Sunday, February 22, 2015

I keep making these things called weekly plans.

In my attempt to wrestle a routine out of our year, I'm falling back to some ideas I got out a book I read last year called Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine (she's the person in case you've ever heard of her).  It was actually a great book and very helpful. The basic point I'm using right now from the book is to make smaller, manageable goals. The other half is recognizing that I can't actually do all the things that I'll put on my list so I need to accept that from the beginning. Anyway, she suggests you make goals, then break them down into smaller, measurable chunks.  So that's what I'm doing. Sometimes it seems like a work of futility, but I'm going to keep pushing for routines. It's got to work one day, right?

This week's goals are as follows:
  • Work on organzing/decorating our bedroom for 15 minutes every day
  • Eat at home (No restaurants until Saturday when we go out of town)
  • Get math done before lunch every day
  • Read a chapter out of my current book every day (which is The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller at the moment)
  • Say NO TO SUGAR!
  • Run/walk 3 times this week for 2miles 
  • Be kind
I think I've got a good mix of school, house, and personal goals to work through this week. The eating at home will be tough. You know that. I LOVE eating at restaurants. I've gushed over it for years so there's no reason for me to do it again. Basically, if we're going to save up for a house and maybe go on a special trip later this year, the eating out has to go away. Sigh. I'm taking it one week at a time.

The no sugar thing plays into the restaurant goal. I love sweet tea. Sweet tea has sugar, obviously. Since I'm choosing to abstain from added sugar as much as possible in the weeks leading up to Easter, it's easier to avoid it if I also avoid the restaurants. At home I can control my ingredients and happily drink water. By the way, Sundays don't count for fasting. I read that Sundays are for celebrating the Resurrection, and I liked that. Today I had sugar in the form of a cafe mocha, chocolate covered peanuts, and sweet tea. They were all delicious. In fact, they were more special to me today. It actually felt like a little celebration. It may seem silly, but eating the sugar today actually did remind me that today is a day to celebrate Jesus.

Math...well, I don't like teaching it. UGGHHHH. I don't. like. it. I wish I could go back in time and only use Math U See. They have videos. Why didn't I go with the videos?! Anyway, it's too late for Tommy and Charlotte so we're going to try very hard to get the math over with as soon as possible so it doesn't get pushed to the end of the day...then the next day...then "CRAP WE HAVEN'T DONE MATH ALL WEEK!!!"  That doesn't really happen. I would never let that happen. It might have happened a few times. Don't judge me. My kids are still on grade level and brilliant.

Then all that's left is running, reading, and being kind. The kindness is more of my general character trait I want to focus on this week. The running is the smaller chunk of a bigger goal to maybe try to run a half marathon by the end of the year. I'm still not fully committed yet (in case you didn't get that from the "maybe try"). I don't like running. The only part I really love about running is the part when it's over. Still, it would be cool to be able to say I'd run a half marathon. I could put that 13.1 sticker on my car. I wouldn't have to even say anything. People would see my car and know that I finished my race.

So there's my week. Again, nothing terribly exciting. Exciting is overrated sometimes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The most boring Dumont update ever.

It's been a little over a month since I've done a real update. Some of that is because our lives became very boring in comparison to our last year.  I've been setting up house, getting the kids into their new homeschool group, and dealing with...reintegration.  Reintegration is something military families will get. Although Jon wasn't deployed last year, he was traveling  all. the. time.  Now he's home every day. Every single day. Like, really. Reintegration means we have to relearn how to all live together full-time again. And really, that's about it. We've been doing very normal, boring things together for the last month since we haven't had normal, boring lives in a long time.  But... there are a few things that have happened so here's the rundown.

1.  We've been here a month, and although I still have some work to do, I've got our home generally put together. Our bedroom is still kind of a catchall, but our home is a home. NOT rooms full of stacks and boxes.

