Sunday, March 29, 2009

So Blessed.

I've been wanting to write this post for a couple of weeks now, but just never came across the perfect opportunity to get serious. We've been having too much fun lately for serious posts!

BUT...I do need to write about the numerous ways we have been blessed lately, during Will's unemployment...

But to make it fun, I'm interjecting pictures of Preston in here because I know the grandparents will be wondering why I didn't put Preston pics in.

I hope you don't mind the mamarazzi in me...

As many of you know, Will lost his job towards the end of November. He had been working in the Finance department at John Buchan Homes as an estimator for almost 4 years. It was his first job right out of Grad School, and what a great job it was. In the end, he was literally the last to go, as they only kept one estimator after laying him off and she had been with the company for about 10 years.

Just before the lay-off happened, we had witnessed many other employees getting laid off. In fact, JFB Homes went from an office staff of 125 employees in 2007, down to about 25 employees by the end of 2008. It was a rather sad and hard time.
Here's another Preston pic. :) He loves the vacuum, in case you couldn't tell.

We really did plan ahead for a situation like this in case it ever did arise. We had been putting money away into a savings account that equated to about 4 months of survival (including all the regular budget items such as rent, bills, insurance, gas, food, etc,...even our own personal "fun" allowances were included).

Will put this savings account into some investment accounts, which helped make our little "emergency fund" slightly larger. Well, that is before the stock market crash happened. Then I think we went from a 5 month savings down to a 3 month savings. LOL. But anyway...

We'd also been stocking up on food storage - thanks to Will. He's been very adamant about that for a long time.

Time for another Preston pic.

But even with all of our preparations, we have been blessed in ways that we couldn't have foreseen. God has surely sent earthly angels into our lives to lighten our burden during this time. These were all things that came as complete surprises to us and were such blessings in disguise.

  • Right after Christmas, our bishop handed us an envelope. He said that the ward had some extra "items" that were donated by ward members during tithing settlement. We were curious but had no idea what was inside. When we opened it later, we found 3 giftcards to Fred Meyer - one for $100, and 2 for $50 each. We actually used it to go towards buying Will a new suit because the one he had been wearing (since his mission) was wearing out, and he would be needing a new one for job interviews.

  • My visiting teachers from church on many different occassions would bring dinner by, sometimes unexpectedly. They claimed that they just happened to have "extra" and thought it would be a nice break for us.

  • We also received several dinner invitations from friends.

  • The Relief Society President called in February and said she was worried about us (and others) in our ward who had lost their jobs and wanted to know if the Relief Society could provide dinner for us once a week for a month. I told her it wasn't necessary but she insisted, so I accepted. What a blessing it was....every single time that a meal was delivered it happened to fall on a day where it was sorely needed.

  • The owner of our piano called me last month (we lease our grand piano from a private owner). I was afraid that she was going to ask where our payment was - which we normally pay for 6 months in advance all at once. But we kept forgetting to get the payment in the mail for the Jan - June payment. I had the check all ready to go, just kept forgetting to stick it in the mail. To my great surprise, she called and said she had just been thinking about us and that she wanted to decrease our payments. I said "What?" I heard the word "decrease" but thought for sure she must have said "increase". But no she said decrease. She said she knew how bad the economy was right now and figured she didn't need the money anyway and so she decreased the monthly lease payments by half, and also told us to not worry about paying until June.

  • In January, my piano student enrollment went up by 5 students making my total count 11 piano students and 1 violin student. While we keep my music income seperate from our family income, this has been a blessing to help me complete my album sooner...which in turn will bring in additional future income and well, also just help me get it done faster so I can go back to being a fulltime wife and mom. :)

  • We have been fortunate enough to have good health. While Preston and I have health insurance, Will does not right now and he is the one doing all of the crazy races and adventures. We are lucky that he hasn't needed health insurance. :)

  • We have had friends donate items that have saves us from having to purchase them ourselves - such as toys for Preston, additional food storage items, etc.

  • We have been able to qualify for WIC, which if you are not familiar with it, it is a government program for mothers and children where they may either be unemployed or under a certain income requirement. Through this program we have been able to save about $200 a month on grocery items such as milk, cheese, tuna, baby cereal, and juice.

