Growing up in rural west Alabama…in a town most people have never even heard of
I am the very essence of a small-town girl. York, Alabama once was a bustling, thriving railroad town. Today, it’s still small, everyone still knows everyone, but most of the industry that once kept it thriving is gone. I went to elementary school with all the same people I graduated with from high school. Many of my closest friends today are the same friends I grew up with—I don’t know many people who can say that. I had a happy childhood. I played outside daily…for hours on end. My friends and cousins and I would create imaginative and sometimes expansive stories and games that would last for days on end. I had many weddings in my Gran’s front yard and played countless games of “Marco Polo” in her swimming pool. We always had cows and I named them all. I also had a horse who was affectionately known as Nikki—which was also a childhood nickname that my dad called me. I learned how to drive in a cow pasture in my daddy’s “farm truck”—an old wrecker truck with the biggest iron grill on the front you’ve ever seen. My parents worked hard and instilled the same hardworking drive in me. My mama was and still is the best cook. She taught me all that I know in the kitchen and gave me my love of baking. She’s a little bit southern belle, sass, and a lot of sweet all wrapped up into a Proverbs 31 woman. My daddy is my hero and was and still very much is the one person who can make, build, or do anything and be good at it. I loved growing up in my small town—my whole family lived close by. I just knew that when I grew up and got married, that I would never leave. My children would have the exact same childhood as I’d had. Yet, God had bigger plans for me.
Fast forward to 2015
I had moved back to my hometown after college and had faced a big heartbreak…I was 28 and divorced. I don’t talk about that time in my life very often, mostly because I felt that a failed marriage at such a young age was embarrassing. God led me through those challenges and prepared my heart—My knight in shining armor came in the form of a football coach who showed up to my spin class one day. The rest, as they say, is history. My husband is my best friend; he’s my rock, my biggest cheerleader, the best daddy to our daughter, and shows me more grace and patience than I deserve.
Shortly after we began dating, he got another coaching job at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. We moved in June of 2016, got engaged a week later, and in December of that year we were packing up our house and moving to Richmond for his new job at U of R. I had never lived further than three hours away from home, but 13 hours seemed like a stretch. Our motto is “side by side.” Those words hang over our bed and to us it means wherever we go, whatever we do, we do it side by side. This was no different, no matter how hard it seemed. In March of 2017, we moved into our new house in Glen Allen, and in June we were married. By October, I was pregnant, and our daughter, Emma Jewell was born in June of 2018—we don’t do anything slow!
So here we are raising our 15-month-old and trying to navigate this parenting thing.
Most days we miss the mark, but thankfully, we have God’s grace and his mercies are new each morning. Emma is fun, energetic and very curious. She’s a very social child and loves people. She is the best parts of my husband and me, wrapped up into the funniest, smartest, and sweetest ray of sunshine I’ve ever known.
I always dreamed of being a mama, and my husband has always dreamed of being a daddy. We are literally living our dream one day at a time. I don’t think I can call myself a writer, but I enjoy writing…I always have. So, for me getting to share with all of you is a dream come true. I am so excited about this opportunity, and I can’t wait to hear from you!