Tuesday, April 15, 2008


This has been an especially difficult winter for us. Now don't get me wrong. My husband has been in the construction business for over 20 years. I know that it is seasonal. I know that it is "feast or famine". I know that in the summer we are rich, and in the winter, we are poor. We usually prepare for the winter by putting away some of the excess money made in the summer, and live off that in the winter. Yes, it is always tight, but we always seem to manage. We eat differently in the winter, and don't go out to eat at all, LOL! Meaning, we make changes in our routine to adapt to our lack of funds. And, we seem to manage just fine. And then came 2007. Not only was I a bit preoccupied with my dad's serious illness, but work was extremely slow for my husband, even during the summer! So, we basically cruised through the year, paying our bills, but not having enough to put back for the winter. And, I don't mind telling you, sometimes the bills went unpaid, or were late, and we had to play catch up. In my mind, it was because of my "full plate" with my dad, and the daily trips to St. Louis. And my husband was "protecting me", by not giving me more to worry about than I already had. It was a crazy year. The IRS decided to show up and want to have a face to face with us regarding tax years 1997 until present. And to make matters worse, the IRS agent met with us on February 8th, 2007. That morning, we are sitting at my dining room table with the IRS agent, and that night we are sitting in a hospital room at St. Anthony's hospital with my dad explaining that they had diagnosed him with ACUTE MYLOID LEUKEMIA. Now that, folks, falls under the heading of ONE BAD DAY!
One morning as we were preparing to leave for the hospital, my daughter comes into our room and wants to know why there is smoke coming from the field down by the road. My husband looks out the window and says rather loudly, "THE HAY IS ON FIRE!" Yes, someone had set fire to 90 of our round bales that we had lined up along the fence, down by the road. Just another "bump in the road". But, I didn't mean to get side tracked, talking about last year. The bottom line is, we are broke. This winter has been the worse winter we have had to endure since my husband first became "self employed". The economy has seriously put a damper on new home construction, which trickles down to our work load being slow. And, without that major part of our business, that explains why our cash flow is non-existent. But, as my husband keeps reminding me, we do have work out there. He has the opportunity to talk to others in this business, and several have told him, they don't even have work in front of them, and they usually do by now. We do! Praise God for that!! The work is there, the phone is ringing, and the job schedule is beginning to shape up. But today.....my car is on empty, and unfortunately, so is my bank account. The suburban does have gas in it, though. So, today being TAX DAY, I have running to do. I talked to mom last nite, and although she has been looking over her tax return, which has been done since middle of March, she is nervous about signing in the right place, and would prefer I come up and go over it with her. My husband did a huge job for an individual last week, who told us he has put a check in the mail, and we should be getting it today. So, I wait. My husband has been unable to pay the guys for working with him. But, they have been good to show up and do the work, knowing that if we don't do the work, we don't have a chance of collecting any funds. They are being patient. But this "being patient" is extremely hard. It is hard to wait. This too, is teaching me what is a need and what is a want. We are entering what we lovingly refer to as "Birthday Season" here at our home. It started with Kassidy's birthday, April 13th. Next comes Adam's birthday, April 24th. Then, Jessica's on May 8th, mine on May 12th, Kelly's on May 17th, and Kimberly on June 4th. Then we have a slight break, before Ethan's on July 2nd. Now, folks, that is alot of cake and ice cream. But of more concern right now, is the "expectations". We have always made a bigger deal out of their birthdays than Christmas, as far as what they receive. Christmas is not about them. Christmas is about Jesus! So, we help them understand that, by giving more on their birthdays. Now, we don't go all out, as some folks do. We do have a large family, so everything we do sets a precedent. But we tend to get them one or two things to open to celebrate the day they were born. Looking at all the gifts that are expected, the birthday lists that are beginning to show up randomly on my desk, it is getting harder and harder to stay focused. The bills that are piled up on my desk, that are over 30 days old, some over 60 days! Late fees, penalties, interest, etc. ARGH!!!!! It is downright frustrating. I am trying to stay positive for my husband and my kiddos. We have been on this farm for 13 years. This week, the loggers are down in our bottom field, cutting down my beloved woods, so that we can try and survive this famine. We have already culled the herd down, and taken 13 head of cattle to the market. We are thinning out, cutting back, doing whatever we can to put food on the table and fuel in the vehicles. And continuing to wait upon the Lord. The trials keep coming. The waiting gets harder. But, I know the Lord has a plan. HE always has a plan, and all HE wants from me is trust. I do trust you Lord. I do. Forgive me when my vision gets clouded by the problems and circumstances of my life. I am trying to put one foot in front of the other and walk this path. Just lately, it seems to be up hill, over large boulders, and it seems to be more of a climb than a walk. And yes, I am reminded of the poem someone gave me after daddy died. Part of it reads, "You don't have to be perfect all of the time. He forgives you the slip, If you continue the climb." I will continue to climb. I will stay focused. I will not let my circumstances dictate who I am. I am a Child of God, a child of THE KING!! I will make it, one day at a time, sometimes, one hour at a time.

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