Words of inspiration from our team of local writers. If you feel called to write for The Well’s blog, contact us at [email protected] Head over here to read the latest.
Heidi Lepper Barrett is a native born Californian (Santa Barbara to be exact!) who made her way to Iowa after earning a Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology from the University of California in 1996. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Iowa, Heidi began teaching at Drake University in 2000. That was also the year, at age 30, she was baptized Catholic alongside her first newly born son. Heidi is married to Joe and they have two sons.
The youngest of seven children, this farm girl now loves her home near Saylorville Lake, Iowa. Cindy Clefisch is a blessed mom of twin boys who understands how far a mom can go to keep her children alive and healthy. She started her career in education and is amazed at the broad experiences she's had. Not so long ago, this devout lady went through despairing times. Never thinking she'd experience her own dark night of the soul, she's still working on fully placing her trust back in God's hands, and how a faith-filled Catholic can be defined. Writing about her faith and challenges helps motivate her to keep trusting, even when she can't feel the touch of the Master's Hands.
Mary Conway loves books, tea, and Jesus, but not in that order. She received her bachelor’s degree in English with minors in Business and Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mary works in accounting for a local nonprofit where her secret undying love for Excel spreadsheets is put to good use. She is a parishioner at St. Pius X in Urbandale, Iowa.
Nannet Horton is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, NFP teacher, and CGS catechist. She enjoys homemaking and encouraging couples on marriage and family life. She likes learning about the Catholic faith and teaching it to others. Her first book on encouraging parents to be the first educators and teachers of the faith to their children is co-written with her husband, Bob. It will be available in a few months.
Julie Nelson is a self described ambient introvert and Catholic “passionista.” Loving God’s sense of humor, Julie is a former nurse who now is Co-Host of Catholic Women Nowweekly radio program. Speaking at the 2017 summer Well gathering, Julie is now building a speaking ministry. Her happy place is being surrounded with her family, especially by a beach or a lake. Julie lives out her childhood dream of being a fashion designer in her sewing room while binging on Fashion Runway. Julie is a member of St. Francis of Assisi in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Brooke Miller loves words. Right now, she is pondering this quote, “The fatherly and holy conversation between God and man … The child is invited to it; the mystic finds full outlet in it” (Pope Paul VI). She enjoys Saturday morning workouts with her husband Dane, playing football with her young boys, and coffee shop conversations with friends. She can often be found with a book in hand and a song on her heart. Through the intercession of the Holy Virgin Mary, she prays God’s greatest blessings on you!
Kristi Quinlan is new to Des Moines, moving to the area for her husband Tom's work. After earning her BA in education from the University of Dallas, Kristi spent several years studying and working as a Catholic missionary. She enjoyed five years as a parish Faith Formation Director in the suburbs of Chicago, until she landed a new "full-time job" at home keeping up with her two sons (3 and 1). Kristi is constantly seeking outlets for creativity whether that's in the kitchen, on canvas, or within the sphere of Catholic ministry.
Lisa Schmidt is a proud lifelong Iowan and an equally proud alumna of Iowa State University. #GoCyclones! Her roots serve as an inspiration to continually seek opportunities to help make Iowa a great place to live, work, pray, and play. In 2016, Lisa blended her skills for building community with her love for Jesus and founded The Well women’s ministry. Along with her husband Deacon Joel and their four children, the Schmidts are parishioners at St. Pius X in Urbandale, Iowa.
Bonnie Shaw is wife to Chris, mother of four perpetually hungry offspring, and in continual anticipation of summer and hot weather. An educator by degree and lifelong learner by habit, she consumes stacks of books, inhabiting both her imagination and contemplation as she seeks connection with truth, ideas, and the laughter of friends traveling the same road. In relentless pursuit of more perfectly trusting in the Lord’s divine mercy, she is so very thankful for His grace and the peace and shelter of His presence as well as the example of others who love Him.
Destiny Welsh is a special education teacher in the Des Moines Public Schools. She grew up the youngest of 14 children in the small northeastern town of Lansing, Iowa. Hiking the beautiful bluffs along the Mississippi River as a child created a sense of adventure that continued into adulthood. She has always felt God was calling her to learn about cultures other than her own, and now spends much of her free time working with immigrants and refugees in the Des Moines area. Destiny continues to rely on God to lead her to her next adventure, wherever that might be.
Sharon Witty, mother of two and grandmother of four, lives in Marshalltown, Iowa. When her husband of 32 years died 17 years ago, she was devastated. Looking back on these years, she thinks of two things: the poem “Footprints in the Sand” and the Paschal mystery. She admits that only through God’s carrying her many times has she been able to rise above the devastation. She also admits she has gone through many small deaths and risen to new life during these years. Consequently, her being able to trust the Holy Spirit has increased. She prays it continue to do so.