Hello, hello, and welcome! I am so glad that you ended up here! This is my backstory- the super brief version- because I wanted to give you a sense of where these words are coming from. And a good host always introduces herself.
My name is JoLynn, and I am probably the most unlikely homeschooling Mama you’ll ever meet. I was commissioned at the age of seven to accomplish one (and only one) goal in life: get into a good college… to get a good job… to not need a man (because when your strong and beautiful Mama tells you to do a thing- that is the thing that you do). I made it my business to do the college thing, and to do it well. And now I sit here with my English & Sociology degrees and a half-completed Masters in Biblical Counseling, folding socks, boundary-coaching toddlers, and reading Hawthorne’s Wonderbook aloud to a brood of tiny humans that I created. Homeschooling my children is nothing like I expected. No wonder I couldn’t picture it.
My husband is the definition of a good guy; and the first and only love of my life. Even at 14 years old, I knew that he would be the most reliable and loyal person I’d ever find, and he has proven me right in a hundred thousand ways. We live with our two girls in the Pine Barrens; it’s a beautifully ordinary life full of sibling squabbles and family dinners, and in a nothing at all like my own childhood in all the best ways possible.
Two years ago, my health suddenly and rapidly deteriorated. Western medicine was no match for what was going on in my body and my heart. All the tests came back negative. “Your levels are normal,” they said. And they said it over and over again. Meanwhile I lay in bed at about 100 lbs soaking wet, losing clumps of hair, turning yellow, and too tired to walk around my house. I didn’t have to beg Jesus for my life because all along He was scraping off the goo I’d let build up around it. I was Eustace scratching off his dragon scales. After 9 months of being chronically ill, I finally found relief and answers through a bunch of “hippy doctors,” targeted nutrition, and (weirdly enough) a clinically-tested (Engineer Husband vetted) gut/brain protocol.
At the time my health began failing I was working a job that I loved. I was creating jobs for women in poverty all over the world. I was passionate about the mission, excelling and enjoying the work, and silently? I was also losing my soul, sanity, and (very slowly) my children. Illness has a way of turning on the lights and making that ugly stuff in the corner that you were trying to ignore look extra ugly – too ugly to tolerate. So I finally quit this all-consuming passion project. I put down years of social media engagement and constant relationship building. And I ran headlong into the arms of my sweet babies and the slowest life imaginable. I’m talking raising chickens, dancing in mud puddles, and watching clouds go by kind of slow. We even brought home a puppy and added an extra kid into the mix during the week. It was quite the one-eighty.
This season is what you call “starting from scratch” – a season of re-learning what it means to be alive. When I abandoned the “hustle” for homemaking, I also threw out dairy, grains, and coffee too. Talk about extreme… But here I am alive and well, and thriving (God bless paleo mug cakes). The last two years have been full of fumbles as I practice being present with my children, and letting the Voice of Jesus wash over everything. He is an expert at cutting through all the internal noise and static that have built up in my mind and all the pain that’s built up in my heart over the last few years. I have been rediscovering what it looks like to slowly and intentionally plant hope one seed at a time into my own soul and into the tiny humans entrusted to my care – and to spend my days LIVING while there’s life to be had.
It’s such a pleasure to be here with you, learning together in this space. Thanks for coming along for the ride.
You can also find me on Instagram @jo.plantinghope, and collaborating with other mamas at http://www.outnumberedmamas.com