The Fine Line, conclusion, by guest essayist Amy Fernaays

United (States) Parcel Service.

United (States) Parcel Service. (Photo credit: matt.hintsa)

United States Marine Corp Memorial

United States Marine Corp Memorial (Photo credit: Adelaide Archivist)

Somewhere in the middle a casualty of war exists in the form of privately owned businesses. Reservists that own a company must find someone to run their company while they are deployed. For some reservists this means shutting down a business and losing everything to service their country.  The men and women that served to protect us are in need of protection now. We have been here before and the results were not good. After the Vietnam War the unemployment rate for military soldiers’ was very high. The Gulf War-era brought an unemployment rate that was 11.6 percent; that translates into 958,000 unemployed veterans. [Albany Times Union, 2009]  The future doesn’t look good when our businesses and our heroes are at war.  The Veteran’s Association has many programs available to soldiers but for a lot of reservists this is not an option. V.A. centers may not be easy to access. Just like a reservists’ family not having access to military base support; a veteran may not have access to veteran support.

Front of a BNSF diesel locomotive

Front of a BNSF diesel locomotive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That is why many companies are implementing their own programs to assist returning veterans. Samuel Greencard state, “BNSF Railway Company employs about 6,000 veterans who represent about 15 percent of its workforce, and more than 1,000 BNSF employees have been called to active duty since 2001. The firm offers these employees “whole pay” and sustained benefits while they are away. BNSF must ‘make adjustments and plan ahead when service members are called to active duty,’ says John Wesley III, manager of military staffing.”  BNSF Railway Co. is a leading example of how to address the military workforce soldier issue, but not all companies can afford to take such a remarkable approach to caring for their military personnel. This should stand as a starting place for other companies and organizations to find new ways to implement a system using the example of BNSF Railway Co.  Veterans seeking help can visit the Veteran’s Association online and be linked to different groups within the VA that can assist with medical care, disability, PTSD, drug and alcohol counseling. The VA can also refer veterans to legal counsel if needed. There are also civilian organizations that assist military personnel with employment, housing, support groups and with readjusting to civilian life. You can find many organizations listed online or in your community. The VFW (Veteran’s Foreign Wars) and the American Legion are two organizations that can help point a veteran to organizations that are in their area.  It is time the government took responsibility for the soldiers. Organizations that are branches of the military system are not organized or properly managed, and fall short of fulfilling the needs of veterans. The VA does not have the capability to provide the needed support that all veterans are entitled to. It is time the VA was restructured so that the needs of all veterans: reservists, retired and disabled soldiers receive what is truly due to them. This organization needs to meet the needs of each individual that has served this country without hesitation.  The goal is for veterans to be provided with the support and care they need. The VA needs to be divided. It has become an organization too big to do any good. There needs to be two branches to the VA; a veterans branch and a veterans medical branch. One side deals with the physical and psychological health of veterans, and the other side deals with the needs of transitioning the veteran back to civilian life through training, education and assisting with employment/reemployment.  This is not a get out of jail free card for businesses. They need to remember that their soldier is being deployed to fight for the freedom of this country, and as a company there is a responsibility to this soldier. That is to provide them with the assistance they need to come back and return to their job.  For someone interested in helping veterans there are many organizations already in place that need volunteers, but there is a new need that can’t be overlooked. Small business owner/reservist that is called to duty must sacrifice their businesses to serve. There is a need for an organization that can connect skilled and educated people willing to assist small business owning reservists. An organization or groups that can help keep these businesses’ running while the owner serves as a soldier. This will be a daunting task, but one that needs to be addressed.  When everyone is contributing and assisting veterans, as they transition back to civilian life the problem becomes a lot smaller. America has enough military history to show what happens when veterans are not helped. The reality is right now there are 21.5 million veterans [U.S. Census Bureau] that served this country during wars, conflicts, humanitarian reliefs, and in peace. Now it is time to serve them.  This is a difficult time for civilians and reservists alike but if the government, companies, organizations, civilians and reservists work together many solutions will be developed and our heroes will be given the welcome home they deserve. Not the shallow empty parades that fade away but instead the support, and help they need to resume taking care of their families and the chance to live the America Dream.

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.  “Enlist, Reenlist, Benefits |” Enlist, Reenlist, Benefits | N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

Garamone, Jim. “Deploying Unit Shows Differences Between Active, Reserve.” News  Article: Deploying Unit Shows Differences Between Active, Reserve. U.S. Department of Defense,  14 Feb. 2004. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. .

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.  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://  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://  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://  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.  site=ehost-live  Moniz, Dave. ” Guardsmen, Reservists Hit Hard at Home by Call-ups.” – 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.

The Fine Line, part 5, by guest essayist Amy Fernaays

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

US Navy 040727-N-5576W-009 Naval Reservist Hos...

US Navy 040727-N-5576W-009 Naval Reservist Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ilisa Kleifield hugs her mom, prior to departing Naval Station Great Lakes for the Middle East (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Fort Jackson, S.C. (March 14, 2006) -...

