All We Like Sheep by Marilyn Wentz

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 | 8 comments

All We Like Sheep by Marilyn Wentz

Marilyn Bay Wentz is a journalist, editor, and author of both Christian devotionals and fiction, and sheep-raiser. Her new devotional book, All We Like Sheep : Lessons from the Sheepfold is a delightful look at some of the reasons God so often uses sheep as examples in scripture. Get acquainted with Marilyn and leave a comment or sign in on the Rafflecopter at the end for a chance to win her new book. 


Fabulous Fridays

Welcome Marilyn, how long has your family been farming and raising sheep in Colorado?

I was eight years old when my parents bought five registered Southdown ewes. Two of the ewes were mine to begin my 4-H project. We got more sheep later, and as a child and then a teen, I was involved in the sheep raising operation for the next decade. I started my own flock as an adult when my older daughter was seven or eight and ready to start 4-H. That was almost two decades ago.

What is the most difficult part of working with sheep?

Sheep are very easy to manage. They come in when called (after some training and “knowing the shepherd’s voice,” read All We Like Sheep), they bunch together rather than splintering in a million directions like cattle or pigs or even goats do, and they are really resilient when provided with adequate nutrition and housing. Sheep sometimes get a bad rap for being difficult to handle, but that is most always from handlers who do not understand the nature of sheep. I guess I would have to say the difficulty is that they are vulnerable to predators since they have no nature defense mechanisms.

Is there something you wish more people understood about sheep?All We Like Sheep

Sheep are complex creatures with great individuality. Many of the behaviors that earn sheep the title “stupid” by the uniformed, such as flocking (grouping together tightly) and always desiring to enter and exit from the same gate or opening, are God-given instincts that keep them safe. Sheep, like people, are distinct from one another intellectually and in personality. In some respects, they are much smarter than some people.

How have you grown/developed/changed as a person because of the work you do?

Raising sheep has taught me many things; patience and humility are at the top of this list. Anyone who works with animals will tell you things get accomplished on their timeline, not yours. It takes time to teach sheep new routines. Rushing them ultimately costs more or takes more time than taking the time to teach them within the parameters of their natural instincts. I also find that God uses my sheep flock to remind me I’m not all that. Just when I think I have it all figured out, I get a lamb I can’t pull (deliver) or have an illness or injury I’ve never seen.

Can you share a funny moment you experienced with sheep?

For my first year of showing sheep at the Weld County Fair in Greeley, Colo., my Mom had outfitted me in Wrangler jeans and a pink Western shirt with lots of pink lace ruffles. By the time I got into the show ring for the last time, it was late at night, so I wasn’t paying attention when the lamb I was showing started to nibble at those ruffles. By the time, I realized what he was doing, the ruffles were nearly dragging on the ground.

What do you look forward to most when you wake up in the morning?

I enjoy a steaming cup of hot coffee, time in Scripture communing with the Lord, and, yes, seeing my expectant woolies waiting—not always so patiently—for me to feed them. I especially enjoy lambing time. The young lambs are cute and love to play, and each time I go out to the barn there is the possibility that there will be new lambs on the ground or soon delivered. Lambing season is also hard due to the increased workload, which includes checking the ewes several times during the night for new births.

With 7 decades of family experience as sheep-herders, how did you choose which stories to include in All We Like Sheep?

All We Like Sheep 2The criteria for me was the stories that were interesting to a non-sheep person and what the experience taught me about God, myself or my relationship with other people.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned from writing a book?

I was reminded about the power and appeal of a good story. The first manuscript was a more traditional, devotional format. It was at first demoralizing, then lots of work, then very satisfying to re-write the manuscript so that each chapter was a story. Thanks to our Editor Catherine Lawton’s insistence on our telling a good story, I believe All We Like Sheep is a collection of irresistible stories that can first entertain, then teach and inspire the reader.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

As a tomboy growing up rural, I first thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. When I headed off to college, it was to pursue a degree in food science. By my sophomore year, I decided that what I really wanted was to write. I earned a degree in editorial journalism from the University of Northern Colorado and have worked in this field throughout my career.

Since most writers are also readers, I’ll ask this question: From which writers do you find the most inspiration? 

My all-time favorite author is Lynn Austin. She writes fulfilling but not-so-predictable novels. I like Sandra Dallas, and CJ Box is an amazing adventure writer. I also appreciate the wholesome, emotion-evoking fiction of Charles Martin and Nicolas Sparks. I don’t like predictable and mushy, nor do I like dark.

