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I am so tired right now from my late night escapade last night.  So I have run upstairs and am hiding in my bedroom for the next hour not thinking about all my responsibilities for the rest of the day.  After an hour I ought be rested enough to go be the mom I need to be.  And the good thing is that the world can wait an hour.

I was able to get up and to PWOC on time today.  I got the boys’ school work ready, curled my hair and everything.  My time spent searching for just the right song last night paid off.  Unbeknownst to me, Karen was using a passage from Revelation for prayer this morning.  The passage Revelation Song comes from as a matter of fact.  So while I can’t define how I know which song is the right one, it’s apparently the right process for listening to what God wants me to do.

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I will start off with admitting it’s no longer January 30.  I am up way too late yet again.  However, while entirely all my fault, my Kindle is not why I’m up this late tonight.  Nope, procrastination is the culprit.  Although, is it procrastination if you didn’t intend to procrastinate, you just forgot?  I knew I needed to get worship ready for PWOC, but somehow, I guess I forgot when Tuesday occurs.  I knew today was Monday, but I guess it’s been so long since I’ve been able to attend PWOC, that I forgot that Tuesday morning happens right after Monday night.  Thankfully, tonight ,as I drove home from taking the kids to Pizza Man, I remembered that, oh yeah, I have to choose songs and get slides ready.  I already had one song picked out, choose it Saturday, but couldn’t find another song to sing with it.  And being the person I am, I couldn’t just choose any song, I had to choose the right song.  How do I know when I’ve found the right song?  Honestly, I can’t tell you.  I just know.  There have been Tuesday’s I have tried to force a song, and those Tuesday’s have bombed, so I went through my process of finding the right song.  Listening to every song I could until I heard the right one.  I have several thousand songs on my computer.  Granted no more than half are Christian, and even most of those aren’t worship.  Listening to all the worship songs still takes forever.  And then there is searching I-Tunes and CCLI in case the right song is one I don’t yet own.  I have procrastinated making the slides and cutting the songs until last minute before, but I’ve always known what we would be singing.  (Speaking of cutting songs, both songs I choose for tomorrow are way too long, and my cuts are slightly abrupt, but what’s a girl to do?  I did the best job I could, and I’ll just have to manually fade out.)  More than an hour into listening to stuff, I finally found the song.  Revelation Song, in case you wondered.  By that time I was nearly loopy, but I knew it was the song.  I also knew just what I wanted to use as a background for the slides, unfortunately, it wasn’t a background I already had.  So I had to find a website that had what I wanted, and had it for free, and that’s when my computer started being a pain.  But now it’s all done and ready to go.  Now I just have to get Xavier and Austin’s school stuff ready so they will be ready for the homeschool room.  But I can do that in the morning, or later in the morning.

I still can’t believe I completely forgot about worship.  But God helped me get it all worked out, so He’ll help me get enough rest tonight, and help me with my driveway in the morning as I saw snow falling the entire time I was listening to myriad worship songs.  Yep, giving all that to God right now as I turn off my computer and do my part, which right now is laying down for sleep.

