The Bell Doesn’t Dismiss You

In High School, I had an English teacher whose classroom was right across from my mom’s class. Now my mom was an art teacher, and everything about her classroom epitomized art.

It was messy. It buzzed with the sound of laughter and conversation. The desks were not in a row. Artwork hung on the walls, clay footprints guided the way from the spinning wheel to the sink and my favorite….the box of paperclips, were all hooked together, making it impossible to grab just one.

Sounds fun right?!

Well, the English class across the hall was a completely different story. There students sat quietly at their desks in full attention. They raised their hand when they had a question. They did not leave their desks without permission. And the most important thing. The thing the teacher made clear on the first day of school: THE BELL DOES NOT DISMISS YOU. I DO.

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Do What You Can and Don’t Do What You Can’t

The other day Adam and I were getting ready to go workout and Adam said, “I’m just gonna do what I can and not do what I can’t.”

We both laughed at that very simple yet true statement. Adam has a bulging disk in his lower back that he is trying not to aggravate yet at the same time stay active. He knows the exercises that enflame the area, so as best he can, he doesn’t do those. I admire how Adam quickly summed up the situation, then at workout did what he could to the best of his ability.

I on the other hand, struggle with the should-haves and the should-bes:

I should be able to do that even though I have a bulging disk in my back.

I should be able to run a 15K as fast as her!

I should have said more to encourage that girl I talked to at Brookshires.

I should have known this would happen and done something different!

My mind rolls the scenes over and over in my head like a football coach looking at film. I strategize what I should do next time I see that play called.

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Come and See What God Has Done: The Conclusion to our Independence Day Story!

In December 2017, with full down payment money in hand, Adam and I signed papers declaring us as the new owners of the building in Sanger. With the help of our friend’s investment that I mentioned in Part 2 of this story, we were able to purchase this property WITHOUT the bank’s involvement and on a non-recourse / non-surety basis! (just as the Lord had said!)

The plan was to hold onto the property for a year to avoid a major tax bill, then sell it and invest the cash into the company. Because of how Southwest began, we have always been low on cash!

The funny thing is, in January we starting getting phone calls from people asking if the Sanger property was for sale. It wasn’t even on the market! We turned down the offers because we needed to sit on the property for a year and the buyers weren’t able to wait.

But one day in March a guy called. He had looked at the property back in January but didn’t think he was able to wait a year to move his business.  As he looked at other potential properties to move his business into, he decided that our place was indeed the best fit for his business to move into.

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Our Independence Day Story: Part 2

So after our coil supplier cancelled the agreed upon consignment program without our knowledge and called several invoices due now, Adam made a phone call and asked what was going on. He wanted all the facts on the table. (To recap part 1 click here!)

Basically he was told we owed them too much money and things weren’t being paid off fast enough and they don’t trust us anymore. By the end of the conversation, we learned not only are the full invoices due, the whole past balance is also due. Now.

Sell what you have to and get us up to current was the gist of the conversation.

Adam tried reason and logic. He recapped how we had done everything they had asked us to do. When they changed the pay-off plan, we agreed, never trying to get out of paying off the entire balance. And our account was current according to the agreed upon arrangement.

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Celebrating God’s Faithfulness: Our Independence Day Story!

It is Celebration time at the Steck household! For on January 4th 2018 God did something amazing in our business, Southwest Metal Systems. We have marked that day Independence Day and decided each year we will commemorate by throwing a shindig to remember!

Celebration

Our office party Celebration!

I had dinner with a friend the day before the Celebration, and told her this story I’m about to share. At one point she said, “Why have I not heard this before?” I told her it wasn’t a story I told often, because number one, it’s so long and involved, number two it takes a lot of energy to share, and number three until January 4th of 2018 it really wasn’t worth telling! It was just a bunch of hard stuff we had to walk through. And who really wants to hear that?!

By God’s grace I finally had the time and energy to sit down and write it all out. I’d love for you to come and see all God’s done in our lives and in the lives of the people who work at Southwest Metal.

It’s a story of God’s amazing love and faithfulness and a real life example of how He parted the Red Sea for us and allowed us to walk on dry ground to the other side. I’m still amazed and humbled at His strength and power that He displayed on our behalf.

This will span over the course of a few blog posts, so I hope you’ll stay tuned.

