Category Archives: linework

When His Plans for Me Aren’t Just for Me

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

This morning I read about a mother who said she wished she had known her son would grow up to be an archaeologist and earn his living digging in the dirt because she would have wasted less time removing the stains from his jeans. It made me laugh. My oldest said for a long time he would be an archaeologist, and believe me, his jeans showed the hours he spent practicing. 🙂

Her comment got me thinking about those situations in my own life, when it would have been helpful to whisper a little advice to myself or give myself a glimpse of the bigger picture – what God was really doing in that time. The first that came to mind was the years my husband spent on the road. It came in waves – easy weeks that we both spent doing things we loved but still missing one another, the few weeks and days we spent together in new places, weeks that left us in tears, trials we both dealt with that the other couldn’t understand, trials that beat us against the rocks and left us with nothing to do but pray and cling to one another and God to keep from drowning. Then it would start all over again with easier goodbyes and easy weeks that flew by before a storm would blow in (sometimes literally), sending us crashing back into the sea of emotional exhaustion, hurts and sadness. As I look back on those earlier years, I am thankful for them. All of them. Not for the storms we walked through, but for what God used them for.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)

The strength He poured into our marriage. (I promise you, Satan tried and tried to use that time and those trials to tear another marriage down.)
My relationship with Him.
Our faith in His provisions.
The times my eyes were opened to the answers of prayers – even when the answer wasn’t yes.
All of that gave me the empathy, little bits of wisdom, and ability to talk to and encourage other wives and mothers that are in similar situations with questions, worry, and fear.
I’m realizing more and more lately how big that last one really is. I will not forget what He has done for us. However, I often forget that it shouldn’t be a secret I keep for myself.

A few months ago in an online group for linewives, a woman asked if there were any happily married wives whose marriages had survived the stress and time apart required by the job. I was happy when many, many ladies replied with a big “YES!” but saddened that it took someone asking for us to speak up. For one reason or another, we all seemed to have forgotten to share the wonderful things God had done in our lives and marriages by allowing us to walk this path. I think that applies to all our lives though. We often get so caught up in what is happening to us and around us, we forget it really isn’t about us at all. It’s not just my story He created. it’s HIS story. When God saved Joseph from his brothers’ terrible plans, it wasn’t just to save Joseph. It was to save many lives. When He saves us and brings us to the other side of our trials, even in the midst of those, his intentions are the same: to save many lives for eternity.

“Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.” Psalm 66:16

I pray that as storms roll through my life, I will not only see His goodness in them, but also remember to share it.

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Follow Friday {blog style}

If you’re using Twitter, you are probably familiar with the #FollowFriday tweets. If you’re not, it’s a way of sharing with your own followers all the fun people you enjoy following on Twitter. (PS – Follow me on Twitter 🙂 ) Today, I will be doing a blog version of that and introducing you to a sweet friend who is also a fellow blogger and linewife.

 
familypicture

I first connected with Emily (I love making new friends with other Emilys.) through a Facebook group for linewives. We soon realized we had a lot in common, other than the obvious name thing and both being from Arkansas. Now I guess the rest is history, and our husbands just laugh at us for texting each other too much. She’s new to blogging, but has lots of great stuff to share! Her family takes a different approach to the linelife and travels as a family to wherever the lines lead. That’s obviously not an option for us now, so I enjoy living vicariously through her adventures. 🙂

Over at her blog Highlines and Hairbows, Emily shares more about life on the road, traveling with 2 (soon to be 3!) littles, yummy recipes (You will be surprised what awesomeness she can cook up in a microwave, crockpot, or single skillet.), and homeschooling a preschooler on the road!

Go check out her blog, and leave her a little welcome note. 🙂

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2013: My word of the year – content (in review)

Each year since 2012, I have prayerfully chosen a word to grow through over the course of the year and learn about through our trials and blessings. This provides a way for me to be on the lookout for God’s wisdom and lessons in day to day life. It’s certainly not always easy or fun, but I guess wisdom doesn’t come cheap. 🙂

In 2013, it was content. I was nervous about it from the get-go. That doesn’t even sound like a fun word! But I was still on a high from the way 2012 ended (a new baby and a grand new adventure for our family!) to look too far into the future. Then reality hit.

