Thursday, October 17, 2013 ~ We are up to 12 tickets sold.

We are up to 12 out of 100 tickets having been sold so far in the first 15 days of the raffle (so the amount is presently at $1,538.52 of the $12,500.00 goal).

For those who have purchased tickets... we thank you so very much. Please spread the news (the only way the raffle works is that all 100 tickets get sold). 88 more tickets to go. I might have to check with  if the raffle can be extended to ensure the raffle is successful.

Regarding my unemployment (plus financial counseling).
We managed to pay our mortgage thanks to the help of our Church and close friends (plus the fact that my Tier 3 EUC unemployment benefits kicked in today... which was totally unexpected). We are highly concerned that there may be an overpayment as the benefit amount stated on the pay stub indicates $0.00 current benefits available (the numbers don't add up to what we received from IDES regarding our benefits ending last week). The government (it would seem... by example) makes it hard for even an accountant to follow what they generate documentation wise.

We went to the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of McHenry County to discuss our finances and discussed the possibility of bankruptcy starting in January if I am unable to find a job that will accommodate my limitations and if Social Security / VA disability doesn't come through. We don't want to go this route, but we are at the point that we have to consider all possibilities as our situation is not improving.  They agreed that proactive is better than reactive tho, so we are staying ahead of financial catastrophe by looking at all of our options which they agree is the right way to go. They indicated that we are amongst the best prepared of those who come to them for help (and that our budget is so "tight" that they can't think of much that we can do to reduce our costs any further than we have). Our bank statements also showed them our spending, and they also thought we were doing an excellent job with the limited funds we have. Incredibly, the fees associated with this service are being covered by the Veterans Assistance Commission.

We did touch on a touchy subject though. As long as our son Travis lives with us as a dependent (or a resident of the household), his income is counted along with ours regarding any benefits of any kind. We have not charged him any rent or any costs of the household..... ever. At this point, it was suggested to us to establish an amount and to have him start contributing to the household (as he would be doing so if not living with us no matter what). We haven't done so as his income is limited, and we didn't want to take advantage of him (and his limitations)... as we have always considered his needs / concerns first. The thing is, the rest of the world does consider him to be part of our household financially (so it is time we bring this reality to his attention so he isn't blindsided if something was to happen to his mother or myself). As I indicated, a very touchy subject.

Regarding my VA Healthcare treatment.
We received a visit from "Meridian Home Healthcare Services" this afternoon. Apparently, they are assessing me for the VA (for in home occupational therapy and physical therapy). According to the assessment counselor, I am the youngest he has reviewed for such services (normally people being assessed for in home services for the VA are over the age of 65). He also stated that my physical ailments must be bad for the VA to approve such therapy at my home as the VA is usually very stingy about such services due to the cost. I honestly don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing (as it makes me think my physical condition must be worse than I realized).

Regarding our home.
Our over the stove Microwave stopped working 2 days ago. Normally, this is a $200 replacement for a decent one, but we are lucky as our good friends (the Wolf's) redid their kitchen this past summer and we received their over the stove microwave for free. It is sitting in the shed at the moment. I will try to replace it later tonight (they appear to be very closely related regarding their manufacturer / model so it may be as simple as dropping the old one out and putting the new one in using the same back bracket and 2 upper bolts).

Also, our home seems to be better buttoned up regarding retaining heat (due to the new roofing plus siding including the "house wrap insulation" plus "vapor barrier" that was installed last month) as our furnace is rarely coming on since it has gotten colder this past week. We are hoping that this will help reduce our energy costs even more than when we switched to Ambit Energy last year.

God and His blessings.

Given a recent interaction with a very judgmental person who demands reading all of their communication yet dismisses what other's write ("Do what I say and not as I do"), I have the following messages:

"A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." ~ Proverbs 29:11

"And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." ~ Ephesians 4:32

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ~  Heb 13:5

"When a man walks in integrity and justice, happy are his children after him." ~ Proverbs 20:7

"If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." ~ I John 4:20

Sunday, October 13, 2013 ~ We are up to 10 tickets sold.

We are up to 10 out of 100 tickets having been sold so far in the first 10 days of the raffle (so the amount is presently at $1,282.10 of the $12,500.00 goal).

For those people who have purchased tickets, please spread the news (the only way the raffle works is that all 100 tickets get sold). 90 more tickets to go.   =)

Regarding my unemployment.

God has certainly had a powerful impact in our lives. By the grace of God, we will be able to pay our mortgage and utilities thanks to the hearts/prayers of our church family and friends. The effort to solidify our financial foundation continues, and we are so humbly grateful to those people whose hearts are HUGE and so giving.

We will be going to the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of McHenry County tomorrow to discuss the possibility of... bankruptcy (if my unemployment continues and if my disability claims remain in limbo). We don't want to go this route, but we are at the point that we have to consider all possibilities as our situation is not improving.  =(

Proactive is better than reactive tho, so we will try to stay ahead of financial catastrophe as long as we can while empowered with the best information to move forward. Given we are going into the Holidays and winter, we are trying our best to make it through to the spring "intact". One thing is for sure, medical situations combined with unemployment make for very difficult times. With God's hand in our lives, we have no doubt we will prevail.

Sunday Church at Pingree Grove.

We had a great day at Church. It is getting easier to setup the Café with Lydia and Penny (and Travis is now able to be with us on Sundays since he is no longer working on Sundays). He is looking so forward to finding something to do at the Church (he has such a giving heart). We mentioned to Pastor Tom at the Church meeting last week that we thought the Church may want to look at a LD ("Learning Disabled") program as Travis would love to interact and possibly be part of providing a comfortable atmosphere for others with Learning Disabled children and / or adults. We know of no other Church which does this as a "program", and I am positive that there are families who would love to find a home in Christ (where their loved ones will feel at home and welcome... and not thought of as "different"). It is a dream Travis, Penny and I have. =)

Pumpkin Patch

We then stopped with another family (a member of our church life group) at a local Pumpkin Patch. After enjoying free Christian music and hot cider (and a BEAUTIFUL DAY), we dropped Cindy at her car at Church and went home to the dogs. What a great day this has been.

It is so good to have people involved in our lives who are so positive and supportive. Now we are starting to understand what family actually means (and what others who have families enjoy). Most certainly, our setting up of boundaries with those who seek to put us down has had a major impact in our lives (and those boundaries will remain as long as the enemy uses them to try to get us down a dark path). Been there and done that. No  more.......