Monday, October 8, 2012

A cry for help (please see UPDATE)

An anonymous reader just left a startling comment as follows:

Patrice - Help Me!

My husband was laid off from work on Friday! I have been actively looking for employment since January with NO success. So we are literally at the end of our rope.

Thankfully I have some meager preparations (wheat, rice, beans, some meat in the freezer, etc). But it won't go far with a family of six.

I am just scared and can't think straight right now.

Can you help me figure out some ways to get through this?


C'mon, folks, put on your thinking caps. What advice can we offer to get her through this?

UPDATE: You've all been unbelievably generous in offering prayers and support to this family, so I thought you'd like to know more. This reader just sent me some additional information (certain details omitted for the sake of privacy) as follows:


I wrote the anonymous comment this morning asking you to help me. I was very surprised to see it posted on your regular blog instead of just in the comments section. I just wanted to provide a few more details that might shed more light on our situation.

I am totally blown away by the comment asking about starting a collection for us. Please ask folks to contact their local church leaders to assist people in this manner (as there are people hurting everywhere) and usually the pastor or other elders will know of quiet but desperate people within the congregation (that are not abusing others' generosity). However, I have joked that I know where a piece of cardboard is and I can spell, unlike some of the panhandlers. : )

Next, the rest of the details. My husband and I have been happily married 25 years and have 5 children (4 are still at home). We live in Texas (with family commitments that tie us here) and thankfully have a few acres and mobile home that are paid for. So if we can pay the taxes this January, we'll be fine on that account. We have timber to cut and burn for firewood (and cook on in the winter). We are very rural, so no public transit for us. We do have a small car payment, but should be able to manage. My husband is handy and can weld / build so he is offering estimates to anyone who needs anything done. We cook from scratch, can and preserve, attempt to garden (unsuccessfully), buy from Goodwill, are thrifty (Tightwad Gazette style), no TV, no credit card debt, etc. And yes, we had a small emergency fund, but my husbands' truck motor blew up and has to be overhauled so there went the emergency fund!

I know we will survive. And as believers, I know we are not to worry or fear. But I still just get scared when I know we were barely making it payday to payday as it was with a steady income.

I guess I just needed to hear your calm voice telling me a few action steps that I can take to help me help my precious family through these trying times. I think about those Depression-era photos of Pie Town, NM and the look of desperation in the eyes of the mothers in those photos. I hope someone doesn't take my picture anytime soon.

Thank you for your blog!


  1. My husband is currently looking for work, as well. Here in ND, it seems everywhere is looking for a CDL. If you have one, you've got a job! He's looking into getting one. Godspeed!

  2. Are there any food banks or churches in her area that can help for the short term?

    Patrice, would you be willing to act as a go-between if some of us who read here started a collection for them?

  3. Start depleting your emergency fund, which of course you've saved up to cover at least two months of expenses while hubby finds a new form of wage slavery?

    1. Don't be unkind to someone who is struggling. That's really low down.

  4. harvest meat; Costco, 50 pound flour/rice/sugar and hunker down until January. IF we can get permits again (new EPA), energy jobs will boom. Then you may get a second chance to prepare.

    If things don't change, a lot more of us will share your situation. Three years in a row now my winter work cancelled over withdrawn permits.

  5. Are you able to say what general area of the country she is in? Or even a more specific one? Does she have a garden or space to make one?

    Only minimum wage, but the goodwill can be a good resource for a job. They work you hard, but there are generally openings.

  6. We have been in that situation several times. First of all, take a deep breath. Second, take a look at what is in the cupboard, freezer, and pantry. There are a number of web sites that list a bare bones, feed your family as cheaply as possible with x,y,z items. Thirdly, assess what help is available, unemployment, food shelf, friends, and family.
    After the initial panic wears off and a person can "see straight" with less fear they will be amazed at what they can do with what they've got.
    Most importantly, pray for wisdom, this situation isn't a surprise to God.
    Love your blog btw, I don't get tired of the canning report. Canning mushrooms, who knew?

  7. Are there any food pantries in your area?
    What about your church family? Our church has a ministry specifically for people who need temporary help, including food, utilities, house payments, etc.

