Jolynn and I met while attending Southern Utah University in the Fall of 1997. Jolynn happened to be my Sister’s roommate at the famous College Ave. apartments and I was her next door neighbor. Jolynn didn’t like me at first because I insulted her car and then teased her about how much junk she brought with her to college. Later that week we became fast friends and began taking long walks together each night. We were married a few months later in the St. George LDS Temple.
We both dropped out of college and settled in St. George, Utah where Jolynn worked as an Opthalmic Assistant. I took a job managing a new guitar shop called the Guitar Gallery. At the guitar shop I learned about retail sales, guitar repair, live sound and general people skills. It was a fun job but I quickly became frustrated by the slow sales in our small community. During the many slow days I learned HTML and scrapped together a humble website called guitaroutpost.com.
The guitar website grew quite popular and before long half of our business was out of state, we were shipping guitars all over the country. I enjoyed learning about running a business and was being mentored by John Clemons, my boss – a very successful entrepreneur. While I was having fun at work, Jolynn was excusing herself from patients and running to the bathroom to puke. She was expecting our first child and would come home from work exhausted and fall asleep after dinner. I spent many of these nights online learning more about web design and search engine optimization.
Travis was born in October of that year and Jolynn was able to quit her job and be a full-time mom. Travis became the focus of our lives and we enjoyed every single day of his early years. Jolynn read to him quite a lot and he seemed to be talking in sentences before he could even walk. He was a star and would prove to be a very studious child who loved to read books and learn. Alyssa was born almost exactly two years later in September and we were excited to have a little princess. She was all girl from day one and loved jewelry and dressing up even as a toddler.
While Alyssa was young I took a job as the webmaster for my bosses main business LearnKey.com where I learned more about the internet, web design and e-commerce. I missed working at the guitar store and my good clients but knew I was headed down the right career path. Every night I would stay up late working on my own websites and dreaming up business ideas with my Brother Jim and my Father Roland Lee (the famous watercolor artist). We were obsessed with the internet and were determined to make a go of it. Those late nights paid off and soon our online ventures were making money. We had one rule, “Don’t quit your day job!”.
While Alyssa was just a baby we purchased and moved into our first home. The home was a modest brick home on 750 South just three doors down from where I spent the first 9 years of my life. It was a fun neighborhood where we made some great friends and the kids did too. We were thrilled to be out of apartments and finally felt like a real American family. This is when I decided to break our only rule and I started my own corporation and quit my day job. Things were scary at first but we quickly discovered that being our own boss was a very good thing. Hannah was born two years after Alyssa also in the month of September.
During this time I tested and was accepted to be a member of the St. George Fire Department. While a member I attended Dixie College and received my EMT basic certification from the State of Utah. I enjoyed serving the community as a volunteer firefighter and loved being involved in EMS and fire suppression. We responded to numerous car accidents, structure fires and hundreds of other emergencies including the flood of 2005. I continued training and working part-time shifts on the fire department and was getting close to realizing my childhood dream of becoming a full-time firefighter.
At the time there was a construction boom happening in St. George and the real estate market was going crazy. We were able to sell our first home for a modest profit and upgrade to a nicer home in the Bloomington area of St. George overlooking the Virgin River. We had fun designing and landscaping our big backyard and enjoyed having guests in our home. Our Bloomington home was the party spot for most of our family gatherings and we loved to be the hosts. I even had a whole room dedicated to my fish aquarium hobby of raising and breeding african cichlids.
Jolynn and I have both enjoyed serving in the LDS Church where we worship with our family every Sunday. I have spent most of my spare time involved with the young men as a Scoutmaster for several different Boy Scout troops. Jolynn worked with the young women as well as serving in the primary and relief society organizations. We believe very strongly that God has given us everything we have and it is the least we can do to serve him in any way we can. Our faith is strong and we both served LDS missions, Jolynn in Upstate New York and myself in Nashville, Tennessee.
As the real estate boom continued in Southern Utah we decided to cash out once again. We sold our Bloomington home, again for a modest profit with the help of our favorite real estate agent Anita Kay. We found a wonderful home under construction in the South River Road area and fell in love with the neighborhood. We purchased in time to pick all the paint colors, tile, cabinets, countertops, carpet and even the landscaping. It was our dream home in a quiet cul-de-sac and our neighbors were amazing. They were all young families with similar interests and values. During our first year there, 7 of the 8 homes were blessed with new babies. Our second son Max was one of the children born that year on 2110 East Circle in the Jedora subdivision.
We continued our church service. I still loved firefighting and my business was going very well. But, once again we decided to cash out on the hot real estate market in the St. George area. The only problem at this point in time, was that you had to move out of the area to realize the full financial benefits of cashing out. We decided to head for the country several years earlier than we had originally planned. The timing seemed right and St. George was growing way too fast for us. We longed to raise our young family in a small town and give them the same opportunities that we both had in our youth.
This was a big decision for me because at the time the St. George Fire Department was finally hiring more full-time firefighters. I knew that my chances of getting hired were very good, and I was truly considering that career path. After much prayer and thought we decided that a career on the fire department would not be the best choice for raising our family. We put our house on the market and sold our house just weeks before the bottom dropped out of the real estate market. After 5 years of serving on the St. George Fire Department and 30 years of living in the St. George area – we said goodbye.
We purchased 5 acres in Monroe, Utah and found a great set of house plans online. We bought the CAD files and my friend tweaked the plans for us, this would be a beautiful country home. After several months of false starts in getting approval from the County for a building permit, we felt like the timing was not quite right to build a new home. On a Saturday afternoon we went for a drive around the valley in search of place to call home. We stumbled upon the quaint town of Annabella and we knew we were home. We found a house with a for sale by owner sign and we called and asked if we could take a look. This was it.
We purchased our home in Annabella, Utah from Danny and Sharon Anderson and couldn’t have been more pleased. The beautiful brick home sat on nearly 2 acres of land with an enormous 60×60 workshop and a 50×100 animal barn. The landscaping was amazing with more than a half-acre of lawn with mature trees and shrubs. The large vegetable garden was already planted and the orchard was producing tasty fruit.
We have moved around a bit. We spent a magical year managing a guest ranch near Zion National Park where we lived simply and disconnected from the world a while. We have met so many good people and have made countless wonderful friends along the way. We look forward to a lifetime of marriage and are excited to explore the world around us with our family. We currently call Richfield, Utah our home but hope to try living out of state for a time.
I work for myself and have a small office in our basement. Occasionally we will sneak off at lunchtime and enjoy the great outdoors, like fishing at Fishlake, hiking Capital Reef or spending time at our family cabin in Zion National Park. I build websites and do internet businesses for a living. One of my website projects I am most proud of is a hunting dog breeder directory to help people find puppies for sale in their local area. I also raise and train Brittany bird dogs as a hobby.
We have been homeschooling our 8 children for the past few years and really enjoy the increased time together as a family. We like to make our own schedule and spend more time outside and less time running around. Part of our reason for choosing to educate our children in our home is to spend more time with them. Our family is our life.