My Story


Sometimes when people ask me to tell them about When Life, I get all tongue tied and end up saying, “well, it’s kind of a long story.”  Not very businesslike or professional I know, but, if someone were to ask you to tell them about you, about how you came to be the person you are today, where would you start? What information would be pertinent and what information should you exclude? That is hard, right? When Life began as a creative outlet for me to release and reflect on parts of my life that has shaped me for the better and for the worse. My plan was to design apparel that ultimately would allow people to literally wear their feelings on their shoulders. I had over 25 designs laid out and was gearing up to open a simple Etsy shop. However, sometimes, God has different plans for you.

It was early in product development, when it became more and more obvious that for one, it is so restorative for your soul to remember those fond, happy, or seemingly humiliating times, and to let go of those that haunt or hold you back. And secondly, you are not alone in any situation you have or are experiencing. My healing process and the encouragement of the wonderful team I surrounded myself with, I felt like ultimately shaped the direction of When Life. When Life is about sharing the stories of your life. My entire company is built on encouraging and connecting others by the power of storytelling. From childhood to where you are today you probably have a multitude of moments and memories that have shaped who you are today. It really is “a long story”, is it not? That is exactly what When Life is all about; you, your life, your memories, your moments.

When Life’s “About Me” is essentially “About You.”

As someone who has never ever been inside the business world I had to do a lot of research on my own to help guide me in building the foundation for When Life. The one thing I knew even before cracking open a book or in my case, downloading a lot of material to my Kindle, is that When Life would be a values-driven business. There is truly nothing more important to me than you and providing you with valuable content and products that you will love! You may be wondering how is When Life any different than any other brand with a blog and social media presence?

Well, let me explain. The first and most obvious difference is that When Life is not a linear and single focused company. Whether your story be sad, happy, or just outright hilarious, I would encourage you to share it. You never know whose heart you may touch or whose day (or potentially life) you may change. Whether they are sharing or reading what someone else has shared, people like to know that they are not alone in this world and sometimes that is all it takes to make an impact on someone’s life. Some of you may have been drawn to a particular icon for reasons you would like to keep private and that is completely understandable. Not every aspect of our lives need to be an open book.

The best difference though is When Life’s concept of taking social media from the screen to the street. With every icon designed there is an associated hashtag. That hashtag is how you will link up and find others with stories similar or related to yours. So, you could very well be wearing your amazing Hope shirt, see someone out with that same shirt, and who knows the conversation that may start. Have you guys spoken before online or read one another’s story? Possibly! The brand promotes social interaction and connecting with people beyond just what you see on the screen. You are now in position to have genuine, meaningful conversation with real people face-to-face. I love this idea!


Think of this as coming home to the dinner table, meeting a friend for coffee, or having a glass of wine with friends. What do you do when you are there?  You share stories and events from your day. Since the beginning of time, people and cultures have had an innate desire to share parts of themselves through storytelling.  Whether it was through early cave art, hieroglyphics, song, or dance, they all served the same purpose; they had a story they wanted to share.

Without giving away too much too soon, I want to share with you a little bit of my story.

 I was a pediatric bone marrow transplant nurse for a little over 14 years when my career abruptly ended in the Summer of 2016. My mother-in-law, my only consistent childcare, was being stretched thin between important obligations in other areas of her life and helping care for our 3 children. 

Something had to give and it seemed like it only made sense that we put our daughter, Scarlett, in preschool with her brother Carter. However, preschool for 2 toddlers and specialized care for, my oldest son, Jack, who is on the more severe end of the Autism spectrum, is more than I make in a month. 

I would have basically been paying to work. That option was not even remotely on the table. So, I thought, maybe I will ask and see if I can work PRN or as needed. That did not work out either. Can someone please show me what’s behind door number 3? Oh, nothing, ok. So, in went my notice.  

