Monday, August 25, 2014

Hard Choices for Hard Times - Please Read

Today my husband lost his job.

There - I said it. It will take a while for the sting to dissipate from those words. Of course this means I'll be looking for a job. He'll be looking for a job. We'll be scraping for a while.

As many of you know, we just bought a new micro-farm. Thankfully our monthly mortgage payment is pretty cheap, but with two special needs kids (autism and Down syndrome) we'll be faced with some challenges for a little bit. Jobs are not easy to come by in this economy.

I am personally not comfortable with the idea of asking for money, so I am not going to. If at all possible, I would like to EARN some money.


I'm very sorry to say that in our present situation we will be swallowing our pride and putting in for state assistance. It's a mortifying state to be in for anyone. We lost a house and our life in Texas to medical bills when our youngest was born and we have been rebuilding from the ground up since then. I really don't want to lose our current home.

But you know what? It's not cancer! We are so lucky that it's not cancer. Or the loss of a child. Or a spouse. It's just the loss of a job and it's something that hundreds upon thousands of others have faced in the last years in the US.

As I stated before, we will not be asking for handouts.

I am asking for a chance to earn money.

I am a writer, a photographer and an artist.

First: I have LOTS of advertising space on this blog, and right now I will accept ANY advertising provided it is not out of line with a NATURAL type of lifestyle. (I won't allow advertising for toxins or chemicals.) But pretty much anything else is a possibility. Kids clothing? SURE! Natural herbs or juices? Why not? Chicken stuff? Even better!!

Second: I do custom portraits. Because of our tight finances over the last years, I have modified my art to an electronic format. What this means is that you can be emailed progress on your custom art pieces and  if you purchase the rights to this artwork, you can have it published or printed in any format you like! These can be put on canvas or on giant-size posters. They can be put on T-shirts, cups and calendars. There are no limits to the use of this artwork. I specialize in animals and birds, but I will consider ANYTHING... and I'm not bad, either. Here are some examples of my art:









Third - I am a photographer. You have seen my photos throughout this blog. If you are within a 100 mile radius of Wytheville, VA and need a photographer for animal shots, family shots or what ever, here I am!

Fourth: Have I mentioned I like to write? I'm not too bad at that, either! Is there something you need written or edited? Perhaps I can help.

I know there are a lot of folks in tight financial situations right now. I know that not everyone needs advertising, art, photos or writing... but there is still something you can do if you feel compelled.

Share this! Share this with anyone who might know someone who has a friend who wants a custom piece of art. If a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend uses my services in any way, YOU have helped a family in need earn money for our electric bill and food.  It would mean an incredible amount to us.

It's not the end of the world... just the beginning of a new life. I don't have a crystal ball, but I'm willing to work for this new life.

Thank you for reading and thank you for sharing it!!

Very sincerely,
Leigh Schilling Edwards

Email me at: shabbychicken@hotmail.com

40 comments:

  1. Oh my! I'm sorry for the job loss!

    But..... did I miss something? You are now in Wytheville!?!? That's only about 45 minutes from me now! Hmm....We may have to figure out how to get together sometime! I am still drooling over the Swedish flower hens! (Just a reminder.... we have talked on BYC)

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    1. My husband got a job transfer in March and we moved to Wytheville in April. We love the area! There must be some reason fate brought us here. :-)

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  2. Good for you!!! Don't be ashamed of state assistance. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers and pass along your blog. Good luck to you!

    You also might try the web site called "Go Fund Me" and ask for $ help for something specific or to get one of your businesses started.

    Hang in there and keep your positive attitude and faith, Susan

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    1. Thank you Susan. I may look into that. All suggestions are welcome!

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  3. I do have a child fighting cancer. I do have a Go Fund Me page. Shame on you for trying to shame people who do need the help. God says love and help thy neighbor.

