Flashback again, this time to 1997:
We were living in the mobile home, remember? Alan began as the head baseball coach at Plant City High School, where he coached for 4 years.
In July of 1999, I gave birth to Jayde. Jayde received her name from a character in my favorite book growing up, Emily Climbs. Alan and I went to a youth conference one summer and listened to a speaker who's wife was named Jade, and I said, "Yes! That's the name! That's what I want to name my first daughter." Alan agreed, because he really liked the name, too. Jayde means "Precious (green) stone".
I quit working to stay home with Jayde. Let me re-phrase that. I worked part time instead of full time, doing lots of odd jobs to earn extra money. Things like substitute teaching, tutoring, watching children in my home, cleaning houses, and working at a boutique in town.
Alan quit teaching and went to work at a produce company, with the dream of owning his own business someday. He has always been a visionary.
In 2001, on 9/11, Alana was born, one hour after the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Talk about a depressing hospital stay! I still, 10 years later, can't see images from that day on T.V. without crying. It's emotional, and I think it always will be. We tell her she is our shining, bright light on a dark day. Alana was named after Alan. Her name means, "Little rock".
I continued working part time and took teaching positions at two pre-schools in town. Alan went from the produce industry to car sales to get sales experience. Then he received a sales position in a company in Tampa. We started a trucking business that failed, but we learned some valuable lessons during that time. We moved to a house in town in a quiet neighborhood.
In 2004, Easton was born. Easton was named after Alan's love of baseball, and his name means, "Eastern settlement". Don't make any snide comments, here, I've heard them all. At least his middle name is a Biblical family name.
I continued teaching at the pre-school. Jayde was having problems at school. We decided to send her to private school and were accepted into a nearby program. Then Alan said, "Why don't you homeschool her instead?" That's another testimony in itself. After much research, God completely changed my heart related to homeschooling, and we took the plunge.
At the same time we began homeschooling, Alan quit his job to start his own business from home. Did you read that? Alan began his business and I began homeschooling at the same time. Dude. Talk about adjustment! We were never home, then, BAM! We were always all home together. Grate on each other's nerves much? Oh yeah! I was not used to having someone ask where I was going each time I left the house to run to Walmart. He was not used to trying to work with kids noises in the background.
But, you know what? We made it through! That season was a tough test, but we came through a stronger family unit. Praise God!
God really blessed Alan's business the first two years, and we were able to move to a house with 17 acres (we wanted animals, a garden, and room for the kids to roam). We acquired a menagerie of animals over the next couple years to add to our brood of kids.
Something was missing. You guessed it! More kids! That brings us up to date, and we're getting ready to bring two boys home to be part of our family.
There are millions of details, ups, downs, rights, and lefts, that I had to leave out, because I just don't have room to expound on them all.
However, I can say it's been an awesome journey, and God has answered my prayers. I didn't want to have a glowing career. I just wanted to be a wife and mom. God gave me that. I will be forever grateful.
Over the next couple days, I'm going to post some more about marriage, but for today, I'll leave with a big.....
HAPPY ANNIVERSARYto my dear husband, who is a phenomenal blessing to me each and every day!
I love you, honey!