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A Whitney Story

Hello, everyone!

This is the first blog post I’ve ever written in my entire life. Please don’t hang up!  I’m scared and terrified, and  I’m hoping that after two sentences, you’re still reading.  I have so much to say and for those of you that know me know that I NEVER have an issue with words, right?  I can talk for hours.  But when it comes to typing out ‘things’, I feel frozen.  So I kindly ask that you please bear with me as I gain my footing and figure this thing out.

Let me get started by giving a brief synopsis of who I am.  I was born and raised in the Midwest. I have an older sister. (HI SISTER!)  I grew up in a small town of almost 600 people.  And yes, in your typical stereotype of small midwestern towns, we really did have “drive your tractor to school day”.   I always had a boyfriend in school and started that trend for myself in 8th grade.  I loved my 1st two years of college, but I’m not so sure about the last two. I’ll probably elaborate on that in a future blog post.  I graduated from college with a 4.0 after having been on academic probation my sophomore year.  I’m on my 11th job since I graduated High School.

I’ve been married for almost 10 years.  I met my husband in high school.  He remembers meeting me for the first time, and I don’t.  We ‘went together’ in high school for a couple of months.  I eventually broke his heart, broke up with him and we then found each other 8 years after I graduated and we started dating again.    After a couple of months, I broke up with him AGAIN because he was too nice.  He then took me back and three years later–we got married.

I grew twins to almost 42 weeks and delivered them by C-Section, after having planned the most perfect, natural, drug-free birth.   I like to laugh.  I try to always be positive.  I say hi to everyone.  I like white wine.  I like to sing.  I don’t like milk and I eat cereal with water.  I have Trypophobia–yes, it’s real.

I go to church and LOVE it.  I cry when I sing at church.  I loved hanging out with my parents when I was growing up.  I was never embarrassed to be with them and sometimes preferred spending time with them over going out with my friends. I’ve always been very close with my parents.  (HI MOM!)

My dad died unexpectedly on a very foggy Saturday morning in March of 2016.  I miss him so much.  Just thinking about him makes my heart hurt really bad and I’m starting to cry.  My dad and I were very close.  That topic is for sure going to be a blog post.  Give me a minute while I wipe away my tears….

I care a lot about what others think and try NOT to every day.  Which is why one of my biggest fears is becoming a meme.  I’m also scared of negative comments on anything I post.  I can’t stand bullying.  I wish I did more about it to help others; however, I tend to stand in the background.  That is something I really want to change about myself.

I worry a lot.  Like…A LOT.  It’s bad.  Some of the silly worries I have are: What do people think?  Do they like me? Did I make them mad? Did I say something that may have offended them?  I even worry that my kids don’t love me.  What?  Who does that?  The worry list goes on and on and on and on. I’m trying really every day to chip away at my worries just like we did our massive amount of debt. There will be more on that later, as well.

I hope you’re not bored yet, as I promise you there is a reason I’m writing all of this.   As I type this, tears are coming to my eyes again.  You see…I love hard. I’m loyal. I care so much about my friends and family. I usually fall in love with people the first time we meet. I see the best in everyone.    I want them to have AND live their best life.  I’ve always wanted to help.  Sometimes I provide unsolicited advice and realize that’s not always best.  I figured this way, I can give the advice and readers can choose to take it or leave it!

My husband and I are so passionate about helping others it physically hurts my heart.  I actually can’t remember ever feeling this way before and it’s pretty incredible. We don’t expect to change the world, but we do hope to somehow help encourage and guide at least one person.  You see, in May of this past year we became 100% debt free!  It’s still surreal because basically I’ve been in debt since I was 21 (I’m almost 40).  It was a crazy journey for us as individuals, as a couple and as a family.  It’s one that includes not only money, but of life.  We grew together when we decided to change how we lived.  It.  Was.  Hard.  So hard.  Was it worth it?  Yes.  It.  Was.  Are we still growing?  You bet.   We thought after years of living it, we would somehow tell our ‘story’.

If you resonate with anything that I may have said in this blog post, I invite you to come back for more.  We promised to be real and raw.  We are not going to portray a perfect life with a filtered reality.  There is enough of that out there.  We want you to relate and feel encouraged and guided.  We pray each night with our children and one of the things we pray for is for God to help guide us and encourage us. We feel that God led us here to the creation of this website and perhaps to you reading this blog post.  Now, I understand you may or may not believe in God, and that is okay.  We love you no matter what. That’s what Jesus would have done, right?   We love you even though we may or may not know you.  We would love to encourage you and guide you. Would you give us that chance?  We sure hope so and would be honored to have you share in this journey with us.

– Whitney

Drew Who?

Hello… Is this thing on? Check, check. Syllabus. Syllabus.

