It belongs to my Lord. Therefore, as I make plans for the future of this business, I want to make sure that I am simply following His leading. I want to reflect Him in my interactions with customers, vendors, creditors, my landlord...everyone I meet. I know I don't always do as good a job of that as I should...I'm definitely still a work in progress!! But I AM in progress...He is guiding my steps daily! In fact, He often uses you, the mothers I work with, to help me gain wisdom and direction.
A Corner Of Our Own
I don't remember the exact day when I first felt drawn to consider the piece of property at the corner of Airport Rd. and Memorial Parkway. But I do remember getting chills of confirmation the first time I pulled in the parking lot and actually drove around it. I believe that is supposed to be the ultimate location for A Nurturing Moment! I've told a lot of you that in person, but this is the first time I have actually written it down for the whole world to see! It's one thing to talk about a vision for the future, but quite another to step out in faith and record it for all posterity. After all, what if it doesn't happen? I guess that's just a risk I will have to take.
So here is the vision that I believe God has placed in my heart for A Nurturing Moment - I will bullet the various parts of it to make it easier to read (and digest!)
- Purchase the piece of property on the northwest corner of Airport Rd. and Memorial Parkway.
- Tear down the abandoned and dilapidated restaurant that currently occupies that corner, and build a two story building there.
- The first floor will house A Nurturing Moment. Our actual storefront doesn't really need to be much bigger than what we have now. However, we will have a MUCH larger classroom area that will also serve as a Mom Internet Cafe and hangout spot. I also want a small separate classroom for prenatal yoga and infant massage. There will be a couple of offices for lactation consultation and a place for doulas to meet with their clients. The Mom Foundation office will be there as well.
- The second floor will be home to a Birthing Center owned and operated by an Ob/Gyn who employs midwives! It will offer a homelike environment with the security of knowing you are just minutes from the hospital in case of an emergency. Although they are very common in other parts of the country, there is not a single birthing center in Alabama. About 17 years ago, Crestwood actually did open a birthing center with a Certified Nurse Midwife as the administrator. It was phenomenal, as any mother who delivered there will tell you. It was, however, also very short lived. It just wasn't the right time! I also hope to have a chiropracter who specializes in working with mothers and babies in the office space there.
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Getting From Here to There
A dream is a wonderful thing to have. All too often, however, we look at our dreams and think they are impossible to attain, so we just give up. If I didn't feel so certain that this is the direction the Lord wants us to go, I certainly wouldn't think there is any way we can ever get there. But I am absolutely convinced that this IS the path we're supposed to be on. So I am taking the necessary steps to move in that direction.
We are in a 5 year lease that began last October. So we have 4 years to purchase our corner and build A Nurturing Moment there. The asking price for that corner was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.6 million dollars the last time I checked. Then we have to demolish the building that is there and rebuild. And I really don't think that I am supposed to incur any more debt. In fact, the more I learn about business, the more I really hate debt.
That sounds like a pretty impossible order. Actually from a purely human standpoint it sounds just plain foolish. So how in the world are we going to get there?
As I pray about it, several action steps stand out in my mind:
- Be the very best at what we do. We provide education, information, support and encouragement for hopeful, expectant and new parents. We need to be the #1 resource in North Alabama for new parents. We need to make every mother who walks through our door know how special she is and how glad we are that she came to see us. If we don't have what she needs, we need to figure out who does and help her get it as quickly as possible.
- Seek partners for The Mom Foundation. We are the only non-profit that I know of in North Alabama dedicated to providing professional breastfeeding support to low-income and teen moms. We have attempted to write several grant proposals, but don't really know what we're doing. We need someone experienced in non-profit fundraising to come alongside us and guide us as we grow the non-profit arm of A Nurturing Moment. On average we provide about $250 worth of lactation services a month right now to mothers who would not otherwise be able to get the help. We also give out numerous nursing bras each month to moms in the WIC progam.
- Publish The Creator's Guide to Infant Feeding. Although many outstanding books have been written about breastfeeding, not a single one that I've ever read approaches it from a Christian perspective. So several years ago, I wrote this book. I have looked at several publishing options and even had a literary agent working with me for a while. Unfortunately the one deal we were able to get with a major publisher fell through. However, with renewed interest in breastfeeding in this country, I think it is time to publish.
- Talk openly about our vision any time I have the opportunity. It is amazing how God puts the right people in your path at the right time. I have no idea who all will be involved in the project, but I do know that I certainly won't achieve it by myself! I've already met an amazing commercial interior architectural designer who I know will be instrumental in the design of our new facility.
- Build a team of families who will become an integral part of this vision. We are already doing this Team National, an innovative purchasing co-op concept that allows members to save money on the things they buy every day for their families. It also allows them to create a Plan B income that they can use as a college fund, retirement plan or to pay off debt. Many families actually find that the income will allow them to gain more time freedom to actually spend quality time with their children. I am convinced that without Team National, this dream would be nothing more than a pipe dream for me. However, Team National is giving me a way to earn the capitol I will need to make this vision a reality by October of 2017!
The one thing of which I'm certain is that it will be impossible to achieve this dream by myself. Our Nurturing Moment family will accomplish this together! I need your input. I need to know what we're doing right and where we need to improve. As we get closer, I will put together a focus group of moms to help us design the ideal space. Your suggestions are our lifeblood!
As you read through the action steps, maybe one of them struck you. Maybe you have a specific talent that you would like to offer. It has been so exciting to see various ANM moms take leadership in different local outreaches to other moms that have come out of our store. Maybe you have professional abilities or a relationship with a foundation or corporation that would align well with our goals. Maybe you just like the idea of saving money or making money.
Perhaps you don't feel like you have much to offer aside from your prayers; that is definitely our greatest need! Please pray for wisdom for me and for clear direction. Pray for God's provision, and pray that we would be a tremendous blessing to moms all over North Alabama.
I have really bared my heart tonight. But I believe that this is the right time to do so. I'm excited about what the future holds for us and can't wait to see it unfold! Thanks for coming along for the ride!!