Acceptance of "The Way it Is"

Life has been a bit crazy lately. But then again, as I write that…I think that every blog post I have written over the past two years has basically started the same way. I had this realization the other day when I was pondering if I was ever going to feel “on top of it.” My kids are swirling around, screaching, playing in dirt, bumping heads, crying…oh the endless crying. The mere thought of having to empty the dishwasher for the 2nd time in one day seems overwhelming. I keep thinking to myself…if I can just get past this hard stage then I’ll be ok…just make it out alive. Then I had this slightly unhappy thought of “what if this is just the way it is.”

We have made a lot of choices over the past few years that have really set us up quite nicely for a life lived on the edge…of insanity. When I am evaluating all of these choices, I honestly can’t really think of any that I am wanting to  let go of in order to save brain space. So, I have really had to sit myself down this week and talk to God about how in the world I am supposed to function in this way. For me, just coming to this acceptance has helped me. So on days when I feel like all my to-do list my swallow me up alive, I think about how this is just how it is right now and move along. I can personally waste a lot of time living in the “what if’s” and in the frustration that things aren’t the way I want them.

I specifically feel very challenged in the realm of child rearing and homeschooling. I have pretty much come to the determination that this was not intended to be done as a solo parent. Alex works outside of the home for 11 hours a day. That’s a REALLY long time to be alone with 3 children, manage a house and a business. It is for this reason that I feel I am putting every spare minute I have into building businesses that can help us achieve our ultimate goal of sustainability and for Alex to not have to work outside the house. It really is such a big dream.

It honestly brings me to humble tears thinking about how blessed we have been over these past few years. I cannot give God enough glory for what he has accomplished in our lives. I cannot thank our friends and family enough for the love, support and help they have been to us in all of our crazy endeavors.

So through it all, I fight hard and cry hard. Most days I don’t think I am going to get through it. Other days, I feel completely renewed and motivated. Accepting that this life that we have chosen is indeed a lot of work has helped me push past the regret, the envy, the pity and helped me put the pedal to the metal and make it happen. Fueled by passion, letting stress go.

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What's Going On: 10 O'Clock Contemplations

You may have wondered where I have disappeared to recently. Maybe you haven’t. I secretly wish that you did miss me. What have I been doing for weeks without posting an amazingly entertaining blog post? Well…we have been a tad busy around here lately. I’ve also gotten into some writers block. I know! Crazy! Out of amazing ideas! Nevertheless, I’m back tonight. Thought I would deliver you some updates and some changes.

Wow were getting so close to having the coffee shop open. Cleaning and a final inspection to go and we’re ready! I honestly don’t even know what to say about it all as I am so overwhelmed with emotions. This has really been a challenging and exciting time for us as a family…but it’s been hard and we are ready for a break…a break in manual hard labor that is! No more drywall, paint, plumbing, digging, or cleaning. We are ready to just do the business work! Which does lead me to the announcement of a few things. In just a few days we will be launching our very own eCommerce site for coffee. Wanna sneak peek? Visit and poke around 😉  We’re not accepting orders quite yet…but we will be very soon. With that we also have the ability to ship orders to anywhere in the country. Woo! It also means we have to deal with pesky things like taxes. Just part of the package. So that’s the nitty gritty’s. Lemme move on to more emotional topics.

I have found myself asking myself (as I am sure others have wondered the same)…WHY? Why are we doing all this. Pouring our heart and soul into a business…swiping the card endless amounts of time at Home Depot for yet another few parts and materials. Why is a good question. One I am not sure we can fully answer right now. We have been dreaming for many years about the idea of starting a family business. The first reason is because we love coffee…we always have. We got passionate about the organics and fair trade industry and wanted to make a difference. We also were passionate about connecting people with missionaries in foreign countries through the use of coffee. We began Coffee with a Mission at church to bridge this gap. It has really grown from there. The second reason why we wanted this business is to pursue self-sustainability. While it seems a far fetch of a dream that this business could actually support our family entirely without Alex having to work away from home, we cannot make any progress towards that goal unless we are willing to take some steps in that direction. Thirdly, the feeling of “making the dream happen” is such a satisfying experience and we wish everyone could experience it. So that’s the nutshell.

