Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas Time again

It's been a little over a month and things have been easier and harder in different ways.  I really have been held up by my friends and family and getting through the first holiday of the season was way less difficult than I had expected.  It is never easy to be apart during culturally designated family times, but it was nice to spend time together with my mom and dad, kids, new sister and family friends.

Now enter Christmas time.  I really have been dreading it.  Since last year was full of expectation of Caleb coming home right before Christmas, we tried to save things for once he got home and cram a whole holiday season into just 5 days.  This year he's really and truly gone for the whole holiday season and so we put up the tree without him, have listened to copious amounts of Christmas music without him, bought and wrapped gifts alone, and I have spent many a night sitting in my bed watching stupid Christmas movies all the while alone (or mostly alone, Amelia sure hasn't figure out how to actually go to bed without getting up about 15 times).  It's snowing and I am shoveling the drive (or Cole) and lighting the fire in the fireplace.

I am a little overwhelmed with the financial difficulty of living on such a smaller budget-- all the while knowing that Christmas is partly about giving gifts and not knowing where we are going to come up with the money to cover those gifts. A check from a dear family friend/Uncle comes in the mail and whoosh, Christmas is paid for.

I fell last week and hurt my foot, and after hearing that I have had chronic heel pain, my dad paid for me to get my foot adjusted (fixed) and get orthotics for inside my shoes-- and guess what, not only is the injury better, but my feet DON'T hurt.  They have hurt for years and most of the time I've had to sleep with them elevated and my heels not touching anything to have relief-- then I hobble out of bed every morning.  All of those issue are going away!!!!

Last weekend, while I'm paying the bills, I realize that I had forgotten to tithe last month-- the tithing thing-- a necessary discipline of Christian living. To give God our first fruits is something we have done our whole marriage and it is just usually something I do right away, but for some reason I pushed it off, and I realized I needed to make up a lot of giving.  So, mortgage and tithe were the Dec 1 paycheck.  But then, a letter from the Power Company saying a large credit has been placed on our account from another Uncle.

My sister (in law) came to me and said we have an ipad you can have for the kids-- and you know what, it's not even an old one!

Then to top off the month, each and every day I've been getting a surprise on my doorstep as an advent calendar-- and I'm not talking about little stuff-- today I got a beautiful floral arrangement in an awesome tea/coffee pot (and I collect those, so these Christmas elves sure do know their stuff).

Every time I think I just don't know if I can survive another day by myself with the hole of loneliness growing ever larger, God shows up through people in amazing ways.  I am fully taken care of and it is so good to see.  The community of people who love me and have carried me in all ways-- emotionally, financially, babysitting, making me meals, inviting me over to hang out, pouring me a glass of wine or beer, bringing me coffee...  the list can go on and on.  I am blessed.  I am honored to live among such people.

I knew I wanted to make Christmas special for Caleb and by asking our family, he's going to be getting care packages from all over the country-- what an amazing way to love me by loving him-- I often forget that he's just as lonely as I am and by giving him a little holiday cheer, it'll keep him going!!

For the actual Christmas weekend, we are going to a cabin and there's going to be lots of joy because my brother is going to be home.  If I can't have my hubby, I am happy to have my brother.

So, I guess this is the check in-- I'm doing well.  I have a gnawing loneliness that won't go away until Caleb is home and next to me, but I'm OK.  I'm not self sufficient-- I need those around me to help carry me and how thankful I am that I am being carried.

PS I am really excited to start getting a normal paycheck again...  I guess I didn't realize how well we were paid until we have had to live on less.  Also, it's been good to learn to live on less-- even if it is slightly stressful at times!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Thankfulness

So I don't feel like being thankful.  Lately I have been sinking.  I can feel it.  I know when things just aren't right and I know how I act and I know what I do.  I don't have a lot of self care going right now and that needs to change.  I am going to take baths (even if I feel like a giant squeezed into a tiny doll tub) and I'm going to use those birthday gift cards for massages, and I'm going to paint, because honestly feel like bitching and complaining and giving in to the frustration of this season of life and that would translate into mass amounts of tv and sleeping every moment I can, and taking care of kids needs but not their hearts.  I do however know that while that makes me feel better to give in to the darkness for about 32 seconds, it's not beneficial to me or anyone I am spewing my sadness all over...  so I am going to be thankful AND I'm going to give myself a bed time.

