About Me

Confession: I don’t have much to post on this page, because most of what I say about myself is probably propaganda and you should think before you swallow. I am not wise enough to see myself accurately.

My name is Shari Zook. This is how I look on my good days.

June 2022. Shadybrook Park with Jenny.

I love Jesus. A lot. He’s the reason I’m smiling on this picture; also I was enjoying sunshine and time with my daughter, so it was definitely a good day.

July 2022. Haystack Rock in OR with my best man.

I’ve been married for eighteen years to a handsome and compelling man named Ryan. Here on my blog he goes by The Boss (or Not the Boss, depending on the month). He served as a pastor for fourteen years, and is now a self-employed computer tech and volunteer fireman. Each of his career choices has roped his wife into numerous stretching, fulfilling, and uncomfortable situations she would not have had the courage to sign up for on her own.

July 2022. Visiting the Grand Canyon.

We live just outside of a nondescript town in northwestern Pennsylvania, in a large half-renovated farmhouse on a few acres of woods and lawn.

We have given birth to four beloved, infuriating children:

May 2022. Aarick’s graduation. Photo Credit: Visualore Media

Aarick, age sixteen, who loves robotics, sarcasm, and a good challenge

Regan, age fourteen, who loves friendships, spontaneity, and a great joke

Kelly, age eleven, who loves the outdoors, all forms of arts & crafts, and growing up

And Jenny, age six, who loves me.

July 2022. Being silly over CA seafood.

We are also foster parents, and for the past eight years we’ve been licensed and privileged to love a series of children we did not give birth to, subject to changing needs and numbers at any time. We are currently hosting a six-year-old son. Out of respect to our foster children and their birth parents, I do not post identifiable pictures or details of them online. But they are beautiful too.

Enough introduction; the rest you will find out as you go. Read on.

November 2021. My 39th birthday.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Crystal Derstine
10 years ago

Shari, I finally got around to reading your blog as several of my friends have been tagging articles you write. anyway, I love it! And I have stayed up way too late reading it and still am not done… love what I am reading… needed your refreshing honesty… wish to know you better as I read more of you on here… blessings!

Elva Miller
10 years ago

Hello Shari,
I just talked to my daughter Debbie from Middlefield and she told me about your blog and the note you wrote about me. What an undeserved compliment. I pray that I can and will be a blessing to others. My life is very lonely at times and I still miss my dear husband so very much. God is Still Good!! My life is very full and I love doing for and having 10 of my grand children around. I just came home from a 2 week trip to Colorado which, by the way, I drove. I took my two oldest granddaughters with me. It was my birthday gift to them. My oldest daughter Cheryl and her husband Neil live in Westcliffe, Co. They have 5 adopted children and 2 foster children at this time. We had an enjoyable time with them. Our travels took us over 3000 miles and we had a wonderful time. I just thank and praise the Lord for giving me good health and allowing me to still enjoy life.
My next trip to Ohio, I want to try and see your Mom. She is such a special lady and I feel we have always had a kindred spirit.
Thanks for listening to all my ramblings and I’m so glad I found your blog.
Blessings to you and your family.
I Love you,

9 years ago

Hi Shari, I just subscribed to your blog … we don’t know each other, but I’ve seen links on fb to some of your posts and that got me started reading. I’ve been a silent stalker πŸ™‚ – I can’t find words for the thoughts and feelings some of your writing brings up in me. Thanks for being honest about the lessons you’re learning – shallow or deep. πŸ™‚

Dorothy Yutzy
9 years ago

easier for me to catch all your blogs if they come on my e-mail as you write them. Love Grandma

9 years ago

Hi Shari, I’ve been reading your blog for almost a year now and always enjoy your posts. I use google reader/feedly for keeping up with the blogs I like, but with yours I always have to go directly to your blog to read the full post. I was wondering if you do that on purpose, or if that’s something you’d consider changing. Just thought I’d ask -no pressure if it can’t be done. Thanks!

