Part two of "we're out of debt" is about our indebtedness (in the good sort of way) to you, our friends.
You have been with us as we trudged through the ups and downs of the hardest part of getting out of debt (besides the paying back of it)...the waiting. It takes time.
We've gotten to know numerous people here, and we consider you friends. Throughout the past four years of this blog's life, we've learned so much and been so encouraged during some of the grayer days where we so wanted forward progress to be quicker. So...THANK YOU to all of you who have taken the time to share your insights, encouragements, and humor with us along the way...the way we're still walking (it's not over! :)). Thank you for nudging me when I got a bit morose or disheartened at the seemingly slow pace, and for reminding me of the real priorities and of so much for which to be grateful.
I had an interesting experience a couple days after we realized what was happening recently with the unexpected (miraculous!) windfall (from God!). Looking back on it, maybe I should have kept my mouth shut, but I shared with a former classmate a bit of what had happened, without realizing that it might not be something easy for her to be happy about, too...after all, we had commisserated for a couple months about job related things as we juggled bills in light of the scarcity of job openings and the specter of rising gas prices...and so on. Her husband had found a job (we'd prayed about it and saw it as a welcome answer to prayer), and we sometimes had touched base about this and that as we both eased into entirely new careers at the same time, comparing notes and such. I was stunned at her reaction to my news, momentarily. She was bitter and snide, actually. Whoa.
(She doesnt know I have a blog, nor would she be likely to read this sort...so this is not a passive agressive jab via the blogosphere, btw)
I just was surprised. But it's hard sometimes to face down personal sucker punches and be happy for others' happiness...and all this to say that I'm not here to wave this happy time glibly in anyone's face as they go through really tough times. I feel we've all along the way been very blessed AND very much in the trenches.
One of the lessons I've learned is that doing with less is not poverty, nor does there have to be a poverty mentality as long as we maintain control of whatever choices we have at the time. But, plain and simple, living more plainly and simply has taught us to appreciate a lot of things we used to take for granted AND it's taught us there are plenty of THINGS we are just fine doing without...even things others might call necessities.
We're only midway on the self-sufficiency scale compared to a lot of others out here who really are excelling at it, but then again we usually do most things slowly, easing into them. I have to say that this community we think of as the "homesteading" community (and all the diverse range that encompasses that loose term) KEEPS us motivated...that's YOU! We're not down-and-outers...we're cutting edge! You, our neighbors via the internet (all over the world!) challenge us to get really creative, look at the possibilities, use what we have in the most interesting and creative ways, compare notes on so many different levels and topics, throw out questions for those with the most experience to help us answer, and share the REAL details of home life, not just some "green dream" but rather the nitty gritty of successes, failures, and family along the way.
We're SO GRATEFUL for YOU!!!!
And we THANK YOU !!!
A special extra thanks goes to those of you who have taken the time to pray for us at any point along the way. We truly feel your prayers are what have been answered here, not just ours. Any time we can return the favor, please email us...it's one thing we so believe in. We thank God for YOU. Thank you for caring about us!
Re-reading this post, I'm really inadequately saying what is on my heart just now, but I hate to let one more day go by without at least trying. As so many people are panicking right now, or running scared and not knowing where to turn, we feel we already have a community that has roots and can help ground those around us who need somewhere and someone to turn to during hard times...we point people to local resources but also to this community...again, YOU. These connections with REAL people who become familiar to us and such a welcome bunch of friends as well as a wealth of wisdom...these connections are so important. There are answers, solutions, things to try, changes that can be made, a way to make it...and keep our choices, decision-making, and quest for the best quality life at the forefront of our efforts rather than losing heart and giving up.
A big ingredient in my not losing heart is seeing and learning from your personal blogs...and in getting to know you in ways ranging from occasional comments to knowing someone well enough to recognize a kindred spirit :)
I seldom say it enough, how important you are to me, to both Jack and myself. I'm saying it now.
We're now sharing our happiness with you, who have been with us for however long or short on our journey. Please share yours with us as well, even if we don't show up in your comments as often as we'd like. We DO care! Time's kept us away from reading your own blogs as often as we'd like (and boy, do we LIKE to!) but...dare I say it ...we simply LOVE you guys.
You are one of the biggest parts of our happiness right now. Thank you for sharing it with us. If you're someone in the fire right now, or just having a hard time seeing light at the end of the tunnel and it's hard to share anyone's happiness, I'm saying hang in there and keep doing the right thing. And email us so we can pray for you or encourage you, too. In so many ways, we're all in this thing called Life together. Thank you to everyone out here who has helped us realize this!
Much love from myself and my beloved Jack to you,