Building a home, not a house
It is a miracle really, when we think about it, how people meet, how lives merge, how a home is made; the journey, the love, the promises that make it so.
A house, well, a house is a different story all together. A house can be made relatively quickly. The process is fairly straight forward. Get the supplies. Get a crew. Hammer. Sweat. Work hard. Work really hard. And then, there it is, in a matter of months if all goes well.
Owner of his own construction business, Aaron Hulse (’98) understands this process well. But how he and his wife came to meet, fall in love, get married, have children, and build their life together—their home—well, that is something just a little more miraculous. To those in the Hulse home, they attribute it entirely to God’s divine leading.
Sheryl March Hulse (’94) grew up in Macon, Mo., and Aaron Hulse grew up in Oskaloosa, Kan. Both decided to attend Union College. It was while at Union that they believe God brought them together, and where they fell in love and were married.
Aaron worked as an apprentice electrician in Lincoln, but when their first baby was born they hoped to move closer to Sheryl’s parents in Missouri. Her mother decided to bring their situation up as a prayer request at church. When a job offer came from Missouri they took it. Since leaving Nebraska, they have moved three times. In each instance they share that they can see the hand of God leading them to where they are now.
“On more than one occasion, we have been looking at the upcoming bills and wondering where the money was going to come from ... When surrendered to God, the work always came.”
Although they enjoyed Aaron’s job and their church community in Lincoln, Sheryl believes it was providential they left when they did. Within a couple years of moving to Missouri, her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “After a battle of a little over a year, he passed away,” she shares. “I looked back over the previous 3 1/2 years and realized God had brought us home in order to have that precious time with my dad.”
In 2006, they decided to start their own business. At that time, Aaron had a great job and Sheryl was very hesitant this was the right decision. By now they had three small children, and as she puts it, “Momma wanted security!” But Aaron always had the desire to go into the construction business on his own, so they decided to pray for God's leading.
Sheryl recounts her very specific prayer; because she wanted to be sure this was God’s will for them. He had already found construction jobs for the first week of the upcoming month of January and for the fourth week, but had no jobs lined up for in-between. Her prayer was that if God wanted them to move forward, they would get work for those empty weeks. “Within 30 minutes of that prayer, the phone rang and we had work for weeks two and three,” she said. “I accepted that as God’s answer and we have not looked back since.”
A second home business evolved when the couple’s mutual love of quilting began to generate income. Because of the long drive to take their quilts to be finished and the poor quality work, they jumped at the chance to buy their own quilting machine.
Initially it did not get much use, but once Aaron gave it a try they realized he had a God-given talent. He now has a reputation in the local quilting community for his work with free motion quilting—meaning without the use of a computer. Customers often tell him, “Whatever you think it needs, I trust you.”
In addition to custom-made quilts and T-shirt quilts, they also offer wall hangings, table runners, and have recently begun making clothes for 18”-size dolls. Creating these unique, American Girl-type doll clothes has been a venture that has paid off and the demand is growing quickly. They are thrilled to currently be working with AdventSource to produce American Girl doll Pathfinder and Adventurer uniforms. A recently created storefront on Facebook and a shop in Moberly, Mo., display their wares.
“Working from home has allowed Aaron to be there for the little things and the big ones involved in raising a family,” Sheryl said. God has blessed them with Lydia, age 12; Joshua, age 10; Clarissa, age 8; and Julia, age 4.. The children enjoy contributing when there are tasks they can do. Lydia even helps by crocheting tiny shawls to go with the doll dresses her mother makes.
The Hulses value honesty and integrity and seek to exemplify both in their family and in their work. “If we run our business in a way we like to be dealt with as a customer, and always produce work we are proud to have our name attached to, then we feel we are honoring God with our product,” they explained.
A quote by Dwight L. Moody hanging on the wall in their quilting area continues to inspire them, “If God be your partner, make your plans large.”
Realizing God is their partner has been a wonderful spiritual revelation. “On more than one occasion, we have been looking at the upcoming bills and wondering where the money was going to come from,” she admitted. “When surrendered to God, the work always came. Several times we needed to pay a bill by at say, 6:00 p.m. The phone would ring at 4:00 p.m. with a job and a pay advance in just the right amount.”
This partnership has also reaffirmed their belief in faithfully paying a 10 percent tithe. Whenever they prioritized a need or a bill first with plans to pay their tithe later, the work “dries up almost immediately.” But when they are committed to putting God first, God always provides for them abundantly.
When Elder Dean Coridan made an offering appeal for evangelism at campmeeting a few years ago, they both felt impressed they should give—even down to the same dollar amount of $500—which they did not have. After praying about it they decided to pledge 25 percent of their quilting proceeds from that campmeeting until next year’s campmeeting to the offering.
One year later as they added up their profit they were amazed to discover that instead of the $500 they had hoped to give, God had turned it into nearly $1,000. “We walked away with the reassurance that God can do anything, and [that God] wants to use US to do it, if we are willing!” Sheryl said.
In 2013, the Hulses plan to continue growing their quilting business and are excited to see where God will lead next. Thankful for the divine construction of their home, they marvel at God’s miraculous timing in leading them each step of the way.
To learn more visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/customquiltsandmore.