By Angela Higginbotham
Born and raised in Indiana, Stephanie Murphy moved to Jacksonville in 2000. She completed college at the University of Evansville, receiving her masters in counseling. Stephanie Murphy and her late husband have two children and three grandchildren. She and her husband, Eric, have been married for two years and they are proud to call Mandarin home. Much of their time is spent traveling and doing mission work with Life Impact for Eternity missions.
A licensed marriage and family therapist for 30 years, a former guidance counselor in both Duval and St. Johns County schools, also a private practice owner for 10 years, Murphy retired four years ago and has found her new place in both missions and writing. Her book “Strong and Courageous” offers guidance and encouragement through all stages of autism. As a grandparent of a child with autism, Murphy shares her own experiences and those of the families she has counseled.
Later this year, her devotional will be released giving encouragement on grief, widowhood, marriage later in life and developing courage throughout these life changes. Passionate about her family and work, Murphy loves helping others all over the world and also staying active in the Mandarin community.
- What do you enjoy most about living in Mandarin?
Living in Mandarin is like having your own small town. It’s such a nice little area and convenient to everything.
- What inspired you to start writing?
I had written for magazines and I always wanted to write a book. My grandson has autism and I would also counsel families on autism. I wanted to write something to encourage others and also help the community and churches understand autism better, so that we can all be more supportive of it.
- As a voice offering encouragement for those closely connected with autism, what would be an important message you’d most like to give others?
Don’t spend your days grieving about what could have been. Focus on what is happening. Realize the beautiful gift you’ve been given and how strong and courageous both the supporters and ones with autism are.
- What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love to travel. I enjoy swimming in our pool, taking walks, and staying active in Fruit Cove Baptist Church. We’ve been taking our grandkids to Disney since they were all very young, so we enjoy that a lot. My husband and I have become connoisseurs of sunsets. We love looking at the sunset over the St. Johns River.
- What’s one thing about your personality that most people don’t know about?
I can be very laid back and I think many people may be surprised by that. I love to get down on the floor and play with my grandchildren.
Photo courtesy Stephanie Murphy