God and I have a great relationship. Although I wish it was manifested more in a physical sense, I have come to appreciate that the spirit is a large part of His design. Perhaps we, as a culture and people, have been so conditioned to think that the only things that matter happen in our physical lives. Much of what Jesus talked about was how to be healthy spiritually. His conversations with people spoke of the life that was inside of them and then used physical miracles to validate his claims about the spiritual realm. In any case, God is the center of my life. He’s the first one I talk to every morning and the last one I talk to at night. There really isn’t another reason for living. I am so grateful for the life he has given me in Christ.
I have a beautiful wife of 14 years. 3 kids who are amazing: Julie (10), Elly (7) and Wesley (4) … as of now. Since I work from home and my wife homeschools, we all “have” to get along. Most days are pretty smooth and the rough ones usually work themselves out within a couple hours. My wife is absolutely incredible. I pity the man that doesn’t have the love of such a woman. She is the manager of the house and our family schedule. She’s a great cook and helper. Julie has her own business that she started 2 years ago called Toffee on the Run. You can read about her story here in the Missourian. Julie has a heart for serving other people and enjoys road trips and new adventures. Elly is my cuddle on the couch kid. She enjoys the small group of friends that she currently has, but just likes being paid attention to, so we read books on the couch and play games together. Wesley is a bundle of energy (just like I was at that age). Loves Star Wars and super heroes. He is also my book reading companion if I can get him to stay still that long. He doesn’t like going down for naps but is difficult to wake up from them. =)
My wife and I attend the Emmanuel Evangelical Free Church here in Hermann MO. We both work with the young kids in a group called Seedling. She sings on the worship team and I run the sound booth on select Sundays. We both work in the nursery when needed. I absolutely love the family that we’ve become. Our pastor has an amazing heart for the Lord and seeks to grow closer to Him as well as disciple others to a deeper relationship. The associate pastor and I meet for coffee every week and discuss topics ranging from theology and politics to family life and raising kids. Definitely one of my best friends here in Hermann. Our church family gathers for potlucks, prayers, and Bible studies. Whenever we get together there is definitely a focus on God, which makes our relationships that much sweeter.
There are many different work areas in my life. Here’s a quick background why. Before we moved to Hermann, I was a production manager at a small home builder on the Western Slope of Colorado. It was my job to coordinate with the different teams in the office (accounting, development, finance, real estate / sales, and construction) and make sure that the goals the company wanted to reach were being met. I also learned how to draft, which ultimately led me to being a subcontractor and then I was able to work for an architectural millwork firm as well. About a year after being on my own, my wife and I decided to move to Hermann to be close to my father who’s health seemed to be steadily declining. Luckily, our family was able to be with him for his last 3 years and then be here for my mom after that as well. When we moved to Hermann, the economy quickly fell. Meaning that no one was building, nor needed any kind of drafting services. Thus, I was unemployed in a new town with little connections. I took on some small jobs with a lady that we met when we arrived. I began learning tile and grout work, drywalling, painting, etc.
It was at this time that I realized that I needed to start a new career in an area that wouldn’t fall out so quickly, thus the internet, websites and web design seemed lucrative. At this time I had also got a job as a cook at a local restaurant. As a side note: I am very thankful for the mind that God has given me. I definitely feel like he has given me the 5 talents to work with in my life. My wife “complains” many times that I’m good at everything and as humbly as possible, I agree with her. He has certainly blessed me with a mind that can assimilate information quickly and use that for others. He has blessed me with an incredible body that, despite my best efforts to ruin with an unhealthy diet and little to no exercise (which I am aware of and have plans to change in the near future) I can still play tennis at an intermediate level, play basketball and keep up with high school boys, and am extremely handy around the house with electrical, plumbing, and construction issues that arise.
Anyway, I am completely self-taught when it comes to what I know about websites. I received a Bachelors of Business Administration with a concentration in Management and Marketing in 2001 and a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics in 2002. Because I am constantly on the computer learning about the newest marketing ideas and platforms, I tend to want to use everything I know. This is one of my downfalls that God is steadily teaching me; Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.
Some of the projects I am currently involved with include:
Witness Web Design
After closing the marketing firm in Colorado, I asked God specifically what he wanted me to be involved in and He led me to Acts 1:8. He told me to be a witness wherever I went, thus the namesake of my company.
When I re-established myself in Hermann, I quickly realized that the town needed a decent web presence. I was ignored by the chamber of commerce and told there was no money in the budget for such an undertaking in the City budget, so I decided to move forward after an apparent approval from God. Thus, I took everything I know from website design (the logo was actually designed by Ian Serff), website development, social media, SEO, etc. and poured it all into this site and program. My work paid off since I now rank on the first page and usually in the top 3 for most searches that include “hermann mo” or “hermann missouri” in the keywords.
Toffee on the Run
My oldest daughter definitely has her father’s entrepreneurial spirit. While we were in Colorado for a 3 1/2 month visit, I was invited back to Senegal for a mission using my architectural skills and knowledge. My daughter talked to several family members and decided to take a recipe I had taught her and make, package and sell toffee door to door. After 5 weeks of knocking, she had made over $1,000 profit. When we returned to Hermann, she asked to continue her venture. Luckily for her, I knew someone who could help market her business.
Just Call Me Ray
Raylene Hollrah is a two-time cancer survivor and the last one she should have never had. After being diagnosed with breast cancer and beating it, she opted for bilateral reconstruction. Unfortunately, because of her implants, she was diagnosed with ALCL (Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma). Long story short, her mission through this organization is to encourage women to take steps for early breast cancer detection, to warn about the dangers of breast implants, and to encourage women to rise up when bad things happen. I have been working with Raylene for almost a year now with her marketing campaign from website development to some graphic design
That’s me in a 1400 word nutshell. =) Again, I am thankful for the talents I have been blessed with and look forward to seeing what God has in store for the future. My hope is always that He will guide me to making wise decisions and trusting in his unfailing love every single day.