Inspiring Mom Leah Outten

Leah Outten is a wife, mom, homeschool teacher, speaker, writer, and advocate of adoption. With all that and more on her plate, I was honored that she sat down for a bit to chat with me about her story and passion.

I know so many people who have been impacted by adoption—whether through being adopted themselves or by adopting children—but I had never personally spoken with someone who had a biological child placed for adoption. Her testimony is powerful, and when you finish reading it, you need to check out her book because what I am sharing is just a little snippet of her story.

Leah’s motherhood journey began in 2004 when she was a junior in high school. To give context for those of us who are too old or too young to know what it was like for teenagers in 2004, it was a time when teens were burning their favorite songs onto CDs, customizing them with clever titles written in Sharpie. They were also just discovering a new platform called Myspace and chatting through shorthand text messages on their tiny cell phones. Leah fit right in with all the other typical teens until life took an unexpected turn when, shortly after her 16th birthday, she discovered she was pregnant. Overnight, everything changed.

The father was a boy she had dated, but they weren’t even together anymore. Leah describes their relationship, saying, “We had dated most of the year previously, but we were not in a good place when this happened. He was turning to things that I didn’t want to be a part of, so we had just decided we were not good together. And he really had NO interest in parenting. He pretty much said, ‘You need to have an abortion or give it up for adoption.'”

Leah, however, had been raised by a single mom, and that inspired her. If her mom could do it, she could too. Leah planned to raise the baby herself, as she couldn’t bear the thought of losing the child she already loved to a closed adoption, the only type she knew at the time. Her heart wrestled with the knowledge that there were loving homes capable of providing more than she could at that moment, but emotionally, it didn’t feel right to let go.

Leah shared that one of the best things her mom did for her was get her into counseling right away. Despite this support, navigating the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy, along with rejection from the baby’s father, led to tension and conflicts with her mom. Leah vividly recalls, “I was dealing with so much physically. I was also dealing with rejection from her birth father. My mom and I had a lot of fights and tension. So I was trying to figure out the chaos of all that along with all the hormones—feeling sick—and then just all the things as an 11th grader in high school!”

For the first trimester, Leah wasn’t showing and could still keep the pregnancy under wraps. Her close friend group were really the only ones who knew. She managed to blend in, but the hard part was that the birth father was also a junior at the same school. Every time she would see him, it triggered anxiety because while Leah was coping with morning sickness and the stress of navigating pregnancy, he was living his carefree teenage life completely detached from everything. Leah felt the weight of the world on her shoulders while everyone else, including her ex, was going on dates, attending parties, and being kids. Eventually, it was too much, and she asked to stay at her dad’s house in a different school district. After that semester, she moved to a new school.

Being at a new school solved some of Leah’s problems but opened up a whole set of new ones. It’s hard enough to be the new kid, but then add to that Leah was starting to be visibly pregnant. Not only did she look different, she felt like she had matured a decade in the course of six months. Leah didn’t relate to all the typical high school stuff anymore, and she didn’t fit in anywhere! Despite that, Leah now recognizes that this new school was exactly where she needed to be. The teachers and staff there were people that were already somewhat connected with her through her dad’s church. Even though she may not have had a lot of friends, she said she had mentors that had a major impact on her life. This was the village that helped support her through the pregnancy and the really hard decisions.

All this time, Leah was planning to raise her daughter as a single mom. The turning point came the day Leah formed a true relationship with the Lord. She was 7 months pregnant and prayed, “I cannot do this without You, God. I’m messing my life up, and I desperately want peace. I know that it’s You I need, and I choose to follow You.” It was when Leah surrendered her life to Jesus that she also chose adoption because she knew that is what He was calling her to do.

