On December 23, 2005, I said “I do” to Brad, my “Dragon-Slayer.” We honeymooned in London, and then settled into our recently-purchased duplex in western Maryland. I finished my Master’s Degree in Art Education, and Brad coached soccer. We were a two-career couple with two full-time jobs in education and a dog. We lived in a mid-sized city, drove two vehicles, and attended a large church. I guess you could say we had the American dream.
Then we decided to enter full-time youth ministry and move to China for 2 years. We attempted to sell our house without luck, and then rented it out. We moved all our belongings into storage, and packed two 50 lb bags for the journey. During our second year there, we decided to begin our family. We moved back to the United States just before the birth of our daughter Naomi (2009).
One month later, Brad was hired for a full-time youth ministry position in Minnesota. We packed up our storage shed and moved to Minnesota, where we stored all of our belongings in a friend’s barn. During this time, I also became a student of finances under the tutelage of people like Crystal Paine and Dave Ramsey. We rented a tiny upstairs apartment, where we became pregnant with our second child. Non-profit money is tight, and after 6 months we were on half salary. Brad and I both became certified to substitute-teach and Brad became certified as a soccer referee. One year after our arrival we were laid off, due to a lack of funding.
So we moved back to Maryland and into my parents’ basement for one year. We both became certified to substitute-teach in Maryland, and then Oliver was born (2010). I wrote curriculum for our friends in China, (occasionally subbing as a teacher or lifeguard) and started this blog, while Brad substitute-taught long-term and lifeguarded during the summer months.
In September 2011 we moved across the country again, this time for a full-time youth ministry position in California. We both just recently became certified to substitute-teach in California. Brad is the assistant coach for the local high school Cross-Country and Track teams. I manage our home and care for our two (soon to be three!) children full-time.