Meet the 2018 Contributors

PMB group photo

Photography courtesy of the talented Lauren Allen Photography

Meet Our Team of Portland Writers

Amber

Amber

Amber is wife to her elementary school crush and mother to three kiddos, ages 7, 5, and 2. Having recently moved to Portland from California, Amber is embracing her “new normal” as she navigates parks in the rain (bring a towel), the line outside Pip’s Donuts (it’s worth it), and where to find good Mexican food (still searching).

As bio mom to her two oldest and adoptive mom to her youngest, special needs child, Amber understands and appreciates the importance of “me-time.” When she’s not wearing her “mom” hat and can get away for a couple of hours, Amber loves sipping on Chai while hunting mid-century treasures at local thrift and vintage shops. Though she enjoys planning family adventures exploring the PNW, Amber is just as happy on the couch, with her man and glass of wine, watching Parks and Rec re-runs. Keep up with Amber on Instagram and her personal blog: HerYesLegacy.com.

Allison

Allison

Allison is a native Oregonian. Originally from the sunny, beer drenched land of Bend, she now resides in the ‘burbs just outside of Portland. She is the mother of two crazy kids, a teacher, proud minivan owner, baby boot camp junky and a wine enthusiast. Together, with her handsome husband of 7 years, she is finally getting the hang of wrangling 2 kids 16 months apart where the oldest just turned 2. She and her family love going on walks around their beautiful neighborhood with their big, black lab, Obi-Wan Kenobi to gaze at all the giant excavators and bulldozers that are around every corner. Allison finds her sanity through overlapping naptimes, relationships with other moms, coffee, and copious amounts of popcorn, chocolate and wine.

Molly

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Molly is mother to two daughters: an 8-year-old girl who climbs everything and a 4-year-old girl who only wears undies. She grew up mostly in the rural areas outside of Portland but left for college in a slightly farther-away rural area. After finishing school with a degree in education, Molly taught emotionally-disturbed middle school students in Corvallis, OR. Next, she moved to Alaska where she met several emotionally-disturbed men but also her husband. They moved to Michigan for her husband’s school, then returned to Portland, which she vows never ever to leave.

Before becoming a full time mom, she worked as a behavior specialist in the school system, which is not as helpful as you would think when raising your own children. Molly volunteers as a garden coordinator, taking elementary school classes into an edible garden each week because hey, someone needs to do the weeding. Molly loves feeding her family good food and getting outdoors. While she is all in for parenting with intention, good cooking, Frye boots, and aspiring to a Martha-esque home, Molly freely admits she just isn’t all in for homemaking.

You can follow her frustrations and celebrations at at her blog.

Nadia

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Nadia loves people. Like most moms, Nadia has worn many hats personally and professionally: mom, recruiter, teacher, sales professional, daughter, sister and maid to name a few

Her true passion involves helping people by developing their personal and professional skills (or brand) so they can be successful in their career. To do this, she works as a full-time high school teacher striving to educate productive citizens in society while working summers supporting people of all ages with career development.

She started writing to deal with the insecurities she felt as a mom navigating colicky diapers, poopy babies, constipated kids, messy houses and kids who won’t eat their vegetables. Now, she realizes everyone is figuring it out and it’s not so bad. She is most thankful for her parents who live five minutes away as free on-call babysitters (which comes with tons of unsolicited advice from grandma). In her free time (which barely exists), she loves to go to the park with her kids and loves Zumba.

Autumn

Autumn

Autumn is a Pacific Northwest native, born and raised in Seattle before moving to Portland at twenty-eight. She met her husband within a week of the move, graduated from PSU the following year, and now is the proud momma of one baby boy and one medium-sized mutt who she admits, is much more popular on Instagram than she is. Autumn has been an outdoors enthusiast her entire life, thanks to adventurous parents. She summited her first peak at age eight and hasn’t looked back. A firm believer in getting kids into nature, she is looking forward to including her little one on future wilderness forays.

Autumn’s husband is the chef at Portland’s well-loved Laurelhurst Market. A great dad who loves to cook at home, she clearly won the partner lottery as she can barely boil water without catastrophe. Autumn’s hobbies include hiking, camping, blogging, and battling her Instagram addiction.

