Our dedicated server is experiencing some issues. I will repost the giveaway when the kinks get sorted out and hopefully then you can enter to win your favorite snacks! My apologies for any inconvenience!
xo – kb
This may seem like it’s coming out of left field but in all honesty, it’s sortof been a long time coming.
We have confessed our desire before to be involved somehow in the nearby town of Monroe. You knew that. We didn’t know how or when or even what we would be doing there…but for some reason, there was what I call ‘a stirring’ in our hearts. Some of you may understand that…some of you may not.
We originally thought that maybe what we would be doing there is buying a fixer-upper (which still may happen down the line but we have made very little headway yet in that department). We actually still own our first home and are officially landlords with a couple years experience now and so far, we see it as a good thing. Some of the families that we have encountered that are renting are just victims of others taking advantage of them….health issues…or a string of bad luck. And they still want to be homeowners. We believe in being fair to them (even when it’s hard to shake the dollar signs out of our eyes) and hoping and praying that one day they will succeed at their goals. We never dream that we will be landlords for our primary income (Jeremy still plans on working at his full time job and me at this little blog for our expenses…so we are just folks that found ourselves in a situation where we inadvertently now own additional property and have learned that it’s kinda cool).
And I think it’s very clear that we are fans of property in general. Obviously we like making houses our own and we like to think that we are effective at bringing a little beauty to them (we aren’t house flippers but only because we fall in love too easily)….and we are fans of sharing time with friends and families and creating community. That has always been a central theme in our lives and marriage….everything from hosting a couples video game tournament to having a preschooler’s music class in our basement to being involved in and supporting our communities. Are we perfect? No. But we try…and when it comes to serving others and trying to be someone that makes a small difference…trying is what counts, right?!
So when we first were introduced to Monroe, it seemed like this quintessential little town. Some diamond in the rough. But over the course of the past couple years we have learned that it’s very different than that. A diamond would be independently beautiful….just needing to have the ‘roughness’ removed. And that’s not Monroe.
Monroe is sort of like an infant. Even though it’s an old town, it holds this tremendous amount of potential but unlike a diamond, it’s not there yet…it has it’s fair share of struggles, brokenness, and issues. Part of me thinks…it just needs Jesus. And that is true. But I also believe that sometimes we are led to BE Jesus in our communities. I’m not saying that I think Jeremy should strap himself to a cross naked in front of the town hall….although, I’d be front row to witness that I’m saying that opportunities sometimes form (and they are scary) and we need to take a leap of faith (and that is scary) and we could completely fail and people would laugh, mock or think we are stupid (again…scary). But investing in other people…that is what Jesus did. all.the.time. And we believe that is what we are called to do.
And that is what Jeremy and I pray for. We prayed for a long time that we would be given the opportunity to invest in others in Monroe. We prayed that we would have peace about investments. We prayed that one day people would do the same for our children and help them learn how to serve others. So now that I am done preaching about what was going on in our hearts, let me just give you an update about what has been going on with us in Monroe. (below is an image of one of the renovated retail spaces in downtown…it’s just beautiful)
1. We’ve been looking at houses. One day I would love to host photography workshops or DIY weekends….a retreat of women coming together to pick up power tools and build, demo or create all in one weekend. It would be (hopefully) empowering and encouraging to everyone that YES a sawzall is also a girl’s tool, YES rewiring a lamp is easy, and YES we can be real with people we just met. And a house that we could retreat to in Monroe would be amazing. So far…that’s not moved forward. But we have tried and will continue trying. So maybe one day, you’ll hear about this ‘DIY weekend’ thing…and I hope you come see me. While that has been on the back burner, I’ve been documenting some pretty amazing transformations in other homes in Monroe…because I still need a house fix
In the near future, I hope that I get to share with you our friends Brian & Sadie’s home….
It was a hundred year old house that desperately needed renovating and they have done a fantastic job with it.
So one of these days, I will take you on a whirlwind tour of how they made it SO much more functional for their family of six and improved it to be a really great investment.
2. We’ve been exploring this idea of ‘creating community’ by investing in land. Monroe is one of those towns that is really confusing. It has a very cute little downtown area, gorgeous event facilities, and has buses here every weekend because it is a really beautiful spot to get married. But it lacks some things….like a place to get a good sandwich, or a spot to drink a cup of coffee outside, or even community spaces for having their summer weekend farmer’s markets (which btw…best goat cheese EVER sold at those things…I eat it with a spoon like ice cream). So we’ve been talking to folks and seeing how and what we can do to get involved and it’s exciting to get on board with other things already in the works…like our friends who are looking at building this space into a place to get a little bit of everything (fine meats and a good bottle of wine and eat up on a rooftop deck)….
And they have amazing taste….just check out this shot of their stairway that they did on a budget in a house they completely transformed…
Yum….love that wood wall
So with that in mind, we have officially put some money down with others on an 1.5 acre piece of property. We were approached by friends that recently bought land and are trying to get it worked out so that in the end they can start the transformation to make Monroe more of a work/play/live community (google that…it’s interesting) and this additional acreage within city limits would be a small part of that change. So we share in the ownership of that….and hopefully that means that one day, that land can have historic looking cottages built on it and that more folks will have the ability to own those homes…investing back into the community…and it would keep the land that could eventually hold cheap housing, that in turn does nothing for the city at large.
3. Last but not least, there is another business that we are officially in now.
Let me give you a little back story….we are fans of sports and exercise and in general a healthy active lifestyle. We hope that one day our kids will see that and understand that it’s important to be a ‘whole’ person…spiritually, emotionally, physically, etc. But here it is really hard to find a place to workout…so we ended up doing it in the basement and saving our ‘gym membership and childcare’ money.
Well…Jeremy started really dreaming about what he wants to do. And his passion has been opening a gym. Once he heard about Crossfit, he knew that he wanted to help bring that to Monroe. Crossfit is a workout regime that also incorporates a sense of community because you are working out with a trainer and the same group of folks who help motivate and encourage you. Think Biggest Loser.
Enter the talking phase…he talked to a number of folks at our church that are into fitness and have been members of every gym in a twenty mile radius. He started this little fire and low and behold, that same fire was burning in the hearts of others. Enter the doing phase…after many meetings together with a few other individuals who are equally committed to creating a business in Monroe…more specifically a health related business….and discussions of how it could happen, how much it would cost, etc….they found a spot in the old Monroe Mill that would be perfect for building out into a Crossfit box (box=gym).
So now the renovation phase has begun and they are trying to make this into a usable and great looking space. An area that people like coming to and feel like they are getting the best workout, with the best amenities and best sense of community. It is called CrossFit at Monroe Mill and if you are ever in this little town and want to check it out…well, be prepared to throw up and want to come back
It’s definitely some big-boy decisions…where to put some of the money that we have saved up….what to invest in and when, where, how…but in the end, we know that even though we live outside of Monroe limits, this is home. This is our county seat and this place is where our children will be raised. This is the example that we want to set for our kids…to put your money where your mouth is…and to follow your dreams, as crazy as they may seem.