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SheilaSchnauzies Sparkles Life Story

Updated on October 24, 2014
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SheilaSchnauzies is a Miniature Schnauzer rescuer, writer, crochet designer, gardener, crafter, wife, mom & friend living in Omaha, NE.

Hi, I'm SheilaSparkles!

If you've been reading some of my articles or using some of my published free crochet patterns, you might want to know a little more about me. Your first question may be, "Why do you call yourself Sheila Sparkles?" Well, it's pretty simple. I love shiny objects! I have lived with pain for many years, I've had a stroke, I've had other life threatening things happen to me, including a fight with malignant Melanoma.

Because of that, I appreciate it every single day when I wake up! I decided a few years back that even though I was getting a little older, it was time to start having FUN. So... I began to sparkle! I make sparkly jewelry. I'm not afraid to wear some major bling! I love to crochet things that sparkle. I try to make my rescue dogs' eyes sparkle! You get the idea... I kind of carry around a little imaginary bottle of sparkly fairy dust and sprinkle a bit here and there on people and animals who need it. The name "SheilaSparkles" serves as a reminder for me.

My career was very enjoyable and was spent in graphic design, newsletter editing, and computer systems management (running a national help desk). I was a Mac addict. Eventually I became disabled several years ago and suddenly had a lot of time on my hands. I needed to find a way to continue to "give back to the universe" so I started trying to figure out what my real passions in life were. Then I put a lot of energy into developing those. Since I deal with chronic pain all the time, these activities are a welcome distraction.

I'm originally from a tiny town in Kansas which was a tiny little town of 17,000 people when I graduated high school. Now it's somewhere over 100K... it went crazy. I still have a lot of people back there and don't get down to visit nearly often enough.

We were transplanted to Omaha, NE back in 1990 because of my husband's job with the railroad, and raised our two kids, John and Cari, here. So although Mom and Dad consider ourselves from KC, our kids consider Papillion, NE as their hometown. (It's a suburb of Omaha). We were transferred to southeast Missouri in 2007 and spent four very interesting years on a 4 acre farm near the Mississippi River. Last year we were transferred back to Omaha and found our dream home in Omaha near the edge of the countryside. My husband Ron is going to retire in about 5 years. He dreams of winter vacations in warm places where he can golf. I dream of someday owning my own little shop where I can sell all my creations. That may never happen, so for now I have shops online, like Etsy and Ebay and CafePress. We'll figure out some kind of compromise on the winter snowbird thing... we always do.

My hobbies include crochet design, making jewelry of semi-precious gemstones, occasionally drawing/painting, sometimes doing embroidery, but my main love is crochet - I am never more than a few feet away from a crochet hook!

In 2009 I had a stroke which took away half the sight in my right eye. I also have degenerative arthritis that is slowly trying to take my right hand over. I've been writing lately about how I've found ways to continue doing the things I love despite disabilities. I find that very rewarding, to try to help others do the same.

I love to cook up a "messa-something" and have people over for dinner. I make spectacular peanut brittle which was my late adopted Mom Izzy's recipe and claim to fame. I sell that online during the holiday season to benefit the dog rescue during years when I am feeling well enough.

My passion in life is Miniature Schnauzer rescue. My rescue is called Sheila's Schnauzies, and since 2000 we have taken in over 50 schnauzers and a few other breeds here and there. Once we rescued a starving Bassett Hound who soon delivered seven puppies! We found every single one of them a forever home. That is something I am very proud of. It comes at a high cost, though. In the past I have had carpets ruined (oh well!), vet bills that would knock you over, and a lot of heartbreaks. I had one of those recently when one of the senior boys I adopted out, Harry, was killed. His adopter dumped him at a kill shelter so she could go on vacation. I heard about his predicament, called to arrange to pick him up, and heard he had been killed just two hours before.

Most of the time, however, the stories have much happier endings and rescue is extremely rewarding. The dogs are simply worth... whatever the cost. I adore them and I wish I could do more.

Right now, I'm in a really hopeful phase health-wise! I had both hips replaced during 2011/2012 and another knee replaced in 2013 because they were destroyed by arthritis. This has given me more ability to get around, which is amazing!!

My writing online has given me a tremendous opportunity to easily share what I know with the world. It's so rewarding and fun! I have learned a lot of things in my years here, and this is my chance to share them. If I can help someone along the way, so much the better!

So... enjoy my articles and patterns, and have an amazing day!

My Life Story

My life began in Kansas, when I was adopted at the age of six weeks by my mom and dad, Isabell and Harold. Daddy was a plumber and provided well for us. Mama was a traditional housewife most of the time, (think June Cleaver) but now and then she liked to take part time jobs and do different things. She worked at a plastic plant, a laundry, and I can't remember the others. Mama was constantly busy doing something. She made the world's best peanut brittle and was one heck of a crocheter. She had to have patterns, but she made gorgeous doilies. All of her 10 brothers and sisters were spoiled by her gifts of crochet and/or peanut brittle at the holidays. She was amazing. Mama died back in 1995 of a sudden heart attack at the age of 73. It was very unexpected and we were devastated. She was living with us in Omaha at the time, taking care of our son and daughter after school.

