Many of you know that my life drastically changed in April 2012 when I started FreeHomeschoolDeals.com. Yes, a blog can change a life and a family! My online blogging efforts are now a full-time business and to give me the support and encouragement I need to run our home, raise our 6 children, homeschool, and run a business, my husband is now home full-time.
My husband, Travis, and our darling daughter, Amelia Elaine. Summer 2013.
One of the Hardest Seasons in Our Family’s Life
During early spring of 2012 I could really tell that my blogging hours were adding up on my first blog Holy Spirit-led Homeschooling; meanwhile, my husband’s job had gone from bad to worse. In our rural area, he was working as a maintenance mechanic for a large facility. (He’s a licensed electrician by trade.) He had started there after his job layoff in 2009 (you can read here how the Lord provided during my husband’s job loss). His job had a slow creep in schedule changes which led to me seeking the Lord about making a small income from the time and effort I was putting into my hobby blog.
My husband was simultaneously working six to seven 12-hour-a-night shifts.
Doing the math: he was working 72-84 hours a week. That’s insane.
He was a wreck. His health was a wreck. He was exhausted.
I was a wreck. My health was a wreck. I was exhausted.
His Zombie days went like this:
- Work from 7pm-7am.
- Try to stay awake while driving home (often he’d fall asleep while driving!)
- Somehow make it to bed.
- Toss and turn from complete exhaustion for most of the day when he needed to sleep.
- Crawl out of bed around 5 pm to cram some food in his mouth (the ONLY time of day the kids and I might get a glimpse of him for a few minutes).
- Leave to get to work on time and do it all again, 6 to 7 nights a week.
We fought his employer. I ripped apart the employee handbook trying to find one loophole where they couldn’t force my husband to work more than 40 hours a week. And because Virginia is a Right To Work State they could even put him on mandatory overtime and leave him there, which they did. Not only him but many of the hard workers of that company. It was cheaper for them to drain every ounce of blood from current employees than to hire new ones.
I felt completely helpless.
We see our husbands work hard for the family. They were created to work. They weren’t designed for slavery, though. And his employer had him trapped. He applied for different jobs, but even with 18+ years experience, there were no offers in our area.
SO much daddy was missing by working 70-80 hours a week!
And I blogged. Blogging can be such great therapy for the blogger; I tell you. And blogging was a great tool for me.
I just knew that somehow Jesus would work it out. He always does.
I began to pray, “Lord, help me make enough money to buy groceries from my blogging.“
Well, we are a growing family and buying and stretching our grocery dollars has always been at the top of our priority list. I figured that if I could make grocery money (at the time only $400 per month), then my husband could take any job he was offered, even one with a pay cut when an opportunity came.
Just a few months later in April 2012, I went to bed one night while praying this same prayer again, “Lord, help me make enough money to buy groceries from my blogging.“
One of my yogurt buying deals!
The “how” of my blogging success starts largely with the loyal Holy Spirit-led Homeschooling readers. When I started the new site, you guys jumped right on over and told your friends! This site (FHD) that I started on a whim and divine inspiration were literally an overnight success.
Within a month I could tell that I was not only going to make enough to buy groceries but enough to make our mortgage payment too. Just a few more months and the site was making as much as my husband. A further few months after that, the site was making more than my husband.
My husband didn’t come home right away, though. He continued another full year on his crazy work schedule, and I *nearly had a nervous breakdown* (more to come on that experience) with blogging and trying to “do it all.” I also had our 6th baby, Amelia Elaine, during this time. Being on the other side of that season, I can now see clearly how badly my family needed a miracle!
Living the Dream
After my constant prayer that the Lord would deliver Travis from his unruly work schedule, he finally came home full-time in June 2013. Honestly, even though it looked workable on paper, we were both nervous. Nonetheless, the Lord has continued to confirm that this is His plan for our family for this season.
We are in many respects living our dream. Our family is home full-time together. We eat all of our meals with daddy, and he even sits in on all of the read-alouds. My husband’s health has dramatically improved now that he no longer has to stand on concrete for 12 hours a night. He has also lost 85 lbs since coming home full-time and now he sleeps at night like a normal person.
This is not a brag, this is a “look what the Lord has done.”
If I can go to bed praying for the Lord to show me how to make grocery money through my blogging – and now my husband is home full-time – how much more can the Lord do for YOU and YOUR situation?!
Jesus is still in the mountain-moving business!
My children and I have gone from barely seeing daddy and living life without him being an active participant, to now spending every day with him!
Are we rich now?
Can I laugh?
We are not rich. We have made a choice.
We have chosen to continue to live simply, in order to soak up these tender years with our children. We have never desired two full-time incomes or purchasing and obtaining more things. Our heart’s cry has always been to be together, and we are thoroughly enjoying this season and opportunity that the Lord has provided.
And we have always been crazy frugal.
I wash out and reuse every ziplock bag, make homemade laundry detergent, and scrub the house clean with vinegar. We drive a 10-year-old 16-passenger van, buy all of the kids’ clothes off the dollar racks at the Goodwill, and the Lord blesses us with free clothes. We also don’t have cable, just use cell phones, garden in the summer, shop like nuts at our local discount stores, and when we vacation we travel in the off-seasons and bring our cooler full of food with us.
Believe me, nothing too fancy is going on here. 🙂
Our new-to-us 16-passenger van – paid for with cash!
How to Make Money Blogging
Updated 2015 —> I now have a new resource article out called Make a Full-Time Income Online: How I Support My Family of Nine Through My Blog and Social Media Platform. It shares more of our story, plus TONS of tips, tricks, and resources to start your own successful blog!
If you’re interested in more of the How to Make Money Blogging topic, I highly recommend Ruth Soukup’s Book (affiliate link) How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul). It’s an excellent read and gives an overview of best blogging business practices plus information on How to Start a Blog and much more.
What about health care coverage for bloggers?
Read here to find out about the affordable healthcare coverage my family, and I chose once we became a 100% full-time self-employed family with my blogging efforts.
This is part of what the Lord has done for our family over the last year. What wild prayer are you praying to the Lord? What has He put on your heart that may seem impossible at the moment, but you believe that He’s going to make a way? Go ahead, share in the comments below!
Jamerrill Stewart is wife to Travis of nearly 16-years and mother of 6 children ages 13, 10, 7, 4, 2, 1. She and her family make their home in the rural Shenandoah Valley where their days are filled with classic, read alouds, sippy cups, and laundry. Jamerrill is the creator and owner of FreeHomeschoolDeals.com where she helps families afford the homeschool life. You can read more here about Jamerrill’s life as a homeschool mom on JamerrillStewart.com.