How have we been able to do all this? Afford all this? I’m going out on a limb here…pure honesty. I struggle with feelings of guilt and unworthiness. How was I so blessed to even have this ABILITY to begin such an adventure? Deep down I am afraid of making others feel bad or jealous. I hate that feeling. If I could just give all the coffee away I would (although my husband would surely come after me). I want to be real though. We have NOT done this alone. While we have followed in God’s leading of taking a leap of faith, it has certainly been very backed by supporters. Our parents have been generous supports both in work and financially. We literally could not have started this journey without them. The help and hands they have provided over the past months has been invaluable. With three young children running around, it would have been near impossible…scratch that…IMPOSSIBLE to ever accomplish this single-handedly. We have been very blessed with hardworking parents who are willing to lend their skills & child wrangling abilities. We have also had major support from close friends who have offered their help and encouragement along the way. This has kept our head above water, esp when times got hard and tried to pull us under. So all this to say- we’re really trusting God through this process and letting Him guide the next steps. This is not the result of some ability of ours…but rather the Grace He is pouring out. My mom wrote me a beautiful letter and I love the verses that she wrote.

Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. John 4:36

I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor. John 4:38

Those who have sowed into our lives will be blessed just as we are being blessed. There have been those who have gone before us and worked hard in order to help us now. We are reaping the blessings of our parents and grandparents’ hard labor. We are so grateful and full of joy. So when I start to feel those lies creeping in of guilt or fear…I just recall the Grace which He has lavished and rejoice that we get to share that with YOU through the practical means of coffee. Man that’s a win-win. So…that How. That’s how we did it.

Alright ya’ll deep thought for the night are shuttin down. Gotta put the brain to rest! We have a big business conference we are attending tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Coffee Biz Update: Plumbed & Painted

Hey ya’ll thought I’d give you a quick update…we have been SWAMPED busy here lately…which is probably why the blog has been rather quiet as of late. Whoa life is busy. But good…mostly good.

Where we at? How are we doing? We are getting SO close. These past couple of weekends we have knocked out the final huge project of bringing plumbing into the space. We had to dig yet another trench…about 80 feet worth. It was terrible, miserable, curse-worthy work. I helped, so that gives me permission to complain. OK…sorry, no complaining here, we don’t do that. Let’s just say that was definitely NOT the highlight of the project. We were blessed to have some help from a friend and we got all of the plumbing in and tied into the septic system. Yikes! I would really like to re-iterate God’s blessing throughout all of this. We got a quote from a plumbing company on how much they would charge just to tie into the septic system…no digging included…it was going to cost us $1,200. Wow, yeah no. Thankfully we have a very skilled plumbing friend who helped us FO FREE…well some labor bartering and Mexican food. Come on, who can pass that kind of wage up? 😉 Thank you friends.

In other news, we got all of the drywall up, plastered and painted…with free paint mind you. 😉

So what’s up next?

1. Get plumbing inspected.

2. Install crown molding (high class, I know!) & base molding.

3. Trim out windows

4. Install flooring (linoleum)


We’re getting super super close ya’ll! This is so exciting. Do we really have any idea what we are doing?! No…not really. We are just trusting God and His leading. He is always faithful to light the next step. I am quick to doubt sometimes…and really scratch my head thinking “what in the world girlfren, you done gone crazy.”

Well, crazy or not, were here, we’re moving forward. Another step towards the dream. Thanks for following. 

Coffee Biz Update: I've Got the Power

You read that right. Oh boy…we have been waiting for this day for a LONG TIME. I can’t even remember when we started running power to the garage…but I am pretty sure it was last fall. Wow. That took a.very.long.time. But as of August 30th, 2014, HOUSTON WE HAVE POWER!! Big thanks to my Dad, and Paul for getting this thing DONE. Phew. My dear sweet husband can now plug in his table saw in the garage without having to run a 75′ extension cable from the house. If you can’t tell I am beyond excited about this. We have LIGHTS in the garage (no longer hanging flashlights from the rafters to work in the dark.) Doesn’t everyone work in their garage after dark…or is that just us crazy country folks?

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So…that’s big news on the coffee front too! Means we can actually power our roaster, run an a/c unit, turn on a light, and listen to music…ALL at the same time. Like whoa. Ok, I’ll stop with the dramatics and the all-caps. In case you are wondering what kind of crazy electrical set-up we gots going on out there…I might have to leave that post to the Wise One. It’s something like a subpanel with 60amp circuit, with like 220v plugs…or something. I’ll stop now, lest I make myself look entirely dumb.