  8. Here's what I did when I was without a job for a year. I had unemployment to help a little but not enough.

    Ate a lots of beans and rice, pasta, canned foods, home made breads, oatmeal and pancakes.

    Hopefully you have rice, beans, pasta and oatmeal saved in quantity. Feeds the kids things from a can or pasta with spaghetti sauce, and sugar free kool aid. Make Popsicle like your parents did for you. Frozen cheap grapes are a great desert for kids and parents too.

    Sprout seeds and make sandwiches with your home made bread.

    When things go on sale that the kids will eat buy all you can.

    I had a rocket stove and sun oven to keep my electrical expenses down since my house is all electric.

    If you have an electric water heater turn it on only when it's bath time.

    Of course it was just me when I went thru this.


  9. It hurts our pride but going to food banks, churches, and even applying for foodstamps will help get you through. Salvation Army will help you provide for your children's Christmas if needed. Until you can find regular work their are day labor jobs for men and women. Or check temp agency. Your children can get free breakfast and lunches at school and now days none of the other students know. With holidays coming up you can apply at stores for parttime work through the holidays. Have a couple of yardsales to make a little money and clear out things you don't need. Barter with people for what you want by doing a job they don't want to do. Clean their house, bake for them, do their yardwork. etc.

  10. Agree with the take a deep breath advice. Then take stock of what you have and what you can do without. For example, do you *need* cable tv, phone, Internet or can you make do with movies, cell phone and going to the library to job hunt? You may have already made these choices since you have been making do on one paycheck.

    Get signed up for unemployment. Start looking and don't give up. Over 60% of jobs are not published, so you need to get out and talk to people (not just put in apps over the Internet). Ask folks at church and everywhere if they know about any opportunities. Think about ways that you can make money - can you sell crafts or use your talents to sell something? Can you sell excess furniture or stuff?

    Good luck, and please keep us updated.

  11. In the real short term look to a food bank or comparable religious organization.

    It doesn't say what kind of skills you have or what kind of work you are looking for but apply for everything you are even potentially qualified for including un skilled labor and fast food. It might not even pay the rent but you will eat. If jobs aren't available in your area maybe hubby (or you) can take a job someplace else and live cheaply there and commute back for weekends.

    I hope it gets better,

  12. Apply for Food Stamps and TANF and apply for the local food bank NOW. Food stamps can take 3-4 weeks to start though I'm told they have an emergency amount (I think this is TANF) they can give immediately.

    Investigate which organizations in your community offer food rations and start going weekly. Do everything you can to preserve the food stores you have by supplementing with what is available in your community.

    While applying for food stamps ask about heating assistance and other programs that may be available - don't hesitate as the heating assistance programs are starting right now and fill up quickly.

    And of course apply for unemployment.

    I know you might not want government assistance but you must do everything to protect the health and welfare of your children. With God's help, prayers and Romney's election hopefully things will get better soon.

    God Bless


  13. Look around the house and see what you can sell. A bedroom set in a spare bedroom, books, extra kitchen gadgets? Contact any creditors (if you have any) and explain the situation, many times they will work with you. Try a "day labor" place, it may not be the work you want, but at least its a paycheck. Check with churches, food banks, etc. if you need food. But as the previous poster said...PRAY.

  14. We live in a very rural area, like you, Patrice. We rely on our neighbors a lot, and they us. Things are very tight right now. We haul our own water from a neighbor 6 miles away, but our portable tank is over 12 years old and starting to leak like a sieve. We don't have the cash to buy a new tank. What to do? We made a deal with another neighbor to feed and potty their dogs twice a day while they're out of the state for 12 days. In return, they're buying us a new water tank.

    There are always friends, neighbors and relatives who can and are willing to help or barter when you need to. Call around. Don't be shy! Impress on them that you are there if they should ever need you, too. This should be a very good example of why we all need to be prepared. Don't wait until it's too late. Start preparing NOW! --Fred and Deb in AZ

  15. Check with your church. They know of people who might be able to use a little help right now - even if it's short term.

    This is a time of year when there are a lot of opportunities to find short-term employment while you search out full-time.

