In November 2013 we moved back to North Carolina. We didn’t really have a reason other than things were just not going our way in Washington. I was working for Lowe’s, part time, making minimum wage and we were living in a 1 bedroom, 500 square feet apartment with a 6 month old. Nothing was ideal. I worked Sundays so we never made it to church. I worked evenings so we never had time to hang out with people or do anything it felt like. I second guessed my decision to get out of the Air Force every day. We had an enormous pile of debt from an MLM that we joined earlier that year and we had no idea how we were going to pay it off.
I knew someone in North Carolina who had a double wide and he agreed to rent it to us for $500 per month. Meanwhile I found a job at Family Dollar working as an assistant store manager. To this day that mobile home was the worst place we ever lived and Family Dollar was the worst job I ever had. I dealt with so much racism towards me and I found out what it was like to have the wrong skin color in the wrong part of town. Eventually I was “promoted” to run my own store except this store was the worst in the entire district. Lots of theft and crime and much worse clientele. There were at least two occasions where I thought I might get killed. I showed up to work one day and had a nervous breakdown in the bathroom. Something had to change. I was working 70 hours a week and making $2,000 a month. Didn’t add up. I was still in the Air Force Reserves so that helped a little bit but we were making absolutely no headway in life and my grandpa had recently passed away without me having the chance to say goodbye so we packed up and moved back to Washington State…again. This time for good.
Before moving back home we had already lined up a place to rent, a cute little duplex, in a not-so-cute neighborhood, it worked for us for that season though. I, almost literally, stumbled upon a job opportunity at an insulation company starting out as the warehouse manager and working my way up into an outside sales position. We bought a house in a great neighborhood and had another baby boy. Everything was going great, we were really involved at the church my family had gone to when I was in high school, I had just purchased a small SUV for Chanel for her birthday, my best friend even worked at the same company as me.
One morning with absolutely no notice, our regional vice president came into town and announced that the company had decided to close down our location and lay everyone off, effective immediately. That’s a whole different story that you can read here. I was unemployed and laid off for the first time in my life. It was horrifying, and even though I got a severance package I had a horrible distaste for that company. I got a job a couple of months later working in outside sales for a local media company and that job went really well for awhile. We had our daughter, we made some renovations on our house, I had a really great boss and a nice work schedule. Everything was going along easy as pie in the sky on the 4th of July.
Then one day in October 2016 I got a call from Chanel that changed our lives forever. Our daughter passed away that day and we went back home with one child less than we had left with. You can read about that experience here. The next few months were a blur of numbness. I took a few weeks off of work while my coworkers handled my accounts. When I eventually came back things had begun to deteriorate. In a period of one month over a half dozen people, including two managers quit. We had just sold our house and made some good money on it and the plan had always been to use it to pay off the rest of our debt. Literally. We made enough on the house that we could be 100% debt free. Instead…I quit my job and used the money to start a business. It’s a wonder my wife is still married to me.
The business went really well for the first four months, I was making more money than I’d ever made before. Almost every month was a five figure profit month but all that money went right back into the business. We went on a two week vacation mid-year and after we got back the business went on a steady decline. We literally went from five figure months to three figure months in a matter of weeks. Eventually we got to the point that we needed to shut it down if we were going to keep our own lights on. Such a stark contrast from where we were a month before.
While we continued to run the business I looked for a new job. I wanted a job where I could see myself for several years. I’d had my run with entrepreneurialism and although I’d learned a lot from three different businesses over 3 years we were left with a huge mountain of debt. I interviewed with countless companies and was offered several different positions. Nothing seemed like the right fit. I’ll never forget the day I closed and locked the door at my business for the last time. I felt like the biggest failure in the world and like such a poser for thinking that I could be an entrepreneur. I’d failed three times at it now. I sat in my truck and cried like a baby before driving home.
In the middle of all this we found out we were pregnant. We were ecstatic! After our daughter passing away the thing we’d been praying for the most was another child. It felt like an obvious answer to prayer. Then we suffered a miscarriage. That’s not all, the miscarriage happened on the one year anniversary of the death of our daughter. It felt like a cruel joke that God was playing on us. After a few days of sadness we decided that no matter what, we would praise God before we got to the Promised Land. Just like the Israelites in the Bible who praised God before he led them out of slavery and into the land flowing with milk and honey (whatever that means) we wanted to have the kind of faith that proved we believed God wasn’t finished with us yet.
Just last week (we are finally caught up in our story now) I got a job offer from a great company to do the same job I did in the Air Force. I had spent a lot of time prepping for my panel interview with them and I definitely had the qualifications on paper but I wasn’t sure I was the right fit for them. When I finally got the call I almost cried right there on the phone. It wasn’t just a new job it was an answer to a prayer that we’d been praying for a long time.
We wanted to share our story (or at least the somewhat-condensed version) on here so that you have context for our podcast episodes. A lot of what we’re going to talk about it lessons we learned from all our experiences, both the easy ones and the hard ones.
Thanks for reading!