Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Still Adjusting

For the most part I am settling into empty-nesting quite nicely. I mean who can complain about getting a long, hot shower every morning? Or not having to worry about getting children out the door to all their various activities? And what 's not to like about being able to have spontaneous date nights with no worries about who might be available for babysitting? Oh, and there is hardly ever any disagreements over what TV show to watch. And for sure no complaining or back talk is heard in our house these days.

But truth be told, sometimes during the hours of 3-7 p.m. I am totally lonely. I know when the kids were home I complained about the frenzied pace of those hours. Some days I wondered how I was going to get everything done; how was I going to clone myself so I could be in 3 places at once. Those were the hours when I was just looking for a little peace and quiet; when I couldn't wait for David to get home so I could tag out.

I don't know if I wished those times away, but if I did, shame on me because now I miss them. I miss having a million places to be and watching my children be involved in several different activities. I miss the noise and chaos that often occurred during those late afternoon, early evening hours. Now I find that I have those hours completely to myself. The peace and quiet that I longed for? Well, now I have it.

Somebody asked me what I do during that time. I honestly replied "A whole lot of nothing." I just can't find it within myself to be self-motivated enough to do something. Well, I guess that is not entirely true. Some days after school I volunteer to time at whatever sport is currently going on at the middle school. And I still attend city council meetings regularly. I also have planning commission meetings on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. So I guess I'm not a total lump. But on the days/nights when I don't have something to do? Well, then I'm lonely. Dave is working until 6 or 6:30 most nights these days. And then he usually works out after so some nights he isn't home until 7:30.

Dave's late nights brings up another area of empty-nesting to which I am having trouble adjusting. That is the area of cooking. You would think that since I have so much quiet, uninterrupted time in the late afternoon/early evening, I should be preparing some fabulous meals. But I'm not. Honestly, I just don't have the desire to cook if I'm going to be eating by myself. Well, actually, even if Dave were home to eat I'm not sure that I would cook. It just seems like such a bother. It's hard to guess how much to cook for 2 and Dave hates leftovers so if there is extra it just goes to waste. And throwing away food really bugs me, too so again, I just don't cook. The funny thing is I always have grand plans to make some fabulous meals, I even purchase ingredients for the meals, but when the time comes to make the meal. Meh, who cares?

So this empty-nest thing is going pretty OK. There were some things that I eagerly accepted, like only having to worry about me in the mornings. But there are still some things I'm struggling with, like all of this alone time and what to do. Looking forward to next week. It's Carson's spring break. I'm sure he'll complain that we aren't doing anything and that there is no food in the house. This time I'll accept the complaining because it means that I'm not alone.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Happy Monday

For me, Monday's have a 50/50 chance of being awesome or awful. Today had a greater than 50% chance of being awful, mostly because I am still suffering the effects of some wicked, nasty stomach virus that has been plaguing me since Thursday. The nausea finally started to subside about noon and other ailments waned in the late afternoon hours. I'm glad that the worst seems to be behind me.

Even when I'm feeling horrid (and today I was just shy of feeling horrid), I do look forward to Monday's because I know that we'll receive an e-mail from Katelyn. Like always, I tried to time being logged into our e-mail when she typically e-mails. This allows us a chance to "chat" back and forth. Today was no exception and we spent some time exchanging e-mails. She was finally transferred back to an English-speaking area and her countenance in the picture she sent with her new companion shows the relief she must be feeling. She didn't admit it very often, but it was hard for her to be serving in a Spanish-speaking area when she did not know Spanish. She was grateful for the time she served there and the wonderful people she met, but not being able to participate in the conversations and teaching was draining on her.

Here are some happy pictures from her time in Ajo and Gila Bend:
Katelyn said that Carolyn was a "feisty lady" and it took several attempts to the font, but she made it right before Katelyn was transferred.

Katelyn and her companion killing time before the baptism

Brothers Hunter and Jacob

The only snake she has seen so far while serving in Arizona. She is slightly disappointed that she hasn't seen more snakes.
As if chatting with Katelyn wasn't enough of a morale booster, I received a letter in the mail from her today. An actual, handwritten, delivered via snail mail, letter. It was one of those letters that makes a momma's heart happy.

