Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Where do we go from here?


This is something I've been thinking about for a while, but I haven't been quite sure how to go about discussing it. Frequent visitors to my blog know my deep love for my sponsor kids, and my recent (within the last year) passion for travel. I took a huge leap of faith registering for the Tanzania trip last fall, and took that amazing trip in the spring. Since that time, it's semi-accurate to say that I've been bitten by the travel bug. In a sense, I want to go everywhere and see everything. But unlike traditional wanderlust, it's really not about me or my desires to see the world. I've had a longing to travel and love on God's people and do whatever I can to help since I was a kid- but for a long time I thought that it was not a possibility for me because of my anxiety. Then I was able to overcome that, and it's unlocked something inside me. I am itching to go on my next mission trip. I can't really put into words the depth of longing in my heart to go and see and hug and pray and love.

So I started planning my next trip. There were a few financial things that I had to get in place before I could register or take a definitive step forward, and I started working on that. I had a fundraiser with the Haitian ornaments that was moderately successful. I started learning to crochet, so I could make things to sell to fund my trip. Around this time, I decided that I would try to go to Haiti. It is a place very near and dear to my heart, and Compassion has two trips there next year- one in the spring, and one in November, so if I couldn't rally the funds for the first trip, I would make the second. I found myself being frustrated with how the fundraising was going, though. It just wasn't as successful as I had hoped.

And now, life has happened. I've been thinking a lot lately about my future, because of my recent diagnosis with EDS. And to be honest, I do a lot of worrying, too. There are a lot of unknowns with this disease. I don't know if I'm going to stay the way I am now, or if my physical condition will deteriorate. I don't know if I will be able to work until retirement age. I don't know if my husband and I are going to be able to raise children in the home we bought three years ago, because the bedrooms are upstairs, and sometimes I just can't make it up there. This weekend, after suffering with intense pain in one hip (or SI joint) for two months, I "slipped" the other one standing in line for a Halloween event. I don't know  where my life is headed, but not being able to see very far ahead is frustrating and at times downright scary.

Because of my health issues, I have put my search for a new job on hold for the time being. If a different position became available at another library branch, I'd definitely try to go for that, but I am putting the "career search" on hold for now. At my current job, I have union protections and other helpful things in place to protect me if I start having more frequent challenges with my health. And my job isn't as physically strenuous as some of the other things I had been looking into, like working at a preschool or with the elderly. I'm having trouble with this concept- the waiting to see what happens- not only because of the frustrations I have with my current job, but also because of our financial situation. Seeking better compensation and more hours was and is a huge part of why I was job hunting in the first place. Now that's on hold, and I keep bringing in more debt. Doctor's visits, medications, treatments....what's down the line? Time off work? Mobility aids? I don't know. Brandon has been working incredibly hard lately- 55 hours a week and up- which has been helping us buy a few groceries and feel a little more at peace when bills arrive and unexpected expenses pop up, but this situation is temporary and we don't know how much longer it's going to last.

So I've been looking at ways to save money, to help us out. There is no cable bill to drop. No fast food to cut back on. It's hard to find places to cut back on when things already feel so tight. I know that sometimes people have to cut back on their sponsorships when they run into financial challenges. That's  not really an option for me. My sponsor kids are my life. They are my purpose. I would give up my prescriptions and spend all my days puking and being miserable before I did that. So I think I have come up with a plan.

I know of many sponsors who sell crafts online to raise money for Compassion and help support their sponsorships. I've seen some really beautiful stuff on Etsy and other places, and I think it's great that folks are using their artistic talents to help kids! And I'm going to try to get in on that.

My "fundraisers" tab on the top of my blog will be redesigned soon. I hate Etsy, so I'm just going to sell my crafts here. All proceeds of whatever I sell will go to Compassion, for the sponsorship of Jayid and Tasya. If I raise more money than their sponsorship fees in a month, that money will go to the Child Survival Program. The sponsorship fees for the both of them are $76 a month. I'm hoping that each month I will be able to have at least a portion of that amount covered by selling my crafts online.

I know people have weird feelings about giving money. People don't fundraise for vacations, but mission trips are ok. They don't fundraise for having a biological child, but adoption fundraisers are great (though some sad people have problems with those, too.) I'm not raising money for medical treatment or a special medical need like home improvements for mobility reasons, but my main reason for moving to this kind of (on-going, semi-permanent) fundraiser is because of medical reasons.

I'm so sorry that I don't know when I am going to be able to go on another mission trip, if I ever can again. I hate it. Thinking about it makes me sick. Thinking about this whole thing makes me sick. I'm scared, and worried, and I don't like not knowing what's going to happen. With every other medical problem I've had in my life, I've had an end-date in mind. "I'm having surgery on this date, so within six weeks I'll be back at work, and in a few months, life will return to normal." "I'm having a depressive episode right now, but even if it lasts a few weeks, I know it's going to end sometime." This isn't like that. It's permanent and life-changing, and I hate it. So I really would like to apologize, even though I think (hope) everyone will think it's unnecessary, because people who supported my fundraiser for the Haiti trip did so for a specific reason, and that reason has fallen away. The bit of money I brought in from that is going to sit in my special savings account for the foreseeable future, just in case the opportunity presents itself and I would be able to go on another mission trip.

And if you don't mind praying for me about this whole thing, I would appreciate it. This week especially, I have been having a pretty hard time coping with life changes and my diagnosis and these random road blocks that keep popping up, getting in my way.

Keep an eye on the top of my blog, though. When I get pictures taken of the inventory I already have, I'll be posting them in a special, share-able section on my blog. I hope that this venture is going to be a success!


  1. I feel so much for you Jessi! Things are very tight financialy for me as well. I had to give up this year's trip to Rwanda (again) because of that. I broke down on the phone with a friend last night, because I was sick of eating baloney sandwiches and Kraft dinner when I need new winter boots and car repairs! Hopefully your crafts sell really well... I hope to buy something from you eventually, when MY finances aren't so tight! But I will definitely be praying!

    1. Five years into marriage, we STILL have some of those baloney/macaroni weeks, Hannah! Being a grown-up is so hard. :) I know your heart belongs in Rwanda and I hope that you are able to go there sooner rather than later!

  2. I'm so sorry that you're feeling discouraged! I know Eric really struggled with the fact that he had a chronic disease and no end in sight when he was first diagnosed. And somedays he still has hard days! I think it's great that you're going to sell crafts to raise money for your sponsorships. I'll keep your stuff in mind when I do Christmas shopping. Although I understand the being tight! And just because you aren't able to travel in the near future, who's the say that you won't down the road? I'll be praying for God to provide for you and your Compassion kiddos and for Him to encourage you and Brandon as you walk through this. Love you!

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Hannah! I hope that I am able to do more traveling in the future- I just feel a little bad that it won't be next year, as I was expecting!

  3. Jessi, I'm praying for you especially this week. Your picture is taped to my dining room chair. :) Bev Sarchet


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