Shifting Gears

A lot can change in a year.

One year ago this month our family made a huge decision to sell our home in Elkton, Michigan and move to nearby Bad Axe, Michigan. Part of the decision to move to this property was because we hoped to “one day” buy the automotive shop next door if the opportunity ever arose.

Nearly one year from our big move to Bad Axe we made another huge decision. We submitted a purchase agreement for the automotive shop next door. The place isn’t officially ours yet, but I wanted to start documenting the journey right from the beginning, when things are still uncertain and unnerving. When you need courage and determination and faith the most.

This decision is by far the scariest and most exciting decision we’ve ever made as a family. Even though we hoped this day would come, I’m not sure we actually thought that it would ever happen, let alone be possible. But here we are taking those first wobbly steps.

I wanted to document the journey as much as possible for a few reasons.

  • To be able to look back and reflect on the progress and pains in the journey down the road, especially when we need an inevitable dose of perspective in life.
  • To share a “real life” look at what goes into running a small business while raising (and home educating) a family.
  • To encourage, equip, and inspire others to pursue their goals, dreams, and desires, no matter how big or small.


I’m headed off to Japan on the 5th until the 15th, so I’ll be sure to post any updates when I return.

Dream big, stay driven, and enjoy livin’!


-We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.- Jesse Owens



Automotive detailing, as the name so properly suggests, is all about the details.

So when a vehicle came in this week with cup holders so gummed up that the contents formed into a mysterious wad of impacted grossness, I knew there was no escaping my toilsome fate if I wanted this customer to be pleased with our service, come back in for future business, and/or to refer others to do business at our shop.

Armed with all-purpose cleaner, a putty-knife, and the soothing sounds of my favorite 90’s alternative and grunge Sirius radio station to spur me on, I chiseled away for roughly 20 minutes until every last clump of coins and unidentified sticky mass was no more.

The task wasn’t really as bad as I was expecting. Which got me thinking. How do we let things get this bad? In our cars and in life. Why do we let the small things accumulate into big things or let them slip through the cracks to fester and gunk things up?

We forsake the details.

And it’s all about the details.

The details are vital. And they require attention and intention. When we say things like, “I didn’t realize things were so bad.” we probably weren’t paying attention. When we say things like, “I didn’t mean for things to get so bad.” we’re most likely making an excuse for lacking intentionality.

So what do we do about it?

Well first off, we ought not to be too hard on ourselves. Life is difficult! And messy. (Really messy.) The last thing we need to is to feel shameful about being in imperfect human in a difficult and (really) messy world.  We all have “filthy cup holders” in our life.

Here’s what we can do:

  • Start being present. How can we pay attention to today’s details (for our life or for our business) if we’re too busy replaying past details or rehearsing for the details that haven’t happened (and probably won’t happen)? Staying present invites clarity, calmness, and creative solutions, even in the midst of chaos. In our personal life, it helps us become better partners, friends, and parents. In our professional life, it helps us be better employers, employees, and entrepreneurs. Side note: This takes practice. Lots of it.
  • Start assigning purpose and meaning to your actions/activities. How many of us unconsciously go through the motions of our day-to-day life and feel unaccomplished and unsatisfied? Having purpose and plans helps prevent distraction so we can put our focus and energy on the things that matter most to our life and/or business. It helps us say ‘yes’ to more of the things that matter to us (or our business) and ‘no’ to do the things that don’t in order to have a more productive, pleasurable, and profitable (financial or otherwise) life or business. Side note: This takes practice, too. Lots of it.


Don’t forsake the details, even the little ones, because the little things make big things happen. Good or bad.


That’s all for today. Until next time…

Dream big, stay driven, and enjoy livin’!












Getting Our Bearings Straight

Tonight is the first night in the week since we’ve closed on PSA Inc. that I’ve been awake enough to consider blogging, which means it’s been a successful first week in business and that we’re finally starting to get our bearings straight at the shop.

Rather than making a big gushy post about our first week in business, I thought I’d share a list of seven things I’ve learned in our first seven days in business:

  1.  My children continue to follow me into the bathroom or talk through the bathroom door at the shop like they do at home. So much for thinking I might be able to pee alone.
  2. Working moms/dads/caregivers don’t nearly get enough for credit for everything they have to do to keep their family going while also trying to work outside of the home.
  3. Dickies shirts (even the women’s shirts) have an awesome little slot in their pockets for pens or tiny flashlights or pretzel rods to fight off getting hangry.
  4. New car smell now ranks higher than new baby smell to me. Yeah, I said it.
  5. I spelled ‘tonneau’ wrong for at least 6 of the 7 days we were in business.
  6. You can turn spelling errors into a homeschool lesson: Tonneau is from the French word ‘tonneau,’ which is apparently French for barrel, cask, or container, and used to refer to the cargo area of horse-drawn carriages. 
  7. It’s important to take time for frequent random dance parties and goofing-off time to keep yourself, your marriage, and your family happy and mentally healthy, especially while running a business together.   🙂


Until next time…

Dream big, stay driven, and enjoy livin’!





