My son Sam was in first grade, climbed into the car after a tough day with other students at school and asked me, “What do people do if they don’t have God?”
My answer to him was a simple, “I have no idea.” It’s this very question that motivates me every day to share the Word of God. I know I’m not alone when I say that life can be hard sometimes, and so sweet at other times. I’ve been in ministry for almost 20 years, and just when I think I’ve got my life figured out and it should be smooth sailing, God redirects me and places a new challenge on my heart. This experience I’ve been led to create is a work of love for our Lord and for every woman out there who needs Him. Each one of my experiences at each location will have a different focus, because you can’t cover life in one Women, Wine, and The Word experience.
We need God. We need each other. We need to share and laugh and cry and drink wine and eat good food. We need nourishment in every way. And if my crazy life can help you find nourishment, then I am grateful I get to share with you.
Mandy grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa. During her childhood, Mandy’s parents ran a bed and breakfast, which helped teach Mandy early on about responsibility, the rewards of hard work, and having to deal with all kinds of personalities in a kind, appreciative manner.
As a teenager, Mandy was involved with several church activities, including youth group. This made a huge impact and would help mold who she became in her future. Mandy began singing in elementary school, and began singing lessons with a professional voice coach in high school. She became an accomplished young singer, competing in and winning many voice competitions throughout the Midwest such as regional contests and county fairs, and Mandy had little room for all of her trophies. All of this experience taught Mandy to be comfortable with crowds and see successes from working hard and being confident. Mandy continues to sing to this day as part of her job at church, and occasionally sings the National Anthem at local sporting events. Currently, Mandy is learning how to play the piano and is excited to occasionally add that to her singing.
Mandy attended Central College in Pella, Iowa on a vocal music scholarship, and has a major in communication with a minor in sociology. During sophomore year, Mandy studied abroad in London, studying at the University at Westminster, and at the University of London. During her time in London, Mandy interned at Field Lane Homeless Center.
After Mandy’s junior year in college, she married her high school boyfriend that she had met when she was just 14, and Mandy and her husband lived in Pella while Mandy was finishing up college. While a senior, in addition to Mandy going to school full time, she worked full time at night from 4:00 to midnight as a case worker at a county youth shelter.
Once college was completed Mandy and her husband moved to the state of Washington, where Mandy was a full time Youth and Christian Education Director at a church for three years. After that, Mandy worked as a counselor at a domestic violence/sexual assault agency for two years. During this time, Mandy and her husband had their first child, a son named Sam.
For various reasons including not wanting Sam to be in full-time child care, Mandy knew she had to do something else so she could be more flexible with her schedule and spend more time with Sam. Mandy’s coworker’s friend was a Mary Kay Cosmetics salesperson and talked to Mandy about this new opportunity. Mandy asked the woman if she could make so much a month, the woman said yes, and Mandy quit her job and became a full time Mary Kay consultant. Unlike what many would hear or feel if someone was approached with an “opportunity” like this, Mandy never questioned it and never questioned herself and lack of success was not an option, as this was something she learned from her own experiences as well as helping and watching her parents building their business. Within 6 months Mandy became a Mary Kay Director, supporting, recruiting, influencing, and speaking to countless women one on one as well as in large groups, training, going to, and being part of large conventions. Mandy earned four cars, and earned the prestigious pink Cadillac having over seventy consultants in her group.
During this time, Mandy had her second child, a daughter named Paige.
Mandy’s motivation and influence did not spark from money. Mandy’s hard work and passion was to always humbly help and influence other women to improve their own lives and feel better about themselves.
Although Mandy’s Mary Kay business was flourishing for over 6 years now, Mandy was missing something in her soul and felt a strong call back to full time ministry. As well, after being in a toxic marriage for years Mandy knew she had to get a divorce, and knew in order to do that she had to get back to her family in Iowa.
While now living in Montana, Mandy looked for a job in ministry back in Iowa. She had a few unsuccessful phone interviews, but then a pastor interviewed her for a Youth and Contemporary Worship Director opening. Mandy had plenty of experience with youth and singing, but did not have experience with instruments or leading a group of musicians. However, the pastor was so impressed with Mandy during the phone interview a few days later the church created a brand new part-time position as a Children and Family Ministries Director, called Mandy back with the offer, and she accepted. The salary of a part time church employee versus a Mary Kay director are quite opposite of each other, but Mandy had to get back into ministry, and she had to get back to Iowa.
Mandy stopped her Mary Kay business cold turkey, and moved her and her family back to Iowa. Mandy quickly got promoted to full time, and has had various positions at this church through the years. She is currently the Director of Discipleship and Family Ministries at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
While working at St. Mark’s, Mandy grew the youth group from one group of about 10 youth, to two groups of about 25 in one group, and often 40 or more youth in the other. As well, Mandy has a very successful and growing to an almost standing-room-only women’s bible study group. Mandy sings during many contemporary worship services, and will occasionally lead worship when the pastor needs to be elsewhere. Mandy was also a critical part of convincing the congregation to approve a major church-expansion project to better serve the neighborhood and the many successful and growing ministries the church has. In addition to full time work during the day, Mandy leads one youth group on Sunday nights, another youth group on Wednesday nights, a women’s bible study on Tuesday nights, and has band practice on many Thursday nights for Sunday’s service.
Soon after moving back to Iowa, Mandy divorced to focus on her children, God, and her own well-being. Although the marriage was toxic, the decision to divorce was a huge struggle and Mandy needed to get some moral counsel. After all, how can a woman who follows Jesus and working at a church get a divorce? Does that disqualify a person from being in ministry?
Although Mandy was more than busy with life, after a while she felt alone and started dating. Nothing was worth a sneeze until a man on a dating website asked her if she was interested in swapping a few emails. Tom, a divorced father of three, quickly became Mandy’s date, boyfriend, and husband.
Mandy’s life and work experiences make her a modest, humorous, loving, talented, caring, understanding woman. And her passion to love, help, teach, and learn from others as both a Godly woman and as a real woman is both tireless and tiring. But with the Bible in one hand and a fun, relaxing, purposeful glass of wine in the other, Mandy is passionately eager to share her stories and teaching with you.
- My backyard deck swing
- Creamer, with a little bit of coffee
- Watching Jimmy Fallon in bed with my husband
- Taking a walk with my mom
- A glass of chardonnay
- A warm blanket
- Watching whatever my kids are involved in
My Beautiful Family
My gorgeous ginger man and I have been married for 3 years. What a gift God blindsided me with. He is my biggest fan and strongest cheerleader. Without his encouragement, Women, Wine and the Word wouldn’t exist. He embraces the craziness that is our life. His humor, laugh, love for our kids, and seeing the tears in his eyes when he’s proud are some of my greatest pleasures in life.
Molly and her husband Seth… and our first grandchild, Lucy!! ♥♥
These five children and our dog are such a blessing in my life. They keep my husband and I constantly happy, praying, proud, and busy, but I absolutely would not want it any other way.