Monday, December 7, 2009

The Reason

I have a blog!

       I have wanted to do this for a while but never made the time. Now the time is here because I really want to show other moms (and non-moms) that it is possible to live within your means if you think of it as a part time job and do a small amount of work. On a good week, with 10 hours of research, I can make and/or save $300. Some of that is savings at the grocery with sales and coupons, some of that is free samples or products, and some is items I win in contests and sweepstakes.

       Being able to stay home with my kids and “work” while they play, take naps, or watch a movie is the best job I’ve ever had. Some days, I do think it would be easier to go to work and not have to cut coupons but I know my family would be miserable. I did work. Since my older son was born, I have been an insurance agent, a teacher, and an office manager. I made decent to great money at all three jobs but I wasn’t happy. I could afford to spend $200 at the grocery but I missed my husband and I missed my son.  I even took my son to work with me when I was an office manager but I either didn’t get any work done or I passed him off so I could work. I cried often because I didn’t think I could live that way for the rest of my life.
During the 07/08 school year, I was a teacher. I taught 7th grade Language Arts and 6th grade Intensive Reading. I did love (most of the) kids but I hated the job. I hated the amount of work I had to take home and do outside of school since I didn’t have a degree in education. I was tired and we were still broke. My son spent half of the school year with my mom during the day which worked great. In February, we moved and daycare became a better option. In five months, he went to two daycares. The first daycare  worked on a kind of demerit system and he was “written up” for bad behavior twice in a month. He was 2. They also sent him home five times that month because he was “sick.” Each time, I left work and took him straight to the doctor who said he was fine. The fevers, pink eye, and vomiting were always cured on the car ride to the doctor’s office. So, we moved to a different daycare which we loved. He was potty trained within two weeks of attending and was never sent home. Meanwhile, the school year ended and job assignments were arranged within the district. I was not rehired but I was not discouraged. There were still open jobs and there were lots of changes happening so I kept applying for anything I was qualified to teach. In July, after weeks of paying the daycare partial payments, they told me my son could not come back until I got a job or was able to pay them in full each week. I thought that was one of the worst days of my life because, in my mind, since I was college educated and willing to do anything, I should have had a job. I see now that was actually one of the best days of my life because it was the day when I acknowledged that every door had been slammed in my face. I knew it was time to live with the income my husband brought home. We had been married for almost three years and had never lived that way. We lived on the hope and expectation that money, jobs, and life would come to us. We never prepared for or dreamed that I wouldn’t be a teacher forever or that my husband would ever lose his job (which he did in October 08.)

       I wish I could say that I am just a naturally frugal woman and I have always lived as a good steward of what God has given me. Obviously, I can’t. My credit score is appalling and I wouldn’t be approved to buy a pencil on credit at this point. Between my husband and I, we have lost a house, two cars, and have tousands of dollars in credit card and medical debt. The good news, however, is that I get it now. I understand why I couldn’t find a job and why my husband lost his job (and insurance) two weeks before the birth of our second son (a child we planned on having when I was teaching.) I understand now what it means that “from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) We were given much and probably could have accomplished more by throwing it all out a car window. We have absolutely nothing to show for the good years we had. We fought all the time about money, too. Now, after everything was taken away and we were forced to start from scratch, we see it for the blessing it is. We know where each meal comes from and we know that the only way we will be blessed is to give thanks each day. We, a family of 4, are living on less than my husband made when he was 20 years old. The funny thing is, though, that we are happier and more in love than we have ever been. We own more than we have ever owned and we eat better than we ever have before. I absolutely cannot explain to you how we have such abundance without pointing to the presence of God. Once we fell flat on our faces and told Him we were out of ideas, He said, “Finally, now I can work!” And work, He did! He is still working and we are along for the ride.

       This blog will be my way of sharing the proof I see that God is real, He is smarter than us, and He loves His children without fail. As a parent, I relate to God as a Father. When my kids are well behaved, take care of their toys, and are nice to each other, I reward them. I will take them to Chik-Fil-a for lunch. I will buy them a new Hot Wheels car. I will rent a movie just for them. But when they are mean, throw tantrums, break things, and hit each other, I do not want to take them anywhere or buy them anything. That is God the Father. And I get it now.