There is a story behind every story. This is mine.
Recently, I have been inspired to write about the events of my childhood through the character of Ella Mae, turning them into encouraging lessons for our children and future generations.
I grew up in a small town in North West Ohio. It was a “one stoplight town”, smack dab in the middle of farm country USA. Growing up in small towns has its great advantages. They are safe, everyone-knows-everyone places where little changes and life is slow. Simple is accepted, family sees a lot of one another and your friends are always around. My home town held true to this life and provided a great foundation for adulthood.
One challenge to living in a small town is that competition for social status in school is high, and choices for friends are small. Once you fall into a certain “category” or stereotype its hard to get out. This dynamic lends itself to colorful encounters and sometimes conflict.
The story of “Ella Mae the Courageous Cheerleader” is my story of dealing with conflict on the girl’s cheer team. These were glorious yet painful years of ups and downs where I was fighting for acceptance by the cheerleaders on the team who were not in my friendship “circle”. The colorful encounters and conflict abounded. It was a hard time but the Lord has shown me just recently how he was with me, doing something good in my life, and blessing me during that difficult time.
My prayer is that children who read this book are encouraged to know that God loves them and is there with them, even when they are getting teased and picked on at school. I hope to equip them with Bible verses that teach them how God wants them to act and to look for God’s blessing when they are obedient. I would love to start an epidemic of kindness in today’s school system!!
In addition to author, I am a blessed wife to Tom Cameron and a mother to two beautiful daughters- Alyssa and Sierra. I now live in God’s Country- San Antonio Texas, and attend Community Bible Church. We have a dog named Bella, a turtle named Shelby and a bird named Tejuka. I have an MBA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a BA in Child and Family Development from The University of Akron.
I want to hear your story! Please share with me how Ella Mae has encouraged you or a family member.
Ella Mae is a hedgehog. Yes, a cute little hedgehog. Why a hedgehog you ask? Well, for one, God loves hedgehogs. They are very special creatures with many unique qualities. They are smart, fast, and have an amazing sense of focus. They know what to do to defend themselves and can out-whit a fox every time, even though by visual comparison you would never think it possible.
When I was studying for my MBA, one book in my curriculum was “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. In this book, the hedgehog concept is introduced and used to illustrate the difference between average companies and great companies. By seeing only what is essential, most important, and sticking to that- their survival is ensured. How brilliant! Staying in an area of focus of what you do best makes you great. After I read that book I always wanted to be hedgehog-like in my approach to life and career.
When it was time to depict a character for Ella Mae, my illustrator, Liz Holt, actually recommended that she be a hedgehog. This is something I never would have come up with on my own. (I was of course thinking she should be human and look just like me.) I knew when I read the proposal that God had made the connection from my inner most desires to Liz without us ever speaking to one another. I was floored, stunned and amazed. Only He could have made that connection. I knew it was a divine proposal and agreed at once that Ella Mae SHOULD be a hedgehog. You will see in the story, she holds true to her kind in how she approaches life’s challenges.