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Life as Lou

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An Unexpected Luxury

  • August 9, 2011 7:30 pm

us

Normalcy. That is the common goal of every military family I know, probably because it is one of the hardest things to achieve when you are tied to a person who is essentially owned by the government.

We shoot for normal bedtimes and ordinary anniversary celebrations. We crave the boring routine of waking up next to the same person in our bed day in and day out, snuggling on the same old couch, watching the same corny television show together in the evening, fighting over the same old nit-picky topics. So many couples blame complete monotony for the demise of their marriage; military couples pray they get enough humdrum days to save their marriage.

We hope our children have the typical growing pains and stages, hoping to smooth over the anger about losing friends, insecurity from moving yet again and downright confusion when mom or dad disappears for months on end. When our kids get in fights or bring home a low grade, we want it to be because they’re learning self control or they just haven’t grasped a concept yet, but ask any school counselor and he’ll blame it on bruised psyches caused by the constant adjustments and paradigm shifts we force on them.

We hope that when they do have a normal growing pain, they will be allowed to do so as an average kid, and not be so psycho-analyzed by their teachers and other leaders that every single quirk gets blamed on their association with the military, thereby robbing them of the normalcy of just being allowed to be a screwy kid from time to time.

With schedules in constant flux, and people and places changing frequently, personal routine is about the only coping skill I’ve found that really brings any feeling of normalcy. There is comfort in predictability, and so when we find that, our family latches on tight. I’m not talking about an hourly schedule, or whip-cracking rigidity. It is the little things, the tiny traditions that remind us of who we are. We are people who go to piano lessons every week, and who like to watch movies on Friday nights, eat out at the same restaurants and indulge in lollipops on the ride home from church. We rock out to the same songs, singing along as loudly as we can and cozy up with the same old cup of cocoa year round-simply because it feels good. We are people who kneel to pray together at night and who have the same argument over who gets to sleep in Mommy’s bed tonight. We are, in many ways, predictable.

I get asked often how in the world I cope with the never ending inconsistencies and stresses that are unique to military life. Well, you just do. You cope with what comes with whatever attitude you choose to face life with. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got cancer, a winning lottery ticket or a perpetually absent spouse and three demanding children to raise-you choose how things are going to be. Regardless of where you are and which family members you get to spend time with, you have to live the life in front of you. Most people want to know how I deal with my husband’s deployments and I tell them that we make the best of it when he’s home and we make the best of it when he’s gone. Perhaps that seems overly simplistic, particularly when you add up your current list of challenges, but more often than not, I think we complicate things more than we need to. I choose if it is going to be a bad day or a good day, and I choose that when my husband is home and when he is away. I find the good in either situation (because there is always good to be found).

And yet, I am by no means a cock-eyed optimist. I am decidedly a realist, not down on life, but keenly aware of life’s expectations and curve balls, always trying to keep a pragmatic but positive grip on where I stand in all of that.

At about one thirty this morning, I had some time to think about missing my husband. Gabe has a tummy bug, and so I was up washing sheets, changing pajamas and trying to soothe a very sad baby back to sleep. After that was accomplished, it was just me and the night-time silence, and I lay awake for quite some time, unable to sleep, which has been happening a lot lately. I missed Chris, but not in a boo-hoo, poor me kind of way. I was content to be missing him.

You see, I have never had the luxury of missing my husband before. Oh, he’s been gone plenty, both when deployed and working at home. I’ve been annoyed. I’ve been completely exhausted. I’ve been the martyr. I’ve felt treated unfairly and I’ve definitely been handed the short end of the stick more times than I can remember. But since moving to South Dakota, we have enjoyed a very reasonable schedule. Our lives, although not perfect, are a lot closer to “normal”. We have had a whole year of this, and it feels like a privilege.

