Last year on May 4, 2017, I was just wrapping up an all-day workshop in my studio with local teenagers. The teachers and students had just walked onto the bus when I started to walk back down our gravel driveway as I saw Kelly approaching me. He let me know that he had just received some shocking news and my first response (in total me style) was, “Does it have anything to do with money”? I don’t like money surprises and I think this is pretty typical and a true look at my fears. Kelly totally lied:-) and said, “No. Let’s go talk in the studio”.
Kelly proceeded to tell me that the position he had held for the past 20 years was restructuring again. His main offices were located in Washington D.C. (where we had met and where Jack was born) and all field offices were being called back to headquarters. We had been in Colorado for 16 years at this point. They would buy our home, pack us up, pay closing costs on a new house etc. but if we did not come back to D.C. within two months Kelly would no longer have a job.
Maddy and Benjamin were still at enrichment school this day so Kelly, Jack and I just sat there letting it all sink in. Kelly had only just been told the news himself so there were so many emotions that afternoon in the studio. If this news had come two years earlier I think we would have jumped on it. Washington is a dream and with the history, art, culture, and ease to so many other areas along the East Coast, it would have felt like a blessing. I think if we had still been in our house in the subdivision in town we would have looked at this as a beautiful adventure. But we were not in the pretty house on Brushwood Drive. A year and a half ago (at the time) we had moved to land with views for days, room to move and explore and dream, had transformed a garage into a dreamy studio and I was enjoying every moment of making this home ours. This house journey was a defining moment in our lives and faith as individuals and a family. You can read the story here, here and here.
Once Benjamin and Madolyn were home from school we all sat together in the studio and spilled everything out, talked about what-ifs and listened to the heart of each person. We listed pros and cons and we looked up real estate. We talked about what it would mean for our business and how our day to day life would look and change. We talked about leaving friends, leaving this land and starting over.
Here is the thing that is the truest truth. I had just told friends at the time that I would never want to be financially responsible for our family but in the same breath, I was always telling Kelly I needed his help more. The business was growing and there were many days I was feeling like a failure at everything because I didn’t feel like I was doing anything well. I knew I needed him more but I would have never had the strength to have him quit his job because the security of his salary would be gone. There would be no net. At all. That was too high of a price to pay. At least that is what I had thought and then here the decision was being made for us and we had to choose. We move to Washington D. C. and keep that net, let go of the land and studio we had just received and the future of our business was unknown OR let go of the net, trust that we were given this land and studio for a purpose and see what we could make of it with both of us ALL IN.
Let me tell you that making a decision is way easier than walking it out and we were about to live it.
Part Two coming soon.
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Can’t wait to hear part two.
I love that it was a all-in family decision. It’s such a testament to your family relationships and faith in all opinions. Not to mention a recognition that God was asking you to choose—and you trusted! It’s such a wonderful story, Jeanne…yours and Kellt’s Story that has led to the most beautiful life. You always trust and it has paid off. Just so proud of you and all you’ve created. I think back to that day on the beach with you in Manzanita and you were dreaming out loud about “the living studio”…you walk the talk so well and it has been such a blast watching it all unfold. Love you, Jeanne!
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ugh, totally get feeling like a failure at everything because you just cant do it all without some help but there is not enough money for help so nothing is done well!! haha pretty much my creative business life right now too!
What resonates with me is that you included your children and let their voice be heard. Letting them see how we as adults sort out the the big stuff not only gives them a chance to see us in action but an opportunity participate is a great life lesson!
Thank you! It wouldn’t have felt right without them.
Wow. I’ve been following you for a bit, but just read this post this morning. I can so relate! I’ve been an artist for years, living in Atlanta with my family and last year we made the gut decision to sell and move to our cabin in Asheville. One week after moving my husband was blindsided with a restructure layoff, four years before retirement. (gotta love big corporate, right?) Must have been a God thing that led us to sell because we now have time to decide what to do as we make our full time life in Asheville. I can honestly say it’s been one of the most stressful times of our lives. Thanks for your story. I’ll be reading more and will continue to be inspired as I (try to) work my way through artist’s block!