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Living in the 907 was a catalyst for much change in my life. Most of the changes have been good; some were great. However, there is one thing I picked up that I would rather drop: extra pounds.

I wasn’t skinny before I made the journey north.  My struggle with weight pre-dated my time in Alaska.  Six years of cold, dark winters, a deployment, and one more pregnancy compounded the matter.  Long ago, I had picked a number that as long as I had not reached  I was still okay. While in the Lower 48, I was still some distance from that number.

I cannot be sure just when I went over. While Chase was deployed,  I had stopped weighing myself in fear that I had finally reached my limit.  I decided I was not responsible for what I wasn’t aware of.  In recovery we call that denial.  Before recovery I was Cleopatra, queen of denial. (Sorry, I can never resist the chance to use that joke.)  I was already exercising by the time I had begun to see the error of my ways, so when I finally hit the scales I was back under that number.  The first time I saw that number on a scale, I was 30 weeks pregnant; therefore, I gave myself a pass.  I found myself slowly gaining pounds after Rory’s birth, and was trying to be proactive about not reaching it.  Unfortunately, some old injuries resurrected themselves in my zeal to exercise the weight off.  Last summer the scales tipped beyond that number again.

Ages ago, when I created the threshold, I also had a plan-a trip to GNC to buy whatever weight loss remedy was hot.  I knew this wasn’t the most healthful plan, but I figured the extra weight was also not healthful.  It just so happened though that at that same time Alaska gave me an excellent solution for my weight issue.

PS 907 is the Alaska area code, not my current weight 😉

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Yesterday, we heard about this awesome event on the radio. At the cemetery downtown people would be dressing up as some of the people buried there and telling people about their significance and the history of Alaska. We were so excited. We got the kids in the truck and drove into Anchorage. The cemetery was deserted. Turns out the event is actually tonight. But since we were there we thought we would look around anyway. We knew Sidney Laurence was buried there and as we love his work, thought we might check out his gravesite.

Before yesterday the only cemeteries I’ve spent any time in have been military: Arlington and Gettysburg. In those graveyards the tombstones don’t tell a lot about the person. Name, rank, religion, and dates of birth and death. Some are buried with their wife so you know that they were married. But you don’t tend to see the “Here lies a great man,” or “She was loved by all,” that I had heard about being on tombstones.

At the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery you really can learn about the person buried there. We walked around the Pioneers section. At Sidney Laurence’s grave was a tombstone and the top of the stone looked like Denali. One of the interred must have loved planes because a model plane flew over his resting place. We saw former governors and statesmen, founding families, and military heroes. The ones that touched me the most were the ones which I simply felt like this person impacted many lives and was well missed. I don’t remember the exact words that made me see those people as special, but something about their tombstones showed that those people made a special sort of impact.

It made me think of Nicole Nordman’s song Legacy. Nicole sings about how she wants to be remembered, not by her accolades but by her legacy. Not by what she did, but who she was.

To me a big part of the difference is the effect of a life on others. What you do makes others appreciative for what you have done. But who you are is what makes others change who they are. It causes a ripple effect that lasts forever. And that is a true legacy.

I like the idea of leaving a legacy behind. But I know that type of thing is only done by those with great character. And I know how character is formed…through trial and the development of patience. That is not fun stuff. However, the idea that the work that begins as I develop patience can affect others generations from now is kind of cool. It may help me to bear through the next time I am afflicted with trials.

So just over two years ago, I decided that I would start an online journal and share it with close friends and family, you know all my Facebook “friends.”  Honestly, I thought I’d post a time or two, get busy with life and that would be the end of it.  I mean I know me, I start projects that I never finish.  The big basket of cross-stitch projects attest to that fact.  And writing, that’s not my thing.  I joke that I majored in math so that I never had to write again.  Okay, I’ve been know to start writing a story now and again, but I quit well before I finish as they suck.  Real writing, for prolonged periods of time, that just doesn’t sound like me.  Somehow, I kept writing.  People were interested.  And writing about me, well that’s easy as I know I’m highly self-centered. 