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    1. Dear Anonymous -
      I'm so very sorry to hear that your family is faced with a very difficult time also. I will certainly be keeping your child in my thoughts and prayers!
      If you re-read my post, I think you will see that I am in NO way trying to shame people who do ask for help! I am so very sorry you took it that way.
      Best wishes to your family!

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    2. Oh - and I did change some verbiage so hopefully it won't come across that way to anyone else. I'm very sorry if anyone felt offended by my choice to try to earn some money. Yes - I am painfully aware that we can get assistance... we are just trying very hard to get back on our feet as quickly as we can.

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  4. Where does she try to shame people who ask for money? No where! She simply says that she won't do it and she wants to work. Get off your high horse and monitor your "Go Fund Me" page.

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  5. I read the article and found her comments refreshing. Did not get the impression she was putting anyone down for any reason. People struggling with serious illnesses especially for a child can lose their perspective and sense of humor. If a person feels comfortable with getting help via Go Fund Me or any other charity, they don't have to defend themselves in a comments section. Emmaline N. Edgar

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  6. Good for you-wish you all the best-btw I think facebook has a sell your art page? Love to you all

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    1. I'll look into the FaceBook page! Thank you for the suggestion!

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  7. I say, "When I wake up every day, I look to see what life has dumped in my lap and figure out how to deal with it. Some days are harder than others."
    Attitude is half the battle. I will share your story with my chicken group. Best of luck to your family.
    Elaine Wilson

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  8. I make a little extra money on mturk and swagbucks. That could help you too.

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  9. Have you tried putting your artwork on etsy.com

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  10. There is no shame in getting any assistance that is what it is for. Your art is beautiful. Maybe try and ask any breed clubs if they need artwork or if you can advertise on their sites, or any upcoming Poultry shows. You could get a booth. I think you will do well.

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  11. I have to say I was a little taken back reading this. I too have two special needs kids, we just moved across country last October for my husbands job and purchased our dream farm and just last Friday my husband was shockingly let go from his job that was suppose to last til his retirement in 10 yrs. I have to admit I am a jealous of your talent and the options that you do have for making money and ends meet because I am sure there is a market out there for you! Sometimes tough times bring out our most creativeness and leads us into entirely new directions :-) Good luck!

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  12. Your pictures are gorgeous! What about trying to sell at a farmers market (if you have the time) I will def share your story and wish you all the best keeping you in thoughts and prayers

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  13. Since you have a farm (even micro), you might like to talk with the folks at Appalachian Sustainable Development in Abingdon about ideas for generating income from your farm.

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  14. I am so sorry to read of your hard times. Through Lisa's post have just discovered your very interesting blog and site. I am not very knowledgeable about the art process but you mention your rooster designs could be transferred to canvas? Would it be possible to purchase one so I could make a pillow from it? I am a chicken lover too and always looking for new chicken signs, art etc. for our home.

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  15. I'm very sorry Leigh. I have special needs kids as well and understand how difficult working outside the home can be. I sure hope your husband finds something soon. In the mean time, don't be ashamed to accept assistance. It's what you've paid into.

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  16. Can you contact me directly about doing a drawning of a rescue Saint Bernard please. cjanelcroy@gmail.com

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  17. I hope your family can get through this and I am sure they will. It's a blip on the screen and eventually, you'll get to where you want to be. People often say that the Lord doesn't give you more than you can handle. My Pastor always says that isn't right. The Lord never gives you more than HE can handle! Since He can handle ANYTHING & EVERYTHING, you'll be fine. It might be rocky going for a while again but you will be fine. Best of luck to you!

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    1. What your pastor said is so true. He is our strength!

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  18. Your artwork is beautiful. You most definitely must consider opening an Etsy.com account to sell your artwork. You will be a big success!

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  19. Your artwork is amazing! I also think you should try selling those on etsy or ebay! Thoughts and prayers from Oklahoma!

