Stranger: Susie D. (born in Austin, TX)
Breakfast Location: The Frisco (Austin, TX)
Meal:  One egg over easy, bacon and grits

Quote: I try to live my eulogy today.  If you want people to say nice things about you at your funeral you need to be living that way now.

Meeting Susie Davis is like running into sunshine: there’s a blur of light, a feeling of warmth and a bit of disorientation as you try to figure out where to focus first.  The disorientation comes in part from the fact that Susie has a lot going on.  In addition to playing a key role in the life of the large church her husband pastors, she is raising three children, going on mission trips and actively participating in several different communities.  The sense of light and warmth come the fact that Susie is constantly smiling and seems to radiate joy and gratitude from almost every pore.  Her energy is amazing and her enthusiasm wholly contagious.  Watching her listen compassionately to the waiter who is having a tough morning, or talk lovingly about her husband of 27 years, it is hard to imagine Susie ever not being happy.

But the truth is Susie has not always been happy.  She had to make a long journey to find her spark, literally had to climb a mountain to find her joy.

When Susie was in middle school her sister was introduced to Young Life. Rather quickly Susie and her whole family pledged their lives to Christ and became active in the Christian community. But only two years later, in 1978, her faith was severely tested when her teacher was murdered by a fellow student in front of her eyes. Following this traumatic event, Susie said that while she appeared to be a “good Christian girl” on the outside, she didn’t trust God on the inside. She guarded her heart and lived in constant fear of a world that could be turned upside down at any moment. She lived that way for more than a decade until, as she says with a twinkle in her eye, God left her a love note on a mountain in Colorado. On that day Susie accompanied other hikers and a guide through thick forest until they came to an area that had been ravaged by fire. As Susie looked around at the mix of devastation and new growth she heard God whisper, ‘This is a picture of your soul. You’ve experienced a burn. But I can heal you. There is hope’. Later, struck by her experience, she inquired into the history of the fire. The fire had burned in 1978.

Susie’s life changed on that mountaintop.  She put her trust in God again and in so doing saw all the goodness her fear had hidden from her for many years. As she opened her heart she began to see small beauties everywhere. God became a source of joy in her life and her first impulse was to share that joy with others, to encourage them on their own journeys. And so she began to write and to speak about the good news whenever possible. In the last several years she has written four books on topics ranging from finding joy in a busy life to finding joy in parenting teenagers. She has been part of a morning radio show on The River called River’s Family Friendly Mornings where she focused on the good news of the day. She currently offers seminars at her church and beyond and maintains a daily blog where she celebrates the many good things in life including homemade pie and McDonald’s coffee. She does all of these things and yet still makes time to notice the many small wonders that too many of us ignore.  In looking at the story that is Susie’s life, it is crystal clear that while the fires of life do indeed leave their ruin, they can also light a spark that shines brightly and gives off warmth for others to find comfort in.

What gives you joy? God is the source of the joy that frames my whole life.  I love laughing with my family, Austin, the barn, having people over and sitting in the backyard, pie (both eating and making it!), spontaneously dancing with my husband and kids . . . so many things.

How would you most like to be remembered?: Well, not as an author or a radio personality.  I want to be remembered as a loving person so I try to live that way.

What makes you angry? One of my pet peeves is when people hate on each other.   I feel like sadly there are some big haters in the church.  I don’t like it when Christians hate on one another.  I also get irritated, which is different than angry, when I don’t get enough down or alone time.

Tell us a bit about your best friend: My best friend is Will, my husband. He is utterly patient.  He loves the best and worst of me. If anything happened to him, in some ways I would be okay, but really I wouldn’t be okay ever again.

What is your favorite breakfast?:  Small McDonald’s coffee with four creamers.

What’s so great about Texas?: The people are friendly and the sky is huge and blue.  No matter where you are in Texas you are always going to feel the sun on your shoulders.

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