Chris works hard, but the hours are more fair. He is gone a lot when he isn’t working because he has time to serve in church, and he is often helping someone out. He is very busy furthering his education as well. But for all that busyness, he’s been present. Before, I didn’t have a husband present enough to go help a neighbor move or to attend church meetings with his family. He certainly wasn’t present enough to work on any of his own goals like education or to have friends over for dinner. When he left on deployments before, it kind of seemed like he had already been gone.

I felt very blessed last night, despite the throw up and the lack of sleep. Chris has only been gone a week, but I get to miss him.

Life is good.]]>

On War And The State Of Our Citizens

  • February 24, 2011 1:21 pm

vietnam-war-memorial-12.3
(Image by Philip Greenspun).

I have had war on my mind lately. That shouldn’t be too unusual, since I do live on a United States Air Force base and I am married to a man in camouflage. The fact that I read the news and see reports of bombings, deaths and expenditures ought to put it on my mind as well. The thing that is bothering me is that I usually don’t think about it, and I don’t think that is abnormal for your average US citizen, or even an average person of any peaceful place.

These wars in the Middle East seem to go on forever. While America is rapidly draining financial reserves and every drop of credit they have, and anyone can watch the news and see soldiers coming and going, these wars have little to no effect on us. We go about our daily business, and are almost never slowed down by a consequence of war. It is easy to forget. Even the people who are perpetually postulating their arguments for and against these conflicts usually go home at the end of the day and live a life of contented ease.

As ashamed as I am to say it, as the wife and daughter of valiant men who have put their lives on the line for this conflict, as a woman who daily pauses her conversations as the roar of bombers pass over head, as a person who kisses her husband goodbye in the morning knowing full well that the object of his work is to get a bomb to the right place so people can be killed in the name of peace and progress- I hardly think about it. I worry about my car payment, groceries, cleaning my bathrooms, work stress, and the kids’ piano lessons. Unless my husband is currently deployed (which he has been, twice in the past five years) or I’m lending support to a friend and her family who are doing without their spouse and parent for a season, I really don’t dwell on it. And I know I’m not alone in this.

I often wonder what choices we, as a nation, would make differently if we were a little more emotionally invested in these wars. I look back with such admiration for the World War Two generation. These people not only sent a remarkable number of their loved ones into battle, but those on the home front made daily sacrifices in support of the war effort. They dealt with butter, sugar and gas rationing. They went without new shoes, as all rubber goods were being used to outfit the troops. Children rarely received a new toy because the toy factories had been converted into factories for machinery and artillery. For the first time in history, children went without their mothers en masse, as many women volunteered long hours at the Red Cross or took factory jobs in support of the war effort. Their lives changed.

How would your view on things change if you had to make some of these sacrifices? What if making your child’s frosted birthday cake involved doing without butter and sugar for a month? What if every road trip you wanted to take had to be canceled, and you went without seeing family or taking a vacation for the duration of the war because unnecessary travel was deemed unpatriotic. What if you saw gold stars representing fallen loved ones, not on the news, but on your own front door and the doors of many, many people you cared about?

I think we would be a lot less complacent and considerably more likely to have some very clear expectations of our elected officials. I think our tolerance for waffling plans and impossible to solve world problems would be a lot lower. I don’t think we would make the choices we do, and I don’t think that we would be silent if our politicians continued on the course they are on not only in matters of war, but of things like fiscal responsibility, the education of our children and the care of our veterans. I think we would be a much more unified nation, and I will go so far as to say I think we would be better for it.

None of us want to do without. We don’t like hard times, and I’m certainly not volunteering to have any more challenges enter my life. But I think every person in this country ought to take a long, hard look at what we willingly allow and by our apathy condone. Things are not well in America, and this is only a small tip of the iceberg.
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All The Lonely People + $125 Quickutz Prize Up For Grabs

  • October 31, 2010 12:37 pm

gabe leaves 2

I have a confession to make. I’m lonely.

