Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to do two things: write and explore the outdoors. Kinda weird since writing is mostly an indoor activity. In middle school I loved being the English teacher’s pet, wrote angsty love stories, and envisioned myself becoming a reporter a la Bernstein and Woodward.
My two older brothers probably started me on my outdoor adventures in suburban New Jersey. We found green paint and used it to make our own kryptonite rock. Imagine four kids in the bathtub covered in green paint! We took packing boxes from washing machines, sliding down the embankment to Highway 1, hoping we stopped before we hit the road. We climbed Black Mountain, White Mountain, and Grey Mountain, the gravel piles at the railroad yard, causing at least one avalanche. It was a miracle none of us was ever seriously injured. I relished every road trip my dad bravely took us six kids on. There were the farms of the Garden State, Civil War sites, Atlantic beaches and the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The greatest thrill was an entrance ramp late at night, with an illuminated sign that said “West”.
I also read tons. Every Saturday my sister and I headed to the public library, bring home the maximum number of books allowed, ambitiously assuming we’d make it through our pile before they were due again. I read mostly about girls or young women who were brash, adventurous, and independent. I saw myself in the heroines who rode into a fierce summer thunderstorm to round up the cattle, bushwhacked through the dense rhododendrons of Appalachia, or homesteaded on plains so flat, you could see the horizon in every direction. I felt the excitement and lessons of every story and I still do.
We moved to Texas when I was in high school. My love affair with the West was in full bloom like the Texas pastures that filled with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush every spring. There were hikes through dense sandy pine forests, summers spent on warm Gulf Coast beaches, road trips through the Hill country for antiques and kolaches, and backpacking trips along the South Rim Trail in Big Bend National Park. I knew I was meant to work and live in the wilds. But one day, I convinced myself my goal of becoming a Park Ranger was shortsighted and impractical. I feared if I followed this path, my days would be spent taking tickets to Galveston Island State Park, instead of animal research and tracking in Yellowstone National Park.
Instead, I attended Texas A&M University, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics with concentrations in Real Estate Appraisal and the Commodities Market. I liked that I could still spend time in the outdoors and see new sights while indulging my love for research and writing and meeting new and interesting people. I spent over 25 years as a residential and commercial real estate appraiser, working for private firms, banks, and mortgage companies. Whenever someone says, “”I’ve seen it all!”, I just laugh. I never saw it all, it was something new every day.
I moved to Arizona after college deepening my love for the west and am now located in the Coachella Valley of southern California. While I love the west more than ever, after many blistering summers of traipsing through the desert, I gave up my appraisal career and decided to pursue my first loves. I’m grateful for the opportunities I was given and the knowledge and expertise gained over the years as an appraiser. But sadly, I allowed work to overtake my life for too far too long.
So, I’m back to writing about the topics that are important to me (and hopefully you too), but without the teenage angst and drama. Now I roam the desert with a backpack and hiking poles, instead of a clipboard and measuring tape. My travels along the back roads are to discover remote treasures, not to find one more comp. The mountains still amaze me with their ever changing colors. The smell of the desert after a monsoon rain enchants me every time.
Along the way, I married Tom and we’ve enjoyed 21 (sometimes angsty) years together. Tom is the program director at a homeless shelter. This shelter is one of my other favorite places in the world, and I’m blessed to be a volunteer part of it. I mentor women in recovery and have taught a parenting class to single moms there. What a great place to witness change.
I am also mom to two amazing young ladies, Nicole, 17 and Kaitlyn, 16. Our girls came to us through foster-adoption when they were 3 1/2 and 5. It was a long hard road for all of us, but I’m so glad God made us a family. Needless to say, adoption and foster care issues are dear to my heart as well.
Real Estate Appraisal taught me to communicate clearly, effectively, and concisely. It was essential that complex concepts were explained in a way that any reader – the underwriter, an attorney, the insurance agent, realtor, and borrower – could understand without a follow-up phone call. An appraiser is most effective not when they “hit a value”, but submit a narrative or form report that is well researched, supported, and credible. This is the appraiser I strove to be and have carried these qualities into my freelance writing career.
This is my freelance writing site. I share my writing on many important issues affecting us today. My varied experiences have uniquely qualified me in a number of fields. I specialize writing in the following areas:
Marriage & Relationships
Adoption & Foster Care
Faith & Christianity
Poverty & Homelessness
Addiction & Recovery
Hiking and Travel
I look forward to getting to know you. I want to connect with you the reader and see how I can help you today. And for my clients, come see how my skills, expertise, and personality can assist you with your business and writing needs.