okay, time for some real.

Today has been rough. Rough, rough, rough. A sweet friend just called me on the phone and asked if I was sick because my nose was stuffy and my voice sounded yuck. Nope. Just been crying a lot.

Just now got a sweet text from someone else and here come the tears again. Man.

Asking God for wisdom as I type, because I tend to over-share, and Gabe and I have come to blows on more than one occasion when I talk about stuff publicly that he thinks should stay within these walls. I have good news though. I’ve got his blessing to write this post.

So, no, I won’t share all that’s going on. I just want to lay something out to kind of give you a picture of what we’re up against. You all know Gabe had a heart attack last October. Then we went to Cambodia for 5 weeks in December and January. At the end of January, the anxiety and panic attacks started. The emergency room bills started piling up.

Gabe had to quit his job in March. The anxiety was just too much. His health insurance was good through April 30, and then we were on our own. We scoped out cheaper health insurance options but no one would take a heart attack survivor. We had no option but the $753/month COBRA (continuing health coverage from his job). His heart/anxiety meds are over $800/month alone and are free once we meet our deductible (which is no problem at all).

So, yeah. For the first few months of self-employment, Gabe was dealing with severe anxiety/depression, making it almost impossible for him to work some days. Praise Jesus for friends and family (and strangers) who have felt compelled to help us out, little (and BIG) bits at a time. We never had to ask (we had decided we wouldn’t–just ask God to prompt people if he saw fit), and we NEVER could’ve made it this far on our own. No no no no way.

In the past few months–PRAISE JESUS!!–Gabe has gotten healthier, stronger, and has been churning out websites/logos like nobody’s business. And he’s also been helping people for free, loving the homeless, and all kinds of other stuff he wouldn’t want me to share.

I’m so, so proud of him.

Each month had still been a struggle, because we weren’t just paying that month’s bills, we were trying to catch up from being months behind. But we were seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

And then November.

Here’s the deal when you’re a self-employed web designer. From Thanksgiving to the New Year, this is what you’ll hear over and over and OVER from potential clients–“I really, really want a web site. Really I do. But I just can’t swing it until the holidays are over. I’ll be in touch in the New Year.”

It makes perfect sense. I would say the same exact thing in their position.

But for Gabe (and anybody else in a similar position), the holidays mean: 1.) no Christmas bonus. 2.) no paid time off. 3.) no work.

I know soooooo many of you can relate. So many people are struggling. And I know from visiting two homeless camps this past weekend that WOW are we blessed. Just because we can’t make a house payment doesn’t mean we won’t get to live here with the lights and heat on until we can pay. And there will ALWAYS be friends and family who would willingly help us out if we just said the word.

So, here’s the deal. My fear with writing stuff like this is that we’ll open our front door two hours from now and there will be 500 bags of groceries and envelopes of cash. And I don’t want that.

Here’s what we would humbly ask of you today:

1. Your prayers for God’s provision for our family.

2. Work (of any kind–for Gabe, me, our girls–we’re in this together).

At this time of year, Gabe is willing to work twice as hard as usual, meaning he can charge you half as much for websites, family photos, logo design, blog make-overs, video stuff.

And I can tutor, babysit, purge/organize your house for the holidays, write stuff, speak (about anything from sex to missions) to your group, whatever.

(You can e-mail me here or contact Gabe here.)

Thanks so much, friends, for letting me pour out my heart. I love you. All of you. For real.

19 thoughts on “okay, time for some real.

  1. Claudia Porpiglia

    Sure wish you and your girls lived closer because Tina would absolutely love you to take care of her…maybe you can plan a trip to Florida. We can offer you a roof over your heads, food and some laughs and we can trade for one day of free babysitting.

  2. Pingback: Marla Taviano » me and nehemiah

  3. Valerie

    Will be praying. I do have an appointment on the 21st with the Hematologist. Might I interest you guys in Sean wrangling??

