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So, after a lovely six month parental leave, B goes back to work in just over a week. I’m not sure how to feel about it and I know it will be a big adjustment for all of us, especially the long days and shift work aspect. I think our little Bubby will find it lonely with out his Daddy around to play with him and spend time with him.

For me I’ll miss B, I’ve loved having him home for so long, but I’m most unsure of how we will handle the logistics of running a home, feeding everyone and making sure there’s time for fun and special moments crammed between loads of laundry and night shifts. I love spending time with our little Bubby and I love making a home for B, making sure he has his huge cooler of food for each shift and clean clothes when he leaves the house, but I don’t know how I’ll be able to do both of them well, at the same time.

So the question will become one of priorities and needs and I, with my (sometimes overwhelming and unhealthy) desire to do everything well (perfectly?), will have a lot to learn about grace, good enough and what is really important. So if we disappear for a few weeks/months you know where we are: readjusting and learning what it’s like to be a shift work family of three.

Any tips on priorities? Things you saw your parents do well? Things you are trying to do well in your family?

So, in case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been around for a while… if you know us, you know that we have been pretty busy and life has been full of many exciting things. Many new things. To recap: we found out we were expecting a baby in January, didn’t tell anyone till February/March; my brother left for Korea in January; we decided not to renew our lease since we were expecting and wanted more than a one bedroom to share with the baby; my dad retired (Congrats Dad!) and my parents took off for Texas; and we started looking for a house. This was all before March.

We found that buying a house in this city was far more difficult than hgtv makes it seem, offer dates make buying a house more like a blind auction and since we had decided on how much we were going to spend, we lost a few houses. This was getting pretty stressful, especially since our lease was up at the end of April and we had to move out! We had no idea where we would go if a house didn’t pan out. Thankfully we had friends who had bought a house a few years ago and they offered a room in their basement to us while we kept looking. I figure this is what church looks like, what Acts talks about, everyone had enough and took care of each other.

We were hoping to live in the basement for only a few weeks but weeks turned into two months. During this time B was working crazy shifts, three rotations in three weeks, with only days between, not enough to recover, so he was exhausted. I was pregnant, so I was exhausted. And we were looking hard for a house when we could. We bid on a few more, didn’t get them. I cried a lot, by the end I just wanted a place so I could know where we were going. The baby was growing and I wanted a place to put it, I wanted to settle in before this new change threw everything back into chaos.

We prayed like crazy. And I mean like crazy. And we held on. I knew God knew what was best for us and what we needed and I knew he would do something when it was time. In my experience with trusting God for things he is always on time, but never early. And so we waited. And I cried a lot, pregnancy hormones and living in someone else’s house while dealing with the stress of trying to find a home are not a great combination if one wants to be composed, add to that B’s very busy and spastic work schedule and it was quite a crazy few months. But finally we found something.

It wasn’t perfect but we figured with a few changes we could make it great. We put in our offer, we were getting tired of the whole process, and waited. Wednesday night, the answer: Nope, this isn’t the one either. Almost pushed me over the edge. And B was working the night shift so I couldn’t even really talk to him. But there was this other house, with no offer date, we decided to look at it the next day when it went on the market.

We looked. We bid. We won! We finally had our house. And, it worked out that we could get possession almost right away, which was different from many of the other houses we had looked at. So here we are now, expecting a baby in October, living in our new home, which is far more than we expected or imagined. It has been worth the wait, this place is better than anything we had previously bid on and pretty much exactly what we were looking for. My parents came by a lot and helped out, this dad being retired thing was a great help, especially because my dad is so handy and willing to try anything once. The house needed a lot of work, and there’s still tonnes to do but we’re getting settled in and soon it will be time to get the baby room ready.

We have great neighbours who are also in a similar spot, one couple has a baby, the other is expecting any day now, so we have really enjoyed the chance to chat over the fence and share stories, we have felt very welcomed by them. We live near a river valley so there are lots of birds and bunnies running around and the occasional deer wandering along the sidewalk. At the same time we’re in the middle of the city, only a few minutes from anything, including B’s office and the hospital.

So that’s where we’re at. Lots has changed. And lots will be changing in the near future. But we have been blessed and loved in all of this. Blessed in the gift of this house. Blessed by friends who let us invade their space for a while. Blessed by parents who have helped us work on making this house a home and who have helped us celebrate the upcoming baby in between coats of paint. Blessed that the baby seems to be doing well. Blessed by friends who have cried with us, prayed for us, helped us and cared for us. And all I can say is thank you, and you’re welcome to come by anytime (just make sure B isn’t sleeping).

It seems that there has been a lot happening in our lives over the past few weeks. In mid September my parents rented a cabin in the Manitoba Whiteshell Provincial Park and invited all of us to spend the weekend together. Everyone was available and we had a great weekend together, with a few adventures thrown in.   

We did a little hiking, some geocaching and B shaved on the dock while my sister jumped in the freezing cold lake to wash her hair. I even have a picture to prove it. All in all we were able to spend a lovely time exploring the area, canoeing across the lake and taking some time to enjoy a slower pace of life.

When we returned home I began to really think about where I am right now and what I am doing. I know that questioning one’s place in the world is something to be expected when transitioning and I sure have experienced transitions over the past year, including getting married (!!) and completing my Master of Counselling degree. All this has left me asking “where to now?”

I have spent a lot of time thinking about my place as well as what the future may hold for our family as well as for me personally. I have thought about this as I have spent time working to create a wonderful home for B and I have thought about this at times of loneliness and loss and I think I have finally come to an answer, for now.

I think that right now my job is to be available. Now I know that may seem strange or just plain lazy (just being at home and waiting to help?) but I really feel that right now it is important that I am present in the moment and available, not only for my husband and my family but also for whomever needs our help. I have found that in the face of the recent tragedy in our family I have been able to help out a bit making food and talking with people and generally just being there in the midst of it. The freedom that I have has enabled me to reach out to people in ways I couldn’t have if I were working too.

This idea only came to me the other day, as I was responding to an email from a friend, but I feel that in some ways it is my calling from God. I am to be here, living my life and enjoying it, cooking, baking, having fun, but with eyes open to the needs around me, ready and willing to lend a hand wherever needed. And in this way, though perhaps unconventional, I have a place in the world. I belong wherever I’m needed.

So if you’re around here and need a little help, you know who to call.

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