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Faith

Faith Family Marriage Motherhood Parenting

A FATHERLESS FATHER RAISED FOUR KIDS

June 15, 2018

Two things we weren’t supposed to talk about growing up: my father’s experience at war in the Army and his father. I don’t really recall ever being told I couldn’t talk about those things, it just felt like an unspoken rule. It was evident these were hard subjects so we stayed away.

From what I know, my dad never knew his father. He grew up with his mom and older sister. His mom worked a lot to support her two kids so he had limited guidance. From what I hear, he was a bit of a rascal growing up. He always found a way to get into trouble. I once heard a story that he got suspended from school for making ninja stars. He wasn’t going to hurt anybody, just liked to test boundaries. Still does.

He married his high school sweetheart and enrolled in the Army. They were just 18 and 19. He was first stationed in Germany which is where I was born. Over the span of a decade, they had four kids.

Growing up with a dad like mine was SO FUN. He was just a big kid so he was silly and creative. Memories from my upbringing are filled with the made up games we played. We would play “darkies” where we turn off all the lights and basically play a combination of tag and hide and seek in the house. We went night crawler hunting. We would make forts. You name it, we played it.

Not only was my dad fun but he also took so much time to teach me things. He would buy me books and brain teasers. He would give me “allowance” to read books during the summer and write reports on them. He would teach me the importance of finances which has helped set me up for success today. Most importantly, he helped me develop my faith in God.

I still remember the day I sat on the front porch with him as he explained everything to me. I didn’t understand everything at first but it made sense later in life.

He even taught me how to be a good wife. I know that might sound strange but from the moment I started asking him about kissing boys – we had “the talk”. Woof – awkward. But hey, looking back, I appreciate those awkward conversations because as I was navigating through my middle school and high school days, those “awkward talks” were very helpful.

As I was stumbling through my teenage years with all the unknowns and obnoxious amounts of feelings, my dad would always share with me tips for how I could be a great wife someday. For example, he told me about unconditional love and forgiveness. If someone does you wrong, don’t hold a grudge. Find forgiveness and find a way to move on. That’s one of many examples.

He wasn’t always the perfect dad during my teenage years. I remember I had a few – let’s call them “emotional outbursts”. There were times when my dad had no words and just simply laughed. His classic way out of an argument is to make you laugh. It usually works. My brother does the same thing.

As I reflect back on my childhood, I can’t help but wonder – how did my dad do such a great job without ever having a dad of his own to be that role model in his life? Was my dad awesome BECAUSE he didn’t have a dad and wanted to make sure he raised his children well? I’m not sure. I just know I’m thankful.

Now, behind every great man is a great woman. Is that how the saying goes? Well, I think everyone in my family, including my dad, can admit that my mom played such a crucial role in our family. My dad needed her and still does. They have been through some…stuff. It’s been crazy to observe the transformation over the years. From young and in love high school sweeties to the youngish (now grandparents) that they are today. They have changed so much. They have grown together. They have forgiven each other. They have learned from each other. Wow, I am proud of how far they have come. I have been around for 29 years of their marriage – they have come a long way.

Before I wrap up here, I do want to apologize to my dad. He was being such a pout on my wedding day and saying stuff like, “you don’t need me anymore.” I remember thinking he was crazy! Of course, I will need him! I always will! He knew that big change was coming and I didn’t. He knew that once I became a wife my priorities would change and things wouldn’t be the same.

Now, I’m not apologizing for getting married. And certainly not apologizing for making my husband a priority in my life. But, I am apologizing for not being more sensitive to the concept. Because, now that I am a mom myself, I think about the day my baby boy will get married. I will have the same sad heart. Happy for his happiness but sad that things will be…different. And you just have to let them go no matter how much you don’t want to. You have to let them be adults and start families of their own.

Compassion Faith Family Marriage Motherhood Parenting

I HAD A TEEN MOM

May 2, 2018

My mother had me when she was just 18 years old. I can’t even imagine. I just had my first child last year at age 28 and I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing most days. Not only did my mom have me at such a young age but I was also born in a country foreign to her, Germany. My dad, 19 at the time, enlisted in the Army and was stationed overseas. My parents moved all over as my dad was stationed in different locations. My brother and I were both born in Germany, my sister in Virginia, and my youngest sister was born in Wisconsin. Her and I are ten years apart.

As I reflect on my childhood, I look back and now realize we had very little for many years. My parents were young and working hard to try and give us the best life. The life that they never had. They both came from a hard upbringing. My mom was the youngest of 12 children and had to grow up quickly. She often tells us she was pretty self-sufficient by age 9.

