I was born on July 17 in a small town in Southern Alabama. I think I remember my mom saying that I was an easy baby with an easy disposition. I'd like to say things were the same as I've gotten older, but I am a lot more vocal and a whole lot more opinionated. My mom loves to tell the stories of how she had to use Crest Toothpaste to keep a bow on my head. See the photos for proof. I also had a short lived stent as Oscar the Grouch one Halloween, but that falls into the category of "things I don't remember."
my first christmas
My parents thought it was a good idea to have another baby (some days I still question whether that was the right choice, but no matter). My baby sister, Casey came along in December. I don't remember anything about her being born, coming home from the hospital, or anything. My dad tells me that at one point, however, I did ask when we could take her back. I didn't realize it then, and it's take a long time and a lot of years to realize that there is nothing quite like the bond between siblings. No one understands me or the life I've lived quite like my sister does. Namely, because she walked most of it with me.
My school age years are still a bit of a blur for me. Sometimes, I wonder if I didn't block things out. Others, I remember small bits and pieces of things through conversations and by looking at photos. The things I do remember are sporadic and completely random. In In 1994, our family was inside our home when it caught fire; I remember waking up still inside and how hot the flames were. It's a memory that still resurfaces on occasion and gives me nightmares.
In 1995, when I was in second grade, my mom gave me my first journal. I still have it in a box in my garage. I've kept a journal, without fail, ever since. I started writing and self-illustrating my own stories and distributing them to my family. This was also around the time that I started competing in pageants. I still accredit much of my ability to speak publicly and share without hesitation to the many, many years on stage.
that dress, y'all
I will just say it: I hated High School. I didn't know quite where I fit in, who I was or where I was going in life (but then again, who does as a teenager?). Our house burned again in 2003 and flipped my world upside down. The death of both of my grandmothers in 2004 (10 days apart not less) left me questioning God in a big, big way. Where was He in all of the pain? A question that I would continue to wrestle with well into my adult years. In 2005, I graduated with Honors and went to college on full academic scholarship. Only to lose it after the first two semesters thanks to my struggle with alcohol and partying. I learned a lot of lessons the hard way.
Senior Portrait 2005
After flunking out of college my Freshman year, I moved back home and back in with my parents. This was a low point for me. My friends were all still away at college and I had royally screwed up and landed back where I was trying to escape from. I started taking Education Classes and made plans to become an English teacher. I also started on my first novel, Wasted Days. I never made it past Chapter Four. It was at this point that I considered most of my life a complete failure. It was also around this time that I met my now ex-husband. We had a whirlwind romance with the time between our first date and our wedding day being less than six months. We were married on April 19, 2008. In October 2008, our first son, Noah was born.
2008 was a year of extreme change. We got married, we moved to Florida and we had a baby. I was diagnosed with Postpartum depression and contemplated suicide more than once. I bought me my first camera. In 2011, we moved from Florida to Alaska and I started my first business, Media Mom Creative. I knew nothing about web design or Wordpress, but I figured, "why not?" It proved to be a major success. In 2012, we welcomed our second son, Jonah into the world. In 2014, we moved from frigid Alaska to a much warmer Wilmington, North Carolina. In 2015, I almost filed for divorce.
Here comes baby #2
Moving to North Carolina was one of the greatest things that happened within our marriage. It landed us in a church that showed us the detriment that legalism does to the body; it gave us the chance to meet some of the most genuine believers we've ever known; and we were forced to deal with some of the demons in our marriage that had been lingering too long. In 2016, I stood outside the COSTCO for over two hours waiting for the chance to meet the author whose stories inspired me to write my own novel, Nicholas Sparks. In 2017, I turned 30. a day that we celebrated at a surprise party thrown by my husband and a whole lot of Japanese Food. That October, we welcomed our daughter, Sarah.
In 2018, we packed up and moved from our beloved home in North Carolina to Sacramento, California. The drastic change in culture and dynamic led me to homeschool for the first time. The 2019 Government Shutdown showed us just how many good people are still in the world and just how faithful God is. I started writing again, penning (typing?) short stories and poems that I keep saved in a file on my iCloud drive and began the outline for a new novel. In 2020, that novel sat partially complete at 35,000+ words written.
waco, texas 2018
home sweet sacramento
grand canyon, az
After the struggle and turmoil brought on by COVID-19 and the nationwide shutdown that left me homeschooling three children, we made the decision for the kids and me to move back home to Alabama. In February 2021, we loaded a U-Haul trailer and made the drive across the country back home. In May 2021, after years of marital struggle and heartache that was never resolved, I filed for divorce. I took a teaching job at my kids private Christian School and the kids and I began to rebuild our lives in Alabama. Most days I spend my time chauffeuring on or all of them to practice of some kind, attending as much as I can at school, and working full-time.
Divorce was definitely not the story I had planned for myself—especially not the story I wanted for my children. However, through it all, God is and has continued to remain faithful to me and to them. All three are attending our small town Christian school, balancing between being with me during the week and their dad on the weekends, and adapting to our new normal. I am learning who I am again and falling in love with God in a whole new way. The road isn't easy, but it is worth the struggle.