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  20. I am so sorry that you are going through this difficult time but you are very talented and I don't believe you will have any problems making ends meet...I will keep you in my prayers and I have a portrait I would like for you to create for my son..He is 19 and has a horse named Chloe...She is his best friend and played a major role in his recovery from open heart surgery 5 years ago..He shows her and is showing in the State horse show this weekend. I can email you pictures of her and you can be creative and do something unique for me to give to tyler for Christmas. Please email me more info on pricing, timeline, etc...Good Luck and God Bless..woodbeth57@yahoo.com ( Beth )

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  21. I love your positive outlook. You guys have been paying taxes for years think of the subsidy as an investment that is paying out when you need it. I also have an Etsy shop but it can get very pricey for an artist. That's why I have most of my artwork on a site called zazzle. It's commission based with no upfront fees it's great especially for artists that have have access digital media.

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  22. Okay so I read your blog, I read the comments and some other things. I was shared a link to where your blog was posted. Honestly i think people are getting lines crossed. Some advice:

    1. Accept someone somewhere is always going to be offended by something you say. No one thinks alike people are going to disagree. If you can't handle the blow back don't allow comments.

    2. I can see where people are offended in 2 places.
    A. Be more careful who you ask to post your link or how. Perhaps maybe give them a cut and past of what to share. F.E.D very rude shaming of people is being passed around and alot of people are upset. Some people are canceling magazines she is published in. Honestly she showed her ass.
    B. Alot of people are on assistance. By saying you had to swallow your pride and go on public assistance is VERY offensive. Much like your husband ALOT of people lost jobs unexpectedly when Bush opened the flood gates to send jobs over seas.
    3. Some people feel you are sort of skirting the truth. You say you are not asking for hand outs yet you have a fundraiser and thats what a fundraiser is. When you phrase something in a way to make those who do it feel be littled they are going to go on the attack.

    Finally please never say Thank God or atleast its not Cancer. ALOT of people including lots of children have cancer. Honestly you will probably earn more this year then Childhood Cancer research will be given from donations to National cancer Society.

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    1. Small correction. I read a link that was shared not I shared...

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    2. My Dearest Anonymous,
      (Great name, by the way!)
      You wrote, "Accept someone somewhere is always going to be offended by something you say. No one thinks alike people are going to disagree. If you can't handle the blow back don't allow comments."

      - I think I can handle the blow back just fine. I have not said one nasty thing to anyone at all,

      - I have no control over how FED presented my link or who may have been offended. FED was very kind to share my link. I asked that it be shared, and she shared it. It is very unfortunate if anyone sees her sharing as offensive, or chooses to personally include me in that offense. Many people shared my link. I am very thankful for that as it has generated some potential income for my family.

      - I know that lots of people are on assistance, and stated that I am going to have to seek assistance also. We have before when we lost our house and everything we owned to medical bills 8 years ago. In that time I had a chance to speak to many other people who were on assistance, and everyone I spoke to found it a difficult situation. There is always silent judgement from strangers who see a person using food stamps (now called something different). Always assumptions that a person is sitting on his/her butt and not willing to work... just trying to live off other people's hard work. It is a very hard experience for ANYONE who has been in these shoes. I doubt many would argue with that. I am sorry if you took my statements in ways they were not meant. I have no control over your personal views and how you choose to read my words. It is humbling for anyone to have to ask others for help just to survive. Nobody wants to feel like their survival depends on other people, do they? Don't we all seek independence and self-sufficiency? Isn't it hard to let go of that once you have had it? I do hope that gives you a bit of perspective on my comments.

      - I have a fundraiser??? Really??? Is this something I set up in my delusional state of high stress? Please tell me where my fundraiser is so I can go see how I am doing. I absolutely have NO knowledge of any fundraiser set up for me or my family! And why would you make such an accusatory statement? I have enough stress in my life right now, don't you think? Wasn't your comment ultimately asking ME to be more considerate of the feelings of others? Thus, isn't this a bit contradictory of you?