I told myself that I was just fine, and I made myself jump in and be involved. I threw myself into house decorating and Christmas shopping (only 2 gifts left!), and I tried to be busy. Busy is good. Busy distracts you from your feelings. You can’t be all wrapped up in boo-hoo when you’re throwing yourself off as many commitment and project cliffs as is possible, because you simply don’t have time. However, as nice as the people you are being busy with are, there is a big difference between enjoying working together toward a common goal, and meeting each other for lunch and conversation because you like the person enough to make time on top of your obligations to hang out. In other words, its great to have people want things from you, but sometimes it would be great for them to just want you.

In the beginning of October I devised a plan. I told Chris that we were going to start having people over for dinner, maybe even once a week. We were going to back away from our computer screens, our books, our work and housekeeping and invite people and relationships into our lives instead. Since we are categorically antisocial, chronically worn out (that’s nicer than lazy), and both ranked two steps shy of autistic when we took that Autism Quotient test on facebook (clearly, a match made in heaven), this is a big deal for us. The only people we’ve have over for dinner in the past I’m-not-even-going-to-admit-to-the-number-of-years are missionaries because they need free food, and they have to pretend to like to us to get it. So we had a plan.

Immediately following this resolve, the kids got the flu and we spent nearly the entire month with someone viral and contagious in the house. This didn’t lend itself to a lot of social opportunities. You can’t say, “Hey! Come over! Share our food and our week long flu! YUM!” People don’t respond well to that. So, my plan fizzled.

At this point, I began doing a lot of shopping and finding excuses to make small trips. I had two 40% of coupons at Micheal’s every week because of the frequency of my visits, and I would drive over there and buy one $5 American Girl Craft item for $3 to add to Maggie’s Christmas gift of paper crafting supplies. Then I’d spend the $2 I saved on gas to get back home. I did this because there were people, real live human beings working at Micheal’s, and they would talk to me and be very nice! I could have a little chat about paper or glittery markers, or even a minute long chat with the cashier! HUMAN CONTACT!!!! WOW!!!!!!!! When you have that, it really doesn’t matter that you haven’t touched a craft project in almost a month and have no business going to a craft shop twice a week.

(Quick aside to the local scrap shop people, I didn’t start hanging around there twice a week because I didn’t want you guys to think I was a loser, now that I’ve outed myself, I might just drop by, loiter and need attention. Please tell me you have a crop scheduled in November).

This got so bad that when my favorite Target cashier jumped ship and started working at Wal-Mart, I not only recognized her, but knew to ask how her eight grandkids were doing. Bonnie is at least sixty-five, and she has the blowsiest bouffant wig I’ve ever seen. Paired with bright red lipstick, sparkly eyes and a gravelly smoker’s voice, she’s quite a character. I was very happy to learn that she had been waiting for a job to open up here ever since she moved here from Vegas, and it finally did! You see, she lives right across the street from good old Wally-World, so she can walk to work. Now she can stop working at Target and spending most of her paycheck on cab fare to get home. Clearly, with my insight into Bonnie’s personal life, we are BFFs.

Clearly, a life and friends would be an excellent thing for me to get, but you can’t buy those at Micheal’s, Target or Wal-Mart.

Now that we are non-viral, I am resolving to make efforts once again. While I already have the missionaries coming for dinner once this week, I might just invite someone else, maybe even for my birthday to eat cake! I also signed up for a craft night at church to make a cute craft that I already know how to make, and that doesn’t match my decor at all, but for the conversation and pre-cut supplies, I’m sure it is totally worth the seven bucks.

I would just like to take a moment and mention how grateful I am that all of you live in my little silver computer box, and that I can take you all with me wherever the Air Force sends us. Your comments do actually brighten my day, and I look forward to the feedback.

So, Birthday Bash give-a-way number two: QUICKUTZ!

Leave me a comment here and you just might win $125 worth of Quickutz. It will be a combo of dies from the last release and the one coming out this month (they’re awesome, trust me). If you don’t have a Quickutz die cut machine, I will hook you up with an Epic 6 and some sweet dies.

