Social media is a weird, weird thing. Down right bizarre at times. We are connected to so many people and sometimes that connection can feel deep even though we are mere cyber acquaintances. To the point that if I ran into one of these acquaintances in the store I’d be inclined to say hi and ask how their kids are doing…by name might I add! Pretty odd but I love connecting with people even if it’s in make believe land.
It is very easy to put people in a box though. To see a snapshot and decide that their life must be easy or that they’ve got it made. We all have a story though and here is mine.
This is what I like to call bullet point writing. A run down of the last 39.9 years of my life. Here we go!
I was born in Beaufort, South Carolina.
I’m the baby of the family….youngest of 3 girls.
I moved to Memphis when I was 2.
As I kid I rearranged every room in my house and played with vintage clothes and hats.
I loved Pride and Prejudice. My parents rented the movie from the library over and over and over again just so I could watch it and play along.
Drawing was my first love…I still have sketches of all of my stuffed animals.
I was painfully shy and quiet until I hit high school and then I only came out of my shell around my friends.
I am an introvert. And I love it.
I loved art in high school and took it all 4 years.
I got in a wreck the week I got my drivers license.
My first job was working in the Mayor’s office at the City of Germantown at the age of 16. It was a great job!
I went to The University of Memphis and lived on campus.
I held leadership roles in just about every single organization you can imagine. I had really come out of my shell by college.
I was in a sorority…go Alpha Gam! (I love squirrels and pearls:)
I took ZERO art in college out of rebellion.
I met my husband when I was 19 at a campus bible study. I wrote in my journal that night that I would marry him.
I had heart surgery for Supra Ventricular Tachycardia when I was 19 after having heart rates of over 200 beats per minute for hours on end. I was terrified and had many days of worry up til the surgery. That was the first time I can remember God clearly speaking to me.
I got married when I was 21 and I’m still married!
I graduated college a year after our wedding.
My husband decided AFTER we got married that he wanted to pursue his passion of flying airplanes…..AFTER!
I’m terrified of flying.
A month after he started flying lessons September 11th happened.
I helped put him through flight school. It was very expensive.
Years and years and years of broke living followed.
He went to a flight school that was 3.5 months of intensive training in Florida and I had to stay and work in Memphis. It felt like an eternity.
Fast forward to 2004 and we had our first baby after 9 months of trying. We were thrilled!
The next year we moved to Huntsville, AL for my husband’s first ever flying job and made a whopping salary of $12k a year! Yep, you read that right. Husband, wife, baby on $12k a year.
We were too proud to use food stamps although looking back I wish we had. We survived on sandwiches and the kindness of family.
An arsonist set fire to our apartment while my baby and I were home alone inside. We literally had to escape. I wasn’t ‘ok’ for quite a while. We lost almost all we had and the mentally disturbed man went to jail.
We moved back to Memphis and my husband got a new job shortly thereafter. We felt like we had it made.
In early 2009, when the economy was collapsing, my husband was laid off.
My hubby had no job and then I got pregnant with our third child.
He worked any odd jobs he could during that year….mowed lawns, cleaned windows, etc. I worked at a Mother’s Day Out so that I could make money and take my two kids with me. God provided. We worked hard.
It was that year that birthed my ART career. I am so grateful to have been without or I may have never started.
I was painting on the side anytime I could and started doing paint parties.
In late 2009 my husband was offered an opportunity to fly surveillance as a contractor in Iraq…our baby was due at the end of December.
December 29, 2009 Hampton was born.
January 6, 2010 my husband left. He was gone 98 days.
I was a single mom for a short time in comparison to others and it was the hardest thing I have ever done. Military wives you have my uttermost respect.
Dark days and nights followed. All I could do was pray every time that sweet baby woke me up at 2am on those cold winter nights.
I cried a lot.
And cried some more.
My sweet mom was with me along the way. She drove my daughter to school every single day and I am forever grateful.
I had one friend who came over to visit with me every single Monday night. What a gift that was!!!!!!! God bless her!
April felt like a lifetime away but we finally made it!
That reunion was absolutely precious.
We were never separated for that long again. That was true misery.
Shortly after his return he was offered another flying job with a hard schedule. It was tough but we had done tougher.
October 2011 we had our 4th baby. He definitely rounded out our family.
February 2012 my husband got his dream job….11 years after he started on this path to becoming an airline pilot. I’m so proud of him!
I’ve been painting for 10 years now. 10 years! Hard for me to believe. God has blessed me all along the way and I am thankful to get to do what I truly love.
Here we are today. Life hasn’t always been easy and it won’t always be. But keep going. Put one foot in front of the other. There will always be peaks and valleys. The valleys help us appreciate the peaks.
Remember to appreciate what you’ve got….family, health, life.
Thanks for following along. Here’s to more life stories in the future.