Browsing posts in: About Me

And we have moved!

by

Day 1 of the rest of our lives is upon us.  We have finally made the move from our very high priced hometown to a very small town three states away.  The last two days during the move, I have woken up feeling so much hope just overflowing at what the future holds.  We will be living with my grandmother as we get the lay of the land before seeking housing of our own.

And I got a sign that we were going in the right direction during our 8 hour drive loaded down with the last our of our belongings. I got a call regarding a job, one small town away that I applied for 2 months ago!  Woot, woot!  Don’t know what will come of it, but it’s right up my alley and super close to our new town.

All of our stuff is in storage for $125 a month.  It’s in a container that we can have delivered to us for a few hundred dollars or go pick it up at no cost.  We are spending the weekend with friends in Atlanta as Gymnast will compete here for his last regular season meet with his old gym.

We will return to Virginia for one week in March for Gymnast to compete at states near DC.  We have free housing for the week and will knock out orthodontist appointments and so on that same week. He will train here locally for the next three weeks and then return to his team gym for the week before states.  We are so blessed with their flexibility and willingness to work with us.

So for the next three weeks we will be getting the lay of the land, seeking work (Sea Cadet and I at least) and trying to get the kids settled in.

Oh, and one more thing…I now have a “guaranteed” 25 hour a week job at the one I’ve been working for the past year.  So it’s not full time income, but it is steady and more than I’ve had consistently.  (Both my part time jobs have committed to keeping me on despite the move, so I continue to have regular income.)  Will do a budget and goals post in the next month or so as the dust settles from the move.

Things are looking up.  I am filled with HOPE for what this move could mean for us…lower cost of living, more work and who knows what else.


Different Priorities

by

Hello BAD community, thank you for your inquiries.  I thought I would pop in and share a quick update.

Debt

My sole debt at this point are my $32K-ish student loans which are in Income Based Repayment requiring $0 per month.

Income

I am still on the hunt for work, chasing any and all leads.  It’s been very frustrating and I can’t explain why this has been such a challenge.  It’s been a year since I had full time income.  It’s been challenging but a very enlightening experience.  Most recently, I was turned down by Amazon Customer Service which is work from home for $10.  I just can’t explain it.  Someone asked me why I wasn’t getting work…I could only answer that it’s my age, my weight or I’m just not in God’s will.  So I keep plugging along.  I do still have two part time jobs equaling about 15 hours a week.

The twins turned 18, so the adoption subsidy ended.  That was a hit because I was assured it would carry them through high school.  But despite it all, we are doing well.  We are fed, have shelter and even a few extras.

Housing

We continue to live in our free housing situation.  We have painted the front and back decks and continued to assist on the farm.  It makes me feel a bit better, but my pride has definitely taken a hit.  There is limited heat, and it can’t seem to keep up very well.  The nights are cold.  I am grateful for down comforters, wool socks and sweatsuits.

Challenges and Upcoming Changes

Remember when we moved out of our apartment we put stuff in storage.  It was costing me $78 month.  We went in October to get some winter clothes out and some more school materials.  And it had been leaking!  We lost a ton of stuff…violin, most all the winter clothes and more. I am in the process of getting rid of my car, downsizing to just the twins car (’96 Honda Accord) in order to save the insurance and property tax money.  I hope to save enough over a few months to buy another older used car which won’t cost as much in insurance or taxes.  Hoping to do this mid-January.

Holidays

We will be leaving next week to stay with family for a month over the holidays.  We are looking forward to sleeping in real beds, not having to go outside to go to the bathroom and having heat regularly.  We will be spending 10 days with my parents, which will be hard based on our history, but I am really working on forgiveness.  It will be the first time since I had kids that I won’t be in my own space for Christmas. I am really struggling with that, but the kids are looking forward to an airplane ride to Texas and time with family.  (I was able to get round trip tickets for all 5 of us for $391 by being flexible with my dates, buying early and my dad’s generosity with his points.)

Gymnast

I have really tried hard to stay where we are at in large part due to Gymnast training and my bartered arrangement for his training.  It seems to be paying off.  He is competing as a Level 6 gymnast this year, and his first meet was a week ago.  He placed 1st on vault, 2nd on floor, 2nd on high bar and 4th overall.  He competes again this weekend, and then we will leave for the holidays.  He is training 5 days a week, 4 hours a day.