Here we go-

One year ago anxiety hung heavy in the air of our home. We tried to pin it up. Tried to pop it. We prayed and trusted and knew God had a plan, but just didn’t know what that plan looked like. We weren’t scared, just holding our breath. Waiting. Wondering what would happen.

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What Does God Desire More – Faith or Sacrifice?

“We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God no where tells us to give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having – life with Himself.”

~Utmost for His Highest January 8

On New Year’s Day I bought two puzzles at the Dollar Tree. One was 300 pieces, the other 500. And I soon discovered puzzles are addicting! Every time I walked to the kitchen I wanted to add a new piece – then a new section. Like nibbling on a piece of cake, I couldn’t stop until I had a straight line somewhere. A clean finished area.

I discovered that putting a 500 piece puzzle together is easier when you can look at the picture on the box. When I was stumped, I would hold a particular puzzle piece in my hand, study the picture of where it might go and usually I could find its place.

If only life was that way.

To me walking in faith is like putting together a 5,000 piece puzzle without seeing the picture on the box. I just have to figure out where each piece fits based on what I see right in front of me. There’s no big vision of how it all connects together. There’s no – oh, see where this line and color meet, that’s where it fits!

And that’s really hard for me. So what I tend to do is super-impose a picture I believe would work great, then start putting pieces together based on that plan.

Our journey to Kenya is the biggest example of this.

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The Unexpected Journey

We have been on strange and unexpected church journey for almost 10 years now. We’ve experienced church in so many forms with so many different kinds of people ranging from home church to Church of Christ to Assembly, to Non-Denominational. Honestly my heart has forgotten what it feels like to be in a church home.

Regardless of what it looks like on the outside, on the inside Adam and I have done our best to follow where Jesus is going. For us, following Him requires movement. And sometimes it looks like we’re wishy washy and wandering, trying to find something perfect, but in reality we are just following where Jesus leads us.

Looking back, I see God has taught me something through this unexpected journey…

I am an achiever. Put a goal in front of me and I can’t sleep until I crush it! A couple of years ago someone introduced me to the Enneagram. It has helped me accept my personality and understand the warning signs of when I’m over doing it and moving into an unhealthy range. Mostly it’s shown me God’s amazing grace – for it’s only by that grace I am a whole person today!

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Sometimes I Want to Quit

It happens every time I take a break.

I want to quit.

I want to quit homeschooling.

And this Christmas holiday was no different. There’s something about unplugging that makes me realize how run down I was before. I slid into the holidays feeling like Elastigirl from The Incredibles – stretched thin on all sides while playing the superhero and preventing anything or anyone from hitting the ground.

I usually keep everyone else together while afterwards, I curl up in a ball and lock myself away in a dark room dreading the idea of going back to reality now that I know what peace and sanity feel like.

In times like this, I always place the blame at the feet of homeschooling, because obviously it takes up the biggest chunk of time and energy. It must be to blame!

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Why Formulas Don’t Work

Back in October life hit an unexpected bump which changed the trajectory of my plans for the fall. After a week in Kenya and then 10 days later speaking at the Hutto Bible Ladies Retreat, I was hoping for some peace and quiet and old fashion R-E-S-T. The kind where you zone out with a couple seasons of a Netflix show.

But apparently God had other plans.

The day I unpacked my suitcase from the retreat, Adam packed his. For the next two months, he had to work away from home for three to four days a week.

Not exactly snuggling on the couch watching Netflix together.

Since I couldn’t control the circumstances around me, this need for something to go as I planned bubbled up inside me. All of a sudden, I needed to sew something, paint something or rearrange something in my house to funnel the energy bouncing around within me and not take it out on the people around me.

So I bought some fabric.

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Why Must I Drop My Leaves?

As the leaves fall in layers outside my window, crunch beneath my shoes and swirl behind the cars, it reminds me summer is over and winter is coming. This little season we call fall prepares the way for holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It ushers in chilly mornings, darker evenings and pumpkin spice smells in the kitchen.

I’ve often said that if I was a deciduous tree in fall, I would be the one to look around and say, “You know what, I’ve decided I’m keeping my leaves this year! I mean these are my favorite set! What’s the point of dropping my leaves now just to get them back again in a few months? Winter isn’t too bad here, can’t I just keep them?!”

What’s going to happen to me?

I’m probably going to freeze to death because if trees don’t drop their leaves in fall, they’ll die in winter from lack of food. Winter is not the time for nourishing extra things like leaves.

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