I am writing this particular post mainly for those who live in our area and know us personally.
Wendell and I purchased the store, we own and operate as our source of income to support our family, in March of 2003. I am not one who can say that "God told me this", or "showed me this" concerning everything in my life, but I do know, one million percent, that "God put us in the store". I have always felt that we were suppose to be there until "God takes us out", in order for us to be in His will, concerning our careers, for our lives. I could go into detail how God showed me on more than one occasion that the store was where we were suppose to be, but I won't go into that now...maybe later.
Running the store and deli is no easy task. We have, and Wendell still does, spend many more hours there or running errands for the store, than a normal 40 hour work week. Wendell gets up at 3:30 am Monday through Saturday to open and begin the day at the store. We have always been closed on Sundays in observance and respect of the Lord's day. For the first three years we were open Wendell worked another full time job and I was left to "mind the store" during the day. After working all day in Knoxville he would come to the store and work there till we closed together at 10:00 pm. Wendell's job in Knoxville ceased to exist, (in 2006 or 2007 I'm not sure the exact date) He began to run the store full time and I put all my attention into the "book work" end of running the store and taking care of all the financial responsibilities concerning the store, and was better able to manage running the home also. This arrangement worked really well for us. He had his place and I had mine!!!!LOL!!!! Before opening the store I had no idea how to do any accounting work necessary to run a business. Luckily the Lord had placed a friend in my life who was so kind and willing to teach me how to complete and file all the necessary taxes and paperwork needed. I had always been of the mind set that if I didn't know how to do something I could definitely learn how to do it!!!! Hiring an accountant is very expensive and would add another monthly debt that we just can't afford. I have always preferred to save the money and do it myself anyway, that way I have always known where we stood financially day to day. The store is not a very high profit business and the government has burdened us with so many taxes, that there have been many times on Wednesday I have prayed, concerned that if the Lord didn't do something I would not be able to pay the bills due on Friday. I can rejoice and say that God has always been faithful and somehow in ways that I could not foresee, he has ALWAYS met our needs!!!! Once again affirming that where He leads He will provide!!!!
Then came Cancer.
Since being diagnosed with the cancer my life has not been near the same as it was before. Before cancer I was never ill. I had been to the doctor maybe once in the ten years prior and that was due to an accident not an illness. I thought that when and if I made it through the treatments my life and health would be back to normal. Nothing has been farther from the truth!!! I underwent five surgeries, 37 radiation treatments and was administered two different kinds of chemo. These things and the cancer have left my body feeling ways I never dreamed of. I am constantly having some kind of health issue. Not only am I left with health issues but for me the hardest thing to deal with is the change in the way my brain seems to function. I don't know if it is because the radiation was so close to my brain or what the actual cause has been, but my mind does not function as clearly as it use to. This is extremely hard for me to admit, especially in such a public forum, but I feel as if I am at a point where I have to admit it so you will know why we are doing what we are doing concerning the store. I have been unable mentally and physically to keep up with my responsibilities. I had never paid a late fee or penalty before. If necessary I would have did without something else before paying a late fee on a bill, late fees would be like tearing money into shreds and flushing it down the toilet!!! I have always felt as if we have worked way to hard to earn the money, to just have to spend it on a late fee would be ridiculous. But sadly, I have paid many late fees and several major tax penalties over the last year. It has not been because the Lord has not provided the means, it has been because mentally and physically I have not been able to meet my obligations. It is hard for me to explain and I know even harder for those who have never experienced this reality to understand. The best way I can describe it is...it is as if my mind is jumbled and it is hard for me to concentrate and even a small mental task has become overwhelming for me, this along with the never ending health issues. I tell myself, "Ok just pull it together, you can do this" and I really, really try only to go back later, on many, many, many occasions and find I have did something wrong or forgot to do it entirely. My not being able to meet my obligations has put a tremendous added burden on Wendell. As hard as he tries it has just gotten to the point where he is unable to do it all. It has begun to take a toll on his mental and physical well being. All of this is very personal to me and extremely hard to admit publicly. I probably wouldn't admit it so publicly if it wasn't for the fact that we have reached a point where we have to make a change. I am heart broken at the fact that I have let my family down in sooo many ways. I feel as if I have been such a burden over the last few years and this has been very hard for me and my personality which has always been to take care of everything for them. I am not telling this here in the hopes of generating your sympathy, I am telling you this in the hope of explaining to you why it is time for us to make a change where the store is concerned. This has not been an easy decision and has only been made after an enormous amount of thought and prayer.
So with all that said....after much prayer....the Lord has opened the door for us to lease the store to someone who leases several other convenience stores in the surrounding area. This person is interested in signing a contract to lease the store for several years which will make it possible for Wendell to seek out other employment to support our family. We do not feel led to sell the store entirely at this time. I assure you we have not made this decision hastily. The person to whom Wendell will be leasing to is of Indian decent which, it has been brought to our attention, is a concern to some of our customers. I do understand this being a concern since no one other than Wendell has had a chance to meet him. I am writing this post and speaking to you about some things I would rather have kept private in the hope that you will not just "write this off", but will understand there are reasons behind our actions. When I have said the "Lord put us in this store and we should stay until He takes us out", I didn't realize how or why that might happen. But I know He is in control and all things work together for good!!! Wendell plans to still be in there as much as possible and our current local employees will still have employment there. We would greatly appreciate your continued support, without it I don't know what we would do.