It was this time last year when I cleared the two old tables in the dingy, empty front of our roasting company's building and wiped them the best I could and pulled an obscenely long piece off of the kraft paper roll we've been using since we bought our business to sketch out big dreams and plans and writing out roasting plans back before we got all techy in that department. I set down the mug filled with our colored flip chart markers and my mug filled with coffee and stood back to figure out what we wanted out of the year.
This is the rhythm we'd settled into. Josh and I dream together constantly through the year, then I put on that hat that looks a lot like enneagram one logic and I make a plan with those dreams. For months, we'd felt like something was coming, and the same thing had come up the fall before before we found Josh changing jobs and shifting his mindset from coffee being the side gig to coffee being the thing and the part time electrician job being the side cash. So we knew something would come, it was just what, and were we ready? And goodness, it's always hard when something new comes, even if it is good.
2020 started off with Josh and I writing out a giant, beautiful focus wheel for the year for our business, as well as choosing a Word of the Year for each of us and writing goals according to those words. We prioritized connecting with humans, teaching, and expanding our roasting company. We set a goal to a specific amount of pounds roasted by the holiday season so that Josh could be full time at Normal. We set goals for my work life and duties with our business, and thought it would be so much easier when school started in the fall and all of our children would be in elementary school. We prayed about it and set to work.
I mean, you can see how this is going, right?
In March, I spoke at the Governor's Ag Conference about owning a business in small town Nebraska, and one of the things I was passionate about getting across was that getting funding was hard and saving old buildings was important. We joked about doing elbow bumps instead of shaking hands due to the corona virus the news was talking about. The next morning, I met with a new loan officer that our financial coach had hooked us up with, and thus started another loan application to see if we could get funding to open the coffee shop we'd dreamed about for two years. Two weeks later within a couple days, schools were shut down and we were approved for that loan.
The next several months were some of the hardest of our business life so far. Navigating the buildout on this coffee shop as well as navigating the trauma of schools closing and virtual learning and making the decision to homeschool and big emotions from kids and parents alike piled on more than I felt I could handle. The lists and plans we'd so intentionally planned out? Completely out the window. Survival mode. Painting things black and white when everything else was not at all black and white. Making food over and over because kids eat so dang much. Trying to stay positive on instagram because this is what we wanted! We should be thankful, right? But we pushed through, rarely going to bed at the same time because one of us was always working at the shop late into the night.
Then we opened the shop and you'd think relief would rush in and life would smooth out. We had a crew to help now! We hired a nanny for one day a week so I could get back to getting my work done. That's when my health crisis came to a head, and Normal grew. Exponentially. Like, so much so fast we were just running and we didn't feel prepared and we were groaning from growing pains.
Here's where I remind you that I'm not complaining, the business growing has been amazing. But I can't tell you about the goals without telling you we were pretty much at our lowest. We were running on fumes and Josh and I weren't in tune with each other.
This week we had a milestone week. It would be easy for me to say, "Check! We expanded our roasting company!" but there's no way this was on our cute focus wheel last December. Double our production? How about triple. Focus on connecting with people? It'll be virtual, but it will bring dozens of people to vacation in our little town just because they followed us online and wanted to see the shop when it was opened. Teaching? We wanted to teach people about coffee, but we're teaching our children not only school subjects but more life experiences.
We didn't crush those goals.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38 ESV
God pressed them and shook them and poured them in our laps. We gave him what we could: prayer, a mustard seed's amount of faith, a promise that we'd keep stepping forward.
Will it always happen like this? No, but we'll take it this year. We'll turn our plans over because they're always better when God shakes them up.