At church today Pastor Kenny preached about rest.  May I insert here that I love Pastor Kenny, he makes me laugh out loud as God uses him to smack me upside the head? It makes the smack much less painful.  Anyhow, while laughing, I thought how I actually felt really rested (even after my self-contorl lost out and we won’t discuss just how long my Kindle and I were up last night).  How I feel calm and relaxed and I’ve heard myself laugh in a way that I haven’t been able to do since Thanksgiving-ish.  Then Kenny talked about how resting on the Sabbath is as much about remembering that we rely on God for everything instead of our own efforts as it is about physical rest.  And I remembered how I’ve been struggling with exactaly what the Sabbath should be in my life, and that maybe reliance on God instead of myself was the key I’d been searching for all along.  And it hit me after weeks of being sick, and miserable, and dealing with a broken washing machine, and not being about to leave the house that God had brought me to a place where I was relying on Him.  And that’s why I felt restful.  I stopped worrying about all I had to do, all I wanted to do, and gave it all up to Him, and instead of worrying about everything, I just did what I could.  And the amazing thing is that stuff was getting done.  My life has begun to move in the direction I would like it to go.  And it wasn’t the sun, or even the arrival of several “normal days”.  The sermon today made me realize that it was that I was so overwhelmed by everyone being sick that I finally gave up control.  And I gave up control of everything. chores, school, appliances and kids.  I didn’t go on strike as I really wanted to do, but I did give up the sense that it was all up to me.  And with a few “normal days” under my belt I was ready to take back the reins.  I had been thinking to myself “alright, we are back on track, let’s go.”  Thank God for Kenny’s timely sermon.  I realized that I was getting ready to put the sucess of my family right back in my own, quite incapable, hands.  I am aware that when left to my own devices I drive my life like Austin drives in Mario Kart, right into walls.  When things get really bad for him, the game gives him a Bullet Bill question block, and Bullet Bill takes over driving and he can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride for a bit.  And God’s kinda like Bullet Bill, driving better and faster than I ever could while I get to sit back and be amazed.  Unlike the game though, I can let God drive whenever I need Him to, and He only stops when I take back the wheel.  And now I must ask myself, why do I keep taking back the wheel?  So now I’m letting go of all my worring over how I will run my life and make happen all the things I want to make happen.  Instead I’m just going to do the things I know I should do.

January 28 already.  This marks one year since we arrived in Anchorage.  Wow, what a year.  I remember a year ago driving from Tok to Anchorage getting the premonition I would be stretched.  I will say that I have been fortunate that I have not been stretched in the way I thought.  I envisioned major culture shock and having to get used to a whole new way of life.  Having found a Kohl’s, Target and Lowes nearby, I have all my favorite places to shop.  And I found the delight of shopping at Fred Meyer.  I do wish for a Bath and Body Works, but the commissary carries their products, I just have to hope they actually have what I want when I’m there.  (I know I could shop online, but have you seen the cost of shipping to Alaska?)  With a Red Robin, I am as happy as a clam.  That restaurant and I have so much history, it’s my version of comfort food.  Again, I do wish for more, a Cheesecake Factory or Melting Pot for nice nights out, although as we haven’t yet tried any of the wonderful date night restaurants that Anchorage does have to offer, I honestly can’t complain.  I also long for Zaxby’s, yummm, love Zaxby’s.  But it looks as if we will get a Buffalo Wild Wings here soon.  Drove by it the other night, but it doesn’t look open quite yet.  Found an awesome church, and we have amazing neighbors who have virtually adopted us.  Grocery stores are better stocked and have better prices than up in Tok.  All that I was worried about was for not.  The cold has been deal-with-able, and while I would be fine not seeing another snowflake until next October, that really has been fine.  I’ll admit, December’s lack of sun is hard, but the sun does return.  The stretching has mostly actually self-imposed.  Cutting the cable tv.  Teaching a Bible study.  Leading worship.  I’m not the person I was a year ago.  Not completely different, but surely not the same.  Although my generall goal is to grow all the time, so looking back over a year and seeing the same person would be disappointing.

I wonder what year two of my Alaskan adventure will hold?  Year one was amazing and wonderful, and has brought me more than I could have ever guessed.  A wonderful house, we had been hoping to stay on base, and while I remember seeing this house on the internet before we arrived that was before some significant price reductions, so I never imagined I could live here.  Amazing new friends who totally have my back.  The sight of glaciers and bald eagles being routine, but never commonplace.  My old roommate in the Lower 48 falling in love and getting married, having met the love of her life right around one year ago.  I’m actually very thankful to her for getting married in December as it gave me the opportunity to visit the sun for a few days.  After another great day in a succession of great days I’m ready for the next year, bring it on.

Praise the Lord, another normal day!  My Dad asked what makes a “normal” day.  My definition is no one’s sick, nothing breaks and I’m gonna add we aren’t up past 10 doing homework.  I’d like to add sun, but that’s not really normal, it just makes the day even better.