    Clean up yards - rake leaves, till gardens, trim trees, plant pansies, haul off junk.

    Stores are hiring Christmas help.

    Hang outside Christmas lights for those unwilling/unable to hang them.

    Help set up and decorate inside Christmas trees.

    Clean homes in preparation for holiday parties.

    Sign up with caterers to serve or work as valet for holiday parties. Get your food permit now. Get on the call list.

    Be a shopper (food or gifts) for people with money and a list, but no time.

    Food is OUTRAGEOUSLY on sale this time of year. Buy turkeys/hams and can em up. You can do a ton of things with them.

    Above all, give your church the chance to help you as we have been instructed. If we truly are Christian people, we have a heart for the hurting. We can not help if we don't know.

    Never forget that God is with you in this. Keep your eyes on Him. Praise Him for the opportunity for you and your husband/family to cling to each other and turn to Him. In all things, Rejoice!

  16. Put the word out to your friends, neighbors, church and people you meet. Don't turn down any offers of assistance, as they will likely not be offered again. The prudent homemaker website has some great ideas for how to get assistance beyond the federal programs. If people KNOW you need help, they will think of you first when there are pot-luck leftovers, when they need a spare set of hands to buck hay for a couple of days, when they need to hire someone to clean out Grandma's garage. Often time people have "odd" jobs that they don't want to hire a "pro" for because there aren't many professionals who want a 5-10 hour job.

    You don't sound like a "begger" when you tell people flat out that if they know anyone who needs an odd job done, you would be happy to work for cash/gas/food. (Can you offer to clean up after Spaghetti feeds at the community center in exchange for leftovers? Or clean up the barn for the widow up the road in exchange for the scrap metal laying around?)

    use whatever resources you can, do not be shy, and don't turn down any help!

  17. Just a few thoughts. First I would get information for your husbands unemployment benefits, get that started. If you have more than one phone, drop one of them or get a landline which is usually cheaper. I would consider if you have two vehicles, drop the insurance on one and park it and see if your agent can help you in any other deductions if possible. Shop around for car insurance and homeowners insurance. Then depending where you live, think about how you can lower your electric and heat bills. Make your own laundry soap (recipes galore on the internet), so easy and very inexpensive and hang a line up to hang out clothes outdoors or in your basement. Get to the library,find the following books: If your library doesn't have it, request that they get it from another library as an inter-loan. These are great books:
    Cookin' with Home Storage, by Peggy Layton
    The Amazing Wheat Book, by LeArta Moulton
    Live on Wheat, By John Hill
    Mix-A-Meal Cookbook, by Deanna Bean and Lorna Shute
    Cookin' with Beans and Rice.
    I don't know your backgrounds as far as employment, but I can tell you, trying to find a person to help with any farm work these days is DIFFICULT and the work isn't hard, it's just simple care of animals and being kind and careful around them. With that said, even paying far more over the minimum wage that is required, that hasn't helped either. Maybe a cheap ad in the local paper too explaining that you're looking for work or could be posted on boards in stores, libraries, etc. Running errands for people also is a possible income or helping elderly or disabled to doctor appts or making meals for them. I would check with the schools and hospitals, also consider starting your own small cleaning business,(I did that for years in our small historic town) and made a decent wage to be able to take care of my son and I, make our house payment and all the other bills, other than any big luxuries or vacations and I did it by myself and no other employees and had weekends off. Most of the people I cleaned for were professionals and I cleaned all of the historic buildings in our town as well. It worked very well and I worked it into my schedule so I could see my son off to school in the morning and be back home shortly after he got home. And I always tell people this, don't make a bid by the hour, especially if it's going to be a regular, do it by the job and make sure people know exactly what you will do or not do and you wouldn't be spending anymore than (X) amount of hours at the home and they provide the cleaning supplies that they want used in their homes or business. Keep it simple and make sure you do your paperwork for taxes and stay on top of that. Maybe car detailing at your home can bring in some income. These are just a few thoughts. You can do this, but you need to make sure that all of your family is onboard and they need to all understand it's for their benefit that their help will be important to try to get through until either you or your husband are once employed again. It can be done, but we all at one time or another in our lives have to figure out what we NEED to have and what we WANT. There's a big difference between the two. Children need to realize this early in life and they'll be so much happier in the end! Self-employment is a good thing if it's done correctly. Also, I would check with your church if you're attending one and let them know your circumstances. They may be able to help in some way. I will pray for you and pray that you'll find the strength and wisdom and calmness and that work will come your way. Sometimes things happen so God can position us to be in a place that would be better for us and a different situation. Blessings to you and your family. I'm sorry this was such a long comment, but I thought maybe it would help in some small way.

