Where does our story begin exactly? Is this where I share about Jeremy and I's lives as children? Or do I start when Jeremy and I first met?
He said hello to me as I walked through a parking lot with my nose in a book. It was cute.
Oh, or do I share about that moment when we were dating and I asked him what he wanted to do with his life and he said that he wanted to change the world through film - and I laughed, because I was sure that he was joking. But he wasn't.
Hmmm... apparently it's harder than I thought to look back over 34 years of life and 13 years of marriage and know which parts are relevant to share for "our story". So here's what I'll do.
I'll tell you about the time in April 2014 when Jeremy discovered YouTube and family vlogging and he said to me, "hey, we should do this." And I said, "no way, what kind of crazy people put their lives on the internet?"
But Jeremy, he was persistent. He kept asking. But he was also patient. He gave me time to think about it and come around to the idea. It was hard for me (see I'm more of an introvert and a private person - oh and I don't like being on camera... so vlogging wasn't a super natural fit for me). Jeremy, on the other hand, had found a way to combine his love of family with his love of film creation (he's the more adventurous, open, outgoing one and it was a perfect fit for him). But he listened to my concerns and shared his thoughts. Finally, he said, "At least pray about it." And so I did.
I remember distinctly kneeling beside my bed and telling God all about Jeremy's crazy new idea. And to my surprise, I felt the most profound impression that this - this YouTube thing - was something we should do. I felt peace and excitement and yet, confusion... why would God care if we decided to post little videos on YouTube?
Little did I know then how much this YouTube adventure would change our lives.
It has been extremely rewarding and challenging all in the same breath, and now - looking back just a little ways - I can see how God is teaching and leading our family through this experience.
I tell you, putting yourself out there in the world is a crazy and vulnerable and beautiful thing. I can't believe the memories we have recorded, the people we have met and connected with, and the opportunities that have come through this experience. It has also forced me out of my shell (talking to a camera like a weirdo in public places will do that to you), forced me to confront my anxiety and depression, humbled me deeply, and helped me gain an inner confidence and security (getting hate comments on social media will force you to dig deep and find your worth in God).
So here we are.
We have been sharing our lives on social media for 3 years now. Jeremy works from home now, managing J House Vlogs and also combining his love of law with his passion for YouTube in his law firm (I think I forgot to mention, he is a lawyer). I stay home and I stay busy with our 5 kids, who can barely remember life before YouTube. My happiest moments are when I am teaching and reading to our kids, and we are exploring life together (until we all get hangry - and then tantrums happen - it's life). Anyway, Isaac is our oldest and came to our family after two years of infertility treatments. He is 9 years old and a smart and thoughtful guy who is a good friend, incredibly clever, and obsessed with sports. Elise is 7, and she is the most tender-hearted, creative, and loving girl who loves to cook, help, sing, and dance. Caleb is 5 and has a dynamite personality. He is always climbing, thinking, and endlessly one step ahead of me. He is the one most likely to make me laugh and scream at him in the same 5 minute period, and then snuggle up with him in a giant hug. Laura is 3. She is at the wonderful stage of asking a million interesting questions and saying the funniest things. She loves to sing and seems to be a performer at heart. The other morning I was sick, and she crept into my room and covered me with her own little blanket. She is such a sweet heart. Janae is the newest addition, active and intensely interested in everything around her. She lights up all of our lives and life is immeasurably better now that she is here.
Well now I'm sitting here struggling to end "our story" because "our story" is far from over.
We don't know where life will take us. All we know and all we can do is wake up each day and do our best, and forgive ourselves and others as we make mistakes along the way. The moral of "our story", if there is one, is that God uses the most unique situations to challenge, test, and bless us in life. As we try to trust in Him and cling to hope and faith, we have found peace. We pray that each of you can feel that peace as well.
With all our love,
J House Out