Passions & Pastimes
Life is full of joy and delight to Mary, and she celebrates her life in a variety of ways beyond her publishing work. Here are a few insights into her passions and pastimes. Perhaps you share some interests with her.
Singing is one of Mary's primary passions. She especially loves a cappella music and owns a collection of more than two hundred a cappella recordings, primarily Christian. However, she loves most other kinds of music as well (except opera and organ music) and is sometimes called the local Patsy Cline, because she enjoys performing Patsy's country favorites, such as "Crazy" and "She's Got You." When she's feeling patriotic, Mary tunes up her contralto voice and pretends to be Kate Smith in her rendition of "God Bless America."
Above she's pictured performing with her a cappella jazz group, Infinity, as the opening act for the Garry Morris "Stars for Children" Christmas show in Fort Worth.
Miniature and Rare Books
A collector at heart, Mary is especially fond of collecting miniature and rare books. Pictured here is her first-edition copy of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, which she found in an old bookshop in Florida while on vacation several years ago.
On the landing of the stairs that lead to Mary's studio, are several tiny bookshelves, displaying her collection of more than three hundred fifty miniature books, including four she authored. A former member of the Miniature Book Society (MBS), Mary concentrates on collecting "true miniatures," which are defined by the MBS as measuring less than 2-1/2" vertically and horizontally. Some of her favorite miniatures measure less than one inch in height and width and are handmade.
"A truly fascinating hobby," she says. "I haunt antique shops and old bookstores hoping to find some truly unique volumes, but they are becoming more difficult to find all the time."
Through the years, Mary has traveled around the globe. At one time she and her husband lived in New Zealand as missionaries. She has also participated in several Campaigns for Christ in the U.S. and New Zealand.
As one of the music ministry leaders of her church for twenty years, Mary helped lead their outreach choirs--the Richland Hills Singers and the Legacy Singers--and their a cappella jazz ensemble, Infinity, on mission concert tours to more than ten countries. During those tours, the singers distributed Bibles, free Christian music cassettes, and enrollment forms for World Bible School--a worldwide Bible correspondence course. "It is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," says Mary. Above: Pictured above are the Family Singers performing a show entitled "Liberty Sings!" on the eve of their departure for one of the concert tours to Europe.
Right: Pictured right is Infinity and friends on the shore of the North Sea in Scotland where they gave 21 concerts in 14 days.
Poetry & Lyrics
Although she doesn't consider herself a great poet, Mary enjoys the challenge of making words fit into the patterns of rhymed and metered poetry and lyrics. Her favorite spot to write poetry is by the ocean or a lake where she can hear the waves lapping against the shore, part of the natural music of the earth that God created.
"In my opinion, poetry is the most difficult kind of writing, if it's done well. The next most difficult is writing for children. Put the two together, and you've got a delightful challenge I can't resist."
Mary often teams up with her best friend, Charlotte Greeson--a gifted professional musician--to write Christian songs, several of which have been published and performed through the years.
Pictured above is Mary's Into My Heart: A Treasury of Song and Rhyme (Questar Publishers), a book of Christian songs and nursery rhymes for children.
Born and raised in Texas, Mary is crazy about the Texas state flower--the bluebonnet. In fact, it's her favorite flower.
"They are just so wild and free, running rampant across the fields and roadsides in the spring, mingled with Indian paintbrush, crimson clover, and other colorful flowers. Every year I just try to soak them up visually so my memories can last until they explode on the landscape the following year. There's just nothing else quite like them. They seem to shout that God is alive and still blessing the world he loves with beauty."
Mary is pictured here in a field of her favorite bluebonnets alongside a Texas roadside. The photo was taken by her longtime friend, Carol Bartley, who introduced Mary to Christian publishing.