Now that we’ve moved to Lincoln many people have asked, “What is Matt up to these days?” Let’s take some time to answer that question now…
What is Matt up to these days?
—-> The short answer is that he gets to be a work-from-home dad now, teamworking with me – a work-from-home-mom – take care of our seven little ones. <—-
But how is that working? Let me share God’s goodness in working out His plans during the past 29 years to make this happen for us!
As I was praying over this post, these are the bullet items that came to mind to share first:
- Matt is visionary.
- Matt and I are both entrepreneurs.
- We like to have “a variety of eggs in our basket” so that our financial needs are never dependent on just one source of income.
- We are savers, not spenders.
- During the past 20 years, we have invested in real estate as God has provided opportunity.
- God knew what He would be calling us to in 2023 and He paved the way for this.
And now I’ll go into more detail. :)
Matt is visionary.
This guy gets an idea every five minutes. I can hardly keep up. Some ideas turn into nothing. Some turn into hours of research and then nothing. But some turn into hours of research and then become side hustles. Some turn into work/income that help to meet our family’s needs and the needs of others. Some turn into investments that provide a very good return.
This is the way God made Matt, and it’s fun to be a part of his creativity in finding ways that provide for our family. I love that he is always thinking outside the box and looking for opportunities to serve our family and others.
Matt and I are both entrepreneurs
While Matt is the one who is constantly thinking of ideas for possible streams of income, I also have always been an entrepreneur at heart. All of our married life, I have pursued some sort of money-making adventure while remaining a stay-at-home-mom. Early on, I sold Stampin’ Up! products for a few years, then I baked these incredible soft pretzels and sold them at the Farmer’s Market. Somewhere in there, I did in-home daycare for a short time – and all of these provided a little extra income for our family. This has always been fun for me and being self-employed with Matt also pursuing ventures works well because of the way we think. (It’s not for everyone, but it works for us!)
In 2007, I started this blog as a fun hobby and as a possible way to make some side income. After a few years it turned into a ministry, a beautiful community, a delightful hobby, and income for our family too. I have been doing this now for almost 16 years – can you believe it?
Aww, look at our first four babies back when HeavenlyHomemakers.com began:
We like to have “a variety of eggs in our basket” so that our financial needs are never dependent on just one source of income.
We have very much valued having different streams of income through the years so that if one slows down or goes away, we still have income from other sources. For instance, Matt had a snow removal service with our boys for several years – but of course business was pretty slow in the summer, ha. No worries, they mowed lawns in the summertime. That snow/mowing business didn’t pay all the bills for our family, but it definitely bought some groceries. Meanwhile, he and I had other streams of income coming from a variety of areas of work.
A few years ago, Matt became Certified in Radon Mitigation, installing safety systems in people’s homes. This was hard work but good money. In addition to everything else, through the years, Matt has worked in ministry, been a part time or full time soccer coach, offered handi-man services, and even tried his hand at a Shaved Ice Shack.
Matt’s visionary nature and our mutual entrepreneurial spirits meant that through the years, nothing paid all of the bills but everything added together provided enough.
We are savers, not spenders.
Throughout our married life, we have lived comfortably, but frugally. Neither of us are big spenders and we like to be careful about where our money goes. We’ve appreciated having a cushion in our bank account so that any time something comes up (car repairs, home repairs, kids’ needs, etc.) we have what we need to pay for it.
We’ve also been intentional about paying down debt as quickly as possible so that it doesn’t hang over our heads. When we were newlyweds and had two full time incomes, we lived on one and used the second to pay off student loans. I’m so thankful we did that!
And even though we are frugal by nature, we still find all kinds of ways to have fun as a family. :)
During the past 20 years, we have invested in real estate as God has provided opportunity.
This started back when our boys were little and we had a tiny bit of savings in our bank account. At that time, Matt was approached by someone with an offer to buy their Storage Units. He knew that it would be a great opportunity for mostly passive income through the years – specifically to use for our kids’ college education down the road. I was extremely hesitant! That little bit of extra savings in the bank felt very good and I liked looking at it like a security blanket. Besides, our boys were little and in my head, they were never going to grow up and go to college (bahaha, joke’s on me).
Matt’s visionary mind, detailed research, and financial savvy won me over and we bought the storage units. After a few years, we paid off their loan, making all of the rental fees 100% income for us (minus yearly property tax and insurance). Sure enough, we eventually used that income to help our boys with their college bills. And now? It continues to provide income to help pay some of our other bills.
Having such a good experience with this first real estate investment, a few years after buying the storage units, we used our next pocket of savings to buy a small house to use as a rental property. As the years went on, we continued to save and invest – eventually purchasing a total of four rental houses plus a duplex. We got incredible deals on these because the market was right for buyers looking to invest during those years. The rental income from these houses plus the storage units has been a lovely “egg in our basket” that we have very much appreciated.
God knew what He would be calling us to and He paved the way for this.
Now here we are, 29 years of marriage and 11 kids later.
As we have added children to our family during the past five years, our needs at home have become much, much greater. All of our adopted/foster children are fantastic, precious, and dear – and Matt and I find that we need to pour an incredible amount of energy into caring for them as we help them heal and grow into healthy and secure adults.
Last fall, a few things shifted for us and God made it clear that instead of pursing out-of-the-home work, we should make some simple financial changes so that Matt could work from home and be with our family full time. As it had been, almost all of his outside employment paycheck went toward paying for people to come help me care for our kids (it’s almost impossible to take care of this many littles without help). It makes more sense now that we would keep Matt home and work together. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. We teamwork life more fully now as we manage our properties, write this blog, and care for our children together to meet their needs in a greater way.
Then God did something we didn’t expect…
Looking ahead last winter, with Matt at home full time and knowing that Elias would soon graduate from college, and that Malachi would graduate from high school we found ourselves looking at an open door. We had thought we’d live in York forever. But God drew our hearts to Lincoln so that we could be closer to our older kids. We need them for this too.
So here we are.
Right now we are both exactly where we need to be – at home caring for all of these little ones together. God is good and He set us up for this long before we knew we’d need it.
When we moved, we sold and profited on some of our York rental properties to help us pay for the gift of our Coppinger Castle. Thank you, God. Meanwhile, we’ve also kept some of them as an “egg in our basket” to provide income for our needs. In addition, our Castle has three empty suites on the third floor. During the next few weeks and months, we plan to get them ready to rent out to help pay for our home expenses.
We are amazed when we think about how God opened those doors for us so many years ago so that we could move to Lincoln and do what He needs us to do now.
As we look at the past and head into the future, we see clearly that God is faithful and good to care for all His children. While there are always unknowns, we know that we don’t need to worry. He has proven Himself over and over in our lives, and we’ve loved looking back on the past 29 years to see how He’s prepared us for this new journey.