Saturday, September 22, 2012

We're okay.

With Mark losing his job, the post-partum hair loss finally happening, and Burgundy in her Senior year, I feel like I should be falling apart. The storyline of my life feels Very Dramatic, and I can't help wondering what's wrong with me. The fact of the matter is that while I have my moments of panic and doubt, I'm really okay.

I need to make the world understand, though: I'm very dramatic. I'm the kind of person who panics and tells all her friends about the scary lump that turns out to be an ingrown armpit hair. I put drama on the map, baby. And I'm just not feeling it, not to the degree that I feel I should feel it. Instead, I feel very confident that God is doing something big and weird and a little scary in our lives.

As soon as we found out, we listed our van for sale. I'm taking it to the other side of Houston this afternoon; there's a buyer there who doesn't have transportation to come and look at it, but he says he has the cash to pay. I'm going through the house and listing stuff on Craigslist, and if anything, I'm excited about it. I'm eagerly anticipating the day that I wake up and my house is not full of unnecessary crap.

Once the van sells, we'll have a small emergency fund in place, and our monthly expenses will go down. No more van payment, for one thing. For another, our insurance cost will go down, and lastly, I won't be driving a gas-guzzling tank all over creation every day. Mark and I did a pretty harsh emergency budget last night; we need to try to survive on just unemployment and whatever I can earn with bread making, babysitting and tutoring.

Oh, the babysitting. The day after I posted on Facebook about the job loss, a friend from church contacted me because she needs part-time help in the childcare room during the week. I would just bring Ruby and Holden with me. Essentially, I'll be getting paid to watch my own kids with others' kids.

The next major step is to sell the majority of my crafting supplies. My spinning wheel goes first even though I haven't had the heart to list it yet. I'm listing my weaving loom as well and praying someone with the space for one this large is on the prowl right now. I'm selling my sewing desk but not the machine, and I'll sell the glass cabinets in which I store my yarn, but for now, I'm not going to sell the yarn.

Finally, we have to declutter. The goal is to get the house ready to sell now so that if he can't find a job, and we can't make ends meet, we can sell the house quickly and move on with our lives. The goal is that if we have to let go of all our Stuff, then we choose it, and we are in charge of it. We will sell the house, not lose it to foreclosure. We will sell and donate our stuff, not cling to it tightly until we have no place to put all the stuff we still have.

Overall, I feel a strange sense of peace that this will all work out in the end. I don't feel it all the time, and if I let my mental discipline slip, it can get pretty dark in here pretty fast. For the most part though, we're okay. And I'll just repeat that to myself over and over. We're okay. We're okay. We're okay. It's a prayer, a mantra, and a high-five all rolled into one.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Financial Peace

Sunday at church I was sitting with my family just after Communion when one of the ministers approached me and quietly said, "I need to talk to you after the service."

Allow me to provide a little context. We've had a really rough week. Mark is losing his job, and I'm grappling with the physical and emotional implications of selling our house. I'm having trouble keeping up with all the blogging, studying, and grading I need to do for a class I'm teaching, and several people want bread that I don't really have energy to make. I had been up until after 1:00 AM that morning finishing the bread for Communion, and we were pretty typically late to church.

As Kevin, our minister, retreated, Mark leaned across Burgundy and said, "What did you do?" What indeed? You know that feeling; Mom and Dad found you out. They're going to sit you down and give you a stern talking-to. You're grounded. You failed. And I could not for my life figure out what I'd done wrong. Even as my mind told me he probably had an administrative question or wanted me to make bread more often, my stomach sank into my calves; tears welled up, and with a heavy sigh I slunk out of service to the bathroom where I hid in a stall and cried like a 15-year-old after her first break up. It was my first time to cry since finding out about the job loss on Monday.

After service, I approached Kevin and waited for him to finish talking to his son. Finally he turned and explained that the church was planning another Financial Peace University class, and they wanted to do a testimonial video for the class. In committee, he'd been given to understand that we are big fans of the program (understatement alert!), and he wanted to know if I would be willing to share our testimony on video.

I almost cried again, this time with relief and a little embarrassment. Of course I would record our testimony. I'd share it with anyone who wants to hear it. I want to write it out to send to the ministers prior to the recording, which will be Friday, so I am better prepared with what I consider the most important aspects of the class. I know I've blogged about that in the past, so I think I can dig that up, tweak it, and send it over.