Vanessa Austin – Athens State University

vanessa-austinVanessa Jackson Austin was born in Gadsden, Alabama but has been living in the Huntsville area for approximately 29 years. During her childhood, she wrote poetry and made arts and crafts, not knowing it would enhance her life today. Although she does not have a degree in art, she has a passion for arts and writing and has taught herself most of all she creates.

Austin was the youngest of six children and understood the importance of a college education because her mother reminded her during her senior year in high school. “Don’t think you are not going to college,” her mother said, so that is exactly what she did. Her parents encouraged and motivated her to obtain her college degrees which included a Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a minor in Management in 1982 from Jacksonville State University, a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 1994 from Athens State University, and a Master of Business Education in 2002 from Alabama A&M University.

“Even though I was heavily challenged, with God’s help, I managed to stay focused on my Accounting courses with Cost Accounting being her favorite,” states Austin. “Cost Accounting involves labor, overhead, and cost of material, which helps her even now with my small business – CABBIT Designs, in which I create handcrafted greeting cards and sell my published books.”

Without a doubt, Austin endured a lot of studying for her accounting coursework at Athens State, but with Mr. Bill Whitley being her favorite instructor, she enjoyed her courses due to his humorous yet interesting way to keep his students focused on their course of study.

Austin loves colors and it shows in her handcrafted items. As a two-time cancer survivor, being an art lover helps her in a variety of ways. Her writings and handcrafting items are therapeutic and it relaxes her and helps her to drift away into her own world.

Austin has published three books – Live On, Refreshments for the Heart, and Cries in the Wind. Cries in the Wind was published in April 2012 as a non-fiction inspirational book that chronicles the breast cancer journey she encountered in 2009. It is written from a poem/prayer that she wrote in August 2009, two months after having her surgery and was written to comfort, uplift, and give hope to cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. Her first two books, Live On and Refreshments for the Heart are inspirational poems & quotes books.

This past year was extremely challenging due to the fact that while Vanessa was publishing Cries in the Wind, she was diagnosed with yet another type of cancer. Even though this caused a delay in Cries in the Wind being published, updating and revising her new book helped her to come to grips with her medical situation.

“From time to time I travel to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville for my doctor appointments and medical tests,” states Austin. “But I do not mind because following God’s direction for my life is healing me from head to toe, and traveling to Nashville is enjoyable and relaxing. Since I have started back on chemotherapy treatments, it is teaching me that in order to overcome cancer I must change my ‘style of life’ to include my attitude, eating healthy foods, along with staying positive and enjoying the goodness of life, as well as praying, meditating, and reading/obeying God’s Holy Word.”

Austin continues, “God is a Healer, because I have been in remission before and am looking forward to being Cancer Free, again. This time for a life-time.” She is very fond of the scripture in Psalms 46:1, “God is our refuge & strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.”

Cries in the Wind was recently accepted to be sold at LifeWay Christian Stores, and it can be ordered through the internet at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million, and at WestBow Press Publishing Company. Excerpts from “Cries in the Wind” are also available at the above internet sites.