On Tuesday, we received some bad news.
It seems the state legislature has given some pretty big budget cuts to all state universities. In this economy, such things are to be expected. We've known about the cuts for quite a while, and hoped that the music department would somehow escape the consequences because they didn't rehire a full-time professor who left last semester.
We weren't so lucky. I get to keep my job, but Joel doesn't. They decided that the Jazz band could be handled by the full-time professor over band, even though it makes his load incredibly full. They cut several other adjuncts, so it's nothing personal....just deciding which classes can either be cut altogether, or taken over by full-timers.
I admit, I freaked out a tiny bit (a lot). It's not really a ton of money, but it paid the student loan each month. I've been pretty worried about how we'll make it next semester, and I've been praying that we will be okay financially. I've been looking at our budget and finding things we can tighten our belts on. I can always do better with couponing. Joel can take more private students. I can raise my photography prices, which I was going to do anyway. We probably won't be able to save up for the tenth anniversary trip we were hoping to take this summer. I've considered unwrapping and returning half of Christmas. As a last resort, I suppose we could defer the student loans for a bit, but I would really hate to do that.
And then, the mail came. In it was a notice from the Utah State Tax Commission. It said that we prepared our taxes for 2007 incorrectly, and they would be refunding us almost 200 dollars. It isn't millions of dollars and it won't even pay the entire student loan payment for one month, in fact. However, I felt it was a little wink from Heavenly Father (as my friend Hilary puts it) telling us that all would be well. After all, He has always taken care of us, why should He stop now?
Every year (2007, 2006, 2005) I love to reflect back on the blessings we have received from tithing. They aren't always obvious, but the simple fact that we have been able to pay our bills on the salary of a high school teacher is nothing short of a miracle. High School teacher's salaries aren't made to pay off loans incurred by earning a doctorate, and I don't advise trying it. This is our situation, though, and we felt that this job and this place was where the Lord wanted us to be for now, and He has proven time and time again, that when we follow His commandments, tithing and otherwise, we are richly blessed.
So, I have resolved that I am not going to worry. We might have to live off of rice and beans, but hey! The gas prices will save us a hundred dollars a month alone. Joel will have less stress in his life, and I won't have to cook as often. Things will be okay. They will likely even be better than okay. I know this, because they always are.