“Good Morning, Mommy!” Meet a Recipient Featuring Julie Ellenbarger
Meet 3-time scholarship recipient Julie Ellenbarger, and her little girl, Annabelle. Julie is currently working on her Spanish degree at the University of Arkansas.
We asked Julie to tell us more about herself and her journey to receive her education.
How did you choose your major?
I chose my Spanish major because I love the language and have been fluent for several years and continue learning more every day! I would like to be able to help people cross the linguistic and cultural barriers and communicate better. I would like to get a Masters in Counseling next.
Other than financially, what impact has SPSF NWA made on your life?
SPSF NWA has given me the chance to see that I am not the only one being mom, student, and provider for my child. It is also very encouraging to know that all of the amazing people that work for and support SPSF NWA believe in me and are putting their confidence in me – that I will be a worthy investment and make a difference in the future. I think the thing that finally made me go back to school was when I realized that I could be okay with being a single mom. Up until that point, I still felt like I needed someone to come into our lives to complete the family unit and make us whole. However, in the spring of 2016, I realized that we are a whole family, just the two of us, and blessed with some great extended family to boot! Since making that decision, it has just been confirmed every step I have made that it has been the right one.
Something that has surprised you about parenthood is…
…your heart is just never really the same! Anywhere I go, anything I do is influenced by the fact that I am a momma and very few moments pass that my daughter is not on my mind. The first (and only) time I had to be apart from her for a few days were the most miserable of my life, and I realized that life would never be the same.
What is something you would like to do but haven’t had time lately?
I have been meaning to clean out my car! I used to go every Sunday afternoon and vacuum and clean it, but now it happens a lot less frequently. It needs it now even more with a toddler in it!
What are some of your favorite parenting moments?
They generally occur when Annabelle says or does something kind or thoughtful without being prompted. A few months ago we were in the car and she said, “mom, I love you.” My heart just melted, and she went on to say, “but I really love my Minnie Mouse.” Talk about a low blow! But she truly has a tender heart and often thinks of things to make others happy or share with them.
What is your idea of a great weekend?
My idea of a great weekend is one with few commitments and time to really relax and spend focusing on my daughter. Her idea of a great time is watching TV (a special treat around our house) and eating Taco Bell (all of two times in her life) or swimming in anything with water.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face?
Moments when I leave to go to work and school are pretty difficult. Annabelle doesn’t want me to go (and honestly I would rather stay home and play too), but I put on my best attitude and trust that I am doing the best thing for her. The hours spent sitting in a classroom learning all of the conjugations and rules can seem like a waste of the precious hours that my baby is growing up, but soon they will be over and I will have accomplished something that will benefit us both.
What are some of your favorite family activities?
We enjoy swimming, playing at the splash pad, walking to the park and library, and spending time with our church family.
Name something you do not leave home without.
I never leave home without a change of clothes for my toddler. She is totally potty-trained, but that extra set comes in handy quite often – although I have to say sometimes I need one just as much; the clumsy must run in the family!
What is your favorite time of day?
My favorite time of the day is in the morning. I will generally wake up first, although sometimes it is to her voice echoing from her room that she is awake. She always stays in bed until I come and get her up, and when I walk in her room, she says, “good morning, mommy.”
What inspires you?
I find inspiration in my faith and church family. God has really just changed my whole life as I have had to learn to stop trying so hard to control everything and trust that He will take care of us. I have also been going to a Bible study for single moms, and I am learning so much from some wise women that have raised children as single moms. The friends I have made there can generally understand what I am going through better than anyone else in my life.
What would you like to say to SPSF supporters?
I would like to say “thank you very much!” The opportunity to return to school as a single mother is something I never could have expected.
Posted by Christina Meeks on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 @ 5:00AM
Categories: Blogging, Inspiring, Latest News, Meet a Recipient
Tags: #BetterBrighterNWA, #ScholarshipsSupportSuccess, Meet a Recipient, Scholarships for single moms, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas, SPSF NWA, University of Arkansas