9 years ago

It brings such joy to my heart to see such wonderful young people as yourselves. I am 72 years young myself and you have brought joy to this youngsters heart today. I shall pray for youall tomorrow at church. I wish this nation would wake up and understand who they owe our nation to.
Praise God for YOU Tom Nunn

Linda Brubacker
8 years ago

Hi there:) My name is Linda Brubacker, and I’m from southern Indiana. (Fresh Start is my home church.) I’ve only been reading your blog for about a month but have enjoyed it immensely!

Dena Skrivseth
8 years ago

I just read your Georgie Porgie blog…enjoyed it very much…guess I’m one of those moms too!! πŸ™‚ I think I have some picts of you way back at Maranatha Bible School when you were abit over a year old!! Thanks to your Dad teaching and the family being there, we got to enjoy you and some of your siblings before you remember!!

8 years ago

Shari, I just discovered your blog. I love it! Looking forward to coming back and enjoying more of your posts. Brings back memories of the few special meals I enjoyed at in your little house just chatting about life.

Heidi Shank
8 years ago

Shari, I, too, love your blog. You are a gifted woman with a real talent for writing. I always look forward to your next post.

A little about me: Christian homeschooling mom of 6 living in FL, who spends the summers in central PA.

In Christ,

Heidi Shank

Sharon Simpson
8 years ago

Is there a Nikki Zook in your life, by any chance? She is an old elementary school friend…her parents were from PA, too…just thought you MIGHT know her?

8 years ago
Reply to  Sharon Simpson

Sorry, doesn’t ring a bell at all. πŸ™ Thanks for asking!

Anna Nisley
8 years ago

Hi Shari,
I’ve been reading your blog and love your ability to write in such a refreshingly honest style.


Tina Byler
8 years ago

Delighted to have found your blog. Keep on writing!

A fellow sojourner.

8 years ago

You inspire me! Keep writing πŸ™‚

Lisa Landis
7 years ago

I shared on fb. I most often crave extreme chocolate or an amazing salad.

Carolyn Kropf
7 years ago

Found your interesting Blog only this morning through a FB friend. My first thought was, “that has got to be John & Barb Coblentz’s daughter.” (now from Faith Builders (?) He was my Music Teacher at MBS (1976 and/or 1977) and she was Assistant Matron. Met them here n there again thro’ the years…Super nice couple!

7 years ago
Reply to  Carolyn Kropf

Yes! You are right–they are a nice couple πŸ™‚ and I am their daughter.

Hadassa Beiler
7 years ago

Hi Shari! I’ve so enjoyed reading your blog and am finally subscribing! Thank you for your honesty- I am so blessed by it. I am from Catlett, VA and we felt so privileged to become friends with Josh and Jean. We sure miss them! Thanks again and looking forward to reading more!
– Hadassa

6 years ago

Hi Shari,

I’ve been reading your blog for probably a couple of years now. I didn’t have an email address for you, so I’m trying this route to contact you. I’m another foster mom, and I’ve wondered if you would be interested in joining or helping to start an email group for Menno foster parents. I know you’ve got at least several other foster moms as readers/commenters; maybe they would be interested as well. It would be especially for exchanging ideas for dealing with the challenges of foster care and giving support and encouragement.

And with a nod to the Mennonite game and to provide references (in case you care), my brother lives in Guys Mills, married to the oldest daughter of one of the FB patriarchs. My husband taught music at FB the past two summer terms.

Blessings on your very full house. Isn’t it funny how God answers our prayers for children?

Bonnie’s Mama

Dawn Nolt
5 years ago

Just found your blog after Home Joys referred to your post on inexpensive gifts for children. My maiden name was Dawn Hoover and I went to Maranatha with Ryan, maybe you too?

