I haven’t posted anything this month yet so this morning as I sat drinking my coffee and reading everyone’s Happy New Year post and pictures from all the Christmas joy I began to think about this waning year of 2018. First thing I have to do is thank God for all his Providence in my life and especially this last year. I really need to back up to 2017. In 2017 the home health agency where I was working 3 days a week changed management hands. My job was being centralized somewhere else so I knew I was to be laid off. This meant that I would have my income decreased more than half. from a take home pay of approximately $4,500 a month to $2,000 a month. Now, THAT was going to severely cramp my style!
Also in the spring of 2017 at the first millinery classes I hosted here in my home studio there was a problem with lodging. The local hotel was not suitable for some of my guest. There being only one hotel in town lodging choices was limited. I got the idea to build a small bunk house on my property that would house 4 or 5 students on site. Construction began in late fall of 2017 and was finished in May 2018.
In the fall of 2017 I also decided to try to diversify my class offerings from strictly millinery to other fiber arts such as felting, basket weaving, etc. Being only about 45 miles from Berea, KY, the crafting center of the state I decided to start looking there st the college craft department for instructors. I was getting nowhere because no one was returning my emails or calls.
By the providence of God I went to an outdoor theater performance by out local theater troupe and happened to be sitting on a bench one lovely evening when a gentleman ask if the seat beside me was taken. Since I never see a stranger we got to talking . I told him about my millinery studio and classes here and that I was trying to get in touch with the craft department at Berea . It turns out that he was Robert Donnan and was a contracted agent who worked with the Appalachian Regional Commission assisting small business development in Appalachia..WOW!
He connected me with MACED, which is connected with the Brushy Mountain Institute and Berea College. This agency provides all kinds of assistance to small businesses..It provided me with this beautiful $4,000 dollar web site that was designed by Malcolm Wilson and they paid all of it but $1000. Malcolm was kind enough to take 3 of my designer hats in trade and my out of pocket expense was only $600 dollars.
MACED also was working with our local government to increase tourism. They hosted a class on starting up a vacation rental on Airbnb. I attended. It was a no brainer to offer my cabin on Airbnb when I was not hosting classes. I was shocked and amazed at how much this little cottage has brought into my budget. It has been rented parts of every month since Memorial day! God knew I needed a little more money than my retirement and he was looking ahead and arranging all these opportunities for me. I thank Him for giving me the means, will power, and nerve to jump into these new adventures!
As I look back on the last 2 years, there are so many good things that He has given me that this post would be to long to read if I listed them all. Highlights would be the births of my 2 great grand children. Grayson and Brinlynn, getting to go to MMU ( Millinery training for a week in Gatlinburg with world class instructors), Meeting so many wonderful guest to my guest house from all over the US and even Germany & India, Attending the Bluegrass School at Hyden and advancing in my Mandolin playing, being part of a bluegrass band again, selling the lake house and getting out of debt just at the right time, getting my knee replaced and recovering so quickly, happy, healthy and prosperous children and grand children and so many more good blessings. I am sure I have left out 100 more too.
So now, I am looking forward to 2019. I don’t know what God has in store for me. I know what I plan and desire to do in 2019 but I also know that it is all going to happen only if it is in His great plan for my future.