Dear Honey Run Friends,
As I reflect on 2022, I am relieved this year is over, and I pray that 2023 will be better. I am grateful that my family and friends are healthy and doing well, so there were no tragedies on that front. Professionally, this past year has been the most challenging – mentally and physically – of my entire career. If I’m being honest this year was the first time I have genuinely thought of giving up and letting go of the business. This feeling to flee was fleeting, but present.
We continued to struggle with staffing all year. If you manage or own a business, I imagine you can feel my pain. We’ve had individuals come to multiple interviews, coordinate their start date, and then just not show up. I had two staff present me with a Thank You card in September, only to receive their written notice to resign three weeks later and to have both stop showing up for work a couple days after their notice. These circumstances are disheartening when you give all you have to create a work environment and benefits that are fair and even better than many. In my twenty-five years in management, I have never seen anything like it. While these situations used to be a rare exception, I know countless other business owners within and outside of this industry are experiencing the same “new normal” with staffing challenges.
Additionally throughout 2022, our property was devastated by a Derecho storm on June 13th. December 26th, we had a chimney fire at the main Inn, and on the 27th we had a fire waterline pipe burst from the freezing temperatures. Luckily, all three events were best-case scenarios if you were to have any of these issues occur, causing minimal property damage and impact on the overall guest experience.
As I reflect and pray on these challenges, I was promptly reminded how hard I worked and prayed to buy this business. It took me several years. In the process of buying The Inn I always prayed that God would open the door and place me where he wanted me. When it was clear that I would be able to purchase The Inn, there was not a doubt in my mind that this was where I was to be, and this was my vocation. All my life skills to date prepared me for The Inn and the challenges we would face.
While I have my whiny days full of self-pity because I am physically and mentally exhausted, I am reminded of when I was a young man dreaming of all the opportunity that would come with owning an Inn. I had to fully rely on God and his provision to be able to purchase The Inn. I was not a rich man or from a rich family. God opened the path for my friends and family to invest with me and for a bank to take a chance on me. There was absolutely no way I could do this on my own. And God provided all that I needed to open this chapter in my life. During this journey he has continued to protect and provide for me all along the way. Stopping to reflect on this provision humbles me and brings me back to my knees in gratitude, thanking God for all that I am, all that I have, and to whom I belong. Remember the first two paragraphs I wrote complaining of my troubles? God provided more insurance money than we first thought we needed to repair all the storm damage; he allowed the chimney fire to be caught quickly without any damage to the property or life, and the pipe burst was quickly repaired and cleaned up without major damage. Our staffing issues have started to turn the corner, and we are seeing more applications and people that are actually showing up to work.
So, my 2023 resolution is this – I need to spend less time bemoaning my problems and spend more time praising my Lord and Savior for all that I have. I am blessed! I have the ability to get up each day and go to work at a place I love. I get to meet and share my daily struggles and successes with all of you who offer me advice and support along the way. I have a staff I enjoy working alongside and sharing our days. I have a family and many friends who love and support me. I am in relatively good health and suffer no chronic issues. And most of all I am protected and loved by God. Having a relationship with Jesus has opened my eyes to the purpose of this life for me. I am not a perfect man, though I try. It is not in my power but through Him who gives me life.
I am excited to march into 2023 and see what challenges and successes we have in store for this year at The Inn. I am at peace with my lot in life, and I know He is with me every step of my journey. I pray you have that peace and joy in your life. I hope to see you and spend time with each of you this year when you visit The Inn.
Happy New Year friends! Your peaceful and joyful innkeeper,
4 responses to “Letter from Jason – January 2023”
Jason, I really enjoyed your letter. Like you, I am learning this year to focus on the abundance in my life rather than scarcity. It has been a real mind shift, and has left me feeling so overwhelmingly grateful. I hope to get out to visit the Inn sometime this year. I have only been there twice, but each was a magical time. I am rousing from the long COVID hibernation, and itching to go and have some fun! (I live north of Detroit, so you are quite a hike for me.)
God bless you and be with you!
Praying that God provides you with peace and wisdom in 2023 to guide you in your business, but also personally. At times it’s hard to see or sense His presence when times are challenging, but He is always there!!
Always enjoy your letters! We hope to get there again soon.
Jason, I thoroughly enjoy your letters. They always seem to pop up at the right time and are so encouraging. Just as an fyi I completely feel your pain and as an entrepreneur, I wondered on many occasions, ” why am I working so hard”? I already know why, because I care about people and I (as a landlord, investor) enjoy providing decent housing to those who appreciate and need it.
Last week a woman saw me as I entered Dollar General, and said, “hello, you don’t remember me do you?” She reminded me of a time very long ago when she was homeless and I provided a home for her. Frankly, I don’t remember the details as I have rented to so many people. I’m sure I can find her in the files somewhere but she said that she was so depressed and didn’t know what to do and I took a chance on her. Well, God took a chance on me and I’ll never forget it or take it for granted.
I may not remember the details of what happened between myself and the lady that year but I know what my purpose is at this time in my life and I plan to continue doing what I do for a while because it brings me pleasure to help others. Thank you for your reminders of why we do what we do. Take care and enjoy the blessings of another year.