English: Fort Jackson, S.C. (March 14, 2006) – Navy Reservists and active duty personnel don their MCU-2P Nuclear/Biological/and Chemical Warfare gas masks during an Individual Augmentee Training Course at the McCrady Training Center. The Sailors are conducting training prior to deploying in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Timm Duckworth (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Dr. Charles Hoge, Walter Reed Army In...

English: Dr. Charles Hoge, Walter Reed Army Institute of research and Brig. Gen. Colleen L. McGuire, director, Army Suicide Prevention Task Force, discussed suicide, post traumatic stress disorder, and the social stigma that prevents Soldiers with PTSD from stepping forward to get treated, during a panel presentation called “Surviving and Thriving in Harm’s Way,” September 25, at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leaving a job, even with a modest guarantee that it will be there when you get back is a hard task. For the working military, the fear of being replaced, and not being able to support their family only adds to the trauma soldiers’ face on the battlefield every day. To make matters worse, there are loopholes in the USERRA, and soldiers’ are being denied their job back upon return from deployment.
Court cases against companies can last years and reservists are left jobless in the meantime. Dave Lenckus states,” The U.S. Department of Defense last figures showed 17,000 to 21,000 active duty personnel being released from duty per month.” Add to that the 32,000 plus reservists’ coming back home and it is a recipe for disaster. The unemployment rate for veterans will continue to rise as soldiers fight for their jobs, and compete for new employment in a job market that can barely employ civilians.
As a battle rages in the military sector, one is brewing in the private sector as well. Companies and businesses are crying foul as laws are passed to protect the jobs of reservists.
For employers the problems are many from the wording of the USERRA to the amount of time a reservist has to apply for re-employment. Jerry Geisel points out, “Employers with 401(k) plans must give returning veterans the opportunity to make retroactive contributions. Companies will have to match those retroactive deferrals to the same extent they matched the other workers’ contributions during the period of military service. Returning employees have no more than five years-in which to make retroactive contributions.”
If financial issues aren’t enough there is a bigger issue with re-employing veterans. As Samuel Greencard illustrates, “It’s a challenging environment,” says David Dahler, director of human resources for insurance and consulting giant Aon Corp. Although many troops return ready to tackle a job in the corporate world, “a lot of individuals come back and spend months re-acclimating to private life. Some of them aren’t entirely ready for a formal job and all that comes with it.”
Aon is one of a few companies that have implemented policies and programs to help veteran’s transition back to civilian life. Samuel Greencard states, “Challenges range from creating programs to train and assimilate veterans to figuring out what to do with an employee who has filled in for a reservist returning from deployment.”
When dealing with returning veterans a company will have to deal with the transition from military life to civilian life. “The military does a great job turning civilians into soldiers,” said Greg Langan, the Mendota Heights, Minn. based director of risk control services at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., “But when military personnel return from active duty, ‘there’s no transition for them into civilian life,” reiterates Dave Lenckus.
Dave Lenckus indicates that, “Many returning enlistees are young and lack experience in the workplace. Some also face psychological and physical challenges, including post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD,”
Dealing with returning soldiers is going to be a tough task for most businesses and it is clear that the smaller the company or business the greater the task will be. Small businesses do not have the resources necessary to retrain, counsel or provide financial assistance to their returning veteran.

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

Active Duty (album)

Active Duty (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HONOLULU (May 22, 2010) Sailors from various c...

HONOLULU (May 22, 2010) Sailors from various commands march on Kalakaua Ave. during the Aloha to the Military Ohana celebration and parade. The event was organized to honor active duty military, reservists, wounded warriors, military retirees and veterans of other campaigns and was hosted by the United Service Organization Hawaii, BAE Systems, TriWest Health Care Alliance and the City and County of Honolulu. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Logico/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.’”

English: Camp Shelby, Miss. (April 7, 2006) - ...

English: Camp Shelby, Miss. (April 7, 2006) – A combination of Navy reserve and active duty Sailors attached to Navy Embedded Training Team Lima receive weapons training from soldiers at Camp Shelby. The reservists taking part in the training were activated by Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group in Williamsburg, Va., for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist Seaman Matthew D. Leistikow (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

English: Fort Jackson, S.C. (March 23, 2006) -...

English: Fort Jackson, S.C. (March 23, 2006) – The Executive Officer of Fleet Industrial Supply Center Det 206, Lt.Cdr. Gordon Jones, leads Navy Reservists and active duty personnel in an urban warfare-training scenario during an Individual Augmentee Training Course at the McCrady Training Center. The Sailors are conducting training prior to deploying in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Timm Duckworth (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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


MIL_WARS_XXI_20060514130301_5wire3 (Photo credit: MATEUS_27:24&25)

A member of the Maryland Army National Guard H...

