Hope On

Can I just say, learning to be personal in a public way is terrifying. Mainly because I am not a sympathy blogger. I want to be inspirational, but honest and real. However, ‘real’ is sometimes bittersweet and even sad and ugly. But, so it is with us all. So, there ya have it. Moving forward. I wanted to provide some of our backstory to lead this post…

It was early 2008, when our mortgage payments suddenly and insanely increased to $3400 a month (interest only), that we learned that we had fallen victim to mortgage fraud. Yes, that well-known CountryWide Home Loan scandal of 2008. Chris and I had not yet celebrated our first anniversary. Our first baby was due later that summer. It was devastating news to say the least. Work was scarce and we were no exception to the well-known financial struggles common among young, newly-weds. To say those were frightening days of uncertainty could probably win the understatement of the century award. We spent months and months trying to find relief, help and any answers to our difficult situation. LONG story short, after more than a year of many prayers, tears, private pleadings in desperation, and a mountain of debt in attempt to sell this ridiculously expensive home, it was all to no avail. We were going to lose our home and it was time to face the inevitable.

On March 9, 2009, we pulled away from our home in Flagstaff after having handed the keys to the bank and packing up our lives in a few boxes. Chris used some of last dollars to rent a Uhaul. I remember realizing how scared I was as I buckled our darling 9-month-old boy safely in his car seat in the back of our old suburban in preparation for our long journey East to Texas. I wish I could say I was valiant and brave and fearless but, I just can’t. I was a new mother and couldn’t help but worry. Equipped with only a seed of hope to sustain us, we sought to validate the rumors we’d heard of a secure Texas economy. With every passing mile, I began to beg and plead for answers as to how we would recover from this and sought solace in the quiet hope of a job for my husband in the home renovation industry. Those days driving from our home, never to return, are days to never be forgotten. The start of a journey down a long and bumpy road. At the time, I desperately wanted to know how in the world things were going to work out. Sometimes I think it’s better to never ask how or why. I’m so glad God never told or showed me, though I asked many, many times. I felt fleeting peace and assurance in my heart that things WOULD work out and leaned on that feeling as often as I could bring it to my memory. If I had known what all we were up against and that pulling out of that driveway one last time was probably the easiest part of everything, I might not have had the hope to keep going. Sometimes, I too, thank God for unanswered prayers.

Last month, not only did we mark the 8 year anniversary of losing our home, but we marked 8 years of battling to recover – including the bankruptcy we had to file as a result of the home – and 8 years of learning valuable lessons that have helped shape us and grow stronger. Thankfully, because of this, we have learned a bit about patience, long suffering, sacrifice and that you can be grateful in every circumstance of life. We learned that gratitude doesn’t mean that you are content with your situation, but that you accept it and continue to hope that things can and will change one day. This battle has taught us what hope is, what faith is and also what they are not. We have been those people who have literally scraped the couch to buy groceries. We have had our electricity and phones turned off many times. I learned that self-pity is NOT pretty or helpful. Who needs that? Not you and not me, my friends. We have survived on hand-me-downs, budgets, frugality and taking things one second at a time. And that’s ok! I’m grateful for these 8 years because I have learned to not judge others. I’ve been wearing clothes I wore in high school –  when you are struggling to raise a family and start a business with little to no money, you do not go shopping! I am not as involved with my kids school activities – not by choice, but because I have to work and when I am there, I am covered in saw dust, sweat and wood stain. Vanity and pride are things I’d always like to live without, anyways. Chris and I have learned that you can grow a business without credit, credit cards or small business loans! It’s not easy or fun, but when you have no other choice you do what you have to do. We have yet to meet an institution that was willing to issue credit cards or loans to folks who lost a house and declared bankruptcy – never mind it’s been 8 years and it wasn’t our fault…We learned to find solutions, not dwell on problems. I have learned that despite any hardships, we have been blessed and those blessings kept our hopes and dreams of a brighter future alive. I remember arriving home on Christmas Eve a couple years back to a card on our porch in an unmarked envelope. It was filled with $500 cash and a note on the card that said to ‘be of good cheer and Merry Christmas.’ The generosity and kindness of others at time when you so desperately need it is evidence to my heart and soul that God answers prayers – yet another worth-while lesson. He most often does so through other people and I have been filled to overflowing because of the bravery of those who follow through with the promptings that they feel to spread love and goodness so freely and lovingly. Experiences like those have kept us afloat and filled with a desire to conquer our challenges. It was soon after that Christmas experience that we promised in our hearts that should we ever earn enough money to pay all our bills in the same month and buy food that we would give what was left to others. Not that you have to have money to give, but I know what a precious and scarce commodity it can be. I have longed for the peace that comes from income and would love nothing more than to share it. Which leads me to the inspiration for this post…