 I seriously had no clue what in the world I was going to do. I thought, ok, we should be good until after the holidays and then I will freak out. We pulled Carter out of preschool and told him he would be going to “Mommy School”, which he thought was the best idea ever. All I could think of was what would I possibly teach them in “Mommy School”, how to live on a shoe string budget and make meals stretch?   How were we ever going to make it with a 50% reduction in our income? Despite these fears, I had such a peace deep down inside.

I was really excited and happy about having the opportunity to be home with my children. The past eight years had been such a roller coaster I often felt rushed and distracted when spending time with my family. I was surprised by the stigma attached to being a stay at home mom and amazed at how many people would be praying for me and my children. “When life gives you lemons, just make lemonade,” was a phrase that I heard so often it makes me cringe to hear it now.

Even the most stoic have their moments of weakness though. Mine was a frustrated crying breakdown in the shower one evening when I thought to myself, is leaving the only career you have ever known to stay home with your children, a “lemon?”  Missing the income, sure that is a “lemon” I suppose, but really how big of a deal is this? Life throws a lot of “lemons,” and sometimes straight up poop but, later down the road some, if not most, situations just become a part of your past. Just a moment in time. A When Life moment.  

For instance, my story includes marriage, divorce, and finding love again. I experienced the heartbreak of a miscarriage and later the birth of 3 children including one with a life-long disability. I cannot put into words the feeling of having a child with bright smiling eyes and hearing them say “momma” to having them look at you like a stranger with a blank stare and scream constantly. 

I experienced every phase of the grief process for a child who was still very much alive. It would be around 15 months before I heard him say my name again. My husband and I spent the first 4 years of our marriage fighting for Jack’s right to an appropriate education; a case that ultimately ended up in the 11th Circuit Court. 

I have spent years in family court with my ex-husband. Death has been no stranger to my family, losing 7 close family members in a span of 2 years. For the past year, I have battled my own health issues. Sure, I was nervous about becoming acclimated to being home more and adjusting financially, but this was a different type of stress. After walking out my last day at work, I suddenly felt like the possibilities were endless. I was determined to make “Mommy School” work and find a way to bring back the Melinda that I knew.

We did make an honest attempt at “Mommy School.” We worked on the basic preschool concepts in the beginning. Fast forward to present day and I’m almost positive Scarlett and Carter will be the only kindergartners familiar with terms such as sales tax reports and product line sheets. We’ve gone from A, B, C, D’s to B, L, O, G’s.

Here is the thing, we all have a story. Yes, everyone does. If you are reading this, take just a minute to look back and I can almost guarantee you have had an event or a moment that has either made you the person that you are or has made you say to yourself “I am not going to let this define who I am.” You have had something happen that stands out to you as either a humiliating moment you will never forget or a time when your heart has been filled with pride or sorrow to the point of bursting. But you know what is the best thing? You are not alone! There is not one person in this world that has experienced something that someone has not already been there/done that. That is the epitome of When Life. We all have a story, we all are born with the need to share it, and we all want to know we are not by ourselves.

My story is by no means the worst story out there. There are way worse situations to have been in. And in some cases, mine might be worse than someone else’s.  But regardless it is all mine, and you have one that is all yours.

As a values-driven company, it is my top priority to provide you with a safe platform to share your stories. It is my hope that we will not only laugh and cry together but encourage and support one another. It is very important to me that I be transparent with you as a company. I will always strive to provide you with the best products that support and enhance your story as well as encourage you to write and share the narratives of your everyday life and otherwise.  The time you invest in visiting my website and knowing how valuable the space in your inbox is, choosing quality over quantity will be at the forefront in my content planning. These are standards I will always try my best to meet.

I’m really excited about what is in store for you! 

From weekly questions to get the conversations flowing, Feed the Soul Fridays, helpful information and encouraging news stories, praising our everyday heroes, and sharing our life stories; we are going to have a wonderful time. Be prepared to stop your mindless screen scrolling, that will not be happening here!

Join me online and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. When you sign up, you will have access to tools to help you start writing your own personal story. Your subscription also includes access to coupons, member exclusive sales, first dibs on new products, and so much more.  I will not disappoint you. Promise on my When Life.

Love and God Bless,