Here’s a quick run through of some of our year before I get into what I learned about contentment.

– Jan. 2013
With three weeks notice, we moved 50 miles from the home I grew up in, crammed most our belongings into a storage unit and the rest, plus the 5 of us, 2 dogs, and a cat with newborn kittens, into a 950 sq. ft. house with literally zero yard, on a super busy street, in the middle of a new town.
My husband started a new job.

– Feb. -October 2013
Chaos.
We didn’t know many people.
I was starting to get depressed from the isolation.
Renters moved into our old house.
I turned 26 and had a fun date night with my husband and our 4 month old in Memphis.
We dedicated our baby girl to The Lord and found a church family.
Our renters moved out and we were back to paying rent and a mortgage and utilities on 2 homes.
Our new home started feeling like home.
Our oldest son played soccer for the first time.
We found out we would be having a 4th baby.
We moved back to Bono house that still hadn’t sold.
We signed a contract to sell our house in Bono a week or so later.

-November 2013
Chaos. Lots of chaos.
Two birthdays & Thanksgiving.
More time and money spent on our house.
We learned the house we had our hearts set on buying had been vandalized beyond what we had the time or money to repair.
I shed a lot of tears.
I threw a few fits.
We were told our house would close right around Christmas, so we packed up, put more stuff in storage, and moved again into the upstairs 2 bedrooms of my parents’ house.

– December 2013
More chaos.
An ice storm ruined our plans to have a weekend away for the first time in two years. (Oh the life of a lineman!)
A month long fight with our buyers’ bank to get a closing date, that still hasn’t ended.
Another birthday.
Our anniversary came and went without a chance to celebrate it.
We put in an offer on a house, but due to our issues from our buyers’ bank, we were a day or two too late.
I shed more tears.
Christmas.
Then the year ended.

In between all that stuff there were lots of other big stressors that popped up with sick family members, unexpected traveling, car repairs, our car was hit in our own front yard, my husband’s company went through a restructuring and laid off a lot of people, sick kids, and several other things that very well could have sent us all over the edge. We also spent nearly every single weekend and a ton of money working on updates and repairs at our old house. Did I mention chaos? Then, just like that, another year was gone. On New Years Day 2014, all I said was, “We survived.” It was not an easy year.
That’s not the truth though, at least not the whole truth. We did survive. We also grew. We loved. We somehow managed to make some fun memories along the way.
I learned a lot. I grew in contentment in ways I hadn’t really considered before, and I was thankful for the contentment I already knew in other areas.

Content – in a state of peaceful happiness
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Through my word content, last year I learned…

– through downsizing twice in one year, how to be content with far less stuff. I am honestly embarrassed by the sheer amount of material possessions my family had crammed into our 1200 square foot house.
– to be content in my home, with just the company of my children and husband most of the time. Before we moved, I was used to being constantly on the go and having the freedom to get out with friends for bible studies, late night coffee, etc. once or twice each week. After the first move, I rarely left the house alone. That was a big adjustment. Now I can’t wait to have my own home again, so I can enjoy that time even more.
– that I actually enjoy grocery shopping and cooking for my family all the time. So many complain about those tasks, but I am so thankful I have a husband at home each night now to feed!
– a content marriage is a blessing when facing lots of trials. Our year would have been so much worse if my husband and I had taken our stress out on one another instead of being in it all together.
– my husband expects far less of me than I expect of myself.

All year long, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness and love. I also learned that all those people that told me 3 kids were easier than 2 didn’t have 3 kids in less than 3 years. 🙂
Mostly, I learned being content isn’t just accepting your lot and going on. It’s having peace, happiness, and joy in everything you have and do.

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“Is Daddy coming home?”

This year hasn’t been the easiest. We started the year off with the biggest blessing and answered prayer – to be together every day as a family. But with that has come lots of stress, changes, adjustments, and quite a bit of uncertainty along the way.

