“Sow’s Ear” into Silk Dresses is Successful; Estella Frances Godwin Creator. A Godwin family legacy story.


First, the dresses. You must put yourself in the setting where they were created. South East Oklahoma. You must imagine that the beautiful girl wearing the dresses did not come from a wealthy family but a loving one where dad provided for the needs of the family and mom stayed at home to raise the daughters.   Mom is the key in this story.

But how did she get the skills to create these and so many more outfits, without a pattern, and only a thought in her head as to how to make it happen? She didn’t even have a proper sewing machine, at least not for this generation. What she had were daughters who needed to “shine” at various events. Unlike when  momma “Frances” was young and lived a hand to mouth existence with her loving parents Leman and Rosalee Godwin. Frances was determined to prevent her daughters from as much bullying by their peers as she possibly could, remembering the torment of her own young life and that of her sisters. But how?



Connie models one of her mother’s creations made on the old “Sow’s Ear”.




 Momma Frances, was named Estella Frances Godwin after her grandmother Estella Frances Hill Godwin #1 (the first) who died of tuberculosis when her two young sons, Lloyd and Leman were just 5 and 2.

Estella Frances Godwin Lloyd Jewel Godwin5 Leman Godwin 2

Estella Frances Hill Godwin, Lloyd Jewel Godwin 5
Leman Godwin 2

Lloyd and Leman were then in the sole custody of a now widowed father, Agrippa Wesley Godwin.


Unfortunately the “Old Man” as he became known in later years by his sons, didn’t have the “fatherly instinct” as a priority. Despite marrying again, and fathering 4 more children, he struggled with what to do with his first two. Both sons had problems accepting a new step-mom and then siblings, or so it was said, and that led to the “Old Man” practicing some un-acceptable parenting skills fueled by his need for alcohol.

As a classic “wino” (meaning yes, he was an alcoholic, but wine, not beer or hard liquors were his choice of ‘drug’).  When he was “on a drunk” and ran out of money, he would lead the younger son Leman to Uncle Jim and Aunt Nora Hubble’s,  and leave him there with the childless couple. For the Old Man it was respite from putting up with the “acting out anger issues” described by the wife, and for the childless couple it was a time of great love and affection for the small boy. He would arrive with only the clothes on his back, and they were worn and threadbare. Aunt Nora would whip out her trusty treadle sewing machine and in no time have a small wardrobe for him to wear.

However, the inevitable pattern had become that the Old Man would show up and demand money if they wanted to keep the boy. Having little to get by on themselves, and not being able to trust “the deal would hold” and they wouldn’t be approached again for money, they would always relinquish him and his new clothes,  back to his dad. This pattern continued for some years and the older brother Lloyd was also eventually sent to live with relatives in Arkansas.


The Godwin boys united  as men. Lloyd on the left is 23, Leman is 19, and it’s Lloyd’s wedding day. Leman is his Best Man and in this picture, recreating the picture of when they were 5 and 2,  their hats are in keeping with the passage of time. They would remain close until death parted them with Lloyd going first, then Leman.


Wedding day of Lloyd J. Godwin and Marguerite Marrs Godwin. Leman Godwin was the Best Man.

The young boy Leman grew up to be a grounded,  husband, father, and lifelong worker for the railroad system of Oklahoma. He had a family of his own, 3 girls and a boy. His life was a study in hard-times but it was also known that he could quote the Bible readily and with devotion thanks to the Hubbles who took him to church on Sundays and did Bible study with him. His faith was  his mainstay  to keep the hard times in perspective. He would never drink alcohol; lesson remembered from the Old Man’s life. 

His faith was a testimony to his family when they each relied on it during tragedies that occurred in their life together. This included a nearly fatal blow on the job when a crew member  laying track hit him in the head with a beam that hospitalized him for many weeks. He had not awakened for 3 days after the blow and Rosalee was at his side for weeks as he slowly regained his senses and could care for himself. Life was not easy for him but he returned to the railroad he loved until retirement.

Thus it was that the devotion to family also still included his beloved extended family, Uncle Jim and Aunt Nora Hubble. When they passed away, Leman would inherit “the Sow’s Ear.”


For years when the old treadle sewing machine was viewed, it was a mixture of sadness for the family, reminding them of the dysfunctional family  and hard times Daddy Leman suffered as a young child being a pawn in the Old Man’s schemes.  Thus the designation of “a Sow’s Ear” would be appropriate. Many times people would look at the family of  the Old Man and say that nothing good would come of them because “you can’t make a silk purse out of a Sow’s Ear.” All 6 of the children of the Old Man would grow up under that condemnation.  

Daddy Leman would stay the course and be the man who loved his wife, raised his children, and lived out his days helping his wife oversee care for their disabled son Leon (Buddy) until her passing. Leman and wife Rosalee were the first benefactors of the “Sow’s Ear”, but not the last.


Rosalee holding "Buddy" as the children are all dressed in their "Sunday go to meeting clothes" as southerners are fond of saying. In this case, their Easter clothes, no doubt.

Rosalee holding “Buddy” as the children are all dressed in their “Sunday go to meeting clothes” (as southerners are fond of saying.) In this case, their Easter clothes, no doubt.

Of Daddy Leman’s 3 girls, it was Frances, (Estella Frances #2) that inherited the “Sow’s Ear” treadle machine of Aunt Nora’s. From the beginning of her marriage to her beloved Cornell,  and the family they created together, Frances knew that the machine was hers to make beautiful things come into her life so that she could make “silk purses” and anything else she wanted for the betterment of her family. The value and “magic” of that machine which had been a “Sow’s Ear” of sorrow-filled memories before, became the very thing that transported her girls, Connie and Carla,  into joy as they received and wore the numerous things made for them on the old treadle machine. Frances never failed to be able to sit down and create whatever was trending and wanted by the girls.

Of course it wasn’t just the clothing that was changed by the “Sow’s Ear” but it was the faith and life lessons to those it touched. The knowledge that no matter the challenge, NEVER let anyone hold you down by looking at your life and opportunities and saying “you can’t make a silk purse our of a “sow’s ear,” because it is not true. 



AUTHOR’S FULL DISCLOSURE:  The people in this story/post are related to me. Frances (Estella Frances Godwin Roberts) is my beloved cousin, as is Norma Godwin Titsworth and the late Doris Godwin Woods.)  Leman Godwin was the only fully biological sibling of my father, Lloyd Godwin.


This picture of Estella Frances Godwin is current in 2016. Note the smile, and note the endearment at the bottom. This lady taught her family how to take the Sow's Ears of their lives and work with it. She takes joy in the things of her family and the memories in her life. She is the family genealogist for the Leman Godwin family and takes pride in passing on the traditions, hopes and dreams of all who follow. She does so by setting the example, not just talking. Frances, I love you too.