  18. Food stamps?!? Come. On! One thing this woman needs as much as food right now is her dignity!

    Unless you are absolutely starving, don't even think about it.
    What kind of work is your husband in?
    What other skills does he posses?
    What about you? You could work part time while he takes a turn looking after the kids.
    Don't sell your soul to the welfare state!

    Help them help themselves - Geez people!!! Walk the talk!

    1. I'm the other "Anonymous 4:06 P.M.", and I agree with you. There is a lot we can do OURSELVES without having to resort to food stamps. During the deep recession I described living through as a young woman with a family, it never occurred to me to seek food stamp help. Was there even a program then? If there was, most people didn't know about it or even consider it. It just wasn't an idea we entertained.

      Now, if you get to the point where you truly CANNOT feed your kids, after doing everything in your power to feed them basic foods, then by all means seek the help that is available to you. But there is usually a LOT we can sacrifice before we are forced to sacrifice our dignity.

  19. If you don't already cook from scratch or even know how, a good place to find basic, simple, low-cost recipes is your local farm extension office. I found these while looking for something else at my state's local extension websites. Example: Family Nutrition Program Milk & Eggs Basic Recipes; Cabbage & Potatoes Basic Recipes.

    I am old enough to endured the very deep recession of the late 1970's and early 80's, and we ate potato soup one day, beans & cornbread the next. Once in a while we would fry potatoes with the beans & cornbread. There was very little meat & cheese, but we could manage once in a while. Gve you kids oatmeal for breakfast and applesauce for fruit. Both of those food items are cheap.

    Save electricity by waiting to do bigger loads and stop using the dryer. Hang out to dry if you can or inside on hangers and racks. If you don't have drying racks, put broom & mop handle over two chairs and gerry rig some or hang clothes on hangers on the shower curtain rack.

    Cut utilities where you can: wear sweaters and heavy socks in the house and cut back the temp. Put more blankets on at night. Cut off cable, cut off any telephones you are not using -maybe a landline, etc. And, I hate to say it, 'cause the Internet is so doggone helpful, but maybe that will have to go, too.

    Yes, by all means think about what you can afford to get rid of and sell it on Craig's List or somewhere. have a yard sale.

    As others have indicated, take a deep breath and TRY not to panic. Sit down as a family and without scaring the little ones to death, have a discussion about how you are going to make do and cut expenses during this trying time. Let everyone give you ideas and tell how they think they can contribute, and they will be stirred to use their creativity to help the family.

    Good luck to you and most of all, God Bless you and your family.

  20. If you are in an area that has Dollar General stores, apply there. They are always looking for help at all levels.

  21. A neighbor down the street from us lost his job last year. He ended up working the overnight shift at Wal-Mart, and opening at McDonalds for six months until another job came through. It kept a roof over their heads.

    Like others have said, Food Bank, Food Stamps, and Unemployment. Talk to the school counselor about your situation. Your information will be held in the strictest confidence, but they can and do help people every single day... and they have the community connections to get you the quiet help that you need. (Free lunch and breakfast, among other things.)

