The Two Words I’ve Come to Know Very Well in the Past Month.

Our family on opening day of our store yesterday!

Persevere and patience…two words that have basically described the last month as our world has endured large amounts of chaos due to the current global pandemic. But let’s back track here. Let me explain why these words have been so important in my daily life.

At the end of February 2020, R. J. and I had finally decided to make the plunge in opening our dream storefront, Wholesome Home, on Main Street in Saxonburg, PA. A store that offers sustainable, eco-friendly products along with dōTERRA essential oils, educational workshops, and more. This store has been a goal of ours for a long time. We are beyond thankful for the journey God has put us on with living more simple and natural lives and we just want to be able to share that lifestyle with as many people as we possibly can. Opening a store that offered all of those foundational options for minimalist, eco-friendly, sustainable, and natural living helps us in our mission with sharing those lifestyles.

April 4th was supposed to be the big grand opening day. We had everything in motion to open. We were eager, excited, and blessed that God had presented everything we needed to open this store in such a short amount of time. We had shelves and furniture being ordered, inventory arriving at our house daily, and future customers sharing how excited they were for the store to open.

Middle of March comes…”Global Pandemic” takes over the screens of every news station. Next thing we know, sports events are being cancelled, kids are being sent home and told to do school at home, people are laid off from work, business are forced to close…Our society went on a full blown lock down within the matter of days. Woah… That originally planned day of April 4th came and went and our store never even had the opportunity to open it’s doors to customers once yet. We decide to push our grand opening. To when? Who knows… Every. Single. Day. Information on COVID-19 changed and was updated.

So we launched our online store instead. I spent days unboxing every box of inventory at our house. I took pictures of everything, uploaded it, edited descriptions, and within a week our online e-commerce store was open for business. And looking back, the first time I realized I was grateful for the fact we couldn’t open yet was when our website launched.

As with any new thing, there’s kinks that need worked out. And boy was that the case with our website. At first, it wasn’t charging customers sales tax. Then it miscalculated the correct shipping prices and I ended up paying out of pocket for the first few orders we got. It took about a week to work out all of those bugs and actually get the website functioning the way it should be.

The second time I realized I was grateful for having to delay our opening was when it was time to hang all of our shelves for inventory in our actual store front. Though I’m beyond grateful for the pallet shelves that were made, they just did not end up working because of mounting reasons. So we decided to add flipping furniture to our store. We went out and bought an old dresser, I refinished it, and now we are in love with how our store has actually turned out with looking. And the furniture flipping is a nice side income with the store. (Even though I can’t bring myself to sell the first dresser I refinished.)

Before (right half) and after (left half) of the dresser I refinished
The final product of the dresser I refinished.

Finally, May rolls around. And after doing tons of research into what businesses are considered “essential” and trying to figure out when we could actually open…We finally realized our store does fall under the “essential retailer” category and are allowed to open our doors! Within about one week, we had all the inventory labeled, the store was put together, and we were ready to open. And yesterday, Tuesday, May 12th, 2020, we opened our doors to customers for the very first time.

Our storefront the night before opening day.

Let’s talk about those two words now. Persevere. Talk about doubt…just when you think everything is lining up perfectly and you’re excited to open, something you can’t control happens and flips yours and the entire world’s world upside down. As April 4th came and went and we couldn’t open, I had so much doubt in my mind. Could we actually do this? Were we going to be able to pay our bills? Was this a mistake? Then I opened my bible:

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” -Hebrews 10:36

I know and believe God has called us to share natural solutions with so many in need, and to share the knowledge behind living a more sustainable lifestyle so we can love and protect the Earth that he created. We may not have been able to open, but we managed to get our website running. We had time to organize all of our inventory without feeling rushed. We persevered and I now don’t feel overwhelmed or stressed over trying to figure everything out quickly as I’m currently sitting at our checkout counter admiring our little store.

Patience. There was nothing we could do except wait. And during that waiting period, not only did we get a lot of the background work done, but I embraced more mental healing in myself as I’m currently fighting postpartum depression and recovering from recently diagnosed eating disorders. We were able to remodel our bathroom, something that was on our to-do list for a while. We started our garden seeds. And I got to enjoy another month at home with our baby before Jem (our baby) and I take on the busy realm of running a storefront together.

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
-Romans 12:12

I know that everyone in our society has been affected by this pandemic in different ways. Some worse than others. And I pray each and every day that our world will come through this stronger and more connected with each other. If you are struggling during these trying times, though this will be much easier said than done, I encourage you to lift all of your concerns to God. It’s easy to have faith when things are good, but true faith occurs when times are hard. Pray, and even if it’s not the answer you were looking for, I promise His plan for you is so much better. Be patient and persevere. We will get through this. I don’t know when, but we will get through this. So pray, be kind, love each other, and find the blessings in each day because I promise you, they are there.

Written by Jillian Hughes

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