As I was driving to work to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo recently, I had an experience. It was simple, but caused me to think. I’d like to share from my journal:

March 17, 2017

“I was driving to the Rodeo just as I had done the previous 11 days on just another beautifully warm, Houston morning. Normal day, normal traffic and normal loud music blaring from my minivan all the way. After a quick, premeditated trip through a drive thru for some hot cocoa, I realized I had a bit of cash in my wallet, not much, but considering I never have cash, it was new and different. I immediately considered our opportunity to sell at the Rodeo and the blessings that have come from our sales. Income. Something I have pleaded for every single night for 8 years. I felt very overwhelmed with love in an instant. My family is blessed with work. My mind then rewound back to that well-known feeling of the anxiety of not being able to even rent a home because of the damage the fraud had caused to our credit. Upon arrival to Texas in March 2009, we spent $300 or our precious $400 dollars on rental applications and were denied every.single.time. After borrowing money from family and after a month of living in the cheapest motels we could find while we tried to find somewhere to live, our needs were met after deciding to find a church to attend. I can still feel the wet tears of relief after 2 perfect strangers in this new Texas church offered to rent their home to us – no application, no fees, just a hand shake and a promise to mail a check regularly. This is a reminder to me that miracles are real and happen when you act on faith and that blessings come from church attendance. All of that had flooded through my mind from time it took for me to reach for my wallet, pay for some cocoa and pull forward.

I continued on my route to the Rodeo and stopped at a junction for the interstate that is commonly known for transients. Just then, I saw a group of young boys, I would confidently say ages 10-14, standing on the sidewalk wrapped up in raggedy blankets after having just crawled out from under the bushes on Main Street where they had clearly spent the night. Sadly, few of us are a stranger to what it is to see others living in such a way, however, at this particular moment, considering the depth of my current introspections, my heart especially swelled up for the band of kids before me. For a moment, I thought I recognized the glossy looks in their eyes. Where had I seen that before? Yes, I’ve seen that unmistakable expression that reads “please don’t judge me” and “yes, I’m exhausted, broke, dirty and hungry.” You see, once we moved into our newly rented home, my Chris would try everything he could to secure work. Craigslist ads, church friends, friends of friends, signs…anything. Sadly, that wasn’t usually fruitful. So, he would clean up and get all ready for the day and head to local home improvement stores all around the Houston area. He spent hours upon hours, day after day, walking the aisles and offering his skills and services to customers – trying hard not to seem scary, intrusive and flat out creepy. He would offer to lay the tile they were shopping for – he offered to install those new fence pickets in their carts, lay those bricks or hang those shelves they were buying. Most of the time, people said no, and that meant usually he would walk into our home after all the stores were closed, with that look. I can’t imagine the weight he felt as a father, husband and provider during those days. Nor could I imagine the humility it would take to approach men and women in such a way and dreading the judgment he would see reflected in their responses. But each day he headed out for another day of seeking and hoping that someone just might say “yes.” Hope surely does encourage us to do crazy things. I recognized the look on those young faces and matched it with the one I saw so many times, night and after night, on the man I love so dearly.

