The Launch Party

For those who have read “Hope at the Threshold” or follow Messy Mom you know I love parties and party planning. My book included details about my anniversary party/vow renewal from 2010, the Green Eggs and Ham party from 2012, the super hero party and One Happy camper in 2013, the Fun to Bee one theme party from 2016, and SJ’s butterfly birthday and  graduation party in 2018. So getting to throw another party, this time for the book, was a dream come true.

The week of the book launch party I sent an invite to my friend in Texas. I had zero expectations for her to come, I was just wanting to include her in my happy news. She told me she would be there in spirit unless she flew spirit then she may be there in person… which SHE DID!

She flew in from Texas very last minute and she really made everything come together perfectly. She taught the girls to sew and make these special decorations.

They had a blast. She also taught me how to do a balloon garland (way easier than I thought) and she made pennant banners.

They were so special because some of the material was actually from the kids old clothes. She asked me if I had any fabric or old clothing that could be used. I explained to her about my stash of cleaning rags, but they are really old unwearable items that I cut up to use around the house. I donate stuff that is in decent shape so I truly didn’t think she would be able to use any of. I was wrong and was amazed at how she was able to turn scraps of rags into something so sweet and sentimental. It’s perfect for me because I love reusing and repurposing things!

For the party I rented a pavilion at the local park which is right across the street from the library.

How perfect is that? It also has a little community library bin of it’s own. J’s brother and sister in law bought a book to put in the community library. I pray that the right person will find it and be encouraged! One of the things I really wanted to make this party extra special was customized cookies. My friend from Third Day Baking Co made the sweetest and most beautiful cookies for the occasion.

Some where cochlear implant theme and my favorite ones were a copy of the book cover. Then my brother and sister in law showed up with even more custom cookies which we really needed because we ran out of the ones I purchased. There were cookies and snacks galore! I had some sparkling cider left over from Christmas—don’t worry it wasn’t expired—and the kids kept wanting to open it but I told them I was saving it for my book launch and we finally got to pop that non alcoholic bubbly!

The best part was the people. The weather was all over the place that day but that didn’t seem to affect attendance. I had so many friends and family show up. There were people from church, people from out of state (such a fun surprise), people from our connections through SJ’s deaf school.

People communicating in sign language, babies, kids running around, some guests even brought their dog with them, which I loved!


Then there were the thoughtful hope themed homemade gifts and cards.

My  heart was bursting from the love. I also had guests sign my personal copy of “Hope at the Threshold” which is a tradition where I have a book that goes along with the theme of the party and the guests sign it. That was a full circle moment that meant a lot to me.

As far as the big question, how did the launch go and how are sales? Well, on the one hand it’s going great. I’ve had such awesome feedback from everyone who has read it and the word is already beginning to spread causing more and more interest. On the other hand my book still isn’t listed on Amazon. It shows it’s listed but that it is out of stock. Everyone thinks it’s sold out because my sales are so awesome. I wish that were the case, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to sell any on Amazon yet. This is annoying because a lot of people want to buy from Amazon to save on shipping of course! I would too. I am working hard to resolve this issue. Until then as I’ve mention on social media and the blog I would be happy to mail out copies to anyone who would like to read my memoir. The cost in full is $20 and you can pay through Venmo, Zelle, or Apple Pay. I have sent out a lot of books this way and those shipments have all been successful! Feel free to message me on social media or leave a comment and I’ll get in touch with you. The book is also available on Barnes and, BAM! Books-A-Million, or Walmart. For those who have already bought a book (or many of you bought bookS plural, which is amazing) I thank you. I am so grateful! You guys are the best!!! I mean it.

Writing a book and publishing it has been such hard work. I feel like I reach one obstacle after another. When will it end? People have complemented me on the achievement and commented about what an accomplishment this is. I would love to say “You are too kind, thank you.” but instead I feel like Bleeker in the movie Juno. Juno says “you’re, like, the coolest person I’ve ever met, and you don’t even have to try

…” and Bleeker replies “I try really hard actually”. That’s me! I try really hard actually and I am learning as I go. I still feel like this is a soft launch and the book isn’t quite officially out yet, but this is definitely a great start. I am not going to let this hiccup with Amazon to get in my way. More to come my friends. More to come!