While living in Germany, my dad was stationed in Bosnia for a solid year. That was hard on my mom. We lived in an apartment complex on the base in Germany while my dad was off at war. My mom would help me write him letters to keep his spirits lifted. I vaguely remember her emotional about the cockroaches in our apartment. When my dad was home, he made it into a game to “hunt the cockroaches”. He always had a way of making things interesting and fun. My mom wasn’t amused at the time but maybe it helped her lighten up about the situation, at least a little. We all laugh about it now. Decades later, a young woman from Bosnia actually reached out to my family to thank my dad and the soldiers for the work that they did to bring peace to their village. It was such an emotional letter. Read the full story here.

My mom is so smart, both academically and logically. She had to put her dreams of a degree on hold for years as she raised the children and ran the household (and worked full time). She really did it all. Many years ago, she did manage to make time to get a 2-year Accounting degree. Just recently, she went back to school and received a Business Administration degree. She is one of those students that some how gets 105%. An A++ if that’s a thing? Show-off 😊

She is also very resourceful and tough. It seems like she can make any situation work out somehow. For many years she simply had to make things work with what she had, and she did. Maybe that’s where she gets it from. She is literally the most selfless human being I know. She puts others before herself constantly and I don’t think she could stop even if she tried. It took her 40 something years to finally start doing nice things for herself, once she finally got past the mom-guilt.

Society becomes concerned for the children of teen parents. These teens may not have the proper maturity level, financial situation and know-how to raise children. In many cases, those are accurate statements. My teen parents weren’t fully mature, they weren’t in an ideal financial situation and they had to figure out how to raise children (just as I’m doing with my son today).

So, am I not as well off due to the fact that I had teen parents that had to find their way? If anything, I think it helped me to work hard to get to the point where I am today. My upbringing has shaped me to be the person I am today. I observed them working so hard to make it for many years and learned from that. As a result, I work smarter AND harder in everything that I do and it has truly paid off. I work full time and work on my side hustles for extra income so that I can give my son the best life possible!  Although, I did pray to God for my blog to fail but that’s a whole separate story.

They made a LOT of sacrifices for me along the way as well that has set me up for success. I really attribute a lot of the outcome to when they started attending church on a regular basis. Our family seemed to shift dramatically in the best way as my parents started to learn to love each other unconditionally and really work as a team. Once we learned from that to live for God and follow His path for us, things really started to work out well for our family. It’s not all easy and there will always be those “trials and tribulations” but as we look to God through the hard times, it feels like we can get through anything. I feel fortunate to have learned from my parents and from all the mom blogs I have read! My mom reads all my blogs and says she wishes she would have had these types of resources years ago. When I shared my recent post about how having a child impacted our marriage, I got a lot of great messages from people saying they could really relate. It always feels good to be able to relate to someone when you are going through a tough change.

Today, my no-longer-teen parents live in a beautiful country home, designed by my mom. They have some land for my dad to “play” in the woods with his chocolate lab. Their four children, including myself are off in the world doing some cool things and trying to be kind humans. I am married with one 10-month-old son and work full time in IT. My sister, Kiele, is married with two children and Nanny’s for several families. She also has a Business degree. My brother, Ethan, is a newlywed and he is working in Insurance sales as he finishes up his Business degree. My youngest sister, Chloe, is pursuing a college degree, working in a dietician/nutrition role and doing some incredible things through social media to help the environment. I think my parents’ favorite thing about being young parents is that they are now young grandparents. They will soon have four grandbabies and they seem to be loving this phase of life.

Becoming a mother made me want to hug my own mom. And also apologize for every time I wore her down. 😊 I have always had an appreciation for my mom but becoming a mother myself takes it to a whole new level. On the days where I feel like I’m having a mental breakdown and experiencing symptoms of post-partum anxiety, she tells me exactly what to do to take care of myself. She told me she wished someone would have reminded her it’s okay to take care of herself for the last thirty years. And if all else fails, we can always drink some wine together.

To anyone who tells you’re too young to raise children or you’re not mature enough to get married or you don’t have enough experience to buy a house…brush it off. Every person is a unique individual and their life experiences have shaped and prepared them for the things life throws at them. There is nothing wrong with offering up advice or help but don’t tell anyone they aren’t ready, or they can’t. Because they can, and they will. My mom can, and she did.

Career Compassion Faith

WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH?

November 19, 2017

My Faith Background:

I decided I believed in God around age 15 with some influence from my parents. It seemed like a good thing at the time and it felt right. When I went to college, I started to feel overwhelmed when I learned about many other beliefs. It made me doubt my own. I left my small town with population of around 4k and continued to move to bigger and bigger cities throughout my twenties. During that time I met many different types of people when many different beliefs. Who is right?

Later in life I decided it’s not about who is right or wrong. It’s about accepting all and loving them for who they are. I shared these thoughts this week with one of my non-Christian friends and she shouted, “ can I get an Amen!” I thought that was cute. 😊 It’s nice when I can share my faith with others without them getting defensive or aggressive. I think it helps that I genuinely listen to their beliefs and ask questions. It’s about mutual respect.

