I sit and I wait for the words to come. I sit some more. My mind begins to run ahead of me tumbling along like a swiftly moving stream, tearing through the memories and swirling though the emotions as effortlessly as water rushes over and around rocks and twigs.
Breathe. Tears, you need to wait, not yet.
I have important news. I want to share it well. I have been on a journey and it is about to change course. It started with the birth of my son Hunter 10 years ago. It began as a simple idea, a tangible plan. I wanted to be at home with my son and help my family financially. I wanted to help out other moms, I wanted to work from my PJ’s. What I got was so much more. Mom 4 Life may have been conceived though my simple vision, but it was you and thousands like you who lovingly helped it grow.
As I mentally retrace the steps back to our humble beginnings, names and faces flood forth: employees like Becca who, in the early days of Mom 4 Life, had a personal key to our home and let herself in during the morning hours in order to begin working at the kitchen table, while I grabbed whatever sleep my young son would allow.
Or the time Melody literally chased our grumpy mailman’s truck down the road in her flip-flops with a bin full of packages that needed to ship out that day. I won’t forget the UPS man who taught Hunter how to do a high five over repeated visits to our front door delivering packages. Or the first time someone called and asked to speak to our advertising department and I looked at myself in the mirror holding the phone in one hand and my toothbrush in the other and said, “Please hold, I’ll connect you” while I spit my toothpaste in the sink and then after a moment picked the phone back up and said, “This is the advertising department, how may I help you?”
I remember when all of our inventory could be stored within one small storage box on my desk and a few years later when it had moved the car out of our garage, taken over our extra closet space and poked out from under our beds.
I have memories of the time I was on live TV for a local news station and the baby carrier I was trying to demonstrate tried to make a pretzel out of me.
And I won’t forget the first time I went to the local bookstore to buy an issue of Entrepreneur StartUp magazine and Success Magazine because I had been interviewed in them. They were exciting, fun, challenging times.
Later, as we set and realized goals, we moved our family and our business from Southern California to Northern Idaho. This transition brought about new changes, challenges and personal growth. For the first time we were able to move our business out of our home and into a shop on our property and I was no longer able to pretend that I lived in a reality show with employees mentally weighing in on my parenting skills (or lack thereof). Our kids still were often part of the fun however and did their part to help pick out video giveaway winners in unusual ways (such as with a game timer or cinematography & throwing rocks and catching wads of paper in a box on the top of my head.)
As our staff grew, I did my best to blend work and fun for a job well done. We had crazy giveaways involving a staff musical cake walk, Christmas parties, made up Monday songs, our own spoof video from the TV show “The Office”, and occasional celebrations involving food and a local masseuse.
When our son Sawyer was stillborn in 2009, I had the unique and unexpected opportunity to walk through my deepest valley with the prayerful support of the Mom 4 Life community as I chronicled my grief though this blog. I was challenged to be upfront about not only my struggles, but also my faith. In doing so, I discovered the beauty that can be found in the sincere support of both friends and strangers.
In the years that followed, our family continued to grow and I began to sense the Lord’s prompting that the direction of my journey was starting to shift. More recently, as we felt challenged to begin the adventure of homeschooling, we felt certain that it was time to begin seeking out a new mom to take Mom 4 Life into its next stage of growth. It was time to let go. Many prayers were spoken seeking God’s direction and discernment and while uncertainty surrounded us, I was enveloped by peace.
Over the course of several weeks, we were introduced to a mom named Ashley. Ashley recently celebrated her first son’s first birthday. And although the journey of motherhood has been better than she could have ever dreamed, Ashley has found that being involved in a full time career that takes her away from her son has been more difficult than she ever imagined. Ashley began playing around with a simple idea, a tangible plan. She wanted to be at home with her son and help her family financially. She wanted to help out other moms. She wanted to work from her PJ’s. I believe that what she found will end up being so much more.
Today I am lovingly and respectfully passing the Mom 4 Life torch to Ashley Devonish. It is now her baby and over the next few weeks I promise to teach and train her how to parent it well. I believe I am leaving it in good hands and have peace that this step of faith is an important one for me to take.
What happens next for me is part of the mystery. In the last few months, I have been intensely challenged though books such as “Kisses from Katie” and “Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul” as well as Scriptures such as Ephesians 5:15 that says this to believers of Christ, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men [or women] but as wise, making the most of your time because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Emphasis mine) I believe my job is to simply and humbly make myself openly available to my Heavenly Father and trust that His will for this next stage of life will be made known to me at just the right time. Until then my job is to trust and obey.
Ashley has graciously offered me the opportunity to check in from time to time on the blog so perhaps our paths will cross again here. I am also still awaiting news from the publishing company that is considering my manuscript so should something develop there you will hear about it here. In the meantime, I welcome you to find me on Instagram, facebook or Pinterest and I welcome your prayers for both Ashley and myself as we begin new journeys of faith. Let me conclude by offering:
-My husband the deepest gratitude for not only believing in me from the beginning, but supporting and participating with me along the way (I have memories of you getting out your bow and arrows to help us with a giveaway video, pulling an all-nigher when we launched our updated website and know that you took care of countless bookkeeping details that would have made me want to poke my eyes out with a spoon).
-The mom inventors for entrusting me with your creative products.
-My employees for offering your loyal help and support (despite the fact that I was so undertrained to be a “boss”).
-My friends for standing beside and believing in me.
-My blog readers for praying for me.
-My customers for believing with me that mom inventors really do have something special to offer.
-My Savior and Lord for the opportunity to be stretched and used through Mom 4 Life, to Him be the Glory for ever and ever.
Without further ado, it is my honor and pleasure to introduce to you, the new owner of Mom 4 Life, Ashley Devonish:
Hello, everyone! First and foremost, I would like to express my sincerely appreciation to Heather. She has done an amazing job building Mom 4 Life and I could only be so lucky to continue that success. She has allowed me to follow my dreams and for that I will be forever grateful. I know Heather will be successful in her next endeavors and wish her all the best. She is welcome to reach out to you guys via the blog anytime as I know all of you (as I am too) eager to hear her next move and family updates.
I encourage you to check out the About Me section on the website to hear my story and learn more about me. Below are a few pictures of my son Dominic.
I hope that you will learn to love us and enjoy watching us grow as we embark on this journey. I plan to share my adventures in learning this business and in being a mom with you each couple of days right here on the blog, Let’s journey together!
Much love, Ashley Devonish