By |2023-09-14T02:04:10+00:00September 14, 2023|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Hope at the Threshold

This is it! The moment that millions of little moments have led up to. My memoir, Hope at the Threshold is now available online for preorder and will officially launch this Saturday August 26th! Hope at the Threshold is the story of how God brought us through the valley of welfare, hearing loss, marriage struggles, unstable housing, and so much more. It’s a pretty short book—only 21 chapters— so it takes about 5 hours to read depending on your pace. I would recommend having a box of tissues nearby for some parts, but don’t worry it’s actually a happy book with a redemptive ending.

If you would like a copy you can preorder on Amazon or Barnes and Noble online. You place your order now and the day the book goes live it will take payment and ship to you automatically.

Or if you want an autographed copy shoot me an email or message. I can send you a book in the mail for $20.

I am going to be sharing A LOT of details about the book in the next couple of weeks. There will be some fun “behind the scenes” info and bonus content. But for now I just want to thank everyone in my life who has shown me abounding love and support through this process.

I have so many friends who have believed in me and cheered me on every step of the way. I also had two editors and they were so gracious to help me and teach me along the way. I will always be grateful for these two wonderful ladies.

I have to thank my family of course, especially my mom. They have pushed me even when I felt like giving up. I compare writing a book to the scene from the movie Tangled where Rapuzel leaves the tower. She is bouncing around one moment feeling the grass between her toes dancing and twirling with joy, excited for her new adventure. Then the next scene she is crying and defeated, feeling like she should have never left the tower and that she made a mistake. She gleefully shouts with proud astonishment “I can’t believe I did this” then hear expression changes to dread and concern and she says “I can’t believe I did this” with a regretful tone. It starts at 1:20 mark of this video.

I soooo relate to that!

I can’t even describe the feeling of finishing a book and being able to hold it in your hands. It’s incredibly exhilarating to say the least.

You feel like dancing and twirling like Rapunzel when she feels grass for the first time. Then imposture syndrome kicks in. And you fear the negative responses or being misunderstood. It leaves you wanting to take it all back because it’s too risky. However you know in your heart your story was never meant to stay locked in the tower forever. That’s how it felt for me and as scary as it is, it’s time to share the book with the world.

I do I have one last person to thank and that is my husband.

He has appreciated and cultivated my creative spirit since I was a teenager. He has been by my side every step of this process and he has had to do so much in terms of formatting the book, designing the cover, giving me feedback, allowing me to make mistakes and learn as I go. He also has had to give me permission, not because he is a controlling husband, but because it’s OUR story. I wanted to be sure he approved of me sharing his story too. He is a very private introverted person so the whole idea of being extremely raw and vulnerable did not come easily. For the record, it didn’t come easily to me either! What we knew though is by sharing the ugly parts along with the sweet ones God would be glorified. We believe He is going to use this testimony and that is 100% our prayer. That’s why we were able to tell about the pain and show God’s faithfulness. Because He is in all of it. And I believe he can take a “messy memoir” and turn into a masterpiece that points others to His goodness.


By |2023-08-19T12:41:14+00:00August 19, 2023|Uncategorized|1 Comment

We Have SO Much to Catch Up On

Back in February I announced that my website would be under construction and I expected it to be back up and running a week later. Then my van broke down and it was a huge ordeal that included J taking time off work to fix it. Believe it or not this happened twice. The second time wasn’t even related to the first one and this was our NICE vehicle–the one we still make payments on. Ugh!!!

On top of that I had some health issues that I still don’t have answers to. I have previously shared about my anemia, but this appears to be something different. I keep having shaking spells for no reason. When it happens I look like I am shivering from the cold (but it’s not cold). It makes me sad and mad that I have had to walk through this but I am trusting the Lord and taking it day by day. I will explain more when *hopefully* I know a little bit more. For now I am on medication that helps me not shake so much. The one good thing to come out of this so far is that I have put so much more focus on getting healthy- physically, spiritually, emotionally… all of it.

