We travel a lot. I mean a lot. Travel is what supports our family. Well, not the actual travel, but the travel is the means to the work that supports and feeds our family. For the past few years Jeff has been building greenhouses. Our goal has always been to build up the business enough and pay off some personal debt so that we could travel as a family.
Let me tell you how it started…
Jeff and I were driving the California coast with three kids in tow, dreaming of our future. Believing that we were finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Our adoption wait was finally coming to a glorious end. One of our Congolese babies was already home and we were just mere weeks away from welcoming our second child home. At home, we were still living in a rental while we waited (hmmm….sensing a theme here) for our home to be restored from our house fire.
All the things had happened and we survived. All the hits and kicks while we were down and yet here we were, stronger because of Jesus. Stronger in our faith and our marriage and willing to risk more and dream bigger.
With open hands we had asked the Lord where he wanted us. With each hit we felt like we had the chance for a fresh start. Not everyone gets that. Not everyone understand that viewpoint. But we decided, together, to see the good over wallowing in setbacks. Each time we asked the Lord, open handed, where he wanted us, each time we felt strongly that he asked us to stay. Stay in this small midwest town. Stay in the familiar. Stay in the place we grew up. It actualy stretched us quite a bit as off and on we’d desire so greatly to move. Move our home. Uproot our family. It seemed like an adventure to leave. But God asked us to stay.
So we stayed. We chose our small town. We chose our community. We chose the Midwest.
And with open hands we asked the Lord for direction. And we allowed ourselves to dream. Little and big, together. Always together.
We sought out other options because our current situation was clearly coming to an end. We had ventured out on our own shortly after losing Thao. We started a woodworking business because Jeff makes beautiful art from God’s creation. I still don’t see it as that business failing as much as the time for it came to an end. We lost nothing. We gained much. We gained the knowledge of running a business. What works, what doesn’t. We learned more of what we love and also what we don’t. We tried it. We will never get to the end of our lives and wonder what would have happened if only we had tried to build a wood working business. We know.
But as that phase was clearly ending, we found ourselves asking a lot more questions than getting answers.
As we drove the coastline with our three sleepy littles in the back seat, we asked each other “why can’t we just do this and get paid for it?”
“I’ll write and you’ll play music and we’ll travel the country. We can try new restaurants a"nd blog about traveling and food, maybe?”And on and on we dreamed. Each feeling excited yet like it was just a wishful, far off dream.
A few months later we sat around our living room with some dear friends. Catching up on our lives now with four children, we shared with them our crazy, silly dream. We also added that we were starting the job hunt in other states because we just knew what we were doing wasn’t sustainable any longer. It saddened us, we told them, but we don’t see many other options. Besides, it could be a fun adventure!
They brought up this job. Greenhouses, they said. You could do those things while building greenhouses and still be rooted here. With our same community and same home. With familiar things, we could also go on adventures and travel and write and have more time with family.
The greenhouse gig seemed a little daunting. We’d have to be apart for a week at a time sometimes. We had just added to our family by adoption. We had just settled into our house again. Could this work?
We jumped in, scared and brave. We doubted and stumbled and ironed out some wrinkles. We said goodbyes each time with tears and hopes of building this thing to be something stable for our family and others.
And here we are, three years in, traveling with five kids. Living the dream.
The greenhouse life. Where everything always goes smoothly and parts are always on time and foundations are always level and we never hit any snags along the way. Where the baby never gets sick in the car and we never get stopped in traffic or have to take shelter for tornado warnings in Texas. Where it never snows in Colorado in April (or May?) and the wind, of course, never blows in Wyoming (or was that Nebraska?). Where you are never days late on a build with a 38-week pregnant wife waiting for you at home and the builds are always planned in advance and weather is never an issue and everything is consistent, even in the winter.
Oh wait. Nevermind.
But we are living the dream. Because we are together. We are living the dream because the Lord sustains and gives us strength. The greenhouse dream…building our own greenhouse construction company from the ground up (see what I did there?)