Thursday, March 17, 2016

Who Moved My Cheese?

I read this short book (affiliate links) years ago when it came across my radar during the years of our used book business. Aside: yes, we had a home business selling used books online through Amazon for about five years, so it was my "job" to shop book sales and garage sales - heaven! And, "Who Moved My Cheese?" were the first words that popped into my husband's head two days ago when he finally got the phone call that yes, indeed, after years of hoping, praying, and searching for a way to move back to where my parents and brother live, once he gets back from his deployment, he will have a position awaiting him there thanks to a lateral job transfer!

The book is a quick, dare I say cute, parable about two mice and two humans who live in a maze and how they face the change in their lives, mostly written with a work environment in mind, but certainly applicable to personal change. In the end, (spoiler alert!) the characters learn that you cannot ignore or avoid change, you can only alter your attitude regarding the inevitable change in your life.

We half expected Tuesday's call, but it still came as a shock to both of us. My husband claims not to like change. He is definitely a creature of habit! But the fact that we have moved 8 times in our 16 years of marriage, all due to choices we made about his career, kind of makes me doubt that claim just a wee bit! As for me, because I moved 6 times before I got to high school, I kind of like the excitement of moving and starting over. So I have been ready and wanting to move for a while, but I really didn't imagine it would happen during this deployment year. Yikes! Stress!

So today I put Who Moved My Cheese? on hold at our local library, along with the teen version, which I didn't know existed until now! I plan to read one (both?) aloud to my kids and spend some time talking through what's coming. This year will be full of change for us, and I need all the resources I can get to help my family navigate this road. Please continue to pray for us! And check out the book if you need a new perspective on coping with change.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Seeing Things Differently

Everything looks different through the lenses of this new place I mentioned yesterday.

While friends IRL and on FB are endlessly discussing presidential elections and politics, I am stepping away from that chaos. I do care who wins the election, but I cannot expend too much energy there now. When various friends and acquaintances share dramatic situations of their own, I find myself pulling back a bit, listening perhaps, but not diving in. Our current reality is that my husband and children need me and my mind here in this present moment, not thinking about others as much.

My husband's civilian job requires unpredictable hours. I do not always know when he will be home in the evening, and my orderliness often sticks to our dinner, bath, prayer, bedtime routines whether he is here or not. But if there's a chance he'll be home, I find myself tweaking the plan to make room for him now. We are consulting on things more than before and trying not to go our separate parallel ways, as we sometimes do, to maximize our time together.

I have canceled attending a homeschooling conference this week that I had been looking forward to for months. As I reviewed the schedule of talks this weekend, I realized I am no longer excited about attending. A dear friend helped to name the cause of my ambivalence. When I told her I am sure if I still go I will hear inspiring ideas and much food for thought, she finished the thought I couldn't articulate - "none of which you will be able to process, right now." Yes. That.

The physical health of my family, including myself, seems more pressing now than it did a few weeks ago. I know I can personally handle stress best when I am regularly eating well, sleeping enough, exercising even just a little bit, and enjoying our marital embrace. So I know my children and husband need this, as well, and will need these things in the coming year. Besides, it's easier to blink back the tears when I'm well rested.

Basically, the entire paradigm in my mind of what this spring, summer, and next school year will look like has shifted. I am mentally preparing to ask for and accept the help from friends and family that I know I will need. Asking for help is for the weak! But, not really. Accepting help is giving another person a chance to serve, and that's a strong thing. Part of me thinks I will need to simplify some aspects of our already very simple life, but the other part realizes I can't simplify much more because we will need added distractions when missing Dad.

So, for today, I am respecting and accepting this great dignity in supporting my husband as he serves our beloved country. I fell in love with and married a man who holds service to the United States of America as a core priority in his life, because he values the privileges of our freedom. I am grateful for the many men and women who currently serve and have served this great nation, and I honestly believe patriotism is a virtue, despite the chaos of our current government. I suppose homeschooling this year will include tremendous and irreplaceable lessons in all these things.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A New Place

Today I write from a new place. A little over two weeks ago we learned that my husband will be deploying overseas this summer for a nine month support (non-combat) mission. This is his second year as a JAG reservist and will be our first deployment. I am so proud of this accomplishment and his heart for service, but that doesn't make it much easier emotionally as a wife and mother. 

While we previously knew it was a matter of when, not if, he would deploy, I don't think one can truly prepare for such news. It's not real until it is. I was initially in shock and emotionally distraught. We told the children, resilient little things, who shrugged off the seemingly faraway plans. My teen daughter said she understands it is just a part of Dad's job. My oldest son wanted to know if he would get to travel on a ship or military plane. I listened hidden in the next room, not yet able to show them the peaceful strength they need from me.

So for about a week I was in a daze, mindlessly putting one foot in front of the other, doing the things that had to be done, and letting the gravity of it sink in. Tears sprang to my eyes whenever I thought of being away from my husband so long and coping with the emotions of my children when they miss him (which broke my heart in two when he was gone for eight weeks of training a year and a half ago).
Then I realized I had to see people and answer questions (besides those very close friends and family who I pretty much demanded begin praying for us immediately) and I really didn't want to think about it. Details started to attack my brain whenever I imagined him away. All the work. All the responsibility. Little relief. There was so much to think about that I couldn't handle it, so I chose not to think, not to talk. I spent about a week feeling bitter and deliberately not thinking about or talking about all the things. I reluctantly sent an email to our homeschool group to share our news and explain that I wasn't able to talk about it in front of my children yet. Of course, I received a flood of prayers and offers of practical support from our generous community.
Last week I started to come out of that stage. I made a list of things to do in the next couple of months before he leaves for advance training. My husband and I started to chat about expectations while he is gone. I'm not sure what this new stage is, but I know I need to move on. I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I also know I cannot move towards the sorrow of him leaving but towards the joy and hope of Christ. I am taking things one day at a time and trying to keep the worries at bay.
Humbly I ask for your prayers. I know this is only a tiny corner of the Internet, but I like it here. It's my place to share how God is working in my life, and I have a feeling I will have a lot to share in the coming year. But time to write might be more challenging! God has never failed to provide abundant graces for our family when we need them, and I know He will do the same during this new opportunity.