Thursday, July 20, 2006

Before Bluebird Cove 2: The Limitations Of Alabama

Since we were in Alabama, I was very limited in outdoor activities due to the vitiligo, so The Refuge was certainly a key to my sanity as we home-schooled and ran our business based on our lifestyle needs. There was something that darted around in my mind now and then that there was more than this life at The Refuge; there was something out there in the future that would take us to another place. When we visited Tennessee, I saw before me what seemed to be missing. The mountains, the streams and waterfalls, the immense amount of forests and a cooler climate. We tucked away in our hearts and minds that "one day we will move to Tennessee."

We continued to blend our business and home life in a method that worked for us, going from home business to office space when Randal joined full-time in 1988. Being gifted in counseling, he really took to helping people and spent most of his time teaching and doing individual consultations during our three-day work week. By the time Benjamin, our only child, turned 15, we were ready to go with a retail shop where he could study and work to earn more towards the upcoming purchase of a car.

Time flies when children are growing .... so they say. I never noticed it while it was happening. Benjamin was more strong-willed than I and we clashed through many years of family life, so when it was all over, and he left at 19 for a job in Oklahoma City, where he would live with his grandparents, we were left with our heads realing with all the memories of those years.

I keep thinking of God's command to Lot for them not to look back at the city. Looking back on parenting can be a heart-wrenching time of regrets and joys, but the devil will scream at you about all that you did "wrong." Again, we do not know that bad circumstances produce bad results, and Faith carries more weight than Reality.

A couple of months before Benjamin was scheduled to leave, during one of my mornings with the Lord, I felt we were to begin an internet business. You have to understand this didn't fit in any way with our lifestyle. We never had the internet in our home and never wavered on this decision. Technology held no fascination for me and the distractions that electronics puts on childhood is not what I consider of optimal quality. We had banned Atari, Game Boys, and such from the confines of our home and even television was regulated weekly, tracked by cardboard "tokens" with each of our initials on them so we each had three hours of this form of entertainment and that was it. Reading, playing games, maintaining our wildlife habitat, and learning made up our family time.

When I initially told Randal that I thought we were to have an internet business and that this may be the method that God uses for us to be able to move to Tennessee, his first question was, "What did you do with my wife?"

We purchased a computer and went online in December 1998. Benjamin left January 1, 1999, for Oklahoma City, and little did we know what a comfort technology would be to our hearts as we grieved over the loss of our son's presence in our home. Knowing we would not be in that home much longer, we quickly converted his room to an office, simply to avoid having it remind us that he was gone.

We had four (4) bedrooms so it wasn't a necessity, but it did provide each of us a room to work in and that proved to be of great value since we both dove into the internet project as we continued to work and serve our customers and clients at the retail location. It was good to be so busy.

Although Randal had sold computers, he had no programming background and certainly no idea how or where to begin to build a website, so we did what we normally do when we wanted to learn something. We purchased a book. "Making Money in Cyberspace," by Paul and Sarah Edwards. It became our Bible for business. Our daily direction of "this is the way, walk ye in it" as we went step-by-step developing an online business.

Since our business of 17 years included a network marketing group, we were bold enough after six months of development to say we would not renew our lease that expired in September 1999. We went full-time with the online venture, now and then thinking about Tennessee, but much too busy to make any plans for a move.

It was to be many years before we figured out that you never catch up in an internet business. You don't get to the end of your list because there are always a zillion new options for improvement and new projects. I often wonder when we would've taken the time to move to make plans for a move to Tennessee. We were just driven to "get it all right" and growing online, barely taking the time to have a personal life.

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