Hello BAD community, thank you for your inquiries. I thought I would pop in and share a quick update.
My sole debt at this point are my $32K-ish student loans which are in Income Based Repayment requiring $0 per month.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.