Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Moving Plans

Well, it looks like we have some official plans now. We'll be moving back to Arkansas this summer. I've known, tentatively, for about a month now. I was waiting to tell people until I could come to terms with it. ;)
Don't get me wrong, I love my friends and family. I love the beauty of the Ozarks....the hills, rivers, caves. I adore all that! I grew up hiking in those woods, canoeing those waters.

However, it was my dream to move farther south. I know eternal summer isn't for everyone, but I'm pretty dang happy with it. And I love the beach. Love. Plus, we had started to make great friends in our last city, and joined a wonderful homeschool group. I was hoping our plan would be to move back to that city, as soon as we were able.

The things is, Fred is just not happy here. It doesn't feel like home to him. Growing up, I had traveled quite a bit and moved across the country....but Fred spent his entire life in Northwest Arkansas, and being uprooted has been very hard for him. Couple that with the cultural differences I mentioned before, and Fred is ready to haul it all back "home." I get that. Really I do. I've been lonely, too.

He tried this for me, and I can't express my appreciation. When we leave Texas, in June, I'll have had almost a year to live my dream near the coast. An extended summer-y vacation. And, if nothing else, it has brought us closer together. We came here knowing NO ONE. We did everything together, tried new things, explored, made friends, got involved.

We also missed an unusually cold and long Arkansas winter. Perhaps that's why God set this whole thing in motion. ;)

Still. Guys, I was HERE on Monday. On the pier, overlooking the bay at South Padre Island. 
Just a regular Girls Night out. 
I'm going to miss that, fiercely. 

 Sunsets over the ocean are something I don't take for granted. 

Okay, yada yada. It's going to be hard for me.
But Fred brought me here, because my heart desired it. His heart desires to go back, and I will follow him. We'll return to our gorgeous hills and cliffs, caverns and caves, rivers....things that are hard, if not impossible, to find around here. We'll return to our friends and family, who I have also missed, fiercely. The beauty is that we can really be happy either place! We'll continue to travel and explore, wherever we're planted! So, while part of me feels sad about leaving, I am truly also excited about returning to our wonderful area in the beauty of Arkansas!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Long Version, living dreams even with shadows

Here's the real catcher-upper for y'all. We moved to Texas last summer. You know that. Tiny little house with not enough space, no dishwasher, no dryer. Old school all the way. We enjoyed the town, but knew the housing was a VERY temporary situation. And then the roof started to leak. I mean, rivers of water coming directly into the house. Our landlord, a wonderful single mom, fixed the roof, with my help. 
And then we discovered mold. 
She tried cutting the section of wall out, which only revealed more mold inside the walls. At that point, we asked to be released from our lease. We had paid the first several months in advance. We had helped repair anything that needed fixing. But mold was out of our league, and she didn't have the resources to fix the problem either. The house really shouldn't have been offered for rent in the first place, but I understand that sometimes people are simply trying to survive. Our landlord was very apologetic, very understanding, and immediately released us from our 6-month lease. She is a kind and wonderful mother and a sweet friend. I hope and pray that she gets the help she needs to repair her own home and also her rental house. She was trying, hard.
At that point, we decided to move closer to my husband's job. We scoured Craigslist and facebook and the paper; all the usual housing haunts. And came across a great one-- comfortable 4 bedroom, 2 bath, brick home in a gated community within our price range. And it would cut my husband's commute by more then half! We jumped at it, and we got it. In December, we moved to a much smaller town, closer to Fred's job, but much farther from my beloved beach.
Okay, and here things get sticky. We were pretty much out of money, after moving twice within 4 months. Plus, Christmas. We did a totally giftless Christmas, out of absolute necessity. Food and bills.... or presents? Well, the choice is obvious. The kids had presents to open, sent from grandparents, but ours came later, in January. 
My husband began to get depressed. We didn't really know anyone at all. He wasn't being treated kindly or fairly at work. (For example, our Christmas ham was given to someone else, because my husband was on duty when they were being given out. It was supposed to be held for us, but no such luck. And, at the time, we could have really used that ham, by golly!!) 
He was homesick and lonely. And I was lonely. I mean, really REALLY lonely. In our last city, I had joined a homeschool group, gotten involved, made friends in the area. We left all that. The kids left the friends they had just made. Moving twice within a few months is hard, y'all.
There are also cultural differences here, that we are growing accustomed to. People greet each other differently, play somewhat differently, and in general parent very differently. We are the minority, by far, and many people do not speak English at all, which definitely adds to our feeling of isolation.
Okay, so there's your background. Now couple that with a temporary lack of medical insurance, while my husband switched companies. I went from having my regular anti-anxiety meds, to needing to taper off completely. For awhile, that was okay. After all, my main issue is SAD, and I figured that it would be less of an issue in a warm, sunny subtropical climate. For the first time, in as long as I can remember, the winter alone was not bringing me to my knees. I was lonely, but functioning okay. 
However, by February, I was frustrated and overwhelmed. I could not seem to think straight and was crying over stupid stuff. I was snapping at Fred, and he was snapping back. 
I feel awkward admitting to other Christians that I have a problem with depression because, after all, the joy of the Lord is our strength. 
By the end of March, I had stopped exercising and doing art. I didn't want to go out. Why bother? I didn't know anyone anyway. I was going through the motions with school, but the joy had slowly seeped out.
My husband realized at that point, I think, that I wasn't going to help myself. He told me we were going to the walk-in clinic. I didn't want to shower and get ready. He simply said, "Fine. You can just go like that." And we did.
The doctor explained it this way… If a diabetic decided to stop taking her medication, what would happen? Then, how can I deprive myself of what my body needs and expect a different result? Kudos to the doctor. She was wonderful, understanding, kind. 
Why do I suffer from chronic depression that needs to be treated with medication? I have no idea. I don’t think we will ever know what factors cause some people to be more prone. I know I need medication. I am no longer fighting that. I accept that. I'm more "Me" with it, than without. It's who I am, just as my very low blood pressure and curved spine are ME.
The thing is, depression happens to good people, to great moms, and sometimes, we just need some help. Even in the middle of living dreams, and having the greatest kids ever. :)
We're working on the other issues, too. While we enjoy the house we're in now, and we're very thankful for it, neither of us are happy in this teeny town of nothingness. Fred misses his family, in a big way, and doesn't feel like Texas is our home. I, on the other hand, love being this far south and LOVE the ocean. I miss our last city and the friends and homeschool group we had joined there. One way or the other, we will be moving again. Our options are open. Fred and I are praying about what's best for us. We're flexible, We're both willing to do whatever God wants us to do; whatever is in our family's best interest. We're both feeling happy again, with the plan to simply follow God and make this a mutual decision.