The Idea for OUTsideIN was Born

If you know me very well, you know that I’m not much on planning, or goals, or knowing what I’m going to be doing for the next six hours. It’s not that I’m opposed to such things, it’s just that I learned a long time ago that having said plans thwarted by a sick kid, a family emergency, a broken car or the need to make four dozen brownies by noon left me feeling frustrated and unproductive. My fallback position was to just deal with whatever the day held with grace and attention that wouldn’t be available to me if I felt resentful of a growing list of tasks and goals that refused to be marked off.


Then came Labor Day 2012. I took a little road trip with my youngest son, to preview a college.  Sitting in a class that day it dawned on me that I was about to be downsized. He was two years from graduation and his little sister was in the 6th grade.  What would I do with myself when these last two left for college. I could see myself wandering around my house from room to room, imagining the good ole days of constant trips to practices and feeling nostalgic about the stomach virus.  I needed a plan.  


The idea for OUTsideIN was born in my brain that day and it has been my constant companion ever since. I have nurtured it, loved it, reinvented it, and prayed over it for almost seven years.  This morning it all paid off. No, we didn’t have 50 orders waiting on us this morning when I opened the email. It wasn’t that kind of payoff.  


You see, yesterday my husband and I dropped that last kid off at college. Even though she turned 18 last year and graduated from high school this May, neither of those two milestones felt like yesterday, or this morning. This morning, the huge mane of silky black hair wasn’t piled over her pillow and no one asked for William’s Sausage and biscuits for breakfast. Instead, I had to feed my daughter’s cats. And that may have been the precise moment that I recognized that my plan had worked.


I made my breakfast and lunch, packed my clothes for the day (in a HangUP garment bag, of course) and headed out the door to work out and then walk down the street to our workshop. It was pretty much like any other morning for the last seven years. That was the beauty of the whole thing. I didn’t have this gaping void in my life. I had something precious and special just waiting on me a few miles away to command my attention and creativity for the next 8 hours.  


And while my plan has been a good one, it would not have been possible without so many people who have come alongside me to see it through. It’d be foolish of me not to recognize the part that Jimmy Smith, Jean McMillan, Lisa Salazar, Doris Weatherly and Stephanie Oszman have played in making OUTsideIN what it is today. In the early days, we also had volunteers like Jackie Vaughn, Lynn Goree and a great board of directors who do important things for us. Phillip Green is constantly having to troubleshoot our worn out computers and the hardware guys next door fix our roof leaks. Over 20 different women have passed through our doors and given me a chance to work alongside them, mentor them and learn something from them in return. I am blessed.


So, today felt like the first day of the rest of my life. I love my family and I pray they will have awesome lives but today I remembered that I have one of my own.  

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