This picture of Estella Frances Godwin Roberts, “Frances”  is current in 2016. Note the smile, and note the endearment at the bottom. This lady taught her family how to take the Sow’s Ears of their lives and “make it work”. She takes joy in the things of her family and the memories in her life. She is the family genealogist for the Leman Godwin family and takes pride in passing on the traditions, hopes and dreams of all who follow. She does so by setting the example, not just talking. Frances, I love you too.

My Aunt Rosalee was a gentle and caring person who always extended me kindness whenever we were together. She was also my protector when Norma and I latched onto each other’s arms with our teeth  drawing blood and refused to let go no matter Aunt Rosalee’s efforts and demands to separate us. She finally had to literally pry our teeth apart with a utensil from the kitchen utensil drawer to force our grip on each other’s arms. 


She was also a “shero” as she cared for her son, my cousin Leon, who would become known to all as Buddy. In the times of the 1940’s if a doctor damaged a child with forceps, for any reason, he was not liable. There were no such things as lawsuits or aid to care for their life-long needs. Indeed, in those days, the answer to the situation was “family.”

Leon "Buddy" Godwin and mother Rosalee. He was loved and wanted his whole life, and what more can we hope for in this life, than to be loved by those whom we belong with.

Leon “Buddy” Godwin and Grandmother Murray. He was loved and wanted his whole life, and what more can we hope for in this life, than to be loved by those whom we belong with.

Buddy was a very large baby and during the delivery his doctor used forceps and very unskillfully I might add. The damage to Buddy’s head would be immeasurable, leaving an area of his forehead indented where two fingers could fit into the skull. It would damage his brain and its function.

Buddy would be cared for by his loving family  including his sisters who made many sacrifices and suffered much emotional abuse from people who lived near them. They suffered from  fellow students  who bullied them and ridiculed them as they played and cared for their brother. The bulk of his care still fell to  his parents, until in adulthood, he became very large, over six feet tall and was limited  with very childlike behaviors. He was in need of full-time care. Loving sisters offered to take him but his parents knew it was time to allow him to become accustomed to  the care of others, knowing the time would come when he would outlive them and his sisters would be needed for caring for their own families.


Held and loved by his Grandfather Murray. Buddy had a large family circle to support him.

And it did come to pass that when his parents were gone, he lived in care centers of Oklahoma, visited by his siblings. When he passed away the staff and nurses at the care center he came to love wrote glowing messages of love and personal affection about him and his gentle and loving nature. A Gentle Giant, Buddy made it in his own way. He too was able to embrace in a simple way, the guidance of his gentler emotions taking hold. He took his “Sow’s Ear” and made it a positive. So I salute a cousin for whom I had great hopes and for whom my prayers never ceased through the years.


Above is a picture of the “Godwin Women” in the 1940’s. (Only one known to exist.)

  1. Left to right: Aunt Mildred “Mid”  Kiser holding Kathryn Ann Kiser .
  2. In the white flowered dress is my mother, Marguerite Marrs Godwin,
  3. Aunt Bernice Godwin holding Marie.
  4. In the turban it is being debated whether this is , Aunt Sylvia “Sib” Godwin Snyder holding Carla, or Aunt Charlotta “Chard” Godwin Bearden holding Willajeanne.???? Please leave a comment if you know/have thoughts.
  5.   Next is Grandma Amy Godwin (2nd wife of Agrippa)
  6. Aunt Rosalee Godwin with Estella Frances Godwin (#2) (named after Grandma Estella Frances Godwin who died at age 24 and was the first wife of Agrippa.)

As I always say, “The End is but an opportunity to begin again.”

Posted in FAMILY, Family Legacies, fathers, hard times, Life lessons about prejudice., Ohana, poor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

UPDATED; Police Officer Meets Angel Unaware Initiating a 3 part God Wink PLUS ONE; Spanning 28 years


L) Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner) at 17 in Lubbock, Tx. M) Swearing in as a police officer on the Davenport, IA force. R) Mother of 5, victim of an in-home invasion rape.

YOU READ IT CORRECTLY. This story  happened in 3 parts beginning 1998.  In my belief system God Winks are like anonymous contacts allowed by God. Never doubt that it can be subtle or blatant; unsettling or reassuring, but it lets you know that there is something profound in the “lesson” or “experience” that is meant to touch your life…Author Joyce Godwin Grubbs.

Police officer Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner)  was a decorated police officer of the Davenport Iowa Police Department. The second woman added to the department, she was also the first in the nation to have her own patrol car. She was  honored by the International Women Police,

Trula International award

She was also recognized for heroism with two other officers involving removing tenants from an active residential fire. A training officer and first woman to work undercover with the QC MEG (Quad Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group) she was also used  undercover on various department stings. A sex crime expert who became a vocal rape victim/survivor, she became a police officer as a mother of 5 children (1 toddler and 4 pre-school and elementary age, when she joined the force. She received an appointment as an  Honorary Colonel in the Iowa National Guard and was awarded her “wings” at the Iowa Capitol by Governor Terry Branstad.

TrulaTanner kiddos

Picture 1: Brad, Darrin, Amy and Rhoda. Picture 2 and 3: Jason This is a picture of the ages of the children when Trula joined the police force following the in-home invasion rape at a time before there were any advocate/counselors for victims, and no police women on the Davenport force. Trula determined to fill the void and help bring resources to victims to see them into being survivors.

Trula, Gov. Branstad and Steve

L:) Iowa State Representative Steve Grubbs (Trula’s nephew) M) Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, and R) is Trula Ann Godwin Tanner  at the Iowa State Capitol.  She  is about to be presented her honorary Colonel’s wings designating her as an Honorary Colonel in the Iowa National Guard.

YET, AS THE FIRST GOD WINK APPROACHES, HERE SHE SAT, ALONE AND IN DESPAIR . A frequent visitor to the various bars in the area of her beat and after shift with fellow officers, she had chosen one that was not her usual. A small bar where cops weren’t the usual customers and she could be alone and quite. . She wanted to contemplate the devastating news she had just received.  It would not only end her career, but her life. It would be her lowest moment in her life. The doctors had informed her that the personal  breast cancer war she had battled for five years was coming to an end. NOTHING MORE TO BE DONE. She was dying.

Trula had shared with this author, her sister, that during that period she felt as though “she had worn out her friends and family who had stood by her in that period of time.  They were faithful, supportive, but dwindling in contact and in availability.”  She expressed feeling for the first time as though she had “worn out her welcome” . While she still had the desire to “fight on” she realized it might be a small support group that cared to see her through to the end.