You can follow Autumn’s blog at pnwmountainmommy.com and her baby-based Instagram at @pnwmountainmommy. Of course, if you want to go all in, you can also follow her dog @marmotthemutt and her personal outdoors account @adventurepony.

Connie

Connie

Connie is motivated by, and built for relationships with others. She loves a good story, whether found in a book or hearing one from a friend over coffee. She holds a BA in Interpersonal Communications from Wheaton College in Illinois and is attending Portland Seminary to receive her Masters degree in Leadership.

For well over a decade Connie has been enjoying life along side my best friend and husband, Taylor. Their love multiplied and in a 5-year span added four children to their tribe. She loves adventuring around the PNW with her family, and looks to grab hold of any opportunity to explore new territory. Connie is a writer and a speaker. More of her work can be found at conniearmerding.com or on Instagram @carmerding.

Katie

Katie

Katie & her husband Brad moved to Portland from Chicago four years ago.  After nights dreaming about how they would simplify their lives juggling jobs, commutes, and nannies, Brad got a call about an opportunity in Portland. Neither had ever been to the PNW, but one visit and they were sold.  Now they spend their nights scheming how to get their family and friends to come west.

Katie has a 10-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son as well as a 20-year-old stepdaughter who has celebrity status with the other two when she is home from college. 

She is a freelance advertising producer, blogger, and avid school volunteer constantly adjusting to find balance.  When she isn’t shuttling kids to sports or navigating the college system, she can be found at one of Portland’s amazing coffee shops working, reading some YA fiction or out for a run up Mt. Tabor.

 You can follow Katie on Twitter and Instagram @iportlanded and read her occasional musings on her personal blog at Portlanded.net.

Jody

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Jody grew up in a small town in Central Oregon, graduated from Oregon State University, traveled to Africa for three months and, upon returning, moved to Montana to be near her then fiancé. They lived in Bozeman, Montana for nine years working on the Montana State campus in full-time ministry.

They now have lived in SE Portland for nearly eight years and work part-time with the same faith-based non-profit. She is also now a business owner and helps others find health and happiness through Plexus. She has been married for 16 years and they have two beautiful kids. Their 11 year-old daughter is a miracle biological child after years of infertility, and their son 7 is a miracle child through the gift of adoption.

Jody loves living in beautiful Portland where flowers are always in bloom and there is always an adventure around the corner to be had. She loves Jesus, coffee, a good book, deep conversation with people she loves, being intentional to love those around her, hosting events in their backyard, sausage, beer, traveling, and being a wife and mom. The beach is her happy place. She also blogs occasionally at jodymccomas.com about motherhood and ministry.

Sam

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Originally from the UK, Sam and her family recently arrived to Portland after 10 years of traveling the world and working internationally. In her former life (prior to becoming a mummy) she was a Midwife with Doctors Without Borders and feels blessed to have shared the journey of pregnancy and birth with incredible women around the world.

Sam is a wife and mother to 4 little people, ages 5,4,2 and a brand new baby. Her family has just bought their first home and are excited to embark on a homestead life just outside the city, growing vegetables, working towards self sufficiency, enjoying time in nature and making trails in their forest.

Sam is the author of Little Green Lives, a lifestyle blog which follows the journey of their family of 6 as they commit themselves to a greener way of life, a more minimalist existence, quality in their day-to-day, and embracing their natural world with bare feet and dirty hands.

To connect with Sam visit her on her blog, Facebook and Instagram.

Kendra

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Aside from being a writer, Kendra is a Joy Doula at KarysMa Birth, where she helps moms get in touch with themselves after birth trauma. A former middle school English and theatre teacher, she has an insatiable love for learning and a flair for the dramatic. Among the best moments of her life, she counts marrying her husband Steve during a dream rainbow wedding, planning a princess picnic on the beach with her eight year old daughter Karys, giving birth to her one year old daughter Saryn in the middle of a blizzard, and sitting on stage with Glennon Doyle. A Navy brat for the first 13 years of her life, Kendra settled in Virginia for eighteen years before she was finally ready to move again, relocating to Portland in 2014. You can find her work on Portland Moms Blog, The La Leche League Blog, and The Not Your Average Mom Project, as well as the hard drive of her computer.

