Jackie Follmuth, the Woman Behind Mom Life Optimized
and Owner/Manager of Winding Paths, LLC
The short story about who I am:
I am Jackie, a Christian, a wife, a mother to 4 amazingly, talented and smart children and a stay-at-home homeschooling mom with a passion for organization, productivity, and encouragement. I am also a foster and adoptive parent and an Air Force veteran. I was a career woman as a Program Manager and Engineer in the defense industry and now love every moment (okay, not every…any of us would be lying if we said that) of being home with my children and utilizing my gifts and experience to help other moms.
Okay, if you have the time, here’s the long About Me story:
Hi! My name is Jackie Follmuth and I am a daughter, sister, wife, and mom. I just recently turned 40 and when I look back at all the places and experiences God has taken me through I can’t believe I’ve had the opportunity to do so much in this life and also be so completely blessed with an amazing husband and 4 wonderfully, unique children.
I grew up near Cincinnati, OH, more specifically Milford, OH until I was 15. My dad is an engineer and my mom is an entrepreneur with many talents and abilities. My family moved to Clifton Park, NY just after I started 9th grade at the age of 15. I have two little sisters that I grew up with so I was the oldest by 5 years. I finished high school and then went on to college at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and graduated in 2001 with an Industrial and Management Engineering degree and was commissioned into the Air Force. My first duty station was at Maxwell AFB, AL.
I spent 5 years in the Air Force as a Scientific Analyst and traveled overseas to England and Korea and all over the U.S. with my job at Maxwell AFB and then Eglin AFB, FL. While at Maxwell AFB God strategically placed two women in my life, Marcy and Rachel, who shared Christ with me over many visits together before I finally let go and let Jesus grab ahold of my heart. He changed so much about me. I was baptized in Montgomery, AL in April 2003 and life has never been the same.
Soon after I accepted Christ into my life God laid on my heart to start my own business in the fitness and nutrition field. Specifically, God wanted me to talk to people to encourage them to get away from the vanity of fitness and nutrition and to see it as a mission in their life for Christ. Being fit and healthy was about taking care of our body because it is a temple that houses the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:19-20). We have a purpose in our life and God can more readily use us when we are healthy, spiritually and physically. So I became a personal trainer and nutrition consultant (while on active duty in the military) and worked with a number of people and had an amazing time doing it!
In May 2005 I met my husband. At the time I met him I was planning to separate from the military and take on my business full time. God had different plans. I wasn’t looking to meet my husband then. Although I was 28 years old, I wasn’t really looking to get married. I had enough happened in my 20s so far that pretty much left me thinking I was good on my own. Boy was I wrong!!
In May 2005, my husband and I met in Summerville, SC on a random road trip I took with a friend. I had just been promoted to Captain that week and we thought we’d celebrate with a trip to Charleston, SC. Little did I know I would meet my husband there. We lived 8 hours apart. I was in Ft Walton Beach, Fl and he was in Charleston, SC. We both loved traveling and hiking so we met up as much as we could, sometimes halfway, sometimes at each other’s location and just explored. We were head over heels and on November 19, 2005, David proposed to me at the top of a waterfall on Chimney Rock in NC.
Soon after the proposal, David received notice that the military was moving him to Grand Forks, ND. Thankfully he had already proposed and I said yes. I truly thought God was going to keep me in Florida as I was going to leave the military and really build my business. But….David was worth more than that, so I went with him to Grand Forks. We were married on August 19, 2006, at Fort Snelling in Minnesota.
In August 2007 we welcomed our first child, our daughter Madison. Then in August 2009, we welcomed our first son, Nicholas. Both pregnancies were amazing and awesome! Both deliveries were life threatening as I almost died giving birth to Madison due to a tear that caused internal bleeding and subsequently put me in the Critical Care Unit unable to get my blood to start clotting and functioning properly. After all of that and a number of blood transfusions, the doctors weren’t sure I’d be able to have more children. God’s plan prevailed though and we were pregnant with Nicholas just a little over a year later. Nicholas’s entry into this world came 2 months early. I ended up having placenta acretia. It was a blessing he came when he did or he nor I may have survived. Nick and I spent 21 days at the hospital. He weighed just 3lbs 13oz yet he was quite the champion and defied the odds. About a year after Nicholas was born my doctor told me the hard news; I most likely would not survive another pregnancy nor would a child. So we made the hard decision to be done and I had a tubal ligation.
From 2010-2013 David continued working for the Air Force and I was a government contractor leading a large team of military and civilians as we stood up a brand new unmanned aircraft mission at Grand Forks AFB, ND. I had obtained my Master’s Degree in Project Management and earned professional certifications as a Project Management Professional and Risk Management Professional. My name was Jacquelyn Follmuth, PMP, PMI-RMP! I loved my job and the people I worked with. I traveled around the world and the U.S. Everything seemed great!
But then God…. God changed our lives and at the time I thought it was crazy. God provided an opportunity for David to be selected for a special duty assignment as a First Sergeant and for me to be able to leave my job to be home with our kids. In June 2013, Dave was selected to attend the First Sergeant Academy and we got orders to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. By September 30, 2013, we had landed in Washington with our two children ages 4 and 6.
It was here in WA that I began homeschooling our kids and God laid on our hearts to become foster parents. Two of the best ‘jobs’ I’ve ever had! We were blessed to be able to adopt our very first foster placement, our son, Zakariah, in November 2016. We have had a number of other children in our home and currently are waiting to adopt our daughter, Ellietta.
I have now been homeschooling for 5 years, we just recently retired after 20 years of service in the military and God has led me to start Winding Paths, LLC as a ministry to other moms. David has been praying and searching for the next steps in his life and through a series of really neat events God has called David to be a local firefighter here. He is currently working through that process and we are praying God continues to open and shut doors throughout both of our lives as we continue to raise and grow our family and seek His plan for our lives.