Princess

She finished up volleyball season and has decided to take up TKD again.  (She got her black belt when she was 10 years old.)  A local studio is offering $25 per month per child for two classes a week.  I can afford that.  She and Sea Cadet will begin in January.  She continues to excel at school, working on most of the same classes as her twin brothers (seniors) with the exception of math.  She has learned how to knit and it making massive amounts of Christmas presents with her skills.

History Buff

He is applying early admission to the college of his choice.  Please send a prayer up that he will be accepted.  That would be a huge relief for me and joy for him.  He continues to work at the movie theatre and is also now a attendant for a special needs young man a couple nights a week.  He plans to study criminology and recently began participating in the Police Explorers program.  He is on track to graduate from high school in June, but has serious senioritis!

Sea Cadet

He has another year of high school, which we have known for some time.  We are calling it his super senior year.  Math is a BIG challenge for him.  He wavers a bit now between military, college or just working at a camp year round for his future.  He continues to work at the move theatre and has also picked up a part time job in the kitchen of the camp where he worked as a camp counselor this summer.  He is applying to be a senior counselor this next summer.  He and History Buff share a car and pay their own insurance and phone bills.  I can tell that watching History Buff get ready to leave the nest bothers him a bit, but I think it will be healthy for both of them.  I continue to think that the military route is the best one for him, but will support whatever he decides.  We are going to try out community college for his super senior year to give college a test run.

Me

Most days I feel like I have no idea what I am doing and feel like I am failing my children.  Then others, I am just grateful for the opportunities we have had as a result of this hardship.  We have gotten to raise chickens, live in a camper, live in the country on a farm, be completely free.  I long for a stable home, comfortable bed and a recliner to relax in.  But I am so grateful for all the extra time I have gotten to spend with the kids and my grandmother.

We are spending a great deal of time volunteering.  It gets us out of the house and feels good to give back. I have no idea what the future holds.  I’m just taking it a day at a time.

The Home School Foundation did a feature on us as part of their Single Parents who Homeschool grant program.  I thought you might like to see it, you can watch it here.

 

 


I’m Still Here

by

I don’t even know where to start. I really crashed this summer emotionally, like really.  Thank God for my kids.  My obligations to and for them are the only thing that saved me I think.  I know it’s still kind of taboo to talk about depression, and I never would have expected it as I tend to be a glass half full kind of girl.   But I definitely have been going thru some major depression, borderline suicidal times this summer.

I pulled the kids from just about everything and hid in the bed as much as possible.  Self sabotaged a bit with work, and just generally cried ALOT!  I was just overwhelmed and could see no way out.

Not much has changed financially.  We are still living for free and barely scraping by with my two part time jobs.  I can’t think about the future without getting just overwhelmed with it all.  But I have started some new routines to try and shake my “blues.”

My new routines include:

  • Spending time in God’s word EVERY morning, first thing.
  • Focusing immediately, every time I find myself spiraling down in my head, finding something to be grateful for: air conditioning, a working car, our health…and I’m working on this with my kids as well.
  • Lists, lots of lists.  Things I need to do, things I want to do, things I need to think about doing.  Mostly to get things out of my head at this point, rather than putting them into action but that will be next.
  • Giving myself permission to just stop, breathe and most importantly say no.

I did get a kid free week in July when all four kids attended a summer camp together. (Note: one of the benefits offered with the twins adoption was one week of paid summer camp every year.  Since the twins turn 18 year this, this is the last summer we could use it.)  They loved it and I didn’t know what to do with myself.  And we are now spending three weeks at our family’s lakehouse.  Sleeping in a bed, not having to go outside to go to the bathroom and having comfortable seating…well, it’s been a really nice break from our living situation (not that I am not grateful.)

I have no idea what the future holds, and I’m overwhelmed trying to get back on my feet.  We are spending pretty much nothing, and I’m focused on saving.  Unfortunately, due to my emotional challenges I have ‘fallen off the wagon’ on seeking work.  But I feel better, I think I’m getting back to myself.

I don’t know when I will get back to writing regularly, but I will be back as I can.  I really appreciate those who have reached out.  God has a plan for me, for us, I am clinging to that with everything I have got!

 


4th Month of Unemployment – Status Update

by

I am now entering our fourth month of unemployment.  It is only by the grace and generosity of others that I have not accumulated any additional debt and am not too far behind on bills.  (I was so grateful that so many took my post What I have Learned being Poor to heart.  One reader even graciously reached out and offered to pay a bill for us.  I didn’t want to make a big deal of it, but I did want to acknowledge the gift and generosity.  So thank you for the generous gift of paying our electric bill last month!)

