Saturday, October 8, 2011

An Honest Look at Where We are At

This is Joy writing again. I am going to share somethings that are hard to talk about.  As you have seen, I am going through a lot of medical issues and haven't been able to work.  I don't get any government help at all. I have said my parents live on Social Security. 

I tried to start my own business, Ijah Joy Creations. I still have it, but I don't get to pursue it much because of being in the hospital and well, just plain feeling like crap most of the time.  I don't have the energy to do jewelry parties, talk to businesses about purchasing items I have on hand and going to craft fairs. I have had to discontinue doing custom work for a season and just trying to sell what I have on hand.

I started this blog last week when I got a call from Tifton CBA and 1 dr is suing me there and my dentist here is about to turn a bill over to collections too (had a filling knocked out from having an endoscopy). These 2 bills are close to $700.  I paid the dentist $25 to keep them from turning it over, but they charge 5% interest every month on top of that.  Their bill with x-rays is almost $500 (I have no dental ins, lost that when mom retired in 06).

I don't like to ask for help, we have never accepted charity from people and it has been a real blow to our pride.  My parents taught me that if you can't get it on your own, you don't really need it (well, there are limits to that line of reasoning too).

Just a couple days ago our air conditioner quit on us (thankfully it is a bit cooler now).  We have 1 window unit for our whole house.  In the 32 years of living here, we have never had central air. 

Our dryer (which is in the kitchen area) has never been vented.  When we run the dryer, all the hot moist air circulates right back through the house.  It is miserable some days.  All the air conditioner does is push the hot air through the whole house.  Our window unit was bought in 96 and already had the motor replaced.  Thankfully, this time it is a small repair - just a thermostat ($20 to $30 repair that dad can do).  We need so much right now.  We do take good care of things here.  In my parents 50 years of marriage, they have have 2 air conditioners - 1 bought in 65 and lasted to 96 and the one we have now.

Both mom and dad are retired and disabled.  Mom has psoriatic arthritis - caused by psoriasis and kin to rheumatoid.   Along with a frozen elbow and severed rotator cuff, she has gout, diabetes, fibromyalgia, reg arthritis,  sleep apnea, etc.  Dad is bi-polar, has arthritis, pinched nerves in legs/hips, neck, and shoulder, stenosis of the spine, and degenerative disk disease.  Dad had a scare a few months ago that he had prostate cancer when they found a knot, but thankfully it was a benign tumor.  And also he has 60% blockage of the carotid arteries. 

With all our illnesses, things are falling a part.  We have a roof leak and really need a new roof.  Some of the wood  is rotting due to the damage.  The house was actually built wrong, they used the wrong slope and it has caused water to settle at the eaves.  When we had the roof replaced in 91, the company tried to fix it, but said they couldn't without having to redo a whole section of the joists.   Dad has gotten on the roof several times and tried to patch it with tin and tar, but it doesn't last very long.  You can see the water damage in the ceiling now in the living room.

We had leaking pipes in the bath back in May and dad repaired them but cut a huge hole in the tub.  The faucet is now being held up by duct tape.  We have to re-tape it weekly.  We got the money from the ins company but it is just enough to get the supplies, not to even be able to hire someone to come out and fix it.  The floor was damaged and so was the bed room wall (in my parents room).  But we just don't have the strength (or the money) to be able to fix all of this.

And lastly, we have termite damage to a lot of the house.  We don't know the full extent of it, but when painting recently, whole sections of sheet rock would just crumble.  We did patches as best we could given the resources we had.

We may not have money and we are struggling to make ends meet, credit cards are being maxed out, etc.  But there is one thing we know.   Money can't buy love or happiness.  Money can't buy true JOY.  Only that is found in Christ and in loving each other.  Elijah may not have everything he wants (he really gets spoiled though, more than many kids I know), but he has more love than he will ever know what to do with.  Our house may not be in perfect shape, but it is safe from abuse and hate.  This is what a child needs more than anything - love, acceptance, security, and protection.

My biggest prayer (and it seems impossible) is to be able to bring more children into our home (it doesn't have to be this house), but into our family.  There are so many children who are abused and hurting and would give anything to have half of what we have.  My heart breaks to hear the stories of children like Zarah Baker (from North Carolina) who defeated cancer 2x, had an artificial leg, and then her step mother dismembered her body.  Then the little boy Kyron Horman in Oregon/Washington.  Then so many children right here in DFACs being beaten by their mother's, fathers, live-in partner of their parents, children left to care for themselves while parents party and chose drugs over the joy of their child.  I wish I could rescue them all.  Many nights I lay in bed praying for these children and sobbing over them, wanting to be able to do something.

And now my question is how.  My desire is there, but what will it take to be healthy again?  What will it take to add on to this house so that it will be sufficient for more children?  Or what will it take to get a new house that would be large enough?  Who will step forward and help make these desires come alive?  Will anyone step up to open a door for Ijah Joy Creation to have a store front? Or to open a manufacturing center that will create lines for HSN, QVC, Sam's, Dillards, Penney's, etc.  I know these people exist, but where are they? 

My dream for IJC is also huge.   I want to see women who are homeless and illiterate learn to make high end costume jewelry, to make sterling silver and gold rings, bracelets, etc and  have them learn to read, get their Diploma and go on to College or Tech School.  Make money so they can buy their own home, their own car, and in many cases get their children back from the foster care system.  I don't want to just change my life and my family, but I want to help change the lives of generations - right here in South Georgia.

I believe by laying down my pride and asking for help, God is going to open the way and direct the right people to join with our family to see these visions begin to unfold.

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