Hi, I’m Dwan!

Welcome to my creative space. While browsing Life.Family.Joy you can find easy DIY projects, simple recipes, party planning tips and some of the best personalized gifts. I never need an excuse to throw a party. I believe every part of life is worth celebrating! My favorite are themed parties.

When I am not in my studio creating wooden art, I am spending time with my large family and doodle pups. I love to travel and work towards marking items off my Life List.

Helping others is a passion of mine. I love to share craft tips, help other women in business and am always open to swapping parenting stories.

The products you can find in my shop are crafted in my studio located in Texas. I work mostly with wood and acrylic with a small dabble in authentic leather. From laser machines to small woodworking tools, I’m always finding new equipment to add to my studio. Learning new techniques excites me.

If you want to learn more about me and my family, or how this blog originally started over 15 years ago, keep reading below. I even linked a few journal posts that give you a glimpse behind the scenes of our family.


Where you can find me!

You can connect with me on social media as @LifeFamilyJoy. I love to share what I’m working on in the studio, party planning tips, simple crafts and some of our family adventures.

Where I came from:
I was Texas born and raised. One of the lucky ones whose parents are still married. I have two half-sisters on my dad’s side, currently seven nieces, five nephews, two great-nieces and one great-nephew. My mom’s side of the family lives in Tennessee where she grew up, therefore I have spent quite a bit of my life traveling there. Since my mom was raised in the country being part of a family with eight children, she never had much growing up. When she moved to the city, married my father and decided to have me… well let’s just say she was determined to work hard and give me everything she never had. I will admit I was one of those spoiled little kids, yet I didn’t act it. I was raised to be very responsible, independent and pushed hard in school.

Where I’ve been:
When I was 15 I made a choice to take my male best-friend of four years to the next level and T was born. Becoming a teenage mom has been one of the hardest things I have accomplished in life. Once T was conceived I didn’t believe there was any other choice than keeping her and succeeding in life as a teen mom.  My first job was at IHOP as a hostess, then I dabbled in retail including piercing ears at Claire’s, went on to Wells Fargo Bank as a teller and into the corporate world working for DFW Airport Board and Lockheed Martin.

I was raised in the city of Fort Worth, lived in the country of Tennessee, small town of Mineral Wells and am now back to my roots in the DFW area. I got married in 2000 and divorced in 2003. My second child was born in 2002 with disabilities. Gabby had a stroke in utero which we didn’t learn until she was four months old. Raising a child with special needs and, so far, seven major surgeries has been one of the other most difficult things I’ve accomplished. Gabby has Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, and Mood Disorder. She had a hemispherectomy in November 2007 which is the removal of the left side of her brain. This was to stop the constant seizures she was experiencing. Since then we have struggled with short term memory loss and frustration/anger. I had my third and last biological child in 2006 – my first son, Noah.

My first steps into the blog world were on a Hubspot site in 2006 (if you don’t count my MySpace blog or the ancient AOL forum days) to cover entertainment. In 2007 I branched out to a Sampa site to keep family and friends informed about Gabby’s progress during her major surgeries. Our four-month hospital stay was documented with status updates and photos. I then turned it into a Blogger blog via Blogspot. In February 2009, I decided to brand my blog a little more of who I was and during this I moved over to self-hosted WordPress.

Where I’m at:
My dream in the past was to become a CPA, I actually majored in accounting in college. Once Gabby’s needs became more time consuming my outlook on life changed. Living on a rollercoaster with your child you learn to appreciate life a little more. I took my life plan and threw it away to write a whole new one. This has been one of the other hardest things I’ve ever done and am still doing today. I think it is so important to cherish life and make your passions reality. Being a CPA would have provided for my family but I wouldn’t have felt fulfilled. Working with non-profit organizations, participating in community events, working with children and teens (especially teen mothers) is where my heart is. Social Media and writing have become a huge part of my life. Marketing brands I believe in, giving back to wonderful organizations and helping even one person, makes me feel great.

Having a creative outlet has been a lifesaver for me.

In 2012 I met an amazing man to whom I finally opened my heart again.  After being a single mom for many years, blending families has been a rewarding experience.

Where I’m headed:
I plan to use this space to share my love of finding joy in all parts of life. I never need an excuse to celebrate or throw a party! While staying true to my brand I will also share behind the scenes and snippets of our family journey. While this space was originally created as a lifestyle blog with a mix of entertainment, it has grown alongside my children into my creative outlet. Now I get the pleasure to share my craft with you.

One day, my dream is to finally put all my notes, thoughts and voice recordings into print to finish my memoir.

Always remember: “Cherish today, for you never know what tomorrow brings” ~ Dwan