Ranya

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Lebanese in origin, Ranya became a US citizen in 2007. Shortly after meeting Jeff through a job ad in Beirut in 2003, she moved to Portland to pursue a doctorate at PSU. From there, the two of them moved to the East Coast to begin their adventures. The last fourteen years have seen them in Portland, OR twice; in Arlington, VA twice, in Columbia, MD as well as Lebanon and Morocco.

In her current life, Ranya is a teacher’s aide who loves to embark on special projects with her daughter. Their signature Mama-and-Me activity is hosting their friends for formal tea parties. She is trilingual, and is passing on the torch of language to her children who are fluent in English and Arabic.

Ranya is passionate about hot yoga, and enjoys long walks. She absolutely hates driving, and reserves it for cases of dire need. She believes in the wonders of snuggles, and advocates their daily use.

She lives a walking distance from her all-time favorite restaurant, Saburo, with Jeff, Jannah-Rae and Yousef. They share their one-bathroom house with her parents and Leo, the Arabic-speaking cat.

Ranya writes thoughts, tots and essential oils on her blog Ranya, the Memory Keeper

Susan

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In 2010, when Susan and her daughter met Tom and his three kids, Susan knew right away that one day they would be one big, crazy-happy family. One year later her dream came true and thus began her new roll of wife and stepmom.  Then on Mother’s Day in 2015, the same year their oldest started college, Susan and Tom found out that they were expecting another child. Alice became the littlest of their crew in Dec. of 2015 and has filled their home and hearts with unimaginable joy.

The greatest gift bestowed to Susan is that of being a mother. She has worn many hats in her 43 years but being the mom to 5 amazing children is definitely the hat she wears with the greatest amount of pride.

Susan does not consider herself a natural writer but rather found the gift of writing as a tool to help her move through grief after her daughters, Anna and Abigail, went to Heaven due to a tragic accident in 2013. A dear friend set up a blog and gifted her an outlet to pour her broken heart.  She’s been writing ever since. She will forever be grateful for this gift as she has found that the written word along with her unwavering faith in God has allowed her to stay very connected to her daughters and their beautiful lives here and in Heaven.

You can find Susan’s blog at love-drenched-life.com and information about Love Rocks, a movement of love and joy that honors her daughters’ lives, at love-rocks.org.

Jenny

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Textbook extrovert. If there’s a stage, Jenny wants to be on it; whether it’s singing in church, doing stand-up comedy or acting. She has recently joined a cult called LuLaRoe. Her husband, David, is deeply concerned.

Jenny and David, a pastor, are recently celebrating eighteen years of marriage. After years of infertility, they became adoptive parents of two year old twin boys in 2014. They’ve never been happier or more exhausted. Every day is an adventure.

Jenny blogs at thefivestages.wordpress.com and has a regular feature in Tualatin Life newspaper called Everyday Heroes to celebrate those serving our community. She and her husband started a clothing line based on their story and you can check it out at bottlecapbadge.com.

There’s nothing we can’t do with a little bit of love and a whole lot of caffeine.

Heather

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Heather lives, writes and raises children in sunny Bend. Her kids told her that her superpowers are cooking and comforting and if she was a flavor she would be sweet and sour. That pretty much sums her up.

 A longtime Oregonian, Heather grew up in Corvallis and went to college in Portland. She met a cute guy during a brief stint living in Phoenix and convinced him to leave the desert, get married on a Mexican beach and come back to SW Portland. They’ve been married for ten years and recently moved to Central Oregon. She loves the PNW and can’t imagine a better place to raise her 6-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter.

Heather’s professional experience includes an MBA and several years of experience in business and nonprofit marketing. Currently she is a volunteer and consultant for local nonprofits. She believes in honest storytelling that builds empathy, connection and understanding.

In her free time, Heather enjoys long books, short hikes, expensive pastries and cheap wine. You can read more of Heather’s writing at  www.heather-mcpherson-writing.net.