If you want an extra entry, go blog this or facebook or tweet. Then leave a second comment telling me what you did.

gabe leaves

gabe leaves 3

Gabe? He’s just in this post because he’s cute. This is the first toddler I’ve ever gotten to enjoy leaves with before.

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Home Is Where You Decorate

  • October 27, 2010 2:14 pm

1mantle
We are moved in, and I am attempting to make the house look like we live here. In the past nine years, we have moved nine times. Every move brings the exact same problem: our stuff doesn’t match our house.

couch
We move our things to a new house only to find that we no longer have room for a painting, or that we desperately need about five paintings to fill up the blank walls. The couches are too big, or too little. There are empty corners and everything has that unfinished look for at least a year (usually longer). We always seem to need curtains here and a rug there to make the house feel complete, and then just when we start getting it under control, we up and move again.

house
Because of our quick turn around time in houses, I unpack very quickly and try to make it homey as fast as possible. If I lolled around with unopened boxes for a year like some people do, I would spend my entire life living out of a box.

These photos aren’t the greatest; this house’s lighting leaves a lot to be desired. We have two options, harsh or dark.

1liv
The television armoire is new. Our last entertainment center didn’t make the move (we knew it was on its last legs), so we needed an upgrade and after about a year of searching we found the perfect one. I insist on an armoire because most military housing only has one living area. You don’t get a living room and a family room and a cute little nook. You get one room, and everything goes in there. Having a huge screen taking up most of the space drives me crazy, and I like to be able to put it away.

We found ours at Pottery Barn, and though I love it, I really hate Pottery Barn’s customer lack of service. It was a two month mess to get this here. They lost it, they lied, they re-ordered, they promised, they didn’t keep their promises. They kept telling me they were “handling it”, but really, they were just handling me. Horrid service. I have never had to babysit a company like that, but I was on the phone arranging and hounding every little detail myself. I spent about twelve hours on the phone (mostly on hold) over the course of two months. In the end, they promised to give me a partial refund at 30% off- but when I called back to arrange it, they pretended to know nothing about it, and I only got 20% back. Word to the wise: go elsewhere for furniture. But, hey, I do love it. Pottery Barn has style, but no class or integrity.

1wreath
When my parents visited my mom brought me a naked wreath that she had made from grapevines in her yard. Her housewarming gift to me was to take me to the craft store to buy stuff to decorate it! This is the first wreath I have ever decorated, and I was quite happy with it. It was supposed to go on the front door, but ended up too pretty for outside, so it is inside.

1shelf
This shelf is awesome, and I am sorry for the bad picture. The living room is long and narrow and too much stuff would overwhelm it, so a simple shelf on this wall puts something there, but keeps it visually open.

See the cute leather chest in the corner? That’s where we hide the dead bodies. Ha! Actually, it is loaded with Thomas the Tank Engine Trains. Gabe loves that thing. Got it at Target, Land of Enchantment and Empty Wallets.

The couches are off the entrance. This is military housing; it was not designed to be user friendly or to make sense. This is the only configuration where you can sit father than two feet away from a television and not block a door. We made it work. For such an odd space, we got some decent fung shui flowing.

I love my bookshelves. You can get these at Lowe’s. They are inexpensive, and they practically assemble themselves. Clearing away the box is more work than setting this up. I would like to buy five more because of their sheer awesomeness.
books

So there you go. The living room is livable. Now the rest of the house needs attention! ]]>

Baby Girl Card- And News On The Move

  • September 3, 2010 6:18 am

leah killian baby girl card

Here’s a card I made in Manti! My Mind’s Eye paper, Jenni Bowlin Pins, Martha Stewart Butterfly punch, Quickutz die for the whole shape, Making Memories trim.

We are in our house, and stuff has arrived. The house is alright. We’ve had better, and we’ve had worse, but we’re doing the best we can with it. The only real frustration is the tiny, tiny living room and it’s stupid layout, but we’ve devised a plan with the furniture that allows us to see the TV without being two feet from the screen, or blocking a doorway with a couch. This took two days. The main room in this house makes no sense whatsoever. Also, the light fixtures are ugly and hang way to low for an already low ceiling. I picked out nice light fixtures at Lowe’s and my dad is coming in three weeks and will install them, so problem solved! In your face, base housing! I know your wily ways and I can thwart your crusade for tacky, unlivable space! Bwahahaha!

