If you’re thinking about starting a business here is the first thing you need to know. Every business has a slow season. Every single one. For us, summer is the slow time because let’s be honest who really wants to be decorating their house when the beach is calling... I sure don’t!
As a result we have had to plan and prepare for the end of summer when things are tighter... second thing you should know about starting a business, contrary to what most people think, you won’t be rich... not even close. 😂
Last week was the Elizabethtown Fair, we always look forward to the fair and taking the kids for fried food, rides and animals. But mostly the fried food.
But, real life: after moving, going full time with Honeysuckle Shop and the fact that summer is our slow season we just didn’t have the funds to splurge on all the things we usually do at the fair.
We figured we could either stay home and lick our wounds or we could go with no money and make the best out of it.
We opted for the later since Emma apparently doesn’t get to see enough of the cows in the field directly across from our house 🐄
What happened next was a series of small blessings that combined made one of my all time favorite nights ever.
Where the fair grounds are there is a church directly next to it that always opens up for parking, a few years ago it was by donation, last year they upped it to a $2 ‘donation’, this year there was a sign that simply said “$5 parking” that’s a whole different tangent but that has always been where we have parked. Having no cash on us that obviously wasn’t an option.
On the other side of the Fair Grounds is an elementary school that was also charging $5 for parking, so our next shot was the development across from the Grounds that was always completely packed with cars and nearly impossible to find parking.
With two toddlers walking we were really hoping to find something a little closer so we didn’t have to carry two kiddos while pushing the third in the stroller.
We drove around for a little bit and then not even .25 mile up from the Fair Grounds there was another church that had a big sign that said “FREE PARKING! BE BLESSED!” How cool is that!? This church had opened up their grass and their parking lot to offer free parking to people. We were so excited!
So we found our spot and soon a volunteer from the church walked over and pointed us to a tent where they had some free goodies for the kids!
Emma and Noah were each able to pick out a free toy, a snack and a drink.
As Noah picked his Foam Finger toy that said #1 and Emma picked out her Jesus booklet (enter water works over my child picking Jesus over a twisty straw) followed by animal crackers, cheese-its and water bottles I couldn’t help but think “would we be this excited about free snacks if we had brought money?”... Honestly, probably not.
And if I’m being completely honest if we had money with us I probably would have blown off the ‘free stand’ because ya know, my kids are worth more than ‘free stuff’ 🙄 Hello mom pride of the century.
So right off the bat the kids had found toys and snacks. Blessing #1 through like #5.
We took off towards where the animals are kept at the back part of the Grounds. Every year there is a free petting zoo that we spend about .5 seconds in because we are rushing to get to the ‘good stuff’. This year we were in that petting zoo for about 20+ minutes.
Emma went around naming each goat, Noah was about to either ride a goat or take a nap with one, I don’t think he could decide. Eden walked around unsure of any of the animals and was just adorable and hysterical to watch.
Jake and I just laughed and laughed as we soaked in every moment of our kids enjoying those animals, something of which we had taken for granted and rushed through years before.
I took about 3 pictures because I wasn’t focused on just getting the IG perfect picture then getting out of there, I was focused on what my kids were doing, paying attention and being present in every second.
It might have been my favorite part... if we had left then...
After the petting zoo and a thorough hand sanitizer session we quickly checked out the cows and decided to just go walk around.
As we walked around we found ourselves by the amphitheater where that nights performing band was going through their soundcheck. There were a few people sitting around but it was mostly empty. Emma heard the music so we decided to stop and let the kids get a breather for a minute before we continued wandering.
It didn’t take long for the kids to notice the other kids in front of the stage dancing to the music. Next thing we knew we were sitting front row of this little concert area while the kids ditched the shoes and true to country kid form took to the dance floor.
2 hours later, our faces hurt from laughing, the kids were exhausted from ‘dancing’ aka running in circles with the occasional foot kick or leap, and I think everyone in the concert area knew our kids names, ages and probably their social security numbers.
Ok, not really but you get the idea.
I had not laughed like that in a long long time. Jake and I sat back, singing along to every song they played while watching our kids have the time of their lives.
I had completely forgotten about the fact that we couldn’t afford the greasy fair food, or that I was ‘depriving’ them of rides at the fair, or any of the things I had walked in to that evening worrying about.