2. Tommy has had a surprising turn in his school. We were able to transition from one CC group in Raleigh to a new group here in Charleston. In the last few weeks, Tommy has really stepped up and taken ownership of his schoolwork which is fantastic for me. His can I put this...well, he's motivated by being the most productive in his class. Basically, he likes having all of his work down, especially when others in his class don't. I've decided to go with it. If it makes him do his Latin on his own without me making him do it, I'm all for it. As a kid that was very motivated by having the best grade in the class, I get this. =)

3. Charlotte has never had trouble fitting in with new groups of girls, and this move has been no different. She has quickly settled in with the girls in her class as well as picking up with old friends. She's happy, so I'm happy.  She does want to get back into gymnastics and start taking violin lessons, but I'm not ready to commit. ;)

4. Tomorrow starts the season of Lent. I've never done Lent before. I've always been Baptist, and Baptists don't really do Lent or fasting. BUT I've felt more and more convicted in the last few years that fasting is something I need to incorporate into my life. So...I'm doing it. I haven't exactly decided how I'm going to do it. Whether I'm going to pick one thing (sugar) to give up, limiting myself to a restricted diet (think Jen Hatmaker's book, 7),  or to choose one day each week to fast. There are lots of ways to do it, and I'm settling tonight on what I'm going to do. I guess we'll see how this goes.

5. For about 5 minutes I had really exciting news about taking a trip with my friend to Washington DC. Then we remembered that we have people that can't seem to live a day without us so...that dream died fairly quickly. Sigh. I'm supposed to go to a homeschool convention in March, but I'm still waffling on it since Jon won't be around to watch the kiddos like he originally planned. It's only really fun when I don't have to think about the kids when I'm at a convention for the direct purpose of thinking about my kids' education. That might not make sense to you, but it does to me.

So that's it. A completely boring update. No moves. No job changes. Just very boring daily life. It's not even worthy of an update really, but I needed to officially close that chapter of our lives. =)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Moving up in 2015!

So this is it. A new year and almost a new life. The downward spiral our lives have been on for the last few months has reversed course, and we can see the end of this chapter. In another week, Jon will be in happily employed once again doing the same job he was previously doing on the AF base, and we will be in our new/old city of Charleston.  I have been waiting for this moment for the past couple of months. This moment when I can finally sit down, take a deep breath, and enumerate the ways that God used His people to carry us through this time.

It's hard to list it all because people have gone above and beyond for us. But I'll give it a try anyway.

  • People have given my husband work.
  • Friends have given him a place to stay while he worked away from home
  • Friends have given US a place to stay when we had a gap between homes.
  • Friends have encouraged all of us, even the kids.
  • People have fed us meals and listened to us talk through everything.
  • People have watched my kids for me while I either worked or rested
  • They helped us move, and more people will help us move again in a week!
  • We've been treated like normal people instead of social pariah (our story was a little out there and scary, even for me)
  • People have prayed for us, and they've let us know that they're praying.
  • Some people gave me dark chocolate covered cherries and wine. Because chocolate and wine are good for the soul sometimes. =)
All in all, our friends and family have been amazing. We couldn't have made it through everything so well if God hadn't used all of these people in our lives.

And now we're moving into our new home in a week. Jon starts his new job in a week. The kids are already involved in a new Classical Conversations homeschool group so school is still happening! Now that everything is coming together, I've looked back over what I wanted to get out of last year.  My 2014 goal was simplicity. I wanted to get rid of the excess in our lives, the overscheduling, the extra stuff, and get back to basics. Well, I think I achieved that. In fact, I think we were a little overzealous in our search for simplicity. Jobs are good complexities to have!  I was able to look at commitments with a more critical eye before agreeing, and I have a good grasp of things that are worth my time as opposed to things that just aren't.

For 2015, the two words that keep coming to mind are stability (obviously) and holiness. The stability thing is more about location, but also a state of mind. I mean, I'm not unstable. Really.  But I do want to focus on fewer things for longer instead of bouncing around. I don't want to be a bouncer this year. As for holiness, it's something that I've felt I need to take more seriously personally. I don't mean a live-action, daily performance of holy-like behavior. I think we can all agree that it's revolting to see and all too common. This year, I want to dig deeper into what holiness means and what that looks like in my life. God's been pointing out some instances when I've really failed, and honestly, I don't like to fail. So there's my 2015 goal: stability and holiness.