It only took a millisecond to process what my eyes saw, and for my heart to tell my hands to reach for my wallet again. But this time not for cocoa. I rolled down the window and with an arm outstretched I offered these young boys, at the very least, what I hoped would be meals for the day. The light in their eyes upon seeing that shimmer of green in my hand was enough for me. Their “thank you, beautiful lady” is a sound my heart will always remember. It wasn’t much, but at least it was something. And a wave of emotion began to wash over me and tears welled up.  No judgement, just compassion.

I was stopped by three lights before I turned North to the rodeo parking lot. Each time there was someone with a small cardboard sign in need of something.

 The line of the song, How could I see another’s lack and I not share? Rang in my ears…

I ended up waving money out of my minivan to anyone I could, stopping traffic and horns honking behind me. Many cars swerved around and rushed passed us as I emptied my ash tray of coins, my lunch box of food and my wallet of dollar bills. After I turned north, I was full-on bawling. I called Chris, who I am SURE was freaked out for a moment when he heard my sobbing, and exclaimed my gratitude for him, our family and our devotion to each other and our faith. And for all the tender mercies we’ve seen in our lives. For all the kindness we’ve seen. And for moments like those that teach me to be a little more kind. A little more sincere. More understanding. I was reminded that some needs are obvious. Standing on a street corner, battered and worn is a dead giveaway. But how many of us walk or drive right by or swerve around others whose needs are not as clearly portrayed. The joy I felt to give reminded me that life can also be very, very sweet. It is all dependent upon our attitude toward others. Choosing to love. Choosing to feel. Choose to act. Choosing to see people instead of pass judgment. Choosing to be grateful and thereby choosing to live, not survive. We can all survive – but can we live in a way that brings joy to ourselves and others?”

Friends, my life has been dramatically influenced by the actions of others. The fraud and losing my home would be a perfect example. But then again, so would the friends who offered me their home when I was 15 so I would have a safe place to live. The ladies who snuck into our home just last month to clean it while work days were long and hard leaving only fresh flowers and clean, folded laundry are no exception. Neither would the time I received the anonymous letter indicating our electric bill had been caught up and paid for the month. How could I ever forget the sacks of groceries that would show up on the porch more often that I’d care to admit. Are we not all beggars? I want to be like these humble, selfless people who act and “remember why we’re here” – It’s those same people who emulate faith and bring hope to lives of all around them.

When I started this blog, I gave plenty of warning of my tendency to draw upon song lyrics while sharing my thoughts. So, I do not apologize for the following – One of my hands-down ALL TIME favorite songs (written my Tom Douglas, David Lee and Tony Lane – recorded by Lady Antebellum on their Need You Now album).

Traffic crawls, cell phone calls
Talk radio screams at me
Through my tinted window I see
A little girl, rust red minivan
She’s got chocolate on her face
Got little hands, and she waves at me
Yeah, she smiles at me

Hello world
How’ve you been?
Good to see you, my old friend
Sometimes I feel cold as steel
Broken like I’m never gonna heal
I see a light, a little hope
In a little girl
Hello world

Every day I drive by
A little white church
It’s got these little white crosses
Like angels in the yard
Maybe I should stop on in
Say a prayer
Maybe talk to God
Like he is there
Oh I know he is there
Yeah, I know he’s there

Hello world
How’ve you been?
Good to see you, my old friend
Sometimes I feel as cold as steel
And broken like I’m never going to heal
I see a light
A little grace, a little faith unfurled
Hello world

Sometimes I forget what living’s for
And I hear my life through my front door
And I breathe in
Oh I’m home again
I see my wife, my little boy, little girl
Hello world
Hello world

All the empty disappears
I remember why I’m here
Just surrender and believe
I fall down on my knees
Oh hello world
Hello world
Hello world

Today, I would offer that the word, “HOPE” is one of the most powerful words we use in our vocabulary. It’s right there next to the words, “LOVE” and “DREAM.” As a small business owner, as a mother, a woman, a mortal human being,  hope been my life raft many times. For all of us, sometimes hope is all you have. Sometimes it’s why you have what you have – because you never gave up hope. The power of hope is so impressive. It is so deep, meaningful, motivational and truly inspires us to do things we might not ever do otherwise. Hope brings strength.  Hope encourages faith and allows is to grow.  It is where we decide in our minds and hearts that all is not lost. That even if things are not okay right now, they can be and will be some day. However long the night, the dawn will break.

