Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Strike Part 3: God Will Provide

Money...ugh. I love and hate this part of this of the story. We barely made enough money to cover our bills with Kevin working full time. So I knew this would be a place where God would really be able to come through for us.

Now God had put a couple of things in place before this all started, that would really help us out. Toby's last preschool tuition payment was in June. And my car was also paid off in June. So when the strike started in July, our bills were $350 less than in June.

God has also provided other ways for us to make money since the strike started. Kevin and I were able to work for my dad at a weekend event. Saturday and Sunday were both 12 hour days, so that was plenty of hours to get paid for. Also, my brother and sister in law own a Vintage shop and were going on vacation for the week. They allowed me to work in their shop and payed me for that. So those, along with his $216 a week paycheck from the union have been a such a help.

This Strike has also allowed Kevin to do something he loves to make some extra money. He put it out there, on instagram, that he would be bbq-ing six tri-tips and that people could pay for him to cook them. Well, the first time, that 6 tri-tips turned into 13! 13 people wanted him to make tri-tips for them. Amazing. And so he decided to do it 2 weeks later, and said he would make 10, well 20 people wanted them. It has been so cool to see him be able to do something he loves and make some money doing it. He is so good at it, and I wish he could do something with food for a living. But the food business is neither guaranteed, nor very family friendly. But this opportunity has been really good to get his name, and reputation for being an amazing bbq-er out there. I really hope he can continue to do stuff like this.

Food...this was another area where I knew God need to come through for us. I spend $400 a month on groceries. And I knew that this was one of the only "bills" where we could cut back on. The first week, a handful of wives from Kevin's work, went down to the ebt office to apply for ebt. They got it no problem. So the 2nd week, I went in and applied myself. Well, we got denied. They said that we made way too much money, BEFORE the strike. (Like that matters at all, if we were getting paid that, we wouldn't be here right now!!) But as we walked out, I cried. Not because we didn't get it when a ton of other people from him work did, but because I knew God would provide another way. Maybe the people that got the ebt from Kevin's work needed it more. I don't know. I didn't know why that was a yes for them, and a no for us. But I felt God moving in that moment. So I chose to trust Him in this. Give this situation to Him and just prayed for Him to provide in another way. And He Has!!! We have not paid for a single weeks groceries the entire strike. SO MANY friends have given us gift cards for grocery stores. And some even brought us bags of groceries. SUCH a blessing this has been. That God has used our friends and family to provide for us in this area. We have even gotten two $100 gift cards. (!!) And one of those $100 gift cards, along with another gift card from Staters were slipped in our mailbox from "friends" No names, just complete anonymous blessings. (WOW right!?!)

And remember when I said "Its not like God is just going to hand us money"?? Well a couple of friends have even written us checks. Just "Handed" us money. And gift cards too. So blown away by the generosity of our family and friends. And NONE of those people are in a position to be handing out money. All of them are in the same tight budget we are in now, and that is what makes it even more amazing. Also, business for me , with Ankle Biters, has really picked up. And people are not just buying things, but tipping me generously for it. Again, just "handing" me extra money. Blows my mind every time. HE WILL PROVIDE. So Thankful...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Strike: Unexpected Blessings

Let me start by saying that I do not believe in coincidences. When something happens to "just work out" I take it as a blessing straight from God. And I fully believe that it you are looking for ways that God is working in your life, He will SURELY show them to you. I think He likes showing off ;o)

When the strike started, I knew God would take care of us...I didn't know how...but I had complete faith that He would. I was still extremely scared about what was to come. I knew that this process would not be easy and that it was going to hurt a lot. But I also knew this would be a time of really learning to lean on God. And most definitely a time for Him to show me how big He really is. Well He was up to the task...let me tell you. When I said to my mom that first week "Its not like Hes just going to hand us money" I feel like God was like "Oh's on now, I'll show her" Because, man, has He showed me!!