Alone at the bar, no doubt feeding money to the juke box to hear old classics by Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, and any others from her youthful era of the 50’s and 60’s, she would have been sipping her beer pouring it over ice. A newly acquired habit following her chemotherapy days. She normally would have been one who would make small talk with the man who came in and sat next to her at the bar. Hearing the stories of people, their lives and struggles, was her favorite pass-time. Yet that day she had to be “prodded into it” by the naïve man who tried to strike up a conversation, undoubtedly ignorant of the fact he was speaking to a cop, as she was in her familiar Harley shirt and jeans.

Trula at the Col Ballroom with Buddy Hollys Crickets and Ray Congrove photographer

Trula in 1984 with The Crickets after friend Buddy Holly’s death. Also pictured in dark suit is Photographer and friend Raymond Congrove.

Described later as a “scruffy”, un-kempt, small Hispanic male, looking more like a migrant worker than a “townie”, Trula found herself slowly making small talk with him, mostly listening rather than talking. But whether it was the beers or something he was saying in his calm, broken English, she found herself confiding her private pain to him.

The facts were that she had been told by the doctors that she was at the end, and there was nothing more to do. No more surgeries, the double mastectomies hadn’t worked. The cancer was in her body in several different places. She was at the end of the chemotherapy or having any expectations of it working. She had almost died due to a medical, surgical, error when the specialist slipped and punctured through her esophagus into the chest cavity during what was supposed to be a minor outpatient procedure. It caused her to spend almost a month in the University Hospitals, requiring 24/7 treatments even after she got out of ICU. The doctors had painfully admitted it was a miracle she survived.

trula and amy

Seen here with her oldest daughter, Amy, it was a night to forget the cancer and go the theatre and out to her favorite restaurant.

Sometimes a listener is enough to be grateful for. And this man listened, not asking questions, but looking at her as she spoke and letting her “get it all out.” At the end of her  story he reacted by removing a necklace and pressing it into her hand. “This was given to me by my mother, and she said it would keep me safe. I want you to have it and it will keep you safe.”

Trula did not even look at the necklace but slipped it into her jeans pocket and thanked him. Knowing my sister she would have had a hard time doing more than just saying thank you. She was, inside, an emotional person, but after 2 decades on the police department, she had learned restraint and caution in letting her emotions show. After all, she had just “bared her soul” to a stranger and that was not her usual reaction.

That night, having returned to her apartment, she began to undress for bed. She reached into her jeans pocket and felt the chain of the necklace and pulled it out. It was, to her amazement, a gold necklace with a gold medal of St. Guadalupe. Her recent  intent in exploring conversion to Catholicism made her aware  of St. Guadalupe .  She knew about her appearing to an humble, Indian male, December 9, 1531 ( his baptismal name became Juan Diego thus causing many to believe he was Hispanic). Trula knew about the appearances of The Lady to him, and to his uncle who was seriously ill and expected to die. The uncle  recovered after her visitation directly to him.  The Bishop who had to be “persuaded” with additional proof, then sanctioned building her chapel where she had first appeared and which still stands near Mexico City today. 

Many times Trula would return to the little bar, scan the populace as she drove thru her inner city beat, looking for her 21st century Juan Diego, the Angel Unaware. She was on a mission with a thankful heart. It was remarkable that in the days, and finally weeks, following the encounter where she was given and now wearing the St. Guadalupe necklace, SHE WENT INTO REMISSION, and LIVED another 4 YEARS in what her oncologist and doctors at the University  called a “most unexpected, unexplained,  remission.”  She never found her benefactor again, but began to think it was “meant to be.”  After all, she had entertained the company of an Angel Unaware.  Heb 13:2: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels unaware.”

Trula God wink 2 in 1

Officer Trula Ann Godwin Tanner’s picture provided by her son Jason Tanner. He has kept this picture with her St. Guadalupe medal and police badge together with the knowledge of this story and it’s significance until the “contacted him posthumously, yes I said posthumously, and initiated Part 2 of the 3 parts of the God-winks.

PART TWO: GOD WINK 2: My Sister Trula’s Time Capsule Arrived 13 Years After Her Death: It would change lives forever, but specifically her “baby boy” whose life was about to ‘go back in time’.

In the beginning;

It was Sunday in January, 2016 when I  checked my Facebook.  There was a private message; not unusual, I often get them and this one had just popped on. It was from a “Ben Miller.”and Ben was wondering if I might be a contact for a lady named Trula Godwin? His wife (Dana I found out later) was working on a dresser they bought at the local DAV store and used for the last 12 years. That day, when she tried to return a drawer to the dresser, it would not go in. Couldn’t budge it. They examined it and there seemed to be a hidden or special area hiding a large amount of materials in it. He could not wait to deliver it to me after finding out my sister had passed away in 2002.

ben miller and dana

Ben and Dana Miller thought they would refinish the old dresser they bought 12 years before at a DAV. Their discovery of a hidden compartment during the preparation, revealed the items of the “time capsule” of Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner). Their generosity of spirit and attitude resulted in their delivery of the capsule that same day.

When Ben delivered it there were so many items and as I sorted through them I was astonished at the selected items she had secreted in the special area hidden in the dresser’s structure.  To read about each of them please feel free to read the entire encounter/story by looking at the index of stories here on my WordPress blog and selecting “God Wink: My sister Trula’s Time Capsule Arrived 13 Years After Her Death. It is in the heading (black area) above. https://joycegodwingrubbs2.wordpress.com/god-wink-my-sister-trulas-time-capsule-arrived-13-years-after-her-death/

For now, the relevant item of the bunch in discussion is a letter written 24 years ago. Due to this “God Wink” I am now able to reveal with permission, the nature of the letter in the time capsule which I could not when it was first opened and I wrote the original God wink story. “THINGS HAD TO HAPPEN FIRST”. (Many pictures and details are in this post you can access in the original post..)

 There was a letter written to my sister Trula from a young woman in response to Trula’s letter to her.  She discussed with Trula the decision to raise her baby on her own with the loving support of the man she was to marry. However, she wanted Trula to know that this baby would be well cared for, loved, but not told of his biological father. The biological father was Trula’s son. This was about Trula’s grandson that she would never live to see.  I gave the letter to Trula’s son Jason as I knew that was why it was included in the time capsule.


Jason and Zac2

This was the trip Jason made to meet his son. It would turn out to be his only visit. It was agreed that thereafter, Jason would be given  information, but would not be known to Zach as his father. His mother was married to a loving man who would be a loving father to Zach.  Jason honored the wishes of this mother, his friend,  who he knew would give Zach a life filled with stability and love. He has not seen Zach in person in 24 years since this picture.  

Jason and Zac

In full disclosure again, Jason is my nephew whom I love dearly. This picture tore at my heart as I know the struggles of his life in the military, with his other 2 children, and the desire to be a father to be counted on. I see how young he was here and it reminds me of the melancholy that would always be a part of the robust, leader and warrior, whose life was often defined by the Army and the challenge to be strong.












reunion Jason Tanner

The Army received the fresh-faced 18 year old right out of high school as he determined to “become a man that my family can be proud of”. Thus, with that decision breaking up his marriage, he would find himself on his own and the Army became his family until his retirement from the military.

