"I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust."
You will remember that during the interview, Gayle discussed how having an identical twin,
named Dayle, has enriched and blessed her life.
but regardless whose blog I discovered first,
these two precious sisters have become a source of great encouragement to me.
Though we have never met face to face, I somehow feel I have known them for years.
I love reading about their Godly parents, their daily lives, their trials and triumphs,
their amazing careers in writing,
and a certain, precious, sweet, little girl that you will come to know and adore in this post.
It is such a blessing to bring to you the
blogger and award-winning writer from Southeast Texas who considers her greatest titles to be wife, mother, and grandmother,
Cheryl: What are some of your favorite childhood memories?
Dayle: I was blessed to have a rich childhood, with a treasure chest of memories, so it’s hard to know which ones to highlight, and since I am an identical twin, they all include my twin sister, and most would include my big sister, as well.
To name just a few, there was playing in the back of Daddy’s old station wagon for hours on end. There was the sweet smell and taste of honeysuckle in the spring, and buying soft-serve lemon ice-cream cones from the ice-cream truck. At dusk, on summer evenings, we’d run blindly around the yard, chasing the white fog that the mosquito truck pumped out during his nightly runs through the neighborhood. Perhaps it’s no small miracle we all lived to tell the tale.
Dayle and her twin sister, Gayle, and their sister, Elaine
Dayle, Gayle, and Elaine
Cheryl: What is it like for you to be an identical twin?
Dayle: I’m not sure it’s possible to explain the relationship of identical twins, unless you are one. Friends don’t understand it. Husbands don’t, even though mine has done an excellent job of accepting this part of me. Children don’t. Even siblings and parents cannot totally understand the devotion between identical twins. It is a relationship unlike all others, like a part of you is living and breathing in another person. Gayle and I have shared everything that life has handed us—the good, the bad, the ugly—and I can’t imagine a world without Gayle in it. We are best friends.
Dayle and Gayle, through the years, the best of friends
Cheryl: How old were you when you became a Christian? Who most prayed for you and influenced you to seek the Lord?
Dayle: I was raised in a minister's home, by godly parents who have always loved me unconditionally. Even though both of my parents prayed for me, it was my daddy’s prayers that I heard every day.
Dayle and her precious Daddy
Cheryl: You often speak of your husband on your blog and refer to him as "The Man" or "The Captain". We would love to hear your love story. When did you meet? Was there a certain moment in time when you realized he was the man God intended for you to marry? How long have you been married? What qualities about him do you admire the most?
Dayle: Yes, I often refer to my husband as “The Man.” He was named after a famous baseball player, Stan Musial, who was called Stan the Man by his fans, and that’s how my husband also came to be referred to as “Stan the Man.” My husband also played baseball quite well, so I guess his naming was quite appropriate. I refer to him sometimes as “The Captain,” because he was a fire captain with the City of Houston Fire Department and retired after 34 years of faithful service.
Stan and I met at church and had many friends in common. He had been through a divorce (no children), and I had never been married. Our love story was short and sweet and we will soon be married 36 years. My husband is strong and steady and brings a calmness to my madness.
Dayle and Stan on their happy wedding day in 1980
Dayle: I think what keeps any marriage strong is simply staying committed to each other. Relationships are like the tide; there’s an ebb and flow to them. Some years are hard and heavy, with challenges and obstacles, while other years are smooth sailing. You have to remain committed, no matter how your feelings may ebb and flow.
After almost 36 years of marriage I’d say we do struggle sometimes to keep our marriage fresh. It is something both parties have to work on, and I think life just gets in the way, but it’s worth the effort and I want to always be open to new ideas, or to just staying true to the traditional ones, like setting aside time for each other away from the rest of the world. To read more about my marriage, our struggles and successes, you can visit my blog link here.
To any couple considering giving up on their marriage, I pray you will do what my husband and I did whenever we reached a point of crisis, and that is seek professional help. We go to doctors and dentists and car repair places, but we are often leery of getting help for broken marriages. Please, put aside your pride, and just go. I’ve seen, up close and personal, the devastation that divorce brings. Both of my sisters went through unwanted divorces after decades of being married, and while their grief was immense and unimaginable, the ones who suffer the most are the children. Death is final but divorce never ends. It is generational and affects generations to come. Divorce not only separates families but separates friends, as well.