November is all about warm apple cider, celebrating our vets, the crisp smell of fallen leaves, rain storms at night, the giggles of kids splashing in puddles or jumping in piles of leaves.  It's about Thanksgiving-- the meal, the family time, the parade, the mulled wine, the puzzles or games.  It is a terrific time of year and it really is one of my favorites.  I love being outside in summer, but something happens when it's cool and brisk and I can see all the colors of the season from my sun room, yet I can be cozy under a blanket.  There's something magic about being cozy and reading a book or sipping on coffee from the comfort of my house.  I think I also just really love the permission to sit around and be cozy that Autumn affords to me.

So, I am going to be thankful. I am going to relish all the really wonderful things about my life and do my best at taking care of the daily grind items without a huge complaint.  I want to be a person who sees beauty in life.

I also know I've been needy and I hate having to ask for help, but as I sense myself slipping into the darkness, I realize I need some extra prayers and some extra help.  I am overwhelmed with the yard and I am overwhelmed with my fall house cleaning-- you know the extra stuff that has to get done before winter really hits.  If you want to help me, I'll be doing a big push at fall yard clean up on November 19 from 1-4 and would love help.  I will need help with raking, putting yard stuff away, cleaning up my garden, cleaning the gutters, pruning my giant vines and small maple tree in the front yard.  I have some rakes and I'll have bags, but I don't have anything to prune trees with.  If anyone else would like to come and help me dust, do baseboards, deep clean bathrooms, wash summer hand prints off walls and windows, I would gladly appreciate the help.  I feel like I should be able to do it all and it's really hard to realize that I am just not there.  I just can't.  If I spend all my energy on the tasks I know I won't have anything to give to my kids who are struggling so much with their dad being away.

So, there you have it.  I am being vulnerable in a way that is hard for me.  Thanks for reading and thanks for continuing on in the journey with me.  Life is beautiful even when it seems hard to get through each moment.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The stuff is falling apart

So the thing about this time away from Caleb is that the different things in my life feel the weakness...  like the electronics (the computer decided to give me a horrible blue screen of death and it won't work at all anymore and the bluray player won't play blurays anymore) and the washing machine (won't go from the wash cycle to the rinse cycle unless I open the lid and slam it down again) and the door bell (which technically broke while Caleb was here, but as he didn't get around to fixing it, it's mine to figure out) and the dog (who is chewing up everything again-- she's almost 1, what the heck!), and the car (the battery died and I can't get it out of the garage to jump it on my own)....  I wonder what the next thing will be, because there will be a next thing.  I know it.  It's like the law, if the man is gone, the stuff breaks or doesn't work or freaks out.

Tomorrow's to do: call every bill we have and try to find the user names and passwords (and hope they're not just in Caleb's name, because even though we are married and I just want to pay the dang bills, they probably won't let me), take the car battery out of the car and take it to the battery shop and re-charge it, take the computer into Best Buy and get the pictures that weren't saved put onto the external hard drive, go to a soccer game, get a huge coffee, cry a little, break up fights between the dog and the girl, the girl and the boy and the boy and the neighbor kids (because let's face it, my kids like to fight), look at my house and wonder if it really needs to be cleaned, because for heaven's sake, it's just going to get messy again, and cleaning for just 3 people isn't really worth it. Then, after all that, I'll probably try to do something that looks like food making (but, honestly, it'll be pot pies or corn dogs or dino chicken nuggets-- we've got options around here), then I'll try to convince my kids that bathing is really a good thing, we will all try to go to sleep alone, but then I'll end up having one or both kids sleeping next to me and I'll think to myself, one more day done.