From that point on, Leah learned everything she could about adoption. She spoke with teen moms and adoptive parents. Every spare moment she had was dedicated to researching adoption and devouring any and all information she could find. She made many significant connections in those days. She was blown away by the discovery that there were adoptive parents who were connected with birth moms. Not only that, but some of these families had formed friendships and relationships because of these children that they loved! This idea that Leah could have a relationship like that is a big part of why she chose open adoption. They were the ones that made her say, “If I’m going to look at adoption, I want it to look like this,” and she found a family that believed in that vision as well. After meeting this family, Leah not only knew they were the right family to raise her child, but she also felt less alone. They made Leah feel seen, valued, and loved.

Now Leah’s firstborn daughter is 20 years old; she actually just had a birthday!

Besides mothering her other five children (which Leah states is her number one job), she also works as an adoption educator.

With as beautiful and healing as open adoption is, there is still trauma and it is a complex process. Sometimes open adoption isn’t healthy or possible. I don’t want to sum it all up into a nutshell but thankfully there are more resources than ever before and lots support for moms and adoptive parents. I really loved what Leah said for adoptive parents: “Loving the birth parent is loving your child.”

It’s really a full-circle moment that Leah went from being a 16-year-old frightened and uncertain about her pregnancy to now helping other teens and families considering adoption. She does public speaking, she writes articles, and has been featured on nationally known platforms including Focus On The Family, Her View From Home, and Motherly. Leah also has some books out that are so incredibly important.

I would encourage everyone to check out Leah’s book- The Sixteenth Year: An Open Adoption Memoir.

It’s not just for teen moms or adoptive families, this is a book about what God can do when you choose to give him everything. We could all take a note from Leah and learn more about adoption because even if you don’t feel called to adopt you can still make a difference in the life of someone who is.

By |2024-07-01T13:39:51+00:00July 1, 2024|Family, Inspiring Moms, Motherhood|0 Comments

Inspiring Mom Darci Davidson

The first time I visited the Greenhouse Bus Mercantile it felt like I had found a secret treasure out in the small town of Blanchester Ohio.

The building is weathered with decades of character and when you walk in the shop is full of organic goodness.

There is kombucha on tap, organic teas, micro-greens, grains, meat, honey, and it just keeps going.

The natural light pours in as you go down steps and find books, jewelry, and boutique items.

Then turn to the apothecary room full of essential oils. It is a wonderland for your senses and that’s only the first floor!

Upstairs is the coffee bar and every nook and cranny is full of authentic old farmhouse charm.

The drinks are something you would expect to find at a trendy coffee shop in Chicago, not in Blanchester.

The Greenhouse Bus has a very Chip and Joanna Gaines vibe, but it’s its own place. I had to know— how did something this endearing end up tucked away seemingly sheltered from the chaos of urban life. Thankfully I got to meet co-owner Darci Davidson who filled me in a little and agreed to meet up for an interview.

What a treat! Not only would I have an excuse to return to my new favorite coffee shop, but I would also get an inside scoop about its origin story.

We met up at Greenhouse Bus and I sat on the comfy couch with Darci note pad in hand ready to record all the details. First I took a sip of my creamy sweet Matcha. At this point I had convinced myself that ordering multiple drinks is research for this article. I set the mug down and pushed record on the app on my phone. Darci began opening up about all that transpired to get to this place and the story begins in none other than the small town of Blanchester.

Her childhood was fairly conventional. She and her siblings enjoyed a typical country upbringing.

There was trauma though and when she hit the teen years her stable life suddenly became less secure. She encountered multiple hardships including her parents’ divorce. Not long after that the unimaginable happened, the day before Darci’s 16th birthday she witnessed the death of her brother who was killed in a dirt bike accident. He was a senior in high school. The pain of it all was so unbearable. Darci says “I didn’t know how to process things or who to process it with”. She began drinking and partying as a way to escape. She recounted the days that she would self sabotage not realizing what damage she was causing herself or why she was doing it.

After high school Darci met Dwayne Davidson (who is now her husband). They fell in love and began living together.

To many they were an all  American success story, but they were solely focused on themselves and their own careers.  Darci explained “We lived together 6 years building up my clientele as a hairstylist and he was building up his remodeling business. We spent our free time partying and traveling. In all of our brokenness we were just trying to make the relationship and businesses work.” 

