tell me how this is right.

Or how about this one, can you justify this. I believe this are real pictures, the truth of abortion portrayed in this picture is worse than anything a person could make up.

There are not enough words in the world to describe how awful this is.

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The Power of Networking Part 3

Tarkus:

Starting a company can be expensive, but there are ways to get started. Many companies with whom I deal have startup costs that are almost as expensive as their operational costs. People costs can be very expensive, but people can be your best assets. Wise hiring helps the people who help you operate your business be your best ambassadors to the community to help you establisher your business and grow.

If you don’t already watch Shark Tank, go on the web and get caught up on past episodes. I have presented to small groups and I have presented to some of the major investment companies in New York City (West 50s and Wall Street). The amounts are different, the levels of involvement are different, but the basic ideas that concern investors are very similar to what you see on Shark Tank. It is even better if you can grow your business without the need for investors (and there are many kinds of investors).

Whether you face a shark or an angel investor, there are many similar issues that you should address in your business plan (and you SHOULD have or create a business plan – another area where SBDC can help):

• Do you know your market (and competition)?
• Why is your product going to reach that market?
• Have you properly valued your company at the time of the presentation?
• Have you paid yourself? (Many people don’t – this is an unstated liability)?
• Are you invested in your business (level of personal or financial commitment)?
• Can your product be sold to the market that you have targeted?
• What is your potential for growth?
• For investors: What is your “exit strategy”?

If you intend to stay in a long term business, you r “exit” may not be a “liquidity event” (new funding round, IPO, Merger and/or Acquisition, etc.) but a funding milestone. When you get from “seed stage” to the next stage, what will you need to do to increase business? Will you need to add property, equipment or people and how will you make that happen?

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Great Customer Service

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I volunteered recently to help find a venue for the IAAP conference in April, by calling hotels in Rochester to find out their rates. While I was scouting around for hotels, I e-mailed the Radisson, through their website. I received excellent customer service: Tarrie Kissane and Carole Diaz were very helpful, and professional in answering my questions. The president of IAAP decided to go with one of the other hotels that she had on her list. However, I was so impressed with the customer service I received (which is becoming increasingly rare) that I wanted to tell other people. I highly recommend the Radisson for conferences. They are near the Rochester Convention Center.

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Memories Pour From My Veins

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Memories Pour From My Veins

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Soul Survivor

Soul Survivor:My Interview with Poet and Author Sherry Lee Knight.

 Introduction: What makes a great writer?Image

A long time ago, a pair of twin sisters lived in a small, poverty-stricken village. Their names were Nature and Tragedy. These sisters grew up, and married a pair of brothers. The sisters became pregnant, and both delivered sons, on the same day, at the same hour. Nature named her son Good, and Tragedy named her son Great. Can you guess what these sons grew up to be? Writers. The moral is that Nature can make a good writer, but tragedy can make a great writer.

No one knows that better than Sherry Knight, a woman who has not allowed sorrow and tragedy to destroy her, but instead pours her experiences out in her writing; to both glorify the Savior that brought her through all of it, and to encourage others.

What do you feel is most important for your readers to know about you?

“I guess through all of my trials and tribulations, that God has never forsaken me, or left me. I’ve been through so much, you know, and there’s….and if I didn’t have Christ, I probably would have been another statistic on the suicide chart.”

How long have you been saved?

“Since I’ve been six. But I backslid, as ninety percent of us do. And a lot of us don’t realize that repentance means we’re supposed to turn, and stop. Sometimes that lesson is long and hard, and we get chastened. And we realize that the bible is there for us, for guidance and understanding put there because He loves us; He doesn’t want to see us go the wrong direction. There is joy and comfort in that. Because we don’t see it that way in the beginning; we want to rebel, and rebellion is a sin.  It’s really not a good life.

When did you start writing?

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In my early twenties. I would keep a journal to try to get through my depression. I suffered for many years with major depression, anxiety disorders, amongst others. Through writing, it would help me reflect about what was going on. When I started the poetry it was just off my head. I entered a poetry contest and I was surprised that I could write a poem within a few minutes.

What inspires your poetry?

The Holy Spirit puts it on me; mostly in the middle of the night. When I go to pray, I will literally pray until I fall asleep. And I pray all day long; when I go to the bathroom, I pray; when I’m riding down the street in my chair, I’m talking to God. So I try to pray all the time. So when I start praying, I may wake up in the middle of the night with a hot flash or something; it will be on my heart, someone will come in my mind and I’ll start praying again, and then I’ll pray some more. As it was told to me one time from one Pastor that they are called intercessory prayers. You just keep praying, and praying, and praying. Which is awesome, you know? Then you start to see it all come to work. To see Him working and you know you don’t do anything without Him.

Describe your writing, in your own words.