  22. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)October 8, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Right now, it's a family emergency. All are going to have to pitch in until things get better. Cut the cable. Hard, but must be done. Collect what you don't need around the house and sell them. Shop flyers for the best deals on food and use coupons. Mashed or baked potatoes make every meal seem bigger. Add potato flakes and oatmeal to hamburgers and meat loaf. All that rice that you have will make some wonderful stir-fry meals. Don't buy prepared foods - it's a waste of money. Cheaper cuts of meat cooked in a crock pot come out nice and tender. Our local grocery store puts out deeply discounted vegetables. There is nothing wrong with them except maybe a bruise or two. Please do check in at your local food bank. Don't be ashamed-that's why it is there. When you are back on your feet, you can repay them with volunteer service. This will help out someone who is in the same boat you were once in. Offer to babysit a working neighbor's children. Or offer to do housework for a few hours a week. County services will also help you get over the rough spots. They have many contacts that will give you aide or help with finding someone who can.
    Now is the time to get the entire family working together. If you have little ones, let them earn a sticker for every time they turn off the lights or not let the water run. First one to collect 25 or 50 stickers gets a special treat. Make up games for ways to save on energy and food.
    You'll find lots and lots of good ideas on this blog from Patrice and her many readers. Remember, all of us here have gone through some rough spots. It isn't easy by any means, but when a family works together, you can do anything!

  23. I love the prudent homemakers web site, she feeds her family of 8 pennies, lists her recipies and tells her story! Check out the web site I linked I below, I know she has helped my family and is also very encouraging!

  24. been there done that...get your whole family involved. kids should not be over protected..they should know the facts and how they can help-from oldest to the youngest. and they should be expected to help..even if it is raking leaves or cutting grass for a neighbor..when i was twelve yrs old i earned a 25 cent piece every saturday morning by putting an elderly neighbor ladys' hair in pin curls. and i babysat for 35 cents an hour...most of my quarters were turned over to my mama because she needed every dime she could get with daddy being laid off and having to travel and stay elsewhere for another job. when school started my mama surprised me with two new she had cut down from one of her own dresses and a new one she made herself. do not be ashamed to let your friends, church, neighbors know that you and your family have some needs...if they cannot help you they will know someone who can.

  25. I have heard there is a lot of work to be had in the Midland-Andrews area due to the drilling. If things get too bad, your husband might consider spending a few months working there. I bet a welder would be in high demand. Pay is high, but a place to stay will be, also. Good luck, God bless. Patti

  26. Fear comes from satan, not from God. Our faith in God needs to be tested. What I do is get on my knees, literally, and start calling out to Jesus, first repenting, then praising. When I am done, feeling spent, then I WAIT. I don't take it back into my own hands and start worrying, I wait on Jesus to move for me in the way that I need. I find that the waiting, is the hardest part. Nothing feels as good as good solid praying through.
    Do this, then go about your day just expecting to hear from the Lord.

  27. rich people with small needs..?....holding many means of production sans many costly tax and associatives...?

  28. pardon, just got the health insurance bill that costs 4 times what i spend on food and up 35 percent...?...and property taxes from whense i come are 8 times food, and ..............cant much cut anything.....

  29. Prayers for this Mother and her family. I think most of us have had hard times in our life, you too will find your way to the other side of this tight spot you are in. Don't be ashamed to take the help that is avaliable to your family. I wish you lived closer to us we have so many odd jobs around the house that we need help with and would be so happy to pay folks like you and your hubby. I am sure there are others like us are in your area. Let your church know!!!!!

  30. I have lot my job several times in the past. The hardest was with 4 kids and a wife at home, and a mortgage. I was out of work 10 months, then was 10 months on the other side of the country from the family before I was able to move them out.

    Good took care of us every time I was without work. We never went hungry, and the mortgage always got paid. We were even able to still support the missionary couple we helped.

    I am 64 and just lost my job again. I am confident God will look after us now just like he did in the past. We will keep you and your family in our prayers.

    "We may not know what the future holds but we know who holds the future."

  31. Hey Freind, you have a tough road ahead of you...You have family and freinds on yourside..Work hard when work is available, take a handout when it is really needed..Never quit and You will come through this stronger for it. Remember to give back to those in your position when you are up on your feet again.. It can be done, I know.. You are in my thoughts. Good luck, Joe.

  32. I second what Anonymous 10/08/12 1:05p said - this is a perfect time to strengthen your faith. This is when the "Emergency Faith Fund" kicks in.

    Remeber the faith of a mustard seed can uproot trees (Thanks for the lesson, Pastor Stu!)

    Prayers for continued faithfulness and sucess in your journey!

    Steve, Southwest Ohio

  33. Shelter: You said the mobile home was not in jeopardy.

    Transportation: and car is not in jeopardy.