Happy weekend everyone.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rainy Evening

So I've been hoping for the weather to change for the past few weeks.  I think it feels like Caleb will be home sooner if we have fall weather-- it just means that there is one less season between us.  Anyways, today it feels like fall arrived.  The first trees to turn have become all sorts of oranges and yellows.  The air carries a frosty feel in the morning and while Jack has yet to visit, I'm sure he'll be here soon making all the grass blades white and the windshield need a scrape.  I love the cool night air and warmish afternoon-- making it almost impossible to decide clothing for the whole day-- so I guess I get to wear a couple of outfits.  Fine by me.  It's the walking weather where you don't sweat, soccer games on Saturdays, and no need to run the heater or the a/c.  It's the magical time of year where you can be lazy and not feel too bad, because if it's raining, the best way to enjoy is by sitting with a cup of tea and a good book all while snuggled into a nice warm blanket.  Also, the grass still needs to be watered, but when it rains in the fall, that chore is done by God.  I usually lament the end of summer.  I usually feel a sad melancholy at the end of a nice warm season-- but not this year.  This year I am looking forward to each new red leaf, each harvest party, pumpkin everything, and all things fall.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How rich I am

Today is special for me. It is my birthday. I know everyone gets one each year and to each person, those birthdays are special. I hope I am able to make other people feel special on their birthdays the way I have been hugely blessed today on my birthday.

I was feeling bummed out that for the second year in a row my husband is gone over my birthday. It just feels like insult to injury when we have to do another special day without him. He's already missed so much this year-- our anniversary, the end of summer, the kid's first day of school-- and all the little things, like 3 lost teeth, a burst ear drum, camping trip in McCall, bbqs, ever growing children. In all, he will miss a lot more-- many growth spurts, lots of sick-children-sleepless-nights, the last years of toddlerhood, 2 Thanksgivings, Christmas, New Years, season changes... Well, you get the idea. A lot of things happens when you're gone from your house for 11ish months out of 24. Today was something I was dreading. I'm usually stoked about my birthday. I love to celebrate, but there's just something sad to me about celebrating when my partner isn't there.

My village rallied.

First thing this morning, my daughter got up to find me and in her sleepy, messy hair, pj voice said, 'happy birthday, momma.' My son made me coffee and gave me not only his hand made gift, but $2 in quarters, and 2 pieces of gum. He also wrapped gifts from Caleb and had them all ready for me when I went into the kitchen. My mom made today so extraordinarily special. I don't even know how to say thank you. Caleb sent me gifts that spanned the whole day and ended with a dozen long stem red roses. My girlfriends shared a much needed girls night out full of popcorn, laughter, almazing food, drinks, and cheesecake. I got notes and gifts from the heart.

I am going to bed alone again, but my heart is so full. I feel so cared for and loved. I am so thankful for the people in my life.

When I was a child, making friends was so difficult for me. Mom and I prayed that God would bring friends into my life. I know He is still answering that prayer, as the relationship I have are so life giving. I may live in a small green house, drive older cars, and live on a budget, but I am truly rich.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Stay at home mom

So I know I'm a stay at home mom and that means I've got loads of time on my hands to just sit around and watch tv and eat bon bons (this is what Caleb likes to say anyways).  And, while that might be true if I was a stay at home mom with a nanny, I'm not.  Shocker.

I'm the kind of mom who stays at home and takes care of all the little and big stuff and pays the bills, and wipes tears and butts, and tries in vain to clean the house, and buys the clothes for the ever growing kids, and opens mail (and tosses it), and gets the groceries (putting them away too!), and plans the play dates (because that's what we do to get some sanity-- we drink coffee or beer/wine with other moms and call it a date for the kids)  I'm counselor, fight referee, cook, baker, taxi and honestly I work my butt off to keep things running.  I also get kisses and snuggles and lots of love.  But, even that can make me tired (come on, haven't they heard of personal space!).