Happy Closing Day!

How can it be that only two months has passed since we paperwork to purchase PSA Inc.?

Two months doesn’t sound like a long time, but it certainly feels like a heck of a long time when your family’s future is hanging in the balance. Today, this emotionally arduous two month journey will finally be complete, and our next emotionally arduous journey begins: owning and operating the business. Haha!

But for today, we celebrate.

Happy Closing Day!!!!!!




Pushing the Limits

The (mostly) big things are all out of the way until closing, which means we’re in the home stretch. Yay!!!!!! Which also means there are a million little things needing to be done that we didn’t think about earlier in the process, because we were to consumed with getting through those parts. And all the while, life must to go on.

So in-between dental visits, vet visits, homeschool projects, library visits, grocery shopping, loads of laundry and dishes, housework, lawn work, spending quality time with the kids and each other, etc. we’re

  • working with the bank to finalize closing details, working with the accounting to organize the financial logistics,
  • working with the current owners to learn as much as we can about daily operations to ensure a transition with as few bumps as possible,
  • getting to know some of our product distributors, their products, and what they need from us before we get going (such as credit applications and that sort of thing), and
  • trying to figure out (not panic about-lol!) what little odds and ends are needed for daily shop operations once we get the keys.

*deep breath* 

I’m not gonna lie, it’s a lot to deal with on top of the daily demands and duties of life. Some days are obviously better than others, but we keep pushing ourselves beyond our limits, not only to see what we’re capable of accomplishing, but to show our children the value of passion, perseverance, and a positive attitude.

The upcoming months will only continue to be more demanding of us, but I look forward to seeing the remarkable results of pushing our limits.

Until next time…

Dream big, stay driven, and enjoy livin’!


-People who push the limits get much more out of life than those who watch others do it.- Sir Richard Branson


Winter is Coming

Last post: What Can Go Right?


We’re in the last stretch, folks.

The appraiser’s numbers came in where we needed them to be and the final details are being wrapped up with all the different types of paperwork needed to close the sale. And let me tell ya, there is a LOT of it. If all continues to go well, we should close in the next few weeks.

From now until closing Jay will be spending as much time as possible work shadowing the current owners to prepare for the upcoming transition. Per our agreement, the current owners were gracious enough to agree to assisting us in a consulting capacity for a short while after our takeover to help us get settled in.

It’s really happening now–it’s so exciting!!!

As excited as we are we’re also feeling a bit of apprehension as we enter this business journey on the cusp of the slow season. Our plan?

“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” Denis Waitley

We’ve got a number of things on our short-term business plan to encourage a successful first year in business, including sales, specials, contests, and being as frugal as possible both personally and with the business. I’m also working on our official Facebook page, that I’ll be sharing soon.

I’d also love to hear any ideas or suggestions any of you may have for the business that you’d like to see. After all, what’s a local business without local support? 🙂

Hopefully my next update will be a picture of us with the keys in our hands. Until then…

Dream big, stay driven, and enjoy livin’!



What Can Go Right

I’m back from Japan! The trip was far more incredible than I could have ever imagined, especially the adventures that resulted from listening to the following piece of advice:

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what can go right.” Tony Robbins

So on my last night in Japan, I accidentally locked my keys in my hotel room, along with all my luggage, my purse, and my pride (lol!). All I had on my person was the group name tag lanyard. As you can imagine, there was some foul language involved as I journeyed down to the hotel lobby to get help getting back in my room.

During my walk of shame to the hotel counter, I ran into a fellow group member. The taxi he ordered was at the hotel doors, ready to turn a 20-30 minute walk to Nagahama’s famous art/shopping district into a 5 minute drive. He invited me to join him, but I had to make the decision in that very moment or I’d miss the taxi.

I had no purse. No money. No hotel key. And no idea what would happen next.  But instead of thinking what might go wrong, I was excited about what might go right. So with no purse, no money, no hotel key, and no regrets, I hopped in the taxi and began the most fun night of all my nights in Japan, and quite possibly, my life.

Tomorrow the appraiser is coming inspect the business for the appraisal. What happens next in the purchasing process depends on tomorrow’s results. We have no idea what will happen next, but we’re choosing to be excited about what can go right and doing our best to enjoy the ride.

Until next time…

Dream big, stay driven, and enjoy livin’!

-Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what can go right.- Tony Robbins