Sharon was born in a small East Texas town. She was the middle child with an older sister and a younger brother. Sharon credits her parents with giving her and her siblings a loving home and strong faith-based, Christian up-bringing.
In 1953, when she was in the 3rd grade, she moved with her family to the big city where her parents owned and operated Smith's Furniture Store in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana.
Sharon remembers spending every afternoon after school at the store because her mother also worked along side her father. In fact, she said, "I lived there!" The business was a family affair as all three children also worked after school and during summer breaks.
|Ivan Smith Sr. and son Ivan Smith Jr.|
Sharon's brother, Ivan Smith Jr. was very involved in the business and in 1961 the name was changed to Ivan Smith Furniture, headquartered in Shreveport.
It remains a 3rd generation family business which employees 700 people and operates 48 stores across Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Who could have imagined its growth when Smith Furniture first opened its doors in 1953!
After finishing high school, Sharon attended and graduated from the University of Arkansas with a double major - Secondary Education and French. Following her graduation she did additional study in France.
Upon returning to the states, she was given her first job teaching French at the Ursuline Catholic Academy for girls in Dallas, Texas. She told me this was the most perfect job she could have asked for.
While in Dallas she met Jim Mabus who was an engineer with Proctor & Gamble at the time. They lived in the same apartment complex and were introduced by their room mates. It must have been love at first sight because I cannot imagine two people more suited for each other.
They were married at the First Baptist Church in Shreveport, La. in 1968.
Two years later Jim was transferred to Cincinnati.
During this time, it became obvious to them that they would not be able to have a child, so were led to the Cincinnati Children's Home. It was here they fell in love with and adopted a beautiful little blonde headed baby girl, named Laurie.
Four years after moving and having spent all their vacation time traveling back and forth to Dallas and Shreveport to visit family, Jim and Sharon decided to move back to the south.
It was while living in Dallas that they were told about St Marks Children's Home in Houston. And there they found their baby son, Mark in 1976.
In 1980, Jim and Sharon decided to move to Shreveport where they bought their lovely home and Jim became head of Economic Development at the Shreveport Chamber.
In 1982, Sharon says she began to feel "not quite right," and soon discovered the reason. After 14 years of marriage, she was pregnant!
And then there was Polly!
Family is very precious to Jim and Sharon and they treasure their time with their grown children although Mark lives in St. Augustine, Florida and Polly is in Austin, Texas.
In 1986 Sharon was diagnosed with Optic Neuritis and lost vision in one eye. It improved but a year later it returned. This time tests showed positive for Muscular Sclerosis.
Although Sharon uses a cane to help her with balance and faithfully goes to physical therapy twice a week, MS does not define her.
Sharon is still active with outside activities she feels a passion for. She has been involved with Community Renewal since its inception many years ago. In fact for seven years she tutored adults preparing them for their GED. She is also treasurer of an organization called "Think First" where they teach safety to kids and adults in order to avoid injury.
Jim and Sharon are very active at the First Baptist Church where Jim is a deacon and Sharon is active with the ladies in their Sunday School class and with Women's Missionary Union.
The minute I walked into Sharon's home I knew her passion. On practically every surface or wall was a "TREASURE." In the picture above you find her most important treasure and that is her Bible. At this antique table is where she spends her morning study and meditation time. Her life demonstrates this devotion to time spent in study and prayer.
Behind her you will notice a drawing from a grandchild and an old school desk that holds items that she treasures.
This tin can was her grandmothers who taught school many, many years ago.
Over one of the doors of her grandmothers old pie safe is a lovely blouse worn by her mother.
A treasured child's drawing on a paper towel done by Polly is still taped to the picture frame from years ago.
It soon became obvious that Sharon loves pink roses and has quite a collection. Many are displayed on treasured tea sets.
I also asked Sharon what is most important to her and without hesitation and an obvious gleam in her eye, she said "Jim!" She then quickly added "my children!"
Sharon's favorite spot in her lovely home is not inside as one might expect. No, it is on the front porch. This is where she enjoys spending time when the weather permits. And I can understand why.
Yes, Sharon's home is full of treasures that bring her joy.
Her friendship is one of my treasures and I thank God for bringing this precious person into my life.
Yes, Sharon Mabus is truly