Collard Greens and Homemade Pie: Working with Your Husband

IMG_1896Growing up, I witnessed my mother and father owning and operating a hardware store in a small Cajun town.  It could have been any where in a small town in America.  Growing up this way, my siblings and I learned the value of a full days work.  We developed work ethics at a very early age.  And I think if we were honest with ourselves, we longed for a similar life when we grew up.

Though it wasn’t always a bed of roses, I envied how my parents were able to work together in a market they enjoyed:  hardware.  My mother taught me how to mix paint, how to measure PVC pipe, the difference in nail sizes and how to show the customer which one they needed, how a floor tile is approximately one foot and comes in handy when measuring rope or chain, and how to empty trash cans and clean bathrooms when there was “nothing to do.”  I can work a price gun, inventory shelves, and call in an order.  I learned the value of customer service, looking a person in the eye, and a firm handshake.  I valued hard work and time off.

Mom demonstrated being a Proverbs 31 wife without uttering a word of Scripture.  I remember reading Proverbs 31 for the first time when I was an adult and thinking, “Hey, that’s my mom!”

“She enjoys the success of her dealings; at night her lamp is undimmed.  She puts her hands to the distaff and her fingers ply the spindle.  She reaches out to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.” Proverbs 31: 18-20

Mom and Dad each played to their strengths in the business.  Mom was a meticulous bookkeeper.  Even before computers (they never owned one), Mom kept handwritten records for all in-store accounts.  She could tell you what each customer owed without looking at a sheet.  She also knew something about every customer.  Dad worked for collard greens and homemade pies.  His ability to work with customers was extraordinary.  Everyone in the small town respected Mom and Dad.  They knew them to be honest, helpful, charitable, and kind.  It is what I wanted in my work life as well.

Mom and Dad, amid their hard work, must have prayed.  Later, we were privy to the understanding of how economic challenges impact owning your own business.  It was devastating to watch, as the business Mom and Dad spent years building succumbed to corporate giants offering the same products at cheaper prices.  Watching this interrupted my dreams of owning a business with my future spouse, as I re-considered my own entrepreneurial spirit.

Today, my husband is self-employed as an insurance agent with the Knights of Columbus, while I play it safe in my “regular job” with established income parameters.  The other day, the hubby posted on social media that he was hiring a part-time assistant, and who would be interested in making phone calls.  WAIT A MINUTE!  I responded, “I’m interested!”  Well, I am!

My heart’s desire is to be at home with my family – just like Mom and Dad were, as they built a business together.  It is possible for my husband and I, through his business – but NOT yet.  God has not provided the path yet.  I know God will honor these desires, even if I never get to stay at home or work with the hubby!  I watched Him work it for Mom and Dad.  I watched Him deliver my hubby from a minimum wage paycheck to his current career.  And I’ve seen examples like the one of Blessed Zelie Martin who worked with her husband, Blessed Louis Martin in the lacemaking business.

Prepare the way of the Lord!  That’s what I’m trying to do in my career, ministry, and vocation.  Thank you, Lord for giving us the saints to show us over and over again how incredible your graces are, and how sufficient they are for our hearts.

Peace of Christ to you and yours!

Mary    Send article as PDF   


  1. Mary, I love and appreciate your honest and gift for sharing what’s in your heart through your writing. It is interesting to learn about your parents through this blog post.

    • Thanks, Becky! Lauren Gulde with Santa Clara Designs re-designed the blog. It gave it the flare it needed, for sure!

      I love how I grew up in Brusly. So many lessons, mostly revolving around work and living in a small town. My faith has been completely formed by this type of work ethic and care of people.

      I wish we could see each other soon!


  2. HonestY! Sorry! P.S. I love the new look of your blog! Well done!

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