One of our biggest hurdles has been the stress and expense of two houses, and this week, when we were finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, things changed again. I’ve been frustrated, angry, and worried. Then this morning, my three year old asked the same question that he asks nearly every single day. “Daddy, are you coming home tonight?” And his daddy said, “Yes, Baby. I’ll be home tonight.”
That makes it all worth it.

I smile, but it breaks my heart. Most kids ask all day, “When is Daddy coming home?” My son asks me everyday, “Mama, is Daddy coming home today?” Even after a year of my husband being home nearly every night, my baby boy still carries that uncertainty. But each time he asks me that, I stop grumbling about the bills, the tiny house we’re all piled in with no yard, or not having a dishwasher and I remember my favorite verses, Psalm 30:11-12.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.”

Then I remember Deuteronomy 4:9…
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

Ouch. I pray I never forget, and I pray I can impress upon my children how God has so greatly blessed our family over the last year.

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Hold on Sweet Baby

Note: This is Part 3 of the story. If you want to start at the beginning CLICK HERE.


 

Thursday arrived. I was officially 40 weeks pregnant, and my husband was somewhere on the coast of Maryland.  I went about my day as usual. I had a checkup with my midwife. The look on her face when I told her where Steven was is  something I’ll never forget. I’m certain she thought I’d lost my mind as I calmly explained I didn’t know if he’d be home anytime soon. I remember laughing as I showed her a picture one of his co-workers had posted on Facebook that morning.  Only we could have this kind of crazy stuff happen…

Friday arrived. Our baby was officially late. I kept hearing over and over, “Wow, I bet you’re ready to have that baby!” or “You’re OVERdue? I can’t imagine!” At 40+ weeks, it’s not really a big deal though. The baby had dropped, so I wasn’t terribly uncomfortable other than being tired. It was just a waiting game to me, and each minute that passed was a minute closer to Steven coming home, whether that was before or after baby arrived, I didn’t know. I really wasn’t sure if I wanted our little one to wait it out or just hurry up and be born so we didn’t have to worry about it anymore.

 

Saturday arrived.
With a jolt.
At 4 a.m.
And a trip to the OB floor of the hospital.
Much to my relief, the on call doctor assured me everything was fine, but my body was definitely showing early signs of labor. God was giving us an unexpected notice…and hopefully time to get daddy home. Oh praise Him! As soon as we left the hospital, I started calling Steven. Another bump in the road. He was now somewhere in the mountains of West Virgina, wading through snow, waist deep in some areas, with zero phone signal. The same was true for all his co-workers too. It would be 6 or 7 before they got back to a phone signal. A little after noon (after 1 pm there), he just happened to be walking out a line (in search of the two guys that had been sent to do it earlier that morning) and found a random spot higher up with a small signal and took the opportunity to call me. If those two guys hadn’t had trouble, he wouldn’t have been looking for them, and he probably wouldn’t have called until that evening. Once again, there was God. Always there with a bigger plan than what we could immediately see. I told him what was going on, still not sure if he would have any way of getting home. His company was short on trucks in the area, so I knew he couldn’t just drive one home. He didn’t hesitate, “I’m coming home. Let me work on it and call you back.” That was the longest afternoon and evening ever. He was in rural West Virgina. Everything there was closed on Saturday. No one was answering the phones at the small airport an hour away from him. The one car rental business in the nearest town closed at noon, an hour before I had talked to him. I was praying fervently and very anxious. Finally, at almost 10 pm, he was able to reserve a rental car online. It was 2 hours away from him. It was 12 hours from home, and he couldn’t pick up the car until 10 am the next morning. I could hardly sleep that night. I laid awake for hours praying.

 

Hold on sweet baby. Daddy’s on his way.

 

39 weeks

This was the last belly picture taken. I believe it was taken the Friday before he left. 

PART FOUR…

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40 weeks

I apologize for taking so long to get back to my blog. Things have been more than a little crazy around here. In fact, if this post doesn’t make any sense, please forgive me. I’m operating in a fog tonight.