There are boxes everywhere (speaking of tacky ha!), and even though we’ve been unpacking almost nonstop since Monday, it still looks like a tornado ripped through our house. I have never taken this long to reach equilibrium after a move before, but I honestly think this will take three weeks at a minimum. We have more stuff since the last move, and a whole extra person. No move in the past has taken me more than a week to unpack. I suppose I could just be getting old.

With every new home comes a laundry list of improvements one wants to make, and we sure have one started for this house. I figure there is a two hundred dollar project for every month between now and next July. I never feel like the house is complete for about a year after a move because of this stuff.

Nothing I love broke, but stuff did break, so we get to learn how the whole claims system works. We’ve heard horror stories, so I’m hoping ours goes smoothly. We aren’t claiming anything too expensive or wild, so hopefully that will be in our favor.

Chris has gotten the good news that he will not be on the next deployment rotation! This means I have him for at least six months! It is so much easier to settle in with him around. I assume he will deploy in six to nine months. We are just grateful to have this Christmas together. He will have six month deployments here and go every eighteen months. That is what we expected. I can do sixes. It’s the year ones that make me sick to my stomach.

The kids are in school and happy. The public schools here are nicer than most private schools in California, so I am blown away and thrilled by the facilities and programs! The older two are both full day, so its just Gabe and me during the day. It is going to be kind of fun only having one little man home during the day!]]>

Why We Aren’t In South Dakota

  • August 20, 2010 4:38 pm

Leah

Hi!

The past few weeks have been quite the exercise in rolling with it and taking change in stride. We have been jerked around so many times that I no longer feel pain or have any emotional response whatsoever. It has been sucked out of me by this move, and that may be a good thing.

To sum up:

Chicken Little: The sky is falling!
Leah: WHAT? NOOO! Wahhhh!

Chicken Little: The sky is falling!
Leah: Well, Crap! *shakes fist*

Chicken Little: The sky is falling again!
Leah: Eh.

Chicken Little: The sky is still falling!
Leah: hmm. That’s nice.

Chicken Little: The sky, it falleth!
Leah: LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

That’s where I’m at.

You see, when we left California, in a haze of things going wrong, we assumed that we would be in Utah for roughly four weeks. We had made arrangements with the housing office and with our movers. All was on schedule, every T was crossed, every I dotted. We did our part, and we were satisfied. The floor plans of our new house looked pretty good, and the movers had us booked. Smooooth sailing. (This is where you should laugh, because this is the military we’re talking about- all images of smooth sailing should probably be replaced with a panoramic view of Pearl Harbor after the Japanese visited).

So about five days before we were set to move, Chris calls up housing and asks when he can get the key to the house they told us that they gave us. Turns out, they gave our house away. Um. Okay. They said they had no idea why we thought we’d get that house, so we sent them the e-mails stating that this was our house.

Tough noogies. You weren’t here, so bye bye nice house, hello mediocre house.

Enter Weeping, Wailing, and Gnashing of Teeth.

Enter Getting Over It.

So we called the movers to give them our new address, and to find out what time on the 16th we should meet them.

Movers: What are you talking about?
Us: We confirmed for the 16th. Moving in?
Movers: Ohhh, we had that down as a tentative confirmation.
Us: What? We had it down as a confirmation confirmation. You know? Like the meaning of the word “confirm” and the solidarity that implies.
Movers: Well, haha, bad on you. The soonest we can move you in is the 30th.
Us: You’re joking.
Movers: Nope. 30th.
Us: How are we supposed to live with no stuff for two weeks?
Movers: Sucks to be you hahaha!

