I’m suddenly very aware of myself. Seriously, how does one write an About Me page without coming across as slightly full of oneself?
But you sort of asked for it, didn’t you? If you made it all the way here, I can only assume it wasn’t by mistake. I’ll admit, though, it’s difficult for me to imagine that anyone out there, other than my wonderful parents (Richard and Liz Porter), would care to read even a partial page devoted to getting to know me.
So I humbly thank you.
My passion is encouraging women in every phase of life. While I enjoying loving on and regaling preschool mommies—at Hearts at Home, Mothers of Preschoolers, Mothers of Multiples, Early Childhood PTAs—with “ripped from the headlines” tales about my wild, energetic family, my new secret obsession is midlife moms. Hmmm, wonder why . . . .
I enjoy speaking at retreats, conferences, women’s groups, civic clubs, church training, teacher training–this list could go on. I’ve been told my storytelling technique marries humor and practical wisdom. One lady called my talk “Funny, with a point.”
My humor column, “Thrive It Up!,” has appeared weekly in The Rowlett-Lakeshore Times and other Dallas-area newspapers since August of 2004. I also write freelance marriage and parenting articles, as well as stories for various compilations:
- A Still & Quiet Soul (Leafwood Publishers);
- I’m Glad I’m a Mom (Harvest House);
- Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler’s Soul (Health);
- The Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip to Love (Cook); and
- The Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip to Peace (Cook).
I had the privilege of serving as lead editor for A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts: Stories to Celebrate and Wisdom to Bless Moms (Leafwood Publishers), which debuts for Mother’s Day 2011. My first book, A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts: Stories to Warm Your Heart and Tips to Simplify Your Holiday (Leafwood), released in the fall of 2008. Both projects are co-authored with the Word Quilters (Trish Berg, Terra Hangen, Cathy Messecar, Brenda Nixon and Karen Robbins), fellow newspaper columnists from around the country.
I co-lead the Rockwall Christian Writers’ Group which I pioneered out of desperation in 2001. (The closest writer’s group was an hour drive from my house!) My partners in that endeavor as well as a weekly critique group, Life Sentence, are Mary DeMuth and Anne Mateer. The three of us also offer critique services through The Writing Spa, owned by the Amazing Mary.
I also do freelance editing. For several years, I worked for Mary DeMuth at The Writing Spa and Write Uncaged. When she closed her doors in 2012, I branched out on my own. My expertise lies in nonfiction, but I’ve edited all of Mary’s fiction, as well as Anne Mateer’s, so I do know a little something about editing fiction, too. I’d be happy to edit five sample pages for you at no charge to give you a feel for my work.
Born: Odessa, TX in 1964 (To save you from having to do the math—which gets especially hard when you change centuries—I’m careening toward 50.)
Reared (I’ve heard that “raised” sounds like one is growing corn): Odessa, Dallas, Odessa (all TX); Gainesville, FL (while Dad went to law school); Macon, GA; Saginaw (north of Ft. Worth), TX; Evergreen, CO (for junior high and high school); Ft. Collins, CO (for college).
Education: 16+ grades, including English degree from Colorado State University in 1985 and paralegal certification soon after.
I moved to Dallas to meet my husband—wait, that didn’t come out quite right. I moved here for a job (wink, wink) and joined one of the largest church singles groups on the planet—at Park Cities Baptist Church. I met my future husband Bret Wilson (Baylor graduate, which I’ve come to find out is actually a call on one’s life—not dissimilar to, say, youth ministry) about a year later.
We got engaged after knowing each other for 30 days—which, by the way, I don’t condone or recommend. To aggravate our families even more, we wed in August of that same year—1988. We’re already looking ahead to our 25th wedding anniversary in 2013, so if anyone has a condo/adorable, secluded cabin anywhere in the Caribbean they could let us borrow, we would be eternally grateful!
We welcomed Charlie into our lives in June of 1991. We stopped making babies in July of 1991. That’s when we discovered that men and women are different. (I wanted to talk about our infertility struggles 25 hours a day, eight days a week. Bret wanted to go to work, watch football and sleep. Men can be so selfish, yes?)
Anyway, after getting help from some really nice doctors, Miss Molly arrived in October of 1994. But with being poked and prodded during our Infertility Years, we saw no reason to use birth control after she was born. Reese—our Bonus Baby—arrived 11 months later. (Though perhaps not how we would have chosen to space apart our children’s births, we now praise God for His perfect plan for our family.)