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We have also finished all the insulation…eww, thanks Alex’s Dad for handling that bear of a job. Finally, we got the ceiling dry-walled. I actually helped with that. I’m not trying to brag or anything, I am just making a note that I did help. And it was hard. Really hard. Not sure my arms have ever burned so hard trying to hold something heavy above my head for that long. Someone sympathize for me, please…I know my husband won’t…He works this hard all the time! Nevertheless, ya’ll better believe I was soaking in my Epsom salts that night.

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I think that’s about the round up for this week. Power, insulation, drywall. Tons accomplished! We have been blessed with so much help…but there’s always room for more! And, we pay in beans!

What’s next? Plumbing. This is going to be a bear. (As if the other isn’t!) We have decided to do a sump pump instead of the above ground gravity fed pipe like we originally considered doing. This means digging a big trench, jackhammering part of the concrete floor, etc. Thankfully, we are blessed with talented friends and family so we are escaping all of this without the cost of hiring anyone.

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I look over these things…sometimes I question why are we doing this? For us, it has kind of been an Abraham journey. We don’t see the big picture and how this is going to go. God has lit the path only for the next step. We have big dreams for this business, but they all seem so overwhelming in light of where we are and how far we have to go. In the meantime however, we are taking steps in faith in the direction of FORWARD. The journey has taken a lot of courage, but we are confident that He who has begun a good work will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).

Check out more in the Coffee Biz Series:

Starting a Biz in NC

Water Works

Walls Up

Coffee Biz Update: Walls Up!

We have begun! As many of you know we are trying to get our coffee business up and running. It is a very exciting prospect but one that requires a lot of hoops to jump through. We decided to take the plunge and go for it despite hurdles. We have been cleared by all agencies to begin renovation!
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The section in the upper left hand quadrant will become the “roasting room”. We have had some exciting finds through Craigslist and thrift stores and have not paid full price for anything yet! We got all of the stainless steel sinks we need (3 of them) for $30! I have found doors, flooring, countertops, & ac unit for 50% off or more. A few more things to hunt down and then we are pretty much stocked!

This past weekend we had a wonderful bunch of help and the guys were able to get the walls up and most of the electrical work done. It feels somewhat surreal. I never would have dreamed of starting and owning a business. It’s crazy! However, things just keep coming down the pipe for us that helps us to confirm that we are on the right path. We already have some prospects of small shops and stores that are interested in selling our coffee. Anyways, it’s a wild journey, but we are hanging on for the ride!
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It always shocks me how projects take longer than I expect. We have a long way to go, but hey at least we’re goin! If you want to come help give us a shout! Hey, we might even be able to hook you up with some of the good joe.

Other posts in this series:

1. Tips to Start a Business in North Carolina
2. Coffee Biz Update: The Water Works

Coffee Biz Update: The Water Works

Well we have officially gathered as much information as we need to move forward in building the coffee business. In my last post about starting the business, I mentioned the need to meet with various inspectors, etc. I won’t go into the nitty gritty but here’s where were at.

  1. We MUST have plumbing into our coffee roasting area (which is going to be a portion of the garage sectioned off by walls).
  2. This plumbing must drain into our existing septic tank.
  3. Drain to septic tank must be gravity flow
  4. 3 sinks are required in the structure (hand washing, utensil, and sanitizing sink). Utility sink in house will serve as “mop sink”.
  5. Hot AND cold water are required to the sinks.

Wham. Wham. Wham. Geeze o’ pete. That’s a lot of requirements to run an operation that basically generates no mess and uses no “utensils.” Alas, rules are rules. We are not entirely intimidated by them…except for one. The gravity flow issue. Yah. You see our septic tank is pretty far up, I guess due to the water table or something. If you have seen our backyard, you know what I’m talking about. It looks bojangled. The garage is sitting downhill from the septic tank and therefor there is no water gravity flowing in that direction. Rats. Our only option here (unless we wanted to spend like 10 grand) is to put the plumbing line above the ground. We would then bury it, but it would leave a nice hill in the backyard. Not terrible as we already have one of those “hills” from the line that comes from the house. It’s hard to explain. Nevermind, I’ll post a picture someday. For now, we can make it work…it’s just a pain in the boot.

However, we have been cleared by county zoning, the health department and the local FDA…so we’re good to move onward. We need a plumber however, that can help us connect to the existing system. Preferably one that would take coffee as payment, or perhaps a load of zucchini. Lol.

We also have to make some major renovations to the garage in order to get this all to work. So we’re now accepting applications for those who would like to donate their manual labor. Hey we might pay you back in beans.