I still can’t believe we made it. Three years of college. Five children. Homeschooling. Running a business from home. Extremely late nights for my husband and I. Somehow, we have survived.
I promised to share our story now that Sean has graduated college earlier this month. It’s a story of God miraculously providing for our needs the past few years.
When I met Sean, he was in college pursuing a graphic design degree. He grew up as a boy drawing, and even the work he did as a boy is far better then anything I can draw! He went to college for two years before deciding to quit the graphic design degree. He did this for many different reasons…one of the many being he was about to be presented with classes that involved nude drawing, and he couldn’t justify doing that as a Christian.
Some of Sean’s work on display at his graduation party.
He went to a community college for a few semesters to be sign language interpreter, but decided against that as well and began working in a cabinet shop (this was my idea). We were married while he was learning the cabinetry trade, and a few years after we were married we decided to start our own cabinet shop. Sean did an excellent job making custom cabinets, but it was a difficult business to be in financially. Eventually we stopped the business and he took over my Dad’s part time lawn care business and grew it into a full time business. He enjoyed mowing, and did a great job with it.
Eventually though, he realized that mowing lawns was not what he wanted to do the rest of his life. He came home one day from mowing, and told me he really felt like he needed to use the talent God had given him in art. We started talking about the possibility of him going back to college. At that point Deborah & Co. (then known as The Modest Mom) was more of a side income, but it was growing quickly.
We took a step of faith, and enrolled Sean in a local community college. We received the FAFSA grant and that covered the tuition for that year of community college. Sean juggled keeping up the mowing business and attending college, many times pulling his truck and trailer to college, still wearing his mowing uniform to attend class.
After one year of community college it was time to transfer to a traditional four year college to finish the degree, which would take another two years. He toured several colleges, and found a college he really liked.
But it was time to take few more huge leaps of faith. We needed to sell our lawn care business (our full time income!) and sell our house. We advertised our business at the worse possible time – in the fall. However, one week after Sean started college full time at the traditional four year college, we sold our lawn care business to a wonderful Mennonite couple. Sean really cared for his customers and wanted to make sure they would be well taken care of. It was a huge answer to prayer to sell the business but even more so to be able to turn it over to new owners knowing they would do a really good job.
One huge miracle down, another yet to go. We had been trying to sell our house for two years. I loved our house; it was the first house we had purchased, and we had special memories there. It had a large yard for the children and fantastic neighbors in a safe area but it was too far away from the college and with the sell of the lawn care business, we had to get a lower monthly house payment. We simply had to move.
After putting it on the market and taking it off multiple times, we finally gave up on selling it and took it off for good. We were uncomfortable with this because selling our house was one of the requirements we set up for ourselves to determine if college was the right way forward. About two weeks after we took it off, though, someone pulled in our driveway while we were all outside. They wanted to know if our house was still up for sale, and long story short, we ended up selling it ourselves! We were shocked! We didn’t even have a sign in the yard! Now, where to move?
Thankfully, our friends offered to let us rent their rental house for a good deal. It’s not in the best area of town, but it’s not the worst either. The yard is small, but there is a ditch that my boys love to play in (woods and dirt!). The house is smaller (1200 sq. feet total, but 200 of that is used for the business). But it’s been a blessing, and we have made it work. It is very close to our church and my sister, which is great!
So that leads us to, how did we financially make it the last two years? My husband has not worked a job the last two years, and has only done a few cabinetry jobs over christmas breaks while helping me with the business whenever he could. Being in college for graphic design is tough. The homework literally never ends – you are constantly designing projects. It’s not like you can cram for a test; you have to spend hours and hours on a project, turn it in and start on another one. Sean has spent most of his nights up until 2 or 3 AM for two years, and staying awake all night more times then I can count. It got to the point that I knew Sean would be in bed with me Friday and Saturday night, but every other night he was up late and crashed on the couch for a few hours so he wouldn’t wake up me. :/
Deborah & Co. and Lilla Rose has provided for us the past two years. More specifically, the wonderful support from you all, my amazing blog readers and customers, have made it possible for my husband to finish college.
Every cami you bought, every flexi clip you purchased, every skirt you ordered, every skincare product from L’BRI you ordered, or every affiliate link you clicked through from my blog, you have literally put food on our table, and made it possible for us to survive the past few years. I’ve been so humbled many times over. I truly feel like God wanted Sean to finish college, our story seems so amazing.
We can’t begin to thank you enough, thank you for your support, your encouragement, your faithful following, and for believing in our company.
Deborah & Co. is not going anywhere, and I’m not going anywhere, though I might take a step back and not blog quite as much, as least for a little bit. You’ve probably noticed I haven’t been on here as much the past two weeks. Between graduation and then a graduation party, I’ve been busy! I also was purposeful to take May off, and spend time with my family, and enjoy my husband home before he finds a full time job to start. My children need more of my attention, and so I’m going to work harder on balancing my priorities. God, husband, children, homeschooling, homemaking, business and blog. Pretty much in that order. 🙂
A few more testimonies to share….remember the classes I said my husband did not want to do as a Christian? We prayed over the classes he would take, knowing that it would really take an act of God to make his path clear through two years of design classes (the design field, if you didn’t know, is far from being conservative and even further from being Christian). He was miraculously able to avoid a drawing and photography class that would have required him to do nude work. The class at the four year university that would have required this atrocity he was able to take at community college and the one at community college that required it, he was able to take at the four year university! We didn’t even know what he was saved from until he transferred over to the four year college! He refused to do anything regarding sex and liquor, and in case you haven’t noticed, those two things are quite popular in the design world. :/ Projects that should have happened were canceled, and he only had to go to his teacher once and ask to be excused from a project, and he graciously gave Sean a different project to work on instead of giving him an F!
The last testimony…remember the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle that happened last month? I prayed about that bundle for over a month before it happened. I asked the Lord for one final testimony to end this amazing college experience, I wanted to be able to pay off half of Sean’s student loans with the money I earned. Guess what happened? Yes, it really did happen. Half of his loan is being paid off, thanks to all of you who purchased a bundle through my link (and I hope you are enjoying all your wonderful ebooks and bonus offers!).
Just to be clear, our story is not something we want to hold up as an example that other families should follow. It was very difficult, and really nobody will ever know just how exhausting it was. We had to sacrifice a lot of family time. Sean and I went into this adventure with a really strong marriage, otherwise our marriage could have easily fallen apart. It was that rough. We had a vision of him finishing college, and strongly felt like God wanted him to do this, which kept us going. While we don’t have any problems with moms having businesses from home, trying to keep up a full time business without much help long term is very difficult to do, while still trying to homeschool. We will be hiring more help so the business can keep running once my husband finds a full time job.
You can see my husband’s portfolio website here, in case you are interested in some of the graphic design work he has done!
To God be all the glory!!