Right now I'm so, so tired.  If you want to take my kids for the afternoon/evening/weekend, feel free to ask, I'll let you!  If you want me to watch your kids for the afternoon/evening/weekend please refrain until my life is less tiring.  I love helping my friends, but seriously, I can't.  I'm not there right now.  It's my turn to ask and I need you just to understand that.

So, come over in the evening with beer and a movie or coffee in the morning and give me a hug and be there.

That's it for now.  Thanks for loving me.  

Monday, August 22, 2016

Responsibilities and stuff

So this new adventure of being a sorta single mom has given me much more responsibility.  So much more.  I know it's kind of the same as last year and the time before that and the time before that...  I mean he has been gone several times before this current situation and it's probably going to happen again.. It happens.  They say jump and we jump.  It just always feel a little like a slap when I realize I have to do it all by myself.  I don't do outside stuff...  so raking this fall is going to be a group effort (you know who you are and you know I'm going to ask you!) and sorry to all my neighbors about the weeds that are now taller than my baby peach tree.  I did try to weed a few weeks ago and I just decided once again, I don't like it and I don't really care that it looks like a jungle.  I think it's got a nice "natural" feel to.  Also, sweeping is probably for people who like to go barefoot in the house and I've decided I'm no longer one of those people.  I like my flip flops.  So, come in, don't look too closely at the floor, and wear your shoes.  I'll make coffee.  I'm really good at making coffee-- espresso, french press, cold brew, drip-- I've got choices for you if you come over.

The people in my life-- those who are going to come and rake-- are the most wonderful supportive people,  who would step in and help me whatever the situation is.  I am blown away at the people who surround me and my children.  From family and friends to church family and neighbors-- I don't know why Hillary Clinton got some much crap for saying it takes a village to raise a child-- because let me tell you, I need every single person in my village to help me raise my children right now and I'm so grateful for the help!!  And, no, I'm not in love with Hillary or anything-- but sometimes there are treasures in garbage-- just saying.

I really want to take this time and grow.  I've been thinking about how and what and where and with what time and all of those factors and I'm thinking I need to really start to write again.  I mean, really write.  I don't think this tiny little blog is going to be the venue, although, I'm not opposed to it.  I just think that having a blog, you need to say things that are going to touch people where they are at and I'm not sure I'm able to write a lot of deep or meaningful things.  I just need to write though. I feel like all the words in me need to get out and I'm not even sure what I need to say, but there it is-- I need to write.  I don't need to watch TV or mess around on Facebook.  I just need to create.  I miss the research and the formatting and the figuring out sentence structure and I love it all.

I also really need to get myself ready for early morning and waking up before the sun and rousing kids from their warm comfortable nests to cast them into the cold morning for school... I'm so looking forward to school, but why can't school start at 10.  I think all good things don't need to start until 10.  I mean, the first movie showing isn't until 10:30 usually-- if we aren't awake enough to go to an early morning movie, why are we suppose to wake up early and go to school or work or anything else?  This is my night owl coming out, can you tell?  I just need to psych myself up for it.  I can do it.  I can adult.  I just don't always like to.  Like dinner-- EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.  Really?  can we just eat dinner like 2 times a week and an apple the rest of the time?  But seriously, can we?

Alright.  So, here's the end of the miscellaneous post.  Not a whole lot said, but my snark is out, which means I'm doing ok.  Missing my man, wishing for less responsibilities, thankful for those of you who are standing with me and loving me through this season.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Being alone yet always surrounded

Life is delicious and bitter all at the same time. Right now I feel like it's a little more bitter, but sure does have some beauty in it. My heartbeat is on the other side of the world and while there are many who have gone before me, this is my first time to let go for so long and trust God to take care of him.

