On December 23, 2005, my husband Brad and I were married in the church I had attended since I was three years old. We honeymooned in London, England, then settled into our recently-purchased duplex in western Maryland. I taught middle school Art, and finished my Master’s Degree in Art Education. Brad taught high school Math, coached Varsity soccer, and did youth ministry part-time. We were a two-career couple with two full-time incomes, 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 moved overseas 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 trip. 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. We rented a tiny upstairs apartment, where we became pregnant with our second child. Determined to stay at home with my children, I began to research ways to save money. I discovered Money Saving Mom and then Dave Ramsey. 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, while Brad interviewed for jobs. We both became certified to substitute-teach in Maryland, and then Oliver was born (2010). I wrote curriculum for our friends overseas, (occasionally subbing as a teacher or life-guard) and started this blog, while Brad substitute-taught long-term and life-guarded during the summer months.
In September 2011 we moved across the country again, this time for a full-time youth ministry position in California. I had a miscarriage in December (2011), but became pregnant again soon after. Evelyn joined our family in January (2013). Shortly after she was born I underwent surgery to remove a large cyst from my abdomen. At this time, Brad and I are both certified to substitute-teach in California. In addition to his youth ministry responsibilities, Brad is also an assistant coach for the local high school football and track teams. I homeschool Naomi, manage our home, and care for our three children full-time.