I love my blue collar husband

Why I Love and Cherish My Blue-Collar Husband

His drive, dedication and focus outshine his work clothes every day.

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He comes home from work and I smell the scent of old copper pipes before he even walks into the door. His hands are calloused and rough from entire mornings and afternoons working under houses and his face is often smeared with black grease. I have to do laundry almost every day to keep up with the dirt he tracks in on his blue uniform. He is tired as soon as dinner is over and wakes up before anyone else in the house is even stirring. He is a plumber by trade, and a husband and daddy by choice and I am forever grateful for him.

If you were to ask my husband when he was 16, during the year that we first met in the halls of our local high school, what he wanted to be when he grew up, chances are he would have given you his trademark side grin and said he wanted to be an actor. In fact, he toured the campus of UNC Wilmington that year and seriously considered enrolling in their theater production and fine arts program. Yet, during the tour, he asked a current professor and professional actor one poignant question that changed the course of his life forever. "What is your family life like?" he had inquired. The man paused for a moment and replied "Especially at first, this job can be hard on a family. Acting is rarely stable. In fact, most days it's feast or famine. You either have a great gig that pays the bills for a few months or you're left waiting tables waiting on the next offer to come in. It makes it hard to provide for a family and be there for them when you're needed the most."

Upon hearing that, my husband almost immediately gave up any dreams of Hollywood and instead, went to North Carolina State University to major in business. At the time, he wasn't sure what kind of business he wanted to pursue, but a few years down the road, the answer fell into his lap. His 85-year-old grandfather was thinking of giving up the family plumbing business and wanted to know if he was interested in taking it over. A B.S. in Business Management under his belt, he agreed this would be a natural next step. He studied for, took and passed his state licensing exam. We moved back to our sleepy little hometown, I took a job as a technical writer and he became a professional plumber.

For five years, he went to his grandparents' house every morning, suited up in his blues, and helped his grandfather get into the old work truck. Together, they would help customers, fix leaky pipes, repair commodes, install water heaters and just about anything else that anyone needed to be done. We went shopping for steel-toe work boots, learned how to repair them on a dime and make them last as long as possible, and invested in long johns for the cold season when winterizing a home was enough to chill you to the bone. We became a working man's family, used to long hours, emergency repair calls in the middle of the night, and a hamper that always smelled of metal fittings.

The job gave his grandfather something to look forward to. It gave my husband a chance to spend time with his grandparents. His grandmother would fix them breakfast and lunch and they made some of their most sacred and cherished memories around that small, modest white kitchen table during our newlywed years. With a minor in graphic design, he helped modernize the company just a little, giving it a new logo, creating a magnetic sign for the truck, printing business cards and even creating a website advertising their services. Yet, at the core, the business still had the same heart. They were still the two local plumbers that would help an elderly woman fix a running sink at midnight or install a fleet of new commodes in a shiny new office building with equal gumption and drive.

Now, his grandmother is in a nursing home and his grandfather has moved into an assisted living facility, spending most of his day driving to see her and spend time with her in the shared, communal living room. They are preparing to sell their little house in the middle of town, the one where they shared so many meals during those formative years. It's the same place I would bring my babies in the afternoon to help make apple pie, watch television or raid their incredible ice cream stash. My husband manages the company on his own, though he plans to expand in the future. Turns out, it's just not as fun riding around in the work truck without your trusted companion and mentor by your side.

We have two children now, and every afternoon we wait by the old screen door to see papa pull into the driveway. Even though I'm sure his day full of manual labor was exhausting, overwhelming and stressful, he still finds the energy to stoop down to their level, swoop them both up into his arms and twirl them around on the driveway as the sun sets. He's our hero and we are blessed to call him ours.

Today and every day, I am grateful to be yoked to someone who knows the value of hard work, is dedicated to his craft and gives so much of himself on a daily basis to provide a comfortable life for himself and those he loves. No, it's not as glamorous as a cushy office job. Yes, there are days when I wish he was home at 5:00 on the dot, wearing a suit I didn't have to deep clean every evening. Still, I wouldn't trade this setup for the world. He works hard and loves deeply and that is a combination that is not easy to come by in today's society. We are forever thankful to be on the receiving end of such devotion and will work just as hard to make sure he feels equally cherished.

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If You Have A Project You Want To Grow, Crowdfunding May Be The Answer

The benefits of the crowdfunding phenomenon.