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I appreciate so many of the dark days and times in my life that have caused me to choose and discover the meaning of hope. Some were long ago and some were much, much more recent. I also appreciate all the simple moments in between that remind me what is really important to me and in turn reminds me of the kind of person I want to be. I call them “Hello World” moments – where we ‘see a light, a little grace, a little faith unfurled…Hello World.’ Maybe it’s a group on the corner, maybe it’s a friend who calls at just the right time, maybe it’s a song, maybe it’s something you read that evokes an emotional response and a change of heart – or a greater remembrance. They are often brief but powerful and clear. For me it is usually simply a tender moment with my family or darling boys that open my eyes again to gratitude for just being alive one more day, despite my immediate circumstances, good or bad. I have recently had more of these moments than usual and I cherish them.

May we not forget what living is for – May we talk to God like he is there – May we, no matter how broken we feel, find a shimmer of light that brings hope – May we allow that hope to lighten our lives and be brave enough to let the brightness of that hope shine and help light the way for others –  May we stand strong. May we grow from our trials and learn from them. Allow them to teach us and help us to be grateful – May our hearts go out to all the “needy” and the “beggars” in this world – yes, all  of us, who need each other – May we be the goodness in the world that lifts up those hands that hang down, that strengthens the knees that are weak and just be good to each other.
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Hope is never lost.
Love always wins.

 

This I know and share with you today.

 

 

—Kisha

 

Leap Before You Think

I am a leaper. I leap as soon as I feel that raw gut feeling signaling to me that whatever is before me –  a choice, a path, an opportunity – is a good thing. Do you know that gut feeling? Whenever that deeply peaceful wave washes over me, I march right to the edge and leap straight off the edge. Crazy talk, I know. I have felt those good feelings over and over in my life and its a guiding feeling I have learned to trust. I feel it is right, and I just do it. I can never tell if it is in my mind or heart, or both, but the feeling is familiar and it is clear.  I don’t know if it all started when I was 18 and I went skydiving for the first time, but I can look back on my life and see a pattern. Let me give you an example. I met Chris, my husband, in Flagstaff, AZ at church. I saw him, asked who he was, and tried to find a way to meet him. Eventually, we ended up serving together at the Flagstaff Food Bank one Saturday afternoon organizing and unloading donations. After hearing him remember my FULL name after only having had heard it once, I knew he was interested. We dated for ONE, repeat, ONE week and we were engaged. I felt it, I knew it, and I leapt. Some say it is crazy, and foolish – but I felt it and I knew it. I absolutely knew it and it was the best choice I’ve ever made.

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This was taken a LONG time ago 🙂

My life has been a series of experiences just like that. I am not sure if I am right, or wrong, in living in such a way, but I have always found good favor with God and continue to be blessed because of my choices. Maybe He is more half chuckling and thinking, “Bless her flailing, faithful heart!” as he dispatches a mortal and heavenly angel to make sure I land on my feet. Who knows. But I have no regrets.

I know that good feeling and have learned that going straight to that cliff and plunging over the edge with complete faith has never left me any time for negativity, or time to talk myself out of anything. This also keeps me from repressing or turning away feelings to impulsively help others. I have had so many experiences in my life where I have thought of someone instantly and something I might do for them. Sometimes stopping to ask questions allows the moment to pass me by. It’s not as much impulsive as it is an opportunity. One example would be on an afternoon at home when I got this out-of-the-blue feeling that I needed to take dinner to a friend, an obscure friend who hardly knew me. I leapt off the edge – I cleverly tracked down her number,  and fumbled through an awkward phone call asking if I could drop off a meal. Yes, “out of the blue” can be awkward 🙂 Turns out, it was a very needed service. The kind of experience I’ll never forget. I’m so glad I didn’t talk myself out of it. Do you guys do that? “No, that’s crazy. She’ll think I’m weird.” or “Oh, I’m sure someone else has already done something to help. No need.” That’s when the “leap before you think” approach comes in handy. Some of those experiences have been the most incredible and most fulfilling moments of my life. I am grateful every day for them and continue to pray for more just like them – and I pray for the bravery to heed them.

