Life seems to be one nail-biting cliffhanger after another. This is another chapter to our continuing saga.
Those of you who have been reading our family’s story we recall that last Winter I looked at EJ and saw that his company was destroying his health, and I looked at JJ and saw that he was discouraged and struggling to recover from cancer, and I looked at myself, and knew that my emotionally abusive family was wearying me. We had talked and dreamed and hoped to move for years, but never could until last Spring when I began to pray desperately that God would move us away. From that moment, things began to happen and in a very short time we were living in a place that was everything we dreamed of. When I consider everything that has happened, and when I see renewed hope and joy on my guys’ faces, I can only believe that God has moved us here.
Of course there has been challenges. We all are suffering from various forms of chronic stress, PTSD, and burnout, which has caused us to have anxiety attacks. But we moved here to get a fresh start, and to get away from the chronic stress, and to be able to rest and recover.
It was all a huge risk, and it took everything we had to move here. We expected our house to sell for a decent enough price but because of a bad housing market downstate, we weren’t able to get even close to the price we hoped for our house. Despite setting a low price on our house, it’s not selling as quickly as we anticipated. With having to keep the utilities on at the old house, needing to pay taxes, and so forth, the house is a financial drain on us. We weren’t able to move everything up at one time, and frequent trips south have also been a drain.
In addition, we have JJ’s medical bills to pay off down at the old Cancer Center. We are on a payment plan and have only a little over $2,000 left, but it’s still a monthly expense that will take time to pay off. Because we are in a new hospital system up here, we also have bills up here–getting JJ’s port removed and his CT scans, for example. And although the doctor suspected EJ’s symptoms were due to anxiety, she had him wear a monitor a couple of months ago to make sure he wasn’t having heart problems. That was also much more expensive than anticipated even with insurance.
We scraped together a decent savings to enable us to move. However, the expense of the old house, and the medical bills, and having to fix the driveway, and needing to prepare for winter has drained our savings, so that we don’t have much left. The driveway was terribly expensive, but the work absolutely had to be done or we would have needed mules to travel up and down our drive. We still need to get a snowblower or something to plow out our driveway this winter because our area usually gets tons of snow, so after we buy that, we’ll have maybe two months of savings left. Maybe. Then we are screwed.
I have been anxious about how we would manage when our savings ran out. Whenever I think that maybe we will be ok, I find another large bill–usually medical–in the mailbox. Yesterday I wrote down all our monthly expenses and it was worse than I thought. When our savings are exhausted, we might have enough money to pay all our monthly expenses if we don’t buy groceries or gas for our vehicles or have any more unexpected expenses. I presented this to EJ and JJ and then burst into tears because, of course, we need to eat and buy gas.
I am seriously looking into getting a job, which might seem to be a trivial matter to those families who have both spouses working outside the home, but I haven’t worked in over 20 years, and I never wanted or anticipated having to return to work, and my skills are all out-dated, and I am not sure I will be hireable. Also, only two of our vehicles can handle snow, which means I would have to find a job very close by so I wouldn’t have to drive far. I am so dreading getting a job, most especially because we are so physically, emotionally, and spiritually burned out and are craving time to rest and enjoy life for a bit. We didn’t want to have to worry about bills or me finding a job. I would stiffen my resolve and suck it up, but the hardest thing is that since EJ works nights and I would work days, we probably wouldn’t see each other much, which is unendurable because we enjoy being together and we miss each other terribly when we are apart.
None of us want me to have to get a job, so we are looking at our finances and trying to cut everything we possibly can. We need to reduce our monthly expenses to increase our cash flow. If the old house sells, even if we don’t get much out of it, we can probably pay off one of our bills–which would free up some cash. December has three paychecks instead of two, so we can use the extra to reduce or pay off another bill. We are going to talk to the insurance agency about reducing our insurance costs. For example, if I don’t work, we could keep insurance on only two of the vehicles and store the HHR for the winter since it doesn’t have 4-wheel drive. EJ was told that his new company usually gives huge yearly bonuses in January, which would help us tremendously. However, EJ said today that an employee made a mistake that will cost the company a couple million dollars so it’s unlikely that they will get the bonuses. That figures. Bummer.
JJ, bless his heart, said that we are all in this together and he will help with the bills until we get through this. He has been looking for a better paying job, but he currently works part-time at minimum wage and he is giving half his monthly earnings to help out–and he has offered more if needed. This, of course, may affect or delay his going back to college but we won’t be able to manage without it. JJ also said that if I have to work, we can divide up the chores at home so I don’t have to do it all.
I am fervently praying for some more miracles. Ephesians 20 says, “Now to him who by his power working in us is able to do far beyond anything we can ask or imagine…” I said to God, “You know I can imagine an awful lot–like walking to the mailbox and instead of finding another huge bill, finding a huge check that would totally pay off our house…” I’m just saying. I have a really good imagination. But I actually would be content if He’d sell our old house for us, and that He’d somehow make it so we could eliminate some of our bills, and that He would enable us to recover from all the stress we’ve had in our lives. I’m begging for some miracles. I wouldn’t mind you all praying too.
This morning JJ asked if I would please, please, please take him to his counseling session so he didn’t have to drive there and back again alone. Since I could tell he was stressed, I agreed. The weather has been very warm this week so after I dropped JJ off, I drove to a nearby park and enjoyed the beauty surrounding me while I talked on the phone to my dear friend. Here are photos of the view. Oh, and also a few from our beautiful Enchanted Forest.