Do you have a favorite quote from one of those authors?

I can’t quote it exactly, but in one of CJ Box’ novels a killer has infiltrated the state’s game warden structure by posing as a new hire. When Joe Pickett realizes this he says something like, “I should have been suspicious of him when he came to that barbecue at my house and asked for his steak well done and thanked me for the ‘soda’.” Those of us who grew up rural in Colorado totally get what he meant. We eat steak medium rare and drink pop. This line endeared me to CJ Box’ writing, and it also taught me the importance of understanding down to the core what I write about.

What is your favorite way to relax?

I’m not a sit-on-the-couch type of gal. I do read at night, but a lot of my “reading” nowadays is done on Play-Aways, so that I can do physical work like cleaning stalls, repairing the barn or fences, or gardening while I listen. I do love to ride and work with horses. My go-to horse is a 14-year-old Quarter horse mare that is the great-great granddaughter of a horse I got at age nine. I find a great deal of relaxation from training and riding, even though it is physically demanding.

When you first started writing, what made you decide to sit down and actually get started writing something?

I write newsletters, news releases, brochures, magazine articles, etc., as part of my business, so when I was done with that, it was easy to get up and do something more active, despite wanting to write and having dozens of story ideas in my imagination. At one point, I felt like the Lord said, “Just get on with it, Marilyn.” I did, and within a year, someone suggested I attend the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, which I also did. That year or the next, I met my publisher Catherine Lawton, Cladach Publishing. We kind of hit it off, but she was unable to take on my first book, Prairie Grace, historical fiction set in 1864 Colorado Territory. Not long after I went under contract with another publisher, she contacted me about All We Like Sheep, a second book I had pitched to her. A good thing about my journalist training and work is that I don’t think so much about inspiration or being in the mood to write. I’m more practical. I know I have a deadline, and I know what I need to do to meet it.

Do you have plans to write more books?

I’m so glad you asked. I am about a third of the way through a sequel to Prairie Grace, a title I’m calling Prairie Truth. The sequel is set in 1886 in the San Luis Valley of Colorado and deals with the history and culture of this area, including the centuries old Spanish and Mexican land grants. The U.S. government pledged to honor these grants when the southwest became U.S. property, but doing so became difficult because the grants were not at all like U.S. Homestead Act land grants, and also because it was fiscally advantageous not to honor them. And, on the non-fiction side, who knows, maybe there are more sheep stories or lessons from the round pen (horse training pen).

About the author:

Marilyn Bay Wentz grew up on a crop and livestock farm in northern Colorado, near the land homesteaded by her great-great grandparents. She and her family operate Prairie Natural Lamb, raising lambs and marketing them directly. She raises and trains horses for fun and is a certified Colorado 4-H horse show judge and level rater.

In addition, Marilyn writes and edits newsletters and magazines and also handles public relations and promotions for clients, including the National Bison Association and the American Grassfed Association. Prior to establishing her home-based public relations and writing business, she was communications director, first for the National Farmers Union and later for Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. Before that, she was public relations manager for the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Marilyn earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Northern Colorado in 1984. She has two great daughters.

Her first novel, Prairie Grace, historical fiction set in 1864 Colorado Territory, released in December 2014. Her goal for her writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, is to entertain, educate and inspire readers.

Connect with Marilyn:Prairie Grace twitter



Twitter: @MarilynBayWentz

Book Links:

Prairie Grace:

All We Like Sheep:


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  1. Marilyn, this sounds like a fabulous book! Enjoyed your interview. 🙂

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it! Marilyn is a dear friend. It is an excellent book!

  2. Sounds like a great book. I don’t know much about sheep, I’m one of those people who thought sheep were “dumb,” so I’ve already learned something without even reading the book! Thanks for the chance to win.

    • You’re welcome! It’s a very good book!

    • You’re welcome! I love introducing readers to new books!

  3. There are so many parables using sheep and shepherds within the Bible and each one is simple to understand, but profound in its teaching. Marilyn’s book sounds like a real-life parable – a tool to help reinforce the truths of Scripture and the love of our Heavenly Father. I enjoyed reading her answer to the the third question. It shows her care and respect for these creatures. – Terrill

  4. Thanks so much for reading about my passion for sheep and for the Good Shepherd. I realize that I did not give as much credit to my Mother and co-author as I should have. Not only did she teach me about sheep and the Good Shepherd, she also taught me to write, encouraged me in all things and has been one of the biggest cheerleaders of my author career.

    • I love the chapters written by your mother, Marilyn! There is a similarity in style!

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