Thursday, January 17, 2013

The New Year Brings Unforeseen Challenges

I have been writing lots this past week, but decided that instead of publishing these writings, I would condense my thoughts and share with my readers what has happened at Little House since the Great Common Thread Give-Away only a week ago.  We are still in shock, but are already busy working to repair our life and move on.

I was dreading, but eager to complete my paperwork for the year. It is one of my nemeses. I simply put my  in or out receipts in a basket and sort it all at the beginning of every year to deal with taxes. I seem to forget that this is part of what is needed to close out the old year to prepare for the new one and instead  think only about my upcoming new sewing projects.  Creating is what I live for and acts as "the carrot dangling before my nose" to motivate me through unsavory projects!

I completed what was most urgent, doing coursework and forms to obtain my New York State RN License. I am still inactive and not practicing my nursing except on myself as I continue my very long term treatment for  a chronic illness that was getting the better of me. My parents taught me that becoming a nurse would provide me with a built-in insurance plan for life and indeed they were right. Now that this is done, I figured that only my tax prep stood between me and submerging myself in my creative ventures of preparing for my Valentine's Day Sale on Etsy.

As I prepared to "hold my nose" and complete my tax prep, I got a phone call from my husband with news that quickly put all I had been dreading into perspective.  He was laid off from his job of more than twenty-two years!

Nothing could have prepared us for that day, except previous lay-offs years ago, challenges of various sorts through the years including serious illnesses and deaths of family members.  It is definitely is a huge loss, and has sent us into a whirlwind of thoughts, feelings and new demands.  We are survivors and we will get through this crisis as well!

The term "recession" is tossed about by those in the news media, but when it is your job that is ended, sending you and your family into the category of unemployed, it is not a recession but rather a depression.  Let me be clear, we are not personally depressed, but rather, like others in this state, shocked, saddened and overwhelmed and our paperwork just increased exponentially! State offices are some of the hardest to deal with, as they are notoriously take-a-number-and-wait- institutions whether or not there is a line to wait in. We are certain that the challenges we face will bring new growth that will make us stronger and more creative than we are right now!  It has been only one week on Wednesday that he was sent home half way through the day, and we are already stronger.

Our family has pulled together and we are taking it all day by day.  We are praying people and have hope that a new chapter in our life is starting and that it will catapult my husband into an exciting new job and one that doesn't require the long commute that he has had for years.  He will miss his many friends at his work, and is truly grateful for the many good experiences he has had in this job.  He is not the same person he was when he started it for sure!  He has many skills and talents now ranging from buyer to product developer, and all the dealings that go with a host of different product lines and despite the gloom and doom of the economic issues that our country faces, he still believes that this is a land of opportunity and like our cat Zeldie, he will land on his feet!

You might wonder why I write about this personal crisis on my blog?  When I first developed Little House Home Arts several years ago, I imagined writing about issues that affect our homes today. While most topics I considered blogging about involve making our homes places of comfort and traditions, dealing with the breakdowns that occur demand our creativity as well.  In fact, I have always agreed with the thought that "necessity is the mother of invention".  Unemployment is so prevalent today and being resilient is but another aspect of home-making today.  We are not alone in having to deal with this sort of upheaval, and whether it be unemployment, under-employment, stretching our finances and making do, or overcoming day-to-day challenges, like serious health or family issues, creativity is what keeps our home going through good times and bad.

I had just completed reading a special book recommended to me by a good friend who is dealing with his wife's life-threatening illness.  It is a book by L. Gonzales, entitled Surviving Survival, and deals with the very issue of what makes for healthy resilience in the face of life's traumas.  I must warn you that it is no light reading.  I could not believe the challenges and obstacles that some face! Mine pale in comparison.

This author provides lots of data obtained in studying tough individuals that overcome all odds, but something really struck my heart. He talked about how repetitive tasks like knitting and other handwork have been shown to actually neurologically heal those whose lives are damaged by trauma, documenting what I already knew.  Creating is part of healing, and there are times when I am almost "driven" to create. I am sure others that sew, knit, paint or do other such handwork will agree.  Much peace and solace is found when being in that "creative zone" and our lives are transformed in the process.  I tell people at my shows that "the fun is in the doing".  I typically sell less  of my own creations, though my patterns and kits seem to be purchased by my customers that take me seriously. When our hands are at work, our minds are elevated and our hearts healed.

So you will be hearing more from me in the weeks ahead about our recovery.  I know from experience that we will be wading in some deep waters, but we will stay busy and create in the middle of it all!! We'd appreciate you keeping us in your thoughts and prayers!

We are meeting many of you through my blog and appreciate your friendship and your business. It is truly our pleasure to get to know you better and share in your struggles as well. Sharing and helping one another is another good survival skill and good for our hearts!!  Do keep watch for the Valentine's Day sale in our ETSY shop coming up soon!

(This blog is dedicated to Cindy C. who is having a scary medical procedure done tomorrow and my high school friend Linda P. who lost her dear mother only days ago.  We are praying for both of you!)