An excerpt from Taken by Surprise
by Sue McMillin and Sarah Hemingway
Word count: 500 words
Read time: 4-5 min.
Roars of laughter resound from the room as I pass by in the hall. The atmosphere is electric, charged with the enthusiasm of everyday folks asking and learning. From the podium area, a bright flash of color catches my eye. Sure enough, it’s Sue McMillin, working her magic with the assortment of people gathered for this seminar.
I remember the first time I attended one of her sessions. She was to talk about “organizing your home,” and I must admit, I went out of obligation and duty, not because I thought I’d enjoy a bit of it. It was one of those “should” things, and as a mother of four lively children and the wife of a busy husband, I figured it would be good for me to at least see what to do in case I ever decided to get my act together.
She caught me totally by surprise. Like a breath of fresh air, this no-nonsense lady had us all laughing, crying, bemoaning, and commiserating during the first few minutes. A stand-up comedienne, stimulating teacher, and empathetic friend all rolled into one, she held us in the palm of her hand. Men and women alike identified, and the audience participation was contagious. All I remember was that I laughed and saw myself in almost everything she said. And when I left, I knew how to unclutter and arrange anything, from the smallest dresser drawer to the largest garage.
To look at Sue, you’d think she had the world by the tail. This slim, energetic, fashionably dressed ball of fire surprises you with her plain Kentucky accent and confident style. Her outgoing personality belies the fact that she’s come such a long way in her life. Once she’s captured her audience’s attention, there’s a hush as she shares her amazing story.
“I couldn’t begin,” she confides, “without telling you a little bit about myself and where I’ve come from. It’s an astounding chronicle,” she continues, “one that even I find hard to fathom. You see, in reality, I shouldn’t even be here today. But then that’s where this story all begins.”
What ensues is a fascinating tale, and a true one, of how a life thrown away can be salvaged into a thing of beauty and usefulness. It is a story of divine intervention — not once, but over and over again. Through the twists and turns of triumphs and tragedies, a woman launches out in new directions, and surprises pop up in the most phenomenal ways. And that’s the miracle of this story — one that will touch your heart, renew your thinking, and throw open the windows of fresh vision in your life. It is a book for those who know there’s more to life than they’ve experienced, for those who are tired of the trenches, and for those who just might be listening to the still, small voice that beckons, “Follow me!”