My writing is about my life, and how He used me in my life. The lessons I’ve learned, and sometimes they are cries, for His help, to help me get through things. Sometimes it’s really hard to get through things. We’re promised joy, but nothing says we won’t have trials, just like everybody else has trials. Some people think they become saved and they’re going to be free from the burdens of this world, and that’s not true. Sometimes we have even more because the devil wants to attack us even harder because we are saved. Sometimes we have to reach out, and sometimes the only friend we have is Jesus. When I wrote my book, I was three-thousand miles from my family and from my son, sometimes. My marriage was with somebody I wasn’t equally yoked with. I shouldn’t have gotten married to somebody I was unequally yoked with, but I thought he was saved. Sometimes they deceive you, or you’re deceived. Or you think, ‘well, they said they were saved once, but they are just not walking the word, it’s going to be okay, you don’t realize that sometimes we don’t read things right, or don’t want to read things right, don’t want to understand it; we want to believe what we want to believe instead of what the word actually says. I’m guilty.  I know that no way am I going to get involved with another man unless I’m sure he is sent from God for me. He is going to have to love the church like he loves Christ, and like Christ loves us. I’m going to have to see that, not just hear it.

Do you see any of your trials, and what you have learned, as a blessing?

I see it all as a blessing; who knows if I would have had my son turn out the way he is. To me, my life is a reflection of how my son turned out. My son is an awesome man with a tremendous faith in the Lord, a beautiful wife, and she also has a great faith in the Lord. He is going to be a great instrument for the Lord; he is out there all the time witnessing and evangelizing. I don’t know if I hadn’t gone the way I went whether he would have gone the way he went. I knew because of my mistakes to show him differently and to tell him differently. He’s my fruit! I know we are not supposed to be proud, but I am proud of my son. You see all the kids, and what they can get into now-a-days, they’re on drugs, and suicides, and the fornicating, having children out of wedlock; that could have been my child. If my life had gone any other way…! It’s so important that my son be in Heaven with me.Image

How did you get published?

I’m just a vanity publisher.

What does that mean?

It means I started out on Lulu, and published it myself online. Then I had a couple people look at and edit it and then I put it on Amazon, myself. There are many people that do it.

On Amazon?

Right.

Do they assign an ISBN number?

Yes.

How excited were you when you first saw it in print?

I was very excited! And I wished my mother had been alive, because my mother wanted to be a writer. I had ADHD and dyslexia; I couldn’t even read when I graduated high school. When I went to college the first time, I couldn’t do the tests, because I couldn’t read them, so I had a teacher teach me how;  to read one word at a time, and then move the paper to two words, and then to three words. It took me a few years to learn to read, and then I went back to college afterwards. And so it’s really remarkable that I can read in the first place; because not a lot of people learn to read when they are an adult, when they can’t read. And then, I went back and got a 3.24, out of a 4.0. And now I actually write; if my mother could see me write, she would be amazed because we tried speed reading, we tried tutors, we tried everything growing up, and you could not get me to read.Image

And look at where you are now! How many degrees do you have?

I have two degrees: I was working on my third, but now I am going into getting my bachelors.Image

That’s awesome!

I was scared; I wasn’t a very good reader, but now I am doing pretty good at the writing, without using too many editors. That’s because of Tim! Tim did an awesome job in helping me with my grammar. I find that I write poetry a lot better than I write the other stuff, but I’m working on an autobiography.

Do you have a name for it yet?

He Never Forsakes Nor Abandons Us. That’s another verse in the bible. Because I kept running, and I got involved in drinking, and I got involved with the men. He sent an angel to grab ahold of me, and pick me back up.

An Angel?

Yes.

Talk about that.

I’d gotten involved in drinking, and I was trying to quit, the secular way. I would go to church, but I didn’t want them to know. I was too embarrassed for my church family to see that I had been drinking, so I tried the secular way, and it never seemed to work. I would go two years, and then I would go out again. It always ended up with a lot of drinking. The drinking always ended up with a lot of fornicating. Then I would try to straighten up and repent and try to walk again, and then I started getting involved with a woman who was saying she was a Wiccan, and I started with the tarot cards, palm reading, and I had my eighth miscarriage. I was drinking three glasses of wine; I had seizures, so I was on epilepsy medicine. I was on antidepressants, and I had hypoglycemia.

One day I had the three glasses of wine, I was hanging over the toilet throwing up, I looked at this girl [an aide], and my eyes started rolling back in my head. I said, “Call an ambulance,” I always told them that if my blood sugar ever got really low, I’d let you know. She called, and the guy came right in, and he said, “it’s hypoglycemia” and she said yes. He gave me an IV and I ripped it out. I was almost unconscious, and every time I got that way, I just wanted to go be with Jesus. He put the IV back in me. When I got to the hospital, the sugar water had taken effect and brought my sugar back up. Later I woke up, and the doctor told me it was alcohol; but I was lucid, and I wasn’t drunk at all. I told him it was hypoglycemia, and he said no, it was alcohol. I said no, it was me, it was my life, and it was low blood sugar. The paramedic was walking behind him shaking his head no, meaning that he knew it was low blood sugar too. I was almost dead from low blood sugar. They released me. He said it was alcohol. It wasn’t.