Our family has always been active at Lake Pointe Church—in Sunday school, AWANA, MOPS, Mother’s Day Out, Upward sports, drama, choir, children’s church ministry, youth ministry, mission trips and so on. (Before you panic on my behalf, we haven’t served in all those areas at the same time!)
Joking aside, I did suffer a stroke in January 2004, leaving the entire right side of her body without feeling. After a record-setting response time, my symptoms abated almost immediately. Today, I have few side effects other than I tend to repeat myself. Residual side effects are few, other than my tendency to repeat myself. Besides that, I now have a great excuse on which to blame my bad memory. To read more, go to My Stroke Story.
After several years of sometimes rapid, sometimes painfully slow mental recovery, I praise God to be able to do what I do—be real with other women to help them feel normal. I hope you’ll come on board.
When I’m not gallivanting off to exotic speaking locales—from Lansing to Lindale, from Rochester to Richardson—to speak at conferences and retreats, I spend time with my family, serving on mission projects or watching my kids play sports. In a desperate attempt to practice what I preach, I manage to squeeze in Date Nights with hubby Bret every week or two.
A professed stalker-mom, I endeavor to stay as close to my teenagers as possible. I teach a Fuel class (what our church calls Sunday school) at Lake Pointe Church, and lead a weekly discipleship group. To paraphrase Joe White, founder of Kanakuk Kamps, I might not be the brightest light in the world, but I can be the closest.
- Working out (power-walking, elliptical machine and weights)
- Going to garage sales, which is very different than having garage sales. I’m not allowed to do the latter any more.
- Playing games with my family and extended family (especially Apples 2 Apples, Balderdash, Scattergories, Nertz, Settlers of Cattan, Monopoly, Clue)
- Hanging out with friends and fellow writers/speakers (who, BTW, are also friends)
- Reading (anything Francine Rivers, Brandilyn Collins, Mary DeMuth and Anne Mateer)
- Shopping at First Monday Trade Days at Canton—the worlds’ largest garage sale
- Going to movies with Bret
Snow skiing at Winter Park, CO
Going to the beach at Gulf Shores, AL
Visiting Branson, MO
Leslie and her husband, Bret, met on a Park Cities Baptist Church ski trip in March of 1988. They were married that August and recently celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary. They have three children: Charlie (20) studies biology at Trinity University in San Antonio; Molly (17) is a junior at Heath High School; and Reese (16) is a sophomore at Heath HS. The Wilsons like to snow ski, play Apples 2 Apples and watch comedian Brian Regan.
My Stroke Story – The Short, Clinical Version
On January 3, 2004—one month shy of my 40th birthday, I suffered a stroke en route from Pueblo, Colorado to our home in Rockwall, TX, outside of Dallas. The stroke, caused by a blood clot that lodged in the major artery on the left side of my brain, rendered the entire right side of my body numb and useless. My vision was distorted because my right eye wasn’t working properly, and my speech felt slow and strange.
Praise God my husband was able to get me to a hospital within minutes of initial symptoms—a key in stroke response. Doctors gave me an aspirin immediately, then started me on IV blood thinners as soon as they reached a diagnosis. Though I never knew about it, I had a congenital heart defect, a PFO—a hole in my heart in layman’s terms. This allowed a clot to pass through and make its way to my brain. However, my story has a miraculous ending. Within weeks of initial symptoms, I had surgery to seal up the hole, and now my chances of a recurrence of stroke are minimal.
- If you’d like to know the whole story, read the longer version of my stroke story.
- If you’d like more information about the CardioSEAL closure, the implant that sealed the hole in my heart, visit www.nmtmedical.com.
- If you’d like more information about surgically correcting PFOs, a condition that affects more than 10% of the general population, please contact Dr. Tony Das, at CIMA in Dallas at 214-369-3613.
- If you’d like more information about stroke, including the warning signs and symptoms, visit the American Stroke Association.
I never thought anything like this could happen to me. I was a healthy, strong woman with no history of heart problems. However, this birth defect (PFO), a condition that affects more than 10% of the general population, is indiscriminate. It can be present in any race, gender, or body type. Please think about having your doctor listen for it at your next check-up. Don’t wait until you have a stroke to find out.
I’m so thankful that my experience turned out so well. I thank God for preparing the way with so many details and specifics that were in place. I just never knew. Please take the time to find out if you could have a PFO.