In the habit of pacing outside his home when in turmoil, Trula’s son Jason would often “talk to Trula and his beloved grandmother Marguerite” and felt he often “heard” from them.  After receiving the letter from the Time capsule while in Iowa to meet his first grandchild, he went through his “ritual” conversation, then felt led to contact the mother of his child and tell her he was ready, if she was willing, for his son to know about him. This was a long time in coming for Jason due to concerns of how his son would take knowing his biological father had not been in the picture to raise him.

The urgency was, when Jason made contact with the mother of Zach, he found his son was expected to be a father in his own right in just months. Family medical history was becoming important. This tried and proven former Army Sgt. was fearful of his son’s reaction and afraid that it would over-shadow his son’s happy expectations about the baby girl he would meet in October.

Jason had recently married and his new wife Kellie D. was a rock. She urged him to take the leap, she steadied him when he waited impatiently not knowing if he would get a scathing reaction from his son, or worse, hear nothing.

Kellie D

Jason and Kellie at their outdoor wedding in Arizona. Their passion is hiking and spending time traveling in Arizona and surrounding areas.

Hearing from his son Zach was overwhelming. Zach’s mother had shared with him that it was her decision and Jason had honored it as he was in the service and deployed to Somalia and later to Afghanistan, and as a career Army personnel, he was often in a ‘dark place” in his life, personally and professionally. The most important thing Zach learned about Jason from his mother was that buried in Jason’s heart was a radar about his son. At critical junctures in Zach’s life and his mother’s, Jason thru the years would call and check on them, as he had last done when he went, then survived Afghanistan.

zach and skyler with margaritas

A caption of “happiness and promise” on their faces. Skyler and Zach are in love.


Zach Reese and Skyler Roberts ice cream (2)

Zach and Skyler enjoying life, love and awaiting their “bundle of Joy.”








The status now is that Jason will be going to “meet” face to face, his new granddaughter after her birth in October. Jason and Zach are in contact and finding their “way” that is mutually comfortable, and that Jason feels isn’t intrusive out of respect for the wonderful family Zach has had and who love him.

zach and skyler with baby pic (2)

Zach and Skyler, their contented and proud smiles say it all.

But as Jason says, “I’ve always needed to know what my mom thought about all of that, and the letter in the time capsule allowed me to know her thoughts, her struggles and her love for Zach. It was right before me in black and white. It was the catalyst to me contacting Zach’s mom to learn more about Zach and re-unite. The timing was perfect for me to get the letter, perfect for Zach to learn about his family and its members. Especially, his grandmother who loved him from afar.

And it was no coincidence that when his great-grandmother died, Zach’s name appeared with those of her great-grandchildren,  all those years ago in 1998. It was on the written materials used for her funeral and memorial. (Yes, many were trying to figure out who he was as Jason had protected his son from scrutiny.) But anyone who knew Jason’s grandmother Marguerite Marrs Godwin (Smith), would know she and his mother Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner) would have had it no other way. ( Her funeral happened in 1998, the same year Trula encountered her Angel Unaware.)   .


Part Three: God-wink 3

As part of his reconciliation with his son Zach, it was clear to Jason that Zach had never received any gifts from him since that first and last visit together. He wanted to make a meaningful gesture of love and inclusion as he had already shared so many things with his first born, his daughter Bridgette who was already actively texting and becoming acquainted with her “new brother” and had just had the first grandchild, a son. Jason had also given many of his military possessions to his son Brayden. He searched his heart, conferred with various family members, including this author, as to whether his idea was “appropriate” and would be meaningful. Then he decided.

Bridgette and Jason

Jason with his first born, daughter Bridgette on a recent visit to see him in Arizona.

Brayden profile pic

Brayden, Jason’s third child is now out of high school and deciding his future.

Jason valued the fact that when his mother  gave him the St. Guadalupe necklace from the Angel Unaware, she wanted him to wear it in when he was deployed to keep him safe. He chuckled as he remembered he did not wear it in Afghanistan because of the heat and problems it would have caused, including his fear of losing it. Instead, he always kept it hanging on her picture along with her police badge she had worn during her career. These three things he valued more than any mementos, and thus after informing his children of his choice and reasoning, he packaged up his treasure and sent it to his son Zach.

He told Zach that he wanted him to have it and possibly wear it until the new grandchild was old enough to appreciate it and understand the legacy behind it. He told Zach that his mother had specifically said, that the story of the Angel Unaware was to be told and remembered as part of the family “legacy”, so Jason charged Zach with keeping it in the family and passing it down. He was holding his breath when he didn’t hear back from Zach right away and wondering if he received the package, when Zach contacted him. He was very grateful for the gift that meant so much to Jason, and was like a validation he was an integral part of the family. He was excited to know the story of the necklace, and more about his grandmother.


This is then, my effort to help and share the story. It is especially important to remember that there truly are angels unaware among us, and there is a reason we come into contact with them. So Zach, from your great-aunt Joyce Godwin Grubbs, this is my way of welcoming you in the family and giving you the charge to carry on for your grandmother who loved you and whose blessing would definitely be given in this gifting of the necklace to you.

Trula God wink 2 in 1

UPDATE; UPDATE;UPDATE;UPDATE********************************************



She did it again and so the God Winks continue;

After trying to plan a reunion around the birth of his son’s first child, and holidays and other thoughts, it wasn’t until January, his mother Trula’s  birthday (now in heaven) that Jason was able, with his wife, to visit his son Zach, wife Skyler and new, beautiful baby girl Lilly. I believe it was her way of letting them know she was there and knew of the reunion. From Tucson to the Southeast U.S., the trip was more than they could have hoped for.

Jason described it as all four adults being on the “same thread from beginning to end” and no awkwardness whatsoever. His son Zach used the same words. So just a couple of pictures from that wonderful occasion.

zach-with-familyjason-with-zach-familyWe look forward to my sister Trula manipulating many more things in their lifetimes, and we know that she is thrilled they are ‘together”.

zacj-ice-creamFather and son and their own brand of humor; finding out it “meshes” and the two are one.

Posted in Angel Unaware, Army Strong, Davenport Police Department, Family Legacies, God winks, Governor Terry Branstad, Grandparent Love, Honorary Colonel Iowa National Guard, Iowa State Representative Steve Grubbs, love child, Military, Ohana, police woman, Q.C. Metropolitan enforcement Group MEG, reconciliation, secrets, Signs after death, St. Guadalupe, Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Groom Holds Olympic Trials to Determine Best Man


Steven Hensler is a “MAN FOR ALL SEASONS”. He is known to be decisive, have well established boundaries, and a well defined life. BUT,  when it came time to choose a Best Man for his wedding, he was totally and un-characteristically stymied.  With the diversity of his experiences and years of friends from childhood to adulthood, and with 3 brothers and a brother-in-law to be, he had a true challenge to “just pick one.”