So it was indeed a happy Monday.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Try to Show Kindness in All That You Do

I keep repeating those words over and over to myself as I nurse Carson through his second shoulder surgery. Pain and disappoint are tough and don't bring out the best in him. I try hard to keep him comfortable and make this time as restful as possible. But I don't ever seem to do it quite right and he gets grumpy. Then I feel like not trying at all. And once those feelings start, they are followed shortly by feelings of guilt, that I should try harder and not take the grumpy meanness personally.

I went to work today after making sure that he was sufficiently medicated. I found it to be a welcome reprieve. That sounds horrible doesn't it. It probably is horrible, but it is the reality of how I was feeling today. But going to work was just enough of a break that I was happy to get home...for about 20 minutes.

"Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought"

The next phrase of the song that entered into my mind. This time I was trying to think happy thoughts so I wouldn't be frustrated with the other man in the house. He went to work yesterday and today. he didn't even inquire to see if missing 3 days of work would be convenient for me. What happened to sharing the load of providing care? When we're both home, why should I always be the default "go-to" person? Carson asked for a sandwich. Dave looked at me to get it for him. Carson needed his pain medication. Again, I did that. Carson needed to email his psychology teacher. Dave looked at me to help him. When it became clear that Carson was pushing my buttons and I was pushing his, Dave threw his hands in the air and said to me "don't do that."

"I'm trying to love as He did in all that I do and say"

Trying so hard, but failing miserably. Feeling guilty for failing and for wanting to quit when my efforts are unappreciated.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Challenge Completed

If the dear reader will remember, for the month of February I had challenged myself to look daily for God in the details of my life. I believe that, for the most part, I was able to successfully meet the obligations of that challenge. The result is that I have developed deeper feelings of gratitude and appreciation of  my Heavenly Father. I truly believe that He is with me at all times and will work to direct my path for good.

Now, there were times during this challenge where it was easy to see God in the details. At other times, it was only after further reflection did I notice that God had had His hand in that situation. I am grateful for the growth that occurred in me as I learned to pause, notice, and reflect on Heavenly Father's omnipresence in my life.

At the beginning of the month there were two very obvious examples of God blessing me. And they just happened to coincide with each other. The first Wednesday in February I felt myself getting sick. I was afraid that it was going to be the flu that was going around through my work place. I stayed home Wednesday to rest. When I woke up Thursday I felt a little better so I went to work. I wasn't at work for long when I noticed that I was feeling a little warm. I took my temperature and lo and behold a fever. I sent myself home.

I was beginning to panic a bit because my niece was being baptized on that Saturday. I was supposed to leave on Friday to ride down to Utah with my parents. Here is where God stepped in. My fever broke. I still had an ugly sounding cough but the other symptoms had cleared. I was able to attend Maddie's baptism. Being with family always helps me see God in the details.

In February I was also blessed to see God in the details in a couple of different work situations. In both cases, it was only after reflection that I realized how God had blessed me. The first occurrence was when I had the opportunity to travel over to our state capital to participate in a press conference with our governor. The travel required a flight. I was preparing some remarks during the flight. The guy sitting next to me noticed what I was doing and asked about it. I explained that I was on my way to our capital to advocate on behalf of school-aged children. The governor was seeking to restrict access to e-cigarettes and other vaping devices to minors. The governor wanted a school nurse on the panel and I was the one who, from our statewide association, was selected to go. As we were deplaning the guy said to me, "You are the coolest school nurse I've met. I can't picture any school nurses from where I grew up doing something like you are going to do today." I didn't think much of that comment then, other than that was an awesome thing to say. But as I have reflected more on that comment, particularly the last line about other not stepping up, I can see how that comment has been a blessing to me.

The second work instance happened during a conversation with a teacher. I was wearing my "union" hat at that time. The teacher had some contract concerns and was feeling unsupported by the administration. As we were conversing and troubleshooting, she stopped me in the middle of my conversation to say, "You know, for someone who has never taught in a classroom, you really get it. I so appreciate your insights." Again, initially I did not think much of the comment. And again, after thinking on it more, I was able to see God's presence in that comment. It was a special moment as I realized that those "insights" are manifestations of the gift of discernment and a blessing from my Heavenly Father.