Today I am 40 weeks pregnant with my third child. That doesn’t seem quite possible. I feel like just yesterday it was late Spring and I was shopping for pretty maternity dresses, excited about my growing baby bump. Now it’s turning colder, and more often than not, I find myself reaching for a light sweater in the morning to cover my ginormous belly. Most women would be more than ready to give birth at this point. Many dread the thought of having a baby after their due date. With my two previous pregnancies, I was that way. Of course, both my boys decided to come before their due dates, so I got off a bit lucky with them. This time though, I’m in no hurry. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ready to hold my sweet baby. I’m ready to not have to fully wake up just to roll over in bed. I’d like another few days though. I’d like another week if possible. I would also like for my husband to be home. Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy took my lineman away to the East Coast. As of this evening, he was staying in a hotel somewhere along the coast of Maryland. He is a two day drive from our home in Arkansas. The plan (for now) is that he will be heading into New York tomorrow. With storm work you never know what is going to happen until it’s actually happening. Our entire life seems to operate that way I guess. We can make plans, but we have no idea what will really happen. We have no idea when this baby will arrive, and we have no idea when Daddy will be home. I’m still praying for a miracle. (On a side note, the song I Need a Miracle by Third Day seems to be popping up everywhere I turn for the last two or three days. Isn’t it funny how God is in control of even the smallest details in our lives?)

We’ve had a lot of trials over the last month or two, and in each one, this verse has found it’s way into my head and heart.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

I have no idea what the plan is, but I know God has one. I know he is doing great things that we can’t yet see.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

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Ice storm babies

Everyone joked and said there would be a baby boom.

Dear Peanut,

When all your friends have October birthdays, don’t feel left out.
Your a lineman’s ice storm baby.

Love,
Mommy

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Linelife 101: When will we learn?

It seems that every time Steven and I plan to leave town, a natural disaster or horrible storm occurs. A few times we have gotten lucky with his crew not being called out. Though more often than not we lose that battle. This weekend was no different. We had made plans to go to the river today, just the two of us because I have to work every other weekend this month. Well of course Arkansas got pounded by a huge thunderstorm, complete with straight line winds and tornadoes. Poor Steven didn’t even make it home on Friday. I was planning to go to Batesville to pick him up Friday evening, but before I could even get home he called and said they had been called out. This time he is in Russellville, Arkansas.

Maybe someday we’ll learn our lesson and start leaving town without actually making plans.

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Winter Blast ’09

First, I’d like to say, “Thank you!” to Danna over at Ramsey Five. Her post about the past week made me feel better a lot about being a total emotional mess through all of this. I’d rather not count the number of times I have cried in the past week, nor do I wish to think about how many more times there will probably be tears before it is all said and done. Not that the whole week was awful, because some parts were honestly fun, but it sure isn’t a week I wish to repeat.

It started on Sunday. Sunday night, Steven headed back to work as usual. They have been working in Floral, Arkansas and staying in Batesville lately, so he has been leaving a little later on Sundays. It wasn’t a good leaving though. I was moody and sad about it, which caught me off guard actually because I’ve gotten to the point where his leaving is normal and doesn’t usually bother me too much.

On Monday, Steven called and said they (his crew) were being sent to Mountain View because of the ice storm coming in. I didn’t think too much about it because they always get everything worse up in the hills. I don’t think anyone knew what we were really in for. That morning I went to class, church, and to pick up a few things at Sam’s and Wal-Mart. (Things that went bad in the fridge and are now in the trash can out by my road. Urg.) As I was leaving Sam’s it started to rain a bit, and I noticed it was sticking to my windshield, but it wasn’t much at all. I went home, and I went about my normal Monday stuff – homework while watching The Bachelor and True Beauty. Important stuff, huh?

On Tuesday, I woke up to this…

These pictures were taken about 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. I didn’t go to my classes that day because after nearly busting my rear end on my driveway and in my yard trying to take the pictures, I figured the roads in my area were about the same – ice covered. I hung out in my pjs watching Good Morning America and reading. I knew it was getting bad outside, but I was in denial. I talked to my mom, assured her I was fine, and went on enjoying my day alone. My lights flickered here and there, but they stayed on all morning. About 1:30 I was dozing off while I waited on General Hospital to come on when the lights blinked…then blinked again…and again…and finally came back on. I fell asleep but vaguely remember the lights going out for good a little before 2, and I thought, ‘Dang! I’m gonna miss General Hospital!’ That’s sad, isn’t it? Anyway, I woke up about 3:00 and the lights were still off. About 4:15 my Dad called and talked me into coming to their house. I was still in denial and figured my electricity would be back on by the next morning. I grabbed my camera as I headed out the door, and this is what it looked like at my house, about 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday.