The first day...yes, the first day of the strike, I woke up feeling very sad and very emotional. I went to refill the the toliet paper roll only to realize we were out. Now on a normal day I would have been annoyed. But today I was sad. Sad that this type of small normal purchase was now going to be big. Sad that all the little things that were going to start running out, would cost money that we were no longer making. After my pitty party ended, I packed the kids up to go to target to get some tp and a few other necessities that we had run out of. I ran into a friend of mine, who asked me how I was doing. I told her about the strike, and how I had cried over tp, and how I knew God would take care of us, but that it was still hard. Said goodbye, went on my way. Well as we were about to head to check out, she shows up in the isle I was in with a gift card. Tears completely filled my eyes as I thanked her. What an amazing gesture right?!? So I dry my tears, once again, and head to the checkout. The cashier rings me up, $30.21. I give her the gift card I had just received, she swipes it. "Ok, you owe .21 cents. I lost it again (and you are crying right now too right?!?) 21 cents??? The gift card was for $30 (which is a bit of a strange denomination right?), my purchase was $30.21. It was not a strange denomination. It was God's denomination. It was just strange enough not to be able to rationalize it any other way. It was God thing...and the first of many. So thank you friend, for allowing God to use you to bless me more than I could ever say.

The rest of the week was filled with more God things. Like the next day after Target, I realized I was out of dark laundry detergent. Stared crying again (sorry...I cried a lot that first few weeks so bear with me) because 1. I had JUST been to target, and 2. More $$. So I went back inside and started with my house work. After I was done picking up the house I got a wild hair to organize the garage. There was a pile of towels that I hadnt folded that were sitting on the dryer. Well guess what was under the pile. Yep...a brand new bottle of dark detergent that I had bought whenever and had completely forgotten about. (Thanks God) Later that week, the same thing happened with my eye liner. Ran out, was bummed, a few days later I was putting on my make-up and Olivia wanted to put on some lip gloss. I couldn't find it so I picked up the little container I keep my eye shadow in...and guess what was underneath it...yep...a brand new thing of eyeliner I had bought whenever and forgot about. (this time all I could do is laugh...He is SO good...and now He's definitely showing off)

I have been selling our old baby/kid stuff on this facebook group for a couple of months now. I have been able to make a lot of money doing this and it has really helped us out. I had sold a lot, but there was also a lot of stuff that I had posted that hadn't sold. Including a camera for $50. I kept thinking man, why hasn't anyone bought this. I decided to repost that and a lot of other stuff the first week of the stike to try and make a little extra money. So I did, and it sold. Almost ALL of it. Including the camera. Things that had been posted numerous times with no bites, sold immediately. All in his timing right?! And when I met up with one of the other moms, we were talking about our house loan modifications. She had mentioned how her house insurance was included in her payment, which got me thinking that ours was too and that I remember paying it last month to AAA. So I called them, they said "yep, you have a $260 balance in your account. I can send that check out today" wow...and AMEN!

These are few out of the many...I cant wait to share the rest with you!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Strike

Whew...what a month it has been. Kevin has just finished his 4th week of striking against Budweiser/In-Bev. Just to break it down, the short story is, In-Bev is trying to put the drivers on an $150 a day salary. (Plus a little commission) They are refusing to pay them overtime, but are also refusing to cap them at 40 hours a week then. Which basically means that they will be working them longer hours (they are planning to let go all 30 temporary drivers and spred their load with the rest of the drivers) and not pay them for the overtime worked. This company is NOT struggling in this economy. In fact, the first week the Riverside branch was on strike, In-Bev bought Corona/Modelo for 26 BILLION dollars CASH. They are greedy investors, and do not care one bit about the beer or the employees. The first week they were on strike, they took away medical benefits, and froze the employees 401k accounts so that they would not be able to take out loans from their accounts. Its this kind of below-the-belt attacks that are really showing the companies true colors. They have only given that one offer the entire 4 weeks of the strike and refuse to negotiate with the union at all. This contract that they are proposing is completely illegal.

Now with all that being said, this is a very hard time for our family. We were barely making ends meet when Kevin was getting a full pay check, so there was no money to save for this kind of thing. He gets paid $216 a week from the union for picketing 40+ hours a week. Talk about a scary situation. And what scares me even more than the lack of money is the no health benefits. With Toby being the most accident prone child on the planet, paired with his asthma...we have never gone over 2 months without having to go to the doctors.

The first week was the hardest. I cried...a lot. I was scared, mad, frustrated, sad, and anxious all at the same time. I had a talk with my mom trying to process it all. I was telling her that I know God would take care of us (He ALWAYS does and has been SO faithful to take care of my family's needs) but that I still was having a hard time finding peace because this really didn't feel like a "God situation". It was more of a corporate greed situation. God has given me a supernatural sense of peace in my life. Always. So this felt strange and foreign to not feel that peace. I felt anxious and stressed about the every aspect of the situation. I didn't really know how to handle it. I was stressed about how we would be able to pay our bills, eat, deal with the stress and each other etc. I remember my words exactly when I said "I know He will provide for our needs, but it's not like He's just going to hand us money". I have ate those words over and over by the way. I have had, and continue to have people hand me money on a weekly basis...and I think back to this sentence and smile, knowing that God is looking down at me and having a good little chuckle. What I am realizing more and more is that EVERY situation is a "God-situation" if you are a child of God. And that He can and will use every situation for His glory. I can't wait to tell you the ways he has come through for us. I have goose bumps just thinking about it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mommy and Me Dinner

