Howdy folks 🙂 Wow, it has been a LONG time since I updated you all. I never did get to sending out a Christmas newsletter last year so made a concerted effort this year to get one mailed out early! They were all in the mail before the end of October! Alas, that newsletter is rather outdated now as life has since then got rather “interesting”, for want of a better word!
2023 has been a tough one for the business. Liquidation has become a lot more expensive and sales have been down BUT we have persevered, gone with the flow, changed some things and seen some great blessings.
Hannah was coming to visit us every 2 weeks on a Sunday earlier this year but her behavior just became worse and worse so visits were stopped. Not surprising to Richard & I, her behavior did not improve! She became aggressively violent towards the people she is staying with, doing damage to their home, just like she did to us & ours. Just recently her latest evaluation finally labeled her with bi-polar! We have been asking for that diagnosis for years! Not only that, it has been recommended that she eat a balanced diet and not be allowed to watch horror movies! Go figure! At this time, we just talk to Hannah on the phone as they attempt to get her stable plus we do not need the extra stress at this time in our lives. Read on for more…
For quite some time Richard has been having issues with what he thought was AFib. It would come & go. Three weeks ago after sometimes struggling to breathe and the feeling that something had changed, along with the irregular heartbeat staying and racing at 150, he went to the doctor, something neither of us like to do. After an EKG, the doctor asked Richard if he was driving himself to the hospital or taking an ambulance. Richard drove himself! Being a Friday, not all the tests were done as fast as normal but bit by bit we got information that we would rather not have heard! Richard did not have AFib but AFlutter along with a snapped mitral valve in his left ventricle! Medicine did not work at converting his heartrate so on Tuesday, 2 weeks ago, they shocked him with 200 joules! The doc wasn’t expecting that to work either but God…. His heart is now beating regularly 🙂 Alas, due to the cardiovert, they are not able to do any more testing or fix the valve for at least 4 weeks! We go up for the heart catherization on Dec 7th, followed by a meeting with the surgical team on the 15th. The heart cath will check the pressures of his heart and also look for potential blockages in his arteries.
The doctor gave Richard a note saying that he was fit to go back to work. That really is a joke! Whilst Richard is up & about, he tires easily and the medicines he is on, to keep his body working to the best of its ability due to blood flowing back up instead of down, make him nauseous. He walks daily but at a much slower pace than usual. He is able to drive and comes down to the store for a couple hours. Today, Caleb helped him move pallets down to the store as we do not want to put any extra strain on his heart. Are we downhearted? No! Have there been tears? Yes BUT we are fully believing that we are going to come through this victorious, giving the Lord all the glory. Richard is going to be fitter than he ever was!
Life has definitely changed! We have had to adapt. Thankfully over the summer when business was slow we reorganized the warehouse with the help of a new tool, a forklift. This has allowed us to become WAY more organized. It is also less straining on our bodies! We invested in heavy duty Gaylords (large cardboard boxes that fit on a pallet & are long-term stackable with no bend or give). All the pallets are now repacked/sorted according to content as truckloads come in. For example, all Christmas is labeled with the name of the company it came from & whether it casepack or shelf pulls. Once this Christmas season is over, those pallets get stacked 3 high making much more efficient use of space. When Christmas comes in during the year as it tends to do, we just have an open pallet waiting for it. Once it is filled we cover and seal it, put it away and start on another one. There could be 6 open pallets waiting for goods at any given time – Fall, Halloween, Christmas, Spring, Summer etc.
God opened the door for us to have high functioning special needs students work for 1 1/2 hours once a week. That may not sound much but 5 helpers can do a LOT in that time. Since Richard has been sick, I have had them pricing product for both the store and our booths. It has been an INCREDIBLE help. Another IMMENSE blessing was a lady from our church who started helping us out this past summer. She has been amazing and does all our merchandising. Daniel still works for us full-time, Michelle works two afternoons a week, we have another part time lady and Caleb will help in the warehouse if needed and bring down pallets. I was finally getting to take Mondays off but due to me doing slightly shorter days now, I am working on a Monday & Tuesday up in the warehouse trying to get it even more organized before Richard has to have more procedures. We are BLESSED beyond measure 🙂
I think that catches you up on what is going on. I will do my best to keep you updated as we go forward here.