      And you stated, "please never say Thank God or atleast its not Cancer." Why not? In this I am acknowledging that there are MANY other people in much tougher situations than my family and myself! I am saying that I acknowledge it could be worse. That I am thankful that it is not worse. I have lost loved ones to cancer too, and I am thankful that this situation is not as dire as that situation. Once again you are putting your own personal agenda into my words.

      Remember how you said, "Accept someone somewhere is always going to be offended by something you say. No one thinks alike people are going to disagree?" (Of course you do - it's right up above in black and white.) Well - doesn't that sum it up rather nicely?

      Well, my dear... If you can't handle the blow back don't read the blog.

      And since when was it OK to try to demoralize and humiliate someone who has hit hard times but has presented to the world that she wants to use a good work ethic to pull herself and her family back up? I will not eat your poison.

      Oh, and one more thing... "ALOT" is not actually a word.

      Now - go stand in the corner and think about how to fix yourself and less about how to fix me.
      Thank you.

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    3. AMEN! I've been there (you know that already) and have also overcome the obstacles, while keeping my home, my animals and my family intact. It can be done. I also agree, it could have been worse, and thank God it wasn't (and isn't for you).

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  23. Glad to share - have learned so much over the last few months from your generously given time.

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  24. Dear Leigh - I'm sorry you are facing this but good for you for getting creative and entrepreneurial to help your family! I just wanted to let you know nothing I read that you wrote was offensive or should have even been remotely construed as such. You're right...Thank God it isn't Cancer or some other serious health issue! I've been there and lost a spouse to it at 44. Your situation is a struggle for the moment but you will prevail. Try reaching out to some local dog obedience and agility classes or schools and/or trainers. You may be able to utilize your photography skills or portrait skills in that arena. Also sheep herding trials may be interested. People pay well for portraits and photographs of their pets. Best of luck and I wish you prosperity and good fortune in the very near future. Also, I don't know what type of animals you have on your micro farm, but several small micro farms in my area produce goat cheese that they sell at the local farm markets. It's absolutely delicious, not cheap to buy and they quite often sell out. Just another thought.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and advice! (I'm also sorry to hear of your spouse. Big hugs to you!) I will look around and see about dog obedience and trials. That's a great idea!

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  25. Hey, Leigh...y'all are in my thoughts and prayers. Karen ? Of The Art of Doing Stuff blog is offering a live (and then ongoing available) course on making a living from your blog. She has been very successful. The course is about $200.00, but if at all possible, it may be a really good investment. You can read what she's proposing on her blog. Wishing you best of luck and am sharing your blog with friends. -- Mel Owen

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    1. Mel - thank you for your thoughts and prayers! Karen is my best bud who lives about 45 minutes away. She was here on the day my husband got the news... I think he was thankful that she was here as he had so much stress of his own. I didn't want to make him feel any worse so I cried on Karen's shoulder outside. I'm so thankful to have such wonderful friends!
      I wish I had the $200 for the course you mentioned! Unfortunately after recent car troubles we have no savings to speak of.
      The good news is that so many wonderful, supportive people have messaged me with ideas and even a few photography and portrait opportunities! I can't tell you how this makes my heart soar!
      Many hugs -
      Leigh

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  26. Have looked into selling your art and photos on Etsy. Setting up a store is free and listing items is cheap--really cheap. You already have a good following here, why not spread the love. Hope this helps. Sorry for your hard times.

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  27. I was wondering if you've looked into growing fodder for your chickens?? I've read that you can take a 50 pound bag of barley,wheat or whole oats and produce 300 pounds of fodder reducing the cost of feed by 1/6th. also i saw a guy on youtube that, i believe, was able to double that by adding some fertilizer or compost and reducing the seed used by half for the same weight. therefore making 600 pounds of fodder from 50 pounds of seed.

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  28. WOW! I'm really impressed how you're dealing with it. congratulations and comiserations.

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  29. Hi! I am going to tell you a very simple tricks or ideas to raise backyard chickens in your house backyard for eggs and meat. It is entertaining & full of responsibility work to raise chickens or others animals in your backyard. backyard chickens | raising chickens

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