On Friday night, Toby and I had a date. His preschool puts on a Mommy and me Dinner. I went last year with Olivia, and couldn't wait to go this year with Toby. It is so cute. Everyone dresses up and comes for dinner and a show, and ends with a handmade present for mom. (the best kind!!) The kids put on the show. They sang. And they sang so beautifully. They sang "I wish I were a butterfly", "Deep and Wide", "I just thank you Father for making me, me", and "Jesus Loves me". (Complete with hand motions) Gets me EVERY TIME. I cry every time I hear little kids sing of God's love. Their sweet innocent voices must bring God to tears as well. Of course I could hear Toby over the sea of voices, and I wouldn't have it any other way. We ate dinner, and I got my present. A beautiful necklace. He was so proud. He made one for himself too so we could be "best friends". LOVE my best friend! Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Battle for Toby's Soul

In this house, we try to keep things pretty G Rated. I have a pretty sensitive soul...and I seem to have passed this trait onto my children. So we don't watch scary movies, we dont watch anything that has anything remotely scary or intense. Its just too much for our tender hearts to handle. So when my sweet little Toby started having horrible nightmares, it started to really worry me. There was nothing in his life, that he has been exposed to, to be terrified of. At first we thought they were night-tares. But after reading up on them, the symptoms just didn't match up. For starters, he would wake up, terrified, and tell me what was going on in his dream. But just couldn't snap back into the reality that he was awake. I read everywhere that when in the middle of a night-tare, the child will seem awake but be completely unresponsive. That was not the case here. Also, children will not likely remember night-tares in the morning, but Toby would remember every single part of it. He would wake up screaming for me. I would go in and he would proceed to tell me what was going on in his dream, or what was scaring him. Every 5-10 seconds, he would look somewhere in the room, get the most horrified look on his face (I mean...the super creepiest...he just saw an ax murderer kind of face...completely petrified) and just start crying hysterically. So the first couple of times, we got him up and tried to just snap him out of it. But that didn't work. So the next couple of times I just turned on his radio to AIR 1, and just prayed for him till he fell back asleep. Now this would put him back to sleep, but the next night or so, it would happen again. So I started to talk to people about it. His Chiropractor was one of them. He is a Christian and was asking if we thought it was spiritual. I did, I always think that stuff is spiritual. I mean come on, we have an enemy, that is constantly trying to stir up trouble in our lives. So I told him I pray for him when it happens, and that he will go back to sleep. But that the nightmares come back in a couple of days. So he mentioned something about unconfessed sin. I hadnt really thought about it much. But boy did I now. I did not want to think of my isuues affecting my kids. (which by the way...they always do...just not always in the same way) So I really spent some time praying and reflecting. All the while really praying for Toby too and that these nightmares would stop. So of course they got worst. A couple of the dreams he told me made me know for SURE that the enemy was behind them. He had one of them at nap time. He told me that there was a snake with three heads, and it was wrapping him up and wouldn't let him go. Another one, was that he was outside and there were people across the street. He said that he asked me to go over there, but I said no. He said "I made a bad choice and went across the street" (obviously knowing his disobeyed me) and he said that because he made a bad choice, the people turned into monsters and got him. I am sitting here shaking while I type. The symbolism in these dreams are just so spiritual in nature...there was no denying it. Well God revealed to me what my unconfessed sin was, and it wasn't some horrible deep dark secret, it was just some issues with Kevin that I had buried. No big deal really. But Kevin and I talked about them, asked and prayed for forgiveness. We also prayed for and over Toby. And especially over his room and soul. The next morning I was talking to Toby about how we prayed for him and how he doesn't have to be afraid of his dreams because Jesus is with him. I asked him if he knew that he could ask Jesus into his heart. I asked him if he knew that Jesus died on the cross for us. For him. For our sins. He died, so that we don't have to when we make mistakes or bad choices. He said he knew. So I asked him if he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart. And of course I got an enthusiastic "YEAH!!" So we prayed together and asked Jesus into his little heart. It was beautiful. Every night, after our bed times prayers, I prompt him to "say it". He then screams out "I am not afraid...because Jesus is in my heart" He declares it, and I say "AMEN!!" So now for the most amazing news...THE NIGHTMARES HAVE COMPLETELY STOPPED. Since he has asked Jesus into his heart, he has not had one single bad dream. I can't even tell you the relief that this brings to my heart. These dreams were in fact spiritual. There was a battle going on for his soul and guess what...God won...God ALWAYS wins. SO while these nightmares were horrible while they lasted, I am so thankful they happened. They forced me to look at my own heart and really fight for my sons. And all this resulted in (at least) one more soul in the kingdom of heaven. This kid will do great things for God...I just know it Photobucket