    Food: My kids would live on Ramen noodles if I let them, regardless of our financial situation. Cool-aid + water = happy kids. Lots of cheap meal combos out there. Try

    Lighting: candles

    Laundry: Wonderwash (check Amazon). I have two. For soap, use baking soda. Hang dry.

    Water: hopefully this isn't an issue. You MUST have water.

    Communication: temporarily suspend all but one line. Take it down to the lowest plan the cell phone company has. If you have a land line, no worries.

    Cooking: we cooked in dutch ovens. Load up the dutch in the morning, make the coals and get it cooking, done by lunch time or save for dinner.

    If any of this is helpful, contact me at for more help.

  34. SCRAP METAL!!! Be a trash picker, old stoves water heaters car part batteries we also go to the parks after a nice weekend before the cleaning crew comes in and we get all the aluminium cans and such!!!!! Look around your place and see what you have it all adds up.

  35. This situation should be a reality check for all your readers. It should be the first situation to prepare for. It could happen to any of us any day.

  36. Not sure how good food production was in your area due to the drought, but what about putting the word out that you would be happy to glean fields, gardens, and fruit and nut trees. Might provide you with items for food storage and/or sale or barter items.

  37. It seems that many have given you great advice on the essentials. I've been thinking about your children.I totally agree that it's fine for them to 'share the load' around the home and have chores. If possible, contribute some to help out by adding part of their wages earned from various jobs. However, I believe that they also need to have faith and hope that things will be okay. Not necessarily better right away- things may get awfully tight financially. But that "all will be well" with the Lord on your side. That He will continue to provide-maybe thru different means, but that He keeps His promises and they should not fear the future.
    As a mother of 6 who has experienced times of "plenty and times of need, I know how tired you can get- how emotionally draining worry is.
    Try and share the joy of thankfulness with your children-encourage them to look at the simple lovely things around them. Use your times in the kitchen to tell stories and laugh!
    Possibly, if they are old enough-they could look around your property for things to use (grapevines, pine cones,berries,ribbons, buttons, string, metal stars/ ornaments made out of your husband's welding scraps?? etc. and make Fall or Christmas wreaths to sell at a local craft fair (if that is a possibility) or just give away to friends and family, maybe those in your church who bless you with something- as a way of showing thanks.
    Give them an adventure-a project that causes them to use their imagination-something to throw smiles in the midst of the tougher moments.Help them to store fond/special memories of working together
    I know my children didn't ever have all the "stuff" their friends did but they all have said that they never felt lacking and always felt safe, no matter how tight the finances were.
    Sorry this is so long, my husband and I will join in the prayers for you and your family that you will be "blessed over and above" in ways only HE can do!
    Mary (reader from Ft Laud)

  38. On looking for a new job, may I suggest taking a look at Dan Miller's web site: and his weekly pod-casts. Great information on how to find a new job. (Dan Miller is a friend of Dave Ramsey.)

  39. Something else to keep in mind-if it comes property tax time, and you don't have it all up front, go IN PERSON and talk to them. They may let you postpone it, or spread it out, especially in rural areas(here, property taxes are paid through the Sherriff's Office).Sometimes, surprisingly human people work for the government(sometimes not- you meet Vogons often enough). Flea markets, Goodwill,ReStore, your Church-all good networking places to boot. The vast majority of people are good, and are willing to help others out. ALL of my jobs were found through such "networking"-I have never gotten a full time job through a service,ad,agency, internet or anything other than plain, old-fashioned word-of-mouth and going out and looking. When someone is trying to help themselves, those are the type I like to help.I suspect most people look at it the same way.Don't give up!

  40. Several years back I lost my job. I ended up doing day labor at a place a few blocks away. My work ethic (and my car) got me sent out every day, sometimes I was the only one sent out. My neighbor, a 56-year old widow, was laid off recently. She began babysitting. And what someone mentioned before: SCRAPPING! Your husband has a truck. If you have a scrap metal place nearby, he can scavenge. A truckload can bring in a hundred dollars. This can be combined with hauling and cleanouts.

