Diving in with Both Feet

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While we were homeschooling, working with a local church, and being a family, Ray and I continued to wonder if other people would be interested in using curriculum we had written. After John graduated from high school, we wondered if he, Ray, and I might form a business we could do together. Perhaps our daughters could work with us, too.

We started a part-time endeavor called Generations Press, but when we found another business with the same name on the Internet, we decided on The Notgrass Company. We knew we would have no competition for that name!

Ray dreamed of going full-time. One Sunday, as he sat in church before giving the morning’s sermon, he thought, “If I could only be sure that we would be taken care of financially. . .” Then he realized, “I can be. God will take care of us.” Ray decided to take the plunge: “Here we are, Lord! We trust you to take care of us.”

Ray stepped out of full-time preaching on June 30, 1999, and became a full-time self-employed small business owner on July 1. The word small is the most descriptive word in that last sentence. We had dreams, but we needed God to keep showing us which baby steps to take.

At first we offered Ray’s Bible studies for churches and two curricula for homeschoolers–Creating a Sense of Wonder and Draw to Learn the Book of Psalms–plus carefully-reviewed supplemental books.

Our family lived in Cookeville, Tennesee, at the time, and the newspaper–always looking for local news–did a story about our new family business. They took these photos.

Media 2
Ray and I hold Creating a Sense of Wonder.
On the table are an adult Sunday School study
Draw to Learn the Book of Psalms.
The yellow things peaking out between our heads are our catalogs.
Media 3
John prepares a “package” (likely an empty box!).
Media 1
Bethany and Mary Evelyn price books.

We began to have booths at homeschool conventions.

Dover Days J

Dover Days B

Dover Days M 2

We made signs with fabric, pens, and paper.

Home 2

Dover Days RC

Starting our business was like starting to homeschool. We were enthusiastic, but we didn’t have a clue about so very many things. It’s not that we started out with a master plan that we followed faithfully and now fifteen years later we are exactly where we thought we would be. God had a better plan in mind. We are so grateful for His detours.

Do you ever feel inadequate to plan out your children’s education from now until they graduate from high school? If you answer yes, then good for you!

Plan to teach your children that God is first. Teach them how to learn. Teach them to love to learn. Be disciplined and teach your children to be disciplined, too. But be flexible. Be open. Be willing to follow the detours God sends your way.

I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself,
Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.
Jeremiah 10:23

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