We began by offering event after event, spread out through the year. However, this year, we tried a "spring tour," having four events. We have finished that, and though we are a bit worn out, it seems like the change was an improvement. We are getting good reviews from many attendees and there seems to be an interest in future events.
Starting a new business has a great deal of uncertainty, and we have been trying to depend on the Lord for wisdom along the way. An important priority for us is family involvement. This could not just be something more that Dave has to do. We needed something that we could do together. After ten events, we have seen that become much more of a reality, as the kids take on more and more responsibilities with Dave managing things. There is still a need for parental (and business) direction, but since it is a family business, that is mostly built-in.
Besides just the working aspect, we also have a desire for our children to have opportunities to interact with people, but with us there to help in guiding them. Sending them to the mall with their age-mates is not our idea of teaching them how to interact with people. But learning to serve and interact with people of various ages and backgrounds from around the world is something we consider a great opportunity for all of us. And if people notice our massive tribe and want to know what makes our family, um, special, they will have the opportunity.
We had years full of just little ones, feeling like we were always on the receiving end, wishing we could be of help to others. We now see those years as an investment, and realize that the various bumps in the road (broken doorknobs, toilet seats, dresser drawers) not only gave us opportunities to learn patience, but also the resourcefulness to teach our children (in baby steps) to learn to help and work and figure things out. These opportunities were not in a sterile classroom, but in real life. So, CocoaConf is just another real life opportunity.
Another family project we are excited about is our upcoming summer in the state of Washington, working alongside our friends, Lloyd and Doris Anderson, of the 7 Wonders Creation Museum at Mount St Helens. We posted previously about their work, and we received an invitation to come learn the ropes, and pray about how we might help in the future. They feel there is more that could be done with this ministry if there was more hands on deck. So, we are making plans for making yet another cross-country trek, bookended by a couple of west coast CocoaConfs. We will miss our dear friends in St Louis, but trust God has a great summer planned for each one, and we anticipate the Lord will teach us lots as we seek his will for how we can serve Him!