All the while, without realizing it, Darci did anything and everything to distance herself from her hometown, Blanchester. The memories it evoked were agonizing. She numbed herself with the predictable “work-party-travel”  pattern. That was life.

Work. Party. Travel. Repeat.

There was no thought of marriage, or children, or a mission beyond their own personal success.

Their story dramatically changes though  in 2007 when they discovered Jesus, were born again, and committed their lives to Him! Dwayne was immediately convicted about their lifestyle and wanted to marry Darci and make her his wife.

Three short months later they eloped in Hawaii and shortly after that had 5 kids in 6 years! Dwayne also had a daughter when he was very young whom Darci adopted.  “I went from owning my own salon and doing my own thing, to all of the sudden being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to all these kids and literally not even knowing how to cook” Darci chuckled.

Then in 2015 Dwayne and Darci felt called to start a house church.

“We were four years into doing house church before we even knew what house church was!” Darci said.  “So we were just obeying. We were opening up our home and having church. We would let a few people know and told them they could invite whoever they want.” 

At times Darci and Dwayne felt like they had no idea what they were doing, but they felt deep in their hearts that’s what they were supposed to do. It was obedience without having an explanation. They knew that they could trust the Lord’s leading.

As God was moving in their church and in their lives Darci began to respond to a specific prompting from the Lord. She felt that He was wanting to take them back—all the way back—and exposed hurts in them that they had never dealt with. She remembers it all well, “We went through two years of personal healing and those were some intense years. God healed lots of trauma. He revealed why we were running from this town [Blanchester]. Once we cracked that open things would just flow. I would have dreams or a memory that I can’t believe I forgot and the Lord was slowly, in his time, revealing each thing. He was just chiseling away.” Darci says “After that healing season I had realized that I had shoved that part of my life behind and it was time to fully confront it.” 

Prayer, praise, worship, and writing were some of the ways that the Lord continued to heal the broken places.

Then in 2021 Darci had a dream that she was working at a health food store in Blanchester. She opened up to Dwayne about the dream. She admitted that it was silly- “I would never ever open a store in Blanchester. That would be the very last place I would consider. I don’t know why it was in Blanchester in my dream!” Her husband who has a lot of experience as an entrepreneur agreed that it was definitely not where you would want to do business. It didn’t make any logical sense.

Then one night Darci was driving home through Blanchester and while at a stop sign she had a spiritual encounter and the Lord gave her a burden for the city. She was flooded with conviction and emotion. She began praying out loud. She prayed over the houses and the people of Blanchester as tears streamed down her face. He brought complete healing and freedom in that moment so that she could minister to the very city that she tried so hard to forget.

A few months later God would take it all a step further. They were simply wanting to buy some fresh tomatoes when they met Brad and Jessica Tucker who had JUST opened the Greenhouse Bus Mercantile in Blanchester. When they visited this farmers market style story it had only been open a week. They immediately connected with the Tuckers whose ministries aligned so perfectly with theirs. Both families knew this must be a divine appointment.

Brad and Jessica asked them to be vendors of the Greenhouse Bus Mercantile and so the Davidsons did that for one month and then it transpired to a full blown partnership. The Greenhouse Bus Mercantile has been open for two years.

The coffee shop upstairs came shortly after and now they are on the brink of opening a restaurant, Harvester Farm to Table, across the street. 

I was blown away by the whole story! I felt a sense of awe about what God had done in the Davidson’s life. It’s no wonder I felt like the Greenhouse Bus Mercantile was such a special place.  Darci smiled as she reflected on everything she had just shared. Then she spoke softly,

“That night that I drove the streets and prayed in 2021—this place is the answer to a prayer that I prayed. And I didn’t know that God would answer it like this. So sometimes it wrecks me. I’ll sit in the coffee shop and look out in the streets and I’ll cry. He turned that pain into a burden and that’s what this whole thing is about.”

By |2024-03-18T15:12:19+00:00March 18, 2024|Inspiring Moms, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Inspiring Mom Ashley Roche

This month’s Inspiring Mom is Ashley Roche.

