The 7 Stages of Grieving the Loss of Your Job

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You know the saying, “When God closes a door, he opens a window?”

That was my husband’s opening line as he began telling me he would no longer be employed as of April 1st of this year.  There are so many things that can go through your head at a moment like this.  I would say these thoughts and emotions are similar to the stages of grief, only in fast forward.

Stage 1- Shock and Denial:

My initial reaction was to say, “Well, that was unexpected!  Why, what happened?”

Stage 2- Pain and Guilt:

My next thought and feeling was one of sadness.  I was thinking of how much my husband loved his job and how much he would miss the guys he worked with.  I wondered if there was something he could have done to prevent the lay off.  And, I began thinking of the pain that this may cause for us financially.

Stage 3- Anger and Bargaining:

This stage was brief yet profound.  I was trying to wrap my mind around why this lay off even happened.  I wanted to say, “Why would they do this to you?  After all you’ve done for that company!  How can we make them see how valuable you are?”  Even though I knew the answer to those questions, they were still rolling around in my mind.  I knew that my husband’s boss loved him and knew exactly what he was worth.  That was the main reason they had to let him go.  They couldn’t afford to pay him what he was worth.

Stage 4- Depression and Reflection:

After dwelling on the information I had just received, a wave of sadness suddenly overtook me.  I began thinking about the coming months.  A million questions flooded my mind.  What if he doesn’t find a job by April 1st?  What if we have to move?  What does God have in store for us?  Will it be a step down or a step up for him?  I just didn’t know, and that was depressing.

Moving on…

Stage 5- Turning a Corner:

I began to pray about our situation and look at it in a different light.  The Lord helped me to see the good in what had just happened.  We began trusting God for the outcome and began moving forward.

Stage 6- Reconstruction:

Once we had our thinking caps on strait, I began helping my husband update his resume and design his new portfolio.  His boss, who wants to see him get settled into a new job before April 1st, helped him make his resume stand out.  The excitement has been building as I see his portfolio come to life.  I still can’t believe what he is capable of creating when it comes to web design.  He truly has been blessed with a remarkable talent for design and development.  And, I’m not just saying that because he is my husband.  Once he has his portfolio done, you can see it by going to www.jesseleedesign.com.

Stage 7- Hope:

After seeing the beginnings of his amazing portfolio, my thoughts began to shift into positive overload.  We began to think of some possible jobs he would qualify for as a web designer/developer.  Maybe he would make more money than he had been making before.  Maybe we would be able to move into a bigger home.  We could start giving more to our church and other missions.  Maybe his new job would pay for his continued education.  There were many positive outcomes.  We had hope for the future.

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Every Penny Counts: Our 2011 Tax Return!

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Like two kids on Christmas morning, my husband and I tore open the envelope from our accountant a couple days ago.  We were so excited to see that we would be getting almost $8000 back from our federal and state tax returns!  Before signing off on the tax return, I looked over a few things.  I knew that we might qualify for the energy efficiency credit, so I looked to see if our accountant included that. 

After seeing that we didn’t get it, I called our accountant just to make sure we didn’t qualify.  After talking to a couple of people from his office, I was able to talk to him directly and get some answers.  We discussed our home improvement project and all that it entailed.  I explained that my husband had applied insulation to the outer wall of the foundation in the process of waterproofing.  While we were on the phone, he went through the guidelines for the energy efficiency credit.  It turned out that we did qualify, but we only qualified for 10% of the product value, which was only $300.  So, I was a bit disappointed that we would only be getting another $30 back.  I almost told him to just forget it and file our return, since it would mean him having to send out another copy for our approval.  After hearing the hesitation in my voice, he proceeded to insist that we include the credit.  He said, “Thirty bucks is thirty bucks, right?”

It amazes me how I sometimes lose sight of the value of every penny.  I can go to the grocery store one day and make sure I use every coupon I have on every sale item possible, and the very next day I’ll go out and get a $5 chicken bacon ranch wrap at my favorite food spot.  I’m in a constant battle with myself, trying to beat out the habit of spending money and raise up the ability to save money. 

This reminds me of a Bible verse that describes the human condition perfectly.

Romans 7:15

American Standard Version (ASV)
 15 For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practice; but what I hate, that I do.

The thing that I hate to do is spend money we do not have.  Yet, we do it almost every day.  A part of me wants to satisfy my sin nature by buying things that make me feel better in the moment.  My struggle is mainly with convenience items.  I like to buy things that will make my life a little easier.  I suppose you could say that I’m lazy and don’t like to cook.  I know that challenging myself in the area of cooking and cleaning, just keeping house in general, will make me a better wife, mother, and servant of the Lord.  It’s a daily struggle, and I’m working on it. 