Then I decided that harassing my friends and family to read about me and my life wasn’t enough, I should subject myself to the general public.  I opened a WordPress account and began a public blog.  I was astonished when people who don’t know me were liking my blogs.  I still don’t know what possessed them to choose my blog out of the many, but I am so glad they found enjoyment out of it.  Then, people started following me.  Asking to receive notice when I wrote.  That still boggles my mind.  It makes me happy to think people enjoy what I have to say that much, but it still astounds me. 

Today, I’ve taken writing a step further.  I will have a bi-weekly column in the Chugiak-Eagle River Star (www.alaskastar.com) beginning the last edition of January.  I guess this math major turned stay-at-home mom is now turning into a writer. 

Aahhh.  Sitting by the fire and relaxing.  It’s another day when I feel as if I really haven’t accomplished much today.

I guess that’s another thing I should look at while doing Celebrate Recovery.  Why it’s so important to “accomplish” stuff every day, and why only certain activities fall in the list of accomplishments.  I really haven’t been lazy today.

The day started off at physical therapy.  I actually really like going.  I still dread doctors, but my physical therapist isn’t someone to be dreaded.  First, they play worship music in the office.  The music with the prints from Shane Lamb studios leads to a relaxing atmosphere.  (Shane Lamb is a painter who paints Alaskan landscapes, and I adore his work, by the way.)  Then my therapist is helping me to work toward getting me into shape with no condemnation.  Like, I know my posture is out of wack, but honestly, I’ve never know what to do about it.  While all my life people have told me “shoulders back,” no one has pointed out what muscles to use and how to properly make them stronger so that putting my “shoulders back” didn’t hurt and wear me out.  My therapist never said a word about poor posture, she just looked me over and said, “Now let’s do this exercise,” and then, “Use this muscle instead of that one.”  I get it now.  And my back adores her.  She’s teaching me a lot.  Since starting therapy a couple of weeks ago, I’ve managed to hurt my back a few more times, but it has never lasted overnight.  Plus, I’m feeling stronger.  I felt a bit indulgent going to physical therapy for back pain I could deal with, but I’m so thankful I’ve been going.

While I was gone, Chase had the day off work.  However, being Chase, he was working hard.  My garage is being turned into a home gym.  He’s been re-organizing our boxes out there and getting rid of stuff to make room for our gym.  He’s cleared space for a treadmill to go with my elliptical, and we bought mats today for the floor to make space for workout videos, yoga, and free weight training.  He even brought our extra tv out so that I can play videos to workout to or play DVD’s while I’m on the elliptical.  We just need another DVD player (actually a 3D BluRay player is on the list of stuff to buy, and the old DVD player will go out to the garage.  The kids are all excited about having a space to work out, and Xavier even put in 60 minutes on the elliptical today.

Well, I couldn’t be out done by Xavier, I decided that while in workout clothes from physical therapy I should do my daily workout as well.  I should really consider that an accomplishment.  Taking care of myself is important.  The energy and mood benefits from working out make it something I should do often.

After lunch, I recalled that tomorrow is November 6th.  A day that requires some preparation.  So I decided to prepare.

November 6th is a day I have been dreading.  I’m taking all three kids to the dentist.  I hate taking my kids to the dentist and the doctor.  It comes from my need to be perfect.  Because I’m not.  I feel as if I should be able to make sure my kids have perfectly sparkling teeth, and if they don’t have perfectly sparkling teeth I have failed as a mother.  Instead of seeing the dentist as someone who will help me in the goal to have children with perfect sparkling teeth by teaching me tools and tricks, I see the dentist as someone judging me as lacking and deficient as a parent because my kids do not have perfect sparkling teeth.  I’m working on changing how I perceive things, but it’s easier to be in denial than to deal, so I put the appointments out of my mind.  However, today, I had to remember.  With all three kids going in at once, the receptionist recommended that I print the forms and have them filled out ahead of time.  So I needed to get that done.  And I needed to find the insurance cards.  I got that done in record time, but I’ll admit that the doing of it added stress to my day.  Mostly because I still just honestly dread the dentist.

