“Be somebody that makes everybody feel like somebody.” – Kid President
LET’S GET PERSONAL! HELLO & WELCOME
I’m Jenn, but folks also know me as that crazy gal who is Mom of 18 kids! Yep, that’s me! The road to becoming Mom of 18 is full of interesting twists and turns that led to the outrageously huge, blended family I am so proud to have.
Just so we’re clear — I don’t consider myself a parenting expert, however, I am a mama who loves all aspects of my family life and embraces the lessons I’ve been taught. Some of what I’ve learned has been “on-the-job training”, and some have been formal. I understand the need to conquer stress and embrace joy and gratitude amid life’s chaos.
Parenting these 18 humans is a huge part of how and why I built my coaching business. 29+ years of experience parenting honed what was working, science provided insight to why, and formal training got me the qualifications to confidently help others.
JAMES 1:2 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials”
On the journey that is my life, my trials taught me that I built a toolbox and unique skillset – and I always found a silver lining. In the trials and moments I didn’t think I could carry the load, I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I built a life I love from the ashes of what I initially believed was failure.
I learned that we all carry an internal compass that can be used to move us forward with gratitude and joy. My internal compass has been my faith in Jesus Christ and my innate ability to find the good even in tough situations.
I learned to embrace all the parts of who I am – including that I am often a dork (see picture to the left), which not only gave me more confidence but the ability to share who I am without reservation.
That took some time, though. I spent YEARS being passive about my faith in God. Retrospectively, I have regret that I didn’t really show ALL the facets of who I am to my kids, who didn’t see me as a strong Christian woman.
I stood up for myself which meant a battle between my beliefs from a faith perspective, and what my heart told me to do. For me, that meant divorce – more than once.
I left a cult after 17-years and that battle was emotionally draining and heart-wrenching. As a result, I lost all the support that I had and was left feeling lost and alone and also tremendously relieved.
In my search to find a new church that I was comfortable in (and the struggle to determine what I was looking for), I had “analysis paralysis” and did nothing. During the times when I did find somewhere to go, it was confusing and created conflict with my kids, so I stopped going. That is one thing I regret.
FAMILY IS KEY!
“3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”
18 children have blessed my life. That’s not a typo – Eighteen. I went through infertility, seven pregnancies (which contradicts infertility, I suppose), and have 12 years of foster parenting under my belt, plus a few more working with a non-profit with foster kids recruiting and training foster parents.
I’ve been a stay-at-home Mom, homeschooling, breastfeeding, and making baby food from scratch, a Mom working in the corporate world trying not to feel like I was failing in every aspect of my life, and an Entrepreneurial Mom – learning how to earn a living while doing what I love and making a difference in the lives of others. I’ve been divorced, and a single mom, and I’ve also experienced life with a blended family.
In the end, I was blessed to end up with kids from everywhere. More than “Yours, Mine and Ours” – an amalgam of foster children who aged out, adopted children, stepchildren, biological children, and even a foreign exchange student.
It. Is. Awesome. And hard. But worth it.
BEING HEALTHY IS A PRIORITY
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”
I’ve been active in many ways, but the one thing that was always a part of my life off and on since college was running. Inexpensive, portable, and done in any weather, running not only keeps me in good physical shape, but it also gives me a chance for my head to clear. Running is a place where I can be the diva that I am, while at the same time it’s perfectly natural to snot rocket, pee outside, sweat profusely, and sometimes swear.
I’ve allowed my kids to map out routes driven by their buses. I’m not afraid to get lost. I’m strong. I’m confident. I have instilled in my children the value of cooking food instead of eating out, staying healthy, and being active.
Running is my time to think, problem-solve, and plan, but mostly it’s time for me.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
We’ve learned that less is more…. We embrace a minimalistic lifestyle. Keeping up with the Jones’s doesn’t exist for us. We have downsized enough to live a dream and be full-timers in an RV – which has been an enlightening and ongoing journey. Our “less is more” lifestyle continues to create an environment with less stress, less spending, less stuff, and better relationships and adventures, less consumerism, and more memories.
Having strong family ties, being healthy, and building memories are some of the things that are most important to us. The kids have grown up fast, we’re happy to enjoy the journey.
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS AND
3 “May God Almighty bless you, And make you fruitful and multiply you, That you may be an assembly of peoples;”
My business took things I love – raising powerful humans, being a partner and healthy lifestyle enthusiast, podcasting, writing, speaking, coaching, and a desire to give back, and has created beautiful stories. That is blissful. Join the journey to living life to the fullest!