Welcome, friends! Thanks for loaning me some of your valuable time by checking out my blog!❤️

I’m Laura, and I’m thrilled that you might stay a while to hear a little bit of my story…God’s story…to see if something I share might help you fill in a missing piece of the puzzle–to this crazy, unpredictable & messy adventure we call….LIFE.

Here’s a little bit about me..in no particular order.👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽

I love coffee☕️ and all things coffee related…the smell, coffee shops, coffee bars, coffee decor, pumpkin🎃spice, the coziness coffee brings.😍

I equally love Fall…🍂crisp, crunchy leaves🍁 in brilliant colors. I honestly can’t get enough of this season. Ask my husband. I will get side-tracked even while driving if a gorgeous tree catches my eye. I’m awestruck by this breathtaking aspect of God’s creation. There’s a tree in our neighborhood where we lived in Georgia that I was obsessed with, and if we are ever in the area…I’ll drive by and stare at it if it’s the right time of year.🍁🍂

I like sweaters and boots👢 and blankets. Hot chocolate too. Porches with swings. My favorite holiday is hands-down-Christmas.🎄 There’s something about that time of year when people are different. I’ve often wondered if it’s because we know we’re celebrating something extraordinary, even those of us who refuse to say ‘Merry Christmas.’ We still celebrate and it brings people together unlike any other time of the year.💚

My favorite color (since the 2nd grade) is and always has been…green. Grass green to be exact. Or maybe it’s called kelly green. Whatever it’s called, the world would be so drab without green, 🌈 but it’s often the color that’s always left out! As a kid I ‘felt sorry’ for the color green because it was no one’s favorite.😂 So it became mine.

I love to read. 📚Mainly true stories, biographies, realistic or historical fiction. I like paper books the best, but audiobooks have also become a favorite as I’m in the vehicle-a lot. 🚐

My favorite food is all food 🍜with the exception of anything with nuts! (Life-threatening allergy😳). I do my best to avoid excess carbs and sugar, which of course eliminates most of the foods Americans consume! I’m not always perfect, but I do set limitations for myself.

I love talking, but I also love listening.💕

I also love decorating, doing crafty things, taking pictures, having parties that I spend too much money on, selling junk and getting money for it, participating in and facilitating bible studies, singing, going to concerts, going on date nights with my hubby and eating meals uninterrupted, dessert, organizing, attempting fun activities with my kids, snow, log cabins, exploring big cities, traveling the world. Just to name a few. 😄

I grew up in Central Arkansas; Conway to be exact, which was small growing up but has since exploded into a booming college town, which I am proud to call ‘Home’💞 every time we go back to visit my mom and my life-long friends. I graduated high school, (go Wampus Cats!🐱) in 1997 and college (go Bears!🐻) in 2001, then moved on to explore different places and careers and adventures to see where God would take me along the way. And it has indeed been an adventure. (I gave you the years so you can do the math-so maybe I don’t have to say my age out-loud.)🤐

The most recent place we’ve landed is Sweet Home Alabama, where we live in a small town called Wetumpka, (known in part for it’s Casino💶 and Women’s Prison!😱). It’s a little small for my taste, but a great place nonetheless with awesome people and that ‘small town’ feel that I grew up with so many years ago. I’m not sure we’ve ever quite fit in here-and I don’t know that we ever will, but I’m ok with that because it’s all been a part of the journey. And, every mile matters.💗

I’m married (12 years this October)💘 to the cutest, most hard-working, tech genius, patient, non-lazy, unapologetic lover of God, me, and our family,💕 funny, strong leader, wearer of more hats than you can imagine, best daddy around, blunt, awesome chef, football🏈 (Washington Redskins) and baseball loving ⚾️ (Atlanta Braves), loyal, never says no, helps everyone and anyone who asks, guy that has ever walked the earth. I apologize for that gigantic run-on sentence!😆His name is Matt.

Really, I’d need a few more paragraphs to adequately describe him.😍 He is the outgoing, extroverted one in the relationship, I’m more of an introvert by nature and really enjoy alone time, which is virtually impossible as a SAHM to 4 kiddos.😧 People that do loud, bouncing-off the-wall type personalities probably don’t understand me too well, but hey-if everyone was the life of the party-that wouldn’t work either and it could get pretty annoying. We also need the quiet, more reflective type that can listen and make eye contact for more than 10 seconds—that’s rare these days folks.😮 I’ve always worn the sign on my forehead that says ‘tell me your life story.’ And some do, and I listen. But, we’re a little more protective of our life stories these days. That’s why I’ve decided to go public with mine–the good, the bad, and the ugly.😯 But also the unlimited Grace and Love of God that has literally saved my life.💝

My kids are my world. 👦🏼👦🏼👦🏼👧🏼That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy being around adults and socializing, and doing my own thing. Believe me, I do. It doesn’t mean that I don’t get bored and long to ‘do more’🙄 with my life at times. It just means that I believe God gave them to me as a gift, and that He entrusted them to ME as a parent to protect, care for, nurture, and teach them about Him. They’re my (our) responsibility, no one else’s, and we take that seriously.💕

My degree is Sociology, and I went the Social Work route for a while. While working on my Masters in Social Work, I decided for various reasons to take the teaching pathway instead. So I completed my teaching degree and subbed for a year in Prince George’s County, Maryland, before landing a teaching job there and then another teaching job in Virginia while my husband finished his degree at Liberty University. My next step will (hopefully) be to get my Masters in Child Development, not sure what, when, where, or how, but it’s in my plan nonetheless.