My washer arrived early this morning.  Very thankful that I put my book up at 11:30 last night instead of 1.  The installers called at 7:30, arrived a bit after 8 and my new machine was up and installed by 9.  Didn’t have it running until after 11.  The installer reminded me that the machine just came out of a truck that was in -10 degree weather, the parts needed to thaw before I started using it or I could break my new machine before even getting to use it. Not something that I had even thought of before moving to Alaska.  I have done 5 loads of laundry.  The laundry baskets are near empty (there’s only the clothes we wore today).  It’s a good feeling.  But this washing machine can do loads that are 1 and 1/2 times the size of the old washer.  You should have seen the pile of clean laundry I had on my bed today.  I managed to fold the first 3 loads before the kids went to bed.  I have learned that while my washing machine can handle bigger loads, my dryer cannot.  I’m trying to find a happy medium load size that makes both machines happy.  The new washer does vibrate significantly less.  We have gone from earthquake-like shaking of the house to sitting on a massage chair during the high spin cycle.  And when there is a load that doesn’t use the high spin cycle, no vibrations felt at all.  So if you come to visit this summer and the house starts shaking, it’s really an earthquake.

As I’ve felt more earthquakes than seen Northern Lights, I look at being in an earthquake as simply part of the Alaska experience.  I’ve checked out the AK earthquake tracker, and we’ve even had some close by this month.  Granted they are super small and you can’t feel them, but they happen all the time.

I’m starting to develop the beginnings of a daily routine.  Right now, I only have evenings perfected.  But I do have my evenings down.  The general goal is that at 10, my day is done, and I’m sitting on the couch, reading the paper and watching the 10 o’clock news.  And the best part.  a mug of hot chocolate.  Not just any hot chocolate, but hot chocolate I have added vanilla and cinnamon to and topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.  It’s so wonderfully relaxing.  And no matter what has or has not been done during the day, nothing gets done after 10.  It is time to relax and go to bed.  The best nights are when I can get all the kids in bed on time and I get my shower taken before 10 so I’m relaxing clean and in my jammies.  That means I have to start getting the kids ready for bed early.  The goal is Clara in the tub at 7, so she can get clean and have plenty of time to play before the boys get in.  I used to wonder why parents would start getting their kids ready for bed so early.  (Although, the parents I wondered about also picked up their kids from day care at 6, so I still kinda wonder about that).  But man, it’s nice to have time to relax before going to bed instead of going and going and going right up until I know I need to get some sleep or I won’t be able to get up in the morning.  Now I just need to figure out the rest of my day, and all the weekly extras that we have going on.

What an incredible blessing a normal day is!  A day where the only issues were of my own making.  You know, not being able to put a good book down until you finished it.  Staying up until 1 am only to find that this is a book in a three-part trilogy and the story is not yet over.  There are some series where each story can stand alone, this is not one of them.  Yes, the minor story is finished, but there is still a big story brewing in the background.  While I did buy the sequel after finishing book number 1 (I guess that’s why book number 1 was free) I did refrain from reading it last night.  Once upon a time, I could read all night long and do what I had to do during the day.  Yeah, that hasn’t happened since having children.  I need my sleep.  It’s no longer “beauty” sleep, it’s “beautiful attitude” sleep.  It is patience sleep.  I’m setting an alarm for a reasonable time tonight and I will not read past that time.  (Says the woman with iffy self-control.  Baby steps though, and confidence that this will be the time.)

It was a beautiful day.  So beautiful that I couldn’t keep Xavier inside.  He went out to play.  I’m guess he was feeling more cooped up than I had thought, he stayed out in that -8 degree weather for at least a half an hour.  He fought the snow and had a great time.  Clara wanted to go with him, but the snow is taller than her.  Austin, knowing who he is decided to stay inside.  I call him my Florida child.  I have yet to see him experience weather that is too hot for him, and we did see some crazy heat in Georgia.  But he gets cold fast.  My other two have more of my genes, cold is not a big deal, but heat…that’s another story.  Although, the power of friends does something to both my men.  Austin will brave the cold for his friends here, and Xavier sweated out the heat in GA for his friends.

I got caught up on all my errands today.  Not my normal day to do all this stuff, but as it was the first “normal” day we’ve had in a while we went.  It’s funny how two weeks of being cooped up can change a child’s perspective.  Normally when we go to the bank, Xavier wants to stay in the car.  Today, he was itching to get out of the car and go inside.  The kids were bummed that our errands there didn’t take more than 5 minutes.  They were coloring pictures that weren’t theirs.  And I’m not sure what caused my good luck, but they were extremely well-behaved in the commissary.