Anyway, let’s talk about dreams! I started this year out with my one word- DREAMS! 2023 is the year where I believed dreams were going to be realized and things I’ve envisioned and hoped for for so long would start to unfold and you guys it’s definitely happening. My book, Hope at the Threshold, is complete and I’ve already sold several preorder copies.


I’ve had wonderful feedback and watched God begin to use this story already in many ways.

I was invited to speak at a women’s night back in April. and despite an ER visit the week before, I was able to share and everything went so well.

There is a video of my message on Youtube if you are interested.

I am so grateful for everything God did that night.

I have already been asked to do another speaking engagement and I know this is just the beginning. I’ve had so many people catch wind of the book and want to know how to get a copy. This makes my heart want to explode from happiness, so thank you for your support!

Actually, one of my favorite examples of this was from my friend Alison. Alison was recently on a mission’s trip and one of our mutual friends was reading my book on the plane. So Alison asked about what she was reading and she told her it was my book. When they returned Alison text me wanting to know how to get a copy. That was a DREAM come true moment for me. I know that these are people from my church that are showing love and support for me, but still, the idea that someone was reading my book on a plane and someone else wanted to get a copy. How cool is that? I wrote a book! It’s very surreal and of course as the word leaks that there are books out there I keep getting asked how to get a book which is such an awesome question. The problem is while I do have copies available for local purchase the book isn’t online yet. I promise it will be very very soon. No matter what it takes!

I am 98% ready to have the official launch (I’m looking at August). I have been waiting on my website, which is kind of done. At least it’s live, but it’s super slow and buggy. I’ve always been thankful for the name Messy Mom because it’s applicable in so many ways. My blog and my life seem to be a mess, but like my tagline says I am making the best of it. Thanks for being so patient with everything. Once this is all said and done I know it will be worth it. I love blogging and I am so thankful that I get to do this and for every single individual who stops by this space.

By |2023-06-19T17:09:57+00:00June 19, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Lovepop Father’s Day!

Shopping for Father’s Day is hard. Whether it’s your husband, grandpa, father-in-law, or your dear old dad they usually don’t want anything. They have plenty of mugs and if they are interested in a tool or gadget they just buy it! At least that’s how the men in my family are. In fact, I have a funny story about the difference between men and women when it comes to gifts. My mother-in-law saw a sturdy folding multi-step stool and saw it was a little pricey, but knew it would come in handy. She has a lovely home with high ceilings and kitchen cabinets that are amazing for storage but many are just out of reach. So she dropped a hint to her husband that she would like a stool like that for her birthday (very practical but that was her way of pacifying her sticker shock). His response was “Oh. I see. Well, would you want it for your birthday or do you want to be able to reach all the shelves now?” and he just bought it for her because he knew she could use it and didn’t need to waste a birthday present on such a thing. 

Then there is the matter of the card. You want it to be heartfelt, but you don’t want to spend an hour in the card aisle looking through everything. That’s where Lovepop cards come in. I was thrilled to be offered the chance to get some cards and review Lovepop—a company that specializes in making every moment magical with unique pop-up cards and gifts.

I found the perfect card for my dad because he had two jokes he always said when I was a kid and one of them was about a mushroom who was left out and had to convince everyone that he was a “fungi”.

This was before dad jokes were synonymous with cheesy jokes. It’s the origin of dad jokes. Anyway I knew that one was the one. I also found a gorgeous pop up-paper flower bouquet.

I was truly blown away with the products I ordered. I excitedly showed them to my husband whose response was “WOW”. The quality is so impressive and the designs are beautiful. You can check out the Lovepop Father’s Day Collection to choose from some pop cards or even pop up gifts.

Any Star Wars fans like in my family? They’ve got you covered.

There are also golf cards, Mickey Mouse, or The Office.

So many fun exclusive designs to choose from. For Father’s Day or any occasion you have to check out these gorgeous cards. They make an unforgettable unique for that person who is so difficult to shop for. 

Father’s Day is THIS SUNDAY but there is still time to do expedited shipping (ends June 14th!).

Now go take a look at Lovepop. It’s sure to put a smile on your dad’s face.

