I think that everyone will agree that change is good every so often. But it can also have its complications – especially at the start. As some of the people in our circle of family and friends know, we have faced some extreme financial challenges in the last couple of years. Some of what I’m going to share here will seem familiar, but it’s important to include these elements again for others who aren’t aware of these facts, so that they can make a well informed decision.
Back in January of 2015, Holly’s mother – Carolyn – passed away suddenly. As can happen in many similar situations, there were no financial provisions set aside for funeral arrangements. We didn’t have the money for it, but the company I have worked for since we moved here in Oct’04, Orange/The rethink Group, graciously came to our aid by giving me an advance to cover the funeral expenses. In the course of paying back the advance over the next year or so, along with some medical bills that continued to pile up – we got behind in our mortgage payments. I was working with our mortgage company on refinancing and things were going along well, when we were blind-sided by the mortgage company suddenly denying our application – and a few days later they sold our home of 12 years out from under us at a foreclosure sale. We were stunned and devastated. Through legal channels, we tried to get the foreclosure rescinded and tried to work out a deal to buy our home back from the new owners – but nothing worked. We were forced to move, which made our financial situation even worse.
We found a lease/purchase house in Jasper, GA, which was much smaller than the house we were in before, so we had to rent three storage units for a lot of our furniture and belongings. The monthly lease on our new house is almost twice as much as what we were paying for our monthly mortgage, and Holly and I also found ourselves facing changes at both of our jobs. In Aug’16 my status at Orange changed from full time to contract work – and my income reflected that change. During that same time period, Holly found out that her contract was not going not be renewed where she had been teaching. We very quickly found ourselves in over our heads financially, which became a burden not only to us - but to our new landlords as well. We’ve been late on our monthly lease payments a few times, but have always paid in full. However, in order to do that, there have been sacrifices. Pretty much everyone in our family have often gone without some of our prescribed monthly medications, have had to miss out on work or school meetings because of needing to ration our fuel use for the one car that we own currently and have experienced suspensions of various utilities. We are hemorrhaging financially and need to find a solution.
On a positive note, in July’16 I started working as Santa Claus on weekends at “The Incredible Christmas Place” in Pigeon Forge, TN. (Shameless plug!) I began working part-time as Santa Claus in 2013 for private events, public appearances, photo sessions, corporate events, etc. I had never worked in one location, such as a mall Santa, but soon found that I loved working at this store! During the months of Oct-Dec of 2016, it went to 5 days a week. I LOVE this job, but being gone from my family so often and the driving 7 hours round trip once a week has taken it’s toll on me and my family. We began discussing the possibility of moving to the Pigeon Forge area. Recently, our current landlord has expressed his frustration with our being late often with our monthly payments and how it affects his own personal finances. This is understandable, but we have been doing the best that we can. However, he has told us that he’s reached his limit and wants us to move. Soon. As soon as possible. As in by the beginning of July. He notified us of this a couple of months ago, and ever since then we have been trying to find a home, figure out a way to pay for movers, and how to come up with the normal 1st/last month’s rent, security deposit, etc. We can’t qualify for a loan because of how the foreclosure has affected our credit score. We don’t have any family that can help us with that amount because, quite frankly, they’ve been there for us many times before and now find themselves tapped out. Our home search is narrowed down to two locations. There have been others that we have looked at, but we haven’t been able to qualify, or haven’t been able to get creative on a deal. We think that we have found the right place for us in the two homes we are focusing on now. The biggest problem that we face is that we don’t have the entire amount needed for the movers or the 1st/last, etc. We literally have tried everything that we possibly could in order to raise the money on our own. Orange/The rethink Group has once again stepped up and will be providing us with some funding, but we are still quite a ways off from the total amount that we need for either of the homes I mentioned previously. We are running out of time, and if we don’t get help and are able to move by the date set by our landlord – he will start eviction proceedings. If that gets on our record, it’ll be almost impossible to even get an apartment.
If you know us, then you know that we are not extravagant spenders or financially irresponsible people. Life just happens, and sometimes you go through awful periods. It’s how you come out on the other side that’s important. It’s been a struggle to remain positive at times and not throw our hands up and give up. But it’s our faith that keeps us going. We can also feel that we’re so close to starting a wonderful, amazing new chapter in the lives of everyone in our family. The exclamation point – rather than the question mark – when we say “Moving to Tennessee is the right answer”, came when Hannah was accepted at the University of Tennessee beginning this fall. Yeah…it’s a total God thing. We need help. Our goal for this GoFundMe account is $10,000. If you can make that happen with a contribution in any way, we will be forever grateful to you. If you aren’t able to…your prayers will be appreciated just as much, if not more. Thank you for reading this long, epic post.
The Pierce Family
- Kim Wageck
- Renee Buckley
- Tracy Kristalakis
- Richard Zackerdonski
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