    I may also be interested in getting rid of the ducks on the blog later in the month… I’m easy to please…anything but ducks and preferably an area in the header to put a picture. Mike has had his hands too full to deal with my duck issues…

  4. Stephanie


    Can you share just ONE tangible need you guys have so Daniel and I can pray super specifically for you, Gabe, and the girls? You can shoot me an e-mail if you’d like. 🙂


  5. Laura Eckstein

    Praying for you too! Every day I seem to be thanking the Lord for his provision…but am I being the steward that i should be…NOT! I understand about the holiday thing….not many people wanting a flooring installer in during the holidays….usually we hear…as soon as we get our taxes! We will be praying for God’s provision for your family! Love you all!

  6. Beth

    A couple of years ago I left my job and tried to work from home but the seasonality of the work and the absence of a definite paycheck every 2 weeks drove me back to work outside the home. Have you tried/considered one of the two of you going back to 9 to 5 job? I know that jobs can be hard to come by these days…just wondered if that was something you had tried. Even part time…I know retails stores hire extra staff this time of year even if only for a short time. Just a thought.

  7. Janelle

    cont. to bind satan from any work that is suppose to come your way….for release for work , provision and HIS GREATNESS in your life, I ask a GREAT and MIGHTY GOD…to do only what and how HE can do it : GREAT AND MIGHTY….I have come that YOU mighty have life and have it more abundantly…..what ever that MEANS IN YOUR LIFE, from HIM ALONE…..HIS STOREHOUSE to YOU….open the flood gates….of work, of joy, of provision and may all KNOW THAT YOU ARE GOD…..there is no other name above YOUR NAME….that we might only boast in YOU ALONE….YOUR GLORY, YOUR HAND OF AUTHORITY , in the name of JESUS…..CHRIST….OUR LORD…OUR SAVIOR….our faith is in YOU….they open their hearts, ready and waiting to receive all that YOU are about to give them, in the name of JESUS CHRIST, amen

  8. Sharon

    Praying for you and your fam, Marla! Thanks for keeping it real. So I thought if you had insurance and had a pre-existing condition (which I’m assuming a heart attack would count as?) that no insurance company could deny taking you on? That it would just be a problem getting new coverage if you had a gap in insurance. Just curious – would it be cheaper to keep Gabe on COBRA, but you and the girls get health insurance with a different company?

    1. brooke

      wife of a self-employed pre-existing condition chiming in. the mandate regarding pre-existing conditions haven’t kicked in yet. and when they do, there isn’t a really a mandate on what they have to charge. the rules say they must provide it, not that they must provide it at a reasonable price.

      i know all this b/c my husband wants me to quit my job (with insurance) so i can work with him and he can be doubly productive. i’d have to make over double my current salary working with him to break even.

  9. Marissa

    Praying that this month will be the month you look back on and see how the Lord kept His promise to supply all your needs in amazing and unexpected ways. Thanks for your honesty so we can join you in prayer!

  10. esimon

    Always in our prayers but that being said…. don’t put God in a box – 500 bags of groceries and cash might just be God’s plan,,, or work when there isn’t any. Just give it to Him, He knows your hearts and willingness and someone might be buying groceries right now and that is taking great faith on their part. Your lives are bringing glory to the Lord don’t ever doubt that my friend

  11. Addie

    I am definitely praying for yall… and I absolutely wish you lived closer b/c I would pay you to come over and purge for me

    We are saving for our next adoption and my photography work supplements that, and as the year winds down, business is getting scarce (and will continue to be slow until March), so I definitely feel you… 🙂

  12. Shannon Wheeler

    Praying for you, friend. Praying an outpouring of provision over your family and that God will provide good and satisfying work for you all that will be not only providing for your family but furthering the Kingdom. Praying also that God would remember your heart for Cambodia and work out all the details, large and small, to make the dreams that have taken root in your heart spring up and take shape. He will accomplish all He’s promised you.

  13. Ruth

    Praying, friend! For sure. Wishing we lived closer, ’cause I’d totally take Gabe up on the family photo idea! **hugs**

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