By |2023-07-12T01:28:29+00:00June 13, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Mother Daughter Trip to Sedona Arizona

I am going to overshare for this post. Sorry not sorry.

First of all it took so many miracles for this trip to happen and I am just so grateful. Also, I like to share details and links for those scouring the internet like I did, looking for suggestions and experiences before traveling (as I always do).

The trip came about because J and I have always had this idea that we would take a one-on-one milestone trip when each of our children enters the teen years. Z went to Chicago with his dad when he turned 13.

For SJ’s birthday it was my dream to show her the city of Sedona which is what she was named after. There were only two major problems with my idea.

1. Our budget is small

2. I am still struggling with PTSD from the major car wreck I was in 4 years ago. I have a hard enough time driving around locally. There is not a chance I am going to rent a car and explore another city.

That’s where Mémé stepped in (my mom and SJ’s grandma).

She worked for Delta and still gets flying benefits so we were able to get the tickets at a rock bottom price flying standby. Not only that, but because my mom travels all the time she was comfortable with driving us everywhere. This was such a blessing and the trip definitely wouldn’t have been possible without her help. So first and foremost thank you to Mémé for everything! The trip was a dream come true!

A couple of days were spent traveling so we were only in Arizona for three days, but we packed them full and thankfully the weather was wonderful!

We flew into Phoenix and stayed at hotel the first night. Then we had a two hour drive to our Airbnb so we stopped along the way at a place called Aqua Fria which was a wonderful hiking adventure.

It was mostly just SJ and I the whole time and it was so peaceful, but we bumped into a couple of other people along the trail. One friendly hiker was named Vick and he gave us the local rundown of the area and Sedona. At the end he also mentioned a John Wayne movie called “Angel and the Badman” that was filmed in Sedona and featured a baby which was played by none other than Vick himself!

I looked up the movie which turns out is now public domain and available in full on Youtube. It was neat to see the Sedona scenery in black in white. It made me a little teary eyed because my father-in-law loved to watch westerns. I’m sure he’s seen that movie and it would have been nice to talk to him about that experience. It’s sad, but I smile thinking about him.

The Airbnb we stayed at was in Clarkdale AZ. It’s called the Bitter Creek Villa and it’s just outside of Sedona in Clarkdale. I highly, HIGHLY recommend it.

We didn’t get to take advantage of the free kayaks because it was too chilly, but I absolutely loved the peaceful tranquility of the place.

There was a picturesque pond and wildlife everywhere you looked! One my all time favorite Airbnbs for sure.

We also visited Montezuma’s Castle National Monument. It’s basically a 900 year old living structure built into the rocks by the Sinagua people. That was fascinating!

The whole trip we kept gasping in awe of all the beautiful scenery!

That night I insisted SJ get dessert at the Mexican restaurant we went to (Conchos in Cottonwood). She was being very indecisive and the waiter was encouraging her to try flan. She still wasn’t certain but our waiter went from “you’ll love it” to basically ordering it for her. It was funny, but he was right! She LOVED the flan! We didn’t have much room after dinner so we took it back to the Airbnb

We ended the night with relaxing in the hot tube under a sky full of stars. Talk about the perfect ending to an amazing day.

The next morning was SJ’s birthday and she woke up to a view of the sunrise with Sedona in the distance. I couldn’t have planned it that perfectly if I had wanted to!

Then we headed out to another incredible restaurant called Crema Craft Kitchen. I got a cappuccino with rock candy on top and SJ got a pommegranite lemonade. Both were delicious.

When the server found out it was SJ’s birthday she brought her a free cinnamon roll and it was HUGE!

For the first Sedona hike we went to Fay Canyon trail. The plan was to do a photoshoot at the top. It was the most incredible view and we had a blast!

SJ is a tomboy by nature, but she has a girly side too and she picked out this new dress, jacket and shirt.

It was a fun photoshoot for both of us. That hike was my favorite part of Sedona!

Afterwards went to a few shops at the Tlaquepaque village and the Sedona Secret Garden cafe for lunch

Then we drove t0 the Airport Mesa Overlook which were jaw dropping views.

This shot is of the keychain J made for SJ for her birthday. Next up on the agenda was Chapel of the Holy Cross. That was a pretty epic chapel.