November 6th, also happens to be Tuesday, November 6th.  And if anyone out there doesn’t know, that means it’s election day.  In elections past, I’ve been registered in areas I’m just passing through, so I’ve voted for President, Senate, and House, but left most of my ballot blank.  What did proposition 12 (a hypothetical issue, I don’t even know what else was on the ballots elsewhere) have to do with me when I knew I was moving before it would take affect?  I didn’t feel as if I had much right deciding issues when I had no horse in the race.  However, I’ve been determined to be an Alaskan since before I moved here.  And have loved it here since I arrived.  We may leave, but this time knowing I’ll be back.  I care now.  Being that this is my town, my state, I want my say in all the issues.  But I knew nothing about the issues.  Tomorrow I get to vote on the fate of 19 Alaska judges, 18 of whom I’d never heard of before today.  I needed to study up on the issues.  That took hours.  I feel as if I’ve been cramming for a test.  But I am prepared to go out and vote.  I’m kind of excited, even if this is the fourth time I’ve exercised my right to vote this year.

So I did all that, but my laundry still isn’t folded.  My sheets are over-due for a washing.  The list of stuff I need to “accomplish” seems unending.  I need to learn to be okay with that.  I did what needed to be done today, and laundry can always be done tomorrow.

It’s time for another “old” post.

 

Almost done in this state, this time tomorrow we will be in another state hanging with friends. Or if all of us show our age, we will be in bed after having had a great time with old friends.  We just have to get through tomorrow morning first.

I really feel for Chase today.  Moving is tough business and he’s bearing the brunt of it.  My day was easy.  I slept in. Don’t know if you’d call it sleeping in or a mid-morning nap after the early morning I had.  Clara woke up at 3:30 and didn’t fall back asleep until 6.  As we aren’t home and Clara doesn’t have a section of the house all to herself I stayed with her to keep her quiet so that 2 people didn’t get any sleep as opposed to 5.  Then at 8:30 the dog was desperate to go out, and I woke Clara up trying to find the room key.  I crawled back into bed at 9:10 and did the best I could to get some sleep as my vision was blurry from sleepiness. It was a tough job as Clara has learned to open doors in the past 2 weeks and kept running into my room and crawling into bed with me.  At 10, I was finally awake enough to function so I gave up on the idea of real rest.  Hopefully, I can find some tonight.  I got to play in the pool and take a walk on the river walk with my kidos.  It really was an easy day.  Chase had to finish clearing and cleaning the house.  I felt really bad when he called around 4 letting me know that he was still hitting it.  We got so much work done yesterday, but as Chase told me the more square feet you have to clean the longer it takes.  And we wanted to do a super good job.  Our landlords have been good to us, and they are in Anchorage.  To me that’s a big one, I’d like them to be friends, so we’re trying to treat them as such before we get there.  Inspection is tomorrow. The inspector is a good guy and I wouldn’t expect a hassle from him unless we damaged something, and with the cleaning Chase did I can’t imagine it going any way but well.  At 6 I called him, just to check up.  At that point I was feeling so bad, I wanted to be there helping. Although, I remind myself with my kids, keeping them from making the job more difficult is helping.  But I also knew I got to rest and relax today and Chase spend the day working his behind off.  Fortunately, at 6 he and Amber had finished and she had even prayed with him before heading home to be with her family.  Got to love friends who take the time to have a last moment of prayer.  Now he’s totally exhausted from the day he has and there is still stress about tomorrow.  We have to pick up the car. It had work that we wanted to get done before we left, and it was ready days ago when we had time to pick it up, but the guy who did the work didn’t call and let us know that.  So now, when we don’t have time we have to make time.  Plus, we have our house inspection, not a big deal, but there’s always that feeling inside that something could go wrong, can’t imagine what, but it’s still there.  Then there’s the carrier.  Don’t think the issue is installation error, but instead the bars on the van are too flexible and are bouncing with the carrier as air flows underneath.  I’m having Bernoulli flashbacks when I think about that one.  We really need to fix the issue though because the  carrier trying to keep our speed down will only cause tensions to rise and stress to escalate.  He’s researching that now.  Plus, there’s the huge issue of making it to Atlanta on time.  We need to get the car to the shipping place in time or wait until Monday.  Chase had been saying if we couldn’t leave here by noon, we might as well not leave till Monday, but we have plans with friends tomorrow night.  And we can’t cancel, the bum will be coming on over to see us.  As this is a rare occurrence can’t miss it.  And of course, I want to get on the road.  I am so excited.  I don’t think I am as good as helping Chase relax as he is for me though.  He just says the word and my blood pressure starts coming down.  I’ve been trying and his is only seeming to rise.  I wish I could do more, but all I can do is love him and keep the kids in check.