So there you go. We called housing back a few days later, explaining our situation. You see, with the threat of our house being taken away yet again, we were pretty hesitant to not fill out official paperwork on this house. It is not unheard of for military families to live in a hotel for months before housing becomes available, so we would like to avoid that. However, you can’t live in an empty house, and I can’t really afford to live in a hotel for two weeks whilst paying rent on my house. No. Can. Do.

Housing was surprisingly nice about this situation. They said it would be fine for us to move in later, so we shifted our date by about 10 days (running out of leave here, people). Because of the date shift, my parents, who were planning on coming out to visit and help us unpack, had to cancel their plans. This means I don’t get to see my family, and my help is gone. It has been disappointing for everyone involved.

The good news was that since we were moving in so much later the house we had been given wouldn’t be available, but they had other homes for us to choose from. They sent three floor plans last Friday. I’ll call them Good, Bad and Worse. Obviously, we opted for Good. We felt good about Good. Good had extra space! Good was one level! Good had storage! Good had decorating potential and much more natural light than the others! GOOD!

The weekend was happy.

Then Monday arrived and with it an e-mail saying, “Oops! That’s the handicap unit, and even though you are suffering emotional disabilities after being jerked around at this level for this long, that doesn’t count. You’ll need to lose a leg to get this house.”

I rolled my eyes at this change, and we said we’d take Bad. Bad was, after all, better than Worse, and some nice handicapped person would probably really need Good. Sigh.

So we’re looking this floor plan over during the next few days, trying to figure out just how many lamps it will take to light a cave, and how in the world you arrange furniture in a room spliced with carpet and vinyl dividing the room. This time was spent Being Positive. Also, there was much therapeutic perusing of the Pottery Barn catalog.

Then yesterday, housing e-mails us with the news that we could have the handicap unit if we wanted it. Military housing is required to have handicap housing, but can rarely fill it will people who actually need it, so occasionally it is open to just anybody.

Apparently, now we get the house we want. There has been much more joyful pouring over of the Pottery Barn catalog this time, but to be perfectly honest, I’m not holding my breath on this house until we’ve signed the lease.

Housing giveth, and housing taketh away.

We plan to get there a few days prior to the 30th, so we will get to live out of an empty house for a few days. It isn’t ideal, but it also isn’t two weeks. Chris is nearly out of leave after this fiasco, and he will have to get back to work as soon as possible when we arrive. This means that I will be unpacking and setting up the house pretty much on my own. I did it by myself last time we moved, very pregnant and with a deployed husband, so I figure I can do it again.

Queue My Military Wife Motto: BRING IT!
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Vacation Limbo

  • July 28, 2010 7:51 am

I'm trying to think of something terribly interesting to write about, but so far, I'm drawing a blank, I mean, there's stuff, but it all needs it's own post, and I need a few hours to sit down and tell you all about it. Right now, I'm scrambling with work. Don't move at the same time as your boss, especially when it just so happens to be CHA (huge tradeshow that I really should be at), and you're running a design team call, on top of the usual kit and web stuff. My vacation? Not so much a vacation.

The good news is that today we are taking our kids to Thanksgiving Point, and then the grandparents are taking the kids and Chris and I get to go stay out overnight by ourselves. Alone. Just us. Hotel room. Shopping. Meals in peace. No whining, tantrums, crying, or fighting aside from our own (haha)! Can you tell I'm looking forward to that?

Also- we got the floor plans for the base home we're moving in to in about three weeks, and I'm quite pleased. It isn't my dream home, but given the nature of military housing, we got a good one. That makes everything better!]]>

On The Road.

  • July 15, 2010 3:13 pm

I got a cough, which turned into pneumonia (little bit) and a two week asthma attack (gasp, gasp, suffocate).

So, to sum up, STRESS. Looking forward to an end.

The drawing below is still open, IMll get a winner chosen later tonight or tomorrow, as soon as I have computer access. Phone blogging is hard work lol!]]>

I Believe This Is The Definition Of Overwhelmed

  • July 5, 2010 3:27 pm

I know this.

