There are few things Grace MacPherson loves more than a good story. At 16, she’s already published a novel and has compiled high school literature curriculum.

But two autumns ago, a grim fact she heard rewrote her personal narrative on what it means to live in the 21st century. She recalled the epiphany in a blog post.

“We were lying awake in our room,” Grace wrote. “My sister said to me, ‘Three thousand babies are aborted each day.’ I had heard that number before, but it struck me in a new way to hear it late at night as I was beginning to fall asleep. Suddenly, I was wide awake, and ideas were churning through my head.”

After talking to her mom, Marie MacPherson, Grace developed a plan for what she could do to address the tragedy of abortion—specifically by raising funds for Options for Women Mankato, a local crisis pregnancy center. The facility provides ultrasound and pregnancy testing, educational support, and adoption referrals.

Grace, along with family and friends, dress in costumes while attending a history festival started by a homeschooling family.

Grace, family, and friends dress in costume while attending a history festival started by a homeschooling family.

Grace also realized that her plan would require the help of many other people. But she felt confident that she could meet the challenge of inspiring others and recruiting their assistance by using the skills she’s developed through homeschooling.

Laying the Groundwork

Grace is the oldest of seven. She and her siblings have been homeschooled since kindergarten.

Marie said that she and her husband, Ryan, decided on homeschooling after looking at other programs and determining they would not provide the flexibility Grace needed.

“When we were shopping around for preschools, we thought ‘none of these are going to be a good fit for Grace,’” Marie said. “She was already reading at three years old, and we thought she’d be a little bored [at traditional schools].”

Grace’s love of storytelling quickly grew into a passion for expanding her vocabulary. At one point she carried a dictionary with her wherever she went.

“I like words, and I liked to be able to look them up,” Grace said.

In 10th grade, Grace received permission to design her own literature course. She compiled 150 pages of textbook material covering 14 classics, which she posted as a downloadable document for other homeschoolers to peruse.

“In two months, we had done Don Quixote, Crime and Punishment, Anna Karenina, and The Divine Comedy, Grace said.

Reading all those great works also motivated Grace to continue writing her own original tales. Her first book-length story was inspired by a dream she had four years ago. She developed it into a short work of fiction that she presented to her parents as a Christmas gift.

Grace displays her novel, which was published just before Christmas.

Grace displays her first novel, which was published just before Christmas.

Marie said she encouraged her daughter to expand the work, to the point of incorporating the writing project into Grace’s homeschool program.

When Grace finally completed the book—a fantasy novel with Christian themes—it topped out at 36,000 words. It was published just before Christmas under the title The King’s Sword.

Grace said the project taught her a lot about perseverance, especially when it came time to edit and revise it—a task she found both arduous and rewarding.

“I didn’t keep any of the original aspects [of the story],” Grace said. Not only did she end up changing the plot, but her writing style altered as she became more adept in the craft. “I hope I improved a lot,” she said.

For a Good Cause

Grace felt confident that she could employ her writing skills for the pro-life advocacy plan she developed last fall.

After talking it over with her family and friends, Grace designed a bracelet adorned with a decorative bead that could be sold to raise money for Options for Women Mankato. She also helped prepare the template and message for a card that accompanies the bracelets.

The bracelet is created by twisting strips of raffia—similar to a method Native Americans used to make rope. Grace learned the technique from a family friend with a degree in anthropology. The bead is about the same size as a fetus after seven weeks of development.

“At that point they have faces, features, and a spinal column,” she said.

Then came time to promote and recruit.

Grace networked with American Heritage Girls troops, local churches, sent letters, and posted material online—including a video explaining how to make the bracelets.

Grace also entered a national pro-life-themed essay contest and earned first place for her age group.

So far, Grace and about 50 volunteers have created 3,000 bracelets and accompanying cards and have generated $3,000 in sales.

Looking Ahead

Though Grace intends to keep fundraising until she’s attained her goal, she’s also working on her education and other interests in the meantime.

She recently began taking classes at Bethany Lutheran College, where her father teaches. And she landed a part in the college’s production of the musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress.

Grace is also continuing her musical study of the organ, which she plays at college and church. And she’s writing another book, in hopes of eventually publishing a series of novels promoting a Christian worldview—in the same vein as authors such as Randy Alcorn.

All these aims fit within the context of another cherished goal: “I also want to be a homeschool mom someday,” she said.