My husband, Michael, is an amazing man. He works four different jobs. His night job. His day job. And his two side jobs… making the best chocolate ever and teaching fencing and sword fighting to people all over the mid state area. Occasionally he also choreographs fights for shows or leads summer camps for Jedis in training. Either way, the man is insanely busy and is the hardest worker I’ve ever known. Michael is extremely sexy but very much taken so hands off (he has to fight the old women off of him at the farmer’s market). As for late, he’s been working toward a career as a police officer.
We’ve been married since December 21, 2002. We met in college. We took a research methods class together. Both of us have undergrad degrees in psychology. We’ve had a rocky past but daily I see why God put us together to raise these specific children. We truly do compliment each other perfectly as parents.
Our first child was born on March 11, 2004. His name is Hunter Elliott Jones. He loves karate, theater, spending time with his friends, Lego, nature, reading, American Girl dolls, taking care of his dog Maggie and his bunnies Legolas and Buster. He is a survivor and a fighter. Daily he faces many obstacles but he overcomes them all.
Ronin Ivy Jones was born on January 1, 2006. We named her perfectly. She loves horses, softball, watching tv that typically only adults enjoy, memorizing the lyrics to Macklemore songs, drawing, writing, and texting her teenage cousin. She is a Whovian and the president of her mom’s fan club. Her current career aspirations include becoming an FBI agent. She also has become a little consumed with the notion of Harvard, thanks to “Gilmore Girls”. Also, don’t mess with her brothers. She’ll tear your face off. In November of 2010, she donated bone marrow to her older brother and saved his life. Awesome huh?
Drayken Giovanni Jones entered this world in water on March 15, 2009. He’s the happiest person I’ve ever been around. He likes to play video games, eat sweets, and laugh. His goofiness is infectious. I adore him.
My name is Mandy Ray-Jones (note that is a hyphenated last name, not two first names or a first and a middle name, y’all) and I spent my entire life searching for some type of purpose and finally found it as a wife and mother. I was always weird. In middle school I became obsessed with the B-52s, Talking Heads, and other new wave music. I stopped eating meat and I started wearing my hair straight and parted down the middle (once you’ve trained your hair to do that, it’s a life long commitment, by the way). I had over 100 pen pals at one point in time and I often believed that I would never find any people in real life who “got” me. College was okay. I enjoyed doing research and acting and even writing for a sit-com. But I was friendless and spent all of my time doubting myself and trying to be accepted by boys. It wasn’t until I found Christ that I came to peace with myself and who I am. Also helps to know that I am likely autistic and battling a few learning differences. I take joy in who I am today. I still love the B-52s and I’m still a weirdo. I love alternative medicine and nutrition. I love “Parks and Recreation”, “Community” and “The Office”. I love hot pink, hot coffee, and writing. But mostly I just love people. And reaching out to people. And interacting with people, when I’m having a good day. As long as I have plenty of alone, quiet time and I can be in control over when I have to be around people, then I do okay. I’ve learned that I have a talent for networking and event coordinating (thanks to my short stint as the founder and executive director for a non profit called Artsy Mamas). I’m great at ministering to people about breastfeeding and food and health and nutrition. I’m also a rocking mom.
Recently I completed “The Artist’s Way” and it helped me identify very specific goals. Since then I have written a play which was presented in front of a real audience and will hopefully take on a life of its own. I’ve also been studying comedy and making notes about some stand up that I’d like to do. I’ve also been meeting with a few people under the pretense of doing improv and one day having an actual real-live improv troupe I can call my own. Most recently I’ve taken on the fun job as contributor for a blog for fans of “The Office”. I’ve also learned that when I get overwhelmed with all of my ideas and I’m not sure what direction to take, I just have to stop, breathe, pray, meditate, and ask for answers. The answers will come.
I used to blog here, at a bona fide life.
We are unschoolers. We don’t vaccinate. We try to feed our kids non processed, organic, whole foods. We limit dairy. We take supplements. We have rid our home of toxic chemicals and cleaners. We don’t even use a microwave.
So, it’s pretty interesting that childhood cancer has recently attacked our family. On July 30th, 2010, Hunter was diagnosed with PreB ALL, a type of leukemia. Though he has the most common and more treatable kind of leukemia (or of all childhood cancers for that matter), Hunter is going to require a bone marrow transplant. He has a genetic mutation which causes his bone marrow to not produce the right number of chromosomes and that mutation was producing the leukemia in his blood. A lot of people are wondering why our child is at Vanderbilt children’s hospital right now instead of at home receiving some type of alternative care. And believe me, that’s a legitimate question. One that I have been asking too. But the fact is, this disease is fatal. And in Hunter’s case, it’s being caused by a genetic problem. It’s not because of lack of antioxidants or healthy foods (the kid drank carrot juice for breakfast nearly every day of his life). My child doesn’t have leukemia because of the number of hot dogs he’s eaten despite the “statistics” that were sent to me (one regular nasty hot dog ever, for the record). Alternative medicine won’t fix this genetic mutation just like it won’t fix Down Syndrome or a baby born without an arm. I still believe in alternative medicine. But I also believe in Western modern medicine now as well. Without it, my son would have no chance at a life. This experience has opened my eyes to just how egotistical we have been and to maybe how we have responded in a judgmental way when others we’ve known had to go the chemo route. I will forever be humbled.
Pray for our son. Pray that he will live a long and healthy life. And pray that God will use our story to make us better people and to make others better. Hunter deserves that.