We've been in preservation mode for the past few months out here on the Medley Farm. We had been waiting for the other shoe to drop since last January with Bryon's job and after a year of turmoil and uncertainty, it finally came to a resolution on Dec. 6, 2010. Luckily, we had savings, no debt other than our mortgage and good friends, church and family ready to come to our aid if necessary.
Even though we don't have much debt, just your regular bills sure add up more than you may think. We started looking at our spending last year and I was disgusted at how much we were spending on eating out and groceries/household stuff. The first month I tracked it, was last February and that month we spent $1,500 on groceries/personal/household stuff ... basically Walmart and the grocery stores and $466 on eating out. This December we spent $210 on groceries/personal/household stuff and $150 on eating out. Of course I put Christmas stuff in another category and some food was included in it ($559 total). Still, we are down to half or a third of what we were spending. We cut back where we could and made do for a while. Still can't continue to do all of that indefinitely on just my income. It's true I guess that you spend what you have.
The great news is that after only a two month search, Bryon starts at St. John's in Lebanon on Monday morning for orientation and what looks like to be about 30 hours a week and eventually full time. He is also planning to work for CMH in Bolivar part time as well. How it has come about has been a real blessing. He (and many others have been praying for the right work to come his way) and he had sent his resume out to St. John's as in early December, knowing there were no posted positions open but hoping to pave the way if/when something did become available. Lebanon is 30 minutes round trip closer than Springfield for him and only 15 minutes away from Bennett Springs (yep, trout fishing is an unexpected after work perk!).
One day just after the first of the year when he had applied for every conceivable and a few unconceivable positions he just hopped in the car and decided to do a pop-in at Lebanon. He walked around the hospital and then the department for a bit to get the feel of the place and thought then that this was a place he would like to work. It just felt more comfortable and friendly than the place from which he had spent the last 18 years.
He asked if the Director was available to chat. She was. And as soon as he walked in the door and introduced himself, she asked if his ears had been burning because they had been talking about him all week. Bryon had been praying for a clear and obvious sign (which of course most of us mere mortals rarely get right?). The next thing she said to him was that, "Jesus must have sent you through my door today because you seem to have everything we need."
Well you don't have to be Bill Engvall to know that "Here's your sign".
Things just got better and better from there and it looks as though they'll be able to give him about 30 hours a week to start and full-time soon. They already appreciate his personality, his attitude and his abilities and they haven't even spent a full day with him yet. The Director called when she said she would call and has just been a real blessing already. She knows he's trying to piece together full time and made him promise that if he got another full time offer to let her know because she doesn't want to lose him.
Okay then. That's different.
To celebrate we turned our Directv back on and ate breakfast at Freda's this morning. We plan to stay on the frugal bandwagon and work on paying down our mortgage but it looks as though the biggest stress is lifting.
After spending a five days and four nights in Rolla this week for the university blood drive and eating out every dang meal (I do get to expense that) I realized that taking my lunch nearly everyday for the past couple of months was actually pretty nice. At first it was a big pain, but now I am really appreciating it more not only for the $40 a week I save but for the leftovers I've been eating.
I think it's been good for us overall to have this experience. Bryon is out of a toxic situation and we've had an opportunity to reprioritize a few things that otherwise we might never have changed.
I just hope we can continue to remember and live by these lessons as things get back to "normal". Whatever that is.
Life is good.