The truth about me is that I love spending time with people–whether it be with moms in MOPS, students in writing camps, friends in my supper club, or family on our patio. And if you combine people and words, I am definitely in my happy place. One of my most favorite moments is sitting around a table with the people I love sharing deep conversations about life. Inviting people into our home and pulling out my fancy dishes invigorates me, though tackling the hand-wash pile in my sink does quite the opposite. (Sorry, Hubby. I’ll get to those soon!) I’m learning to enjoy the people in my life without feeling the need to prove myself or always make them happy. God continues to teach me that when I find what I need in Him rather than the perfectly-cooked chicken or the perfectly-timed word, I have a security that can’t be shaken. And that’s a good thing since my hard-working husband and I have two very determined little girls who keep us on our toes!
A little more inside scoop:
- My love for writing birthed in fifth grade when my teacher invited me to go to a Young Authors Conference after reading one of my stories. She so lit a fire in me that I decided to teach Elementary School Language Arts to inspire students like she did with me. After my first year of teaching, I began taking classes with the Ohio Writing Project which helped reinvigorate my love of writing and teaching writing. I finished my Master’s, and since then have been leading youth writing camps and teaching professional development workshops in schools. Writing has been a way for me to grow in authentically sharing my story..
- While teaching, I also spent my time with my best friends from college developing and presenting a conference for teenage girls about navigating those years gracefully and finding God in the midst of it. My plate was really full but it was a season of figuring out what I was created to do. Through that time, I found I loved speaking and creating. As a result, I transitioned out of full-time teaching and focused more on writing, speaking, and investing in girls’ lives.
- I married my husband on a South Carolina beach on a beautiful April day, and although it was a picture-perfect day, we traveled a road with many twists and turns leading up to that moment. We met my senior year of college when I was student-teaching for his mom (I know, crazy, huh?). I called my mom the night we met and told her I was going to marry him. The only problem was, after dating for several months, he broke up with me! We were apart (without so much as speaking!) for five years and then God truly did a miracle in bringing us back together. Our wedding was a culmination of many (long) years of praying for God to bring the right man at the right time in my life.
- Right after our first anniversary, I began a blog (www.insightforgirls.com), and a few weeks later I found out that I had large ovarian cyst that needed removed. It was a really scary time as a new bride and even scarier when the doctor told us after surgery that the cyst was actually a cancerous tumor. Talk about a shock! Thankfully after ten weeks of chemo (including losing all of my hair), I have been cancer-free since. Much of my writing since this experience comes from a place of walking through my deepest fear and seeing God meet me in the midst of it. That’s not to say I still don’t have days where I struggle with fear and obsess over healthy choices, but God is teaching me about holding onto peace and finding courage in the midst of the unknown.
- I vividly remember sobbing in the car after leaving an oncologist’s appointment when they told me I may not be able to have my own biological children. I will never forget that moment of surrendering all I had dreamed. After much waiting, prayer, and acupuncture, I feel incredibly blessed beyond words that I have two miracle babies. I adore my girls so much but I struggle with feeling guilty that I don’t always “enjoy every minute” of motherhood, especially since I prayed for them for so long. There are days I wish for more sleep, more quiet, and more time to myself, and this blog has been born out of working through many of these feelings.
- Navigating the transition from “married with no kids” to “married with two kids” has been challenging for my hubby and me. We have worked really hard to find what speaks love to the other person and give each other the benefit of the doubt when the scoreboard doesn’t necessarily feel equal and the exhaustion feels really high. One of the best investments in our marriage was recently buying a firepit for our patio. Most nights in the mild weather (except the looong Midwest winters which leave us hibernating and watching HGTV), my hubby and I sit outside while the fireflies light the sky and chat about life. It has been one of the most meaningful ways we have found to stay connected to each other in this busy season of parenting little ones.