Just a heads up, there are some delicate topics included in this story. During the interview, I wanted to make sure Ashley didn’t feel pressured to share anything she wasn’t comfortable with. For Ashley though, she just wants to get the full story out to give God the glory and possibly help others. She told me that if she could even help one person by sharing what God has done for her it would be worth it. I had tears listening to her story and writing it.

When Ashley came to my house for the interview I opened the door to a beautiful, healthy, smiling mom and her adorable 6-year-old son with his fluffy, yellow dog stuffed animal in tow. I welcomed them in and my youngest son immediately ran to the door to say hello. The two boys took off downstairs to play together. The love of Christ radiates from Ashley and her son, unless you know her story you would never guess in a million years what they have overcome.


Ashley was raised by a single mom whom she had a bit of a strained relationship with. She didn’t grow up in the church. She knew about God but had no relationship with him.

When she was in high school she gradually got involved in the wrong crowd and in 2003 she started getting fake IDs and drinking. She dabbled in various drugs but Ashley firmly explained “I’ve done everything from marijuana to ecstasy, but it always came back to meth. I had to have meth. I was addicted to it.” When she recounts her struggles with Methamphetamine you can see it in her eyes how the drug had a hold on her. Meth was the thing that would not stop until it took everything.

She would do whatever it took to get it. The grip meth had on Ashley was so strong that jail didn’t stop it. Rehab didn’t stop it. Her family could not stop it. A move of God would be the only thing able to break the chains of addiction.

In 2006 she got involved with a drug dealer. They weren’t in a relationship, but they were close enough that she did end up pregnant and had her first son. Still, she used. She allowed drug dealers to work out of her home so that she had access. Her home was raided many times and eventually, CPS took her son and Ashley’s mother got guardianship. With all of her attention on getting high the visits to see her son were few and far between.

Ashley was so far gone she didn’t have hope that she would ever get her life together.

At one point in 2015, Ashley was desperate for money. A friend she did drugs with told her about Back Page. It was a website that has since been taken down, but it was for prostitution. Ashley was desperate so she started to advertise and meet with men at casinos and hotels. Twice she was busted when a fake client turned out to be a cop. That never detoured her. She continued to work the system and ended up in some terrible, TERRIBLE situations. At times she was living on the streets and starving, but eventually, the more tricks she turned the money started adding up.

This only increased her drug habit. She became an IV user and she overdosed multiple times. Ashley wasn’t really feeling sad or desperate she was to the point where she just didn’t feel anything at all. She felt lifeless, so why worry about being alive?
It doesn’t end there though.

It could have, but praise God He had his hand on Ashley and she knows it without a shadow of a doubt. But before the breakthrough she had to face another trial. In 2016 Ashley became pregnant after the contraceptive failed with a client. She contacted her client to tell him that she was pregnant. The man who was the father was married and wanted to make sure this “problem” was taken care of so that “it” didn’t destroy his life.

So he scheduled an abortion, but Ashley’s ride never showed up. Then he rescheduled and this time she made it all the way to planned parenthood and was sitting in the exam chair getting a sonogram of her 16-week-old fetus which she refused to look at. However, when they took her blood pressure it was dangerously high because of the drugs she had been on. The risk of cardiac arrest was too much of a liability so the doctor refused to do the abortion. So the man rescheduled the abortion. Later that week Ashley went to the bathroom and did more drugs as usual, except this is the part of the story where everything changed. While strung out on meth in a bathroom God met her there. You read that right. GOD MET HER THERE.

Even with drugs in her system, she had an overwhelming supernatural experience. She felt the love of God and felt a maternal connection to her unborn child that she never had before. While remembering the story Ashley said “Something spiritual happened that night and I sat there in the bathroom and cried all night long and repeatedly said ‘I am so sorry’. Crying and crying and crying and after that, something told me I didn’t want to do that anymore. I cancelled my next abortion appointment and I quit drugs. This was after using for over 10 years.” She said “The only way I can explain it is that I felt the same as Mary in The Chosen in the scene where she says ‘I was one way and then I wasn’t, and the only thing that happened inbetween was Him’ and that’s how it was for me. That’s all I can say. There was nothing that could have changed me. I was so long gone! I didn’t know He was there the whole time.”