I am not sure how, exactly, our opportunity to open this store front in Waco, TX came to be but I do know that taking a giant leap of faith was involved. I have a hard time explaining it mainly, because I live in freefall mode, and mainly because life happens so quickly. Days, weeks, challenges and defeats, little victories and tender mercies happen back to back to back that I can’t tell where things stop and start. I do remember one afternoon sitting on my friend’s couch, just my BF and I, hanging and chit chatting. And while doing so I decided to share with her some business goals I had just written down for our tiny barrel company. When I got to the last item, I inexplicably added one right after it, and said, “I will meet Joanna Gaines by the end of the year.” I was partially joking, I thought. But then I began thinking about it more…thinking about my goal, about Waco, about living in the country, about everything. And I believe that was the day the seed was planted in my heart about a move to Waco. I didn’t realize it then, but looking back now, it’s very clear. I went home and I talked to Chris about it, and of course, he, as always, supported me completely with our new goal.  Weeks, and months passed, and each night when I turned out my office light I would see that list and wondered why I had that in my heart and mind to reach out to the Gaines’. But I just keep thinking to myself, “Why not??” Why not try to meet Chip and Jo? Who doesn’t want to meet Chip and Jo?!?! That seemed to make me feel not so crazy. But then an announcement came in the mail from Star furniture. It seemed that the couple would be doing a meet and greet at the star furniture store just minutes from our home and I had that feeling. That gut feeling. What else could I do, but leap!! I made up a chat book and shutterfly book to serve as a business portfolio in hopes that one would arrive on time and that I could pass it on to them.

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I hired a sitter for the day and I spent ALL day sitting at star furniture thinking, “how the HECK did I end up here?!” I was second in line that morning when they opened and Chris joined me hours later and we met them both. We chatted for what seemed like a millisecond, snapped a picture, hugged, shook hands and then left. I went out to the parking lot to scream my head off to burn up the excitement and anxiety of the moment. “I did it!” I yelled. I felt invincible and very star struck. While it was such an honor to meet such a respectable, truly genuine, talented and admirable couple, I knew there was more to it than that. I soon realized what I really knew all along, that we belonged in Waco. So, we did what we do. we hopped in the truck and made a trip the silos, and before we knew it, we began scouting the area for a building to lease. We both felt clearly that it was the right next move for us, and tried to pull some quick math before committing to a space just across the street that was by NO coincidence available. It all happened so fast that my head is still spinning. So, so, soooo fast. I know that if we had hesitated for any length of time, we would have missed out on such an exciting location for our store. I know we would be filled with regret. How grateful I am that Chris is so supportive to how I feel, and that together, we trust those promptings and feelings, follow our heart and somehow (I know how) we always land exactly where we are supposed to be.

Y’all, I am so excited about this store. I am nervous AND thrilled about this huge change and about this opportunity to build a company that completely represents us. It is everything we have, everything we don’t have and our biggest leap to date. Putting everything out there is just as thrilling and terrifying as free falling. But, I know, just like always, that because it is the right thing to do we will be ok. Better than ok. Whatever experience or life lessons that are waiting for us, we are coming, full speed ahead. I, for one, cannot wait to see what the next few months bring. The store is scheduled to open in April 2017 located in the Mary Avenue Market shopping center on 6th and Mary, just across the tracks from the beautiful silos. Hope to see you all there!

