Brandi Greer's Journal
July prayer update
Written Jul 25, 2013 12:05pm by Stanton GreerHi everyone,
It's been a very long time since many of you have heard from us, and I know that some of you are still faithfully praying for our prayer requests from February. We are very appreciative of that and want to share with you some of the blessings and new challenges that have come our way.
February prayer request updates
Praises: The kids and I have gotten a good routine that can often have them asleep by about 9:30, so they can stay decently rested when we are at home. For the most part, my agitation while trying to go to sleep is gone, so now if I stay up too late it's just because there is something I want to do. The kids are getting in my bed less, and when they do they have learned to not wake me up.
Requests: I still have some sleep issues, but Chaselyn has just started having the same sleep problems as I did. She gets agitated laying down and has a hard time settling down even when she is very tired and asks to go to bed.
Praises: Some of these have been going well. I've mostly been exercising well by prepping for the Bearathon 5k and a mud run back in June. Although Summer trips and treats have slowed me down and gotten me out of a daily groove, the run club I joined keeps me running most Saturday mornings while often doubling up as my social time for the week.
Requests: Other things have been up and down depending on where I am with the grief. I've met some new people at church and I've written in short bursts, but nothing has been very consistent. Some habits have actually regressed. My spiritual discipline is low right now which creates spiritual fatigue which creates an awful spiral that needs to be lifted up for renewal.
Work for home
Praises: The huge bulk of the legal stuff is done, the garage is half the mess it used to be, many tubs of papers have been condensed into one organized file box, the kids have been loved, fun has been had and joy has usually been present in our home.
Requests: When I consider all that, all that is left to do gets put in proper perspective and is not nearly so frustrating. Even still there is lots left to be done. The way my grief has processed has put a hold on some of the writing and picture scanning. There is still lots more organizing to do, stuff to go through and a long list of important projects to complete.
Work for $
Praise: I have accepted a job in the fall teaching at Baylor which is a very natural fit for both our family and the department. They had some classes they needed to cover, and I get to try teaching without a long-term commitment, cover some bills and have a fun challenge while continuing to have days to play with the kids and pursue some small business ideas.
Requests: I have accepted a job in the fall teaching at Baylor which is a big challenge and a bigger responsibility. There is a lot of preparation work left to do to be ready which means that the kids will be in daycare almost everyday in August. I certainly am in need of prayer for my prep time and for the semester.
Mine: I've tried to write about my grief, but the way it comes in waves, swirls around, and becomes so immensely personal and private has made it hard for me to express it not just in a way that makes sense and is fit for public disclosure, but it any substantial way at all. It affects all of these other aspects of what we do. It can crush me when it comes in, but leave behind great focus, joy and anticipation of the future after it goes. It increases my desire to be back in the past with her, in the future with both her and Jesus and be fully present here making the most of each day all at the same time. It drives me to the cross and pulls me away in the same wave. It's weird. It's unpredictable. It's exhausting.
Kid's: The kid's grief is also occasionally showing up in places. Jacob is quite the conversationalist now, and can verbalize his frustrations even when he doesn't realize that's what it is. Chaselyn is now in the can't sleep phase, but that could pass and be replaced by something else. Their grief comes in shorter spurts and far less often than mine, but I do get the occasional reminder that their precious little hearts are hurting too. They both know and feel the hole in our family that is healing, but wounds take time.
Request: We want the grief to heal us and make us into the family God wants us to be. It's really hard to know what else it is that we truly need.
Praises: I struggled for a while trying to figure out who I am as opposed to who we were. I just didn't know, and had a hard time even having simple conversations with new friends about things I enjoy. Knowing about myself without Brandi became much easier once I realized that I am not a "me", but that I am the "we" that I know so well. Brandi and I were growing together in all ways including raising kids, following God's direction for our family, priorities, and even what we like to do to have fun. It's a helpful and comforting guidepost to know that if "we" liked something then I like something, and that I should fully expect to enjoy it again someday.
Requests: Everyday I feel like I'm becoming more of a different person, more whole and complete, not lacking in anything. Sometimes that comes through trying something new, achieving a goal or total abject failure. I need help and wisdom and guidance to navigate this storm.
Some new stuff
Praise: Our family has been very blessed financially in this trial. When Brandi got sick, we were already waist deep in Dave Ramsey's baby steps which had us debt free except the house and a 6 month emergency fund in place. Between that, good insurance though Baylor, my very supportive job and amazingly generously day care, we had what we needed to cover our bills.
Request: These past months have been crazy and the financial budget has not been as intentional as it needs to be. I need wisdom, a strong desire and iron will to stay on top of this in a new way as a single person.
Discipline - We want our home to have a spirit, a structure and a set of expectations that teaches all of us to make wise choices in each different situation. Shaping these small hearts and minds that are so precious to me is a big challenge. What they need changes as fast as they do, and I often feel unprepared when something new comes along. Brandi and I were figuring out these things together as they came along, so now I feel like being short handed adds to my slow response to new situations.
Single parent - It's not just the discipline that suffers in our single parent house. Everything is different than optimal. The needs of the kids, parents and the house are the same even if there's only one parent. I can't cook dinner and play with them after school at the same time. In the time between kid's bedtime and mine, I can't do the house work and relax well on the same night. Something always gets left undone so unfortunately, choices must be made. These struggles are getting easier as I adjust and grow into a more well rounded father, but kids still do their best in a loving home with a mom and a dad. I pray that God's grace will cover them in their unmet needs.
