This is What Perseverance Looks Like

A couple weeks ago I asked readers here to tell us one of the hardest financial problems you’ve ever gotten over, and we got a TON of responses. It helped that I baited y’all with a free book giveaway (haha…) but one of these comments keeps popping up in my thoughts so I thought I’d share it with you. Having just celebrated Mother’s Day it’s pretty fitting too :)

It may not affect all of you like it did me, but I hope it at least gives you faith that hard work and a strong will really DOES pay off  in the end – no matter what life throws at us. Here’s what my new friend Donna had posted:

“Well, I was once a single mom of three ages 6,4, and 3.  I had a single wide trailer and a car with payments.  Of course I had the trailer payment and lot rent.  I tried to get food stamps but I could only do that if I took off work (I had no paid time off) and stood in line all day.  I drove 50 miles round trip to a part time job.  By the time I paid everyone and put just enough gas in my car I had $10 for food.  Now granted this was 1982 but still!  I planned very carefully with what I had, like one gallon of milk, one loaf of bread, etc.  I got free lunch for my oldest who was in school.  The vending machine company I worked for, the other servicemen would save still good food but too old for the vending machine and give it to me.  I ate a leftover sandwich for dinner, no breakfast and whatever I had at lunch.  I lost 25 pounds but my children were fed.  I have never forgotten where I came from at that time.  I did not care about my own needs but only of those of my kids.  Now, I always preach to them about being ready for emergencies.  I am now debt free but I will never forget how I felt at that time.”

Since I was really moved by this, I asked her if it was okay to re-post this up in hopes it would inspire others too. She of course agreed to it (or else you wouldn’t be reading this right now :) ), but she also expanded on her experiences even more:

“I can tell you I did not feel deprived at the time. I just accepted the fact that my decision to get away from an abusive husband had consequences. These consequences were poverty and lack, however I also had peace, joy and knowing I was providing for my children on my own. I had often thought I might have scarred my children during this time but they still talk fondly (at ages 30,32 and 36!) about the free cookies they got from my friends. Who would have thought? I think sometimes we try and spare our children during hard times when we actually deprive them of valuable learning opportunities and preparation for those times of adversity that will happen in their adult years. Well, there you have it, my 54 year old wisdom in a nutshell … lol.”

To be able to change your life like that is freakin’ amazing, and I admire the crap out of her. Donna was on a mission and she made it happen. And I hope it gives you all faith that you can do the same as long as you’re passionate and keep putting in the hard work. Whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish right now (financially or not), just take it one step at a time and keep pounding away at it.  There’s no doubt in my mind you won’t make it eventually.

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  1. Sense May 10, 2010 at 8:10 AM

    Wow! She sounds like a tough, dedicated lady, and a great mom (like my own, she would sacrifice anything for the sake of her kids…tear!). I am curious how the rest of her life went…she writes very well, so it looks like she is well-educated. How did she make her life better after being in that rough spot? Major respect to her for leaving a bad relationship and being a positive example for her kids!

    Thanks for sharing, J.!

  2. Denise May 10, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    And I was just sitting here feeling sorry for myself that our old van needs some transmission work…. and now I realize how blessed we are to 1. have an old van 2. have $1,500 set aside in a car repair fund to pay for it and 3. have a grocery budget of $125 a week (for 6 people)….we’re scraping by to pay off debt, but we’re still doing ok. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Brandi May 10, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    Wow! There aren’t words to describe how brave and strong she is. That is a very inspiring story and a lesson I won’t forget for myself!

    Own your situation and make the best with what you have! Your life is in your hands.

    Thank you for sharing!!

  4. Young Mogul May 10, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    This is really an inspiring story. It just goes to show that you never know what adversity someone had to go through to get where they are in the present.

  5. Nate St. Pierre May 10, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    Good stuff here. Thanks, man!

  6. HighClassLowIncome May 10, 2010 at 10:08 AM

    That really is a great story J. Really makes you appreciate what you have, and makes me realize that I need to get my ass in action!

  7. Evan May 10, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    Maybe it is me, but I couldn’t imagine being so angry or caring so little for the woman who gave birth to my Children to ignore the needs of those children.

    Good for her to climb out of that!

  8. Favor May 10, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    I’m glad she shared her story. Thank you for posting it.

  9. Stephan May 10, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    Very inspiring post and it will definitely stick me whenever i think im having a bad day!

  10. Donna May 10, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    The rest of the story is that I went back to school in 1991 taking one class at a time. I met the love of my life, Jon, in 1994. I graduated in 1996 with a degree in Occupational Therapy Assisting and have worked in the field ever since (my specialty is Alzheimer’s patients). During my time with Jon we added to the family, Mick who is now 25 and Josh. Josh we kind of adopted. He was a student of my husband’s (Jon is a college professor) whose family fell apart and he had no where to go and was considering giving up on his college studies. We took him in and treated him as our own. Recently we proudly sat as parents at his May wedding to a lovely girl. Josh is now completing his Master’s in Music at Indiana University. Jon and I have 3 grandchildren with another due in 2 weeks. Our old 1890’s house is an empty nest now but Jon and I are just waiting for our next adventure. Maybe we will adopt another student or host another exchange student, I am not sure. Some things we planned on are on hold as I recover from a serious tendon injury to my left foot and battle fibromyalgia. One thing I am sure of though, whatever comes along I, with Jon at my side and the Lord as my shepard, can handle it. :-)

    Thanks again J. I hope I was able to help somebody by sharing my story.

  11. DD May 10, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    Very inspirational post. Thanks for sharing!

  12. MyFinancialObjectives May 10, 2010 at 9:53 PM

    Like everyone else just said, WOW. This is an excellent motivational story to keep in mind next time I feel like just coming home and relaxing, or am pissed about my money problems.
    Your hard work definitely paid off Donna. Again, extremely inspirational! Thank you for sharing:)

  13. Impulse Magazine May 10, 2010 at 10:22 PM

    I have a hard time with perseverance because I never give things a chance and I expect things to happen right away

  14. Sense May 11, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    Thanks for sharing your original and the update to your story, Donna!! Good luck with the rest of your journey.

  15. Chad May 11, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    Wow…thanks for sharing!

  16. J. Money May 11, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    I’m so glad you all enjoyed this!!! been meaning to post it up for a while now and finally went a head and did it…you’ve got some mad supporters Donna! :)

  17. jacqjolie May 27, 2010 at 9:45 PM

    This was a lovely post Donna. I’ve been there too in the past, there’s nothing like going hungry for awhile to appreciate the peace that some money in the bank can give you. Only downside for me is that I still tend to be a food hoarder. Not too different from my grandmother who was young in the Great Depression. :-)

  18. italian charms April 12, 2012 at 6:47 AM

    Vegetarian: Indian word for lousy hunter.