While he is definitely a “man’s man” he has a tender spirit when it comes to friendship. He has always valued loyalty and friendship highly and credits his friends with seeing him through the good, bad, and ugly that life can throw at you. He would say that “Friendship defines those who have your back.”  He had narrowed it to 7.

steve mud (2)steve suit (2)T

The groom enjoys “Mudding” with a four wheeler in his Wisconsin surroundings, but he is just as comfortable in his suit and tie attire when called for in previous work  and church  experiences.  In fact as an EMT he is readying for his next big step after the wedding when he continues his pursuit to become a Paramedic.


Steven and cookies for the Homeless 1008

As part of a church outreach team to the homeless, Steve and the team made homemade cookies and delivered food and visits to Madison’s homeless. Steve  second from the left (2008)

 Below is the picture of Steve giving his annual “Christmas Story” to the family. He is one of the “renowned” storytellers in a family that is competitive and works to give all of the listeners their money’s worth and have them rolling in the aisles. No problem for Steve.













Steven at Christmas 2011


It was a result of his struggles to narrow the nominees down to 7 candidates, that he came up with the idea to hold a weekend “OLYMPIC TRIAL” with the winner being the Best Man. As a Wisconsin “born and bred” man, Hensler was all about the outdoors and having the competition encompass water, and land  challenges. He is always safety conscious so he was able to put in place all the safety designations while holding activities in the lake and on the farm for the shooting events. There was of long list of activities to be tallied, and all 7 were competitive.

Beach Frisbee,  and “Corn Hole” games at the farm were hotly contested and the target games shooting as well.  But possibly no where as in the competition of the Skeet shooters. With 12 gauges blasting it was son # 2 who took the win on this competition.


Steve games for Best man

Here ya’ go. I’m winning that buckle.

Steve Corn Hole games

Not a chance, I got this.


At the farm following the shooting competitions, and other challenges, they ate, partied, and finally tallied the scores.


Steven contestents

The Best Man contestants (Groom to be in yellow ).


steven best man comp2

The groom to be on the left with his “baby brother” discuss the ongoing games and tallies.


Of all the contestants, the 3 brother’s scored the highest, and the older brother won. He would say he won “handily”. There was so much fun in just the doing of the games, the camaraderie, and the sharing of old memories and teasing about all their youthful adventures.

The “Brotherhood” showed the Groom THEY HAD HIS BACK choosing the Best Man.

Unbeknownst to the groom, the 3 brothers got together and donated all of their points to his best friend from childhood. Actually he had placed Last in the points. It was a poignant moment I am certain, for the brothers to be the supportive friends they have always been to the groom. And they showed their recognition of the importance of his first childhood friendship. It also  gave a well-deserved recognition to the person who had first be-friended their brother and earned their respect. It was their way of showing he “deserved” to be Best Man by unanimous acclamation.    

Steven winner

The newly informed winner of the Best Man competition may have broken into his “Happy Dance”.


The oldest brother, and actual winner,  did however barter a trade for the points he gave.   In exchange he reserved the right to be in charge of the Bachelor Party, and everyone was happy with their outcome.

The groom and all associated with the “Best Man Olympic Trials” would tell you that no matter the motivation, the idea is solid. It was a time of remembering when they “played together” and bonding again as men ,while seeing their friend and brother,  into the “Rite of Passage” of marriage. No doubt there was a lot of advice shared, lies told, and laughs enjoyed. And it was a great way to become acquainted with the new brother-in-law coming into the family and him seeing the brothers in their most “natural state.”

Without a doubt, one of the best parts of winning Best Man was the Winning Trophy of the custom belt buckle:  The inscription reads (German) for Best Man ;  Hensler wedding 2016.

Steven best man buckle

And not lost in all of this, is the humor the groom and his bride have and express as they make choices about their wedding. This could not be more evident  than the choice of their wedding announcement.  Below, the pertinent information was blocked out by this author who took the opportunity to modify it and give them a little “tease”. By adding green commentary areas with her own critique, she could have a little fun at the expense of the couple. That’s what “grandmas do”. And yes, the bride really did hang him up and “bag him.”

Hannah Invite #3

Speaking of the bride, a small gallery of their pictures can be seen below.


Whether it is “mudding”, water sports, ball games, running in races together and apart, or skiing, they are up for it; together.

Hannah and steve faces

Hannah pro pic steve swim hannah

Steven and Hannah

steve smooch

Hannah and steve made up faces


To read about their unique engagement, go to the blog menu and click on or search: Fairy Wishes; Proof they really come true; Engaged in a Fairy Garden.

Best wishes to the Bride and Groom in their September wedding, and their life beyond.

Posted in Best Man, Wedding, Olympic Trials, Wisconsin,, Groom,, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A GOD Wink: The Hanging Tree in Our Back Yard



One of the first confirmations of the ESP in my family that directly involved me was an occasion in my childhood involving my sister Trula. I am sure she was around nine which made my age 6, it was still 1949.  We had gone to spend a week with our Aunt “Sib” (Sylvia) and Uncle Chuck in Kansas. Mother and Dad remained at home in Oklahoma.

Album sib and chuck

Aunt Sib (Sylvia Bell Godwin Snyder) and Uncle Chuck (Charles Snyder.)


Three days into the visit we were having a wonderful time and were worn-out each night when we went to sleep. Usually we found sleeping together in a bed was always a test of survival. My sister often had nightmares and would thrash, and talk, and on occasion grabbed my leg and kept pulling and yelling. She held on for dear life while holding  my leg saying “Give me back my leg, give me back my leg it’s mine, it’s mine.”   She became quite violent when I couldn’t get her awake enough to understand she had my leg. It really scared me and it hurt.  Needless to say, I dreaded those nights.

It was unsettling then, that on this vacation night away from home, she grabbed me during the night and shook me saying, “Tweetie is dead. Tweetie is dead.” (Tweetie being her rescued sparrow that lived as one would care for a parakeet.)  I became more than a little upset because I thought she was still in her dream, and with my luck was dreaming I had killed Tweetie. I was ready to bolt when she said, “That cat did it. I saw him.” I really didn’t know how to respond but eventually she finished telling me the details, and said that when we got home we were going to kill that cat. She never said which cat, but she said she knew it, and when we got home she’d show me. Eventually we slept again.

Tweetie was a common sparrow but we had “saved him” when he was only a few days old, naked, without feathers to protect him. He’d become dislodged from his nest high up on a billboard along the railroad track.  Actually, in adulthood my sister said it was my friend and me who dislodged it when we climbed up to see the nest. I conveniently didn’t remember my culpability in that, but accept it could be true. My sister had a steel-trap memory and she never forgot, anything.

