Saturday, March 12, 2022

Changing Gears (Temporarily)


Oh, Time, you manipulative beast. How you toy with us! Then, just when you think you've got a plan, Time comes along and pees on your shoe.

The weather up here is much like our lives, all over the place. 

Yesterday it was almost sixty degrees, sunny and warm. Today we're in the middle of a blizzard, expecting seven inches of the fluffy white stuff- and I don't mean bunnies.

Unfortunately, the same thing is happening concerning the bakery. Red tape is sticky stuff and can clog up the works under normal circumstances, but throw in a pandemic and things get downright entrenched.

We have the business registered. We also have the bakery name registered (I'll announce the name when we get the logo trademarked). However, we need the deed to the house and store to move forward. 

I know what you're thinking. Yes, we should've gotten it when we officially bought the place. However, the surveyor still hadn't redefined the property lines (they had to separate our property from the parcel of land of the previous owner), so until they surveyed, the deed was in limbo. 

So we made repairs on the house, excited that it should be only a few weeks before we could start applying for grants and loans.

The surveyor came in February. Yes! We could finally move forward! 

But wait. He told us it would take more than a few weeks. It would take at least six to nine months.

Uh oh.

We paid off everything- including the new place when we moved- so we had zero debt. However, the repairs had cost more than expected (especially when a thousand dollars in building material went from a full skid to barely one-fourth of a skid), and the reserves were running out. Fast.

Time to change gears. We had to start looking for work. In the boonies. Even the locals said, 'Good luck with that!'

Our daughter found a job with a local egg-producing plant. God blessed us unexpectedly because the plant allows us to take home free eggs (as long as it was for home consumption). My husband found a job that was twice the distance, but it paid well. All he had to do was take the safety classes, and he was good to go.

Then things got weird. 

On day two of the mandatory classes, we got The Virus. All three of us. He lost the job because he didn't show up to the second safety class. He was viral. Oh sure, he could've shown up for the class with a 102-degree fever, but the safety class he studied for said not to go to work if you're sick because they work in the food industry. So he was let go for obeying the rules.

Gotta love the irony.

He could reapply, but only after two weeks in seclusion. It was a significant bump in the road, but our daughter said she would do what it took to keep us afloat. I'm thankful that God blessed us with great kids.

He also blessed us with a great church. They didn't know us from Adam (a little Biblical humor there), but they still wanted to help and donated a few gas cards and some food items to keep us going. I can't tell you what a blessing they are!

Almost three weeks later, my husband was in the process of reapplying for the job when he had to fetch our daughter from work. Unfortunately, he severely sprained his ankle on some black ice walking to the van. He was down for the count for at least six weeks.

Honestly, We felt like the Hebrews in Egypt. You need to listen to what God tells you! The first time, he got sick for two weeks; the second time, he was hurt for six weeks. We are not stupid people, and we took the hint that God just didn't want him to work at that job. We weren't willing to see what 'third times the charm' would do! 

The last time he didn't listen, he was in the hospital for eighteen days with third-degree burns. Thanks, but no thanks. We'll listen to the Big Guy from now on.

We found out later that the job required a five-year contract. Yikes!

So now we were back to square one. Should we keep looking for work, or did God have something else planned? We delved deep into business regulations to see if there was an answer. There was, but it wasn't clear what we should do about it. So we prayed. a lot.

Several things happened this week that both clarified and muddied the business waters. When we first moved here, we asked for a mentor from SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) but were told they were fresh out due to the pandemic. However, this week we were contacted by a mentor willing to talk with us!

Mentors help new business owners sort out what they need to start their businesses. His advice was constructive; we're considering changing the dynamics of our original bakery cafe. He also suggested we start out in the cottage industry until we get our business legs under us. He helped clarify a lot.

But we still needed income, and we knew God wasn't thrilled with the last prospect, so being more than a bit trepidacious, we looked for employment elsewhere. 

My husband starts his new job next week, and because we only have one vehicle, I'll be working out of the home, making things to sell at local fairs and online. In addition, I'll be going through what we don't need from the move to sell via a giant yard sale.

It won't be easy, but we will get this bakery off the ground! It might take a year longer than expected, but we know God put us here to feed people both physically and spiritually.

And when that happens, it's going to be awesome.


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