The Sernas are Struggling
Paul and I met and started dating in January 2010 and were engaged before the end of the year. Unfortunately, during that time, I started to get really sick - to the point where I had to take a long-term leave of absence because I physically could not be in the office everyday. Once that leave ran out, we made the decision that I would leave the job since I didn't think that I would be able to perform my beloved work in my condition and would probably lose my job over it anyway. This was a very difficult decision for me since I worked very hard for my degrees and loved the type of work I did. It was also hard on us financially since, in addition to his part-time job with the opera, Paul is self-employed as a computer consultant.
A week before our wedding, I suffered a very specific type of heart attack that was based soley on long-term emotional stress. My anxiety and stomach disease were also getting worse, to where I didn't feel that I would effectively be able to work full time in an office again. It is incredibly hard to maintain employment when you have as many hospitalizations as I have had (maybe in the ballpark of 75 in the past 7 years).
As you can imagine, having that many hospitalizations has been incredibly hard; physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially (especially with my heart attack occuring when I had no health insurance). Paul has been amazing, working his two jobs to keep us running. The past two years, I have had contract positions that I could work from home, but so far this year, I don't yet have anything like that coming in. I also have a photography business, but with little money for advertising for Paul's or my businesses, they are falling on hard times.
We have tried to keep our heads above water for as long as possible, but the tide is coming in and things are getting harder and harder to keep afloat. We hate to ask for help, but are also the first in line to offer help whenever we can.
Paul has also been looking for full time employment for the past year with few nibbles and zero results, further adding to our struggles. We have unfortunately had to rely at times on support from our parents, but that isn't something that we can continue to do, as times are tough all around.
We also know that others are going through tough times and may not be able to help financially. If you are still wanting to help, you might consider forwarding this on to others or referring people to either Paul's computer consulting business or to my photography business (Elizabeth Blessitt Photography). We are more than willing to work and earn the money, but our known client bases are currently in a drought. Both businesses offer a $25 referral credit toward the referrer's next appointment with us.
Thank you so much for your consideration. We are forever grateful for the love and support.
Elizabeth & Paul Serna
I am sure you have recently seen the devastation happening in our hometown of Houston on the news. It's worse than you can possibly imagine. Many of our friends and family have sustained damage up to losing everything they own. We have been fortunate so far (the storm is not over yet) that our physical property has not been damaged, but we are facing a very dire situation.
The Wortham Center, which houses Houston Grand Opera, has been flooded extensively and we don't know how long repairs will take to where they will be open to perform anytime soon.
The majority of Paul's computer clients live in the areas that were hardest hit by the storm. It will be a long time before they will be anywhere near needing his services, as getting their homes back in order will be priority one. This leaves us in a dire situation financially since we don't see any immediate work coming our way. It also stands to note that people are not currently lining up for photography sessions during the hurricane or when their homes have been flooded out.
People all over the country have been asking how they can help this area and my hope would be to find an individual in need and give directly to them. There have always been issues with donating money to organizations who may or may not get the funds directly to someone in need. So please, consider helping an individual family, even if you aren't wanting to help us. But I am not going to lie and say we don't need it desperately. Unfortunately, bills don't stop for a hurricane even though work does. We are incredibly grateful for the first push on our campaign earlier this year and that allowed us to get some more work opportunities and pay our bills through a lot of the summer. But like time, money also runs out and without work the past week leading up to the storm, no work this week because of the storm (still in progress), and the possibility of weeks or months before people are ready to start hiring to fix their computer, we are in a serous bind. Most of the businesses around us are also closed, thereby not needing any kind of temporary help or hiring for permanent positions.
Again, we hate to ask and are always the first to help anyone whenever we can. Paul especially has always been willing to give someone in need the shirt off his back, whether he could afford to or not. We definitely need help from our friends, family, and the kindness of strangers. Even if you don't donate to us, there are many families who need help, so please consider finding one of their campaigns before blindly sending money to a charitable organization. My cousin Lindsey lost everything in this flood and I will post her GFM link on my Facebook page in addition to our own.
Please share this among your networks in case there is someone out there looking to help but doesn't know where to start.
This is Houston's most desperate hour. Help us, Obi-Wan Kenobis. You are our best hope.
Tonight is the last night of opera season for Paul, and I'm not going to lie, the summer looks a little bleak right now. We have been able to get a little breathing room in the bills department due to your generous donations and work referrals, and we are forever grateful! My photography business had a nice influx of customers in April and I am looking for more to help carry us through the summer.
Paul's computer business has picked up a little in the past couple of weeks, but historically, the summers are VERY slow and that always makes us nervous. So, if you know anyone needing their computers updated, repaired, or something like that, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate the work and also provide referral credits when people send work our way!
In addition to photography work, I can also write, edit, organize (pretty much anything, but most often a physical space), and create/refresh resumes. These are all things I have done professionally over the years. If you have need for any of these services or want your photos taken, forgot to get your Senior's photos done, etc., please e-mail me at email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, we are thankful if you can donate anything or share our story with your network. To date, we have had over 4,000 views, which is completely amazing, and have had so much love and support that we really can't believe just how blessed we are to have such a great group of people in our lives. Thank you!
I'm sorry it has been so long since my last update! I have been busy with photo shoots and getting those ready. This has been my busiest month ever! Thank you for sharing my business with your friends! I am always thrilled to have work to do, so please keep sharing or contact me to book a shoot yourself! You can check out my website at www.elizabethblessittphotography.com.
Paul has been busy with opera rehearsals and is still looking for either full-time work or an uptick in computer consulting. You can contact him directly at email@example.com to get your slow computer up and sprinting again!
We are so appreciative of all of the donations, shares, bookings, and referrals from everyone!It still blows me away that nearly 3,600 people have viewed our little campaign! That is far beyond our personal networks, so THANK YOU for sharing!
We are closing in on our initial goal. Please know that we have been able to catch up to the point where we can breathe again. We are not looking forward to the slow summer months and are trying to plan ahead as much as possible. We still appreciate any donations people are able to send.