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How to Help When Someone Loses a Job

When my husband suddenly lost his job a couple of years ago, we had so many friends and even many strangers who heard about our plight and helped us out.

Local friends brought us food for our pantry and freezer, gifted us with Sonic cards and pool passes, and checked with us at church to see what specific needs we had.

One of the ways long distance friends helped us was to subscribe to have toilet paper and diapers sent to us monthly via Amazon.

Since then my husband found a great new job and we don’t have any financial worries for the time being. Praise God!

That time was rough for us, but it has opened my eyes to how to bless others when they are going through financial difficulties.

Everyone needs toilet paper, right?

If you know someone who has a financial burden, why not have diapers and/or toilet paper delivered to them monthly from Amazon until they get on their feet? (Check with them first to make sure they aren’t already getting this need met.)

Helping those in financial need

If you choose the “subscribe now” option, the delivery will be repeated until you cancel.

Just this week, I did the same thing for friends who are suddenly unemployed. It’s simple to do and useful for the recipient. I know first-hand how this act can relieve just one bit of financial burden when there is no job and every penny counts.

Read more of my “Laid Off” series here.

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So Your Husband’s Been Laid Off: What to Expect the First Month

This guest post is from Renee. Be sure to read the rest of my series on surviving a layoff.

It’s been slightly over a year since my husband was laid off from Hewlett Packard after his 10-year stint there and the good news is that we’re still here…. we’ve survived.  I remember Day One like it was yesterday:

My husband worked from home and we made it a practice to catch breaks from work and homeschooling our 7 (soon to be eight) children by taking walks up and down the street to get out and catch up on the day. On this particular day, if there was any look of grave concern on my husband’s face, I totally missed it.

“It looks like I’m being laid off,” my husband remarked as we walked passed the neighbor’s house.  He’s not one to joke around, but I looked for signs anyway. No joke, this was the real deal and even though it had happened to various co-workers over the years, I wasn’t prepared for it.

I can tell you that once you get past the initial shock, there’s an air of confidence and hope that moves in, almost immediately. In many situations, a lay-off occurs in an already stressful environment: a boss acts differently when he knows he’s about to drop a bomb and the tension could be there for days, weeks, even months beforehand. Knowing your man gets to be released from that stressful environment is secretly rewarding, even though the paycheck doesn’t get to follow you. And then there’s the “God has always taken care of us” promise and the looking ahead to better days.

Let’s call that the “honeymoon” phase of a lay off situation (but hang with me, there’s a happy ending). You should know that the first month is a flurry of emotion of ups and downs. Here are some you can expect:

  • Your husband’s true personality comes out more than ever: if he’s an introvert, maybe he’s out for drives a bit longer than usual. I married an extrovert who needed social time and found some of those needs met by connecting with old MK friends on Facebook. My advice: give him that time.
  • Even though he’s taking on more of your responsibilities at home, your husband will feel useless: he’s used to being more or less in control with his time and now he shares it with you. It might help to wake up each morning with a goal he sets for the day; then give him time to work on it.
  • Remember all the papers you signed when you bought your first house? Triple that:  medical coverage (we highly recommend Christian HealthCare Ministries), life insurance, closing accounts related to the job, returning equipment, retirement and pension paperwork…
  • Passing by the old workplace, seeing the brand/logo of the employer on equipment and letterhead, and catching any information about the employer on the news will put a knot in your stomach: And if it happens to you, know that it’s happening ten times as much to your husband. He’s given years of time and loyalty to one place and now it’s been stripped from his identity.
  • Don’t expect sympathy cards: while you’ll have some close friends and family who check in on you and support you, the majority of people will not know how to react and will probably not say anything. Or worse, they’ll ask, “could he have done something to prevent it?”
  • The spending tendency: I don’t know if this is normal but I occasionally made small but unnecessary purchases to fill this need to buy something “luxury” that I wouldn’t normally buy. Thankfully this was always small, like a tall peppermint mocha with extra whip, but there was that weird “better buy this while I still can” thought that ran through my mind…. similar to how I eat junk food the night before a new day of resolving to cut out sugar.

