Fast forward 1997, The news that I was not a candidate for in vitro hit hard. My uterus was damaged to a point I could not carry a child full term. Ok, plan B turned into Plan F. Adoption? Surrogacy? We joined every possible support group & attended adoption seminars, this was pretty much our last chance. Time was ticking…
What I do know….now, is when God’s plan is “his” plan it happens flawlessly and it flows like a beautiful river of peace. February 1997, no go with IVF…one month later…..March 1997, we hear of a birth mom who will be giving birth somewhere around September. Skipping most details and fast forwarding through tons of phone calls, adoption details, attorneys, agencies, home-studies and interviews and we were chosen as the family to adopt her child that month! Things were flowing! I was going to be a mom after all! After the excitement subsided, the fear and the doubt crept in! I was still working at The GSO Country Club but my heart said, you need to go…..you need to go to meet this Mother to be…..make sure it is a Legit situation and make sure this is not a scam. I did and I lived in Washington State for 9 weeks. September 1997, our daughter was born, my dream of becoming a mom was reality!
I should be totally satisfied…….My dream, fulfilled and don’t get me wrong. I was ecstatic to be her mom. I love her with everything in me……I loved being a mom but I could not deny the fact that I loved to work too. Is it ok to want to do both? I tried many things through the first couple years of raising my daughter. I tried the role as stay at home mom, then I pursued the MML route by selling Beauti-Control products from home, having parties at night when my husband was home. I quickly realized this was not my cup of tea, I did not even wear a lot of makeup! I have always wanted to own my own business so I tried. After this endeavor, I created another at home business called “My secret Garden” selling hand painted garden items out of my home and back home through my sister in law. It was in my blood! Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. huh?
Skipping though details, due to lack of time in this blog, Duane and I decided to move, once again. We headed back home with our daughter to raise her in my home town. We would be closer to both sides of grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. We were pretty sure she would be our only child so we wanted her to have family to connect to. At one and a half, we were back in Staunton. We had a fixer upper and that was fun but once we finished, I was restless again. Two year old preschool was the perfect fit, I would work while she was in Preschool. Few hours but enough to calm the restlessness. I worked for The Fashion Gallery from 8:30 – 12, assisting the owner.
What you may have figured out, when I work, I give my all…. sometimes to the detriment of my well being. I will never forget my first parenting Epic Fail! I missed the opening of my daughter’s mother’s day tea program because I was stuck on a phone call for work. THIS was the epic fail , the heart wrenching moment, that had a profound impact on me. I worked too hard to become a Mom, I had to give up the desire to work and devote 150% to my daughter. So home I went to try the stay-at-home mom role again. Pouring my all into her life. Dance lessons, mommy play dates, kinder-music…anything to make my daughter’s life full.
Little did I know my entrepreneur mind would catch me again down the road……I honestly tried hard to quiet the noise in my mind. While sitting at my daughter’s dance lessons, I realized I might be able to help out Jann S. with The Ballet Box while at home: billing, brochures, marketing etc. I created a position and then that position led to the grand idea, to start selling dance wear and shoes in the hallway of BBX! I would only sell while Erika was in class.Yeah ok….. Staunton needed it after all, so who better than me to start it! If you know me, I don’t know how to do anything small. I was at it again, with the inception of Dancin’ Feet, My first real small business adventure with my Sister in law and I was excited. Sarah, eventually realized this was just not her passion so it was me……do it or die trying. Retail is my passion. I truly believe God places these desires in your heart and then he makes it a reality……if it is HIS will. My store grew right along side of my daughter. The struggle was always very real, no matter how many times i tried to quiet it, career woman vs full time mom. My heart kept leading me back to work. I loved to work, I loved new start ups, I had the experience, I wanted to help others, It was fulfilling in my eyes. I was a super mom, I could do it all…be a mom, run a business….or so I thought.
