My name is Stuart Shearin and in 2000, at age 50, I was diagnosed with renal cell (kidney) cancer. The shock and reality of life and its value became both overwhelming and frightening. A healthy man of 50 is not ready for this kind of news. My wife, Susan, as she has been for 44 years once again became my rock. We wrestled and wrestled with this news. I had 2 daughters in college and a young son.
When we met with my surgeon and he confirmed the news, Susan backed him in a corner and asked him if he could “take care of this”. Of course he said yes! The cancerous kidney was removed and no further treatments were necessary. Praise God!
Now the reality of one’s mortality becomes compelling and the path for the rest of one’s life becomes fuzzy. So we prayed for about 90 days or so and God’s plan for me showed itself. I believed that He wanted me to give up a successful sales career and become a builder of bird houses??? My daughters told Susan that I must be crazy. What else could you expect? Susan supported the bird house plan and we commenced with this ultimate faith walk. Given that Susan was a highly paid public school teacher, this made the decision so much easier. Any highly paid teachers out there?
Problems arose of course: no tools, no shop, no expertise, no experience, no market, no designs, no business plan-just faith. Well, designs started to come to me at 4 in the morning and before long, I had a half dozen good ones. I added tools as I need them. My NC State engineering degree started to kick in. My critical eye prevented me from being satisfied with any product for 6 months. Slowly things started looking better and I became more and more confident that the products I was building would actually sell. Problems changed from those of worthy, sellable houses and feeders to those of how to make them a little better and faster. His plan was unfolding and actually working.
The first year flew by. The second became the third and now my 16th year on this journey seems quite impossible. I enjoy my work and take every opportunity to give away my houses to worthy fundraising causes whenever they come up. God is working his plan and I have a great seat somewhere toward the back of the train. I try to stay obedient and humble and try to return the glory to Him at every opportunity. Thank you for taking your time to read about my journey. My prayer is that God blesses you on His journey for you.