There are some positives:

  • It’s like a vacation: your husband is now around to play with the kids, give you time to grocery shop alone, and clean the garage.
  • Your days are your own: if it weren’t for Sundays popping up every now and then, we’d lose complete track of the days of the week.
  • Revamping your spending: you and your husband have time to sit down and look at your budget. This is a great time to form life-long habits that will cut your expenses dramatically. This can be a bonding, almost romantic, time with your husband as you make plans together. (Do you need to be on the same page with finances? Make sure you plan this time together with little interruption from younger family members so you can focus. Follow Dave Ramsey’s podcasts.)
  • The sky is the limit for possible streams of income: we were in the fortunate position of having my small, side business start to grow. We decided to decline my husband’s unemployment to instead devote his time to join me in growing the business (and even start another business) rather than take the first job offered to him. It’s been a year of very hard work and long hours, but it’s paying off.   A bonus is that our children are acutely aware of what it takes to start a business and have made some business-savvy moves for themselves.

Remember that hope I mentioned earlier? Even though it comes and goes, when it comes, it’s easy to fuel up on it and think outside the box. Is there a new direction your husband would like to take with his employment? Can he set aside time to learn something he loves while taking short-term job assignments? Do you have friends who appear to be living a life you want? Ask how they do it.

As with any tragedy or hardship, there are so many lessons to learn along the way and surprises to be had. They wouldn’t necessarily have happened without the large wrench thrown into our plans.  But I encourage you to remember that God truly has always taken care of you: prepare for a long, hard road, but perhaps it will be a journey to bring you to new heights.

Guest post by Renee Harris: Jonathan and Renee Harris homeschool and raise their 8 children and run their two businesses (www.hardlotion.com and www.drinkbands.com) from their home in Northern California.

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Tips For Coping When Dad’s Out of Town

We have gone through a lot of changes in the past few months.

First my husband was suddenly laid off, which meant he went from having the regular, predictable schedule associated with a full time job to being home most of the time.

That took some getting used to.

We had to navigate around each other and work out who was going to do what if the baby was crying, the phone was ringing, and the boy needed help with Algebra – all at the same time. These are things I had been doing all on my own during the day, but now that he wanted to pitch in, it still remained to be decided exactly what each of our “jobs” would be.

Now that he is employed, but working mostly out of town, we are once again trying to find the new normal.

Going from one extreme to another, while we were sometimes literally tripping over each other trying to get lunch served, now I find myself completely on my own serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, PLUS solving sibling disputes, answering tough life questions, and tucking everyone in at night.

DISCLAIMER: I am not griping here. We are thrilled that my husband has a job and we are able to pay our bills and even contribute to the needs of others. I am simply contrasting the difference between having a husband home most of the time to having a husband gone most of the time.

Here are a few tips for coping when Dad’s out of town:

  • Try to keep your regular schedule. Get up and get dressed and serve breakfast as usual. Continue with as much of your routine as possible so the kids can count on some predictability during this time of transition.
  • Involve each of the children in regular phone calls. We even let the baby hear Daddy’s voice over the phone as he talks sweetly to her and she stares curiously into the phone wondering how he got in there!
  • Continue to eat dinner around the table together each night. It is tempting for me to pass out sandwiches and let the kids scatter after a long day, but I have found that keeping our dinner routine seems to bring a sense of calm to us and we definitely enjoy a time of all coming together, even if Daddy’s seat is empty.
  • Pray for Daddy together. Each day, throughout the day, we pray to thank God for Daddy’s job and to ask protection over him while he is away.
  • Pray for yourself. Ask God for wisdom in the many daily decisions you are making on your own now. Ask for endurance and energy to make it through the days being the only adult in the house.

What tips would you add? How do you cope when Dad’s out of town?

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Working in the Oilfield

My husband is now working a part-time job in the oilfield, which involves waiting for a phone call and then heading out of town to whatever site needs workers.

