About the Author

Hi, I’m Jen. I’m a wife and mother. I adore my husband and cherish my three daughters. I love my role as “Mommy” and homemaker. Recently I've discovered a passion for writing my thoughts on motherhood, parenting and family life.

But I should make two things very clear right up front:
  1. I am an 'average' mother. I make mistakes. I have limitations. And my weaknesses are very apparent. I'm on a quest to become a better mom, but I have in no way 'arrived' in my parenting skills or wisdom. On the contrary, I often feel like I'm greatly lacking. So when I actually learn something, I want to internalize it and remember it. This is why I created Raising Rubies.
  2. I don't consider myself a polished writer. It's work for me! But it has become more and more enjoyable as I've written this blog.

Let me back up a bit...
I grew up in a family of 9 children.

     {Easy to spot me again...I'm the one in the middle}

As you can see, I was surrounded with boys. Luckily, I got a sister at the end. My Dad says I was like the second mom around the house. He is a Marriage Therapist and well-known Author. I was sure that I did not inherit the “writing gene.” I hated writing! I remember many late nights in high school, crying in front of the computer because I didn’t know what to write. My poor Mom! Luckily, she was a writer too, and she knew how to get the words out of me and onto the paper. Those were awful nights!

{On to more pleasant memories}

While I was single, I served a mission in Poland for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then I earned a Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in Marriage, Family, & Human Development {Somehow, I learned to finish my writing assignments without my mom}. Afterward, among other things, I worked for United Way of Utah County, as the coordinator of a volunteer program called “Welcome Baby.” Our purpose was to educate new parents about the development and safety of their baby, through in-home monthly visits. I learned a lot, but I longed to be a wife and mother.

Next, I returned to BYU to earn a Master’s Degree in the School of Family Life. This was a huge leap of faith because I was scared to death about writing a thesis. I prayed a lot those two years! Daily, as I sat down at the computer, I pleaded for guidance and help. The Lord heard and answered my prayers. One day at a time. One page at a time. Baby steps toward something big. My thesis was on parent-adolescent conversations about religion. I also co-authored other publications that you can read by clicking below:

Sacred Sacrifices in Religious Youth, Journal of Adolescent Research

Talking About Religion, Journal of Adolescent Research

How family religious involvement benefits adults, youth, and children and strengthens families. (Chapter in Lynn Wardle (Ed.) Family law: Balancing interests and pursuing priorities)

Savoring Informal Teaching Moments
(Essay in Craig Hart (Ed.) Helping and Healing Our Families: Principles and Practices Inspired by "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" 

Something else very big happened that year. I was 27 and not dating anyone seriously. I was registered to teach a Preparation for Marriage class at BYU. Sure, I had a lot of experience in dating, but I wondered how much I could really teach the students. I also began wondering how long I would have to wait until I would marry. I finally {sincerely} submitted to God's will and timing for me. Shortly after this, I was set up on a blind date with Paul Thatcher, the man of my dreams. He was, and still is, more than I could have ever hoped for. We were married the following Spring.

We finished up school together and graduated Spring 2006.

We joked that I went back to school to earn my M.S.; while I was there, I got my M.R.S., and the week after I graduated, I was rewarded my M.O.M.

I still think most Moms deserve a degree or award for all they learn and accomplish. But what I didn’t realize then, is how intense my schooling in M.O.M. was going to be. It's very challenging and consuming. I am constantly thinking about parenting and what I can do to improve, for my children's sake. I read and listen to parenting books. I pray for guidance and help to change. And when I see improvement and success, I gain hope and confidence.

Just like this blog, I am a work in progress. Motherhood is shaping me into a better person than I was before. I am learning and growing and becoming who God wants me to be. One hour at a time. One meal at a time. One batch of laundry, one story book, one diaper, one art project, one family prayer at a time--The small things will one day add up to something so much bigger.