This small business in the hallway of BBX soon grew to a room in the dance studio when the BBX was bought out by Valley Dance Theatre, to the 600 square foot space at 54 Rowe Road to the Staunton Mall where we rebranded to a 3000 square foot store called “You’re a Star” which featured gifts for girls participating in all sports, not just dance. So in the matter of 6 years, I allowed my my store to grow into a success story but again the pressure of raising my daughter and running a 3000 square foot fully engaged store became too much for me to bear. Something had to give…..Bringing my daughter to work, making a dressing room a play room proved to be too much for her and I once again….had to return to my first priority……. My daughter. The store was sold and back to full time mommy I went. Guys, I’ll tell you, this was a real struggle for me! I would try, succeed, and have to stop, try, succeed and have to give up. Its’ ok, I think everything is a lesson. Not a failure but a lesson.
The break from the rat race of small business ownership was nice, but I again worked from home doing websites, marketing materials etc for business in side my home when my daughter was in school. I also dove into the role of PTA, Room Mom, Erika’s sports and volunteering at my church.
Yep you guessed it…Type A personality at it’s best! Here I go again….getting involved……I don’t know how to say NO! I jumped into something else…..can you see a pattern?….This girl hates to sit still. A great friend of mine had an idea and along with a few others we decided to start Lil Lambs, a children’s Consignment sale at our church. This was a huge success but again……hard for the same crew to continually devote that much time to the cause year after year. It was another success but no one was willing to take it over to give us the break. We are proud to say, this organization is still going on at Victory Worship as Made for Kids consignment. It brings me joy to see this worthy mission continuing to serve the community
One of the reasons, I felt it was time for me to leave Lil lambs was another area to serve. One of my daughter’s babysitters and also an employee of mine was diagnosed with Cancer while in College. I felt a strong pull to stand beside her and the family as she fought. After a couple years, MaDee Boxler’s fight ended peacefully as she passed at the age of 22. Fully engaged and devastated, My husband and I asked the family if we could start a non profit in her name to help community family’s coping with the diagnosis of Pediatric Cancer with their child. Thus the MaDee Project was born and continues today serving the kids of our community who are so desperately fighting this disease. The Non profit is run by her family at this time.
Ok, time for a small break…..rest ……regroup…….. This momma was exhausted and done with starting new businesses, non profits, missions etc. This momma needed some time for herself and her family. Duane’s Dad was battling dementia and needing a little more assistance in an assisted living facility. Our daughter was in her middle school years…getting ready for the big high school years.
I was enjoying my life, despite my struggle to work, I was very blessed to have the choice to be a stay at home mom. But have you ever heard…Once retail gets in your blood, it never leaves? Well, my daughter was turning 16, which means a drivers license right ? As I was driving by a vacant storefront, I noticed a FOR RENT sign, I knew of this building since my brother had done a full renovation on it, plus I knew the owner. I turned my car around, pulled into the parking lot and called the number. Asked all the normal questions etc how big is it, How much are you asking per square foot etc. Hung up the phone and my wheels were turning, called my husband and yep…..a few months later LTD 7 was born, June 1013. How can I use my experience to help others who may be wanting to turn their cottage industry into a business, Painted furniture was growing, Vintage was all the rage and Pinterest was the new way to create vision boards! Perfect, My daughter and I could run the shop, she would have job security, Picture perfect……I would pass the store down to her……I could finally put put my creativity juices and retail experience to work and teach my daughter work ethics, accountability and the importance of community service.
Stay tuned for The history of LTD 2013 – Present.
What I would tell my younger self.
Parenting is hard, owning a business is hard, doing both requires commitment & balance
It’s Ok to be a working mom
Don’t be afraid, follow your dreams. Listen and God will lead you.
You will have many naysayers, “you should be staying at home with your kids, your dreams are foolish….
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, My advice; you continue to do “you” and live your best life.
Don’t stifle the desires God places in your heart, Connect your passion with God’s purpose.
Learn while you are young to say No if it is not Gods desire for your life.
Everything you do takes you one step closer to your dream.
Until Next Time, Keep living your dream