It took me about 20 years to learn, and another few to really get good at it. I may not be very smart overall- but this lesson I have down pat.

So, you wouldn’t think I’d be planning a cross country move, a month long vacation, a baptism, and back to school ALL AT THE SAME TIME while intermittently running a fever and coughing my lungs up, but what do you know? I AM. And I’m doing it with three summer crazed children, a mountain of laundry and a job.

I don’t have much of a choice.

So today I got up, got dressed, cleaned a litterbox (ew), packed the cat into her carrier (yowling), brought her to her new family (a wonderful elderly couple- she is happy already), then came back, got the kids dressed and hair fixed, drove Chris somewhere, drove to Sacramento, bought Maggie a backpack at the Hello Kitty shop, hit the Lego store with Jonas (a promise I made months ago- Check!), bought myself a cute sweater(40% off), had the kids try on multiple pairs of jeans (between them, they do not have a single hole-less pair), spent money at Kids Gap (good sale), and then more at Gymboree (um, no sale=bad Leah), and then because that wasn’t enough I then drove to IKEA where I bought Maggie a new mattress (considered splurging on an adorable vanity), some organizing stuff and four more of the huge, orange, plastic, coveted bowl that my family fights over (chose different colors- the orange is MINE). At this point all I had left to do was endure 40 miles at an average speed of 20 miles per hour (will NOT miss the traffic here), a quick drive thru for dinner (all I had was a McFlurry-counting calories), and then finally home, where I exited the car and coughed so hard I vomited.

My only regret is not knowing that I was going to throw up. I’d have had a Big Mac and apple pies with that McFlurry.

So, if you’re wondering why the blogging is in short supply- now you know.

But I promise to do better- I have an awesome new sponsor with a fan-freaking-tastic give-a-way, plus lots of scrappy stuff to share throughout the rest of this month.

I’ll just give up sleeping to make it all work.
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Answers Come

  • June 27, 2010 8:22 pm

Our move is becoming really real. We are booking hotels. We are consulting with the moving company. We are discussing move out policies while wondering where we are on the waiting list for our new home in South Dakota. We are hoping that the new house is comfortable, and well designed, and adequate for the next few years so we don't have to move and move and move again. We are worrying over new schools and new doctors and how long it will take to find the ice cream aisle at the new commissary. We're putting a hitch on our car, as well as a bike rack. We are throwing things out, and setting aside treasures too precious to let the movers handle.

But mostly, we are saying goodbye.

I think it should be against military policy to let anyone stay a base this long. For the first time in many years, I have people who are truly dear to my heart, and leaving is not painless. I've moved many times in the past ten years, and it hasn't been this hard in a very long time. I am grateful. It is hard because I have been blessed with real friends.

I said goodbye to many friends last night at a crop. I said goodbye to another today. I hate saying goodbye, so I usually just say, "see you later," because if I actually use the words, "goodbye," I'll turn into a useless puddle of tears and embarrass myself. Lately when I cry, I can't stop. There are too many emotions vacillating within me to make any sense, so when the dam breaks, boy does it ever break!

I am overwhelmed, and excited and scared and happy. I have a million little details, and little worries, and all those littles add up.

One night I knelt down and poured them all out: "What if our house is icky? What if the kid's teachers are mean? What if they won't even let us register for school because our house isn't ready and we have no address? What if the people at church are unfriendly? What if I come across as an incompetent loser. . .and it's true? What if I have no friends? What if Chris gets deployment orders two seconds after we arrive?"

And the answer came, loud and clear: "Don't worry. I will put you to work."

That, right there, is proof that my Father in Heaven knows me. I need to serve a purpose, and I need to be busy. I need to have opportunities to help others, and to me, work is one of the greatest blessing we are given, especially when that work makes me stop focusing on myself. I can understand my value when I am given an opportunity to be an instrument in His hands.

"Don't worry. I will put you to work."

Thank You.

I will be fine.]]>