I am continuing to job search and interview, but as of today am no closer to a full time job.  I am happy to report that I’ve picked up three small website projects for the month of February, so I have high hopes of catching up with monthly bills and being in a better place going to March.

I’m sorry I haven’t gotten around to replying to everyone on my post regarding the lower paying position I interview for (Is it Worth It?), taking the job or not did not become a question as it was no offered, but I reached the same conclusion as many of you that it just didn’t make sense financially any way I looked at it.  I am interviewing for another part time job tomorrow, but hopefully the pay rate will be more in line with what I need…I hope.  I don’t mind piece-mealing together a paycheck with a variety of part time jobs and projects, but I am hoping to at least have steady income of some sort while I continue to search for a full time position.

I can’t remember if I have mentioned here that with certainty we will be moving in April.  I will write a whole post on this part of our lives.  But essentially, because my initial plan when I signed this lease back in August/September was that we would for certain move to better housing at the end of April (our school year end) even if it meant moving away from here.  So when I signed the lease, I signed the move out notice at the same time.  Fast forward to the first week in December, and I was notified by the complex office that our apartment has been rented out, so staying put is not an option.  So we will be moving…but without a job, what kind of housing can we move too?  This has been a constant prayer request for me, but an answer/option has come.  I will share that plan in another post soon.

Another status update is regarding our pets…we are down to two from the original four. (You can read about this plan: Re-homing Pets.) I’m continuing to only solicit homes from people we know, and while there are currently no placements, with 2.5 more months, I am hopeful. Although it is getting tougher and tougher to think about.

Other than that, we are moving right along…basketball season is coming to an end for Princess, robotics season ended this past weekend for the twins and gymnast is approaching the end of his season.

One side note:  I am going to mention this because it is financially related, but I do not and will not revisit the discussion of my ex or child support….My ex, the youngest two children’s dad has gotten a job.  He has 6 weeks or so of training to do at a minimal rate, but then he assures me he will begin providing regular support for the kids….woohoo!  And even better…health insurance.  So I will keep you posted, but many will remember that it was a year ago this past October that he let me know he could not provide any support for the kids due to job issues.  So this will be greatly appreciated and quite timely due to my job situation.


Nothing but Drama AND I Started My New Job

by

I’m on vacation!  No, not really.  But I am sitting in a hotel all by myself, looking forward to three whole nights ALONE!  The kids are all situated at home with friend’s families and neighbor’s watching them, and I am here hours away training this week for my new part time job.  It’s a little bit like heaven after the last 96 hours of trauma and panic.

It has been a REALLY hard New Years in our house.  As I sat down to a quiet night Saturday, anticipating starting my new job, I was excited at having gotten paid from an odd job and having just a little bit of breathing room for a little while financially.  And then disaster struck!

I wrote about it on my personal blog so I won’t revisit it here: God, You’ve Got to because I Can’t

Needless to say, it has all worked out, well kind of since then, and I am sitting in peace in my very own hotel room.  The overwhelming amount of joy I feel at just this little bit of down time is wondrous.

So where are we at with our debt payoff journey…still dead in the water unfortunately.  I have managed by taking on odd jobs, blessings by friends and strangers and the adoption assistance not to sink any further into debt and to stay on top of my bills.  I am continuing to look for additional part time jobs and full time corporate jobs, but the holidays were really silent.  I’m hopeful I will start to hear back from the dozens of applications in the next few weeks.

So another list of quick updates on everything else:

  1. Sea Cadet, in addition to breaking his pink on Saturday night, lost his job when they unexpectedly and with no warning at all closed down.  But thank God, he got a call from History Buff’s job while we were waiting to be see in the ER and was offered a job.  He’s also decided to quit Sea Cadet’s this year…
  2. History Buff will get his driver’s license next week (assuming he passes his test) and is prepared to pay his own insurance which from the quotes we’ve gotten will be $72 per month.  He and I are pretty excited about this, but it will be a few weeks at least before it will really take the burden off me while he gets some experience before I will let others ride in the car with him.
  3. Princess is working hard on her high school level classes and continues to be committed to graduating early.  She’s also playing basketball, and if the option arises she wants to play for the local public school next year.  I’ve got to get meetings with them to see if that’s an option.
  4. Gymnast is starting to soar at school.  I think I’ve told you before that he has really struggled in school especially with reading and writing, but this year and especially these last couple of months, he is really blossoming.  Maybe all this extra time off really has been a blessing!

