Warehouse and 35 Years.

Today, we went under contract to buy a warehouse in Marietta for our growing small business. We have outgrown working out of our house. We are excited (and honestly I'm a little terrified), but its our first commercial real estate to own! Please pray for our due diligence period and we would close by the end of the year. More importantly, we are celebrating Tim turning 35 this weekend! That's a pretty good present, buying him a warehouse, right?!  Let me start back a minute....
Below is a picture of us the night we were engaged at 21. Tim is the middle of three boys. He had a pretty perfect childhood with an enormous family that I married into and love so much. So many people told us it was a bad idea to date at 18. We were so young. People told us there is no way we would last through college and several times people said to break up and just date other people to just make sure. I've officially known Tim almost half of our lives. We have grown up, changed, and figured out who we were, but thankfully we did it together. When I see the grace of God, I see it in our marriage. We hit the hard stuff after we got married. Pregnant at 23 we became parents. After that, the next 7 years that would test everything we had. We were directly hit by the economy bubble bursting and Tim's awesome construction sales job filed bankruptcy. Tim would go on to cycle through 7 jobs that he increasingly became more miserable at as the economy was at its lowest,. We would have another baby, but also have 5 miscarriages during these years. Then, we would sell everything we had and start over. We would buy a $40k house to renovate and Tim would go back to college to get his HVAC degree. I would clean houses, he would make chainsaw bears, and we would buy and sell anything we could to make it work. I remember being at my lowest and just wanting out of my marriage and to just run away. Through a lot of prayers, literally Jesus as our savior, and a HUGE network of support with family and friends, we held on to Hope that things could only get better. And that meant every day waking up and believing that. And that meant months and years of putting in the work and I truly believe Jesus gave us the strength to be steadfast. Tim is the hardest working guy I know. He is the most honest guy I know. ( He is honest to a fault sometimes which gets him in trouble with me ;). I got to see Tim turn into the man God made him to be. I prayed all these years I could be the wife and woman God wanted me to be. We made it to the other side. Tim not only got his HVAC degree and started the industry almost 7 years ago making $10 an hour ripping out ductwork in attics, but has become a business owner. He worked so hard and passed his state license exam and launched his own HVAC company, Summit Heating and Air, 2 years ago. Tim is high energy, crazy, not afraid of anything, and all his personality tests say he is high risk (with little discernment added in there ;). I told a friend this morning that our life song should be, "Life in the Fast Lane." and I feel as his wife I am either closing my eyes, holding on, or begging him to slow down! It has no doubt been the craziest ride of our life, but I am lucky to be standing by my man. I pray our kids will see Jesus is our rock when we are not and that marriage will truly test the best, worst, sickest, healthiest, highs, lows, and everything in between. Tim, I love you so much and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to do life with you. You truly are my best friend, other half, and there is nothing I won't do for you. Cheers to our roller coaster of growing up, having babies, renovating houses, adopting a special needs child, starting a company, adding onto our house, and now buying a warehouse. My prayer when we got married was that we would be different and life wouldn't be boring. Never doubt God's power and sense of humor!!!! Happy 35th Birthday Timmy!!!


Summer Survival

Our summer has been off to a crazy start!!! Are you bipolar with your summertime mindset like me?? You love no schedule, but you hate no schedule. You love your kids home, but then you feel like you aren't going to make it. You don't want them in camps, but then you do need them in camps. You dream about family vacations, but then wonder what going alone looks like?! You have more time in your day, but where did all our time go? You tell the children all day they will have an earlier bedtime tonight, but then you realize its 9pm and still sunny outside. You went swimming in the pool so that cancels out bathtime. Your kids bathing suits just stay on. Summer is like an eat fest and you have now decided to order all groceries through Shipt because you are not taking your wet and dirty children into the store. Yall. Kids and summertime is magical, but terrifying and exhausting. It's so hard to balance and also find time for yourself to catch a break. I, like you, am keeping mine close but praying desperately for the energy to do it!!

 It is our busiest season of the year for our heating and air company! Summit has been all hands on deck and we are constantly amazed at the success and growth we've had. Tim has hired 2 people and has 2 trucks and a trailer and we cannot wait to watch it grow more. It has been fun to dream and watch God use his company in ways we didn't expect. If you've followed our blog for a while you know that my heart is bursting with gratitude and also joy for Tim that he is doing his deal. I couldn't be more supportive and on board and helping in all the ways I can!!

I was asked to share our story of my sweet friend, Sarah Bragg's "Surviving Sarah" Podcast. Sarah will be your new best friend, she has such a great way of connecting with people and is a really inspiring person to know. Please check out her show and you can tune in here to hear my episode!

We surprised the kids on Memorial Day weekend with a trip to Captiva Island. It was honestly the best kick off to the summer! We woke them up at 4am and told them they were about to get on an airplane.... they have never flown before!!! (Well, David with me at 9 months old but he has no memory of it :) They lost their minds. So excited. They did incredible. I will never forget their faces when the plane took off......