5 years ago

Hi Shari! I’ve searched around here for an email address by which to contact you and have found none. Would you mind sharing it with me? You can email me at [email protected] if you’d rather. Thanks! ☺

Dorcas Showalter
5 years ago

Hi Shari, I just discovered your blog through My Father’s Business blog. Meadville… Faith Builders… I lived by Cambridge Springs for 4 years before I was married, my parents still live there although their place is for sale. My husband and I and our 3 children now live in Chile. It is wonderful finding another Mennonite woman who seeks to live authentically.
Blessings, Dorcas

5 years ago

I’m not following a lot of blogs these days. But, when a friend talked about your “school lunch” blog, I decided to check it out. Then when I see “confessions” numerous times in the little I’ve been on your site, it reeled me right in. πŸ˜‰

I love real and honest. God bless….

4 years ago

I have been trying to get a hold of you and sent a message over a year ago. I would like permission to use your your article on the myth of True Love in my ordinances class at Calvary Bible and would like to submit that article to Calvary Messenger as well which is a Beachy church paper. Also would like to use that in my notebook at the Little Stone Cottage. You can view this place at http://www.thelittlestonecottage.com and I offer you and your hubby a free stay for your consideration on the use of this article. I edited it little for readability off line and will send you a copy if you wish before it is submitted for publication.

L. Baer
4 years ago

Shari, is it cheeky to ask for your email address? You have mine.:)
Your children’s picture updates are precious. I could look at those eyes for hours…

4 years ago

Shari, I would love to use your 3 posts on parenting in Adoption News- a small newsletter that I edit for Amish and Mennonite families. I would simply tell them to go read “Confessions” but a lot of them do not have internet access and feel a bit isolated. I’d say a bit more but this is a public forum….you can let me know via my e-mail address that is attached.

4 years ago

Dear Shari,

I would like to write an e-mail to you regarding the translation of a German tract into English. How can I contact you?


4 years ago
Reply to  Shari Zook

I sent you an e-mail – hope you received it!

3 years ago

totally unrelated but ran across your blog while searching for Plum Paper promo codes. do you happen to still have the referral email to share?

3 years ago
Reply to  Dina

No, I’m sorry, the offer expired. Thanks for asking.

3 years ago

ok thanks for getting back to me! Merry Christmas πŸ™‚

Teresa Derstine
2 years ago

Shar, God totally lead me to your blog this morning through my Daughters of Promise email devotional…….. ALL SO UPLIFTING AND ENCOURAGING IN SOOOO MANY WAYS! What an amazing sweet, gentle, way you have with sharing so many hard honest struggles!!! Brings such joy to actually read someone’s real, raw, everyday human struggles. all with strong Biblical truths carrying you and your precious family.

My name is Teresa Derstine, live in Montgomery County Pennsylvania! Mama to 5. Three biological children ages 26, 24, and 22. Our two adopted sons, ages 11 and 7. Our 11 year old just recently took to Allegany Boys Camp in Maryland. Break off from Bald Eagle. Our family has been broken and worn down to nearly feeling almost destroyed during the last two years of struggles with our 11 year old. Still clinging daily minute by minute to God and his strength and power. Still, we know He has called us to this!!!!!
Cannot wait to delve more into all your blog……❀️ Would love to connect more but realize you are a busy lady????

Anonymous ????
1 year ago

I’m 16 now, you know. Also I’d like to request that you take off survival gear from the list of things I like, ’cause I’ve kind of outgrown that. You could replace it (with robotics, or junk food, or being snarky), or you could just leave it with two items to mess up your sets-of-three thing. ????

Rhonda Stutzman
1 month ago

Hi Shari,

I just finished your book. I connected with it on certain topics. I cried through a lot of it. It was healing to my heart as I grapple with painful, tough areas of my own life. My take away is : we need each other in our church communities! It’s ok to not be the strong one all the time, and to let others see our vulnerability and neediness. And I think I better understand what my sisters in the church need from me. Thank you for your honesty in this book. It was refreshing to read the words that aren’t β€œacceptable β€œ to say, but are in our woman hearts. You also helped me see in a new way that God doesn’t always move our paths on one that makes sense. His plans are sometimes more painful than we’d choose.

Blessings to you as you continue blessing others.

Rhonda Stutzman

1 month ago

Thank you so much, Rhonda! 😊