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Easter...its my Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas…Happy New Year…Happy Valentines Day, and Happy Easter. Sheesh…I guess better late than never this year huh? 2011 was an amazing year. Between our loan modification and new lower house payment, the kids being older and pretty self-sufficient, and both kids being in school at least 3 days a week, the stress level at the Fisher house has gone way down. THANK THE LORD! Its only by the grace of God we have survived the last couple of years in tact. This year we finally feel like we could catch our breaths and enjoy life. And boy did we! The highlight of our year was being able to take our first real family vacation. We went to the Grand Canyon for 3 days. The kids were perfect and we enjoyed a train ride to the Grand Canyon, lots of quality time, and the Polar Express! It was so much fun. Kevin never changes much, which is fine with me because I love the way he is! He is still enjoying bbq-ing, food trucks, and long talks with my dad about both those things. Still working for Budweiser, and has been enjoying his Redlands route very much. The kids love to go meet him and see his “mack” big rig. He got into an accident and totaled his beloved Subaru. It was hard to let go of his fast car, but he ended up getting a truck, which he enjoys very much. He loves to take us up in the hills to go off-roading (or hot roading and the kids call it) I don’t enjoy it, but do enjoy the quality time with the family that it brings. So I am warming up to it! He and Toby also enjoy Nerf gun wars together. Boys will be boys huh? This year for me has been a year of thankfulness. I am SO thankful for my business, (which is continually growing and allows me to stay home with my kids) my health, (ran my first half marathon in April…13.1 miles!!! And have kept my 25lb weight loss off) my walk with God (He is SO good, and continually amazes me with his personal and intimate touch in every aspect of my life) and my family (LOVE MY FAMILY!!) With the kids being older needing less constant attention, I have rediscovered my best friend. I am very much enjoying being able just to hang out and talk to Kevin again. Life is just finally feeling right…I am finally getting the hang of balancing everything. Olivia is now 5 and in Kindergarten!! Oh my goodness how time flies. She has an amazing teacher, who is very serious about Kindergarten, so she is learning so much. In just 4 short months, she went from barely knowing her letters, to reading 20 page books. It is so cool to watch. She also got her first award in school, for personal accountability. Way to make mama proud!! She is still obsessed with animals, stuffed and real. She has such a tender heart for them. She really wishes Toby and I were not allergic. So she will have to stick to taking care of her 100+ stuffed collection. (Its ridiculous) Speaking of her heart, it’s the best thing about her. She is so in touch with how she feels and others around her. Worship songs make her tear up, and the sunset makes her “heart beat so fast”. I see the Holy Spirit wooing her already and it makes my soul so happy. She is SO beautiful inside and out…and I could not be any prouder of the girl she is becoming. Toby continues to be the life of the party…and our family. His happiness and laughter are contagious. I just wish his energy was! The boy is non-stop. Non-stop talking (we can understand almost all of his 100mph talking now), eating, (as much if not more than me) moving (He has to run everywhere), and growing (grew almost 3 inches and 3 shoe sizes this year!) He is so fun to be around and makes every situation or destination better. He has a great sense of humor and loves to play jokes and harass people (Just like his dad and Papa). He is now 4 and in preschool 3 days a week. He loves it. Wants to go everyday and talks about his friends at school all the time. He is so smart too. When I was teaching Liv her letters and numbers this summer, Toby would yell out the ones she didn’t know. Just watching me do the flash cards with her, he picked them all up. Its crazy how fast he learns. I am really enjoying our days alone together while Olivia is at school. On our “date days” we go do something just the two of us. He tells me a million times that I am his best friend and he loves me. I make him promise he will feel that way even when he’s 15. He says he will. Happy New Year!! Hope it has started off and will finish with love and thankfulness. Love, Kevin, Lauren, Olivia, and Toby Fisher Photobucket