Co-written with Mary E. Campbell 2016. A memoir.
Born Mary Elizabeth Olsen on a prairie farm near Birch Hills, Saskatchewan, Mary grew up as the oldest of seven children. At age 15, she met Gordon Campbell, a young plumber, and was married at 17. Her grandmother had instilled a deep love of gardening in her, and Mary views her life as a beautiful garden filled with the flowers of love and hope for the future. Soon, though, that love is stretched to its limit by Gord’s struggles with alcohol, the first thorn to enter her garden. Soon other thorns invade as their children, too, fall prey to various substances “not by desire but by addiction”.
Mary faces the heart-rending challenges of addiction, depression, illness, false accusations and death in her own life and the lives of her beloved family. Her unwavering belief in the goodness and faithfulness of God and her dedication to serving Him however and wherever He chooses, bring her through each time of testing with joy and triumph. Although weeds and thorns threaten, new buds continue to grow and to flourish.
With honesty and transparency, Mary shares her heart with her children and grandchildren, a heart shaped by personal trials and grief, hopes and dreams, forgiveness and trust. A heart broken and re-made by God. Her love for people, her eloquence in penning poems and odes, her grace and notable desire to leave a legacy for her family, makes this a poignant, revelatory and beautifully rendered memoir. Mary’s life truly is a breath-taking garden, a testament to the tending of a loving and steadfast God.