I’m so glad we stopped by and even got to go inside and pray. Last but certainly not least we hiked at Bell Rock tower. I hate to sound like a broken record, but the views were epic.


The majestic scenery went on for miles and miles. The next day I got some shots of the sunrise.

Even though it was winter there were still hummingbirds that stay in that area year round.

After we checked out of our Airbnb we had an amazing  breakfast at the Flat Iron in Jerome.

Jerome is and old mining town that is now a ghost town. It’s really cool and full of fascinating history.

After poking around Jerome for a bit we were ready to head back to Pheonix. The standby flights were looking dangerously full (which meant we were at risk of not getting on) but in the end we made it back by the skin of our teeth. I was sweating it on the flights to Arizona and Cincinnati. We’ve all flown standby plenty of times, especially my mom, but for some reason this trip was especially a close call. The thing that kept going through my mind though was nothing ventured nothing gained. We took a chance, went for it, and all the risk was 1000% worth it! I know this is a birthday she’ll always remember.

By |2024-03-02T03:27:08+00:00March 7, 2023|Family, Frugal Living, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Not Fun but Not Terrible

I have been wanting to share this health update with everyone for a long time, but I was pridefully, wanting to tell it after I was all better, except that hasn’t happened yet.

Now let’s start by going way back to when I first became pregnant. Like many pregnant women I struggled with keeping my iron levels up. I tried to take vitamins, but nothing seemed to help.  Then after I had the baby I bounced back to my usual healthy self. With Elle it was so bad that in the hospital my hemoglobin was 6 and I had to have two blood transfusions.

For reference a low hemoglobin count is generally anything less than 11.6. A hemoglobin of less than 5 can be fatal.

After Elle was born I never really worried about my iron levels. I was a busy mother of four at that point and I figured if I was tired it was to be expected. I never went to a doctor for regular checkups in that season of life. I just assumed I was fine. However stuff kept adding up over the next five years and in 2021 I made it a resolution to get checked.

Sorry for the lengthy story, but I wanted to share in case it’s helpful to anyone out there struggling with anemia. I went to a general practitioner in January and told her I was having trouble sleeping and also dealing with restless legs. She wanted to put me on meds. She kept pushing the prescriptions! She even repeatedly asked if I had anxiety. The whole thing felt off. I told her  I was uncomfortable getting a prescription without doing research on it first. I then added “I guess I just thought maybe you would tell me I could do some stretches before bed or something.” Her reply was “Stretches! That’s a good idea.” My jaw was about on the floor at that point.

The worst part about the whole experience was that when my bloodwork came in I got a call from a nurse to inform me that I was borderline diabetic and I needed to cut out carbs. She also casually threw in that my iron was low. I was devastated! I took this prediabetes diagnosis as fact and started researching what to do. It was very serious to me. The thing is, the more I researched the less it made sense. For my lifestyle, age, weight and even ethnicity it appeared that I was at extremely low to no risk of being prediabetic.

I began to study my lab results and started investigating. I discovered that a low red blood cell count can falsely elevate your A1c (the test that shows if you are diabetic). I already knew I wasn’t going back to that doctor now I was mad and ready to get a second opinion ASAP. I made an appointment with a new doctor, but in the meantime everything came crashing down for me before I even had a chance to see her. It was a  Saturday night and I was photographing a wedding the next day. I felt fine when I went to bed but I woke up around 1:00 am with crazy heart palpitations. I tried so hard to ignore it. It was really intense though. I woke Jeremy up, but even after praying together my whole body was trembling and I thought my heart was going to explode. He took me to the ER. Once I got to the exam room and the nurse was checking my vitals I told her I thought I was going to pass out. I never did, but she said “No wonder. Your heart rate is 168!” Keep in mind that was my resting heart rate. They immediately started hooking me up to machines and doing an EKG. I eventually calmed down and after they checked every single little thing about me the doctor told me all they found was anemia. At that point my iron was at 8 and my ferritin was  2 (ferritin is iron reserves  and that is extremely low) . Now why would that have anything to do with me being in the ER with heart issues? Well, anemia can cause shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, and heart palpitations. It was explained by the that I had had a panic attack. I have talked to several friends since then that had similar experiences and were treated poorly and made to feel foolish by doctors. That is so unfortunate and shouldn’t be the case. I am happy to say that this doctor had great bedside manner. They wanted me to have a follow up appointment with my GP and I explained that I already had appointment scheduled.

