by Verlie Edwards

I’ve always lived in landlocked parts of Texas, but that hasn’t kept me from loving the beach with its sand, tropical fish and crashing waves. The beach is the only place where I relax and completely unwind.

Whether traveling to the Texas Gulf Coast or the white sands of Florida, I’ve always wanted to bring the beach home with me. The small plastic bag of sand just didn’t do it! So, over the past couple of years and with help from my best friend and traveling partner, I have brought the ocean and its beautiful inhabitants into a coastal-inspired sunroom and decorated my drab backyard with ocean inspired décor.

My sunroom features coastal pillows, shells, coral and inspirational signs. When the seasons change, and Christmas decorations invade my house, the “beach room” joins in the festivities. Regardless of the season, I enjoy the beach.

Outside, oversized fish and seahorses swim through aqua fishnet while a huge, multi-colored crab is a focal point along a drab fence. Coloredlights bring dramatic lighting to the evenings. Looking out my den windows makes me happy as I gaze at these whimsical decorations. A hot tub brings the water close to home and provides healing relaxation.

It’s been fun finding my unique decorations in a variety of places. There is a special memory attached to each one. I encourage you to make memories and surround yourself with what helps your capture your happy place.

Verlie McAlister Edwards was raised in Abilene, Texas and it’s there that she realized her love for writing. She enjoyed a special high school English teacher who happened to be the school’s newspaper sponsor. In order to take another class under her, Verlie signed up for journalism and the journey began. Unlike many students, she never changed her college major – she was always focused on journalism as a career. She graduated from the University of North Texas (UNT) with a degree in journalism and political science.

After graduation she returned to her hometown and worked as a reporter at the Abilene Reporter-News covering the local education scene from the students’ perspective. Following a year of graduate work at UNT she moved to Fort Worth where a career in public relations and political affairs flourished. She always wanted to work in academic PR and achieved that goal early in her career at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

After many years providing public relations consultation to the osteopathic profession and serving as the communications director/special events fundraiser for Lena Pope Home (a residential treatment facility for abused and neglected youth) she joined the staff of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors (GFWAR) as the communications and governmental affairs director. It’s here that she found her calling and further developed her skills in the political arena.

After 11 years in that position she took her writing, political and organizational skills to serve as chief of staff for Texas State Representative Rob Orr, a past president of the GFWAR. She remained on Rep. Orr’s staff throughout his 10 years as an elected official and then served as District Director for his successor, Representative DeWayne Burns, during his first legislative session. At that time she retired from the Texas Legislature and began working part-time as curator for U.S. Congressman Roger Williams’ personal museum.

Verlie is excited to use her writing skills to help the Iron Butterflies Project as both a writer and Vice President and Editor-In-Chief.

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