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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Just a boring Dumont weekly update

So we're closing in on two weeks since my husband quit his job. I know some of you will read that and think "How irresponsible! They deserve the struggle of unemployment if he quit."  I can't give a detailed explanation as to why things have worked out they way they have, but I can absolutely without hesitation say that sometimes quitting is actually the best choice. Consider that. Unemployment was preferable. *shudder* I can also say that if I could give all the details, you would absolutely agree we did the only thing we could do. Oh, and one more thing. My husband actually hasn't missed a single day of work since he quit. He's been working at something else that's temporary. That's okay. Temporary is good enough for now. So, that's out of the way.

And how are we? We've had some promising leads. I really don't think this circumstance will last long before we're off and running again. We're still not sure if we'll have to relocate (again). But if we do, it's not like I haven't had enough practice at packing. I'm pretty sure I can handle it again. The kids are well. They of course are kind of oblivious to everything. It's not that they don't know, it's just that it hasn't affected their lives very much yet. As far as they're concerned, the only difference is that I won't take them to eat out. Oh to be an ignorant, oblivious 8yr old.

And that's about it. Nothing new or exciting this week. I appreciate all the messages I've gotten from friends and prayers. We've definitely felt them in the last few weeks. Feel free to continue those prayers as well. =)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In case you missed the lack of employment announcement...

So...My husband quit his job on Friday. He called me on his way home to let me know. As soon as he got home, we drove to Charleston so he could work there for his Reserves weekend. It was a hectic, exhausting, raw week and weekend for us. Monday morning, he got up and left before the rest of us to work with an old friend/employer for the week. Adrenaline got me through last week and it lasted right up until Monday morning around 8:55am. That would be 15 minutes before our homeschool group started, and I would have to jump into tutor mode for a group of 6 year olds. I managed to get through class well and even made it home before crawling into bed and sleeping for 2 hours.

When given the choice of hiding difficulty and sharing it for prayers and support, I use a sliding scale to determine how open I'll be. Sudden unemployment makes it to the major life problem side of the scale and equals sharing. Sharing leads to two responses: Genuine concern and offers of help and prayer OR sudden lack of eye contact and people needing to suddenly "run and check on that..thing...that I forgot to do...that's...over on the other side of the building..."  You know the response. =) A few of those reactions on Monday morning didn't help, but I don't blame them. I've done that to people too.  Unemployment is scary sounding. It's not like it's contagious, but we still want to be as far away as possible from it. 

So after sharing with a few people the situation we found ourselves/put ourselves into, it finally hit me. We have no job. We have ideas of jobs...possible leads for jobs...even a secure backup job in a few months if nothing else comes up. But for now, we have no job. But I do still have kids. And bills. You know, expensive things. I have no husband. He's still gone for temporary work. That's good. Income is good. Absent husband is not good. *sigh*

 I know we made the right choice, of that I have no doubt. Unfortunately, that doesn't take away the fatigue, the fear that creeps up requiring me to tamp it down (because who has time for fear. Really). To walk around with a big smile on my face would be a lie. We're tired and hurt by the situation, and that takes time to overcome. There's also uncertainty now. No matter how much faith a person has, I'm still human. Knowing in my head that everything will be okay doesn't mean it will be easy, and knowledge sometimes takes its sweet time on its way to my heart.

So...all that to say we are not closing off any options.  Although we'd like to stay here, relocation is absolutely a possibility. We're looking for temporary "this will work until something better comes along" as well as "I could do this for the next 20 years" jobs. That's it then. Friends, let us know if you have any job leads. If we don't live near you and you'd like us to again, you now have incentive to look for jobs for us as well. =)