This part-time work has turned into a-lot-of-the-time work, so we are able to pay all of our bills and buy groceries and other things we need.

We are hoping (and being told) that this position will soon turn into a full time supervisory role that can be done locally and maybe even from home.

This isn’t to say that we are planning our next vacation or buying everyone new shoes, but we are no longer relying on gifts from friends to make ends meet.

There are so many of you who have sent encouraging emails, prayers, gift cards, coupons, diapers, groceries, school supplies, flip flops, and more.

We are so thankful for each of you: Maureen, Linda, Toni, Amy, Joy, Mr. Martin, Dana, Tiffany, April, Nikki, Holly, Jennifer, Little Emma, Emily, Raegan, and many more.

We will never forget this time of difficulty and how you helped us through. You were there for us. You held us up when we were weak. Thank you so much for that!

Now that we are getting back on our feet, it feels so good to be able to buy the things we need ourselves. We have even been able to contribute to others in need!

If you have been moved to help us during our layoff, may God bless you for blessing us! Know that God has been glorified in what you have done for us.

Now, look around for others who need help and bless them in Jesus’ name.

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What He Doesn’t Need (And What He Does)

Thank you to Tiana for this guest post!


Unemployment can put intense pressure on a marriage. Not so long ago, during a time when my husband was without a job, I learned (sometimes the hard way) that there are a few things a man needs from his wife during a layoff–and a few things that he doesn’t.

He Doesn’t Need Nagging, He Needs Respect

Photo Courtesy of Fred Dawson

“A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one’s right hand.” Proverbs 27:15-16

He Doesn’t Need Criticism—He Needs Encouragement

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

He Doesn’t Need You to Do His Job—He Needs You to Keep Doing Yours

“She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:” Proverbs 31:27-28

He Doesn’t Need a Depressed Wife—He Needs a Hopeful Wife

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:5

He Doesn’t Need Complaining—He Needs Contentment

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

He Doesn’t Need You to “Fix It”—He Needs You to be His Helpmeet

“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:11-12

He Doesn’t Need You to Worry—He Needs You to Trust in God

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33

Will you give your husband what he needs today?


Tiana Krenz is blessed to be wife to Christopher and mother to four young children. With God’s help, she is learning more about what it means to be a godly wife, mother, and homemaker each day. Visit her at God Made, Home Grown, and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook .

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Tips For Surviving a Layoff

The day my husband was laid off was terrifying for both of us. I’m not sure about him, but I envisioned our family living in a cardboard box, eating beans out of a can under a bridge down by the river.

Since then, God has shown us that he supplies our every need, and my faith has grown tremendously.

We have learned a lot about surviving a layoff since those first days. Here are a few tips for those who might be going through something similar:

  • Friends matter. We have had help from so many friends during this time. Old friends from high school, new friends from blogging, local friends, and friends from as far away as Australia. Friends have sent diapers, food, gas cards, and more. The part-time jobs my husband is working now are from friends. Let your friends know you need help!
  • Take any honest job that is offered. My husband has cleaned out abandoned rental property, stripped the paint from fences, climbed onto roofs, and worked in the oil fields. I have accepted extra writing assignments and increased my advertising and affiliate efforts. Every little bit of money we earn is just that much more toward paying our bills. Look outside your field of expertise and let your friends know you are willing to take on any work.
  • Cut back all unnecessary expenses. Our kids haven’t perished because we cut out gymnastics, new swim suits, and going out to eat. Eliminating fast food and extra-curricular activities has allowed us to keep current on our bills.
  • Stay home. We have not only saved on gas, but have also avoided the temptation to buy stuff we don’t need. So many friends sent or brought food and toiletries to us, that we rarely needed to go to a store during this layoff period. We have tried to make the best use of what we have been given without supplementing. This has been a challenge, but we have definitely spent far less than we used to by staying home.

What tips would you add for surviving a financial crisis?

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What's the big deal about Young Living