Julie Bryson (pictured left)
Catherine (Cam) is right in the fact that she has never had trouble talking and the hardest part is getting her to stop. However, we are cut from the same cloth when it comes to jabbering. Like Cam, my childhood life was constantly changing. It was not my dad’s occupation that changed often, but our location. You see, my dad was a Baptist minister and we moved around quiet a bit. Growing up as a child, I loved to listen to tapes that read along with a book. I would listen for hours upon hours. I loved fooling my family and their friends by pretending to read, when in fact, I had listened so much that I had memorized the book. Soon enough, I would discover the joys of reading for myself.
Throughout elementary, middle school, and high school our family moved several times. Each move allowed me to broaden my understanding of different cultures and traditions from several different parts of the country. While in some ways, I was a typical “preacher’s kid”, in others I was not. I was always asking questions about things that I saw as contradictions between what people said and the Bible. At times, I received sufficient answers but other times, the answers fell short of making sense. I had no issue with the reality of God, it was with what men said about Him that frustrated me. I held all the words of wisdom that I had received as a child close to my heart, hoping that one day it would all come together.
In 1993, I graduated from a small high school in Northwest Indiana. Shortly after graduation, I moved one last time to Southwest Louisiana where I met my wonderful husband, Chris. We have resided in the area for roughly twenty-five years and have three beautiful daughters, our youngest being autistic. While having an autistic child is challenging, I would not change it for the world. In fact, she has helped make me who I am today.
As to what I do for a living…whew, where do I start? I am a Cosmetologist by trade, but in reality I love to set out and do things that I think are impossible. In 2005, the Lord placed a desire within me to write a book that would help others dealing with autism. I was working forty-plus hours a week at that time and COULD NOT see how that was possible. That is until hurricane Rita ripped through our city….our lives have not been the same since. I was forced to quit my job and stay home full time. When the rubble was cleared I found myself having more time than I knew what to do with. Funny how “mysteriously” the Lord can work sometimes! All those tucked away words about the Lord started to rapidly come together. I wrote Out of The Ashes: How Autism Changed My Life in 2007 and I haven’t stopped with “impossible” since. The following year I met Cam Sharpe, who shared a love for life and dreaming big! She introduced me to Chuck Missler’s “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours” and the learning has continued. We also share a love for exercise, in a big way. Since knowing Cam, we have completed countless half-marathons, several marathons, half-ironmans and someday our goal is to complete a full Ironman. We use training as a time to midrash about the Lord and talk about the direction of Eternity’s Account Series.
While this series started as a fun project, I feel strongly that it a also a necessary one. The world is changing fast, and not in a good way. Truth is becoming obscured and my sincere desire is that this series will help readers evaluate what they think they know and strive to search the scriptures for themselves. The Lord is moving. It is an honor to help produce a product that could steer someone in the right direction, back to the Word of God!
Catherine Sharpe (pictured right)
Where to begin is really the toughest part! I have never had a problem talking, so once I start the next hurdle is getting me to stop. I was born in Texas as the youngest child of the family. I can honestly say that there is nothing “common” us. My parents made a movie when I was young and they took us with them to the Caribbean while filming. We were always traveling and never lacked for experiences. When my mom and dad became believers, the Lord moved them to sell everything and move to Southwest Louisiana to open a Christian Retreat. At age eight, my life as a suburb girl changed to a life of a country girl. It suited me well. Running around barefoot, long hours outside exploring the woods, and playing with animals were more than I could ask for. Now you have to understand, when my dad sold everything that included his company. I can remember in school filling out the cards explaining what your parents do for a living, I was never sure what to put for that year. Why? Because it changed every year. That was not a bad thing. Actually, looking back on it, it was a wonderful thing. I learned you can do anything you set your mind to and you don’t have to live in the box other people put you in. I watched my parents live out the Word of God instead of just talking about it. They followed a vision and that ideal of living stuck with me.
After graduating from high school, I attended New Mexico Military Institute. I was the fifth from our family to attend.( I only went there because my brother said something about girls that I didn’t agree with.) After completing my brother’s unspoken challenge, I continued chasing educational dreams from CA to TX. At the end of my studies, I moved back to Louisiana where I met my fantastic husband, Larry. I found myself with three wonderful boys, a fulfilling career, multiple degrees, and a crazy idea that I wanted to write a book. Then I met Julie Bryson.
Without going back to far let me add this, I have always loved the Lord. I accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as my Lord and Savior when I was a young child and followed hard after Him. Even in college, I never strayed too far. My desire to serve Him drives me. However, it wasn’t until I heard a gentleman named Chuck Missler that I came to realize how much was packed into the Word of God. You know we always hear, “Read your Bible everyday” but no one really tells you how to study it. Well my life changed when I listened to a series called “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours.” I suddenly learned that all of the study habits and tricks I had learned in college could be used in more effectively by studying the Bible in a new and deeper way.
Anyway, Julie was as excited about God as I was and I found her energy to be contagious. It is not often that one meets another with such drive and love for the Lord. Well, one day after our Bible study she asked me this bizarre question, “Would you like to write a book with me?” I thought that to be the oddest question but said that I would pray about it. By the next day, I knew the answer. That desire to write a book bounced back and the Lord immediately reminded me of an idea I had been tossing around. The next thing we know we have our sleeves rolled up and ideas were flying.
The series has been one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life. Julie is so talented and cleaver, it makes writing even more fun. Our brains are hardwired the same way, helping us work like a well oiled machine. Our husbands have been incredible as have our children. They all seem to understand our goal and are there to help us in any way. This project is directed by the Holy Spirit and it is our prayer that what began in the Spirit will end in the Spirit.