She canceled the abortion and her baby was born 6 months later.

It wasn’t a perfect path lined with roses. The baby did have meth in his system, and CPS was wanting to do the right thing by keeping him from his mother. Ashley was changed though and she did anything and everything she had to do to prove she was clean and could keep her son.

She eventually had full custody and moved out of state. In September 2018, her baby was dedicated to the Lord.

Then in November 2018, Ashley was baptized.

She was completely changed just like 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Then in 2019 she was able to get custody of her older son back!

He moved in and they began to mend the broken relationship.

In 2022 he was also baptized!

In six years Ashley went from a life of drugs and prostitution to now having a place of her own with her two sons!

She’s had 4 job promotions where she works as a quality lab technician and she has a new car that she paid off on her own!

All of those blessings and achievements are incredible, but of course, the best part is her relationship with God. Ashley told me “As weird as it sounds I don’t regret any of the stuff that I went through because I don’t know that I would have reached out to God. I don’t know if I would have felt like I needed Him if I were managing on my own.” She said she will never forget the day He saved her. She wants everyone to know “If you are struggling it’s not too late. God will never fail you and no one is ever too lost to be saved by His amazing grace.”


By |2024-03-18T13:13:39+00:00January 22, 2024|Inspiring Moms|4 Comments

Inspiring Mom Marci Wease

This month’s Inspiring Mom is self-professed “Junk Artist” Marci Wease.

While she is a forensic DNA analyst by day she is also a picker on the side. What she does with what most would consider junk is nothing short of amazing.

Before I get into the interview let me start by explaining how we met in the first place. 

Back in August my family and I were camping in Indiana. While hanging out near the playground area with the kids I spotted a little boy driving a miniature VW bus pulling a tiny trailer.

This boy and his bus couldn’t have been any cuter. Being totally enamored with the whole setup I started up a conversation with the boy’s grandpa as my kids enthusiastically checked out the sweet ride. 

The grandpa said they were in town for the vintage camper rally and told me all about their vintage campers and old VW buses. “You should meet my daughter! She’s the one who crafted all of these things and she would love to talk with you.” 

The next day I wandered over to their lot on the campgrounds. It’s easy to find. Just look for the Volkswagen Beetles and buses!


As soon as I stepped foot into their temporary space I was in awe. Everywhere I looked there were handcrafted pieces. It was like a entering a whimsical world where every single detail of the colorful rusty art had a story of its own.

That’s when I met the artist behind all the “Junk”, Marci Wease. 

Marci grew up with creative and resourceful parents so it is no wonder that she has such a knack for renovation. In her home, you used what you had. Why replace when you can recreate? Marci watched her mom who could make fabulous creations out of what seemed worthless. Whether it was a meal, or clothing, or making the house looke great, she could always pull it off using what was available to her. Her dad on the other hand, could make anything that was broken down run. Marci says “With the combination of the two of them my brother and I didn’t stand a chance. We were sure to become junk collectors and pickers” It was thanks to her parents that Marci and her brother had so much access to the materials and machines that allowed them to make creations of their own. Marci has heartwarming memories of long weekends working in the shop. Every Sunday the routine was go to church, followed by a nap, dinner, and somewhere in there was always family time building! They even literally built a home together.

It wasn’t separated into boys in the garage and women in the kitchen either. Both of them were welcome to observe and get their hands dirty whatever the task may be. 
At one point Marci’s uncle who had been in the military was stationed in Germany and was a Volkswagen mechanic. When he came back he opened a shop and that’s when it became a family affair. Marci and her brother got their first Volkswagens to work on before they were even old enough to drive. She has owned several since then and is currently working on a 1958 pressed bumper panel VW bus. 