As you can see, my life has not gotten dull since losing my job.  It’s been full. And now as we start a new school semester, my focus is once again on downsizing to move again at the end of April and continuing to sell any odds and ends as I find them in this process.

I pray your New Year has not been quite so challenging as ours, and that you are looking forward to some great adventures in 2016 as I am…


Fairwell

by

Hello all! I hope you all have had the year of your lives. This will be my last post on this blog (for now). I’ve truly enjoyed my time blogging here and interacting with the community on a weekly basis; you have all helped and supported me so much! I just want to thank you, again, for allowing me to share my story here.

Before I sign off for what could be the last time, I just want to do a quick review of what occurred in my life this year. Here are the highlights:

  • During this calendar year I paid off $21,675.40 worth of debt.
  • My current student loan figure is $41,480.20, meaning I have paid off $69,307.46 in student loan debt since graduating college 5 years ago.
  • If I include my car debt, I’ve paid off $63,101.33 in 27 months (September 2013 is when I went full throttle debt payoff)
  • I completely paid off 3 different student loans, with only 2 remaining!
  • I have an amazing, and beautiful new nephew, Nathaniel, born January 25th, 2015. It’s hard to believe he’s going to be 1 year old in a month.
  • I was able to visit my sister and her then fiance last February to help them with their new born. I was really glad to have been able to do this.
  • I restarted contributions into my 401 in May. My beginning balance was somewhere around $4,500-$5,000 and it’s now up to $10,700. It’s not a lot, but progress is being made.
  • I started an ESA fund for my nephew, which I vowed to contribute $25 a month from now until he’s 18. With the help of other family members contributing, the balance of this fund is currently $285. Again, it’s not much, but every little bit helps (and with the rate in which tuition is increasing, he may need $200,000 to attend a 4 year school)
  • We had the vacation of a life time in July to Disney World. I can’t express how amazing this trip was!
  • I’ve also gotten increasingly better at guitar playing, so much so, I’ve been involved in a few bands/projects.

Well that’s about it…here’s to another great year for you and your families!

Matt


A List of Status Updates – Hope

by

Well, sorry I’ve been AWOL, but I’m not sure I have stopped to breathe the last couple of weeks and no end in site for this week either.  But I didn’t want to miss another week so pardon the list but this is what has happened over the last couple of weeks:

  1. My parents were here for their annual visit and it was GREAT!  No tension and they were super supportive of our current situation doing a bit of extra Christmas for the kids since I wouldn’t be able too.  They also gave me a little money to put to bills after seeing my itemized list of where I was at financially.  I had asked them not to come, not sure if I could handle the stress, but in the end, I’m glad they did.
  2. Little Gymnast competed in his local meet and did FANTASTIC, bringing home 2nd on floor and 8th all around.  There were 150 kids competing in his session, so pretty big deal.
  3. Princess is in the midst of basketball season now that volleyball has ended, and her choir sang in 7 performances at our church this weekend for over 8000 guests.  Super busy.
  4. Twins are both working almost full time over this break (we finished the semester the first week of December and will go back the middle of January.)  They are also continuing studies for English, Geometry and AP Psych, not to mention getting ready for robotics competition at the end of January.  So while it’s a little less hectic…not much!
  5. No more word on the job front for me as far as full time goes.  But I am looking forward to starting my new part time job the first week of January, it’s all scheduled for me to travel for training.
  6. Amazingly, I have been picking up piecemeal work left and right, keeping me on my toes doing an assortment of computer support, training and website work.

Life is good.  As of tonight, I have enough to cover all my bills for December – woot, woot!

And I have to tell you my faith has made a HUGE difference this past month.  I have really focused on staying focused on being grateful, living by faith and trusting that God has a plan for us.  I have never been through rougher financial times but to be honest, I’ve never felt so secure that we are being looked out for, and that is truly a blessing.

My stories of how and whom has provided for us would blow your mind.  I won’t be buying any Christmas presents this year.  I am very grateful for what my parents have provided and some of our community members are also contributing to make this special for the kids.

I will write more soon, but just wanted to get a note out to you and let you know how we are doing.  Here’s wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas season.  We are truly celebrating the many, many blessings that we have every day.


Pages:1234567...38