BY JACLYN ROSE –
Barbie Hatfield Goudy was married to Hoyt Hatfield for twenty-five years and together they lived a beautiful life and were blessed with five children. When Hoyt was 48 years old he was diagnosed with end stage renal failure and even though he, with the loving support of his family and friends, fought the disease valiantly, he passed away a year later. “Anyone who remembers Hoyt knew what a fine man he was, we had a very good life. When Hoyt was first diagnosed with renal failure we were given very good hope for a full recovery but nothing worked well. He never got any better, each day he got worse. After a year of daily struggles and losing hope, he passed away from us. He passed from pain and sorrow and death in this life, on to the healing and vibrancy in that mystery of the eternal realm. But we, his family, we were left in complete shock, sorrow and pain and we have never been the same,” explained Goudy.
When Hoyt passed away, Goudy was forty-six years old, her oldest daughter was twenty-two and in nursing school in Florida and her youngest, David, was only five. It was a scary time but Goudy knew she had five children that needed her. “Some days seemed so dark that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face, but I could see my children’s faces. They were watching me and they needed a mother who was firm, strong and calm. They needed consistency and bravery. They needed to see me walk out this ‘faith in God’ that their father and I had taught them all their lives. They needed me to get out of bed, brush my hair and make blueberry muffins to make the house smell and feel normal and warm,” Goudy said. And so that is what she did and through time, created a new normal for her family.
Though Goudy had always homeschooled her children, she had to begin working outside the home, so the youngest three began to attend Mena Public Schools and Barbie began working as a manager for Curves Women’s Fitness Center for four years before being hired to work in customer service and marketing at Mena Air Center Services at the Mena Airport. “All those years I had been a stay at home mom and homeschooled the children and had a home daycare and a janitorial business, while doing the books for Hoyt’s construction business. After Hoyt died, the three younger children eventually went to public school and the teachers were so kind to them and to me and because of those fine people, they did quite well. I became so thankful for the Mena School System and for caring and compassionate teachers with shared values. During that transitional time I began working outside the home and made many dear friends I still have today while working at Curves. Working at Mena Air Center was also a great time in my life and it was a pleasure working with someone of Will’s character and for the good people at Rose Aircraft Services,” Goudy explained.
During the tornado of 2009, Goudy’s home and property were completely destroyed, but by nothing short of a miracle, Goudy and her youngest son, David, were spared. “The tornado took our home, barns, fences, swimming pool, huge old trees and anything of beauty on our 50 acre farm where we had raised our family, but God’s mighty hand covered little David and I as we huddled on that basement floor, and He preserved our lives. All was gone, yet all was preserved,” said Goudy.
Goudy and her family suffered another huge financial and emotional loss with the family home, that Hoyt had built them, gone, but again God showed His love and mercy. Several years before, Goudy had met her current husband, Glenn, and he became a very good friend to her and her children. He was a male presence in the lives of her younger children and would take time away from his life and business eight hours away to help Goudy by cutting hay and maintaining the farm equipment. In the wake of the tornado, with so much work to be done, Glenn asked Goudy to be his wife, and she agreed. Together, along with their children, especially the youngest, David, being the only child still at home, they cleaned up their land and replanted trees and worked very hard.
After a year of very intense work, Glenn had a vision of building rental cabins on their property and cabin by cabin “The Little Woods Cabins” were built and they have become a refuge to many people in the area. They also rebuilt their home, further on the property and named it “Grace Hill” in the hopes that they will always be ready to welcome others with the same grace that God has shown them. “We believe that no one should ever leave church alone after Sunday services while other more ‘put together’ families are going out to eat together. No one should ever have to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas or the Fourth of July alone, with the feeling that they have no place to go where they feel valued. God has given both Glenn and I a heart that longs to make our home a welcoming place, always. We have found that we are all just ‘misfits’ that fit beautifully together. Let the food be abundant, the encouragement be rampant, and the laughter fill these walls,” Goudy said with a smile.