Arriving in Captiva, we stayed in the South Seas Resort!
Sea life everywhere, Mackenzie rescued this starfish! We saw dolphins, manatees, and they brought home 50 sand dollars!

Our room overlooked the marina and the kids loved to watch the boats come and go!

We rented a boat one day and literally went island hopping. We were right next to Cabbage Key and went to check out where Jimmy Buffett allegedly wrote, "Cheeseburger in Paradise"

South Seas has nature checkpoints all over the island. The kids completed the whole course and got 15 bands for all 15 checkpoints and went on the Wall of Fame!!! Their favorite stop was the Key Lime trees.

We are surviving summer! Kids just picked 2 camps and we are home a good bit. I found myself having some staples this summer, so here's what's in my summer bag:
First, my H&M waterproof magnetic closure bag. I'm obsessed and its my bag the whole summer.
I always have a magazine. I will rip out a recipe or read about ways to try and organize my house.
Wet Brush- If you have a daughter, enough said.
Skin So Soft Sunscreen and Bugspray all in one, and it actually works. Amazon link
Zinc Oxide for faces, works better than suncreen. Amazon link
Palmers Cocoa Butter spf lip balm, it smells amazing and stays on Amazon link
I have a mix of Young Living oils I keep on hand and this combo is cedarwood and vetiver
At the pool I keep a sun hat so I don't get raccoon eyes from my sunglasses and when I've had too much sun I just put on a super thin long sleeve cover up and I can stay out a little longer!

That is what I'm loving this summer!!!


Cannonballs and Chihuahuas

Leave it to my three children to dig up a cannonball in the backyard and cause a viral interest and news crews stalking us down! Actually, Mackenzie was the finder. She is the queen of mud pies in the backyard and I had no idea she had even found it until she brought it inside and put it in the bathtub to start washing it. When it hit the tub and about cracked it in half, I came rushing in and called Tim!! He came home and we confirmed with a friend that it was indeed a piece of history! I posted my fun picture of the cannonball, below, on our city facebook page thinking a few neighbors might think it was interesting, and low and behold everyone lost their mind. We had people sending us messages, local diggers wanting to come excavate my yard, and then our local news station calling, emailing, texting, and hunting us down. We decided to let them come and Mackenzie got to share her news story on camera, ha!! It was a really special find. We live about 1 mile from Sherman's Headquarters in Downtown Marietta and it was a great opportunity to talk to our kids about the Civil War. Here is a link to the news story: http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/109018922-story

A few weeks later, we went down to Savannah for Spring Break! We are really into kayaking as a family and we decided to camp on Skidaway Island for 5 days (now that I'm typing it I sit in the gravity of how simple it sounded in my head versus in writing). And actually, I made it 4 days, not 5. After the 4th day, I called it done and we drove home that night :) It was definitely a memorable trip, our kids had a blast. *I will add my parents came along and were next door with a huge 50ft. RV. So, don't feel like I was roughing it too bad!! Although my children are older now, traveling is still so much work. We push through, but the amount of planning, packing, and patience is really unbelievable. I don't know why we just don't stay home. But we don't. So, following our Civil War lesson, Sherman's March to the Sea ended in Savannah. I love kayaking with our kids because it's exercise, everyone is contained to their own boat, and we are all moving in the same direction (physically and quite often with our attitudes ;) We researched a historical river that boasts some of the most amazing scenery.  We kayaked down the Ebenezer River, known for The Betrayal at Ebenezer Creek, a sad story to tell our kids also from the Civil War. 

Under the order of General Davis, the Union army reached the Ebenezer River with hundreds of freed slaves that had joined in the quest for freedom. They were allowed to come along, but had to help along the way. When troops reached the river they built a bridge to cross, but plotting how they were planning on leaving the slaves behind.  After troops were crossed, the bridge was severed. Hundreds of freed slaves were drowned, killed, and those that lived and stayed behind went back into slavery.

I hate that story exists and is apart of our history. How I hope and pray there were survivors. There were people that fought and made it and victory was won. It was a dark and heavy feeling, but also one of awe, knowing that both sides of these groups were now buried. I would much rather be a slave in this story than a soldier, to die fighting instead of the one that chose myself.
 The water down this river is full of the most beautiful cypress trees, swamp life, and has black waters.  It is the most beautiful, peaceful, humbling, and holy water I have ever been down. It was sobering to go through these waters and think about history and the actions of others that came before us. Mackenzie was so moved when we put our boats in and asked a lot of questions. She said, "Im so mad at those people. That's so mean, it's just not fair." I told her those slaves were in a far better place and I asked her how she thought it would feel to live if you were one of those people who made that decision to cut the bridge. And that every day they had to live with the choices they made and ultimately be held accountable to their actions. It is better to live a holy life and it be ended quick than to better yourself and live into an old age.
 If you ever get the chance, take your family down this river. It is a truly amazing experience. They have guided tours and times of the year that are best because trust me...... swamp life is real and we had a few close calls!! Mom's boat hit what we thought was a tree, but actually a black snake that my kids now swear was the Loch Ness. Wrong story, kiddos!!