Before mom died, she found my natural mother, Norma, for me by accident. She saw her listed as a survivor in an obituary notice when Norma's brother passed away. I picked up the phone and called 411 and got her phone number, and within a few minutes I was talking to her! I also found out that my little sister was living in Kansas City and the next day I called her to introduce myself. We met up with our kids, and all of us instantly bonded like super glue. It was, and has been, an amazing gift in my life.

Mom Norma and I became great friends. She spent a lot of time staying with me on different occasions, and I loved her dearly. Sadly, mom passed away the day after Christmas two years ago. I will treasure all the time I had with her always.

I also got in touch with my older brother, who is a riot... his wife, also a riot... and was able to share the news with all the family that our brother, Scott, had passed away back in 1997 in a car accident. They didn't know where he was. It meant a lot to Mom to know where her son was buried. I'm also acquainted with my niece, Scott's daughter, Jennifer. She's a lovely person.

Rewinding a bit, I got married to my Army boy Ron back in 1976. We "reverse eloped" and got married in a courthouse in Olathe at 5 pm on a Friday. Our wedding night was spent with my mom Izzy, my aunt Norma her sister, and the KC Royals on tv. We ate dinner at Ponderosa. Hey, we're just plain folks.

Ron has a very large family, 5 brothers and sisters, and I am close to most of them. His mom and dad both passed away a few years ago, and they are very much missed.

Ron is an extraordinary golfer. He had a huge missed opportunity back in 1974 when the KC Royals recruited him to go to their Spring Training. Ron had just enlisted with the Army, and had one child and another on the way with his ex-wife, so he couldn't go. I still feel bad for him about that. He was an amazing softball player and played 3rd base. So at that time, he would have been competing with George Brett, who was the Royals 3rd baseman at the time!

After he got out of the Army, we moved back to Kansas City. About a year later, Ron went to work for the railroad and we spent the next dozen years moving around with that! We lived in many interesting places, including a short time in Little Rock, Arkansas just before the Clinton era. That was one interesting place! We also lived in several towns in Missouri over the years.

The story picks back up where I left off earlier, when we moved to Omaha in 1990... and I'll save that for another time!

Photo: My daughter's fiancé, my daughter, me, my son's wife, my son; back row, Ron.

My Favorite Saying Is...

"You become what you think about." Author Unknown

My BFF Sally

The joy of my life.

Every now and then, God gives you a very special gift in the form of a best friend. I am blessed to have three of those! We'll talk about Sally now. On a summer day in 1982, Ron dragged me protesting to visit his railroad friend, Ron. (Let the confusion begin!) His wife Sally was really nice to me. At that time I was working for the railroad also in the dispatcher's office, on a weird swing shift. One day I dropped in on Sally for a second visit, and we went to lunch. There goes that super-glue bonding again... we have been very best friends for over 29 years now. We have many similar interests in common, and of late we have even suffered from a lot of the same medical problems together. I love her with all my heart. I'm also very close to her daughter, Laurie Anne and her girls, Lacey and Chelsea. They live up here in Omaha due to her husband, Keith's job, which thrills me to no end!

Me, Sally & Harry the Schnauzer... And My Son John In The Background

Me, Sally & Harry the Schnauzer... And My Son John In The Background
Me, Sally & Harry the Schnauzer... And My Son John In The Background

My Longest Time BFF, Sue

I Miss You, Girl!

Sue and I were introduced by our mamas when we lived across the corner from one another at age six. So I'm not going to tell you how many years we've been best friends... but it's a lot!

She and I have been through good times and bad, happy and sad, and man does this sound trite... but it's true! Every single thing in life that has happened to me of a "big" nature, I've had to pick up the phone and call Sue. Now, of course I can just text her! In the early-on days it meant writing a letter. I used to write volumes to her.

She is feisty, and tiny, and I love her like pancakes.

You know, they say your friends are family because they choose to be. I really believe that.

On a couple of really special occasions, my two BFF's actually were together with me! That was really special. Shown here is my 10th wedding anniversary, and both of my girls were with me. Sally's on the left, I'm in the middle, Sue's on the right.

Annie, The Best Friend I've Never Met!

Have you ever met someone who finishes your sentences, gets every joke you tell, reacts to almost everything the same way you do, and share lots of the same hobbies and interests? Well, that's my Annie (not her real name). We have been best friends ever since meeting 13 years ago in an online forum for a medical condition we both share. I'm not going to talk a lot about her here, because she doesn't care much for the limelight; but I do want to say that she has saved my sanity more than once, been there whenever I've needed her, and been a willing ear every time I needed to bounce something off of her. Whenever we talk on the phone, we wear each other out laughing. We have emailed almost every day for all these years, and I hope someday we can actually meet in person! Annie, I love you lots, girlfriend.

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