Greta was born in Saginaw, Michigan on September 7, 1954 to James and Marie Armbruster. She was the third of six children, three girls and three boys. Her father was a salesman, which caused numerous relocations during her growing years. These relocations presented many challenges and opportunities for change and adaptation. Her education through high school was varied between parochial and public schools due to the family relocations. She graduated from Port Huron Northern High School in 1972. She was a leader in her class and also enjoyed the creative arts of choir and drama in high school. She went on to St. Clair County Community College for one year and then transferred to Ferris State College where she obtained a degree in Allied Health.
Greta practiced Dental Hygiene full-time in Saginaw until she married Peter Emling, of Erie, Pennsylvania in May of 1980.
Peter, an engineer with General Motors, was transferred to Danville, Illinois five days before their wedding. Greta, having transferred many times with her family, was ready for a new adventure. So, off they went to start their married life in a new location. Greta enjoyed the rural life in Danville. She continued to practice Dental Hygiene part-time and developed a Mary Kay Cosmetics Career for fun, creativity and new relationships.
In July of 1982, she and Pete were blessed with the gift of a daughter, Stephanie Louise. One year later, it was time for a move to Defiance, Ohio. Their son, Brian Peter, was born in Defiance in March of 1984. They were blessed with sixteen years in Defiance. Greta feels blessed that her children could stay in one city for most of their education and that they had a place that they knew of as “home”.
The family years brought hours of time on bleachers with Stephanie playing basketball, softball and volleyball and with Brian playing basketball, baseball and soccer. There were summer camps and go carts, trampolines and sand boxes, boats and water sports. And, there were memories of puff painting shirts on the front porch with the neighborhood kids. Another favorite family activity was riding bicycles to the local ice cream parlors.
Their time in Defiance also opened the door for spiritual awakenings for the entire family. Their church families became true families for them since aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents were all in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Through her spiritual development, Greta became aware of her natural bent, which was counseling. She had been known for this skill during her high school years and wanted to pursue a career in it. Her Dad said, “ No! Only crazy people become counselors.” She was great as a dental hygienist and loved it, but she always wound up counseling other people in her spare time. Her children remember that lots of “prayer counseling” went on in their home during their growing years.
Greta was active in Women’s Ministry at her church in Defiance and continued doing the same at her church in Oxford, Michigan when they moved there in December of 1999.
Greta attributes her passion for counseling to the many adjustments she made as a result of the frequent moves. She believes people must develop a fine balance between adaptability and exercising options for change. Greta’s life groomed her for a unique sensitivity to “hurting” people. This sensitivity is what drew her to want to get to know Physsy, “the lady in the wheelchair”.
In the autumn of 2003, Greta began her relationship with Physsy as a result of a nudge from her gut and maybe also a nudge from God. As their relationship developed, Physsy’s extraordinary life story began to unfold. Her story was so beyond Greta’s belief that she began to keep notes of their conversations. After some time passed, Greta began to recognize a book taking shape.
She had never written anything other than lengthy letters and journal entries. She had never even learned to type.
When she realized that she was writing a book, she decided to take a neighborhood writing class which was held at a local café, Poppyseed Deli & Coffee, in Lake Orion, Michigan and was taught by a local author/columnist. The instructor was pleased with Greta’s writings and was very encouraging to say the least. The other students were gracious with their compliments and the class experience motivated her to begin to write her first book.
On June 4, 2006, she was coming to the concluding third of the project. The process was disrupted when she suffered a concussion when a fast moving golf ball connected with her head while she was playing golf in Oxford.
She said that through a miraculous chain of events involving her brain weakness, she was blessed with a wonderful new friend who had a passion for editing. Without him, she could never have pulled the stories together for publishing. She is so grateful to him. You are able to read this story because of his dedication to help get it completed and published.