03 January 2012

Our Year In Review

I had to work Saturday swings from 3-11pm. Mike doesn't have the Saturday schedule so he and BigUn (our oldest) stayed at home and ordered their usual Saturday-night-he-man-woman-haters-club special - a pizza delivered by some poor kid hoping my boys would at least give him a dollar tip, I'm sure.

At the stroke of 11pm, I left my office and went right outside into the downtown city streets which, just a couple of hours before had been empty, were now jam-packed with all sorts of night crawlers. There were people everywhere! Young, older, pets, no pets, women in sneakers and young girls in 8" heels, practically tip-toeing across the crosswalks wearing barely anything at all. I didn't see how they were doing it but then I remembered that I used to run in heels when I was young and wild. I kept a grin on my face most all of the night.

I walked a block or so into the Blue Dome district which, in my humble opinion, really needs more restaurants. The dozen or so that's actually in business there were so incredibly crowded that long lines were outside each and every one. People were shivering and those that weren't, were either bundled up tight or they were all liquored up.

As I walked, I smelled some of the food - BBQ smoking, steaks sizzling and steamy hot dogs from a street vendor. Just fantastic to see everyone smiling and laughing and having a wonderful time.

I thought about some of the things that happened this year to make me smile even bigger because, as I see it, God has me exactly where He wants me.

*** Both Mike and I started the new year unemployed with barely enough from unemployment to cover our car payment much less food. We'd stopped paying on the house months before and knew it wouldn't be long before the foreclosure was a fact. We were prayed up and prepared to walk away.

*** Our oldest moved back in with us for a while. Some might see this as something other than what it was to us - a small miracle. Both my shoulders are shot and I can't lift anything heavier than a pencil at times. Mike has bad knees and I don't like to see him lift things too heavy so having our oldest helped more than anyone would know when it came time to move. He's a powerhouse of strength and between the two boys, we got it all packed up in a day or two.

*** God brought us to Tulsa. I'd been through Oklahoma once before in life but didn't stop in for any length of time so I was looking forward to really seeing it with fresh eyes. I was stressed to the point where I was either sleeping for what seemed days at a time or I was hyper-alert for days. Just about everything we owned found it's way into a donation bin just weeks before so we were starting over again with a Ryder truck full of our stuff and 2 vehicles to share between the 3 of us. We had already lost the house and fought tooth and nail to keep the car without skipping a payment. Thank God the house was in my name only so Mike could keep his good credit. One of us had to have some leverage.

*** BigUn enrolled in welding school and now has been through the employment process with a very large and reputable energy company. He doesn't have a start date yet but it will be within a couple of weeks now. We're so thankful that he's found a profession that he truly loves.

*** Mike is finally able to get into the VA system. They rejected me (although I am also a veteran) because we made too much money in 2010. Unless you're a disabled vet, your time in service doesn't count for much unless you're homeless or you can prove a medical condition existed while you were in the service. The lessons that this one thing has taught me have been many and has given me a different perspective on helping my fellow veterans. I'm going to do more to find out how veterans can get the help they truly deserve.

*** You can never save too much money. There are always rainy days so I'm looking for free things to do to see Tulsa for the short time we're still here (our current employment contract ends in April so unless we find more work, we'll be unemployed again). I need to be a tourist. I need to get out of the house and breath fresh air.

That's it for now. God is so good and we're thankful for Him. Simple as that.