And lots of people are excited about cooler temperatures (although it was 90 degrees in NW Arkansas today!!!!) and pumpkin spice lattes…. PS I hate pumpkin spice anything. Sorry. Holding out for peppermint mocha season!
If you know me well, you know I really don’t like Fall … and particularly October. Many years ago, it was just kind of my anxious season. Not only that – but beautiful, colorful leaves on the trees – at my house – mean RAKING. SOOOOOOOOOOOO much raking. Does everyone else not have to rake or not consider all those leaves have to go SOMEWHERE??
We used to be able to just rake leaves into the woods behind our house or even burn them when we lived in Missouri – but here in NW Arkansas on our little postage stamp lot in the city, we have to put our yard waste out in bags for the city to pick up every Monday. We average about 40-60 bags of leaves every fall/winter/spring from leaf clean-up. WE ALL HATE IT. Just being honest.
October also marks the time of previous bad memories. While I’ve moved on from them, they still haunt me just a wee bit when October rolls around. We lost our 3rd baby to miscarriage on October 17, 2002. It was just a tiny 7 or 8 week gestational aged baby – but it was a baby (I saw it!) – and its loss is etched into my brain forever.
October 5, 2012, was the day that my husband fell about 18-20 feet with a ladder as it slid down a wall from a second story window he was working on painting/staining, shattering his tib-fib bones at the ankle of his left leg. That was during one of the hardest times of our lives thus far – him being unemployed, us not knowing what the future was, and having our entire steady world rocked by totally unexpected events. We had no money and no idea what was to come — we only had God’s promises that He would provide for His children. And He did.
That was 6 years ago. We are still recovering from that time. But we have come so, so far! We have lost so much … but it turns out all we need is our family and a few good friends – and Jesus. We always need Him.
Looking back I can see how we are radically changed. First of all, I am a fierce protector of my immediate family. We are close as ever, thankfully, and have had to rely on each other when we had no one else. The older kids have taken care of Mimsy; Drew has done his fair share of taxi-driving his sisters and helping his old parents out when our vehicles took turns breaking down. My older kids have gotten jobs to pay for all the things they want/need that we can’t give them. I am something I never wanted to be – a working mother. Dan is something he never thought he’d be either – a glorified clerk at a hospital. We have struggled to find a church here. We are very gun-shy to join in anywhere too deeply as far as organizations go. We have all had trouble making friends (well, maybe not Mimsy!). We have all been deeply affected by moving to the unknown without having a military community or good church family or our own families near by. BUT we have made it this far, by the grace of God alone.
We have lost so much in the last 6 years. From the simpleness of leaving a dog and cat behind when we moved to NW Arkansas to eventually losing our house there. In the last few years, we have lost 2 vehicles that we just drove until they literally died. We have lost financially and have only recently even seen the light of day on digging out of debt, only because GOD performed a HUGE miracle which I can’t explain to the internet world. We have been forgiven much – from the $90,000 hospital bill from Dan’s 2 surgeries in October 2012, to bitterness and anger and cynicism and doubt (and that’s just ME).
We are radically changed – in some ways for the better … in some ways, for the reality of life. Our kids have grown up very differently than their peers now who have lived here all their lives and have NO CLUE what all our family has gone through. We’ve struggled to fit in and find our place, and have approached a lot of people with a very leery attitude. We have lived on a budget that seemed impossible sometimes as the expenses were more than the income (hence the great debt!); we have had to say NO to purchases, activities, and things we would have liked to had/done. It probably make us seem stand-off-ish, but it is too hard to explain why we are the way we are, why we don’t participate in things others can. But we have seen great needs met – mostly by hard work. Dan has worked so many 60 hour weeks that I have lost count; I work 2 jobs. We are NOT complaining, I am just explaining, remembering.
It has been a hard long 6 years … life has been hard, marriage has been hard, church has been hard … It reminds me that life on this earth isn’t the end all … With the political atmosphere of these days, I wonder if Satan isn’t just trying hard to destroy us all as Christians and those who want to live by God’s Word, luring us with distractions of the world: deceiving us with trite ideas of things that will “make us happy,” distracting us with stuff that doesn’t matter, and discouraging us with the things that do that are being viciously opposed by those who don’t believe. I wonder sometimes what MY purpose is here – sure, to raise good kids and fulfill the Great Commission. But many days, it just seems like we are trying to survive and trying to pay the bills and trying to keep a positive attitude when things around us are in chaos.
In 25 days, it will be November … and I’ll start feeling better about this ol’ world or at least about the calendar. November is my birthday month, and if nothing else, I can be thankful for LIFE. It isn’t all bad … even when October seems to make me feel a little melancholy.
Thanksgiving is coming and there is ALWAYS, ALWAYS something to be thankful for. Every day. Even in October.