A member of the Maryland Army National Guard Honor Guard team adjusts his cover prior to competing in the military funeral honours event during the 2009 Army National Guard Honor Guard Competition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Iraqi Armed Forces Chief Gen. Babakir (left) a...

Iraqi Armed Forces Chief Gen. Babakir (left) and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus (center) speak with the commander of the Iraqi 2nd Division at Al Kidni in Mosul, Iraq. Defense Dept. photo by Jim Garamone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Assemblyman Ball in the United States...

English: Assemblyman Ball in the United States Air Force. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.”

English: From wikipedia; originally uploaded t...

English: From wikipedia; originally uploaded to wikipedia by (67 KB) user:MinnesotaNationalGuard 18:57, 11 December 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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)

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

English: Capt. Rob Dewberry leaves his post as...

English: Capt. Rob Dewberry leaves his post as commander of the Garrison’s Headquarters & Headquarters Company after six years of service. He was the first Reserve officer in the Army to command an active duty unit on an active duty post. Since 1985, Dewberry’s military career has been filled with plenty of accomplishments. He will continue as a reservist and seek a full-time civilian job with the Garrison. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reservist Medical Officer at Camp Bastion Hosp...

Reservist Medical Officer at Camp Bastion Hospital in Afghanistan (Photo credit: Defence Images)

English: Army Captain Tejdeep Singh Rattan, on...

English: Army Captain Tejdeep Singh Rattan, one of the first Sikh officers in the military since permission was granted to allow beards, long hair, and turbans on active duty. Photo at Officer training, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.]
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. ( 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. ( 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.

United States Army Basic Training

United States Army Basic Training (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

English: A German Shepherd dog Polski: Owczare...

English: A German Shepherd dog Polski: Owczarek niemiecki (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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…..

Related articles
•Ex-soldiers offered cash to join TA (

Repost: Soul Survivor

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

Introduction: What makes a great writer?

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?

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.



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?


Do they assign an ISBN number?


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.


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.

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?


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.”


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, 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.


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

Repost: Cyberbullying

English: Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, th...

English: Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, the first class day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I feel that this is a very important topic, so I am sharing it on two of my blogs:

This is a very important topic, and one that is close to my heart; I was bullied in school, and I have compassion for young people who are being bullied. It is worse now then when I was in school; then I could go home and get away from it, but now, with all the new technologies, bullies can often, and all too easily, follow their victims home, and right into their bedrooms, and it can be difficult to put a stop to it. Awareness is the first step, as with any problem.

Encouraging song and video:

I’m Adding book reviews!


Around the world tours button


I have some exciting news for you,  lovely readers…..I will soon be adding book reviews. Here is a list of the genres I will be reviewing:

Historical Fiction
Historical Romance
Christian Fiction
Mythology & Folk Tales
Young Adult
Children’s Books
Biographies & Memoirs
Comics & Graphic Novels
Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense
Science Fiction


I am excited about this; I have wanted to do book reviews for a while, and I have been looking for opportunities.


Historical Fiction Book Talks

Historical Fiction Book Talks (Photo credit: La_FB)


Repost: The Lemon Life

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

The idea for this started with a comment I made on my Facebook page:

“When life hands you lemons…”

I didn’t finish it, because everyone knows the second part; “make lemonade.”

This image shows a whole and a cut lemon.

This image shows a whole and a cut lemon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I made this comment on my Facebook after finding out I did not pass one of my classes, and I would have to go to college for one more semester in order to finish my degree. I decided to add a couple of classes toward a second degree, to make in more worth my while, since I had to be there anyway. That was how I planned to make lemonade out of the lemon I was handed.

A few weeks later, a good friend of mine, inspired by my post, gave me a graduation gift (I was able to walk across the stage in the ceremony on May 19, I just can’t get my diploma yet) which included a lemon. I loved it! I put it in my freezer, where it stayed for about two weeks.

I’m going through a season of uncertainty right now; I do not have a job yet, and I am getting concerned about that. My husband and I are surviving on unemployment, and a student loan, which is now dwindling fast.

So how did I make lemonade with these ingredients? I’ll tell you later.

First, a few weeks ago, after a tiring day, I decided to make some iced tea. I boil it, so it takes about twenty-four hours, but I figured it would be a nice treat for the next day; I love ice-cold tea. So I started making it, then I remembered that lemon, in my freezer. I thought, ‘that will go good in iced tea.’ I pulled it out. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to cut it up while it was still frozen, but surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to cut.

All of this time, I was thinking about lemons, and making lemonade, when all of a sudden, I had an idea.

‘Why not blog about how people have overcome difficult situations—in other words—made lemonade?’ And “Lemon Life” was born. Lemon Life is where I will write about true inspirational stories: my own and other people’s.

Right now, I have the time, because I am not working yet. So that’s how I’m making lemonade with the ingredients I have been given.

And this has been my first inspiring story! Thank you for reading it. Oh, I almost forgot—the iced tea turned out great!

Iced tea, popular throughout the U.S.

Iced tea, popular throughout the U.S. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)