Lessons Learned in the Dark

I have noticed myself continually taking deep breaths and blowing them out.  A sigh of relief.  I can’t seem to stop.

I cannot help but notice how privileged I am in these moments.  I have so much.  So many things to be grateful for, every second of the day.  Yet I am always so consumed with my struggles that I miss it.  And God decided that it was time for me to see all the things that He gives as good gifts.  He’s a good, good Father.

This week has been insane.  It started last Thursday when Robert left to go out of state, and we had so much ice everywhere.  It continued into the weekend.  Sunday morning, our power went out.  With no sign of it being fixed anytime soon (and a single digit morning coming the next day), camp leadership quickly got the ball rolling to help our community feel as warm and safe as they could.  It didn’t take but an hour and the dining hall had a roaring fire with plenty of firewood for days.  Food was being cooked in the kitchen with the propane stove/oven.  People were bringing down their games and food and books and things to pass the time. 

Little did we know, this would be the scene for the next 5 days. 

Nights were so cold.  The house was so cold that we could see our breath.  It was miserable to sleep, so Wednesday night the kids and I ended up sleeping in the dining hall (it was MUCH better).  It was so hard because our home didn’t feel like a home.  It felt like a shell.  Nothing warm and inviting here. 

I would drive up to the windmill here at camp once a day because it’s the only spot that has cell service.  School was cancelled for the whole week because so many didn’t have power and the storms just kept coming.  The state gave a 3 day waiver. Apparently we experienced 5 winter storms in a week.  Thursday’s was pretty awesome, though.  It snowed all day.  I woke up to it and it didn’t stop till late afternoon.  It was a bit sad because I wasn’t able to have any contact to the outside world, but it might have been worth it this once. 

Yesterday I found out that there’s no gas to be found, so many are without water, and the majority of Texas either didn’t have power, or it was off and on.  I would have been fine with off and on compared to 0 power for 5 days. 

So.  As I said.  Tremendous amounts of relief, a little sadness that the party with the staff is over, and an abundance of gratitude for all that God gives us. 

I have noticed myself just being so thankful for the little (and big) things.  A hot shower.  A clean house.  Our amazing animals.  Hot coffee (and a coffee maker).  Journals.  Music.  Being able to do the dishes.  Lights (it’s miserable to be in a dark house, especially if it’s freezing).  Warmth.  That is something that I will never take for granted (who am I kidding, I have a bad memory).  Wifi (which we just got back last night).  Good friendship.  A community that is a true family.  My amazing car that got me into places that many couldn’t go.  It’s built for this. 

Robert got home last night after 10 days, and I feel super strong to have gotten through all of this without him.  But I also wouldn’t have gotten through it without the support of my camp family.

Also.  I had a bit of an emotional breakdown Wednesday night, so I decided that I needed to spend time in personal worship/prayer journaling.  I felt immediately lifted up.  Then I had a warm night of sleep.  I woke up feeling a new kind of energy and strength.  The Lord sustains.  He gives us what we need, even when we feel we have hit our breaking point.  He drew me to Himself last night and He filled me with His strength and grace.  

Despite the struggle, there was beauty in it all. The ice was crazy and the snow was heavy. This area hasn’t experienced something like this in a very, very long time.

First, I will show the ice photos. These were taken Monday. You will see my love for cacti here.

Next are the snow pics.

More random pics…

The rest is just random things about my weekend…

Yesterday I finally went to town, and it was so good. But also weird. I got gas, which I was worried about… but many of the gas stations didn’t have gas. I did a lot of my shopping at my favorite health food store, and HEB had quite a bit of food, but they were out of things like eggs, milk, bread, etc. Most of their freezers were empty. I got what I went for which was mostly produce. But they didn’t have hummus which seems weird. Robert and I decided that our whole family needs to eat more nutrient dense foods, so I didn’t buy things like Cheez-its and mac-n-cheese and chips and pancakes and ramen like we normally do. They tend to live off of those and the boys are both struggling with their weight (they are in the 5th percentile and I know that part of it is how they eat… not enough calories or nutrients). I mean, I cook a decent dinner and they have nutritious foods in the morning (not always), but their lunches have been awful and they snack and snack because their meals aren’t sufficient. I’m working on this for myself as well! I’m trying to balance my plate as well as theirs… protein, fat, carbs, and fiber (freggies).

I also had a session with an amazing registered dietitian who told me that I need to eat more, and for my cough, we are starting with eliminating sodas for 3 weeks to see if it makes a difference. I decided to eliminate all carbonated beverages which includes sparkling water and even kombucha. I’m noticing that they make my cough worse. She doesn’t want to make a bunch of huge changes at once so my main goals are balancing my plate while eating enough + eliminating carbonation for 3 weeks. I also added turmeric which she suggested for inflammation. I’m limiting gluten by choice, but not eliminating it. I’m also dairy free, as I have been for almost 2 years (with the exception of adding it in at times and suffering). My dietitian has a whole eating guide with recipes if I choose to use them. She doesn’t push anything, which I find so awesome. We are also working on my mental health and trauma response because sometimes I eat/drink things because of that. That’s why I used to drink so much alcohol! This has been a huge journey.

Anyway… this was my grocery haul for the next couple of weeks. I have so much food here like gluten free ingredients to bake with, stuff to make granola, the ability to make homemade Greek yogurt for the family, SO much meat (like 150 pounds in the freezer), some fruits and veggies, etc. We have a lot. A lot of what I purchased yesterday was to stock up on gluten free foods + supplements + produce + supporting my friends health food store. I’m super excited about meal planning and meal prep later today!

Robert got home last night and it was so amazing to have my partner in life back. I feel normal again.

Now to go lesson plan, meal plan, meal prep, budget, and clean the house. I’m so thankful for a “normal” Sunday!

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