Well, I’m off to watch Sarah Palin’s Alaska reruns and do my best to show love to Chase.

So, first I must brag, I love when I’m getting my netbook out and my husband asks if I’m writing and then says “cool.”  It’s so good to know that he supports me in this.  I would not do this without that support, and I honestly have fun writing.

Today was a great day.  Yesterday, not so much, which made today even better.  Yesterday, I woke up feeling cruddy, and after a visit to the doctor’s office in the morning, I basically slept the rest of the day away.  Ending with going to bed feeling worse than when the day began.  Today, I woke up feeling still a little off, but a big day was planned and there was no time for being sick.  So I just went with the day.  Still not feeling 100%, but oh, so much better than yesterday.

The first activity of the day was a Hispanic Heritage event on the Air Force side of the base.  Julie was going and I decided that we would attend that instead of doing our usual Friday workout.  My original plan was to head to her house and the caravan over.  I still get super-duper lost on post (remember the air show) so I knew I would need help finding my way to Hangar 1.  So when Julie called at 5 till 1 saying her husband had to be there an hour early, I did the math.  The event started at 2, so they were leaving right then.  My plan to follow someone was toast.  Plan B, in our old van, I knew exactly where the JBER map was, the hangar had to be on the map.  Don’t know if it was or wasn’t, the map was one of the things I still have moved into our new van, along with a trash receptacle and a box of Kleenex.  So I headed out.  I knew where the air field was, and used common sense to deduce the hanger would be near the air field.  I’m still in shock that worked.  I found the hangers right away.  Then I had to determine which hanger was which.  I’m eternally grateful to the man who invented cell phones, they come in very handy.  I called Julie who stood outside the correct building, and I got there.

Okay, so I went for the food, and cause Julie went.  I figured there would be a speaker.  I also figured the speaker would follow in the tradition of most speakers I’ve ever had to listen to and be long-winded and boring.  The dude that spoke was awesome. He talked about growing up in Mexico, then coming to the United States and hearing about how we are “45% Irish, 30% German, with a little of the Netherlands thrown in” (so not an exact quote, but you get the jist, right?).  That got him thinking about Hispanic culture, and how even as Mexican, there was a lot thrown in there.  You have the Aztecs, and the Spanish, but then with the Spanish you get a lot of Muslim influence because Spain was controlled by Muslims for a long time.  He taught us that Spanish words that start with “al” are from the Muslim influence.  Then he talked about coming here.  How after like a week or two or so (I’m so bad with details, I should have taken notes) he had a job.  A job that was supposed to be temporary and has lasted him the past 11 years.  Then he talked about wanting to give his kids, and our kids, his grandchildren and our grandchildren the same opportunity.  And then all of a sudden he was done.  I so wanted more.  I could have listened to him talk culture and community for a while longer.  But after that was the Mexican food, so I stopped complaining and stuffed my mouth.

Chase was supposed to meet us there, but he still hadn’t come.  I was bummed that he was missing out on the food.  Then I remembered all those times he’s brought back a plate for me.  I did something then, I rarely do.  I got a plate of food to take to him.  And then he came, so it wasn’t needed.  But I’m still a little proud of myself for thinking of my husband, and trying to do something nice for him.

After that we went to CR as a family.  I’m so glad my husband went with me.  Even if he doesn’t keep going, that he would try out something so off the wall as CR, just because it means something to me.  I have the best husband.

When CR was over people were saying the Northern Lights were out.  We all ran outside to look.   My children, being my children, went saw, and immediately ran in to the snacks.  Chase and I were so excited we decided to drive up Mt. Baldy (along with half the local population).  They were so amazing tonight.  I have seen them once before, and that time they faded and changed.  Tonight they danced with movement and changing intensity.  It was amazing.  I was so glad to have my husband home.  With him home there was no question, do we drive up Mt. Baldy in the dark, with bunches of cars and other people all around, we just did it. Plus, even with all the other people around, it was awfully romantic holding hands in the dark.