When I saw my new doctor she was extremely helpful and sent me to a hematologist for my anemia. He also told me that I was a text book case for anemia and every one of my symptoms should clear up when they raise my iron levels through an iron infusion.

My symptoms were

  • ice chewing (MAJORLY!!!)
  • restless legs syndrom
  • insomnia
  • pale skin
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • heart palpations
  • cold hands
  • weakness
  • dizziness

He told me the only way I was still standing with my ferritin that low is because it must have happened very gradually. He compared to having a thermastat slowly turned up and adjusting to the temperature. So I had two iron transfusions and sure enough it almost immediately reversed all of my symptoms. In fact for almost a year I didn’t have any of them!!!

I was really hoping that was the end of it, but sadly at about 18 months after my infusion I knew something was wrong. I wasn’t as bad off as I had been, but I was headed that direction. My doctor ran blood tests to confirm my suspicions.

So the next course of action is to do a colonoscopy to see if they can find the root cause of my anemia and that is scheduled for this Friday. I start fasting and laxative treatment today. FUN! I am a little nervous about already being depleted and being on a liquid diet with no vitamins and having my “innards” cleared out for two days straight. Ugh. I know it’s going to be okay though. People do colonoscopies all the time! 
So there’s the whole long story. I appreciate any prayers or even advice if you or someone you know cured their anemia. I am willing to try almost anything at this point.


By |2023-06-13T22:29:09+00:00February 7, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Messy Mom Construction Site


In case you haven’t heard through my social media accounts I am in the middle of adding finishing touches to my memoir and recording my audio book! Writing my memoir/first book has been harder than I ever thought, but I know it’s all going to be worth it.

One thing J and I knew that we wanted to do as I took this next step is to update my website. It’s been long overdue. The last time I did any technical housekeeping here was SEVEN years ago. That’s why my hair it so short in my profile picture.

I am beyond excited for all of these changes and roll outs. I wanted to an official blog post about it in case

A. You don’t “see” me on here for a while or

B. My site temporarily goes down in the midst of all the tech stuff. I am hoping that won’t be the case, but you never know.

A lot of people have asked when the book release date is and I still don’t have one. It’s probably a good thing too since I would inevitably be running late. If you are just joining in and have no idea what book I’m talking about I’ll fill you in (I have noticed some new followers so WELCOME!).

My book is called Hope at the Threshold and it’s a memoir about the season of life where we were unemployed, pregnant, on welfare, living with family, and discovered our daughter was deaf all very unexpectedly. It might sounded like some sad, heavy material, and in all fairness some of it is, but as the title indicates there is hope in the midst of it. The story is about the goodness and faithfulness of God. I can’t wait to share it with all of you. In fact I am assembling a small book launch team so if you are interested in a prerelease copy in exchange for getting the word out on social media then please let me know. You can email me at the messy mom at gmail (no spaces or anything, I’m just trying to avoid bots spamming me).

Oh, and one more thing I am on the lookout for as I relaunch Messy Mom is bringing back my Inspiring Mom series. I used to do monthly interviews/articles about moms that have some really cool stories. That could be a mom that has been teaching for 20+ years, or maybe it’s an adoption story, a small business startup, or a health and wellness inspiring story. I’m convinced everyone has a story to share. So if you are up for it, or have a mom you want to nominate then please let me know! It was such a powerful series and I always had an amazing response to it, but the embarrassing truth is I fell off the wagon March of 2020 when the pandemic happened and I just never got back to it. Three years later I am ready! Better late than never right?

So those are all the updates for now, but make sure you are following me on Instagram (@messymom) and Facebook (@themessymom) where I post regularly. Have a blessed week and I’ll check back in soon!

