Counting your Blessings

I’m about to set my New Year’s Resolutions for 2015.  I used to pick one of those “Words of the Year”, but in 2014 I didn’t.

You see, my family was in a bit of a crisis.  In mid 2013, my husband lost his job.

As 2014 rolled in, we were in a panic.  I work full time in the comic book industry, so we had some income, but it wasn’t proving to be enough.  Little by little, our savings were depleted to zero.  We seemed to have everything go wrong at the same time.  Refrigerator broken, car needs major repairs, the one cat got very sick then the other cat did also, and all the while we cut everything that wasn’t necessary that we could.  Things like the dishwasher that broke didn’t get repaired. We cut our cable. We cut out everything.  No vacations, no dinners out, no shopping trips.  We clipped every coupon.  We ate a LOT of ramen noodles that were only 25 cents.  The debt we spent 18 years removing started to pile up.

I felt like we did when we were first married and lived paycheck to paycheck.  The luxuries I was used to were gone.  And this whole thing was a huge stress in our lives, and loomed over us constantly.  I wondered if we would ever get out of it.  We considered bankruptcy.  We considered closing our 401K. Our house, my beloved but recently purchased classic car… we would have to sell them.  I couldn’t sleep… all we did was bicker and fight.   We had no Christmas.  The tree in our living room only reminded us of years past with outrageous budgets for gifts and sat as a reminder of what we did not have this year. It felt like everything was crumbling.

help is on the way

When I’d see this in elevators, I’d think “I have to keep my spirits up. Help is on the way.”

In early 2014, I saw no end in sight.  I had to do something about it.  I thought about quilting for other people, selling artwork, anything I could to make money.  I doodle at work while on conference calls, and on this notebook in early January I drew a skull.  I knew that this was it.  My husband’s skill set is Marketing and Communications.  So I found him a job: Working for me… and with our last $300, I launched a business.shirt

We cleaned up the artwork from the drawing and turned it into a graphic. Then we sourced a company to make shirts.  Mugs. Things I would want to have myself is what we used to decide what to make with our little logo.  And in the meantime, I promoted it on every platform I could.  Word of mouth and social media were the only places we advertised.

14QM15My DVD launched, we developed a plastic template to complement it, and we got distributor orders!  I wrote articles, I wrote patterns, I made videos.  If you asked me to do it, I probably did it. And I still worked full time.

StoreImage_SmTmp11And they all took off.  They saved our home.  My car.  From us sliding into major debt. Joe and I worked together on the business.  It saved us.

I know many of you who follow me on social media probably had no idea that this was happening, and I didn’t really want to advertise how dire things were for us.

My husband found a job in November (HOORAY!), but it will take a long time to remove the debt we incurred and rebuild our savings.

20140416-215238.jpgSo, even though 2014 was one of the worst for me, it was also THE BEST.  I pushed myself further, harder, and as fast as I could to save our home, our marriage, and our sanity.  We learned A LOT, especially that things are just things, and family is best. I don’t think we’ll ever spend like we did before Joe lost his job.

Out of 19 months of adversity came my little cottage business.   And now when I go to sleep at night, I count my blessings.  If you bought something from me this year, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help. Each order is a blessing!  There’s much more to go, and I’m not stopping now!  Have a wonderful holiday and new year!