Sunday, June 30, 2013

Flashback to 2000: Jobless in Seattle

A few weeks ago my brother Jacob was giving a class in church on Food Storage. I felt impressed to share this story with him (by email) and now I feel I should share it with you.
By the time you get this it may be too late to be of any use for your lesson but I was reminded of this tonight and felt like I should share with you my testimony of Food Storage. Really, I suppose it is my testimony of Living the Commandments and Following the Teachings of Living Prophets but I learned it at this time through Food Storage.

In 2000 Dave was working in Seattle for an internet company. He was making the best money he had ever made--about $32,000 a year--and we were finally making a dent on our mass accumulation of debt from student loans, car loans, and a failed business. Just a few years before this the prophet had counselled the men during Priesthood session of Conference to get out of debt (To the Boys, To the Men. Hinkley. October 1998.). We were working hard to follow this commandment now that we were making more money than we had previously. We were quickly paying down debt and also trying to build up food storage. Most of the food storage came from WIC and anything that I could garden, glean and can. It wasn't a lot but we were certainly working at it diligently, putting away a few cans of tuna here, a box of cereal there, etc.

Afton was born July 5th of 2000 and on July 23rd Dave was given his pink slip. The internet company had gone bust. We were shocked and scared and didn't know what to do. Dave started looking for work right away but only found short term jobs. He worked as a sub teacher a little bit and Uncle Mike hired him to be a delivery driver and to sometimes build furniture. He did a few odd jobs. (For some reason we didn't qualify for unemployment. I think we didn't file for it in time? We were trying to be self sufficient and then when we had done all we could and needed the help we couldn't get it. Very frustrating.)We were unemployed for 6 months and then underemployed for another 6 months--this is when he worked as a Legislative Aide to Representative Fred Jarrett in Olympia. He was paid $26,000/yr I think).

During this year we lived on our Food Storage. We had very little money coming in and we were able to spend nothing or very little each month on food. Please understand that we did not have 6 months, let alone a years supply of food in our storage. We probably did not have even 1 months worth of food but somehow it multiplied and sustained us in combination with WIC and the Tender Mercies of the Lord. He knew that we had been doing our best to prepare and I know because of that He blessed us that summer and the following spring with the most productive garden we have EVER had. We also received from Him windfalls of fruits and vegetables from friends, ward members and local farmers (random signs on the side of the road that said FREE pears or FREE bread, etc). Another tender mercy: He enhanced my ability to learn home making skills like canning, preserving, cooking, being frugal, budgeting, and more.

At the end of that year we were blessed with a new job in California and things have, for the most part, steadily improved for us over the years but I will never forget all the great lessons I learned and testimonies I gained(food storage, tithing, keeping commandments, reading scriptures with family, service and being served) during that time of our life. It was so very stressful and scary to not have enough money to pay rent, or insurance, or diapers for our three babies. Not to have enough money to buy gas so Dave could go to job interviews. To have to scrounge for coins in the house to buy a few pieces of nice paper to print resumes on.

But because of this hard time I know, without a doubt, that when I follow God's commandments given through the mouth of His Prophet, that my best efforts will be rewarded and magnified and that He will make up the difference to sustain me through and carry me to that other shore. He has a plan. That plan includes many of the nitty gritty details of my life and a list of things that I need to experience and learn. He knows me. He hears and answers my prayers. He knows you and will answer your prayers too as you continue to Follow His Commandments and His Living Prophets. Trust Him and know that He will carry you through.

I love you Jacob and know that you and your sweet Alli will do a great job tomorrow. You are both brilliant. Open your mouths and let the spirit guide you. Oh, and give little Louie a big hug from her Auntie Dani!

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