While always interested in the craft of tinkering. Marci took it up a notch 8 years ago when she learned to weld. Her work has since caught the attention of many locals and even people around the world thanks to her Youtube channel “marcijunebug” 

She travels a little doing art festivals and trade shows. Marci said there are always men coming up to her asking who did your welding? She loves seeing their priceless expressions when she tells them she did it herself. 

Marci is grateful to her parents for the values and direction her parents gave her. She said they never once said “that’s a stupid idea”. Instead if you showed up where they were tinkering they would instruct. Marci and her husband are trying to incorporate that same parenting style with their four year old son.

Her little boy came to her with a set of plans the other day saying he wanted to build a house. It looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Marci admits it’s a challenge to finding the balance between work, and having time to yourself, and family time, but she is intentional about trying to include her son in whatever she is doing when it’s possible. 

With such a creative heritage it will be really neat to see what their sweet boy comes up with as he is growing and finding his path. 

As I look through some of Marci’s creations like this

and this 

and all of this

my mind is enchanted by the textures and layers of the things she comes up with. She attributes all that she does to God and thanks him for giving this gift to her. Her faith is evident in what she does as she takes these broken discarded pieces and turns into a valued and cherished work of art. 

There is so much more that I can’t load all the photos and videos on here, but I strongly encourage you to see for yourself.

You can find more of her work on Instagram at  junkinthistruck

Facebook at Junebug’s


and Youtube

Be sure to follow so that you can also this cool little family does next.

I’m sure whatever it is will be INSPIRING! 

By |2024-01-12T23:36:24+00:00November 26, 2019|Inspiring Moms|3 Comments

Inspiring Mom Lula Gibbs

Lula Gibbs greeted me with a friendly smile before I began the interview and I went ahead and asked right away how she wanted her ethnicity described in the story. She cocked her head slightly and I continued “Well, since we are discussing race in this feature I was wondering if you preferred, African American or Black or woman of color…” She crinkled her nose a little bit at my last suggestion and sat up straight as she replied “Black.” She said it with confidence and certainty, then added “Proud black woman”. When I sat down to hear Lula’s story I knew there was no way I would be able to really understand the weight of it or to deliver it in its entirety, but I was determined to do my best.

Lula’s story begins in the 1940s in the deep south. Her family were sharecroppers in Alabama. Her days consisted of working in the fields. They would tirelessly pick cotton, peas, okra and sugar cane. Then they would give it to the landowners leaving only a small portion to keep as payment for their labor. Their shack was on the plantation. They had newspapers hanging all over the interior as a form of wallpaper. They used kerosene lamps. There are no photographs of Lula’s childhood because cameras and film development were far too expensive for them, but this photo from the inside of a sharecropper cabin at the Scott Plantation Settlement in Arkansas looks exactly like what Lula described.

When Lula was a child the only break she had from the tasks of tending the fields was when it was her turn to go to school. She rotated which day she could go between her 3 sisters. One girl would take one day to go to school and the other three worked in the fields with their mother.

Eventually they escaped the life of sharecropping and moved to Montgomery Alabama and her mother became a maid which was one of the only jobs available to African American women at that time. Lula was 12 years old when they moved and this was her first opportunity to go to school regularly.  She remembers starting her day with walking over to her friend’s house to wait for the cheese wagon (that was what the girls called the big yellow school bus and it always made them laugh). She rode on the bus for an hour passing several prestigious all white schools along the way before finally arriving at a tiny dilapidated wooden building. This was her stop. This was the school for black children.

Lula ended up dropping out of school when she was a freshman. She met her husband Nathaniel and they got married in 1955 when she was only 14 years old and became pregnant soon after. Unfortunately, the child passed away at birth. While Lula did become pregnant again with their son and they did raise seven beautiful children over the next several years they would aslo have to suffer the loss of two other infants.