I also am forced to admit it was my sister’s dedication and skill that saved Tweetie. She developed the feeding schedule and diet (droppers of milk and tiny, soft-rolled pieces of bread, gently tamped down his throat between milk from the dropper). She also got credit for getting our mother to allow us to keep Tweetie and raise him.

At that time we lived in the middle house across the railroad tracks on East 9th street in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.  There were only the three houses after you crossed the tracks, and the road became a dirt road, and a dead end.  Each house was occupied by one of the Godwin families, and our family lived first in the third house, then had moved to the middle house when Aunt Mid and Uncle Delmar moved to Wichita, Kansas the year before.

 The middle house had a screened-in back-porch, and while we never had a cage, only a box in the early days, we were able to let Tweetie learn to fly in the screened in back porch and fancied ourselves providing him a “rich man’s cage” because it was larger than an ordinary cage. (Approximately 6’ x 8’.)

 Our mother had become attached to the little guy, and with Dad traveling all over the country welding for the union, we girls were on our own most of the time. We had no pets of our own at that time except for Tweetie. Dad had his wolf-hunting dogs and some fighting cocks, but this was our very own pet. We delighted in the antics of Tweetie on the porch and in our house. Mother tolerated the occasional bird droppings on the picture frames and light fixtures. Life had been good and we were content.


Our mom loved Tweetie just as much as we did.

When our Aunt Sib awakened us that next morning  my sister’s adamant declaration of Tweetie’s fate continued, and then thankfully it was for breakfast. I was always ready to eat.  I had already put my sister’s nightmare behind me lost in the pleasures of good food and good company. My cousins Carla and Nancy. As we were sitting at the table eating cereal, the phone rang. Before my aunt answered, my sister said, “It’s mother calling about Tweetie”.

My aunt was trying to speak softly and to talk in a way that wouldn’t alarm us, but it was a landline tethered to the kitchen wall. When she hung up, she couldn’t help but respond when my sister turned to her and said, “Did she tell you which cat did it?”

My aunt was more than a little non-plussed. She tried to play dumb about the topic of the early morning call, but she finally admitted that mother said to tell us about Tweetie but not how it happened. There was no need as my sister told her in detail how, when, where and after making me leave the room, which cat.

When we returned to our home two days later, my sister and I made a bee-line to the back porch just to confirm our worst fears, that Tweetie was gone. True enough, the latch on the screen door was unlatched and that hadn’t been done for a year. My sister walked into the back yard and looked all around. “I don’t see him, but we’ll find him and then we’ll hang him”. I knew she meant that cat.

It was a couple of nights later when all the adults were distracted with a party that my sister grabbed me and said, “let’s do it”. Protesting would not have worked as my sister had a way of pummeling me into compliance when she was determined about something. And trust me she was determined about this.

We had to crawl out the second story window above the screened in porch at night to hunt for the cat. Mother couldn’t know our plan or even that there was knowledge of which cat did it. We slid down the downspout (also called rainspout by some) which tells you how skinny we were not to break it or pull it away from the house. Up to now my sister had refused to tell me which cat it was, telling only Aunt Sib, but now she had the rope and we were going to find that cat.

I had no particular reaction when she identified the culprit. After all, it wasn’t our cat and it killed our Tweetie Bird. I was just as blood thirsty for revenge as my sister. I was, however, more nervous about it being dark with no yard or street lights.  I was wondering if you committed murder in the dark if the Devil could catch you easier?

At last we had the rope up over a limb, and though we didn’t know how to do a hangman’s noose, my sister made a slip-knot and we were set. We finally caught the cat which was definitely not a tame house cat, and we had the scratches to prove it. We carried the cat to the hanging tree and decided to pray over it. During that time it almost got loose several times, and again we had the scratches to prove it. Trula shortened the praying and the hanging commenced, and then we really had the scratches to prove it.

In years to come, one of my aunts, Aunt Mid (Mildred) would always laugh and tell this story saying she had never seen two girls with so many scratches on them. She said we had hundreds of scratches from head to toe.

 The truth of the matter is, the cat got away.  Actually we never saw it again. For most of my life I believed we scared all nine lives out of it, but in my usual hind sight from a more mature perspective, I believe my dad may have decided to “take care of it” since it meant so much to us, and he didn’t want us trying anything like that again.

The greater point of all of this, is that it was the beginning of my education in what turned out to be a family female trait. ESP. My mother, maternal grandmother, sister and eventually myself, had many experiences of varying significance, dealing with ESP experiences. Whenever these occurred in my young life, I was told not to talk about it because it was “of the Devil”. Southern Baptist didn’t believe in ESP unless it was to believe it was of the Devil. So, for the greater part of my adult life when these things happened, I simply referred people to the Bible and told them it was HSP (Holy Spirt Perception) and they could read up on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The truth is I don’t care if it’s ESP or HSP, but I certainly have dozens of stories I could share about these events, and will as time allows in later entries. I told this one just to lay the ground work for those stories to follow. I think the fact that it happened when we knew nothing of ESP (it was Oklahoma in the 1940’s for goodness sake and we didn’t even know the term ESP. We thought it was magic. Granted we thought it was Fairy magic, while our mother and her family thought it was at the very least, “black magic” and/or of the Devil) We had no way to have “dreamed it up” or to have faked it, at that young age, and that speaks to the innocence of the experience. Actually it seemed more for my edification, as my time was coming when I’d have those experiences. My sister’s experience allowed me to see that it was an unsolicited and innocent thing.

Since that first experience, I have struggled with this “gift” but in old age have come to realize it has been a good thing. I find that usually an experience is given and the choice to “deal” with it is mine. I enjoy the times it has helped me in “fun” ways and useful ways, like being able to know where someone is or isn’t, so I don’t have to deal with them or see them if I don’t want too. I cherish that it was relevant in allowing me to give a warning to my son-in-law Lonn, when a disastrous event was going to happen to one of my grandchildren. My forewarning him lessened the severity of the incident as it gave him time to take protective action.

My greatest amazement has been that I have now seen some evidence of this being present in a couple of my grandchildren, so I know it continues. I don’t understand all of the ins and outs of this, whether it is ESP or HSP,  but I can tell you it is for real. Just ask the women in my family. And as for the stories I tell about them, I’ve learned the modern term is a God Wink.

GLW Tracks 2

These were the actual tracks you crossed to get to our 3 houses of Godwin families. We lived in the middle one at this time and its screened in porch was perfect for Tweetie. You might note those rail ties. My Uncle Leman Godwin actually was part of the rail gang that built those tracks when he first began with the railroad work. He ended up spending a lifetime on jobs, including conductor on the trains, and had a passion for the trains his whole life. He laid track from Sapulpa, to Okmulgee past our house and down into southern Oklahoma, including Henryetta where he settled with his family. these are also the tracks that define the location of many of the stories of The Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series, but this author, Joyce  Godwin Grubbs.