 

—Kish

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Particulars

I thought you all might like to read a little bit about me. I’ve heard so many people say, “the most important thing about blogging is to be yourself.” Well, just in case I’m not too great at the blogging thing and you don’t get to know me through my writing, I’ll just tell you. First though, let me just say that I am not a writer. Whew, I feel better just getting that out there. There’s your disclaimer, folks. You’re not getting a professional here. If anyone needs to excuse themselves at this point, you have my blessing. I do enjoy writing, but that’s really because I like it – not necessarily because I’m good at it. Sometimes writing down feelings, sharing insights, and typing out your experiences and sending them off into the cyberworld just helps you breathe better. It is therapeutic to reflect and actually try to put words to your thoughts and emotions. We can all learn from each other and if anything I’ve learned or experienced, both good and bad, can help anyone else, well, then I’ll gladly put myself out in the blogging world and hope I reach someone. So, here we go.

A few particulars – or more like weird, random facts about yours truly.

1 – I have a funny name. At least, I’ve always thought it funny. Not funny, in a bad way, just, funny in the way that it doesn’t seem to fit with the pale skinned, reddish-blonde-curly-haired, blue-eyed country gal that I am. There’s no cool story to go with it. I’m not named after anyone, and, though I don’t remember learning to spell it ALL out in Kindergarten (I’m convinced it’s a repressed memory from my youth), I can picture myself crying over trying to do so.

My first name is Le’Kisha Shaneia. My middle name is Marie. Nope, not kidding. Born and raised Arizona, USA.

I’m sure I cried with frustration over trying to remember which letters to capitalize and where that blasted apostrophe went. Ya feelin’ me on this one? I mean, no offense to my parents, but this just still seems cruel. Anyways, that’s me. Over the years, I have had many, many nicknames and I have always embraced them. I love bonding with people over my name. It’s good fun and I figure if I have a chance to giggle more in life because of it, then I’m truly the lucky one. Most people call me, Kish or Kisha.

2 – I love food. Actually, I love good food aka comfort food. I’m insanely picky – got it from my son who is even more picky than I am. I do not like left overs. Truth. I have never, ever been able to bring myself to eat cold, leftover pizza. Yes, I am weird. But I LOVE food. Mexican, cheeseburgers, teppanyaki, hearty soup, Italian…Especially pasta. Pasta really, honestly makes me happy. Red sauce, cream sauce, meat sauce – cheese, basil, parmesan, tomatoes, garlic! If I could taste heaven, it just might taste like pasta. I could rant about food for a long time so I’ll just move on before things get out of control. I tell Chris all the time that food is definitely one of my love languages.

3 – Next up, books! I love me a good book. I do so wish I had more time to read. One slice of vacation perfection for me would be a pile of books on the beach and my boys (hubs included) playing near enough for me to hear their excitement over each new ocean discovery – the soft breeze, sound of waves and the calls of the seabirds in the distance too, of course. And this might seem weird, but I like BOOKS. Not electronic, kindle-version type stuff. I like to hold the actual pages and then to see them up on shelves, in stacks on the night stand, and near the couch just waiting to be picked up and flipped through. I guess I sort of collect books. They make me smile, even if I can’t read them as often as I want. I’m the type of nerdy mom that gets giddy at my children’s school book fair. Crisp, new books everywhere! I look forward to it and get such a kick out of shopping for books with my babies. Don’t even get me started about my feelings for used books. They are better than a playground. I might consider them to modern day treasure hunts, rich with adventure and thrill just waiting to be uncovered. I am a nerd.

4 – Moving on. I have an insanely keen sense of smell. Like, freakishly keen. Like, pregnant lady keen 24/7. Only, I’m not pregnant but you can then imagine what it was like when I was pregnant. My poor husband. He is such a trooper. True story, when I was pregnant, I used to make him cook outside so I didn’t have to smell what was cooking inside. This was after I tried locking myself in the bedroom with the fan on to avoid the smell. He also put a microwave in the garage so that he could warm up food out there without me smelling it AND ate alone in the garage. He deserves an award for that. I should get him something. Seriously guys, it’s insane how well my sniffer works. Favorite smells: downy fresh sheets, baby lotion, homemade bread in the oven, horses, fresh cut watermelon and lavender bath salts.

5 – I love to fish. L.O.V.E. it! I have a goal this year to learn to fly fish. I have had a dream of landing a large freshwater trout on a flyrod and cooking it up for dinner on a campfire since I was young. I’m hoping this year I can make that come true. The best part is, Chris and my boys love to fish too. It’s one of our favorite things to do together. Here’s to more time together hollering, “fish on!” in 2017.

