Ted has been gone just under two weeks, and we've already had our share of tears, bickering, and breakdowns. And he's not even overseas yet! The first week he was gone, I truly felt the prayers of MANY people. I actually felt calm and patient under circumstances which were less than ideal. By Thursday of that week things were falling apart, though! I'm sure the entire training and deployment period will be similar, full of ups and downs. While I don't look forward to being apart for so long, I do look forward to seeing how we all grow throughout the experience.
I had tried hard to get us on a fairly predictable schedule, and then this week's testing schedule kind of threw that off, so we're just taking it a day at a time right now. I am desperate to get a better chore system in place--we've done different things at different times, and since starting the GAPS diet, things just got all out of whack. I have a tool that I plan to use, but I just need to find/make time to sit down and get things together for it. In the meantime, the kids are getting pretty used to me asking/telling them to do whatever is most urgent! I even gave Tobin his first laundry lesson today...on Wednesday, when I was finishing up everyone's laundry, I realized I had piles for Charis, Arden, Kenna, and Lucan, but none for Tobin. I'm not sure how this happened, since HE was the one who supposedly brought the dirty clothes downstairs from the boys' room. Anyway...I was not amused, and I decided he should be the one to wash that extra load of laundry. So he has folded half of the clean clothes, and the rest are in the dryer now. He mentioned, "Hey, Mom, this is fun! Maybe I can do this to earn tickets some time!" I'm sure that enthusiasm won't last too long! But I have to say...it is a blessing to see that my children are becoming more independent. I can't imagine facing a long separation with children who are ALL needy. Even Kenna is quite the little helper, and she can do far more than I give her credit for, I'm learning!
Another big blessing I had this past week was my friend Erin coming over Thursday afternoon with a meal for us. She came early enough (having cleared the times with me beforehand) that we could have tea and visit while our girls played together. I really enjoyed the company, and it was so nice to not have to worry about dinner! (I actually got a cooking-free day that day, since we heated up leftovers for breakfast, ate out for lunch, and had dinner delivered!) I met Erin about a year ago at a stamping party I did, and we connected right away. We have several things in common, first and foremost being our faith. She lives on the other side of our town, but it's not a far drive, and we've gotten together a few times back and forth. Then, our daughters were in the same play this spring, so they got to know each other better and have become good friends. I'm always glad for Charis to find a good playmate...the girls in the neighborhood are too "old" for her in more ways than one! (Including the one who is her age, if you know what I mean!)
Anyway, Erin was aware of our dietary restrictions, but she insisted that she loves a good food challenge and wanted to bless us with a meal now and then while Ted is away. I so appreciated her taking that step to ask what kinds of things we can and can't eat, then following through with, "Pick a day next week and I'll bring you dinner!" Such a blessing!! Just knowing I have friends who are praying for me and who WANT to be a help is very encouraging. (By the way, in case you're wondering, Erin brought us turkey chili, salad/veggies, and a fruit tray for dinner! It was all very good!)
This might sound odd, but my Bible-reading schedule has blessed me these past couple of weeks. See, Ted and I have been part of a class at church that is going through a chronologically-laid out Bible. It seemed we were going through the Law and other such things for an interminable amount of time, followed by the depressing saga of Judges. Things were getting interesting with David's account, and now--praise the Lord!--we're reading through the Psalms, topically arranged. (The ones that went along with David's life story were inserted into the narrative, which was really cool.) I have to say, the timing couldn't have been better! The Psalms I've been reading each day have been just what I've needed. I'm so thankful for God's Word and its ever-present power! Having this community on Sundays is also a source of encouragement as we discuss the Bible and share and pray for one another.
Today, the sun is shining, and it's actually warm enough to be outside and ENJOY it! Another blessing! I'm sure we're not the only ones in the country who have experienced higher-than-normal levels of precipitation. I do believe we set the record for the rainiest April (in this area), having surpassed the previous record of 9-something inches. Waking at night for thunderstorms and howling winds hasn't exactly been the best way to stay well-rested, but I am SO thankful that we have NO leaks in our house and that the basement has NOT flooded! (That happened several times in our previous Ohio house, so it's not something I take for granted!)
All in all, we're doing pretty well. The road before us is long, and certainly there will be more trying times than what we've been through. But it's good to take note of all the ways, big and small, that God is taking care of us. Every blessing He pours out, we'll turn back to praise, and when the darkness closes in...we'll still say, "Blessed be His name."