During college and after college I was a part of small bible studies and organizations with fellow believers. I kept hearing people say things like, “I listened to God” or “God called me to this”. I remember being frustrated and thinking, what does that mean?! Can you actually hear God saying something to you? How do you know what he wants!? I felt like these people were crazy or maybe I was crazy. Or maybe I wasn’t praying right?

I finally figured it out when I went to a career fair my senior year of college. My plan was to get a job and move back to my hometown to be close to my family. I didn’t desire to move to any big cities or be all on my own. As I began talking with recruiters and applying for jobs, I found that I was getting multiple interviews and offers from the Minneapolis area and nothing from my hometown. I didn’t want to move to a big city! It sounded so intimidating at the time. There were a few different instances during this time were I realized this is God speaking to me. This is God opening doors and clearly He wants me to live in this big city. Yikes, okay. So I did.

I have lived in this area since 2012 and absolutely feel like I was meant to be here. Since then I have:

  • Learned SO MANY life lessons and gained experiences
  • Met extraordinary people who have changed my life
  • Got married
  • Bought my first home
  • Had two Great Danes (one of them SAVED MY LIFE)
  • Had a baby boy

So what does it really mean to take a leap of faith? My main intention with writing this post is to share Lisa’s story. Lisa is my beautiful co-worker and friend. The only thing more lovely than her long, curly hair is her faith and her heart. I just learned that she:

  • Sold her house and belongings
  • Re-homed her dog (at her parents’ house)
  • Quit her secure and comfortable corporate job
  • Is Moving to New Zealand

Here is Lisa’s leap of faith story:

Since I was a young girl, I thought the only path to take was going after the American dream. So, I went to college and pursued just that. By age 24, I had an amazing career, my own house and a goofy dog! It was everything I dreamed of (besides a family). Yet, something was missing. There was a hole deep inside my heart that I thought could only be filled with a marriage and children. But every relationship became less fulfilling. Each year, the hole grew deeper and wider.

April 19, 2016, a call from the doctor informed me I had an abnormal tumor on my ovary – borderline cancer. My first thought was, what does borderline mean? Isn’t it an all of nothing thing? Fast forward to today – I’ve had two surgeries to remove tumors and an ovary, and will be having a third after Thanksgiving due to the tumors returning. There is a high risk my other ovary will be taken and I will not be able to have children.

This story begins my journey to go into ministry. How is it connected? My whole life I’ve dreamed of being pregnant and having a family with LOTS of beautiful babies. The longing for it tore into the empty hole in my soul. When I was told I may never have children, I experienced Philippians 4:6-7: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. I experienced an unexplained peace. People close to me asked how I was so calm. My only explanation was God’s promise in Philippians 4:6-7.

Before this experience, my faith was like smoldering red coals – warms up close, but nothing that would make too much of a difference. The peace I felt was a strong wind that swept over my heart, fanning the coals to flame. At that moment, God began to work powerfully in my heart, creating in me a vision for my calling. The fire was growing and I couldn’t stop it.

I continued moving forward though, despite the ache that was YELLING at me to stop and be still for a moment. When I was finally still, I felt the fire – a searing pain I realized I was working against. Depending on the context, fire can be detrimental or lifesaving. It was no different in my soul. The fire was there, but in the wrong context because I wasn’t willing to see the fire for what it was. Once I stopped to feel it, I realized the fire was HIM. It was a calling in my soul that went from painful to peaceful. The voice in my heart I had felt for so long could be filled with one thing…Jesus.

So here I am now. I’ve sold my house and many of my favorite possessions to pay off student debt. My resignation is submitted at work, my surgery is scheduled. On January 11, 2018, I will board a plane, taking a leap of faith with God to go on a five-month journey devoted to being like David – a woman after God’s own heart. I’m diving into an uncomfortable situation that will challenge me and allow me to grow into the person God is calling me to be.

You may wonder about my plans for after YWAM. I have a dream God has planted in my heart. To read more about what I believe my calling to be, check out my website (navigate to The Journey > Phase 2). To learn more about YWAM as well as follow my journey while I’m in New Zealand, you can follow my blog, YWAM Adventures, on my website here

When you choose to support me (through prayer and donations), you will be a key building block for this journey. Your involvement is JUST AS important in sharing God’s message, because I couldn’t do it without you. There are several ways you can become involved.

Thank you & blessings to you!”

Here are two ways you can support Lisa in her journey:

  1. Pray for her! There is a list of prayers needed here.
  2. Provide an online donation here through three different options.

Lisa’s story inspired me and made me emotional. It brought tears to my eyes to think of all she has been through and how brave she is for what she is about to do. I am looking forward to following her blog updates and hearing more about the work she is doing in New Zealand!

What was your leap of faith moment?

