Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So what does a layoff teach you?

We are just one of many families that have been drastically affected by the economy.
.... I just wrote a few sentences about my thoughts on the economy that even I didn't feel like listening to and then realized all I was writing was BlogBlahBlah...
But aside from the economy/shneshnomony, I did want to share more about our experiences and motivations since I last shared our little unfortunate news with you recently. You know, how we're one of those families somewhat drastically affected by the economy right now - that news.
My reactions that first week in mid-November when we started dealing with being out of work: I just looked around at things we own and felt like they really were just that: things. If I had to see them go, it would be ok! We would survive. And we would still have the most important things to us: ourselves, each other, our family, friends, life lessons & the Gospel of Jesus Christ (specifically the LDS faith for us). It was refreshing to look around and feel better perspective about those things. I believe I am a daughter of God and have been given this opportunity to live here on earth to learn. So the things I have while I'm here on earth are not ultimately my own. This life and the things I have in this life are not mine. I believe it is all our Heavenly Father's. That is why it makes sense to me and many of the same faith to pay a 10% tithe on our earnings. We know that money is going to a better cause and serving others and that in addition to that, we will be blessed for giving back that 10% to our Heavenly Father. This was one of the first times where when we paid the rest of our 10% tithing for the year, we didn't have any proof of future money coming in. We decided to pay that 10% tithing in full anyway, and were immediately blessed with help from loved ones, and temporary job opportunities that would be good enough for us for that time and brought great relief. And I really mean that these blessings flowed in immediately. It was a clear cut result and blessing. I believe blessings come like this when we offer our tithes (or I would imagine we are blessed for donating to other charitable sources as well) and also when we offer our time & energy through service; say you have an opportunity to serve but can't see how you have enough time to get everything else done if you do that service; I have seen and believe that you will be blessed with help to get those other things done if you choose to put service first sometimes (not saying you should put it before your family regularly, balance is needed in all things).
*Gain better perspective on things: Check.
*Strengthen belief in giving even when you don't have much to give: Check.
This experience has been good to put a realistic spin on finances too. Your financial status seems pretty realistic when a layoff hits. This just gives me more encouragement to budget well and always be realistically minded about what money we have and don't have and where the money we have needs to go.
*Strengthen desire & abilities to keep a good budget & realistic financial mind: Check.
It was actually really nice to have this happen over the holidays (I may have said differently if we had older kids who had Christmas expectations). I felt really lucky that our holiday plans already included my entire family to come to Phoenix for Thanksgiving, and that Paul's parents were nice enough to come to us for Christmas. I definitely would have had a sad time if we had had to miss out on family festivities happening in another state or something. It was actually pretty fun to figure out gifts for Taya and a couple little treats for ourselves from a small amount of money left on a couple of gift cards & really good deals combined with coupons at places like JCPenney's (2 sets of pj's free for Taya!) & DSW Shoes($8 on a new stylista hand bag). Basically, it has just been kind of fun to find creative ways to save money; after all, if I spend money that I absolutely don't have to right now, I don't have peace of mind. So it simply would not be worth it. I have also joined Coupon Sense (online program to help you save 50% or more on your groceries). I am seeing very big savings so far, and they are only going to get bigger (as I collect more weeks worth of newspaper coupons). On Monday I bought $220 worth of groceries for $70 (and that is the most I've spent in 2 1/2 months, and I was able to stock up on non-perishable goods).
*Become more creative and hard working with money saving ideas & good deals: Check.
It has been really nice to spend time with Paul & Taya at home on a regular basis. Every day. It has been a little different & makes me notice how I spend my day more when I have Paul around to notice. But it has been good. The only thing I want to really improve on is taking more time to enjoy this time together: it's very easy still for us to be almost constantly focused on finding ways to save & earn money to remedy our situation; there is a lot of work to put into that right now. But I think we have actually found a lot more time to enjoy together & with Taya just in the last few weeks; just little outings, like going to a couple of farmers markets & an antique shop this last Saturday, & going on more walks/play ground visits.
*Spend invaluable time with my HunkaHusband & ToodlingToddler while I have them home more: Check.
Receiving help from family & friends on occasion has reminded us to receive humbly. Because what are you going to do if someone is giving you a much needed offering that they genuinely want to offer & you genuinely need - turn it down? If you have not asked for it & you know you're working hard to remedy your situation in the meanwhile, I think you just have to accept it - & humbly, and then be determined to give back. To give back now in ways you can (babysit, & other ways of non-costing service), and then to give back later; to pay it forward. Receiving helps strengthen relationships too. I feel truly amazed at those friends & family who have gone out of their way to help us in job searching connections & to assist us in a couple of cases, in ways big & small. Those moments when you receive from someone just makes you want to treasure such relationships & to help them with their own needs, now or later.
*Strengthen humility in receiving & strengthen relationships: Check.
This experience also strengthens my desire to be a prepared family: prepared with back up food supply, & prepared with financial savings as well as possible. And also: mentally prepared. No one is invincible & we will all have struggles happen in our lives. It's a lot easier to encounter those struggles when we just assume they will come up, not in a pessimistic way, just in a less fearful, matter of fact way. Interestingly, I kind of had an 'ah ha' moment with this sort of thought the day before Paul was laid off. Even then I felt it as more of a peaceful warning for other possible occurrences to come later on in my life, but now I feel like it was a peaceful warning related to this small experience as well. I am grateful for that warning.
*Strengthen desire to be prepared: Check.
*Listen when you feel warned: Check.
I have felt very grateful for these challenges during this time; not to say there aren't difficult moments or tense days or destructive mommy modes, hehe. But really, I know that we can grow significantly through our trials. I just hope that if we are growing right now, that we can maintain that growth after life gets easier again.
*Be grateful for trials: Check.
I probably could share more of these thoughts I've had over the last 2 1/2 months, but I may have already bored you to tears & I might be sounding high & mighty or like I think I/we have fully achieved each of these things. After all I did say, 'Check' after each one, didn't I? Hmmm, well my 'Check' = 'Working On It'/'Glad For the Life Lesson'/'Motivated' in that area.
I don't want to forget the perspectives that being out of a job has helped us to strengthen. I am glad that we are young in this experience and can hopefully stay motivated from these perspectives as we continue to raise our family.
Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, ideas, generosity & friendship/family kinship. We are so grateful for you and for your charitable ways. We are here to help you as well in our time & energy & prayers for you. We have been lucky to stay afloat so far with a slight increase in commissions in my job & short periodic side jobs for Paul while he continues to search for/create full time employment (which he is doing a very good job of). So we are hanging in there!
Thanks for listening!!
I hope you don't mind me sharing my strong beliefs & personal experiences like this. They are important to me and bring me understanding & happiness, but I am definitely not trying to be preachy or overly dramatic. I like learning from people's experiences & so I thought I would share my own. I also think these kind of lessons are important as journal entries.


