Life is full of uncertainties. It always is. But right now, the uncertainties in my life are looming large. We're headed down paths that feel right but we can't see the end of the paths so it's a little scary sometimes. Most days, I feel really at peace with what we're doing. But there are those moments when I realize how far out on a limb we are, look down, and panic!
Jared walked away from the trucking company January 1st. After 3 years of long work days, phone calls from truckers in the middle of the night, and lots of analysis and belt-tightening as big trucking company pricing and changes in the economy made it increasingly harder to have a decent profit margin, Jared and I felt like it was time to move on. We had some ideas on the shelf that we felt good about pursuing and that we hadn't had time to really move forward with.
So we've now completed 3 months of hard, hard work and long hours building three different businesses, each of which has lots of potential, but none of which turns any profit yet. With Jared's website skills and my content (plus the partnership of wonderful friends in the case of The Power of Moms), we've completely rebuilt the Joy School and Power of Moms websites and we've seen lots of increased traffic and exciting possibilities there. Jared has also worked hard to finalize the latest and greatest prototype of this "Cool Cab" invention he's been working on with a partner and it's ready to be marketed to some big trucking companies.
Each of these three endeavors feels like it has huge potential - and each is associated with a cause we deeply believe in (helping mothers have the support and ideas they need, helping provide excellent family-oriented preschools with a values-based curriculum, helping save the environment from trucks idling all night due to the need to run the air conditioner to let the driver sleep in comfort). But there are no guarantees. And there is no income right now.
We live on savings (most of which is in stocks which were a lot higher a few years ago...that portfolio is pretty limp and sparse these days...). We spend as little money as possible and really quite enjoy having a solid excuse not to buy the kids the unnecessary things they ask for. We use coupons. We shop less (I hate shopping anyway). We eat at home more (I love cooking and the kids luckily love rice and beans). We're together a lot more (we've cut out extracurricular activities and Jared has a more flexible schedule and is able to be much more involved in the kids' lives). The kids seem happier and more well-behaved with their dad around more and I'm much less stressed when I've got someone to help with the kids so that I can spend adequate time on other projects that I feel compelled to do. Life is simpler in many ways than it ever has been. It's almost strange how peaceful I feel about all of this. But there are those moments when I look down and panic. I just need to not look down!
I do hope that all our hard work will result in hundreds of thousands of families and children - and truckers - being helped. I also hope that all this hard work will lead us to having an income again before things get uncomfortably tight around here. But I'm learning to live with uncertainties and keep moving forward, prayerfully and diligently. I keep thinking of the quote my parents had me memorize as a child:
"I said to the man who stood at the gate, 'Give me a light that I might step forth.' But the voice came back to me: 'Step out into the darkness, and put your hand in mine, for that is better than a light - and surer than a known way'."
And I just got this quote in my Daily Gems email today that finishes this post off nicely:
"The scriptures speak of [the Lord's] arms being open, extended, stretched out, and encircling. They are described as mighty and holy, arms of mercy, arms of safety, arms of love, 'lengthened out all the day long' (2 Nephi 28:32). We have each felt to some extent these spiritual arms around us."
The Lord is there, reaching out, leading and guiding. Everything will be OK. I just have to further relinquish my need for control and keep walking forward with prayer and hard work.