Extraordinary, Ordinary Woman
In Her Own Words
Life can be so unpredictable and quite the adventure. At the age of 66, I look back and marvel at the twists and turns my life has taken. Some good, some great, some bad, and some awful and heartbreaking. Through it all though, I now see clearly how my precious Heavenly Father was guiding me toward His plan for my life.
I had a good childhood. I was raised in Redwood City, California, which is in the San Francisco Bay Area – about 30 minutes south of SF. My family was upper middle-class, and I had both parents, a sister and a brother. Mom and Dad started a business in 1968 when I was in junior high school – they were true entrepreneurs. Times were tight money-wise, yet we never seemed to lack what we really needed.
I went to college and if I’m being honest, it was to get an Mrs. Degree. I had been raised to be a wife, mother, and to volunteer at organizations. At age 26, I married my college sweetheart (who was really my first and only real boyfriend). We were happy for several years. After seven years of marriage, I accepted the Lord’s invitation to accept His Son, Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. At the time, I really didn’t understand what that truly meant, so I joined a church, attended Bible studies and grew in my understanding of what it is to be a child of the Most High.
There was stress in my marriage – one of the biggest being unable to have children and being unequally yoked. After 13 years of praying for my husband to accept the Lord, he instead chose to divorce me so he could marry his first college sweetheart. Actually, he asked for a divorce twice. The first time I said “no” because I didn’t believe in divorce. I suggested counseling, and we went for a year. The second time he asked, I clearly heard the Lord tell me to “Let him go”, so I did.
I was fortunate to be financially secure from the divorce. I was able to buy a lovely home overlooking the Pacific Ocean and do volunteer work. Yet the Lord had other plans. My father became very ill and one day while driving to Stanford Hospital, I heard the Lord tell me that it was time for me to help my sister run the family company. Well, this was a shock as I hadn’t worked at the company for 30 years and quite frankly, I liked not having a job. However, I was obedient and for the next 12 years I left my home at 5:30 in the morning – which was no small feat for a gal who likes to wake up at the crack of noon! - and drove an hour from the coast to the Bay Area to help lead the company. There are a lot of stories I could relate regarding challenges and turbulence, however, maybe another time.
Then, in 2015 we knew that our small manufacturing company could no longer compete or thrive in Silicon Valley. Three blocks away from our headquarters, Facebook was paying $34/hour for their receptionist – it was time to move. God had blessed me and the company with an outstanding young man who worked his way up to General Manager, and he orchestrated the move to Texas. Though my sister had been the CEO up to that point, I had no husband or children, so it was easiest for me to move with the company.
I had some very specific requirements – I wanted to live no farther than 15 minutes away from the company, and the town had to be small enough that there was no traffic. When we were looking for a city for our new home, we were driving down the streets of this town and I clearly heard the Lord say, “This is your new home." So, at the age of 62, I left my home and family and relocated to Taylor, Texas. It was a fairly smooth transition for the company and for me except that now I was the CEO and President of the company, and I really didn’t have training in how to do that, along with a majority of brand new employees too.
God took care of that for me as my GM and I worked to rebuild the company. The best training has been my participation in C12, which is a nation-wide peer group board of Christian business owners and leaders. We believe that God has given us our companies, which is one of our most important ministries. At C12, I not only learn the nuts and bolts of running a company, but I also work on the ministry aspect too. That board has been such a blessing and the friendships developed there carry over into other aspects of my life.
I decided that I wanted to make friends and volunteer, so I got very involved in my new community. Currently, I sit as the chairman of the Housing Authority board, and I am on the Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Early on, I started a Game Nite at my house on the first Friday of each month. In the beginning I invited the gals from my church and other people as I met them. It has become a nice event where the gals also invite their friends. I supply the beverages and everyone else brings whatever snack they please. We eat and chat for about 30 minutes and then play Mexican Train, Texas Canasta or Phase 10. With two or three tables going, there is lots of laughter and conversation. It is the highlight of each month for me. Unfortunately, COVID-19 put a damper on Game Nite and we are all really missing it.
So now, looking back over my life, I can see God’s hand clearly guiding me. I still miss certain aspects: someone to love and hold my hand, children, the mountains and beautiful pine trees, and seeing the ocean. However, my life is good here in Texas and my walk with the Lord is stronger than ever. I’m so grateful for my friends here and the growing strength of the company. I really love my Texas town and the people here. Though this is not the plan I would have had for my life, it has been good, and I see blessings in so many things.
Editor's Note: I met Cheryl when she attended my Sunday morning Bible study class for women of all ages about four years ago. Her story astounded me. At a time when most people are thinking about retirement, she picked up and relocated her family's California company to a small town in Central Texas where she knew no one. But she met more people in the first few months of living in Taylor than I'd met in 8 years. And I met a lot of new friends through the "Game Nite" Cheryl hosted once a month, which was so enjoyable. Cheryl's story is one of courage, faith, grace and generosity, but her words tell only a small part. She is also a traveler and adventurer, she has a beautiful singing voice, and she was even a part of a rowing team-- something I would love to try. I'm so grateful Cheryl chose Taylor, Texas, to relocate. We are a better community because of people like her.
Extraordinary, Ordinary Women