This seems like plenty for one update, so I'm calling it here. Thank you for an overabundance of prayer and support for our family. We are deeply grateful for all of our blessings, and will check in with you again soon.
Update for February
Written Feb 10, 2013 5:08pm by Stanton GreerNote: I wrote this over two weeks ago and didn't post it for some unknown reason. Since then, I have started to feel more like writing, so more details should be coming sooner than another two months. :)
This is my first real update for us this year, so don't think you've missed anything. I know many of you have been concerned and wondering about us and we really appreciate your continued prayers and support. I've been getting the same few questions, so here's a real quick rundown. Overall we have been busy and doing alright.
What have we been doing?
After Brandi's service in Arkansas, I spent a week there processing most of our things that are still at parents houses, places that are special to us and just doing a lot of remembering. The next week was spent taking care of two sick kids, then two weeks of climbing Legal Paperwork Mountain. After a refreshing family Mardi Gras weekend, we've had a week of organizing our house and all of the projects we need to do and a week to get some started.
While getting this work done, we have been enjoying our time alone as a little family of three and figuring out how we are going to operate together, get things done as a team and how to keep everyone's love tanks full.
I'm currently unemployed, so we have all been relishing the attention I can give to Chaselyn and Jacob. Our days are filled with fun home school learning, kid's time at day care and Bible Study Fellowship so I can get our work done, family outings and a lot of backyard playtime in the warm afternoons.
What are we planning?
The only decision I have made is to make no other decisions for six months. Where will we live? What kind of work will I do? These are all great questions - great questions that don't need to be answered now. I have some ideas I'm kicking around for later, but for now we have plenty right in front of us.
How are we doing?
The kids are doing well. We had a very long runway of Brandi being sick, so they have been blessed with a relatively smooth transition. We had plenty of time to give them an age-appropriate gospel based understanding of what was happening, so now their questions have turned to encouraging discussions about Mommy feeling much better because she can talk and dance and that we get to go live with Jesus too someday since we trust in Him to take our sin away. It's pretty incredible. Although, there are certainly times of stress where they need some extra hugs, and I am very thankful I get to be here to hold them.
I'm doing "ok". There is some "pretty good", some "unbearably lonely", but mostly a lot of "just ok". I'm slowly processing "us" which gives a weird swirl in my head of memories, important things to do, emotions and expectations. I've never had to grieve in any substantial way before, so I just assume this is normal and keep moving forward as best I can to handle each moment as it comes.
After I knock out my backlog of paperwork and garage clusterings, I'll start writing all I can about Brandi, us, and all that we have learned. By the time I get close to finishing, I hope to have a more clear path moving forward.
Sleep - The kids are getting better at going to sleep as we get a good routine established. They do sometimes have problems staying in their own beds during the night though. Chaselyn says she just wants to be near me. I understand, and quite frankly I appreciate being near them while sleeping myself sometimes. Note the sometimes. :) It has been a neat bonding time for us in this phase of life while our hearts start to heal.
Once I try to go to sleep I'm asleep very quickly and stay that way, but having the willingness to go to do it is another matter. When I turn out the light, the bed is still and cold. I don't have her to pray with me or give a good night kiss or get her hair all in my face. For over 15 years we went to sleep with an, "I love you, Sweetie. Goodnight" either on the phone or holding hands.
Good habits - I'm trying to get back to some old good habits and develop some new ones that push my comfort zone. These includes meeting new people, consistent journaling for myself, better record keeping, daily exercise, and intentional prayer list for others. Some are going better than others.
Work right now - The legal and financial junk I have to do is substantial. The garage is an albatross flock to exterminate. My writing needs chunks of time and a huge number of pictures to be scanned. I'm sure there is more.
Work for later - I have a few ideas that I'm looking into a little, but nothing major for now. I'm guessing that I'll be pretty ready to do something beside write by the time fall come around.
Grief - I'm trying lots of different things to work through the grief which I think deserves it's own post later.
Growing - I'm learning a lot about myself and how I function as a "me" instead of a "we". It became easy to be transparent to so many with my writing when I was desperate to have our prayer needs better understood, but it is far more difficult for me to be publicly open about myself.
I hope to do an update at least once a month for those that want to keep up with us and how we are doing. I'm also considering moving to a blog format so that I can put in some pictures for those of you not on facebook.
Thank you for your continued prayers and blessings. We'll be in touch.
Well, there is one thing
Written Jan 5, 2013 10:56pm by Stanton GreerI have had countless people offer to do anything they can to help, and I have gratefully told them that I would. Well, here is a first general request. Lots of different pictures of Brandi have been finding their way onto Facebook. I realized that many are probably floating around out there that would be a neat blessing to our family and help tell her complete story to Chaselyn and Jacob.
If you have pictures or video of Brandi, I would really appreciate any and all that you have. Please email what you can to teamBASG@gmail.com. If you have too much to email, I'll connect with you on Dropbox. If everything is only hard copy then let me know, and I'll find a solution.
Thank you for covering us in prayer during this time.
There a lot of neat stories about the past few days to share later after we get some much needed rest.
- great rest for me and the kids and our loved ones
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: safe travels home for friends and family. Some are leaving for Waco tonight after all of the draining events of the day. They're insane. Please pray for safety in getting home.
- Team BASG