Couldn’t post this when I wrote it, Op-Sec. But as Chase is home safe, here it is. Let me say, his home-coming was amazing. Everything I hoped for and more. I have an amazing husband, who is understanding and loving and just happy to be home.

So yesterday, I was all missing Chase, but I didn’t know when he was coming home. This morning I found out, tomorrow morning. I went from “I miss Chase so much, I can’t wait till he comes home” to “Oh my goodness, Chase is coming home and everything’s not perfect.” All my love and excitement fled as stress flooded in. That is so not the wife Chase needs to come home to. And I am trying my best not to be that person.

First, I just continued what I was doing. I was teaching Xavier. That was important. That needed to be done.

Second, I decided then and there, I wasn’t going to do any extra cleaning. I know it’s kind of crazy. But I knew if I was cleaning all day long, it would only add to my stress. Putting something away, I would see that something needed to be dusted, and then something else would need to be vacuumed. So other than my daily load of dishes and load of laundry, I have done zero cleaning/picking up today. I know that my husband will just be glad to be home, it would be nice if it were perfect, but home is what matters. Honestly, the house is not that bad. This isn’t the last time he redeployed when I hadn’t cleaned in forever. I’ve been keeping up with the housework. And by not cleaning, I am reminding myself I’m not the same person. So the floors aren’t vacuumed. So Clara left a puzzle all over the living room floor. So Xavier’s homework is all over the place. So Austin’s train is taking up the entry way. So I left school stuff all over the sun room. It’s just lived in, and normal, and okay.

Third, I worked out to get myself out of the house and hanging with a friend. Okay, possibly not the smartest thing to do with my back still hurting. But Web MD says to do what you can with lower back pain, and I needed the time with my friend.

Fourth, I went shopping. Soda, chips, and ice cream cake for my husband. I know what my man likes. I figure having those things in the house makes up for the fact that I haven’t cleaned the dining room chairs since R&R. (Cloth chairs and children may not have been the smartest buying decision I ever made, but I love those chairs.)

Fifth, I went to Celebrate Recovery. I think going may be one of the best things I’ve ever done. Learning to deal with my crap, even just learning to acknowledge my crap and face it head on, will make me a better wife. I know it’s making me a better mother.

Now I’m home. Home in my messy house. I’m going to let my house stay messy and I’m going to get a good night’s sleep so that I can be loving and excited and not stressed when I go pick up my husband tomorrow. And you know what. I’m okay with that. I’m finally relaxed and happy. I am no longer worried about things I really don’t need to be worried about. I know my husband is just going to be happy to be home and with his family, mess and all.

Let me start off with a great big wahhh.  My back still hurst, wahhh.  The Norther Lights were out last week and I missed it because I couldn’t even walk down the stairs, wahhh.  My husband will be home soon and I struggling with normal cleaning, much less welcome home make it look like I’ve suddenly turned into Martha Stewart housecleaning, wahh.  I don’t like pain, wahhh.

That has been my last week.  I’ve been trying to do as little as possible to let my back heal.  Today, however I got fed up.  Reading about the link between lower back pain and depression on Web MD, probably helped me get just that much more fed up.  Not sure that depression caused my pain, but I could tell that trying to baby my back was making me cranky, whiny, and discontent.  So the part that said back pain could lead to depression struck a chord.  After a week of trying to let myself heal, I decided to give up.  Today, I woke up and got to work.  At least until I got to the point I couldn’t stand anymore, and then I gave myself permission to take breaks.  I’ll admit that my back currently hurts way worse than it has in several days.  But I’m not tired and cranky, only a little whiny, and no longer discontent.  I feel like I’ve earned every bit of the pain that I feel.

So while I started off with a wahhh, that’s not really how I feel today.  Feel ow for sure, but I also feel good.

Here is another retro post. 