By |2023-07-02T02:42:05+00:00January 16, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments


My word for 2022 was “Gratitude”. It’s amazing to see how that word was orchestrated throughout 2022 for me. As I shared in a Facebook post yesterday my heart is overflowing with gratitude when I look back at it all.  As I was contemplating and seeking the Lord about this year’s one word I settled on DREAMS. Just to clarify, I’m talking about visions, goals, and passions, not the dreams you have in your sleep.

I have some dreams that God gave me a long time ago and I believe that some will be coming to fruition in 2023. I also want to encourage others to dream again and to trust that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above anything we could ask or dream up.

It’s not in the prosperity sense, like I want a yacht, let me believe and receive. It’s more about hopes and dreams that are from God and His plans for your life.

I want this to be a focus for my kids too. I want to be an example of chasing after the dreams God has placed in our hearts.

I also like the idea of intentionally aligning our plans with the dreams and goals of our family.

J actually encouraged me in this area last summer. I was working towards becoming a substitute teacher, but half of the schools that I would be teaching at were conflicting with our schedule. I was wrestling with the idea of putting the kids on a school bus. To be clear this isn’t about the bus. If your kids ride a bus that’s great. I know plenty of families that use the bus system or grew up riding the bus. For our family we’ve avoided it at the past 9 years (other than some situations where it was Kindergarteners only). So as I kids were being enrolled for school I was really in turmoil about the whole thing. I even had them signed up to ride the bus, but I wasn’t at peace about it! Around that time J and I were on a walk when I explained the dilemma and how I wanted to make the right decision. He said “Well, when you think of your goals as a mom for your family does putting our kids on the bus align with those goals?” I said no (but my mind still didn’t see an alternative) and then he said “Well don’t put them on the bus then.” So we didn’t and guess what? I have learned that the schools I most like subbing at are the ones that work with our schedule. There are enough jobs to cover with just those schools and sometimes it works for J to help with the carpool lines when needed. I know we made the right choice.

The question was simple “Does this align with our family goals?” Throughout 2023 as we divide up our schedule, our finances, and whatever other decisions come up I want to have our family dreams (which could also be hopes and plans) in the forefront.

By |2023-01-01T22:18:49+00:00January 1, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

2022 Recap

2022 was a really incredible year for me. I feel like we had some challenging times for so long that it was a relief to have breakthroughs in multiple areas this year. That’s not to say that everything was perfect and there weren’t any challenges. Right out of the shoot in January we had some major obstacles we faced with SJ, her health, and her hearing. It was scary, but praise God everything turned out okay and she’s doing great now.

Actually, 2022 was a REALLY exciting year for SJ such as baptism and moving from an IEP to 504 which I wrote about in “10 Years Later“. She also has used her gifts to worship through sing both online and on the stage!

One of my favorite parts of 2022 was getting to travel to St. Thomas with my mom and my two sisters (“in laws”). It was the trip of a lifetime. I wish I could go back!

The fun and journeys didn’t stop their though. We went to Iowa in June and stopped in Chicago on the way home where we met up with my bestie who caught a train from Michigan.

Mels and I went to four different coffee shops all in a row for my fortieth birthday.

I also got a new chicken named Lizzie who lays blue eggs. A bit of an unconventional gift for sure, but it’s what I wanted!

J’s birthday did not disappoint either. We met up with Mels again, this time in Detroit to see Fleet Foxes and the Tigers. It was a blast.

We had a few fun date nights over the summer too, like going to Prima Vista in Cincinnati where I photographed a proposal and not long after that we got to experience a candlelight concert.

I have been at home with little kids for so long that the idea of getting to do so many exertions on my own is still hard for me to even believe! I am grateful though.

This years back to school was EXTREMELY different from all of the other years. First off we had a high schooler, also it’s the first time all four kids were in school full day and lastly I became certified as a substitute teacher.

At first I loved subbing but I was worried when the honeymoon stage wore off I would feel differently. However, here we are half way through the year and I still love it. It’s so rewarding and my favorite part is getting to see my kids. There are good days and bad, but most of the time it’s the perfect job for me.

Also in August I conquered my fears of rappelling and caving. What a trip!

Then came fall and that’s birthday season in our home.