After a day like today, I know we will make it through this deployment. I might even not just make it, but do well.  Give me a few more days like today, and I’ll be ready to conquer the world.  Well, my world at least.

I bought a washing machine today.  The first purchase that large that I have made by myself.  Chase has been around for all furniture, appliance, car and home purchases.  Which tends to be a good thing.  He’s more level-headed than I am.  I have what a friend calls ADOS-Attention Deficit…Oh Shiny.  I was torn for a bit between getting all the features I want, or paying the amount I think a washing machine should cost.  My price points must be from ages ago.  I think that a washing machine should cost no more than $500.  However, I decided early on that if I was going to shell out $500 I did not want to resent the thing I was buying, thinking about what I could have had if only I weren’t so cheap.  If I’m going to be miserable with a washing machine, I might as well stick with the one I have for free in my garage.  So I went from looking at the bargain basement machines to buying the creme de la creme, mac daddy machine.  This is where Chase comes in handy.  I tend to go to extremes.  However, before you shake your head and think, she should have run her choices by her husband, I will let you in on a secret.  My husband and I talked price point before I went shopping and after hearing my price point, the salesman made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  My creme de la creme, mac daddy machine delivered to my house by the end of the week, for the high-end of what my husband and I talked about the night before.  And this baby was made with me in mind.  There is a new feature called fluff fresh, or something about “fresh”, it will get the bacteria out of your clothes if you leave them in the washing machine for too long.  Between being a mommy and that ADOS, I rewash a ton of laundry because I forgot that I washed it in the first place.  I am so excited about the arrival of my machine.

It’s amazing how the introduction of something new that really, really cool can help boost you in a positive direction.  My excitement of the arrival of my washing machine has me getting my house ready to become its home.  Cleaning has become fun as I think of the new buttons and dials, and how I will be able to steam clean and sanitize my laundry.  I have received a shot of energy as far as housekeeping goes.

On another note, it’s been nearly 47 hours since the last attack of the bug.  Other than errands, I don’t plan to do much tomorrow, and Friday, I will be washing clothes all day long as the laundry baskets are nearly overflowing as it is (it’s amazing how fast stuff piles up with a stomach bug, three kids, one of whom is a diva of a girl who must change three times a day at least, and one adult.  We were only able to do three loads before my machine gave up the ghost and two of those were bedding that doesn’t normally need washing).  But Saturday, we will finally be able to see other people.  There is an event at church I’m hoping to attend.  And it looks like we should all be well enough to go.  Yay!!!!!

The washing machine repair guy came today.  And pronounced my machine terminal.  I had a horrible feeling that would be the case.  I hoped it would be something that could easily be replaced or fixed, but as I couldn’t see anything that looked broken or out-of-place when I opened it, I had a feeling it was the drum.  Here lies the problem with many of the new technologies I rely on and have grown to love.  They are made so that fixing is cost-prohibitive and could possibly cause new problems.  Everything seems to be disposable.  I asked the guy if I could keep using the machine, or if I should stop for fear of a real problem.  He said that now that it’s broke it will continue to get worse, but as it’s already broke nothing worse will happen.  It will probably start to leak, but he expects it will start as a little leak, so as long as I keep my eye on it and stop using it as soon as I see any sign of a leak I shouldn’t have to worry about a huge leak.  So I am back to doing my laundry.  And as Austin didn’t wake up last night until he was actually being sick, we needed some serious laundry done.  When it dies, I have a plan, I will get a couple of guys to bring up my other one, and dispose of my broken one.