I would also ask couples considering divorce to take the time to read a powerful book entitled, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce by Judith Wallerstein. This is a 25-year study that is the result of following children from the time of divorce to their adult life. If you Google the title, you will also find online interviews with the author. It is a sobering and enlightening read and if couples would put their children’s needs before their own, I believe the divorce rate would drop dramatically.
Dayle and her beloved husband, Stan
Cheryl: When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
Dayle: I wrote my first short-story in second grade, which is still in some dusty box in the attic, but I didn’t have an inkling that I wanted to be a writer at that point.
Dayle in 2nd GradeI just loved reading and writing seemed to be the natural result of my reading. Maybe the seed was planted way back then, but the first time that I purposefully set out to be a writer was after my daughter was born in 1986. I entered a small writing contest and was flabbergasted to win First Place, and receive a modest check. I wish the rest of the journey had been that exciting, but writing well is hard work and the road to publication is not for the faint of heart. I’ve been blessed to realize a few of my dreams, and I give God the glory.
Cheryl: As a writer, what is your most cherished accomplishment? What are you most proud of?
Dayle: Several things come to mind. Winning two Amy Writing Awards for my work in two newspapers would be at the top of the list of “proud” moments, as well as being one of only seven authors chosen to appear in Dr. James Dobson’s timeless book, A Family Christmas. You can read more about his book, and read my story, here.
And last but not least, in 2000, I wrote a piece about the Presidential Library of George H. W. Bush in College Station, Texas. After the article appeared in The Dallas Morning News, I received a personal letter from the former president, thanking me for the article. He had enclosed an inscribed book and signed a copy of my article. I was completely overwhelmed and honored by such generosity.
Cheryl: What books have you written? What most inspired each book, and how can we purchase them?
Dayle: I’ve written three books and have contributed to about 20 other works, most of those being Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. My first book, Whispers from Heaven (Pacific Press) was inspired by my beautiful daughter, her tender perspective on life, her love for God as a child, and her sweet insights. If we are wise, we will take notes from our children on how to live. No wonder Jesus said we must become as little children, in order to see the Kingdom of God.
Silver Linings (Pacific Press) is my second book and was written at the request of the editors at Pacific Press, as a sequel of sorts to the first book. Each chapter is a short essay with a take-away of finding the good, the silver lining, if you will.
My third book, Home Improvement – 9 Steps to Living a Joyful Life (Word Aflame) was a work-in-progress for roughly two years. I spoke at a ladies conference and my topic became the launching pad for this book. Using everyday chores as analogies, I attempt to help the reader see that living joyfully has a formula and is not based on whether we are “happy” or not. To summarize, I believe the following "musts" are essential to living joyfully: 1) We must, daily, open the door to God; 2) We must dump disappointments and painful encounters in a "trash bag" and get on with our lives; 3) We must maintain a cheerful and positive attitude, no matter our circumstances (yes, it is a challenge, but possible); 4) We must forgive ourselves and others; 5) We must nourish the spiritual man on a daily basis; 6) We must keep our relationships healthy, particularly our marital relationship; 7) We must establish spiritual boundaries in our lives; 8) We must reach out to those around us, not just with our prayers and words, but with our actions; 9) We must make time to relax and refresh our physical bodies, else we will be worth little to anyone.
All of my books can be purchased online. Just Google the titles and my name and they should pop up somewhere, or you can go to my blog and find the links on the sidebar. My first two books are out of print, but there are many used copies still available and I’ve come across some as cheap as a penny. That will do wonders for your ego.
(I found some current links to purchase Dayle's books
To purchase "Whispers from Heaven", click HERE.
To purchase "Silver Linings", click HERE.
To purchase "Home Improvement", click HERE.)
Dayle: I’d be happy to share the story of Joe. I have blogged about this and hope it’s okay that I’m pulling a little from that post, but here’s the beautiful, amazing story of Joe:
In December of 2005, I received an email with the subject line, “a note of gratitude.” The email came from a man named Joe. Four years earlier, Joe had read an editorial I’d written and wanted me to know how it affected his life. This is what he wrote to me, and I’ll never forget what a profound impact his words had on me:
Ms Shockley, you wrote a small article in The Dallas Morning News “FAITH COMFORTING IN TROUBLING TIMES” a short time after 9-11. I was so impressed with it I cut it out and placed it in my billfold. Two years ago my wife kicked me out because of my drinking. Later that night agonizing over the loss of my family I came across your article in my billfold. After reading it, a renewed hope began to build up in me. I knew God was going to see me thru. Today, my marriage has been restored and I belong to a Christian based 12 steps called 'CELEBRATE RECOVERY.' Ms Shockley I shall forever be grateful for your article because I felt the Presence of God.