This heartbreak along with being a teenage mother made the struggle of life before the civil rights movement even harder. Lula talked about how difficult it was to rebel against injustice as a young mother. She couldn’t boycott the bus because she didn’t ride the bus. She rarely left the house. When she did, discrimination and segregation were all she saw. She had to go to a special window on the side of a building when she needed to make a purchase. She couldn’t be caught anywhere near white restaurants, white elevators, white drinking fountains, white post offices, and the list went on. 

Lula was living in a world where she and her family weren’t valued and despite the whispers of an uprising all she saw was hatred and shame directed at her and her community. They were tired of waiting for change. Tired of being mistreated. The talk amongst the relatives was that there were factory jobs and maybe something closer to equality up north. So the Gibbs became a part of the great migration. They joined the millions of other blacks seeking a better way of life in the north and Lula and her family moved to Indiana in 1965. It wasn’t perfect but a lot had changed since her days on the plantation. Lula got a job working at GM. Her children went to good schools and no longer had to live a life of segregation. She could see hope for the future and knew that God had a beautiful plan for her family. One by one she watched her children graduate. They started to get married, get jobs, or go to college or the military.

In 1996 Lula became a widow. Nathaniel never got to see some of the incredible accomplishments of their grandchildren, and great-grandchildren some of which have become teachers and nurses while others have served in the military.


Lula Gibbs beams as she talks about all that her children have achieved. She is still very close to all seven of them. She gets daily visits from her sons who help with the house and vehicle maintenance. Even though some of them have spread out in proximity she still talks to her daughters every day sometimes more than once a day!

She has been an encouragement and an example to so many people to walk in the truth and the light of God’s word. Her perseverance has had a ripple effect that will continue on long after God calls her home.

Lula’s life these days is very quiet and peaceful. She loves her family, her church, and the casino. You might be surprised by the Casino part but she did explain that she only goes Tuesdays and has a certain amount that she spends each time if the budget allows and that’s it. After everything she has been through (and believe me there are volumes more than what I’ve shared here) this is a very calm place of contentment for Lula. Lula carries this demeanor of someone who is completely comfortable with who they are and that’s a rare thing. Now I understand why she would describe herself as a proud black woman.


It was such an honor hearing about Lula Gibb’s life.

As I sat there thinking about her education compared to mine, I reflected on what she said about the fields, and the bus ride, and the condition of her all black school. The first seven years of my education were at a private school. After that my dad’s job relocated us to various cities but my parents always found a house in neighborhoods with the best school districts. I learned about civil rights and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at these schools, but I know that all of my history classes combined could never compare to all that I had discovered and taken in while listening to Lula recount her experiences in her own words with her own voice. Lula Gibbs is one of the most inpiring moms I have ever met and I talk to a lot! Her story is a gift. Lula herself is a gift.

By |2024-01-12T22:52:02+00:00February 26, 2019|Inspiring Moms|3 Comments

Inspiring Moms

Inspiring Moms is an original Messy Mom series that features a different mother (or mother figure) each month to tell their story. The reason I chose that name was because in this context it fits perfectly as a verb and an adjective. The goal is for this to be a community of mothers that come from all kinds of diverse walks of life to inspire one another.

The series launched in early 2017 and since then we’ve had so many moms with different ages and backgrounds share their unique testimonies. Being able to feature these powerful heroic women is one the most anticipated reads on Messy Mom. Some of the moms featured have big platforms and successful full-time careers, other moms have walked through heartache or overcome obstacles. Being an Inspiring Mom is all about showing up and putting your heart on the line for your children and your family. Here are some of the stories that have been highlighted so far:


April 2017- Suzanne Sorenson shares what it was like surviving a tornado and having to start all over as well as having a son with a rare disability.

May 2017- Heidi Lewiston Talks about her experiences as a Navy Wife, a mother of four, and reflects on some of her favorite memories from Isreal. At 96 years old Heidi had a lot of wonderful advice and insight. *

June 2017- Susan Shipe had adventurous tales of being a single mom and encountering the Lord while… smoking pot!?! She even worked for Donald Trump. Her story may sound bazaar but it is a testimony of provision and restoration that will increase your faith!