And here I must complain.  I know at the moment I’m being whiny.  But I’m gonna get it out of my system and then put on my big girl pants and move on.  I love my washing machine.  I don’t want the other one.  I would rather go out and buy a new one, because I love my front loader.  My king-sized comforter fits in it, it will have to go to the laundry mat once this one dies.  It also washes all my dedicates, and all Clara’s dedicates.  I have been buying clothes for the past 7 years without caring if the label said to hand-wash because my machine could baby my clothes as if they were being hand-washed.  This leaves me with a ton of articles that need to be hand-washed.  Dresses with delicate fabric for Clara, delicate silks and laces and things with fringe for me.  None of which will be able to go into the other washing machine.  I’m already not driving my van, the keys and title will be turned in tomorrow.  Now I’m losing my washing machine.  I’m looking at things that Chase has worked hard for and saved for and bought for me.  That we have spent years researching until I find just what I want (and then drooling over once I have decided what I want).  And he has managed to get me exactly what I want.  The perfect washing machine and the perfect van.  And now I’m looking at years without them, using something that just isn’t perfect.  The washing machine will be replaced with another, but it’s a top-loader.  And it’s a perfectly good machine so I’ll be stuck with it for quite a while waiting for it to die.  And yes, I’m complaining that I have a perfectly good washing machine.  I realize I’m a spoiled brat, but I do promise that once I fishing typing I will get over it and remember to count my blessings and be thankful for that perfectly good washing machine.  And we will buy a new van.  But the likelihood that we will be able to find one that is my color.  And then there’s the radio, GPS, back-up cam and remote start/keyless entry/security system that we had put in.  And the final touches Chase added just for me, my steering wheel cover, front plate and sticker.  The exact ones I wanted.  Will a new van have all of that?  And will we be able to find all the things additions we have added to our last one?

It boils down to I’m spoiled.  I have a husband who works hard to find and buy exactly what I want.  And I am surrounded by so many things that show that.  My netbook I am currently typing on, my Kindle Fire I will read once I’m done typing, the couch I’m sitting on, the coffee table my feet are resting on, the tv I’m watching, the entertainment center it rests on, the refrigerator, and last but not least, the house that holds it all.  My husband works so very hard to make sure I’m surrounded by not just what I need, but the things that fulfill the exact specifications of my hearts desire.  So a couple of those things I have to part with.  They are only things.  And I’m complaining because……I’m a spoiled brat who needs to get over her pity party.

 

****Two hours later.  I must add that I am really, truly spoiled.  All that whining and complaining, God must have been laughing at me.  He knows the while story.  That He has given me a wonderful husband who likes to provide me with things that I like.  Chase called.  And without thought, after I told him our machine was unfixable, he said he guesses I’ll be shopping soon.  Even knowing that we have a perfectly good machine, he wants for me to have the machine that I want. Not only did he tell me to replace my old one, he gave me an idea of a newer version that will work better in our house.  Not that I had any right to get myself all worked up over a washing machine in the first place, but knowing how much my husband works to make sure I have my hearts desire, why do I let these things get to me?

I realize why deployments often begin/end around the holidays.  But as far as the spouse goes, the timing sucks.  Deployment is an adjustment that needs some getting used to.  The holidays are not the best time for getting used to anything, they are a time of confusion and business when nothing is normal.  Add deployment to that, and it’s hard getting your feet underneath you.  At least it is this time around for me.  And that is why I’m being so whiny about the little things, that are a part of life, going on right now.  I just need some “normal” time to adjust.  December was not adjust time, it was crazy whirlwind time.  Then we finally got to January, and I should be establishing a routine.  And I might just have one down, except that every other night or so someone threw up at midnight and needs comfort and rest, or someone’s tummy aches, or someone is needing more than just her diaper changed every hour.  And that has been going on for two weeks now.  Two weeks that I would like to be using to establish my new normal.  And I hope and pray that this too shall pass and not be normal for long.

