We Are Still Here

A year ago today we closed on our home. It was unreal. We never thought it was even POSSIBLE. I remember walking through it at about 7:00 that night, all big and empty, looking at the floors like…woah. We have floors.

In the year leading up to that purchase, we paid off three major debts, one of which was a surprise debt neither of us knew existed. And when I say major, I’m talking nearly $20,000 between medical, credit card, and surprise debt. We thought we were at least a year away from being able to own a home. But one day, whilst on the toilet (sorry Bear), Bear told me he didn’t want to wait to buy a home, he didn’t want a starter home either, and he wanted us to start looking now. Bear tends to be a little more impulsive than me. (That’s a nice way to say it, isn’t it?) I humored his sentiments from the other side of the bathroom door and didn’t think twice. Within 4 months, though, we were moving in. (His impulses are usually right.)

Five days after we purchased our beautiful home and moved in, Bear was let go from his job as a construction project manager due to “overhead.” He was already in the interview process for another job, so that process just sped right up and he was due to begin in two weeks. That’s only two weeks between jobs!
A week after that, Bear was informed the new position was being vetoed by the executives and he no longer had that job.
Luckily, on his way out of that disappointing meeting, he met someone else who asked to interview him. A week later he was awarded another position.
I bought steaks. It was a great relief.
We started 2016 with Bear in a new job, our family in a new house, and me desperately wanting to have a job within a school or an office somewhere so that I could contribute more financially. I wanted to know that if Bear lost his job again in the future, I could take care of us.  My writing and virtual assistant jobs just wouldn’t cut it. I applied for no less than 15 jobs, all of which deemed me “overqualified” (never include your Masters Degree on an application for a desk job) or “lacking in experience” (never get a Masters Degree and then have a child two years later). I was shocked. But Bear was working full time and while he was incredibly busy/stressed/tired, we were doing just fine.
Until that one day in May when one of his co-workers decided Bear was no longer welcome back and the next day his boss fired him. A reason was never actually given.
It was riiiiiight about then I couldn’t repeat the “It’s all happening for a reason” mantra anymore.

Bear immediately created his own business, applied for a tax identification number, and began bidding jobs as though this is what he’d been doing all along.
Two weeks later, we got married.
The day we got married was the day he received his Articles of Incorporation. He was an official business. We were officially married.
It was official.
We were on our own.

It felt like floating in space, no tether.

The summer of 2016 was one of the worst of my life in terms of anxiety. I never knew from week to week if we would have enough money to pay for groceries, to pay for things the kids wanted to do, to pay for our phones! The mortgage terrified me. We OWNED this house now. It wasn’t like we could just move to a less expensive rental or ask our landlord for an extension each month. I was in a state of panic and fear and overwhelm 100% of everyday. I got depressed, I slept as much as possible, and when I was awake I struggled to function.

Bear landed his first contract in his new business in August, exactly 2 days after he came down with the flu. He was forced to work outside in the 100 degree heat for 4 days with a fever and brain fog. But he did it.
He was soon awarded another job. He hired a guy to help him with that job (our first employee!) who promptly worked for one day, texted Bear and said he couldn’t work anymore, and then left with $600 worth of brand new tools. Never to be seen again.
Bear finished that job himself.

“Are you sure owning your own business is the right plan?” I asked.
“Positive,” he said. Impulsively.

I found extra work a little at a time. By about September, I realized that I was (in fact) paying the bills. Nothing was late! After only going through about half of our savings, I was scraping enough together to keep us functioning while Bear continued building the business. I gained a little bit of pride.
Bear continued to make contacts and land contract after contract, making enough on one job to buy himself a work truck so he didn’t have to drive his own truck (which we were afraid he was about to run into the ground before he could pay it off). He gained some pride, too.

We continued to work our butts off the last three months, Bear keeping the business afloat and me keeping our house in our name.

In between all of that, the laundry room exploded, I found out I might have breast cancer (I didn’t), and…

You guys. 2016 was hard.
Really hard.

But here we are, one year later, and we made it. What have I learned…
I’ve learned, once again, that things do have a way of working out. It doesn’t mean that you can sit back and let your faith be enough. It doesn’t mean that it will be easy or obvious or fun. I just view the last two years as a sort of spiritual clean-up. We knew what we wanted (a stable life together in a home of our own) and it took about two years between us and God to tie up all the loose ends, prepare us for the next steps, and get clear on what the future looked like. The path is now clearer, and my new ability to see that everything is temporary leads me to believe that I can handle these kinds of things differently in the future.

This morning at about 6:30am, my husband rolled over and whispered in my ear, “Happy Housiversary”. I grunted at him (because I don’t like speaking before 7:30am). But today is more than just a celebration of buying our home. It’s a triumph. We are still here.

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A celebratory shot, one year ago today.

 

If you haven’t already joined me in a daily exercise of smiles, thoughts, and life, head over to my group Mind, Body, Peas. 🙂 We do life nice there.

 

 

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