Thursday, April 30, 2009


I haven't been blogging in quite awhile. Life has been turned upside down and I haven't really felt like blogging. Also, what I'll fill you all in on has been best kept quiet, til now. I think it's pretty safe to explain. Since I blog, typically, about our everyday lives and events I thought it'd be easier to just come on out and fill you all in all at once.

About 8 1/2 years ago my husband (Matthew) and my parents started a sign company. Matthew has been making signs of some kind since he was 18 and he has a BFA degree from Stout. He had always wanted to own his own shop. My dad also had some skills in design work and my folks thought the sign gig would be a neat thing to try. So, long story short... they did. We all worked getting the business up and running. Initially we ran the shop from my folks' house. A few years later Matthew and I acquired the entire business and moved the shop to a few different spots over the years. Matthew made excellent signs and word spread quickly. At one point we even had two shops running full time in two different towns (Hudson/River Falls). The economy allowed for us to grow. There were times in that span where we'd grow and reduce, grow and reduce. Basically we'd adjust and it wasn't a big change.

We were allowed some neat opportunities from AdCraft too. Matthew was able to literally travel the world. He made signs for places in Puerto Rico, Scotland and Greece to name a few. Our shop was featured on the Discovery Channel and our family, all four of us, were able to travel to Scotland. It was because of a sign convention in Callander that I actually got on a plane FOR THE FIRST TIME and travelled rather recklessly with my two babies across an ocean. (No, I wasn't really reckless but it felt that way at the time) Anyways, those neat opportunities were once in a lifetime deals that were made possible because of Matthew's hard work with the shop.

(If you've never seen some of Matthew's work I think the is still up and running so you should see his talent)

We met lots of neat friends too from all around the world. Isaiah and Anna know folks very well that make their home in Germany and Scotland. It was a neat deal for the kids too.

What does that have to do with moving and packing? Well, you see my mom had always done the books for AdCraft. A couple years ago Matthew saw the potential for a very poor economy and sadly, we took all necessary steps to sell the company and get out while we could. We had one taker (apparently all other business owners/potential buyers saw the possibility of poor economics as well). The guy that came in said he'd take over books and do some light production work. This was great news as it freed up my mom, who already had a full-time job besides AdCraft, and Matthew as this new guy was going to take over some of Matt's responsibilities too. Without spilling the beans too much this guy didn't work out. Last fall the economy hit us pretty hard. We let the potential buyer go and I took over the books, in hopes of saving some money. We also cut our guys' hours down to three days a week.

While I was doing the books and calling my mom non-stop regarding questions on how to do certain things I started noticing problems. Another long story shortened, this guy did not pay our taxes, balance the register and a myriad of other LARGE problems that needed to be worked through in a short amount of time. Mom helped get that mess straightened out but it had a huge financial impact. Matthew pushed through some jobs that would have been saved for our slower time in winter.

I'm sure lots of you have noticed money seems tight all around. Well, in an effort to just get to the end of the story, it's hitting us pretty hard. We have closed AdCrafts's doors. If jobs don't come in we can't keep the ship afloat. We've put all our savings and personal funds into the company in hopes of being able to hang on a bit longer. No deal. We have had no income since February. I would do payroll and pay our guys but not Matthew. We couldn't. We are surrendering our homes, our cars, tractors, etc. We realize we can't continue and are just sucking it up and moving on.

We feel very blessed to have found a home in Osceola to rent. We can stay in the country, keep our dog and Isaiah does not have to switch schools. Three bedroom rental homes are a rarity in this little town. God just dropped it into our laps. We have to send the sheep and chickens to a buddy of Matt's. At this point Matt's looking for work. As you can imagine that's not an easy task at the moment. So, there's some mighty big changes coming down the pike. At the end of the day, however, we still have what's really important. All the other stuff is just fluff. Makes for nice opportunities and experiences but it's not what's important.

So that's about it. It's been a fun ride but, rides over.... everyone out.

Honestly, Matthew and I are excited to see what the next chapter holds for us. God is still God and he knows the deal.

Friday, April 10, 2009


And why, dear reader, have I waited 33 1/2 years to read Jane Eyre? This shall be my new favorite book.