So really things aren’t as bad as I might make them seem.  The repair guy will be here tomorrow.  It may cost some money, but that’s why Chase goes to work, so that we have money to pay the repair guy that I might live the life I am accustomed to.  It may not be fixable.  But we have been blessed with a spare washing machine.  I can’t say that I want to use it as I’m spoiled to my front loading (think agitator-less) machine, but my life will go on.  I may complain about having to take care of snow, but as I just got chided about blowing my own snow tonight, that’s just me, still wanting to be Wonder woman taking care of all things all by herself.  (I never truly wonder where my children get their independent streak from).  Yes, I had car issues Saturday, but they are only a result of being out in sub-zero weather for hours while I had fun at the theater.  Poor Katie (yes, I named my car, she was the first car that was mine and that special bond deserves a name) just doesn’t like the cold, she is from Tennessee after all.  As I don’t live in Fairbanks and I do have a heated garage, her dislike of the cold will not be an annoyance all that often.  And the kids.  They are truly wonderful children.  Taking care of things when the bug has me down.  Getting along so very well.  How many moms can say that after a week of only being let out of the house once her children still are playing well and being nice to each other?  Today they played hotel.  Boxes from around the house were packed and turned into suitcases, and the kids checked guests into all of our rooms.  Then they had a blast with Legos; Xavier is perfecting that crab boat.  Yes, Xavier and I had a bit of a trust issue, but he’s such a good kid.  And he’s working so hard to help out while his Daddy’s gone.  Not letting him off for his transgressions, just realizing he is a great kid.  Yeah, he still doesn’t like school work, but as we get into a routine that’s being dealt with.  And while we are all sick, it’s not a horrible bug, it just won’t go away.  Praying that last night was the last of it though.  So life isn’t really all bad.

Only one thing is still really getting to me, and that’s that I want a “normal” week.  I want some time to establish a new routine.  The way we did things while Chase was here just isn’t working now.  There are some things I’d like to try and see if we can’t make work.  When is the best time for grocery shopping?  What day is best for us to make it to the dump?  Will Tuesday work for a regular Arctic Oasis day or do we need to find another day?  What day should we do chores?  When would be a good night to invite people over?  Over one month in, I am wanting answers to these questions.  I should be into a routine by now.  But when going to the store is dictated by when everyone has been well enough that I can safely assume no one will have to make an emergency run to the bathroom, I can’t gauge when it really works the best overall.  I don’t know when is the best time to go to Arctic Oasis when we can’t go.  That’s what’s really bothering me.  The rest will take care of itself, as will our scheduling issue.  We just need time and a little normalcy.

I know that my life is easy, and any complaint I may have is trivial.  That doesn’t make it any easier.  The bug may have given us a day, but it is not yet gone.  My children and I will be quarantined until at least Wednesday at this point.  Which means I will be missing PWOC.  I am quite upset about that.  I actually like going and was totally looking forward to the Bible study starting this week.  Now, I will be making phone calls tomorrow to let people know I won’t be there and trying to make sure praise and worship will go on without me.  I will also be calling an appliance repair man because I need my washing machine.  I honestly don’t know what else to do.  My neighbor was supposed to come over and take a look at it today, but I haven’t seen him yet.  I’d try to reschedule with him, but I need my washing machine.  I have clothes that are in desperate need of cleaning.  I’d hand wash, but with this bug going around, I don’t want to contaminate any of our sinks by washing the dirty clothes.  The washing machine will contain the germs, the bleach will kill them and then they will be gone.  But in a sink there is splashing, and you just never know.  I’d go to a laundry mat, or someone’s house, but we are all under house arrest until this bug leaves.  I will have to make an exception for shopping and bill paying. I guess I may have to make anohter exception depending on how much a repair man costs and when he can get out here.

While I know that really, all this stuff isn’t all this bad, many people deal with worse, I’m so tired of dealing with all this.  I’m tired of stuff not working.  Be it the speedometer, the windows in the car, or the washing machine, I’m over it all.  I know it’s not all that bad, I can afford to have it fixed.  I guess the big issue here is that Chase is a do-it-yourself fixer.  And if he were here he’d take care of it.  So I feel like a failure when I have to spend the money that he works hard for to fix things that he could take care of with ease.  I am beyond sick of all of us being sick.  It’s messy, it’s no fun, and, by golly, the kids are about to drive me crazy.  We all want to be around people our own age, and until this is gone from all of us, that’s not possible for any of us  It’s getting warmer, which means it snowed today.  I don’t know if I’m yet well enough to push the snowblower, but I’ll have to be tomorrow.  I know some people are glad to see the warm up, especially all those with heat issues on post.  But I can handle bundling up to go outside (especially, when we shouldn’t be leaving the house in the first place).  I really don’t feel up for snow though.  I know, it could be worse.  But all this stuff is making the whole deployment thing just that much harder.

Alright, got my whining in.  I know I will get through this.  I know it just sucks.  But it really does suck.