You don’t know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from. – Cormac Mccarthy

First and foremost: For all of those who prayed for us, thanks.

Our Challenging four years began when Mike lost his job at GE. Even though I was 3 months pregnant when that happened, we had enough in savings and retirement so at the time, it was no big deal.

Then, after some research on the internet, Mike had a crazy idea. Why don’t we take a vacation without the kids to Athens Texas.

It seemed to be a place with lots of opportunities. A few good businesses were hiring, the weather seemed to be about right, and the laws seem to be aligned to our philosophy.

Mike bought a plane ticket and we headed out to check out the area. All went really well and everything seemed to work out well.

One example that comes to mind at the moment, we immediately sought out a church of Christ. Turns out that there’s more than one in Athens. The first one we looked for, we couldn’t find, so we went with the second.

As it turns out, the businesses that Mike wanted to apply to, were owned by a few of the members of that church.

It seemed that everything was falling into place.

Until we got home. We wanted to put the house on the market, but before we do that, we had to invest some of our money so we can at least get what we ow on the house. What started out as only a “few things” ended up being thousands of dollars of repairs.

That was the beginning of our problems. We couldn’t sell our house, so we asked my brother if he knew of anyone who would rent it. Keeping it heated in the winter in VT, even if it was at 45 degrees  is expensive.

And we found a renter who also wanted to buy the house. This seemed to work in our favor, so we charged $200 less than what we were paying on our mortgage, with hopes that she would use the opportunity to save her money to buy her own house. We kept the water bill in our name because it’s considered a tax in that town. If she was late, the town could put a lien on the house and we wouldn’t have been able to sell it.

Fast forward a few years. Mike had a job and then had to leave. The renter who was on time with the payments, stacked up a huge water bill. As it turns out, she had more than the legal limit on how many could live in the house as a rental.

We had to tell her that she either had to leave or buy the house.

Fortunately, she found another house to buy, so there wasn’t too much trouble. But we did have a $1400 water bill – and then Sewer bill doubled that.

At this point, we had gone through almost all of our savings, and Mike was now working random electrical jobs. He couldn’t get his electrician’s license so he was relying on a retired master electrician to give him work.

We still had a mortgage and a car and camper payment. There seemed to be no end in sight of “gee, are we going to make it this month?”

Then the Green Mountain Church of Christ had asked us to help them out this summer.

(to be continued…)