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Coffee With Clare

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Hi and welcome back to Coffee with Clare everything Thursday!  I am delighted that you are here!

Dear Clare,

My husband, Jim, lost his job over three years ago.  He had a very good, middle management job with the company he gave 14 years of his life.  They downsized, and he lost his job.  We are middle aged – in our early 50’s – and it took my husband over 13 months to find another job, but a much lower salaried position.  Jim did receive some severance pay, but we quickly went through that.  We dealt with the stress of losing his job and juggling all the bills.  We got behind with our mortgage and eventually lost our home due to foreclosure.

My dilemma – I can’t seem to adjust to our life now.  We have worked hard for years while raising two kids, now 21 and 18.  We are renting a modest, three bedroom apartment in a decent neighborhood, but of course I miss our middle-income lifestyle, the joys of home ownership, and living in a great neighborhood.  I am bitter and discouraged over this situation.  I am trying hard not to “blame” my husband for this as it is not his fault; however, this transition has created lots of stress in our marriage too.

Please help!  How can I feel better about our “future” and adjust to our new lifestyle?

Signed Discouraged in Des Moines.

Elderly Woman having a headache. Stress and depression.

Dear Discouraged:

I am sorry that you and your family have had to walk through the uprooting of your house and the loss of your husband’s job – that certainly is a “double blow”.  Goodness, my husband and I both  have gotten downsized more than once, and it is so, so difficult.  We did not lose our home, but we went through the stress of trying to hold on, having less money and major adjustments.  I am sure you have suffered “financial grief” – anger, sadness, embarrassment, discouragement, and a fear of the future.   

I would suggest gathering up a strong support group– close family and friends – a trusted group – maybe others who have gone through a similar experience.

Realize you have made it through and have overcome a very difficult situation, and you can do this!  I would suggest you enjoy many of the outings and hobbies you have in the past; decorate this new “home” (apartment) as if it was yours.  It’s also important for you and your husband to have alone time and spend time together.  Keep the communication open with your husband.  If you can’t work through your feelings as a couple, you may want to seek out professional counseling.

Your house does not define you.  Consider the upside of apartment life.  Right now, you don’t have the burden of worrying about money for fixing the roof if it leaks or purchasing a new air conditioning unit because the old one just breathed its last breath.  You don’t have the burden of fixing the leaky bathroom sink; no lawn mowing and no maintenance right now.  You may not be a “homeowner” right now, but you can learn to survive and thrive.  You just have to find the things in your life that make you happy and do them.  Concentrating on what you can control This will make you feel like you want to live more and can live more in the moment!

You have lost your home, but you still have the most precious things in life – your husband, your kids, and probably many more blessings in your life.

apartment building

Readers – any suggestions for “Discouraged in Des Moines”?

Thank you for stopping in today!  I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at:   I would love to hear from you!

Until next time~



Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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  • Sue A Allen says:

    Keep looking for the good! Several years ago we went through a similar experience in that we lost our home to a hurricane and our insurance was unwilling to pay for the majority of damages. We had to wipe out our life savings to make repairs. I look back at that experience now and consider it when of the best blessings in my life. I learned to depend on God for my daily bread, and to lean on Him as my provider. I saw His provision through family and friends like never before. I also saw God strip me of our wealth, which was my security blanket. Never before had I realized how much I depended on AND found my self-worth in all the things I had. God taught me that my identity is sufficiently found in Him and Him alone (it was a really hard lesson for me…but oh, so worth it!). One last thing…look for someone around you that needs help. Someone in a shelter, prison, after school program…someone you can minister to and be the hands and feet of Jesus too. You will quickly find your eyes turned off of your situation when you do.

    • Clare says:

      What a strong testimony and I and my readers appreciate your sharing from your heart, Sue. I am sorry you had to go through that but it certainly sounds like you did come out the other side stronger! I love how you shared that you depended on God…. and He pulled you through! It is so great, and important, too, to try to take our eyes off ourselves and help others!

  • Bethany says:

    I would suggest investing in any outdoor space they have and making it enjoyable, it’s amazing how privileged you can feel drinking a glass of cheap wine of a deck with twinkle light, comfy chairs and candles. Get funky with it!!

    • Clare says:

      What a wonderful idea, Bethany! Some nice lawn chairs or outdoor chairs with a small table. I love sitting outside – day and night and it seems so much more peaceful…. add some candles and your choice of beverage and wow! Great idea – thanks for helping!

  • Okay…..Am I the only one looking around asking if this woman went out and got a job in the interim? Women who put that kind of pressure on a man to provide in this day and age make me bite through my tongue. God calls us to be industrious, men and WOMEN. He gives us creativity and gumption to get through the hard times. I don’t know, you can all tell me if I am totally off base here. Happy to listen but I had a REALLY hard time with this one Clare.

    • Clare says:

      Good point, Heather, but I am not sure “Discouraged” works or doesn’t work… she just said she is busy raising her family. I am glad you shared this, too, as if she is not working outside the home, she doesn’t have to be concerned about daycare costs as her children are older, now would be a great time to investigate employment – if she isn’t working. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  • Mhar Sefcik says:

    In life there’s ups and downs. Even the very rich people in this world encounter transitions. Don’t get discouraged. There will be more bigger opportunity coming. Like what the elders say, keep our eyes open.

    • Clare says:

      If nothing else, certainly life has its cycles of ups and downs for sure! Yes, I hope this couple can push through and not stay discouraged! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Shann Eva says:

    Great advice, Clare. Your home definitely does not define you. While it is great to be a home owner, renting also has many benefits, as you pointed out. I hope she can find some support and talk things through so she doesn’t resent her husband.

    • Clare says:

      Yes, our home doesn’t define us for sure…. I think we can all often get a little caught up in that sometimes. Yes, I hope they can get a good core group of support, too! Thanks!

