“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
–J.F.K., Sept. 12, 1962
When Katy and I took on Joy Lane Farm, our first goal was to make it our full-time job. We had no experience running a business and—resolved to be debt-free—we were unwilling to pursue or accept outside investment. That meant taking the slow road. As we grew the business, we lived on Katy’s teaching salary, only investing in Joy Lane Farm what we made in soap sales. One bar of goat milk soap at a time, Joy Lane Farm began to grow.
Our daughter, Makayla, was growing too. Katy had always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom and her heart ached every time she left Makayla to go to work. Although Joy Lane Farm was growing steadily, it didn’t make enough to pay for our living expenses. So, we took a deep breath, Katy left her job teaching, and I picked up a job waiting tables at the Farm Bar and Grille to supplement the income loss.
It was scary to lose Katy’s benefits, but we had more time for the business, found insurance elsewhere, and every day Katy had Makayla. Katy was also a wizard at accounting and operations, so switching her over to Joy Lane Farm was exactly what we needed. We made a play area for Makayla in the studio and Katy went about making everything hum efficiently.
As we sold more goat milk soap and launched soy candles, I dropped shifts at the Farm Bar and Grille. Eventually, I was only there one night a week. Time for another plunge. We ran some numbers, took another deep breath, and decided we were ready to go full-time.
That was the end of last summer.
I’m saving our first, “We did it!!!” for our one year anniversary, but I’m beginning to feel the ache of not having a goal anymore.
We made it to full-time. What next? To borrow from Jim Collins, what is our big, hairy, audacious goal? What is our moon landing?
In an earlier blog entry, we said, “Our efforts will always be towards making a tangible difference on behalf of the poor” and we intend to live by that commitment.
Here’s our new goal:
By 2027, we will offer an annual full year scholarship for a nurse to work on Mercy Ships.
We give a percentage of our sales to Mercy Ships every year, but this is dramatically more than we give right now. It will take everything we can do to make this happen.
In the words of J.F.K., “That goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”
The men and women at Mercy Ships make an incredible, tangible difference for the poor. They take out tumors the size of footballs, remove cataracts that would leave people blind, and correct club feet so that children can walk. Every day they care for the downtrodden and the outcast.
J.F.K. announced we were sending a man to the moon in 1961. On July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. God-willing, our annual scholarship will reach a full year by 2027.
One of Makayla’s books, “Guess How Much I love You,” ends this way:
“Then [Big Nutbrown Hare] lay down close by and whispered with a smile, ‘I love you right up to the moon—and back.’”
That’s how we want to love the international poor.
What aim is organizing your energies? What is your moon landing?
~Joel & Katy