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6 – I used to have a horse when I was younger and I miss him so desperately that if I actually stop and think about it, I shed tears. Chris and I sold our company’s products in Round Top, TX for a few years and during those times I would travel there immediately after dropping the children to school and then head back home in time to pick them up (about 1.5 hrs each way) . I enjoyed the drive along the winding country roads and seeing the ranches and farm homes up on hills surrounded by fencing and livestock. Every single day of that three week period during the festival (twice every year), I kept apples in my vehicle so I could stop and feed any horse that I thought I could call in from the pasture along the way. I’d share a few friendly greetings and feel their soft muzzle while I fed them and then went on my way instantly feeling better. Never had therapy, but I imagine this I much cheaper and more effective. I’m sure it sounds pathetic but horses are a part of me. We do what we do in hopes that one day, I will be able to afford such a friend again. And I won’t give up until it happens.

7 – I adore being a mother. I knew from a young age that I wanted children and I feel especially grateful to God for extending me such a privilege. My boys are the light of my life and they teach me so much every single day about life, joy, love and passion. They are some of my best buddies and I feel blessed to call them mine. Family is EVERYTHING to us. My boys are boys to the core. Messy, sticky, sweaty, smelly boys. They were born bathroom banter already installed, they give the sweetest kisses and tender hugs, they are fiercely loyal to family and anything that crawls, leaps, slithers, hops, climbs, flies and jumps. They are a lot of fun and completely exhausting.

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8 – I studied Forestry in college but never finished my degree. Perhaps this is yet another reason why the business name, GoodTimber, resonated so deeply within me. I spent a great deal of time employed by the Forest Service in department of Wildland Fire Management and Suppression. I can work a chainsaw better than most women, and maybe a couple men and hiked more miles in a day than many in a year. I have a tremendous amount of respect for all the wildland fire fighters and the work they perform regularly to protect our forests and homes from the threat of wildfire. It is by far, the hardest job I’ve ever had. I spent a lot of my time in the dispatch office behind a radio talking to the folks out on the ground and trying to get them the resources they needed. To this day, I can rattle off the phonetic alphabet.

9 – I am a devout Christian. I believe in God and Jesus Christ with every fiber of my being. I pray with my husband and children regularly and attend church every Sunday. We believe in kindness, love and respect for all and doing all you can to help another. It’s who we are and who I am.

Let’s do one more to make it an even 10.

10 – Of all the attributes one can have, if I had to pick one to be my favorite, I’d say generosity takes the cake. There are so many GOOD qualities out there to strive for, to build upon, to share and spread with the world. I think having a heart and life filled with generosity is admirable and impactful. Let us be generous with our time. Let us be generous with our kind words- give them freely and in large amounts. Be even more generous with the love you have to share – for it truly changes lives. Let us be generous with our talents so that we can bless and lift others. In my opinion, to see others give generously, freely and happily, is one of the most beautiful things and is truly inspirational. Generosity blesses the giver AND receiver. Yes, I think that being as generous as you can with all that you have is a guarantee for a humble, joyful journey. And what more can you ask for or hope for – for ourselves and each other. My goal this year is to be more generous.

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That’s all for now, folks! Thanks for listening.

Health and Happiness until next time,

Kish

AKA Sha-nay-nay, Shakira, LaFonda, Kalisha…etc etc.

It’s not personal. It’s business.

I think we are all familiar with the old saying, “It’s not personal. It’s business.” I’m no genius, but I’d be shocked if not all business owners agree that that statement is totally laughable. Being a small business owner is VERY personal! It’s your passion. It’s hours and hours of time away from family trying to make your mark in the world. It’s all the sleep you’ve sacrificed in hopes that the extra work will all pay off. It’s your hope for a brighter future for your family and yourself. It’s your leap of faith! It is the representation of who you are and what you stand for. For many, Chris and I included, its every penny you’ve ever had, invested in hopes and dreams. It is blood, sweat, tears and more sweat on top of that. It is your business. And it HAS to be personal.

