Looking in at my life, it seems like I've got it altogether but I'd like to tell you a secret: I sometimes feel like I'm living the center of a crazy tornado! I guess that's how it goes when you have four kids, a dog, and a bunny to take of - especially when your kids are always playing sports and you're helping to coach from the sidelines with babies on your hips! But hey, I've done some pretty cool stuff - I served in the Navy, I've had my photography and articles published in national publications, my kids are pretty amazing (even though I'm biased as all heck), and I've lived all over the United States!
So many people wonder how I got here. When I was a kid, I had one friend in my class that was always there for me. (A shout-out to Wendy B.!) I have grown closer to a few of the kids I grew up with, but she was always there for me, and on the days where she was absent from school, I would often sit alone at lunch (which was actually just fine with me because I didn't care for 92% of the people in my class anyway). Anyway, the kids I went to school with put me through a personal hell, but that hell made me stronger than I ever imagined I could be and helped prepare me for the military lifestyle, and for that I am thankful. I always knew growing up that I would grow up and move away and eventually do big things, and for that I was made fun of pretty often, but I have to say, it does make me chuckle now.
At the age of 24, I joined the Navy. At the time, I was a single mom of two boys, and I finally accepted that there was nothing in Johnstown for me anymore, and that I needed to move on and make some money while doing it. I joined the Navy Reserves, enrolled in art school while in A-school in Pensacola, and the rest is history. I ended up injuring myself in Pensacola as well, which is how I met my husband - he was the pharmacy technician that gave me all of my medicines - talk about fate!
After I left Pensacola to go back to Pennsylvania to figure out my next steps, I started talking to my husband again after he found me online. It didn't take very long for me to decide to go visit him, and when I finally did, he proposed right in the airport! We decided on that trip that we should also just go ahead and get married, so that we could finally be together all the time and every night could be a slumber party.
Since then, we've been through so much together - a deployment, shorter trips away, moving, babies, having lots of money, and having no money at all. It's been a rollercoaster for sure - but I can't imagine going through all of these twists and turns with anyone else. I've worked for myself and worked for other people and at times, I didn't even work at all, but no matter what, my husband has supported me 110%.
Up until this point in my life, it always felt that there was something missing, but I can honestly say that feeling went away when Elizabeth was born. I always wanted four children, two boys and two girls, and I absolutely love that it happened that way. Even on my bad days, I feel incredibly blessed that I can earn a living from home so that I can be with my kids and so our boys can stay in a private school and play sports as well.
Growing up, there were points where I never thought all of this would ever be possible, but I am so thankful now that I am the hardheaded stubborn lady I've always been. I could have listened to my classmates growing up who told me that I was nothing. I could have let my inner voice feed on those insecurities. BUT I am stronger than that - and so are you! My personal motto is that pain is temporary, but failure is forever. If there are people telling you that you can't do something that you feel you're being called to do in your heart of hearts, don't listen to them. I know from experience that it is easier said than done, but know that you are amazing and you are LOVED.