A Gift

A few weeks ago when I hit the one year mark on this blog I wasn’t sure what direction I was going to take it in. I’m still not sure. My life has turned into something I never expected. It’s been a bittersweet week, and although I can’t explain what that means as of yet, it involves a major change. This blog has evolved from an art project into a daily journal of our life as a family going through the crisis of unemployment. Things had come to a head as of late and I was really feeling the stress of all of it. Things are no better as I write this. Dan and I are still looking for jobs without much luck. Just the other day I received a call back from a woman’s apparel store and was excited that something might be changing for us, but I didn’t get the job. The woman on the phone didn’t feel that I was qualified because I had never sold clothing before. That in spite of the fact that I worked customer service in a retail environment for more than eighteen years. I’m not quite sure what it is that she thought I was incapable of. I’ve been a wife and mother for thirty years, I have two grown children, I obviously have been in quite a few clothing stores, and have folded more than my share of laundry. In my job at the grocery store I handled thousands of monetary transactions, balanced daily sales reports, verified armor truck deliveries, and much, much more, but she wasn’t interested in anything I had to offer.

I’ve been losing faith. Faith in everything. Lately even my prayers are disrupted in my head by moments of doubt. There have been glimmers of hope, but I have seen them snatched away as quickly as they broke through the darkness. What has helped us through all of this is our deep love for each other, and the love and support of our families.

 

I wrote the words above three days ago and then I stopped writing. I quit, I let the weight of all of this get the best of me. I had given up. It has been so long since something positive has happened for us that I had fallen into a depression nearly as bad as the one I had suffered when my mother died. That was Friday. Saturday Dan and I headed down to San Diego. He has a job interview tomorrow and we were doing a little research on the product. He is well aware of the depths of my struggle, he is and always has been my lifeline. As we drove along I told him how much I wished something nice would happen for us, it has been so very long. Then we got the mail. Inside was a card from a friend. Inside the card was a gift beyond words. Yes there was money, not enough to start our business, but this isn’t about the money I found in the card, it’s about the hope. When I saw what was inside and read the words, I cried. It is enough to allow me to take a breath and believe in the future. We have gotten help from our families, they have been as generous as they can be both in support and varying amounts of cash. What made this different was that it was from someone who isn’t family, someone who knew my struggle and reached out to help. This person doesn’t want credit, and could barely take my thanks, but I have to be thankful to someone who gave me back my life, my hope, my faith. All we can do is move ahead. As our benefactor said, “Don’t look back, only look forward.”

 

So here we go. The burden feels a little lighter. Onward to better things.

As for tomorrow? Please pray for Dan for tomorrow’s interview. We need it, but in the mean time…The Curious Cat Books & Bistro is in the works. A few photos to share tonight, hopefully new art for tomorrow.

Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

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For lunch? Grape Almond Chicken Salad & Macaroni Salad

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Afternoon Tea

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and a late night cheese plate to share…

Cheese platter (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything but the bread made from scratch.

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Dark Skies Ahead

I’ve been away for a few days. Not from my home, which I will unfortunately have to leave soon enough, but from this blog and its accompanying art. It turns out that this has become a bigger life line than I thought. Focusing on the writing and the art has kept my mind occupied and forced my troubles to take a back seat. I gave it up for a couple of days because they were bad days, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t create. On Saturday I spoke of a “funk”, this wasn’t a funk, but rather a full-blown depression. The end of our line is so close I can almost taste it. Dan and I have both been applying for jobs to help us through these tough times. We need something to keep us going while we work towards the business. Trouble is no one wants to hire us. If I hear one more politician speak of those who won’t help themselves I’ll scream. I want to work, Dan wants to work, but in this youth obsessed culture we are dinosaurs. By Monday of this week I couldn’t stop crying, that’s it, crying all day, unable to function with my wonderful husband comforting me and promising to take care of me, the entire time feeling the exact same sense of doom. This isn’t about “stuff”, the house, the cars, the things we own. It’s about mourning the loss of the life we were living, not nearly as well off as some, but grateful to not have as little as others. We are part of the disappearing middle class. People who do the right things, work hard, take care of our family, educate our children, and help those less fortunate with whatever we could, only to have the rug pulled out from under us with no end in sight. I am a self admitted control freak. My life is spinning out of control. I need to be on the other side of this no matter what the outcome. Its definite, our home will have to go, but where do we go? No jobs? No lease. We can’t even rent. I am scared. It is no longer about saving for retirement, the question now is how do we live at all? There are those around us that have lent a helping hand, they will never know the amount of gratitude that we feel because there are no words. I am rambling as I write because my mind is in a whirl. I just need to be settled, somewhere, somehow.  So many questions, so few answers. Dan is my rock. He keeps telling me we will be OK. He reminds me how happy we were years ago when we were young and broke and living in an apartment paycheck to paycheck. We were happy, but we also had hope, and we were young with the future ahead of us. Now we are middle-aged, on the edge of losing everything, and terrified of what the future could bring. We want to work, I cannot say it enough. We want to open our business, and we want to hire people like ourselves, people who will work hard and care about what they do. I don’t want to give up, and I know all of this sounds like I already have, but I’m trying. I struggle every day to accomplish something towards our future, our business, we just need to get it off the ground. If you’ve stayed with me though all of this, thanks for listening. Sometimes it helps to just get it out of my head. Call it therapy, group therapy if you will.

Pen and ink, pencil and a little purple marker. Those little looking glasses that are falling? I’m trying to see the future through the rain.

 

Artist cards.dark skies ahead