The Next Chapter Begins

Let’s start out with the basic fact that God has blessed me immensely.

All the rest of this story comes from that simple fact.

I am writing this, as has been my dream for a number of years, from the lanai (fancy word for back porch) of my new home in the Everglades. Not near the Everglades, in them. There is a canal on the rear property line of my home that extends to the Gulf of Mexico. I am listening to the neighbor’s rooster crowing and looking out of the acres of land that are now my home. Well, Chewy is out here too, and Kip will be once she wakes up.

Today I’m going to concentrate on the good stuff. The blessings. Soon I will write about why I moved from the negative perspective. But today is a day of joy for we closed on this property one week ago today.

I think the funny stuff about the move will be a unique blog as well, so today let me talk about how this all happened, and why it can be the same for you.

I was in Florida, visiting my mother and helping her out with the annual garage cleaning/fixing the computers/light bulb changing stuff that 5’2” moms need from their 6’ sons, when God put His hand on my back and gave me the first 10,000 words of Nicholas of Haiti. I wrote them on my mother’s lanai, and it was an invigorating blast. I really needed to write in open air. When I got back home, I put in two patios outside so I could write out there as well. Some of my best work was done in the backyard under a blazing sun.

I knew that I had to make that a reality if I wanted to be a serious writer. But what about the finances? It isn’t cheap to live in this part of Florida, and I’d been a marginal saver up until about 10 years ago. I buckled down, kicked the 401K up to the max donation, banked everything I could manage, and worked like a maniac.

Yes, those 0300 recording sessions for audio books were a big part of this. I now have a nice income from those sales every month. And this home has a very quiet room (it’s out in the middle of nowhere – sort of) where I can record during the day. I’m still unpacking – the stuff all arrived two days ago – but once the studio gear is unpacked I plan to work 3 hours a day doing voice over work. The internet is wonderful, and I have audio books just waiting for me to audition.

Combine the above with my acting in television commercials, and work as Santa, and it was a five figure income every year. It also meant I was never home during November and December. But I was above board, declared it all for taxes, and it was money in the bank.

Lots of days without much rest, and I tried to write while I was still working 40 hours a week at the offices of Centurylink. Yes, I worked for the phone company as a Customer Service Specialist. We had little to do with Customer Service, but we were called Super Techs because we could theoretically do any job in the company. Very intense technical stuff dealing with the internet and customer data. I loved it, I will miss my techs that I worked with installing devices over 14 states, and I will miss the people I worked with all those years. I retired two weeks ago. I had never mentioned what I did, or where I worked because as a public persona they can make you comply with all the corporate rules in your blog. That was too big a cost in freedom.

So, what’s the moral of the story above? I was blessed by God with many opportunities, and today his blessing extends to a beautiful house in a great climate. Yes, there are gators, bears, snakes, coyotes, and hurricanes. But I never again have to check the parking lot for black ice lest I slip and break another limb. It also means that if you seek out the opportunity to use the gifts God gave you, you will find ways to bank some extra money. Maybe just eat out once a week, or cut the cable. The last year of lockdown saw our accounts grow dramatically, because we couldn’t go anywhere! You can do it a well if you are willing to put the work in. You have it within you if you look.

This move also brings me closer to my mother, as she lives about 40 minutes from my house. I can see my mommy for lunch. That’s a huge deal to me. I love my mom, and my sister, and my brothers. And some, or all, of them will probably wind up here eventually.

Today I am living the dream and the biggest questions I have are related to the blessing: do I fence in all the acres and get some goats or alpacas to keep the grass down, or do I mow it three times a year?

I love challenges like that.

Joseph Courtemanche

About Joseph Courtemanche

I'm a conservative Christian author who's been happily married for over 30 years. I am a Veteran of the United States Navy, Naval Security Group. I speak a few languages, I have an absurd sense of humor and I'm proud to be an American.

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