July 2017- She was a teacher, foster parent, and founder of a bilingual preschool before she and her husband picked up and moved their whole family to HONDURAS. Life is very different on the Caribbean island but they wouldn’t have it any other way.

September 2017- Tiffany Williams shares what it was like having 4 children ages four and under and all in diapers not to mention a traumatic postpartum heart failure experience. Her testimony is powerful!

October 2017- Jen Hill is homeschool mother of six. Her world was turned upside down when their three-year-old son was in a lawn equipment accident that left him as a double amputee. Their family motto: Jesus is enough.

November 2017- Amanda Huffman shares her experience as an air force veteran who had been deployed to Afghanistan and a husband who currently still serves. Lots of wisdom from this heroic mother of two.

December 2017- Angie Keith experienced the worst heartache any mother could face when one of her twin daughters passed away during a nap on Thanksgiving Day. Just when you think there is no way God could turn this tragedy around He does and it is incredible.

January 2018- Monica Ramey is the author of Walking in Dominion, which is her memoir of going through the vicious cycle of abusive broken relationships and even having her own son kidnapped and taken to another country and how God still never gave up on her through it all.

February 2018- Lora Kendrick opens up about what it is like having a daughter who is the recipient of a heart transplant and how they have kept their family together throughout the trials of life.

March 2018- Christen Dierken wrestled on a men’s wrestling team and was an Olympic hopeful. She is a mother to one beautiful baby girl and is a true model of strength and perseverance.

April 2018- Lauren Béa is a singer, songwriter, and recording artist that is married to a professional football player. She shares how to keep family first while being in the spotlight.

May 2018- Tiffany McNair and her husband adopted a little girl from Congo after they had three biological children. They thought the bringing her to the US would be the hardest part but that was really only the beginning.

June 2018- Kristi Capel has her dream career as anchorwomen on an award-winning morning news show. Her greatest job of all though is being a mom!

July 2018- Kerry Howard tells her heart-wrenching story of surviving an abusive impoverished upbringing and turning things around after adopting her 5 year old niece when Kerry was only 18!

September 2018- Kadi Spurlock was willing to give up their home and their dream in Colorado so that they could live at sea level due to their daughter’s rare disorder that thrived in high altitudes.

February 2019- Lula Gibbs was raised as a sharecropper in Alabama. She is a true warrior who victoriously overcame many obstacles living in the deep south before and during the civil rights movement.

April 2019 Hashmareen Griffin was born and raised in Sri Lanka until her early teen years where her family moved to the US and she became an international runway model!

September 2019 Anna Slayton was already struggling through a difficult marriage when things hit rock bottom after her toddler drowned in a pool. God hadn’t forgotten about Anna though and was going to use her as an activist and bring healing to her life.

August 2019 Tiffanie Marquez is mother of 6 who gives us a peek inside the world of home birth as midwife in Colorado.

October 2019 Misty Pearson is a wife and mother who is also an engineer working for NASA. She shares behind the scoop about working with astronauts and how being a mom actually made her better at her job.

November 2019 Marci Wease is self-professed “Junk Artist” Marci Wease. While she is a forensic DNA analyst by day she is also a picker on the side. She creates the most exquisite pieces of art from stuff that people throw out.

February 2020 Jean Schmidt is an Ohio State Representative who has run 149 marathons! She was a stay at home mom when her kids were younger and has always been passionate in her fight to protect the unborn.

January 2024 Ashley Roche  Ashley was addicted to methamphetamine for over ten years when God miraculously transformed her life. Her and her sons’ lives were saved (spiritually and physically) because of Jesus!


*Only a few weeks after writing the piece and talking with Heidi on the phone about how much she loved the article Heidi unexpectedly and peacefully passed away in her home. I believe the Holy Spirit orchestrated the timing of this interview and it was an honor to share this glimpse at Heidi’s precious life from her own perspective.

By |2024-01-30T18:23:42+00:00August 6, 2018|Inspiring Moms|0 Comments
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