Shadow Of Me said...

I am really short of words after reading your post but have so much to say.......All I can of to say right now if days don't last long nights also never last for long......Someday someone said this to me and i think i should convey it to u today.....
It's good you are having so supportive family and frinds..........
All I can say......I will pray for your happiness and may you get all what desire........
With Warm wishes

Shadow Of Me said...
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Shadow Of Me said...
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Elise said...

You are such a postive person! I know that everything will work out for you and your family! You are in our prayers!

Shannon said...

Wow! I really enjoyed reading these tips Breanne!!!! These are some great ideas for all of us to get things in order a.s.a.p. Thanks for sharing this because hopefully we can all learn something through your experience as well. Everyone is vulnerable at this point I feel. Pink slips don't discriminate and they never come at a convenient time. You are so positive and happy. I love this quality of optimism that you possess. I imagine you and your parents had something to do with your great outlook. You're so great and we continue to pray for you and Paul.

Christy said...

LOVED the post. What an example of gratitude and humility.

Davis family said...

Your post was beautiful. I really enjoyed it. Sorry you have to go through it, but glad you have been able to learn some and teach some!

Breanne said...

I can't believe you guys made it through it! Thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate them. And we do appreciate your prayers very much.

It's nice to find the positive aspects & lessons in things like this; it seems to make it more of an experience instead of as much of a trial (a small trial - that many other people are also going through). I don't think it's sugar coating, it's just learning, what do you think? I could think about the negative effects more, but what's the point?

Larry and Karri said...

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this - I really enjoyed all of it. We've been praying for you guys for a long time so it is so wonderful to hear how Heavenly Father has blessed you so much. You're an awesome example of being hopeful and optimistic & having faith & trust in the Lord that all will work out.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Your posts are always such a wonderful combination of inspiration and humility, Breanne. This post is no exception. I love how you remind us how we can get by with so much less.

You lead by example. Thank you.


Bianca said...

This was a such a good post. I had a lump in my throat... There are so many things to take away but the most important thing is being humble. Thanks for reminding me what is truly important. Sometimes it's hard not to get caught up in the day to day things that the bigger picture gets lost.

We love you guys and hope you know that we are here if you need anything.

Suzanne said...

Those were great thoughts--I have always loved your positivity and love for the gospel--that definitely get anybody through any situation. What a great opportunity for you guys to spend time together as a family. I think about you constantly and know that everything will come together for you guys bc of your obedience to the gospel. I loved how you talked about just having THINGS when you realize the eternal things are what are the most important--if onyl the world understood that concept. Miss you - SUZ