When HeatherRLange posted a forum topic on December 20th asking if any people from Etsy were in need, one of the first responses came in from Brian of BraidedLight. His request was simple: if anyone in the Portland, Oregon area would like to donate cans or bottles to help his family survive on one income, he would be grateful. He didn't ask for anything else.
Little did he know what would become of that simple request. In his words:
"After posting an ad on Etsy requesting bottles and cans from Portlanders, I was totally unprepared for the response I got. Etsy posters and sellers purchased a dozen items from my shop, and a couple others donated funds totalling $535. I am still stunned by this response as I write these words. I really was (and still am) only looking for bottles and cans to recycle but the sales and gifts were a tremendous help and encouragement during a difficult time."
Brian and his wife, Larissa, choose to survive on one income so that Larissa can stay home with their two young children. Like so many of us have found, this is not an easy financial road to take. After Brian completed graduate school, he was unable to find steady work for two years. In Brian's words, "Larissa worked really hard to put me through school. My parents graciously put up with Larissa and I and our two toddlers while we lived with them. I was finally able to find work in Oregon in late spring of 2007. We were able to move into our own apartment last summer. We are grateful every day to have enough to pay the rent and the grocery bills." Unfortunately, his salary does not cover medical insurance, and they've struggled with Brian's depression and their daughter has broken her arm twice this year.
Brian also shared with HOST that his wife's grandmother had had a stroke and his brother-in-law is terminally ill with cancer. Brian and his wife Larissa are looking into the idea of moving out of their apartment and buying a house where they can help care for Larissa's grandmother but right now, that idea seems financially impossible. The couple is also trying to stay strong for Brian's sister and her family, including two young children, and help them cope with the realities of cancer. Chemotherapy has taken it's toll on Brian's brother-in-law, and although the long-term prognosis does not seem good, they do have treatment options to consider.
Brian feels that his immediate family's needs are very small compared to the needs around them. Despite struggling to make ends meet, they consider themselves blessed. Brian expressed his thanks to HOST: "It was helpful to express some of these concerns. Many of them are a heavy weight to bear, and laying them down is a very healing practice. Thank you for the chance to do so!"
Below the Waterline
Both Brian and Larissa have Etsy shops to help supplement their income. Brian's amazing black and white photography and other work can be found at http://braidedlight.etsy.com/. Larissa's fabulous sewn clothing and purses can be found at http://elaborations.etsy.com/.