2014 My Journey My Way

"Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one."
Brad Paisley  

This past year may have totally SUCKED for you.  Every day to show up for work or to look for work may have been all that you could do.  Maybe you lost a loved one to death or divorce.  Maybe your body is changing in ways that challenge your Spirit to its core.  I get that ....all of it. 

Now I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  

It took me 8 years to accomplish.

I didn't eat out, and only bought the very basic clothes for 8 years.

I did not take dance lessons for 8 years or pay to go on a vacation of any sort.

I humbly stayed in other friend’s and family’s homes many times for free or very little as I looked for employment.

This 8 year journey started the day my spouse of 23 years walked out without any warning.  My family of four that I had built with my heart and given my entire adult life to since the age of 19, was forever changed by the one person on the face of the earth who had sworn to love and keep me.  My personal 9-11 had blown up around me and all I could do was cry a lot, move one of my two kids with me to a different home, cry some more, smash some wedding china, get counseling and get a job.
My work experience to that point had been home school wife and mother with 1 year office experience. 

This 8 year journey also came smack-dab at the beginning of the worst economy and hopes for a job America has seen in a long time.


Another unexpected gift I was given.  

Since age 19 I had innocently and ignorantly signed “married filing jointly” and after the divorce I learned I was the proud co-owner of a substantial IRS debt.

And so the journey began.

About 1 year after the divorce I put the Kleenex box down, stopped bawling, shaking with dread and started getting in touch with the IRS.  I was innocent….surely we could work something out…right?

Several months were spent attempting to claim Innocent Spouse Relief.  I was honest….provided my banking account information, my new job information and guess what?   The IRS said “no” and went to levy my last job and took the money from my checking account.  They did stay in touch with many follow up letters.

Next, I hired an attorney who printed off government forms, charged me quite a bit of money and basically said “go get ‘em Tiger”!  I invested about two solid weeks (unemployed at the time) filling out paperwork, applying for tax records and such.  
Again, I was innocent, this was NOT my responsibility and I had a legal document honored by the State that declared so.  The IRS said “no” and sent an IRS Officer to my door with a new package to fill out. 

I called the Officer the next day and set up an appointment to meet in Atlanta.  The paper work was filled out, usually over some wine and tissues while feeling really sorry for myself…..but I faced her anyway.  Waited for months and during that time got rejection after rejection letter and then a payment plan option that was ridiculous to attempt to accomplish on my earnings as an Administrative Temp.  Again, I had honestly given them my information.  This time they said “no” and seized the money from my account and bombarded me with nasty notes on a monthly basis.

Ah……the choice to become better or to become bitter was a daily dose of medicine to my soul.

I may be honest but I am also street-smart.  At this point the realization that honesty will get you a home in a cardboard box under a bridge when dealing with those with no integrity sank in.

Something in me wanted to clear my name more than anything.   So began my journey of strict financial living but more than that; a journey of the heart unfolded.

I had the rejection of a spouse.  Rejection of interview after interview in a tough economy multiplied with the IRS literally showing up at my door.  Looking back I honestly don’t know how I made it to fight one more time.

It took about 4 years to pull together the $3,750.00  to hire Freedom Tax Relief. And another year to save for the “Cash Offer In Compromise.”  I continued to fear that I would not get to my bank account fast enough before the IRS got to my check every pay day.  I feared opening the door to another IRS Officer.  I feared my job being levied again.  

This past year between Freedom Tax Relief and the support of my best friend I went one more final round of paper work and received the Release from the debt with my Offer In Compromise.

Was it fair that I had to take responsibility for a debt that was not legally mine in the moral or State of GA legal system?  No.

However, just like the Divorce, the IRS Debt was a tool that I could choose to dig my own grave with or dig my way out of the grave I was dumped into.

I dug out Baby!

I am stronger and wiser than ever before.  Yes, it called for emotional journeys that I often wondered if I would make it through.  It called for demanding that even if just in words, I would choose to speak forgiveness that was contrary to the feelings in my heart…..somehow I would learn to forgive because my kids and I are worth it.  

It took 3 times.  3 Different Battles!  

But I beat the IRS.  

I won.  
I’m free.  
My name has been restored.

I don’t scare that easy any more.  I even told one fellow bullying employee that if I could survive a divorce and survive the IRS I could survive him!

Determination…..even if it is when you say to yourself out loud “Just breath damn it!”

Choices….every moment…..every day…..every month….year after year. 

Like a butterfly coming out of a tight cocoon, the journey squeezed me, wrapped me in darkness, left me lonely, impaired my vision to a world of light and beauty, and imprisoned those wings that were genetically created to fly until they were strong enough.

Struggle ……does not last forever.

I'm flying again!  My wings are developing, getting stronger and my eyes are adjusting to the many people, places and things of beauty that can be trusted to rest on and in.

This coming year 2014 will be the first year that I have not been a child in my parent’s home, or the wife of a man in charge of the finances.

Tomorrow begins the first year in my entire life that the book and the pen I have been given are new and fresh and only my name is embossed on the cover.  

As quoted by Brad Paisley, "Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one."

Written by Debbie Kesley


  1. Thanks for sharing you powerful story, I am sure it will help many who live if fear re money

  2. Powerful ! ( and awful - in both ways.. awful in what someone put you through and awe-ful that you survived and grew wings.
    Your new book will be a journey well earned - and much improved I am sure !