  41. Are there farmers, even large operations, near you? You would be surprised how many of them will let you glean fields after they are done harvesting. The gleaner group I belong to was recently allowed to actually harvest a commercial orchard first. A hail storm had made the apples unfit for anything but juice, so the farmer let us come in and pick our fill. Half of what we pick goes to food banks or families in need, but even with that I ended up with 150 lbs. of apples that are now in my pantry.

    Also, is there an ag college near you? These colleges do a lot of food research, growing a crop and trying new fertilizers, etc. Would they let you pick some? I don't know, but that would be worth a phone call.

    My prayers are with your family.

  42. Just another thought on the panic that was conveyed in the first e-mail sent to Patrice from the lady whose husband was laid off last Friday:

    I checked the news online before I went to bed last night. Big mistake! I really wanted sleep, but sleep wouldn't come. Everything in our world is so troublesome at the moment. And that got me thinking about the sheer panic conveyed in the lady's initial "What do I do?"

    And yet, when she wrote back to clarify all the things working in her favor -the paid for mobile home, the property, her canning, her garden, her food stores (even though they may be small), her extended family nearby, a working car with no car payment, it took me back a bit.

    This woman and her family have much more than many facing the same crisis in America and indeed, in formerly well-off countries all around the world, and she is panic-stricken.

    I am notat all condeming her for this, but merely pointing out that many of us are more prepared (maybe especially if we live in a rural area) than those struggling in the inner cities, in suburbia, etc. STILL, we get panicked when misfortune occurs.

    It seems to me that the general mood of Americans, from talking to friends and acquaintances and in my own experience, is that there is an awful dread of something very horrible and horrifying to come. We know it is out there, and we are waiting for the other shoe to drop. It has been a most terrifying four years of waiting fr that other shoe to drop.

    Many of us have been working hard to prepare for it through food storage, gardening, canning, paying off debts, and generally getting our homes and finances in order for a coming, sure calamity. But we must also get our physical bodies and our mental attitudes in order. We need to drill ourselves in as many "what if's" as this will keep us from freaking out and remaining calm in the face of calamity. If we mentally prepare as we would for a fire drill or home invasion drill or carjacking drill, it will help us remain coolheaded when danger arrives.

    And we need faith in our God; prayer should always be our first resort, not our last.

    Just thoughts that kept me awake -concern for my fellow woman and man and child - prayers for all of us that our fears will be allayed and panic will not rule our hearts and minds.

    Blessings on you all.

  43. My suggestion is unfortunately a longer term proposition, but hopefully a helpful one. Consider not having your husband to EVER go back to work for someone else. Instead focus all of your attention on becoming self sufficient by becoming self employed. You said he had skills as a welder so consider starting that full time and if he has any other handy type skills.

    Quick story, 9 years ago I was working for a web development company and I was brought in one day and let go on the spot. No warning, no severance, nothing but being shown the door. This was about the 3rd time this had happened to me in a period of 5 years or so. I decided I was done letting someone control my economic destiny and be able to yank the financial rug out from under me with a pink slip. I started my own business within a few months of being unemployed. It was REALLY hard at first because I desperately needed income. Fortunately my wife and I carved monthly expenses to the bone and she was still working, but her income wasn't enough. I admit I got I bruised up that first year, but now I have been doing this full time for 9 years and I have done better financially every single year with the exception of 2009, which I took a slight dip. It has been the one of the best decisions I have ever made and I can tell you with solid conviction that a team of wild horses could not drag me back to working for someone else. To me this is one of the greatest freedom producing things a person can ever do.

    I wish you the best of luck.

  44. Pray for guidance and read something from the Bible every day.

    Take that deep breath and know that pride comes from doing your best.

    Do that assessment.

    I loved the idea about spreading out property taxes!!

    I loved the idea about scrap metal!

    I loved the idea about Goodwill offering jobs!

    You still have a roof over your heads and that's something. A big something.

    Just Me

  45. I live in W TX and have some work that needs done here at the house. Was going to start looking for someone, which isn't easy where due to everyone wanting to work in the oilfield and get rich! Anyway, if that's an option, I'm sure Patrice can help us figure out how to make contact.

    Ya'll are in my prayers!