When I read his sincere words, I was overcome with emotion and wept. To imagine this dear man carrying around my article in his wallet for years was humbling and inconceivable. I simply could not believe it. Joe made me realize, all over again, why I write. I don't write for the masses, or to be recognized and put on a pedestal. I write to encourage, to motivate, to offer a glimmer of hope when all seems lost, and to maybe—just maybe—make a difference in somebody’s world.
It was a friend who suggested that I print out Joe’s words and put them in my wallet, as he had put my words in his wallet, just in case I ever needed to be encouraged. What a great idea, and I still carry Joe’s words in my wallet. They are just as moving today as when they were written.
Cheryl: When did you begin blogging? What life events led up to you starting your blog? How has becoming a blogger enriched or changed your life?
Dayle: In 2005, my niece persuaded me to try online blogging. I’d always kept a personal journal, so I wasn’t sure about posting my thoughts out there in cyberspace. But a curious thing happened. Before long, I’d reconnected with friends from years past—many living close by—and made new acquaintances, as well. Shortly after, I was hooked.
Online blogging may sound impersonal, but take it from a former skeptic: it’s not. My friends in blogland have prayed for me during rocky times, and cheered me on in good times, and I do the same for them. I go through seasons of stepping back a bit, but I always remember my fellow-bloggers in prayer and I look forward to returning and “visiting” with them, like old friends. Just knowing they’re out there, puts a smile on my face.
Cheryl: What is your deepest regret? If you could go back and live life over, what would you most like to change?
Dayle: I’ve never understood those who say they live with “no regrets.” Truly, how can one live without regrets unless one has lived without making mistakes? I have regrets a mile long, but I’ve discovered the truth found in Romans 8:28, that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” What that means to me is that no matter our mistakes, our less-than shining hours, our foolish and impetuous choices, those terrible and unspoken missteps, if we are willing, they all can become stepping stones, leading us in the right direction, pointing us to God.
Cheryl: Who are some of your spiritual heroes? How have they influenced and shaped your life?
Dayle: You’re probably referring to people I know personally, and I’ll get to those, but my Old Testament hero is Joseph. What trials he faced. What testing he endured. What losses he grieved. And yet Joseph pressed on and never turned against God. Through all of his difficulties, he maintained his integrity and, through humility, rose to a position of authority. He forgave his brothers for their ultimate betrayal, and he was instrumental in saving a country from starvation, including his own family. If you haven’t read the inspiring story of Joseph lately, I encourage you to do so. It begins in Genesis 37.
As for those “spiritual heroes” that I know personally, my mother has been, and continues to be, my greatest spiritual mentor and example. I observe how she lives her life, how she treats everyone, both family and friends, and even at my age, when I should have it all together by now, I still strive to be more like her. I often say if there is any good in me, I owe it all to the goodness of my mother.
Dayle and her dear, sweet mother
Dayle's sister, Elaine and her husband
Dayle: The answers to these two questions have changed through the years, but at this point in my life, other than spending time with family and extended family, I am most fulfilled whenever I’m out and about in God’s big world. I’m a big advocate of the slow lane, taking the back roads, savoring the day. Since retirement in 2008, my husband and I have been blessed to travel extensively, making lifelong dreams come true, seeing God’s handiwork from coast-to-coast. We love the beach. We love the mountains. We love baseball.
Stan and Dayle at the top of Clingman's Dome in 2014
It’s been a joy to plan trips around what we love and we never take such a privilege for granted. Since the birth of our granddaughter last year, our traveling has been mostly on hold, except for a few long weekend trips, but being out in nature will always be the place where I feel closest to God.
Cheryl: Can you tell us about Arabella?
Dayle: Arabella is my darling granddaughter.
Adorable, sweet Arabella
I look at her and hear a thousand violins. I call her Memaw’s cupcake, and she is growing way too fast. I wish there was a way to put a lid on her for a little while, but the best I can do is try to squeeze the goodness out of each moment that we have together.
Arabella and her mama, Dayle's daughter
We’re still working on our selfies.
