Monday, December 22, 2014

This Year and Next year

This years resolution was draw more, I'm leaning towards balance for 2015.  This year was quite a struggle for us.  My husband was laid off in February and unemployed for seven months - we only received unemployment for five of those months.  He was employed part time, as he worked a full time and part time job to support our family before he was laid off from his full time job.  We did receive food stamps but $200 is not enough to sustain a family of four eating healthy foods for a month (or really any foods for that matter).  I frequented all of the food banks in our area to feed our family.  If there was anything more embarrassing then standing in line waiting to receive a box of food (mostly processed, lots of candy and cakes, little to no toiletries as in the way of toilet paper, toothpaste, deodorant, etc and a very small amount of protein - your choice of a pound of hamburger or a package of sausage, a carton of eggs if you are lucky and a handful of veggies.).  Food stamps do not buy anything but food - we went without a lot of things, we could barely wipe our asses.   Local churches bought our kids some gifts last Christmas so we would have something to give them and we were also blessed with gift cards and groceries from these services as well.  The ladies from that church also handmade a beautiful quilt for Maggie that year - a beautiful reminder of kindness and generosity.

In August my husband severed his part time job to flood the market with his resume.  His part time job was constantly changing his hours, like just hours before his scheduled or not scheduled shift.  This made it nearly impossible to make it to interviews and go out and apply for jobs.  He was working for pennies and barely made enough to cover gas money.  Now completely unemployed, the gov't upped our food stamps to a ridiculous amount, but we felt relief at the same time on the food front.  Now we had an over abundance of food and the inability to pay our bills.  Thankfully my mother stepped in and payed TWO months of our bills.  She also continues to fill in the gaps and help us when needed to get back on our feet.  My husband is now gainfully employed since October, however since he is just starting out the pay is very low - so we are dependent on our Etsy Shop to make ends meet until he receives a few raises.  The gov't has taken back most of our food stamps again, but we are grateful to have any help buying groceries.  I've worked since I was 14 years old, my first job at a summer camp, but a job none the less.  I've always been able to support myself.  After being married we combined our awesomeness and were well off - better off then I ever could have dreamed.  Then after deciding to stretch pennies, we knew it would be tough - we decided I would stay at home with the kids.  We weren't counting on my husband being laid off from his full time job of six years.  I don't know how anyone ever lives off welfare and food stamps, we sure couldn't.  While some may take advantage of the system, we did not.  I finally feel confident sharing this part of our story with you because we are hard workers and paid into that system for many years that did exactly what it was meant to, gave us a leg up when we needed it.  I cannot wait to get fully back on our feet so we can give generously back to all the social services, food banks, friends and family that helped us out when we were pounding sand and feeling hopeless.  We suffered much depression and sadness during those months.

But the month of December has been full of abundance.  We have made enough this month in our Etsy shop, enough to cover our bills!  A friend swapped cookie dough for tie dyes which allowed me to spend more time pumping out orders.  Now we can get the cookie dough out of the freezer, cut, bake and decorate - instant cookies, no mess and still fun for the kids.  Another friend gave us FREE tickets to see one of our favorite musicians - Keller Williams.  We found an overnight sitter (thank you sweet niece of mine) so we can have a night out - only our second one this year!!  I was able to raise enough money to purchase an ipad for Dear Departed Drawings since the one I use is on loan.  Then my father decided to generously gift me a tablet.  Now that money can be set aside for any other supplies I might need, the money raised will be honored and only used for the higher good in my Dear Departed Drawings.  From another friend we received a care package filled with toiletries, snacks and food - dropped off at my doorstep.  Brought me to tears how generous our friends and family are - trying to keep us out of major debt, from going to food banks, making sure we have tissues (Lord knows we need them) and even giving us a night out to see a favorite musician.

We have lost a handful of friends this year and last from this earth.  We are missing half of our families that have already passed on.  Our parents do not live close by (my mother is close) and our dearest friends are also far.  One day we will be heading towards our dear friends in the mountains.  I am filled with joy that my husband finally has a job he LOVES!  Umm who wouldn't love making beer all day?  My drawings fill me with love as I see how much love and light they bring to the recipients.  I love getting to know each drawing subject on a soul level.  This year has been filled with enormous sadness and full of joy.  So many ups and downs.  Who knows what next year will bring, but I am hoping balance is found in the new year.  Thank you to everyone who brightened our lives and helped us this year.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas filled with cheer and love as we remember those who are missing and celebrate with our families. Because today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.  And there is no greater gift than your presence.  People cannot be replaced.  Turn your love light on.

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