If you have any book suggestions, throw them at me! I'd love to hear what you've read or studied on the topic of holiness.  And that's it. The Dumonts are moving up again!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Dumont Non-Update

It's past time for another update that's not really an update. So here's where we are. We are STILL waiting for official things to happen so that we can tell everyone what we're doing with our lives. Believe it or not, we actually do have a plan, and things really are  happening. The problem is that the things happening are not things I'm allowed to actually share publicly until they've finished happening.

Until things are officially settled, we are in...yes...I have to say it...Laurens, SC. Again. Temporarily. Again. We left Raleigh this past Saturday. We could have stayed until January, but I'll be honest. I was beyond done with the "are we moving this week or that week?" while Jon worked in South Carolina. So yes. I pulled the trigger, and I insisted on leaving in December before we had a permanent place to go. We've been spending this week with some amazing friends of ours that have graciously let us live in their guest apartment while I detox from the move and the last 3 months in general. Beginning next week, we'll be living in my parents' house (that they don't currently live in because...No) until all of the details of where we're going are settled.

Since...I don't know...I guess May or June ,things have definitely been tough in a lot of ways. We never imagined that Jon's job would turn into what it did, so that was hard. Then when we made the decision to jump ship, we really thought we'd be settled and back to normal by Christmas. Okay, I thought Thanksgiving. Since that obviously hasn't happened either, it's forced me to rethink some things that I assumed were true and dig a little deeper to see if I really believe all these things that I think I believe.

One of the most important things I've experienced is that the Church is actually alive and well. They did not let us fall apart when we couldn't trudge along anymore. We've had people that we know deeply and closely, complete strangers, new friends that barely knew my name in August, and old friends that we hadn't talked to in years all come together to not only offer us prayer and encouragement, but tangible things. Things like work. Childcare. Meals. Boxes for packing. Loading our moving truck. A place to stay. Things could have gone so differently and been so much harder if we'd had to handle all of this alone. But we didn't. They really were the hands and feet of Jesus for us, and it's been incredibly beautiful if humbling to experience.

So until we have official news, that's our update for December!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Marriage is like football.

Hey friends. You've probably noticed by now that I go a little overboard on Facebook posts every November around my anniversary.  This year is no different, but I did start to question whether I was being a little obnoxious about the whole thing. Then I thought about how much people post about their favorite football team, and I decided that my marriage is like football. So it's okay.

And for your reading pleasure, here is why marriage is like football. In no particular order...

1.  Each year is like a football season. We play games (also known as life happening). Sometimes we lose. Badly. Sometimes we have HUGE wins!

2. Sometimes we add new players to our team. We've added 3 players in our 14 years. I'm fairly confident our roster is full at this point.

3. Anniversaries are like the Super Bowl. If your team made it to the Super Bowl, wouldn't you be excited?!?! 

4. Some seasons, we've lost every. single. game. Badly. Like, we got slaughtered. But it's okay because we still showed up to the game every. single. time.  That means we still get to our Super Bowl Anniversary even if we spend the day lying on opposite ends of the field glaring at each other, only content to at least be there.

5. Some years we have interpersonal team issues and certain members don't get along. As long as we don't have any sex scandals coming out, we can handle them and move on without calling in the commissioner. ;)

6. Some seasons are AWESOME and we win every game that life throws at us. Those are the anniversaries that get extra celebrations. They're more meaningful when we had a losing season a few years before. We can see that our team has matured.

7. I don't really have a seventh reason. I've exhausted my sports analogies for the day/week/year. 

So there you go. I will continue to post things on Facebook until Monday. Then everyone gets a reprieve until Jon's birthday. In January. =)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

So....we're moving! Again.

So.  I've announced on Facebook that we're moving on December 13th, and people are asking me where we're going. Since the answer is a little more complicated than "We're moving to ______ for _______!", I thought it would be easier to write it here. Ready? Here's the deal.

