Green Country Grown-up: Amy Lewis
Lewis, who has recently returned to school after raising a family, encourages other moms to pursue their passions.
Women sometimes feel it is difficult to focus on themselves. They are too busy tending to families, jobs, homes, friends and all that life throws their way. In honor of Mother’s Day, we are highlighting Amy Lewis, a wife, mother and new “Nonnie” (grandmother). For Amy, her path after high school led to taking several college classes, but getting married and having kids changed her course. Her new life left little time for furthering her education. Over the years, the thought of taking classes popped into her mind, but it quickly passed as she was busy raising four children and working.
Just recently, at the age of 46, she decided to turn her thoughts into action. She enrolled at Tulsa Community College, showing herself and her family that it’s never too late to follow your passion. She is now pursing her dream of becoming a nurse and shares that anyone can pursue their passion at any age.
TK: Tell us about your family.
Amy: I’ve been married for 27 years. [My husband and I] have four beautiful children, three girls and one boy. Our son, Cori, is the youngest and a sophomore at Bishop Kelley and keeps us busy with his football and basketball schedule. The girls are grown. Our oldest daughter, Brittany, married six years ago and just blessed us with our first grandson, Cash. Our middle daughter, Hannah, graduated college and is currently living in Texas, and our youngest daughter, Abbie, is a cosmetologist. We consider ourselves very blessed. Needless to say, being a Nonnie and Papa has been an exciting milestone!
TK: What has been your focus over the past 25 plus years?
Amy: Overall, I’ve been very happy with being a mom and wife over the years. I worked as a surgical technologist for the past 27 years with the same physician, but that has mainly been only one day a week. This gave me the opportunity to be there for my children. The kids were always in sports or dance, and it was a constant whirlwind of activities, which kept me on the run.
My husband and I began Christian Karate Academy in Broken Arrow, and that was a challenging time. Our son was just getting into football and not having his dad around in the evenings was always a little tough. My husband has a heart for what he does, and we all support him, but I will say it has left a lot on my plate over the years as far as the kids’ activities and maintaining their schedules.
TK: Were there points in your life where you struggled with your decisions?
Amy: There have been times that I second guessed myself and wondered, “Was I doing what I was purposed to do in life?” I always felt a little envious of friends who had gotten their degrees, had careers, and seemed to still be great moms. I wanted what they had…don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a single regret as far as putting my dreams on the backburner for my family. I am very proud of my family. I’m just talking about that little voice inside that nags at us about our choices.
TK: At this point in your life, what inspired you to enroll in college courses?
Amy: At this point, with the girls grown and our son in high school, the family doesn’t require as much attention as it once did. I found myself wanting to make a difference, to help others, and everything I looked at pointed me back to a nursing degree. It got me thinking about whether or not I had it in me to go back to school and pick up where I had left off. After talking to my husband and children, they were very encouraging, and I decided to jump back in; it was finally my turn! I was ready for a new direction.
TK: What is it like to be in the classroom again?
Amy: It has been a challenge to say the least. I have had to learn to study again, and I’m pretty sure I put in a lot more time than I ever had to before. The other kids in class with me hardly open a book, I can’t do that. Being a note taker has gotten me a few odd looks and comments from younger students. Mainly because I still use paper and pencil, while they like their laptops.
I was one that always loved school, so this has not been any different in that way. I still love it! I enjoy everything about learning and pushing myself in areas that I never thought I could go. I have found a new me! I am competitive and have used that in my classes. I want to make the best grades. That keeps me on track with my studying, and I’m not afraid to put in the time needed. My family has been so supportive knowing that mom has to study; they have picked up the slack at home. That means the world to me.
TK: What would you recommend to others thinking about pursuing something they have been putting off?
Amy: I would say quit second-guessing yourself, and that it’s never too late! My only regret now is that I didn’t jump back in earlier. It has been so satisfying knowing that I am working on me! I feel like I will be a more fulfilled and happier mom and Nonnie, because I took a step of faith and followed my dream.
TK: What do you know now that you wish you would have known 20 years ago?
Amy: Really, the only thing I wish I would have known then is how much more confidence I would have had if I had followed through with college and a career at a younger age. I believe that confidence could have positively impacted my children, and I wouldn’t have spent so much time feeling like I wasn’t good enough.
TK: What is your favorite inspirational quote?
Amy: One of my favorite quotes is actually simple, “The glass is half-full.” This is just a simple way to keep your eyes on the possibilities in life, not give in to the negativity, and not let yourself feel limited. My Christian faith is core to how I live my life. I fully believe that through my faith in God and His word, I can achieve anything!
Nancy A. Moore is a Public Relations Coordinator at Montreau, Adjunct Professor at Tulsa Community College, and has been writing for TulsaKids for almost 20 years.