  • angie says:

    I have lived in such conditions having occasionally lived with relatives, in homes that were not big enough and yes we were blessed to live in and now buy our current house. It takes time perhaps there are needs that He wants us to pay more attention to that we may not have. Our home does not state who we are but loving our family through it all does. My prayer is that there will be help her way to meet all the needs

    • Clare says:

      Yes, our family and taking care of them is so key! And it’s easy to put our eyes on the difficult circumstances. Our homes don’t state who we are for sure! Thanks so much!

  • I totally symapthise with how stressful this is. And a change like this can be a shock when you are not prepared for it. But, I have to say our perspective on a lot of things has changed in the last 12 months. We are living in a third world country. My partner has been building houses, voluntarily, for poor families. They are simple wooden stilt houses. One room, no plumbing, no electricity. The people are so grateful for this small thing, that is everything to them. And despite their hardships, their lack of money, their lack of food, they always reward you with a huge smile.
    I know this does not make your situation better, but what I am trying to say, is that sometimes we don’t need all the things we think we need. The most important things are family and good friends, a sense of humour and the ability to be able to enjoy the simple things in life. Stay positive and hold onto all those important things that you do have, like relationships.

    • Clare says:

      Wow – what an adventure and such a wonderful way to “give back”! What you see in a day must certainly be an eye opener! I bet you appreciate the “little things” that we, in our country, take for granted. Yes, enjoying the simple things in life is so key! Thanks for sharing your experiences because I think we could all use a “refresher course” on how good we do have it in our country! Thanks!

  • Voyager says:

    It is easy for us to suggest, but she is the one who is going through the trauma. The best thing now is to start afresh, with new dreams and hope, try not to look back, but move ahead. Hope is what keeps us going.

    • Clare says:

      Starting anew…. that’s such a challenge but a fresh start can be such a good thing! Hope is truly what keeps us going!

  • Alonda says:

    I know it’s easy for me to say because I’m not I her shoes but I would say cling to people, not posessions. Draw near to your husband as a friend, partner, and the love of your life. Encourage him and support as he does the best he can. A strong relationship with him is worth more than a house.

    • Clare says:

      Yes, drawing in to her husband, family and friends should certainly help take her eyes off the circumstances and put them on the ones she loves! A strong relationship will hopefully get them through these difficult times! Thanks!

  • Downsizing and job loss are two very bitter pills to swallow. Like you’ve mentioned, it is at no fault of your husband. Do continue to be supportive of him, your union, and your household. If there is any way to help out financially during this time, exercise that option as well. Wishing your family the best.

    • Clare says:

      Thanks so much for sharing, Reginia – all wonderful points. It’s not easy and her husband needs her emotional support. And I am not sure if “Discouraged” is working or not but if not, now would be a great time to check into employment.

  • My husband’s mother went through a similar but more dramatic situation. Her family was one of the wealthiest families in Chile. The family owned land from the coast all they way to the border with Argentina. Their primary residence was the former Brazilian embassy building that covered almost an entire city block and had a full-size roller skating rink and bowling alley in the basement area. The family owned several giant farms and one terrible year disaster struck via bad weather. My mother-in-law’s family lost a large portion of their fortune and their lifestyle changed. Then later, as a married mother of four, the coup that was financed by the American CIA to remove President Allende, a democratically-elected president, to put in a puppet military dictator occurred on September 11, 1973. Their presidential palace was bombed, and life changed drastically as my husband’s father was part of the president’s staff. The family had to escape the country and leave everything behind – home, cars, family, friends, pets, and a lifestyle that included maids and nannies. They were given visas to several different countries, and the parents allowed their children to choose where they would like to spend their lives. They arrived in the U.S. with only a few suitcases. They didn’t know the language, they didn’t have any friends or family here. They knew absolutely no one. This family of six had to start over completely from scratch. What’s amazing was their resilience and not feeling sorry for themselves. They were grateful to have their lives and one another. “Discouraged,” the important thing for you to remember is that you still have so many incredible blessings in your life. And here’s something else to consider: Once children are grown, many couples look forward to downsizing their large family home to live in a condo where there’s no building maintenance, yard maintenance, and less house cleaning needing to be done. Look at your situation as a welcome increase in personal freedom! Revel in the joys that it brings.

    • Clare says:

      Wow – what a powerful family story Denay! Your mother in law should truly write a book on her real life adventures…. and it is wonderful that they had to escape and start over and still realized all their family and blessings! What a wonderful true example of courage and encouragement for each of us! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • I think she really needs to put things into perspective. Americans in general need to quit looking at their value in how much stuff they have and look at what truly matters their health and that of their family’s, their safety and their family’s, the blessing of loved ones, etc. Not having a house is a blessing you can do so much more without having to worry about the huge upkeep of things. Has she considered downsizing the apartment too? If it’s just her and her husband then they could get by in a two bedroom or even a one bedroom, which might allow her to move into an area she prefers. Honestly, I actually miss apartment life: pool, rec room/weight room, manicured lawns, etc and I didn’t have to take care of any of it. 🙂 If she is still truly worried about money, she should look into getting a job or second job if she already has one.

    • Clare says:

      Yes, most modernized apartments these days have such wonderful amenities, Brandi! Thanks for reminding us all of that! So true. This is such a wonderful point that often times we must put things and our situations into perspective – thanks for sharing!

  • candy says:

    Remember a house is a thing and yes we all need someplace to live. Always look for simple happy things that are happening in your life.

    • Clare says:

      Yes, appreciating the family and friends we love and who love us! And also the simple things of daily life that we take for granted…. the air that we breath, most of us have legs to walk, a roof over our head, running water…. it can be hard to be in a place of gratitude but I think it is essential to get through the hard times!

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