This was a request from a reader who was the first friend I made through this blog (so exciting!). I thought it was a great question, I’ve been working up to answering it, and am glad for the opportunity to reflect on how I got where I am, and share the story with her and all of my readers.
I grew up in Kansas City, MO, went to college in Tulsa, OK where I met my husband, and followed him to Virginia Beach, VA where his family was, to get my master’s degree from Regent University. After he graduated with a communications degree, we got married; after I graduated with a biblical literature degree we started having kids. Eight years, four boys (no girls!), and 2 houses later we live across town in Suffolk, VA.
Even though I lived in the same house until I went to college, periodic changes of schools, churches and even my dad’s job kept us from having a consistent community and I didn’t develop any lasting friendships until college. I see in my past a habit and resigned acceptance of having friendships that only ever last a few years. I’m hoping to reverse this trend in my life, and find authentic relationships that will last through difficulties and life’s transitions.
When I was growing up I developed an early love of books and reading. I remember deciding I wanted to be a teacher and watching my grade school teachers thinking about what I would and wouldn’t do someday when it was me. When I was a senior, I had excellent grades and scores and was heavily involved in church. Although I got full ride scholarships to state schools, when I visited the campus of Oral Roberts University, I felt like it spoke to me, so I went with a partial academic scholarship.
My career adviser told me there were two ways to teach, that I could get a degree in education, or that I could pick a topic and go all the way to a doctorate and then teach that subject. I loved the idea of specializing so I picked the second option. My main passion in life up to that point had been church, so I picked the most academic of the church-related degrees, which was called New Testament. I started with a minor in Youth Ministry, but realized I could do that solely based on my major, and switched to Old Testament for my minor so that I could take Hebrew. That’s the short version, I debated minors for awhile and wished I could get about six of them. I really enjoyed learning and reading and writing. I did not mind the ‘general education’ courses as much as most of my friends did. I was great at tests, I could tell by listening to lectures what a teacher was going to prioritize and put on the exams.
After graduation all of my friends had gone home, and I didn’t have anything to keep me near Kansas City. So I went home, worked for 6 months to buy a car and then moved out to Virginia where my boyfriend and his family were. While I enjoyed college immensely, at Regent University I really found myself and life in a new way. My soon-to-be mother-in-law was a life coach and I learned more about personality types and the motivational gifts. I am certified as a growth coach with her organization.
During my 3 years of graduate school I had the privilege of working as a Teacher’s Assistant for a well-known and highly respected research professor. I learned as much from him about how to be a quality person – value excellence, live a balanced, purposeful life, etc – as I did about research and writing. He was from Australia and got his doctorate in England; his mindset toward life was distinctively un-American in a good way and I’m glad to have been exposed to another way of thinking about school, work, family, and live.
My husband taught himself to build websites while working on his communications/film degree and got a job after graduating as the webmaster for the School of Divinity where I was still a student. By the time I graduated with my master’s degree, I unsuccessfully applied to a few doctoral programs and began thinking about starting a family. After college I had bought adobe creative suite and while we were dating and then newly married, I learned some of the basics about websites from my husband. I got married near the end of my master’s degree and so when I graduated I was looking for teaching work I could do with my current credentials.
My husband had built some websites here and there to make some side money and when one of his past clients approached him about a small web project the summer right after I graduated, he helped me get a contract job doing the project, which was a group of basic real estate websites. After doing a good job throughout the summer, this real estate team leader called to offer me a part time job. I told him I was looking for full time and he said okay. I came on doing 20 hours weekly of administrative work and 20 hours of web work. A year later he hired my husband to come on staff full time, and I had our first son and switched to working from home part time. That was nearly seven years ago and I’ve had a variety of tasks, projects and roles related to websites, marketing, staff and agent training, and project management. When I look for common themes I realize that I love learning, growth, teaching, and developing systems. I was able to transfer these skills from one industry to another when my plans changed and didn’t involve getting a doctorate and teaching at the graduate level.
I’m naturally administrative, highly disciplined and self motivated, and good at learning quickly. These skills have enabled me to work reliably from home for many years and develop a job and career in an industry in which I have no formal education, while raising a large family. My true passion is growth and I dream about someday having more time to write, coach, and consult. I’m particularly intrigued by the potential benefits that moms could gain from all the research that has been done in areas like leadership, coaching, psychology, etc.
I’m passionate about this because I believe that as moms we hold the key to the future. We are truly the heart of the home. If we want a better world for our kids and if we want to enjoy the journey with our husbands, we need to find a way to thrive instead of survive, to live our values and stop living life with the ever-present feeling that life is not as we want it to be, not as it should be, but without any sense of how we might really want it to be instead or how to get from here to there.
Teasing out some of that is what I want to do in this blog. I’m so glad you’re here! Welcome to the journey.