 

PIN IT!

 

Katy Barrel Company, the small business Chris and I began late December 2012, has been an adventure indeed. We have loved seeing so many people fall in love with our pieces. Over the past 4 years, we have learned so much about who we are as a couple, as business partners, as a family, and most importantly, what we want to share with people everywhere. And we have since realized that KBC just is not the business that fully represents all that we have to share and all that we are; It just is not personal enough.

 

So, we decided to open another company.

 

GoodTimber Furnishings, opening April 2017 in WACO, TX.

 

We are over-the-moon excited.

First and foremost, yes, we will still make barrel products! BUT we will also craft so much more. Because, we are not JUST a barrel company and not just barrel people. The truth is, we do not even drink wine! We do, however, love and appreciate hard work and fine craftsmanship. We believe in taking something as simple and as old as a used barrel and transforming it into something refined and beautiful. We represent growth, change and appreciation for years past, lessons learned and stories to share.

 

So, what makes this new company so special? Why will this business will be different? Of course, I’ll explain.

 

There once was a man who put words to a poem, “Good Timber” that are a perfect representation of who we want to be – the type of life we chose to live – and the strength that comes from such living. Allow me to share:

 

Good Timber

by Douglas Malloch

 

The tree that never had to fight

For sun and sky and air and light,

But stood out in the open plain

And always got its share of rain,

Never became a forest king

But lived and died a scrubby thing.

 

The man who never had to toil

To gain and farm his patch of soil,

Who never had to win his share

Of sun and sky and light and air,

Never became a manly man

But lived and died as he began.

 

Good timber does not grow with ease:

The stronger wind, the stronger trees;

The further sky, the greater length;

The more the storm, the more the strength.

By sun and cold, by rain and snow,

In trees and men good timbers grow.

 

Where thickest lies the forest growth,

We find the patriarchs of both.

And they hold counsel with the stars

Whose broken branches show the scars

Of many winds and much of strife.

This is the common law of life.

 

 

THIS is personal. We all have struggles, challenges and obstacles to overcome in this life here on earth. I do not know a single person who is exempt from such. Chris and I feel that each hardship can become an opportunity to learn and grow – to become more like who we want to be – to become stronger – to stand taller. They teach us to never quit. Never lose heart. Never lose hope. Keep trying. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep believing.

 

That being said, our furnishings will be representative of 2 things: First, the physical struggles, sacrifices, growing pains and heartbreaks that no doubt accompany every small business and their owners. Yet, here we are. We are still here and will still fight for our future and dreams. Second, each one of our pieces are worn and weathered, perfectly imperfect and bold with character. No doubt, a true representation of life, challenges and growth – uncontested scars of many winds and much strife.

 

Furthermore, we want to not only offer furnishings that help to beautify our homes and sanctuaries in this world, but we want to help bless the lives of others. Are we not all here to help each other on our journeys through life? Absolutely, we are here to lift and strengthen each other. Chris and I will regularly have a space in the store to donate time, goods, and/or services to those in our community that need it. At times, we may dedicate proceeds from purchases towards causes that will create hope and relief for others. We want to encourage love and service for others. This is extremely significant to us because we know we would not be anywhere without the love, service and support of many generous neighbors, strangers and dear friends we’ve been blessed to cross paths with along our journey. We have been so deeply and richly served and loved and it has changed our lives. Even if we can only provide a glimpse of that feeling for others, it will be well worth it.

GoodTimber is what we want to share with you. It is who we believe we can become and who we want to encourage all to be. We hope you will come visit us!

GoodTimber Furnishings

300 S. 6th Street

Waco, TX 76701

Corner of 6th and Mary – across the street from the Magnolia Market Silos

Industrial style coffee tables, end tables and kitchen tables

Farmhouse tables

Barrel Décor

Benches

Centerpieces, bookends and corbels

Mirrors and bathroom furnishings and more!

All handcrafted in Waco, TX

—Kisha