Leap Before You Think

I am a leaper. I leap. As soon as I feel that raw gut feeling, an inkling of something good,  that deep, peaceful wave wash over me, I march right to the edge and leap straight off. I take the risk and leap at the chance to learn, grow and experience something new – something good. I feel it is right, and I just do it.  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 and see a pattern. It’s not a conscientious, planned and calculated jump, by any means. It’s just how I work. 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. 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 my aid. Who knows. But I have no regrets.

 

I know that good feeling. I have felt it, and 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. I try not to question or ask why. This also keeps me from repressing or turning away feelings to impulsively help others. Another example, one day I instantly had it in my mind that I needed to take dinner to a friend, an obscure friend who hardly knew me.  I cleverly found her number, leapt off the edge and fumbled through an awkward phone call asking if I could drop off a meal. I can be awkward J Turns out, it was a very needed service. 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.

 

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. 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 and 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.