I got home, and this man showed up at the door. He had brown hair, and the prettiest blue eyes. He had a bible in his hand, and I opened up the door. I let him in. He knew my name, and he started answering my questions. I wanted to know why people believe in God, but they don’t believe in Jesus. How come they go to hell? They seem like godly people. So he explained about the Way, the Truth, and the Life; if they hear about Christ and they deny Him, then they deny the Holy Spirit. They turn their back on God. Then I talked to him about Adam and Eve, and how I got kicked out of a church one time, because I asked where Cain’s wife came from. I said, “Because it doesn’t say in the bible, where she comes from.” And he said that Adam and Eve had been on the earth for a long period of time, and there was a lot of other children they had, it was one of his descendants. And I said, “Wouldn’t that be incest?” And he said, “Not in the beginning, it wasn’t considered incest, because it was in the very beginning.” And so he had answered some of these questions. Then I had the oldest question in the world: “Why does bad things happen to good people?” Basically, that is life, and things happen to people, and we don’t have these answers until we get to see God. Their purpose is already done, whatever their purpose is. When he left, he said he would see me again someday. He said in order for me to have a baby, I had to do it right. I had to give up all of the things I was doing, and repent. And mean it! I tried to burn the tarot cards, and they were jumping back at me, while they were on fire. So I wrapped them up in some type of ribbon and I buried them. And then I started reading my bible. There was no church around that I knew of.

Then I met my first husband, which of course I fornicated with him, not for long because after a week he went to California to get his stuff and he was there for three months and we talked on the phone. Then when he came back we got married, shortly after. And then I had a baby and I went on bed rest and I prayed all the way through it; I kept going into preterm labor, it was really rough but I had my child, and I have not been able to have another child. He’s my blessing and I was told if I did it right…and I got back with God, and I surrendered everything, and I told God I needed His help—I needed to quit drinking, I needed to quit cussing. I didn’t quit cussing until last year, but I quit smoking in ’96, I quit drinking that year. It’s been a long journey. Three rapes before that; that’s what made me turn to drinking. The first rape I was a little girl at six, then the second rape I was eighteen but I was drinking, and if I hadn’t been in the situation with the people I was with, I wouldn’t have been raped. Sometimes when you are that age, sometimes it is hard to see it that way. It was my choice (the drinking that is, not the rape; no woman ever deserves that).

I was working at this place, and I was going out with a guy, and the guy got me drunk. I told him I wanted to keep my cherry and he messed me around and took it anyway. And all of a sudden, that is what happens, that’s what guys do. It became my theory—every time I drank. Men aren’t like that, but that is what my concept became. And then, [I thought] I’m so dirty God don’t want to look at me anymore. I knew better, I was saved, I knew better! But you get the Devil sitting there telling you that and if you don’t have anyone telling you; ‘Sherry, that’s not what’s going on’ because you are not talking to anybody about it. Not to the right people about it. You’re talking to the secular world, and going to secular counseling; I’m not getting the right answers.

I didn’t even know that was an angel until a couple of years later when I talked to a woman from church. I closed the door, and I went to ask him something I had forgotten. I opened the door and he was gone. The rest of the day I kept looking for him, like he went to someone else’s house, but he was just gone.

I wrote one of my poems about it. One of the poems in the book is about the angel. I have been sending [Take Everything To Christ In Prayer] to the missions, and homeless shelters, and homes for battered women. I was in another bad marriage. I swore I wasn’t going to get another divorce, I was going to make it through it, and I was going to be a good wife. He was bipolar and schizophrenic, a hobo, alcoholic; Most of the time he wasn’t drinking, he wasn’t physically abusive, but he was mentally and emotionally abusive. So was my first one. I was going to do my best to be the good Christian wife. My son was not with me; my first husband had taken away from me because he had all the money, and I was sick, and he felt he should raise him. He lied and manipulated and got our son to say he wanted to live with him. I did wonder why God would do something like that, but you are not supposed to question God.

“But now my son is living for Jesus. There’s his wedding pictures.”

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Do they have any grandbabies on the way yet?

Not yet—praying for them! He was going to go for nursing, but Pastor Tony told him that he was selling himself short, and that he had a higher calling. He thought maybe he should be a doctor. Then we were thinking maybe when he gets it all done, that he could become a missionary for Potter’s Field, or Voice of the Martyr’s.

What are those about?

The Potter’s Field is this man who goes around with his wife and they make pottery, and they tell the story of the potter and the clay. They sponsor children. For my twenty dollars a month, this is the little girl I sponsor, she’s in Uganda. They have missionary places where they have food, and medicine, and Christian schools. You can Google pottersfield.org, and it will tell you all about the organization. The Potter’s Field has one in South America, and it is on Jake’s heart to learn Spanish. Maybe he and his wife are supposed to go down there. His wife is thinking about going into nursing. She is very bright too, and she has a beautiful voice. She was studying for the arts, and she felt God wanted her to come back and marry Jake.

 Conclusion:

Sherry is still writing poetry, and she is currently working on her master’s degree at Empire State College in Canandaigua.

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