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Blogging Faith Marriage Motherhood

WHY I PRAYED TO GOD FOR MY BLOG TO FAIL

October 21, 2017

I have put a TON of effort into launching my blog. I spent 60+ hours just researching before I even purchased my domain. So why on God’s green earth would I pray for God to let my blog fail?!

My prayer went a little something like this:

…Dear God, please help me on my blog journey. Please help me to find the right tools and meet the right people to grow my blog and inspire others.

Please let my blog FAIL if:

  • Let my blog fail if it starts to negatively impact my marriage or child
  • Let my blog fail if the money I could potentially make changes my character for the worse
  • Let my blog fail if I start to praise myself for my “success” instead of You

Amen.

Shortly after launching my blog, I listened to a sermon at church about how people strive to be GREAT in many aspects of life. People want to be great in school, work, sports, parenting…you name it. You’ve seen the mugs or T-shirts – “World’s Greatest Dad.” People strive for greatness! Now, in my opinion, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think it’s awesome when people work hard and desire to be great at what they do! I am one of those people and I love working towards goals. But how we define success and how our successes can change us can be dangerous.

I am almost my first month into blogging and there have been days where I feel like I could explode with excitement with how things are moving forward. Some days I will receive approval emails from affiliates, positive comments/emails from followers with encouraging words and see my page views and earnings increasing! Sometimes, I feel I am running on so much adrenaline and excitement that I could stay up all night working on my blog. I recently realized that I was spending almost all of my free time working on it. I was accidentally ignoring my husband and missing my baby boy’s smiles. Ironically, I started this blog for baby Axel! Yet, I am spending so much spare time in the evening ignoring him! Yikes!

This type of stuff is exactly what I don’t want. Having goals and growing my blog is so fun but I don’t want to look back in a year and think of how much time I spent ignoring my family! I don’t want to be so distracted by blog stats that I am completely oblivious to my family’s needs. In the last week, I have made a conscious effort to check on my family before I start my blog sessions.

  • If baby Axel is awake – does he need milk? Diaper change? Can I play with him or walk him? Can I give him a bath?
  • If baby Axel is asleep – can I spend some quality time with my husband? Give him a shoulder rub or make him a snack?
  • Does our pup, Quinn, need a walk? Does she look neglected? Can I throw the tennis ball in the backyard for her or give her a belly scratch?
  • If the family is all doing well and doesn’t need Mama – then time for some blogging. Mama gets some time for herself, yay!

Balance is hard. At the end of the day, if I don’t have all the laundry done or I didn’t publish a new blog post – oh well. I work full time, I have a husband who needs me and a baby boy growing up way too fast. Fortunately, I switched my diet over to a more natural and organic one a couple years ago which gives me much more energy to get all my tasks done! One of my favorite quick, easy meals is a smoothie because it’s easy to toss in energy-boosting ingredients. I was nervous to try the below Super Greens powder but if I do a small scoop mixed in with some fruit, you can’t even taste all the greens. I have to hide the “greens” in my husband’s food because he is naughty about eating his veggies! 🙂

My husband knows that if at any time he feels neglected because of this new endeavor then I am taking a break or letting it go. I did the same thing when we opened our Etsy shop in 2015. I think this is how a lot of career-driven individuals push their family away without knowing it. Most people are driven to work hard for their families, yet they are neglecting them! One great thing we have found with our Etsy shop is that my husband and I get to work on it together! We love going to flea markets and antique shops and picking out interesting items. It’s quality time AND side hustling all in one! Check out my post on how our Etsy shop funds our hobbies. Lately, as I am sharing all the exciting blog news with my husband, we discovered that we can do some of that together as well! We both work in IT and are tech savvy so when I was sharing with him my web design vision, he helped me create it and it was fun! He also does woodworking on the side and asked if I could do a post with instructions and pictures of his next project. Um, YES! Of course I will!

I have seen money change people. I have seen material items impact relationships. Money and Greatness can ruin peoples’ lives. So, I want to be very careful on how I define success and where I attribute this “Greatness” to. I believe that God gave me the personality, education, relationships and parents that made me the person I am today. I like who God made me and where I am at today. Whether my side hustles make me lots of extra income each month or I just make back what I invested – I want my character to remain and remember who I attribute the greatness or success to, which is God.

Want to know how I earn money blogging? Check out my blog category for all my posts on how I started my blog, how I earn money and helpful tips. I share EVERYTHING. What’s in it for me? I could potentially make affiliate commissions on products and services I recommend at no extra cost to you but I share everything I learned about blogging because I found all of this information for FREE from other bloggers! Pay it forward, right? The world of blogging is full of encouragement and support. You will struggle if you try to do this all on your own!

My Affiliate Marketing portfolio currently consists of:

Amazon Associates

ShareASale

Cate & Chloe

Bluum

Tactical Dad

The Spoiled Mama

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.