The time we couldn’t afford a block of cheese….

Karl and I have been through many levels of income in out 14 years of marriage. When we first got married, he was on a low tradesman wage and I was working full time at McDonalds. But having no kids, we did ok. Then our daughter came along, the apple of our eye. I stopped working, and things felt a lot tighter financially. But it wasn’t unbearable.

Then we opened our own trade business. Karl was the handyman like you have never seen, and we made a 6 figure profit in our first year. Apparently that just doesn’t happen for other people…. it seemed we had the Midas touch. Or as believe, that God blessed us incredibly… Then we put on some employees, and our profits went down but there wasn’t as much of a load on Karl to do it all. He was still extremely busy though. He worked himself to the bone for 10 years, and some years were up and some were down.

We made some very stupid mistakes with tax, and that really made things difficult. You haven’t had worry till you have owned your own business. But we managed to get through all of that and I enjoyed the freedom of new clothes, coffees and new things for the house on a regular basis. That felt normal to me.

Finally, Karl reached breaking point, bought the bus, and fitted it out over 18 months while he also ran his 2 businesses, packed up his industrial trade shed and packed up our house, basically single handedly. This was the point where his body could not take any more.

So we hit the road. Our house had sold 2 days before we left, and settlement happened about 4 weeks after we hit the road so after all debts were payed, we had a little in savings.

But Karl had no drive to work….zero. He was beyond tired, and it scared me to the bone. This was not the man I knew. He had no drive, and would tire very very easily. This meant he was not doing a lot of manual work himself, but was still running the workshop back home remotely, with 3 employees.

We drove up to Geraldton, and some of our family (who we will be forever grateful to) took us in. For a long time, we barely scraped by on $500 a week. That would suit some people fine, but with 4 kids it was tough. We went without a lot of things. Clothes were from K-mart or the op-shop if at all. Groceries were a real squeeze. We needed new bedding for the kids but couldn’t afford it. We would miss out on tours because a family pass was always 2 adults and 2 kids, and we had to pay for another 2 beyond that. Being rural there weren’t a lot of cheap grocery options like there are in Perth. Going out for coffee or a meal was not possible. We couldn’t travel any further because we couldn’t afford fuel.

So we spent some time trying to find our feet in Geraldton, and we decided to head up to Kalbarri for a week or so. It felt like a splurge with the caravan park fees, but we needed a break so badly.  So we went. Every day, I would walk down to the nearest IGA and we would only buy the bare minimum specials. We don’t eat “filler” carbs like bread, pasta or rice, so my choices were the cheapest meat possible (generally a roast), and veg (normally cabbage and frozen green beans). It was basic, but it was OK.

One day, the kids ran out of cheese. I enjoyed going for my grocery walk, so I did. The cheapest cheese was $12 for a 500g block. I picked it up, looked at it, turned it over in my hand…. and put it back down. I just could not justify it….so we made do without it. Most of the time I really enjoyed finding a bargain and seeing what we could do on a small budget, but that day I felt panic creep in.

I remember feeling the worst anxious pit in my stomach. I thought we were going to go under. I thought Karl’s business was failing ( we were sinking our own money in to keep it afloat). I couldn’t see an end to the life we had begun. And I couldn’t believe the difference only a year could make in our financial position. Things were that bad! If I could pick a low point, that was probably it.

So when I grew my business with dōTERRA to beyond 6 figures this month (with Karl’s help, I couldn’t have looked after the kids and achieved it in this time frame), it meant a lot. Beyond a lot. My tears flowed when I saw it happen. We have been to the bottom, and we have been blessed into a season of abundance again. We are now free to move closer to our goals, and to give to others freely. So blessed, and I think the blessing tastes all the sweeter because at one time, we couldn’t afford a block of cheese.

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