We came to the conclusion at least a month ago that staying in Raleigh, NC simply isn't going to work. All of our connections are in South Carolina, and our very best job option is there. We've been jumping through all the necessary hoops to make the top job option happen, but we're still waiting on the final answer.  In the meantime, we had to give a 60 day notice to our apartment community letting them know we will not be renewing our lease. THAT had to happen by last Friday. I'm fairly insistent that we be where we're going to be before January so that the kids can pick up right where they left off in their homeschool group. Thankfully, the organization we're a part of has numerous groups throughout the country so we can simply move to a new group and continue with our same classes. Still, that means we have to move in December.

Nobody wants to move the weeks before or after Christmas, and we're still hoping that Jon will start the job he's hoping for in December. All that to say, we went ahead and picked a moving date of December 13th. If things work out the way we hope, we will be moving back to Charleston!  If things don't work out the way we'd like, then we will be moving back to the upstate. There are a few variations that could happen, but those are basically the two directions we can go in. Does that make sense?  In the most simple of terms, Job= Charleston, No job= SC upstate. Either way, we're leaving North Carolina on December 13th. 

I'm okay with all this. I have a plan. I have a goal. I have a timeline. I know that I have Thanksgiving next week which means we'll be with our friends and family in Greenville and Laurens. I know that we're focusing on school through December 2nd. I know that I will start packing on December 3rd. Finally, I know that we're loading a truck with all of our belongings on December 13th (that's 3 weeks and 6 days as of right now). That's all I need to know at this point. Since I'm very much a goal-oriented person, I'm perfectly happy without the other details as long as I have a project in front of me to keep me busy.

So there you have it. Our latest developments. I held off on saying anything because I was soooo hoping for more official news. Since I don't have that, I'll have to settle for a moving date. Whether we like it or not, the Dumonts are moving on to....something!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Though he slay me

It's now been 7 weeks of temporary job status. For a few days last week we actually thought things had turned a corner, but no. That Raleigh job was kind of a disaster and not what we were expecting at all. So...Monday we'll be back to the same temporary work as before. I'm beyond thankful for the opportunity, but it does mean that my husband is gone during the week. This past week he was working nights here and sleeping during the day. Do you know what it's like to homeschool in a shoebox while your husband tries to sleep in the next room?  We certainly managed, but it was a long week with no set schedule.

So here's the thing that I've been thinking about for the past few months. I never realized how much the whole health and wealth mentality had made its way into my thinking until the last year. I would have never claimed I held to the belief that if I do what God wants, things go well, and if things go badly, then it must be my fault. But's kind of there underneath. We just couch in more acceptable terms. We say that God will work everything out, but what we mean is that God will eventually provide (fill in the blank) if we're faithful. No matter how bad things get, we just assume that eventually it will get better. That great job really will happen. Whatever stress we have in our lives eventually will get better. And generally, that assumption works out well as long as we're only looking within our American church. But what if I think about the Christians in Iraq and Syria? Does God not care and provide for them? Do they get beheaded and sold into slavery because they're less faithful? Surely not. What does it mean when Christians in China or Sudan are imprisoned or murdered? How can I sit here and just assume that God will grant me all of my wishes when that is obviously not how life works for most of the world? When that's not even the example we see in the Bible. God's plan is large and encompassing. I'm one tiny part of a much bigger, overarching scheme. What if that verse that says "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him"  actually means what it says?

Big questions, I know. And it's not like our lives have been that difficult in many ways over the last year.  We don't have the luxury of being able to plan our life more than a week in advance (which drives me CRAZY), but it's not like I'm worried about feeding my kids or asking how we'll pay our bills. The kids eat well and the bills are paid on time. We'll spend our Saturday getting Halloween costumes together. To compare my situation to the word slay is a bit of a stretch. Still, I can't help but come to the realization that there's a distinct possibility that this won't get better. Stay with me, I know this is depressing.  But really. Things might not get any easier, ever. Does that mean God doesn't love us or that we've screwed up so God is zapping us with some form of cosmic retribution? Nope. Or things might get better. I certainly expect them to. This isn't where I see us staying. Will that mean we've earned our way back up the holy ladder? Nope. God has a reason for the ups and the downs. So I suppose I'm learning to ride the waves, and if we sink, well...I will trust in Him.