February was a special month. I'm grateful that I decided to challenge myself to look for God in the details of my life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Blogging the Details

A few months ago a friend asked me why I was blogging. She is a fellow blogger, has lost a little motivation for blogging, and was probably seeking an inspiring response. What she got was a stammering, "Um, well, um. I don't know. I guess to keep family members caught up with what is going on with us." I'm pretty sure that was not the motivating answer she was looking for.

I've reflected many times over the past months about that question. I think this month has really put this thought in my head as I have been looking for God in the details of my life. Certainly having that as my focus has made me more aware of all the many ways God is with me throughout the day. I have seen His hand in every aspect of my life. And the results have definitely been a more grateful attitude on my part. So one of the reasons I am blogging (at least for this month) is to publically acknowledge how I am seeing God in the details.

But I also realized that I am blogging for the simple reason that I want to remember the details. Now that my children are grown and mostly not living at home, I find myself reflecting back on their growing up time. During those times of reflection, I feel like I am missing details. How could I not remember? Was I so caught up in the day to day that I forgot to lock in the memories? Was I always looking forward and forgetting to stay in the present?

I don't want to look back in another 18 years and feel like I was again missing details. Remembering the details through blogging, that's my biggest motivation these days for blogging.

I want to remember conversations such as the one we had the other night when Carson was home for the weekend. It went like this:

Me to Carson as we are eating dinner before taking him back to school: "I really like it when you are home."

Carson: "I like it too. Sometimes I just can't stand being around those people any longer."

Dave immediately points to me, doesn't say a thing, but I know exactly what he is thinking. I sheepishly own that Carson's need for intermittent social isolation is a learned behavior that I am responsible for.

Or this conversation I had last night with my Grandpa Wight. He was calling to find out how long my parents are visiting the sites in Egypt.

-Grandpa: "So how are the kids?"
I tell him how Katelyn's mission is going and where Carson is attending school.
-Grandpa: "Sounds like they are doing well. So now it's just you and Dave chasing each other around the house."
-Me, giggling: "Well on occasion."
-Grandpa: "That's good. You two take care of each other."

And I don't want to forget Dave's blushing as I told him that Grandpa asked if we were chasing each other around the house and my reply.

Those are the kind of details that I want to remember through blogging because I am afraid I will forget them if I don't write them down.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

God Can be With Us in Our Dreams

Throughout the bible there are examples of God teaching through dreams.
Joseph and Daniel in the Old Testament are well-known for their dreams.
But I'm not an Old Testament prophet
and God does not typically instruct me through my dreams.
However, for the past two nights I believe He has spoken to me through my dreams.
The instruction wasn't anything new or revolutionary.
It was simply about taking care of my friendships.
Actually one friendship in particular.
The dreams instructed me to be more present for that friend.
Even if it means putting some other friendships on the back burner for a short while.
That's always a tricky balance...
Spending more time with one friend over another.
I wish there had been some instruction on how to do that
And on how to explain the situation to the friends who may seem to be getting shorted.
But I guess if I was instructed in all things...
There would be no growing on my part.
I'm grateful that in this instance God was able to reach me through my dreams.
I'm sure He had tried other avenues, but I was too busy to notice those details.
God can be with us in all of the details of our lives.
Including our dreams.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

God Strengthens and Uplifts

My good friend's father is fighting cancer.
I don't think the battle is going too well.
The days are rough.
He is tired.
His wife keeps everyone up-dated through Facebook.
From what I read, they remain faithful that God is with them.
They recognize His hand in all of the details.
Today He was with them in guiding their devotional reading.
He was with the pre-op nurse who heard the phrase:
"If I don't make it, I'll see you in heaven"
and she offered to pray with them before his surgery.
He was with the surgeon who took out the tangled, messed up feeding tube
and replaced it with a new one.
The faith of my friend, her father, and her mother strengthens my faith.
They walk daily by faith.
And through their faith, see God in all of the details.
They have confidence that the outcome, whatever it may be, will be well with God
because He has guided them through this journey.