Teaching was my career until our oldest son Silas Richard (8 1/2) was born in 2012. Then came two more brothers…Sawyer Joseph (6) and Samuel Matthew (4) Then, in 2017, near Christmastime, a little girl… ❤️Scarlett Noelle❤️(20 months) entered our world, and its never been the same (in a good way 😊). I’ve stayed at home with them ever since. I’ve thought through the years that I was ‘putting my dreams on hold’ while taking care of them. Then it occurred to me that they were part of my dream in the first place. 💖I think it’s safe to say that most little girls dream of having a family…I know I did. God made that dream a reality, and I didn’t want any regrets or to put those I love the most on the bottom of my priority list.

Also, if not for the lessons I’ve learned over the past almost 9 years, I probably wouldn’t be writing a blog in the first place!😵

So what can I bring to the table? I’ve thought about that a lot. Wondering-if because I don’t have any fancy titles, if anyone would give me the time of day. But, this is what I can share with you. LIFE. Life experience in a plethora of out-of-the-box, unconventional, and stepping-out-of-my-comfort zone-type ways.

If you can identify with anything that I’ve experienced, then you may enjoy reading more of my story in detail. For those who’ve always known me as ‘just’ 😆 a stay-at-home mom of four and a Music Pastor’s wife, some of these random and not-so-random things might give you a different glimpse of who Laura is.

Fun, not-so-fun, interesting, and random facts about me…In no particular order!👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽

➡️lived through the time periods of the introduction of CDs, DVDs, email, cell phones, and text messages! (Plus everything else now of course😃)
➡️battled some deep, dark depression-and made it out on the other side❤️
➡️seen first-hand the destruction of cancer and lost my dad exactly a year before my wedding, and therefore experienced debilitating anxiety in the years that followed
➡️interviewed and was offered a teaching job in NYC but turned it down
➡️rode the megabus to that same city multiple times to visit a friend so we could tromp around the city and explore, also my favorite church is there~The Brooklyn Tabernacle❤️
➡️attended the University of Maryland in Baltimore and worked downtown at a friend’s law firm and got lost on multiple occasions😝
➡️taught in the inner-city of Washington DC, and tried to do my part of bridging the gap of racial division❤️
➡️seen and experienced a variety of people groups and cultures while traveling out of the United States 17 times(many of these countries more than once) on foreign mission trips and a singing tour…Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria & Israel. And the Dominican Republic (but that was the Honeymoon❤️)The first of these trips was in the 5th grade with my family to Honduras; to install telephone systems in hospitals and schools 💟
➡️worked in orphanages in many of these countries
➡️helped organize and lead instate mission trips to 5 different states
➡️for my first job I was a waitress at Stoby’s, an awesome hole-in-the-wall (at least that’s how it started) restaurant in my hometown💗
➡️been/am a musician-voice, violin, and classical guitar
➡️had first-hand experience in prison ministries while leading a Bible study for imprisoned women 
➡️crisis pregnancy center and battered women’s shelter volunteer
➡️breastfeeding advocate~really an advocate of all things natural and healthy! Also a Plexus representative💛
➡️volunteer advocate for Compassion International since age 12❤️
➡️volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization
➡️recorded a CD in Nashville and was able to present it to my dad who took great comfort listening to it in the months before he passed away ➡️we mill our own flour at home from wheat, and it’s what we use to make homemade chocolate chip cookies, bread, and other goodies 🍪🍞 ➡️least favorite word–-legalism 😧 ➡️I’m a deep thinker, over-analyzer, extremely nostalgic 😰 and decisions aren’t easy for me to make ➡️I love big cities and adventures and exploring, and learning about different people groups ➡️I love the inner-city-AKA ghetto, 😳and spending time loving underprivileged kids.💜 In fact, when I was interviewing for a job and was handed a list of the names of 3 schools (in less than desirable areas), that were hiring teachers, I picked the very one my cousin said not to pick. I was ready for a challenge, which turned out to be one of the biggest blessings of my life ❤️
➡️have a dream to open a coffee shop/healthy bakery/mom hang-out, where moms can chat, eat, drink fun drinks and let their kids play
➡️speaking of play, it’s one of my favorite things…to watch my kids play, since it is tragically becoming a non-existent, extinct thing of the past for today’s kids😔
➡️called 5 different states my home~Arkansas, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama.

I’ll elaborate on these life experiences and share the lessons I’ve learned should you choose to read more.💛 If fancy titles and important jobs are your thing, I may not be your girl. But maybe one of my topics will resonate with you, and I so look forward to sharing with you what God has taught me through all of these experiences called LIFE.❤️

Why am I writing and how did I choose the name ‘Chasing Joy?’

Way too long to thoroughly explain, but here’s an abridged version👇🏽

When my second little boy Sawyer was still a baby, God gave me an extraordinary gift-right smack in the middle of mundaneness…gearing up for another sleepless night common to moms with newborns. The gift? Unmistakably…JOY. I felt light-hearted, energetic, and strangely-not tired anymore. Kinda like the feeling you get when you’re looking forward to something…but what? Another sleepless night? It lasted only a few minutes, but it was…LIGHT, I don’t know how else to describe it, and it was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. Like a weight lifted from my shoulders. At that moment, I felt God was showing me what I’d been missing. It was totally different than fleeting, temporary happiness. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it, but I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since. Thus began my journey and quest…”Chasing Joy.

Intrigued? Curious as to what in the world I’m talking about? Please join me as I attempt to adequately put into words this journey~the ‘Unraveling’~that I can’t wait to share with you💗💗💗Every.mile.matters.