Welcome folks to my first blog post. Since Whitney started us off sharing all about herself, it’s only fair that I do the same. I hope I don’t disappoint. Other than my recent social media posts about our debt free journey, this will be the most I’ve ever shared about myself publicly. I’ve been known to be a little introverted from time to time, so that last sentence makes my palms sweat. But, this is why we are here, to share our personal insights with you in hopes that it could make a positive impact. So, here goes.

I’m a born and raised Midwesterner and oddly proud of it, even though I’m not 100% sure what I am proud of. Is it our work ethic? Our manners? Whatever the reason, its home. As a child I was raised in a more urban environment before transplanting to a more rural setting, just before my teen years. I think I’m an odd breed, being drawn to and comfortable in both the city and the country. I’m also super thankful for this diversity in my childhood, as I’m able to witness issues in the world from both sides of the fence.

I married my high school crush in Whitney. Crush is actually a very fitting word, as she crushed my tender little teenage only to mend it several years later. Through our college years our paths intersected like clockwork every two years or so. Inevitably one of us would have just started dating someone, keeping our stars from aligning. I often tease Whitney that if we only would’ve stayed together in high school, we’d be so much further down our life path together. In reality though, we needed that time apart.  Growing and learning on our own. I’m a firm believer in destiny and I chalk all of those chance encounters up to God giving us a friendly reminder of each other from time to time.

Fast forward a few years later and Whit was kind enough to make me the proud father of our twins, Preston and California. These two monkeys bring me more joy than I could ever comprehend! I was literally cheering on both of them just days ago for having loose teeth. They didn’t actually losing a tooth, but being that close to this major life event was still cause for celebration. Don’t get me wrong, they can also bring me more frustration than I care to have in any given day. Seriously, their dirty clothes are on the floor right next to the dirty clothes hamper.   Is it too much to ask them to lift their clothes 36 inches off the ground and into a basket??? They’ve taught me a lot about myself, especially about my patience. I am a completely different man because of them.

What else? Hmm. I have a younger sister who could pass as my tatted up twin and my parents are still married after 43 years. I followed in my dad’s footsteps to a career in commercial art/design/advertising/branding, or whatever you want to call it. I feel lucky to work in a field that I am still passionate about after 17 years on the job. Fun fact, I went to a very small art school in Cincinnati, whose alumni include the writer of the Oscar Meyer Weiner jingle. The program there was a very rigid, two-year course that had me out into the workforce just after my 20th birthday. Since then I’ve spent my days dreaming up TV commercials, logos, websites or just about anything that needs creativity brought to it.

My passion for the arts has also bled into my “downtime”, as I am the co-founder of a non-profit organization that supports youth art education. In short, Inch x Inch is a one-inch button club that partners with different artists each month to create a unique offering of buttons that we sell and then donate the profits. We also take that donated artwork and apply it to other offerings to raise additional money. In just over two years, we’ve been able to raise over $13,000 to help make a difference in the lives of underserved, inner city youth. It absolutely blows my mind that there are schools where kids literally don’t have an art program. How do they ever learn to express themselves creatively? Problem solving or creative thinking skills? It’s just a shame that when budgets are cut the arts are likely the first thing to go. Crazy!

I’m a big fan of athletics and I feel like I’m one of the few people that enjoy them for the sport. I don’t know why I never developed a strong desire to win in competition, I was just having fun competing. Maybe I played on too many “bad” teams and losing just didn’t faze me. Who knows, maybe that’s something I’ll explore later on. Whatever the reason, that’s something pretty important to me as our kids have now starting playing organized sports. While I personally want to see them excel, I want to see them smiling at the end, knowing that they had fun playing a GAME. All that said, I’ve been known to be a little too passionate about my Indianapolis Colts from time to time.

Speaking of Sundays, faith plays a really big role in our family. Over the last three-plus years, we’ve really leaned in to God’s love. I’ve always considered myself a man of faith since I was saved at the age of 17, but it was blind faith. While I charted my own course in my twenties, I had God in my heart and never did anything to nurture it. I trusted that as long as I tried my best to be good, He’d have my back. That was all well and good, but I wasn’t growing and the weight of the world was wearing me down. Long story short, through a series of divine acts, Whitney and I found ourselves attending church regularly and we haven’t looked back since. There are definitely a few posts about that part of our journey to come, too.

Well, that wasn’t too hard. Although this did take several sittings to accomplish. I look forward to seeing where this all leads and I hope that you’ll continue to follow along. Whitney and I have promised to be open and real in what we share. The world, especially social media, loves to paint a perfect picture for everyone to see, but that won’t happen here. It will be hard at times. It’s so much easier to put on a happy face or twist our realities to portray them in a “better” light. Unfortunately, that’s not what the world needs to hear right now. Hopefully you’ll be able to take something away from our story or at least know that you aren’t alone in facing this world.

Thanks for tuning in. We hope to see you back soon.

Cheers,

_drew