I grew up as a military brat – which basically means, I have a hard time answering the question, “Where are you from?”
I lived in 4 countries and 10 states. Seriously, where am I not from? The best part is – I lived in every part of America, and can find something in common with everyone. Mostly, because I spent a good chunk of time there – I consider myself a Citified Southern Girl. Which means, I can get down on the Metro, but still refuse to drop my use of the word, “Ya’ll.”
I learned to barter in the markets of Cairo, Egypt, studied French near the Normandy beaches of France, and spent much of sixth grade exploring Israel and eating phenomenal falafels.
I graduated from a world-class, award-winning school Lee University. I am highly loyal to my Alma Mater because of the caring staff, the emphasis on spiritual growth and the family-feel of this university. This university does everything right, and taught me to pursue excellence in service.
After graduating, I put my languages and world experiences to work for the Pentagon in Washington, DC. I worked in a division of technological intelligence security. I would tell you more, but they’re still watching me…
In 2002, I became the voluntary participant of an arranged marriage. (More on that here) I fell in love with Michael Ciociola, a Staff Pastor in Northern California. In 2004, we got married and I started this crazy Pastor’s Wife Journey. At 23, I was pretty sure I knew how to do it. After all, I’ve been going to church my whole life. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Whoo… that was funny.
But I digress.
I found great success working in the corporate world, and just when I thought I had arrived – we had our first baby in 2012. A gorgeous girl – Mila.
She taught me that I know nothing. No…thing.
Then, after 15 months of rebuilding my brain. We had our second baby – our son, Noah.
So now my brain is mush and I spend most days using my corporate negotiations skills to convince my kids to use the potty, play nice together, or eat their vegetables. (I guess I wasn’t as good of a sales person as I thought I was…)
I am seriously attracted to my husband and find myself wanting to shout, “You’re amazing, Baby!” in the middle of his sermons. Instead, I restrain myself and opt for the more acceptable, “Amen.”
I do not take myself seriously, but I take Jesus very seriously. Michael and I spend all year searching for ways to best communicate the message of the gospel. Usually, this involves serious self-humiliation.
For the truly dedicated, here are some fast facts about me:
1. Everything I know about heels and hair I learned from competing in the Miss America Organization in Miss Tennessee and Miss Virginia. I have mad respect for this organization.
2. I am bad at every single sport. Except, I competed in Track & Field in school (‘Cause how hard could running be? Oh boy..) I went to State for Shotput. Which might be impressive except the state was Rhode Island.
3. I once met famed trumpet player, Chris Botti who said to me, “You’re hilarious.” I consider that a life-long endorsement.
4. Coffee is my primary food group.
5. Parents who adopt kids are my heroes.
6. The smell of cigarette smoke outside will always remind me of Paris. Good memories.
7. I get a rush every time I save our family money.
8. I don’t like sushi. Just don’t tell anyone. I think they kick you out of California for an offense like that.
9. I am a lifetime member of the Jane Austen Fan Club. I am a supreme book nerd. But Jane Austen – she gets me.
10. I’ve been a contributing author to a book. Find it here.
11. Presidential debates are to our family what football is to other families. We make snacks, yell at the tv, and talk about it for days afterwards.
12. I spend a good chunk of the day exhausted from raising my two tinies, only to put them to bed at night and stay up with my husband looking at pictures of them. They are further proof that God loves me.
13. My husband is ridiculously good-looking. See photographic evidence —->
14. I would like there to be a cooking show where a mom is trying to put together a meal while taking care of her two toddlers. This would be highly entertaining and possibly therapeutic for me. I’m talking to YOU, Food Network!
15. I have a creepy amount of pictures of my kids sleeping.
I really should give out prizes and awards for making it to the end of this…. Congratulations!!!