 

Today was Goodbye day.  We went to church for the last time and had our last home group at our house tonight.  I’m sad to be leaving, but it’s not as emotional experience as I expected it to be.  I love our church here and would recommend it to anyone.  Great church with great people.  I am gonna miss all of them.  But I am so excited about what’s coming that there is not as much room for melancholy as I had expected to feel.  And thanks to technology, I should be able to keep in touch with many of those wonderful people.  This is the second Goodbye Day I have had in the past year and I’ve been struck by the many differences.  In April we were running away, actually, it was more like fleeing.  We couldn’t leave fast enough.  Now we are running to.  What a difference.  Chase never looked forward to SCCC, sorry to any signal buffs reading this, but Chase never loved Signal or computers, but it was an out.  Chase’s new job is as perfect for him as I can imagine a job to be, he’s made for Public Affairs.  It’s also amazing how the attitudes of those around you can make all the difference in the world.  I don’t know if it’s because the people didn’t know us as long so they don’t mind our going as much, or the people here get military better, or if they are just plain, old excited with us, or what.  Even though everyone in our former state knew how miserable we were, we kept hearing that we should have stayed, did we have to leave, or, my personal favorite, that God would bring us back there.  Here everyone expressed that while they would miss us, they were excited for us.  That made the goodbye so much easier.  I didn’t have to apologize for leaving, or explain that I really felt that God was telling me that it’s time to move on.  I just got to express my gratitude for everyone’s friendship, say I’d miss them, and remind everyone that for three years they have a place to stay in one of America’s top vacation destinations (at least according to me).

 

I got a card today from a friend and what it says means so very much to me.

On a Wing and a Prayer

Life is-well-life.  It is what it is.

What makes it interesting is our reaction to it.

Sometimes we just have to “wing it,”

cast our eyes to the horizon,

and sail on the jet stream of faith-

secure in the knowledge that

although we may feel a little helpless,

things will turn out as they should.

 

I fly beside you in spirit-

cheering you on

and on

and on.

 

Joyce Heuman and Linda Leary Collection by Blue Mountain Arts.

 

I love the last part.  I love feeling encouraged to move on to the next adventure.  I love knowing that my friends will be there with me, if not in person in spirit.

 

My final thought for today.  When God says it’s time for someone to move on, let go.  If you are meant to see each other again on this earth, He is big enough to make it happen.  And if not, we will all be part of a glorious reunion in heaven (just make sure you’ve made your reservation).

Tonight, I’m thinking long and hard about shoes. I am a girly-girl and I love shoes.

I was super excited when the snow finally melted and the ground dried up after the spring melt. It was time to take off the snow boots and slip into real shoes. I love my summer shoes, my favorites are open-toed ballet flats. Most of the shoes I own are ballet flats, allowing me to wear a different pair of shoes for any look or mood I have during the summer. However, while summer didn’t officially end until last week, up here in Alaska fall arrived at the beginning of the month. With occasional temperatures in the forties, socks became necessary. So I brought out the fashionable boots.
I have two pairs of pretty boots. One black, one brown. The black are chunky, late-90’s style, square toe, ankle high, and a chunky heel. I love them ever so very much. They make me feel stylish and cool. The brown are sexy, hugging the leg nearly up to the knee, narrow-footed, and a wedge heel. They make me feel classy and fashionable.
In the past couple years, I haven’t worn those boots often. I’ve had small kids to run after and heels put me at a disadvantage. However, as my youngest is growing, I’ve been able to get back into fashion. Hoop earrings and necklaces will no longer be pulled and yanked. I can nearly touch the day I can use a purse too small for an emergency change of clothes. My children now listen, I don’t have to run after them. I thought bringing back the heel could be part of my entry back into fashionable society.
Today, I’ve been trying to figure out why my back chose this week to be in massive amounts of pain. I’ve had back pain since my being pregnant with my second child. It’s normal for me. So, on Tuesday, when my back twinged, I sighed and took my Ibuprofen. On Wednesday, I groaned. Today, when I couldn’t walk without tears, I broke down and called the doctor. Turns out my right leg is shorter than my left. (Take that doctor that told me my back pain was muscle fatigue and would go away, no need to come back if it didn’t go away because he knew it would eventually disappear.) That still doesn’t explain why my back chose this week to decided it had had enough of compensating. Hmm, then I thought about my footwear. My beautiful, amazing boots, with cool heels.
I just had to get rid of one of my favorite shirts. It was a baby-doll tee. People kept asking when the baby was due. Four years ago, thanks. And now I may have to rid myself of my most favoritest shoes. Sigh. I guess I’d rather be able to walk than wear my boots. I guess, I’ll just have to do what I did when I dumped the shirt. Go shopping for replacements. Just as soon as I can walk.