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Underground Victim Mail System: Oh the stories it could and did tell. P.O. Box 1155 saved lives.

Trula Godwin project mail boxWHAT IS 12 X 6 X 4, OPEN AT ONE END AND THE OTHER END, A LOCKED DOOR??

WRONG. It is not the post office box, but rather an almost magical space that is safe.  A space that allowed high risk victim/survivors to communicate with the assurance they can find a way to be in touch with necessary people, or still pay off debts without being traced. This can mean everything to someone who has gone underground due to domestic violence or rape/sexual assault. They had to abandon every part of their life,  and indeed probably, for life. This is their one “lifeline” and for a high risk underground victim, this is life sustaining.

The Trula Godwin Project was created posthumously in her memory when Police Officer and sex crime expert Trula Ann Godwin succumbed to breast cancer after 28 years on the Davenport, Iowa police force. During her time on the force she dedicated herself to serving victims and during her brief, forced retirement due to the cancer, she volunteered working for the Quad City’s homeless, domestic violence, and rape/sexual assault victims.   In 2015 the project was closed to protect any links and information revelations that might compromise identity security for the victim/survivors, workers, and locations that had been served. It was due to the retirement for reasons of health,  of this author, her sister,  who founded the organization.

Trula Ann Godwin on the day she was sworn into office as a police officer on the Davenport, Iowa police force.

Police Officer Trula Ann Godwin at about 20 years on the force

Officer Godwin  taking her Christmas Eve coffee break to stop at our house to receive her Christmas gift.

trula with amy bald

Officer Godwin at the end of her career battling breast cancer. Pictured with her eldest daughter Amy Elizabeth after a night at the theatre and a meal at her favorite place to eat. Duck City.














MY TOUGHEST CASE (only partly disclosed-part A. )

Homeland Security went on high alert after 9/11 and there  were “good and bad” repercussions. The good, obviously were about the control of terrorism. The bad was that it was necessary to have “blanket coverage” in many of the rules, meaning everyone had to follow them. Suddenly, we who were experienced advocates found we could not help victims open new bank accounts without their social security, or proper id; something they could not use without being traced and found. They could not get a P.O. box without proper “i.d.” and this they could not use without being found. They could not get a driver’s license without being found. One victim in desperation, being states away from more than a year, did try to get a license half way across the country,  and THE VERY NEXT DAY SHE RECEIVED A CALL FROM THE ABUSER.  WHAT TO DO?


These challenges and threats are part of what led me to write 15 novels (Greyhound Lady Walking http://www.joycegodwingrubbs.webs.com ) about the “underground. It necessitated sharing about the very involved, high level shenanigans and sometime out and out lies,  to get around the laws. Every victim/survivor going underground, especially the high-risk ones, could not use any id or social security number they had for at least one full year. They had to get another S.S. number, and it was not easy or fast. It is said by some workers it takes 6 months to get a new identity, but  in my experience to do it right and be safe,  it would always be one year.

A new post office box user would only use the p.o. box 1155 and then it was sent from various locations in the country with a “pass it on-hand it off” routing done by trained, confidential volunteers. It involved always taking the original letter and putting it in a new envelope and using the same p.o.box 1155 return.  It would be sent state to state, until the person designated would mail it to the intended address with no return address. Thus if you wanted someone to think you were in California, the process might go first to New Mexico, then to Wisconsin, and then to California, and from there to the intended. That way no one person knew for sure who sent it from where, or who the sender was.  Trust me it is the only safe way.


This stringent system was put in place after an abuser was able to access a child support check copy (front and back) in a federal office after it had been cashed. The abuser  then traced the trail to the main bank in our state (halfway across the country) . The abuser then left a letter in the victim’s family mailbox in her home state. The family sent it to her via the 1155, and when she opened it, on the inside was a note, “We are getting closer.” They enclosed a copy of the back of the cashed child support check. That very night, we borrowed a horse trailer and moved the victim states away. Thus the Underground Mail System which began for her sake, still served other victims for years to come with no more “compromises.” I am unable to give  you a count as to how many pieces of mail and victims were served.


Our Post Office was unaware of the “service” it was providing, and we only listed alias names to receive mail. It was kept in a nearby state so it could not be traced to me. Various trained volunteers assisted me so no one was identified at the box (timed to make that happen.)  It got a little tricky at Christmas when folks sent packages, but volunteers were wonderful. This was a 100% volunteer coordination with zero funding. (There is no way to be a non-profit and keep victims/survivors safe in an underground mail system, as there is no way to hide the information from probing government surveillance and the always “evil, dreaded, inevitable paper trail”.


If you want to learn more about the techniques of the underground placement of victim/survivors, and in particular protecting the high-risk when they are transported  and use of the mail system,  you can.  Read about the real cases/voices of the victims, written into a creative fiction series to protect confidentiality.  This is done by having created a fictitious network of  locations, transportation hubs, methods of victim secrets using codes, hiding techniques, tricks to “losing” the abuser, ,  and fascinating, exciting yet real  characters disguised yet proven. . The stories and cases are true, but to protect the confidentiality of victim/survivors, workers, and locations they are set in new venues and changed in  ways that prevents tracing them.

Once again, real life trumps fiction as some of these true stories are stranger and more un-believable than fiction. They were written in collaboration with Police Officer Trula Godwin, my sister, before her death. There was also technical assistance by some of her fellow officers in high risk escapes “off the books.”  As for my part, I drew on experiences as a 40+ year advocate/counselor of victims and survivors, crisis line worker and putting victims underground safely throughout the country.

glw Fifth wheel of suspense plain redo cover kdp


As children of parents in a violent domestic violence home, we knew what it was to sleep in open fields we escaped too in the middle of the night, but having to return home due to no place to go.  There were no shelters in that era and the families told my mother, “when you married him you made your bed, so now you can lie in it on your own.”  Churches counseled her to “go home and be a better wife.”  My mother “ran” more than once with daughters in tow, but was found and returned to home.

author 2016 2 

My sister experienced domestic violence in her marriage and even following her joining the police force. She finally “got out” but it proves the point that beyond being a strong woman, you must have support. It took years for her to find that, and when she did, she helped many others to leave, and saw others, who paid the ultimate price trying.


I wore this to most of my talks, book signings and still have it by my computer.

I wore this pin to most of my talks and book signings and still have it by my computer. This  is how I remind myself, that the struggle is not over until the last breath is gone from my body, or the last ability to communicate escapes me. THEN I WILL NEED YOU TO BE READY TO TAKE OVER.