Dayle and her darling Arabella
Cheryl: If you were sitting across the table from someone who is severely depressed, what would you say to them?
Dayle: What an interesting question. By “severely depressed” I assume you mean someone who has been diagnosed as “clinically depressed.” If that were the case, I would probably direct my words to the family of this person, because those who are clinically depressed are often not able to receive a lot of input, not even words of encouragement. It’s like their system is shut down; nothing comes in, nothing goes out. I would certainly want to tell this person that things can get better, because I speak from experience, as a close family member has dealt with depression a large portion of her adult life. She has been in a good place for almost two decades now, and I give a lot of credit to her for remaining diligent in her treatment.
I would say to the entire family of the person who is severely depressed, first, and most importantly, educate yourself on this subject, precisely on the exact diagnosis of your loved one. Knowledge is power and I have reams of information that has helped me know how to help, what to do, and what not to do. Contrary to some people’s opinion, depression isn’t something someone can just “get over.” That is perhaps the most harmful thing you can say to someone who is suffering from depression. I mean, do you really think any person wants to be depressed, and if people could just “get over it” don’t you think they would want to do so as quickly as possible? To say, “get over it,” is the voice of ignorance and it’s unfortunate that so many families have so little knowledge when facing this debilitating condition. By educating yourself, you will see that depression must be treated, just as any other illness needs to be treated. There are medications and therapies available, and patience and compassion are the best things you can practice.
Cheryl: What are your favorite Scriptures, hymns, books, and other resources to turn to in times of despair and discouragement?
Dayle: I don’t think there is a way that I could name a favorite Scripture, as I have so many favorites underlined in my old green Bible, but you’d have to look hard to find anything more powerful and uplifting than the familiar 23rd Psalm. It’s like a life’s journey condensed into six little verses. I’m also partial to the sixth Chapter of Luke, in which Jesus says things like, “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you and bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you.” We also find “The Golden Rule” in Verse 31: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As a young adult, I fell in love with the Word of God and I understand why it is referred to as the “Bread of Life.” It nourishes the soul and within its pages I find strength and direction for every situation. It never disappoints.
Reading the Bible is just one sure way to chase away the blues and find words of encouragement and hope. I also play piano and often in times of despair I will sit down and play songs like, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” or “How Great Thou Art,” or Andraé Crouch’s “Soon and Very Soon.” Music brings healing to my spirit.
In addition to the Bible, perhaps my greatest source of inspiration, in book form, is Mrs. Charles Cowman’s classic devotional, Streams in the Desert. When my big sister gave it to me for Christmas in 1999, I had no idea that I would still be using it as my daily devotional in 2016. That’s how rich it is. Every year, despite having read it just the year prior, I find something new between its covers. I can’t recommend this book enough.
To order, click HERE.
Cheryl: How can we pray for you?
Dayle: Praying for each other is such a privilege, isn’t it? I have a number of personal struggles and heartaches that I’m dealing with, as I’m sure all of your readers do. We live in a broken world and so many are hurting and dealing with unspeakable issues. While I can’t share all that’s in my heart, the Lord knows the things that are there, and just to have others say, “Lord, you know the struggles and heartaches Dayle is dealing with today. I ask that you bring resolution and answers, in your time and in your way, and give her the strength she needs until that time comes,” would be an incredible blessing to me. My desire is to wake up every morning and be a better person than I was the day before. I want to be a vessel that God can use, and a light in dark places. Thank you, Cheryl, for inviting me to participate in your inspirational “Inner View” series. It has been my distinct honor to share my thoughts with you and with your readers.
And a BIG thank you to you, dear Dayle, for being willing to share your heart with us here!
I have been so blessed by getting to know you better, and I know your story will touch the heart of every reader.
God is so wonderful to allow our stories to become intertwined in this amazing blogging community.
I never cease to be astonished at the way He orchestrates our lives and intersects our testimonies.
Please take Dayle's prayer request to heart, dear readers,
and be sure to remember her in your regular prayers.
It is a wonderful thing that we do not need to know the details of another's heartache.
Since we all share the same Heavenly Father who is entirely aware of each and every need of every, single one of His beloved children, we need only to lift them and their needs to our Father in prayer.
He knows, He understands, and He cares more than any of us will ever be able to comprehend.
Our God is bigger than any mountain that we can or cannot see.
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"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us..."
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