Z turned 15 and got to go to his first homecoming dance not too long after that.

Ezie turned 10 and we celebrated with a last minute party in the park which turned out better than some of the parties I spent months planning!

Elle had her 7th birthday and I mentioned that in my last blog post.

Then to wrap it all up we had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas (which I also already blogged about).

I am so thankful for the good times this year and for the provision of the Lord even when inflation looked scary and also seeing our kids mature in their walk with God and personal relationships. On top of all that we also accomplished quite a few home improvement projects on the home and I’ll have to share all of those details at another time. This has been a fun reflection time though. Happy New Year everybody!

By |2023-07-02T02:42:18+00:00December 31, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments


Christmas 2022 is coming to a close, but I can’t let this year end without looking back on all the special memories. This year has involved a lot of home renovations, so we haven’t had any company in a long time. Thankfully we were able to get our kitchen and main bathroom to a place were they were functional. I begged and pleaded with J to allow us to have a party at our house for Elle’s birthday and at first he was unsure because the house was still in disarray but when he realized how much a party would be if we rented or held it elsewhere he conceded.

Elle’s party was so awesome because it snowed in early November, A LOT! That would have been perfect for Frozen party last year, but oh well, it was still fun for the donut party.

After Elle’s party we were able to host Thanksgiving and that was a lot of fun too.


Then bring on Christmas! We decorated our own tree.

We decorated the church.

We went on the North Pole Express (a real train ride) with Mémé and the cousins

And we rode an antique fire truck and saw Santa again as a part of the kids’ school party.

Speaking of school parties, one of the highlights of my December was substitute teaching on the last school day  of the year.

It was fun to see all of the kids excitement about Christmas and I even got to participate in Elle’s class party!

My parents held a Nativity Escape room and gingerbread party so that was super cool!

The Christmas party at the church did not dissappoint either. We had so much fun.

One of my favorite traditions is driving around looking at Christmas lights and drinking hot cocoa. There were some cranky kids and struggles behind the happy photos, but I love Christmas lights no matter what so there’s that.

We also got to see a ton of lights when we were gifted some passes to Kings Island Winter Fest.

That was a first time experience for our family and it was very very cold, but really special.

Then came the official Christmas weekend. We got buckets of snow and I was loving the white Christmas, but the roads were a little bit scary. Thankfully we were able to go to the ugly Christmas sweater party with some of our good friends.

Also, with a lot of caution and patience (and one actual push when we got stuck) we were able to make it to Kentucky and back safely for Christmas eve at my brother’s house.


I am thankful that we didn’t have to miss the ultimate deluxe Christmas brunch. We ate until we were as jolly as St. Nick. Z got a fun gift that was a bunch of little gifts all wrapped up in a full roll of saran wrap. It took over 15 minutes to unravel, but it was worth it!

That night when we got home Z, J, and I all went over to the neighbors house across the street to collect a used trampoline that we had purchased from them. It was cumbersome to move on a good day nevermind the ice and snow! J had the idea to get the kids sleds and sort of slide it across the road. It worked a little bit, but eventually we just carried it. I was sore for days. It was worth it though.

Christmas morning we woke up at sunrise.

Believe it or not I had to be the one to wake up the kids! When I was young I never ever slept in on Christmas day, but to each their own. We sang Christmas carols from actual hymn books and read the Christmas story. After opening presents Ezie looked out the front window and noticed suspicious tracks in our yard. It looked like a sleigh had gone across the road and into our yard. I grabbed my phone and started recording the kids assessment of the mysterious tracks. Then we led them to seek out where the tracks went to which is where they discovered the trampoline.

It was one of the sweetest moments I have ever experienced! I will never forget their joy and excitement.

It wasn’t long after our little immediate family Christmas that we had family coming over for a visit.

We ate so much food, opened more presents and played games. My kids always mock me for my cliche statement “My heart is so full” but seriously my heart really was so full.

More than any of the fun, food, or lights I am thankful for the gift of Christ Jesus who came to earth to save us all. I am grateful to be able to celebrate that and experience unspeakable joy.

By |2023-07-12T12:42:22+00:00December 28, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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