Hey, I’m Jenilee

I was mulling over how to write this about page, turning over how to explain all that’s happened, all that’s new, all that’s brewing in my heart to share.

You see, I’m a bit of a blogging dinosaur. The blog is buried and dusty, the pages are dated and in need of some upkeep. As one of the proud, early, mommy bloggers back in 2007, I jumped into the completely unexplored territory of blogging, which means some of this content is quite old.

Truly, we didn’t know what we were doing but we didn’t care because we were having so much fun meeting new friends online, commenting on what they shared, and watching each others’ kids grow up via their camera.

Hold on… this could get wordy.

If you’d like to skip over some of this to our missions work, just click here. That’s totally ok too!

In my 20s, I happily became a mommy blogger, complete with round-ups, page count parties, giveaways, book reviews, product reviews, and the morning excitement of new comments. I blogged about homeschooling, raising my girls, and everything I was learning about being a mom, wife, and friend.

In my 30s, we became expats. My girls became third culture kids and we lived that overseas life like it was the best adventure ever. It was, it is. We lived in France, Senegal, South Africa and learned how to shop, pack, prepare, explore a culture, and get by in other languages and currencies. We saw God do amazing things in faraway places and met incredible people that He is using around the world to share His love. Being apart of missions overseas is our biggest heartache and our most amazing joy.

As I’ve tentatively stepped into my 40s, so much has changed. I don’t share everything that fills my head anymore… with age, comes the knowing that things will keep, more life is coming, and I need to sit tight because so much can change in an instant.

Simmering in the background, there has been an unknown, chronic something. I’ve been to so many doctors and had so many tests. After years of sitting in a “possible MS” place, MS has been ruled out and fibromyalgia moved in along with chronic fatigue that makes life a little complicated.

Also simmering in the background, there were more dynamics in play that didn’t have a name. Over the past few years, as a family, we’ve learned, communicated, spoken with people who understand, and figured out a few things that we just didn’t know were a part of our lives.

In all of that, our family has learned a lot about being neurodiverse and how that can impact each of us individually and collectively. Especially in this expat life.

I’ve discovered that I’m the sole neurotypical living in our home which has explained why homeschooling was such a huge blessing to our family. It also helps me understand why being #marriedtojeremygoodwin is so hilariously, frustratingly, confusingly amazing and, if I’m honest… a bit hard sometimes. Totally worth it. For us, just knowing this is the simmering “thing” we didn’t know is deeply helpful. Neurodiverse couples have quite a challenge before them each day. After 22 years of antics, I know.

Being a mom of girls on the spectrum is a blessing because I’ve been able to be in the front seat as they learn and grow into women who inspire me. It’s also a challenge because I have to get creative in ways I never dreamed while holding parts of our home together to help our girls grow, learn, and succeed. This has been a journey for sure. A journey full of all the things you can google about being a neurodiverse family. That’s us.

Yet, there’s also just me. Just my thoughts. Just what I’m learning. Just these old, dusty pages of a blog that are so very dear to my heart.

Just Jenilee

I love reading and writing. I’m pretty good at Phase 10. Coffee in the morning makes me completely happy. I ran the Paris marathon, learned French and moved our family around the world. I’ve stood where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean, eaten many cultural foods, driven on the other side of the car on the opposite side of the road, watched penguins in Africa, heard the lions roar while sleeping in a tent and endured a rain storm before it slips off the coast of West Africa and becomes a hurricane.

I’ve held on during the most difficult times with my pen, my journal, and my Bible. Sometimes, that’s all I’ve had but it’s always, always enough.

I’m a writer and teacher, an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God, an AGWM missionary, and a mom to 3 amazing young adult girls. I’m also a wife to an avid outdoorsman with new hobbies every day who is also working on his Master’s in Ministerial Leadership as we speak.

Jeremy’s brain is a myriad of things at all times yet the papers he writes during his classes are pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. Each paper is a battle won with time invested, not a lot of sleep and way more details than can be included. So, he sorts, cuts and creates until it’s a masterpiece. ASD Level 1 at it’s very best.

If you’re still reading, there’s still more to share. The past 5 years have been more than we ever thought we could handle.

Only by the grace of God… and His grace has been good to us in this season of loss, sickness, hurt, growth, change, and struggle.

Life is precious. I’m standing in testament to the faithfulness of God and how He sustains us.

Thank you for joining our journey, letting us share #behindtheprayercard, asking you to pray with us, laugh with us, cry with us.

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Thank you!

This neurodiverse, expat family is thankful that you’re here.