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The idea of crowdfunding is exciting, isn't it? A small town poet can use a platform like GoFundMe or Patreon to sell their work directly to those who are looking for it. A community organizer can not only raise funds for an upcoming event, but they can also keep the funds coming in to raise money for the monthly expenses of running their group. A magazine editor can keep their readership engaged through multimedia as well as tangible perks in exchange for tiers of subscription costs.

Crowdfunding makes it so people can combine multiple engagement styles directly with target audiences for a common cause.

What really makes crowdfunding satisfying is getting monetary confirmation that what one is passionate about is supported. Money rules a lot of the world, and receiving money for creating or providing something for others is extremely fulfilling. Different than just going to work and earning a paycheck. Jobs employ workers to create or provide something that has already had a template of origination.

Crowdfunding is running one's own business of creation or providing goods without a bunch of the red tape. In fact, one could say that crowdfunding has allowed sites like Etsy to flourish. One can now make a pretty decent profit just making pins, Mickey ears, necklaces — whatever one can imagine — and get it directly in eyes of those interested. There's nothing to lose in crowdfunding, just the hour or so it may or may not take to set up the site.

Crowdfunding can also be used for temporary things like school funds, funeral funds, and recovery efforts. Need $10,000 to get through a semester at college? Have a sudden death in the family and need $5,000 to pay closing costs and unexpected expenses? Major world disaster like a hurricane or tsunami destroy an entire majorly populated area? GoFundMe is your answer. You'll most likely get twice as much funds then the goal you set.

There's now many crowdfunding sites out there. Outside of GoFundMe, the three biggies are Patreon, Indiegogo, and Kickstarter. So take your pick, make your page, and get some money!

And just in case you're wondering, yes I do have crowdfunding efforts out there for my projects! One for my personal writings, and one for my magazine.

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The Beauty of Releasing Anxiety Over the Future

What you learn when you learn you don't need to know it all

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I come from a long line of women who worry. We stay up late at night wondering if we got it all right that day. We stress over the details and sweat the small stuff more than we should. Surprisingly, for the amount they fret, my sister and mother are the epitome of calm. They're collected and graceful, whereas I'm a constant bundle of nerves wound tighter than a brand-new yo-yo.

This year, however, I resolved to change all of that. I determined that 2019 would be the year I released all the anxiety and fears around the future. It would be the year I stopped concerning myself with matters of tomorrow and focused instead on the beauty and blessing of today. We're only six days into this new year, but I have already felt that gigantic weight lifted. Why, you might ask, did I choose this particular year? I will turn 32 this April and I've had plenty of turns around the sun to think about getting it right. I've had time to relax, time to recharge and time to start anew.

So, why this year? Put simply, I can tell this is going to be one unlike any other. We're moving out of our home in the next few months, in preparation to begin an enormous remodel project on a nearby family home. As we do so, we're going to be living with my in-laws, our oldest starts kindergarten in the fall, and we're both planning to ramp up our careers by taking on new challenges.

In short, I could easily approach these new obstacles with a jittery heart and nerves that are shot before the day even begins. Yet, each day has its own struggles and if I were to look at this year as a whole, I'd be overwhelmed by the extent of it all. Between school, sports, work and this project, there is no shortage of concerns to worry over, issues to fret about and worries to wonder on. It is for this very reason that I'm stepping out on faith and giving the headaches over, relinquishing the lock-tight control I once held over my own day-to-day chaos.

The thing is, I can see where it's all going. I can already see our dream home that will sit on the lot behind the cornfield. There are two creeks on the property, a sod field in the back, and Japanese cherry blossom trees that I can't wait to watch come alive this spring. I have dreams of eating popsicles on the back deck while the sun goes down in the summertime and I can see the kids running in the huge, open front yard, the one that takes us 10 minutes or more to walk up and down the driveway. I can see the measures we are taking to make the home as energy-efficient as possible paying off with lower power bills. I know the garden we plant in two years will be our biggest and best yet.

I know this will be the home my children remember growing up in. We'll take prom pictures here and first dates will end on the front stoop. Still, the process of getting there, of going home, is a long and laborious one and I could easily crawl under the covers and seek to escape from it all if I think about it for too long.

Instead, I'm getting up early in the mornings these days. I'm having quiet time to reflect and recharge my faith. I'm reading more text and devouring fewer screens. I'm taking more walks (another resolution) and spending at least a little bit of time in nature every day. I'm looking my children in the eye when they speak to me rather than rushing by them on my way to the next, more important thing. I'm making a gratitude list at the end of every day with five things that blessed and inspired me. I'm going to bed earlier and sleeping more deeply, my heart fuller than it's ever been.

I'm releasing my ambition to plan every day to a tee. I'm letting life happen and enjoying the ride of letting go.

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