Wendy grew up in the San Francisco Bay area with her Mom, Dad and two older brothers. She enjoyed roller skating, pop warner cheerleading, softball, dancing, acting and bowling with her Dad. She left for Hollywood in 8th grade and returned home to graduate from high school her senior year. Then it was off to UCLA to pursue a degree in Mass Communications. She was a member of the UCLA Dance Team and Athletes in Action. Wendy continues to be a diehard Bruins fan.
While on a retreat with the Bel Air Presbyterian College Group, Wendy met her husband, Shiloh. They got married in 1998 and moved to San Mateo, CA where Shiloh served as a Youth Pastor for two and half years. They have lived in the Bay Area ever since. Shiloh and Wendy experienced heartbreak when they learned during the 5th month of Wendy's pregnancy that their baby had a fatal condition, Trisomy 13. Their daughter, Faith, was born on December 11, 2002 and went to heaven four days later. It was a very difficult journey, but it was a time when Wendy experienced the love and presence of God like never before.
They were blessed with Elijah thirteen months later! He was fat, healthy and happy. Along came bossy and assertive Lydia in May of 2006. Their latest addition Jordis, came out of the womb in July of 2008 and has given the family much joy. Most days, Wendy loves being a stay-at-home. Some days she wishes she could be . . . anything else. She knows that she is not alone in these sentiments and is passionate about encouraging moms as they navigate through the challenges, surprises, triumphs and craziness of motherhood.
I have such fond memories of my time spent in Hollywood. I was not a perfect kid, but I didn't hop around at nightclubs, do drugs, rob dry cleaners or cuss out the paparazzi. And here's why - Jesus. Prior to heading for Hollywood I made a decision to hand my life over to Jesus Christ. I didn't grow up in a religious home, but we did go to church on holidays. I believed in God. I was interested in Him. One year I even went to a weekly CCD (Catechism) class after school. A part of me liked hearing about God, but a stronger part of me like the Ding-Dongs and Twinkies they offered at that shindig. Nevertheless, seeds were planted.
Then I heard about my cousin, Shane. He had become a "born again Christian" and there was a buzz about it in the family. What was a "born again Christian?" I wondered. I asked some family members. They told me that it was weird. Jesus freaky. So I asked him and he told me it was simply about surrendering your life to Christ. Making Him Lord of your life. At that point I couldn't quite wrap my young mind around it, but I wanted to. I wasn't lonely or depressed. My life was not out of control. I was a "good" kid and at that point I was living out my dream of being an actress. I had much success and fulfillment. I didn't feel empty and yet I still felt God calling me to something more. I knew there was something to this "having a relationship with God." I began praying, "Lord, I want to invite you into my heart, into my life. But I still have to go to school and work and stuff like that." I guess I kind of thought I would have to become a nun to truly surrender my life to God and become "born again." After all, my cousin was a dancer in Vegas and when he became a Christian he gave that up. Would I have to quit taking my jazz classes? I just didn't quite get it yet.
About a year later a family friend, Denise, shared her newfound faith with me. She was a few years older than me and had great excitement when she talked about God's work in her life. I remember her telling me, "I don't know even how to explain it that well, but God has given me so much joy. You don't have to stop taking dance classes (hooray!) or quit school (darn). You just recognize that Jesus has died for your sins. Ask for His forgiveness and tell Him you want to surrender your life to Him." For some reason (God's sovereignty), it made more sense to me this time. That night, alone in my bed, I prayed and asked Jesus to take over my life. There were no fireworks, no halos, no tears, no Twinkies. But God heard the prayer of a sincere and seeking 6th grader and He has been my Rock ever since. That friend left me with a Bible and an Amy Grant tape.
I began to go to a local church youth group with a friend from my carpool. My faith took off. I grew so much through that youth group and the various activities it provided. The foundation for my faith was laid and when I left my family and friends for Hollywood at fourteen years old my feet were planted on the ground and in the Lord. (And it helped that I had a supportive family who was not pressuring me or depending on me financially.)
While in Hollywood The Lord blessed me with some awesome brothers in Christ who I met at an Academy Awards party. They became like big brothers to me and connected me with "Media Fellowship International," a ministry that reaches out to Hollywood. I got plugged into a Bible study and although I was by far the youngest one there, I found meaningful fellowship and was encouraged in my faith. God allowed me many opportunities to share my faith in Hollywood - on the set of Lassie, at charity events, when I won a Youth in Film award, with fans and at Media Fellowship outreaches.
I'm still in the entertainment business, but I don't get paid (not in cash, anyway) and my audience is much smaller. Namely Elijah (my thoughtful, basketball playing 11-year-old), Lydia (my animal loving and sweet eight-year-old) and Jordis (my spicy and entnertaining six-year-old). The episodes are different every day and I don't have to memorize any scripts although I often find myself repeating the same lines over and over: "Eat over your plate. Stop picking your feet at the dinner table. Can you please just sit still and look at me when I am brushing your teeth? Are you going to obey or disobey? Did you do your chores? Why is there marker on your arm? Do you wanna wrestle?"
A different season of life. Walking with the same faithful God. I am blessed.