My Story

And it’s a long one…

I am an Illinois- born + raised girl that has lived my entire adult life in Iowa {I know, BIG difference}

I grew up in a small town – everybody knew everybody – Friday night lights was our jam – graduating class of roughly 45 – some of my closest grade school friends are some of my best friends to this day. My family didn’t farm, I didn’t live in the country, but I was surrounded by a farming community + the sense you get from that morale is indescribable {I was not appreciative of this at that time, though}.

Sidenote: When I tell people I grew up in Illinois – they automatically assume Chicago – truth be told, I’m closer to Chicago where I reside now than where I grew up. {I often think to myself “In case you didn’t realize this, Illinois is a long state – Chicago only occupies a portion of it”}

Anyway, I always had big dreams to leave that tiny town – I wanted to experience the “City” life – the rush + the madness of everything going non-stop – the constant lead on fashion trends – more people, less drama…

I graduated high school in 2006 – I accepted my offer to Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – far from a BIG City, but nonetheless, significantly larger than where I called home. At the time I thought I was making that move for a couple reasons: to get out of Hamilton but not be too far (yes, fear of leaving the comfort of a tiny town started to set in) and to be closer to my sister + her family – Little did I know, God had placed me there because I was about to find out my life was going to change…forever.

That’s right… 2 months into my college career I found out I was pregnant – the baby’s dad + I had an on again/off again relationship for far too many years. What I knew at the time: I was young, scared, away from home + in an unhealthy relationship – but I would do anything to make it through the season of life I had just entered.

A girl who didn’t work in high school, now had 3 jobs in an attempt to lead a more responsible, stable lifestyle. I chose to leave the dorm rooms + move in with my sister’s family – they would quickly become my biggest supporters in more ways than I could count.

Although they were quite taken aback when I told them my news, my parents were still loving, as supportive as they could be + while maybe slightly disappointed (more-so because of who the baby’s father was vs me actually becoming a young mom), they never lead me to feel unworthy, or like I really messed my life up, or that I was going to sink – instead, they chose to LOVE me – they chose GRACE – they chose HOPE – as did I in the very moment I found out I was pregnant, they chose to believe that everything happens for a reason.

Fast forward a few months – I had a baby boy that stole my heart in a matter of seconds – we named him Brayden. He quickly became the reason for my existence. The undeniable, indescribable feeling of motherhood sat in + man did it wash over me more quickly than I could have ever dreamed.

Sparring you ALL of the details – here’s a quick glance at what was to come:

Sure, his dad + I tried to work it out – more than once – for more years than I care to admit – but, I kept telling myself – it’s all for him…that little boy that deserves the world – that deserves to have 2 parents that love him – a family – ya know, one that lives under the same roof + goes on vacations together…not a disassembled start at life – that’s not what I wanted to give him, nor what he deserved.

So, for the first few years of Brayden’s life, that’s what he got – parents who were “together” – we never lived together – we tried to vacation together (which typically resulted in more arguments than not while we were away) – we both loved him – we both spoiled him – we were giving him a shot at a life we thought was “right”…

And then, reality set in. It may have taken me a few years to figure it out. It may have taken me a lot of heartache – a lot of stress – a lot of tears – a lot of pain. It was definitely a lot of “what ifs” – what if I can’t make it on my own (meaning without the “support” from his dad) – what if I fail my son – what if I’m making the wrong decision to leave his dad for good – what if this is too hard on all of us? At this point I was in a state of feeling unworthy, so making the decision to try to live a life without my ex was more than I could stomach at that time… I was sure I was going to fall flat on my face – have to run back to him – and start the cycle all over again…

Well, friends – I took the leap! I grew a backbone. I stood up for myself. I compartmentalized my past + I worked so very hard to move on from it. I became stronger – physically, mentally + emotionally. I began to feel again. I prioritized family + friendships again. I was getting my life back + starting to LIVE it!

Through the next few years I took college courses – I gained new friends, some that had been through or were going through similar situations (God is so great at putting people in your life at just the right time) – I advanced in my job. I dated here + there, nothing that amounted to moving in together or long-term at that time. Brayden + I went on vacations – we grew together – our relationship grew – our friendship grew – it was he + I taking on the world…together.

Although it was difficult – I did what I could to make the best out of the cards I was dealt. I embraced the season of life I was in, even on the days where all I really wanted to do was give up – some days were just plain hard y’all!

I believed in God, but I wasn’t one to pray. I wouldn’t even say I longed for the days that my life was going to change – that I was going to meet someone that swept me off my feet – that my life was going to get easier – instead, I simply accepted where my life was + what {I thought} the future held.

That’s when it happened… the whole “the right person will come when you’re not looking”…

A good friend of mine asked if I’d be interested in meeting a longtime friend of hers…she had only good things to say about him – a few of which included him being a small town, country boy + family oriented. Of course I agreed – I mean, I wasn’t going out to the bars to meet my match – I hadn’t signed up for any online dating sites…yet – how else was I going to meet Mr. Right?

Low + behold… the matchmaker outdid herself + successfully introduced 2 people who fell in love, moved in together – becoming a family of 5 {one son, 2 dogs} + got married…

We are now celebrating a few months of wedded bliss + I am currently living my Happily Ever After

**Disclaimer: My life now isn’t all sunshine + flowers – there are still hard days – I am always striving to better myself – there was a transitional period with my son that took work – there are challenges + imperfections – overall, life is good + I am blessed.

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