This was a good verse to follow up with my kids, "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God" Micah 6:8

To end on a light note, I'll share a happy pet story.
The last exciting thing that happened this month was my parent's 16 year old Chihuahua "Paco" went on a little Milo and Otis adventure. Okay, not really, but that is what my mom keeps telling herself.  Paco was taken out of their yard in Kennesaw and then found 48 hours later completely across town at a Target in Alpharetta (roughly an hour away).
We turned to social media. We blew up the internet with pictures of Paco and everyone was on the hunt. We stayed up until wee hours with flashlights in the woods and became the psycho pet owners. About 48 hours in, a animal rescue volunteer matched up our photo with an animal shelters photo across town!!! Would you believe 5 other black chihuahuas had been found and texted to me over the course of 2 days?? How many black chihuahuas were lost exactly?! As soon as this photo was sent below, I was losing hope, but zoomed in, and we were 100% sure it was him!! The caption above the photo says, "HarleyStray.jpg" and our little Paco wears a Harely Davidson collar.

Yay for lost dogs being found, yay for social media being useful sometimes, and shame on whoever picked him up out of my parents yard.  No one likes a pet snatcher, I will hunt you down :)

More excitement to come...


Why We Are a Mess

This has been a crazy month.
Tim's company won New Dealer of the Year. We somehow in our mess of a life ended up on the cover of our community magazine. (Article under family tab)
We've had a lot of opportunities to serve, lead, and give.
Zach is doing well, but I get panicky when I hear people mention he has healed or they have done all they can do. He is so close, yet still has such glaring difficulties and differences. We push harder than ever because we have seen him overcome everything presented, so we are always upping the ante.
Tims business is doing better than I could have dreamed, yet I still find myself asking questions I did even when we were at the bottom. Are we going to be okay? Is this really going to work? Should I work more? Or work less? Am I available enough to my children or am I so spread thin I don't give enough to them? Why is parenting so hard? Why is laundry so hard? Why do I feel like a crazy mess some days paralyzed by which chore to do first, which email to respond to next, and why is there dinner every. single. night. I can get really overwhelmed by the order in which things need to be done. Then, in my do it all mentality, I find something more important to give my time to and then end up stressed out about why I can't get it done.
I need timers. I need goals. I need books. I need regular self care. I need hard lines. I need to say no more.
But, then what? If I become this well oiled machine who can just make it all happen flawlessly, then what? We look for opportunities to be involved in messy situations.
My youngest this weekend was exposed to homelessness up close. Tim was driving home from work and literally saw a family sitting on the side of the road. The mother crying and sitting on black trash bags, holding her 2 small children, and a half empty gallon of milk next to them. The husband sat with his face buried and held one hand in the air for help. Tim said it was like something out of a movie and told me everything inside of him just pulled over and gravitated towards this family. They were out of everything. Out of money. Out of work. Out of a car that was impounded. And kicked out of where they were staying. Mainly, they were out of hope. I could go on and tell you all about this family, why you should feel sorry for them and make a case for them, but it doesn't matter. We have always felt called to help and apparently so are others.....
Would you believe within 8 hours from one social media post asking for the community to lend some help..... that enough money was raised to put them in a week long hotel, get them food, clothes, and toiletries, and buy their family of 4 bus tickets to take them straight back to their home town in Houston to re-join a community and family that could help them?? Tim dropped them off on their bus last Tuesday at midnight and they made it back home. I just can't get them out of my head.
Amazing, right? Most of these donors over the past few days have families, jobs, many things grabbing their time, but so many people in the moment ditched their plans and brought food, a temporary phone, luggage, money, toilet paper.... whatever was needed to get this family back home. My youngest shed tears for them when she realized the gravity of what she had and others had to live without basic things.
If you are a planner, plan away. If you draw hard lines, draw them. If you have a cleaning schedule (I hate all you cleaning schedule people and your highlighted days and chores), clean away. But, what can change the way we love people is our adaptability. Wreck your plans, wreck your schedule, and embrace the crazy from time to time saying yes to helping someone out. You see, those people we think that we are helping and see them as "God ordained" opportunities are really being used on us. They quickly change our "Ugh! Dinnertime again, what are we going to eat!?", "These kids are driving me crazy!" "This house is so messy, I'll never catch up!" to a different tune. To no tune actually. Walking with a family through this will silence your heart. It will silence it and bring you back. You will not re-bound by hanging up your thankful list or feeling good about yourself. You will simply realize that the world is bigger than you. Than what problems you perceive that you have. That these gestures of help and living in actual community, will teach your children more about life and Jesus that you try and do within your 4 walls.
So, here's to messy life. It reminds me of the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19 that could not give his wealth away. I think the same principle applies. Don't make your life so busy you feel you can't help. Go against the grain and invite people into the mess. It starts by having people over and not cleaning and making it perfect. Next time people come over, leave all your laundry in a pile to fold. Leave dirty dishes in the sink. Don't wipe off the counter. If you can learn to expose your mess and embrace people anyway, you will embrace them no matter what you have going on.


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