What was left was a heart full to the brim of laughter, memories and pure joy. I walked away more in love with my husband, these kids and this life God has blessed us with.
Driving home that night with the biggest smiles on our faces as Emma recounted every moment of the Fair I couldn’t help but wonder, how many other moments had I missed because I was so focused on ‘getting to the good stuff’? Or how many free moments did I look over because I was looking toward the things that I had to buy in order to make me happy?
I’m not saying I will never buy another funnel cake or soft pretzel at a Fair again, because let’s be honest that Pumpkin Funnel Cake was calling my name!
But I think it made me realize the good part isn’t the part that comes with a price tag. The really good part is what comes before that. The part that comes in the form of free parking, a free snack, gross animals, belting out your favorite country songs with your spouse and a toddler dance party.
I’ll never forget that night and the memories we made, and I can only pray I never forget the things the Lord opened my heart to.
I would rather live a life in a season of financial slow times if it meant more moments like that over anything money could buy.
1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”
Scripture speaks directly to this, too. I’ve read it and heard it 1000x over again but I’d never really experienced the meaning of it in my own life. I’ve never been a millionaire or anywhere close to it and I never saw myself as someone who had a love of money.
As I’ve been thinking about this I’ve realized there are different ways to love money and different levels in which we do so.
Initially when I read this passage I envision someone extremely wealthy because I think “How can I love money if I don’t have it? That passage is meant for people who have money” But maybe wealthy people are wealthy just because they’re smarter with their money than I am, not necessarily that they love it. And maybe ‘poor’ people are poor because they love spending money. Or maybe the rich person is rich because they’re like Smaug in the Hobbit and have an obsession with it so they hoard it, and maybe the ‘poor’ person is poor because they give their money away.
Either way, this passage applies to anyone at any stage of life, and it’s a really hard one to wrap our heads around.
How can you not think about something that is absolutely essential to live? If you don’t have money you end up homeless, if you love money too much scripture basically tells us you’re damned. There’s a fine line to walk between the two and it’s really easy to fall off of that line.
That night though I think I understood a little bit more of how we are supposed to live when it comes to a love of money. That night I was aware of how money had kept me from the good part years before.
Money is a necessity, you need it to buy groceries, pay your mortgage, pay for an education, etc. But it can so easily become the thing that distracts you from ‘the good stuff’.
When money is flowing it’s great, bills are paid on time, debt is paid off, maybe you’re able to go on a much needed vacation, you’re able to give more, help others, you’re able to get that pumpkin funnel cake.
But it’s amazing how quickly that turns to ‘and then...’ and then I can get that fancy new car, and then I can get the 4-wheeler, and then I can get the bigger house, and then I can get this and this and this. Before we know it we are idolizing money and objects and missing all of the ‘good stuff’.
When money isn’t there you appreciate the blessing of free parking, you appreciate the free petting zoo, you enjoy the dancing and the music just a little more when the distraction of money isn’t there.
But how do we find that line and stay on it?
I’ve been trying to figure out what tools or tips I can share with you that will help you find that middle ground but this is something that we ourselves aren’t able to accomplish on our own. Our sinful nature kicks in and every single time we will end up in a place of idolizing money.
There is only one tip that I can give you to help you find this middle ground, and it’s surrounding yourself, burying yourself with Christ, the Gospel and the Holy Spirit.
It’s not something we will ever fully succeed at, because we are human and the love of money is just too strong for us to fully overcome. But there is a redeemer and with His help we will be able to resist temptation and find that middle ground. As a result we will not only find ‘the good stuff’ but we will live there.
Only then can we find true joy in every moment and circumstance.
If you are reading this, I want to pray for you..
Lord, I pray for the person reading this right now that may be going through a time of financial struggle or maybe they’re doing great financially. I pray that regardless of their financial circumstance that you give them the stability that no amount of finances can ever give. I pray that during this season of life our focus will be you and the joy that only you can bring. Help us not miss the good stuff in search of what will never bring us true fulfillment. Give us the eyes to see you, the heart to desire you and the courage to follow you at all costs. Thank you for the promise that you give us, and the hope for a future free of financial burdens and temptations. Thank you for ‘the good stuff’ and the joyous moments we are able to find in this life and help us to never take them for granted. We love you, Lord. Help us to live lives that emplify that. In Jesus name, Amen.