Yes, P.O. box 1155 and The Trula Godwin Project were very personal. It is my fervent prayer that others will read the books and be inspired to receive help and lend assistance. Also that they will learn many tips on the “Safe How too’s” in the storylines of the various novels.

GLW Tracks 2

This novel and it’s sentiments reflect the core of who I am as a survivor. “There is a wrong side of the tracks, wrong side of town, wrong family, religion, culture, circumstances. MAKING IT TO THE STRONG SIDE IS A CHOICE.  Author Joyce Godwin Grubbs.



Posted in domestic violence, Domestic violence, escape, Greyhound adoption, Greyhounds, hard times, Life lessons about prejudice. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are Your Secrets Safe with Me? I’m Dying; should I go or should I tell?

Yes, it is true and this is the last major hurdle I face. The dying process is nothing compared to this struggle to settle the ongoing argument within myself as to whether I should “tell” things I know, or have been entrusted with, yet have kept silent about. In other words, SECRETS. It is frequently noted that secrets get revealed when you are feeling the most loved, or the most betrayed.  I would suggest that a third time is  relevant. It is when you are dying and faced with the “last opportunity to set things straight.”

author 2016 2

As an author one becomes known by some familiar phrases, declarations, and beliefs. In my writings, and in life, I am often known to say or have a character declare, It’s not my story to tell” when declining to reveal a secret. In this manner, I have often struggled with what is right or wrong and had characters “solve” their dilemma in different ways with different outcomes. Now, however, it is real life, and it is me, not a character in one of my novels.

Where there is a secret, there is a heart waiting to be broken.  Sometimes the secrets protect the people we love, or even those they care about. When I accepted knowing the secret, I made a decision to keep it because it was the right thing to do. It is often said that three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead. In too many cases at this point in my life, I am now the third person. Life has changed, things have changed or have turned out differently than the others in the secret would have anticipated, so what now? Does the responsibility for the “no harm no foul principle if I tell”, still apply?

In this day and age of DNA testing, the revelations are revealing many secrets, probably long meant to never be revealed. Deathbed “confessions” of personal natures are becoming common, and some people who “took the brunt” of a situation for others now want to leave this world no longer being the “fall guy”. In some of the cases of my secrets long held, that is the situation. So what to do???  Is it a matter of honor that will be forfeited? Would it even be believed at this late date? Or, does one have a moral obligation to “continue that which was begun?”

There was a time in life when people took pride in being the one everyone sought out to tell their secrets too. Many had the feeling it was a kind of special calling and higher position recognized by others. Coupling that with working in professions where confidentiality was a legal requirement more binding than “secrets” you were privy too, and a great commitment to consider “taking it to your grave.” Perhaps, as a person in the medical community one could use a measuring stick of “do no harm” to make the decisions “to tell, or not to tell.” But what about our personal life?

As for me, my decisions are formulating into actions. At this point I choose to cover my bases by leaving letters appropriate to the situation by including apologies where I deem them necessary, revealing the truth behind the secrets, where I deem necessary, and  as Sissela Bok said, “While all deception requires secrecy, all secrecy is not meant to deceive.” Marilyn Vos Savant states  “Be able to keep a secret or a promise, when you know it is the right thing to do.”  In some cases I can put the secret into the hands of a new party who is responsible and trustworthy, in case there is still a question of relevance to the person’s future. In other cases, I can directly share with the object of the secret to give them closure, hope, or a trail toward forgiveness.

What would you do with your secrets? Some being hugely impactful if revealed, others being a mere secret with-held to protect old mores and practices of belief systems such as racial issues, religious violations, and family secrets of betrayals.  

Tombstone secrets to grave

As a child victim of sexual abuse I was taken with an old gospel hymn, “It is no Secret.”  It’s haunting melody and powerful words always spoke to me in a personal way.   I was always mindful of “SECRETS” I could ‘never’ tell, but eventually did. When I first told them I was not prepared for the myriad of reactions and belief vs. disbelief of my story. It taught me a great lesson about the un-predictability of reception. That thing one had long held as secret and finally shared, being met with rejection and disbelief was devastating.  It was this hymn that carried me and in the end, “won the day” for me.  

It is no Secret  (In the public domain)

It Is No Secret

The chimes of Time rings out the news
Another day is through
Someone slipped and fell
Was that someone you ?
You may have longed for added strength
Your courage to renew
Do not be disheartened
For I bring hope to you.

It is no secret what God can do
What God has done for others
He will do for you
With arms wide open
He’ll pardon you
It is no secret what God can do.

There is no night for His Light
You’ll never walk alone
Always feel at home
Wherever you may roam
No evil power can conquer you
While God is on your side
Just take Him at His promise
Don’t run away and hide.

It is no secret what God can do
What God has done for others
He will do for you
With arms wide open
He’ll pardon you
It is no secret what God can do.
It is no secret what God can do.

In the end, whether I keep my secrets or not, God will know the intent of my heart in the decision. If I leave this world “taking the fall” for others by keeping the truth entrusted to me, I will know His peace covered me. If I reveal truths so others can know they were loved by me and I protected them with secrets, I can only pray that they will always trust, it was a decision of love, not selfishness.

The letters? They will be entrusted to a person who will keep my “secret” and then decide whether to share them based on the assessment of the post-death reactions and relationships after I’m gone. It is the best that I can do in the circumstances.

The Godwin Girls

Not all secrets are only yours to tell.

I wore this to most of my talks, book signings and still have it by my computer.

Some secrets were family secrets and involved others who demanded the secrecy be kept.



Secrets can be shared between trusted family members, and some are shared between mutual victims. But the bond of secrets can last a lifetime, even to the grave.



Some secrets I inserted into the storylines of my novels.




I won the 1984 Iowa Diana award and International Diana Award 5th place winner. As one reads the reasons for the honor, the criteria reveals the areas for the accumulation of yet more and varied secrets.


joyce politics2

A short foray into “official” city politics was actually an attempt to gain a public voice on behalf of the homeless in our city. My worst fear was I would be elected, and it almost happened. So many great things came out of the run, including personal contact by city, union and opposing party members including the opposing candidate. It spawned years of support and open doors for my project and my efforts on behalf of the did-enfranchised in our area. And of course; MORE SECRETS OF A NEW AND DIFFERENT KIND.

Author Joyce Godwin Grubbs at age 3.

Some secrets begin at a very early age. Author Joyce Godwin Grubbs at age 3. Shortly after this picture the abuse began; Should I go or should I tell all that remains untold?

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One a Promise, Two a Promise: A guest post from Hannah-Legget-Hintz’s Blog “The Luckiest”

Hannah pro pic


Love’s a scary thing when you step back from it. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You’d give absolutely anything and everything for this one human. This perfectly imperf…

Source: One a Promise, Two a Promise.

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