  • This might be kind of selfish, but I personally am grateful that I have had the opportunity to work on my music for this album. I can honestly say that it would have taken me twice as long to complete had I not had Will here to help me with Preston during the day. I am also grateful that the two of them have had this time together.

One more thing, you have noticed that I mentioned earlier in my post that we had put away 3 months of savings, and here we are 5 months later after the layoff. It is definitely due to several things - for one my husband somehow grows money magically on trees. Okay I'm kidding, but he is pretty amazing with a budget and somehow we seem to always get by. Thanks to also paying tithing faithfully, the Lord gives back ALWAYS. And most of all, the help we have received from friends and family through the things I have mentioned here have helped us to continue to make it through.

There are many many more things that I could list, but I'll stop here. THANK YOU to those angels who have helped us. You know who you are.

I think it is a great act to serve someone, but it is harder to accept service from others. So many times lately I have wanted to be able to donate money or food, but I am reminded that at this time our family is on the recipient end of things. I hope that someday when our situation is reversed that we will be able to help other people in need with our abundance.

And now...for more Preston pictures. :)



Melissa said...

Jenni, What a wonderful post! It is amazing to see how the Lord takes care of all of us in the ways we need it! Mark's hours have been decreased and we find ourselves in a similar situation, but we keeping saying we have what we need and we are happy! Both have never been truer! Thanks for being courageous and sharing your blog. I have recently begun my journal again, but can't find it in me to invite the rest of the world in. As an avid blog-lurker, I'm grateful for people like you who do! Tell Will hello and give Preston a smooch for me. Two other random thoughts: I think Preston looks so much like your mother in law. My oldest daughter has beautiful strawberry blond hair with lots of curl, whenever people comment on it I tell then about this friend I have (you) and how gorgeous her hair is and that I hope my girls is like yours when she grows up!

Joan said...

Dear Jenni,
I have worried about you and hoped that you and Will and Preston were doing okay as the weeks roll by. When you haven't mentioned it, I assumed the situation was too frightening to discuss. But blessings do come, and I so appreciate your writing about the blessings you receive. You will continue to be in our prayers.

Chelle said...

Thanks for posting such a positive and hope-filled story during a scary time when you don't hear many of them. I know that these lean times help us return to what's important - the simple things.

It's amazing how the gospel and our leaders prepare us, both spiritually and temporally, for circumstances such as these.
I often wonder how people, who don't have the gospel as their foundation, survive these type of hardships.

Oh, and food storage rocks... good for you guys.

MarieC said...

Loved your statement: "Thanks to also paying tithing faithfully, the Lord gives back ALWAYS." That is SO TRUE! We experienced that for 2 years (Dec. 01-Nov. 03) when Rob was between full-time jobs. As long as we are doing all we can do, He will fill in the rest through his angels here on earth. It makes this period of my own unemployment that much less scary because I know the Lord will provide again.

Hope Will's job search heats up soon. I have heard that in general, you can expect a job search to last 1 month for each $10,000 in income you are hoping to earn.

Seth Thomas said...

GOOD LUCK, AND MANY BLESSINGS FOR YOU GUYS. I also love how Preston has become the Narrator of your's and Will's lives. Him in those photos made it seem like he was showing us everything that was going on.

NelsonFam said...

Oh i am so glad things are working out for you guys. Preston is such a stud - he looks so happy.

Also, I have finished my testing and have concluded that:
1. Graham Crackers last the longest but tend to be messy.
2. Teddy Grahams are great for developing the pincer grasp and are less messy.
3. but goldfish top the chart - not a stain on a onsie from a goldfish. However they are also the most expensive...

Kate said...

You guys are always in our prayers- this was such a great post. It's so important to be grateful. And Preston has to be one of THE CUTEST babies ever. He is darling!!

The Thomas Family said...

Okay, first off Preston could not be any cuter. What a doll!!!

You and Will are so great! Loved the post!

BTW, what size clothing is Preston wearing now a days?

Carolyne said...

So nice to have discovered your blog!

Isn't wonderful how the Lord provides for us?

And, your baby is so adorable. He's just as cute as my daughter! (That's a huge compliment, btw. ) ;)

Tessha Thomas said...

Thanks for sharing. What marvelous miracles and blessings!