My life now consists of lots of snuggles from kids -- the kind where I rarely get alone time. A sleeping child is in my bed almost every night. The sweet breathing into their father's pillow at night brings them such comfort as they navigate the world without their daddy's constant presence. How can I say no? To deprive them of a comfort to sleep well-- that is just silly. So, instead of getting the queen bed to myself, I'm now sleeping on the edge while they are spread eagle! My need for space will surely be taken care of once they feel secure in this new life we are creating the three of us.

There is a freedom that comes with not needing to make meals at a certain time, the ability to lounge around all morning in my PJs because there's no need to do anything for a timetable of daddy coming home. This is a joy for me. It brings me back to my childhood of homeschooling-- to not have a set schedule is what can give me so much happiness.

The school schedule will also surely give me some needed joy-- no more arguing with me or each other. Watching young minds grow and stretch makes me feel so satisfied. I love, love seeing learning.

Each step forward brings a beautiful moment in time that is captured only now. The sting of my love missing these moments makes me want to keep time standing still. How do I enjoy the moment and wish for it to go by fast in order to bring him home?

To see the beauty and bitterness together and embrace it. That is my goal.

Monday, January 18, 2016

What is this 30's thing

Once again, it's late at night and I cannot sleep.  The swirl of thoughts in my head prevents me from resting.

The verse I keep coming back to is Ecclesiastes 3: 

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart.

These verses have carried me through so many situations in my life-- I remember discovering it when I was about 12-- an age that doesn't fully understand what life even is.  I found the idea of living life and embracing the moment to be so complex; at that point in my life, I just wanted to be 16.  However, it had been the set of verses to hold me steady through life.  To know that there is a season to this great and beautiful life we are given is huge to me.  So much so that I have a tattoo of a tree changing seasons to remind me of that very fact.  Sometimes life is just so hard and so good.  And, honestly, it can be both things at once.  

I titled this post "What is this 30's thing" because so much of my heart is breaking for those I love.  My experience of childhood is rosy and quite frankly, the type of a childhood out of a sitcom-- things worked out and even if there were a few bumps, life was good.  Teens were a bit more of a challenge, but with good choices and wonderful friends, I successfully made it through.  I got married early and had this sort of bliss that I figured would continue-- we bought a house, had a baby, got a dog.  Then, mid 20's Nate died and things got hazy, depressing, difficult-- and those are more cheerful words to describe how it was.  (But, if you want to know how I really was, just go to a few other posts on this blog, because I learned how to grieve here.  I wrote out my heart for all (or no one) to see and it was just how I needed to express emotions, which is why once again I am here.  I know this blog seems like I am always sad-- let me tell you, I am not.  I have so much joy in my life-- I just don't need to process joy in writing.  I try to live in the moment and so often it is full of joy and love.)  So, now enter into my 30's, this is where life had gotten gritty.  It is make it or break it time.  I am watching people I love make such horrible and heart breaking choices that have life long lasting effects.  I am broken for the people I love.  

I cannot delve into any situations as they are not mine to share, but suffice to say, I am joyful in my life and broken-hearted for them.  I want to stand in the gap for my friends, yet how?  I realize I once needed support and there were people who stood in the gap for me-- not very many, but a few, and God placed those people in my lap right when I needed them.  

It is my turn to love.  It is my turn to support.  

God needs to be my strength, because these situations are huge and sad, and quite honestly make me feel like my own grief is insignificant.

My hubby told me to think of the Bible as fresh bread-- we need fresh bread every day to grow and be filled and to in turn share with others.  To eat stale bread is ok, but not something I'll want to offer to my friends.  So, fresh bread.  Every day.  Reading my bible and making it my fresh bread.  Daily.  This is how I am going to be able to support my dear friends.  This is my mission.  I know it seems so simple Christian minded.  Sometimes simple is best.  

So, please pray for me, to love God deeper, to get that fresh bread daily, to have compassion and empathy for my dear friends, and for them; pray deep for them.