Making every penny count is something that is more of an inspiring quote than a practical reality.  You can’t go through life without waisting a little bit of money.  But, I know I can go through my day being more conscious of my financial decisions. 

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Don’t Finance, Just Fix It!

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Last weekend, I left the house, along with my husband and three of my four children.  I took our newest addition, Timmy, to the hospital to see my aunt, who has since died of cancer (she was a wonderful woman and will be missed.)  I knew that leaving the house for as long as I did would give my husband free rain of the house and the many “projects” we had yet to finish.  Of course, my motive for leaving the house is never to get my husband to fix or finish house projects.  Well… I may have had that as a motive once or twice.  But, this time, that was definitely not my motive.

“The Patient”

So, what did I find when I came home that night?  I walked in the door and found the dishwasher in pieces!  At first, I thought he had just had enough.  I thought maybe it had leaked for the last time… meaning it was done for, dead, washed it’s last dish.  Well, I suppose he HAD had enough.  He had gotten sick of taking sopping wet towels down to the basement to be washed.  He got sick of stepping in a puddle when the towel just couldn’t absorb all of the water that was leaking out of our poor, dying dishwasher.  So, he decided to take matters into his own hands… literally.  Instead of throwing the dysfunctional dishwasher in a garbage dump and buying a new dishwasher on credit, he decided to perform surgery on it in order to save money.

Now, you may be thinking that he must know what he’s doing.  Right?  Well, not exactly.  My husband is pretty handy, but he has never taken a dishwasher apart before.  Regardless, he knew he had to give it a shot.  So, when I got home, I started helping him.  He told me about all of the black mold that had built up behind the panel and how disgusting it was having to clean it all out.  He poked around and made sure that every piece was taken off, washed, and put back where it belonged.  After helping him put it all back together again, we held our breath and turned the dial to the normal wash setting.  After putting a clean towel down around the dishwasher, we sat in the kitchen just waiting for the drips of failure.  But, we did not see drips!  In fact, the dishwasher went through the entire cycle without a single drop of water leaking out!  We had fixed it!

So, if you just happen to have an old leaky dishwasher, don’t lose hope!  You don’t have to finance a new dishwasher.  Just take the time to fix the old one and it will be as good as new! 

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Easy Gluten Free Stuffed Crust Pizza!

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My husband is sensitive to gluten, so I’ve been trying to make some yummy gluten free foods for him.  It’s absolutely crazy how much gluten free pizza crusts, noodles, and other pre-made stuff is at the grocery store.  Just one gluten free pizza crust can be as much as $12!  So, I’ve opted for the home-made kind.  And, according to my husband, I hit a home run with my last effort.

His favorite kind of pizza has always been stuffed crust pizza with almost any kind of topping.  So, it broke his heart when he had to go gluten free.  It has not been easy for him, but he has gone without eating stuffed crust pizza for almost two years now.  So, I thought I would surprise him the other day with a gluten free stuffed crust pizza.  It was so good that I just had to share it with you.  So, here it is.

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups white rice flour
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
  • 8 sticks of mozzarella string cheese
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes. 
  2. Sift the rice flour, potato starch, and xanthan gum together.
  3. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
  4. Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out.  
  5. Dough will be sticky.  This is normal.  Using well floured hands, roll the cheese sticks in along the edge of the pizza.  Make sure dough is formed completely over each cheese stick
  6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil and flour the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.
  7. Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
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We All Need Somebody to Lean On…

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Us!

Every once in a while, (OK, more like every day) I need my husband to set me strait.  It might be something I’ve said, or maybe it’s my attitude.  Whatever it is, I know that he will be there to “lean on” me a little bit.  Of course, he does this in a loving way.  Even if it seems harsh at the time, I know that he is doing it for my own good.  That, and he doesn’t want our kids to pick up on any of our bad habits. 

Being open and honest with each other is what makes a marriage strong.  So, we’ve taken that same truth and applied it to our financial struggles.  We “lean on” each other a lot when it comes to our finances.  Using Mint.com, we’re able to see when one of us goes over budget.  We will each get an e-mail warning us that we’ve spent too much in a particular category.  So, just knowing that my husband will see how much I’ve spent on groceries, keeps me from buying that extra box of cereal or that extra 1/2 gallon of ice cream.  And, he knows that he can’t just go out and buy the latest iPad or PS3 game without me noticing our shopping budget has been busted. 

However you slice it or dice it, we all need somebody to lean on us every once in a while.  Or, maybe even every day.

Lean On Me
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