When I got to my parents’ house, my sister and brother-in-law were already there because they had no power either.

About 1:45 a.m. on Wednesday, I was awakened by the electricity going off and on. It finally went out for good about 2. I rolled over and went back to sleep. At 6, I woke up cold. I stayed inside all day with Mom that day. We played cards, and she made us mac-n-cheese and hot chocolate on the grill.

I’m not too sure of anything after that. The days and nights all run together in my mind. I remember going back out to my house for the first time and seeing all the power poles and lines on the ground. I’m a lineman’s wife, and I knew it would be a while before the work around our house was finished. I had to hold back the tears when I saw what was left of the pretty trees in my front yard. I actually ran in the house to check on my cat while my parents tended to the dogs so that they wouldn’t see me crying. When I saw the poles on the ground I just groaned and sighed, I’m not really sure why the damaged trees made me cry. I’m weird.

Here are some pictures I took on Thursday, and I only know the day because of the file information from my camera.

That afternoon, Steven called and mentioned needing some more clothes because he was going to be in Mountain View for a while (they are estimating a month). I jumped at the chance to get out of my parents dark house that was very cramped with 5 people, 4 dogs, and a cat. Did I mention I’m used to living alone with my dogs and cat? That many people in a dark house was a bit much for me. I was getting cranky, and I knew it.

Friday morning I gathered up some clothes for me and headed to our house to get stuff for Steven. I packed up clothes, fed the animals, and loaded the car. Then the car wouldn’t start. I called my mom to come help me, figuring it was the battery. Then I sat in the car and cried. It was getting late, I didn’t know where I was going, my car wouldn’t start, and it was warmer in my car than in the house. I ended up just trading cars with Mom, so her and Dad could have the battery changed on mine.

I did finally make it to Mountain View, about 4:30 that afternoon. The drive up there was nice. I didn’t get lost at all!! (That’s a big deal for me.) The alone time did me some good. I was in a much better mood when I got there. I didn’t get to see Steven a lot. He works until 5:45ish, eats dinners, goes to bed about 8:30, and is up at 5:15 the next morning to do it all over again. I felt like I had important stuff to do (work & homework) and needed to come home on Saturday, but I just couldn’t convince myself to do it. I stayed another night, and it was all I could do to force myself to come home today.

I came home today and found out it wasn’t the battery on my car. We took it to the shop and will hopefully get more information tomorrow. Our other vehicle is parked at Steven’s boss’ house in Batesville. I’m not sure when I’ll have electricity back at my house, but I don’t expect it to be soon. As of now, I’m at about 5 days and 6 hours without power there. I’m a lineman’s wife, and I’ll probably be one of the last in the county to get electricity back. I’m living with my parents. My husband is out of town indefinitely. This has not been a fun adventure for me.

I say all of this not to whine, but to let everyone know that if I’m grumpy, it’s not you. I’m just stressed out and cranky. Please forgive me.

Tomorrow I am planning to go volunteer at Craighead Electric. The least I can do is go feed someone’s husband and hope that someone else is doing the same for mine. I’m hoping this will give me something to do this week to keep my mind off all the other stuff.

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Back to square one…

After enjoying a few months of actually being married, we are pretty much back to where we started. Steven’s crew, being one of the best at this company, has gotten moved to another job. Apparently this is going to be a more difficult job, and the people in charge didn’t want just anyone to be doing it. I guess it is a compliment to the guys, but it’s a pain to me. Now Steven will be leaving on Sunday or Monday mornings and returning on Thursday nights again. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. On the bright side, he’s going to be staying in Batesville, so he won’t be too far away…just too far to drive everyday because he’ll have to drive another 30 minutes or so each morning to the other side of Batesville to the job site.

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