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July prayer update

Hi 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

Sleep

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.

Good habits

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.

Grief

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.

Growing

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

Financial

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.

- Stanton