For the first several weeks of my sabbatical, I was frantically trying to cram a year's-worth of resting, visiting, busyness, and study into a short amount of time.
In November, I finally was able to go on the road with Duane in the "Dream Chaser" - the semi that he drives all over the place. Since the age of 12 or 13, I had dreamed of going cross-country in a semi with a sleeper cab. For the first couple weeks, we stayed in Oregon, California, and Nevada, just doing "local" runs. During one week, I sat on the deck of his flatbed trailer in sunny So. Cal with my sudoku and my almonds while we waited for our next load. Later that week I had helped Duane chain up, and was sweeping snow off the deck so we could load some molding on it. By the next week, we were on our way to Virginia. We stopped in Grand Junction,CO, spent Thanksgiving in Columbia, MO at a Cracker Barrel (amazing meal for an amazing deal), the weekend near CEF headquarters (we got to visit our friends Dottie Whitney and Laura Hayes), and got within two miles of the Atlantic Ocean in Newport News, VA. Then we started our journey back to Wyoming with parts of a BIG dump truck bound for a coal mine. On the way west, though, we ended up both getting sick. We both lost our voices big time! At one point, all I could do was squeak! Some times I would even be sitting next to Duane but have to write messages or use sign language for him, since I couldn't talk loud enough to be over the noise of the truck. I made sure he knew the sign for "bathroom"! We were grateful to spend that weekend in Rapid City, SD, where we got Duane to a walk-in clinic. The Dr. prescribed the same anti-biotics that I had on hand from my doctor for frequent sinus infections, and it worked perfect (though he still took a while to get back to health!). We unloaded in Wyoming in -1 degree weather (not counting the major wind-chill factor!), then woke up the next morning at a lumber mill with a view of Devil's Tower. I was soooooooo grateful that the scale-house there had a beautiful bathroom, AND fresh coffee!!!! I felt very spoiled! Anyway, we closed out week number 3 by arriving home. I had 2 weeks to be ready for Christmas, but I was ready to be home for a while. That trip did wonders for me. Since I get car sick, I couldn't spend my time reading or doing paperwork, or anything else really, except sit there, talk with Duane, listen to audio books or music, and enjoy the scenery. How therapeutic was THAT!?!?! I finally realized that the clock had no power over me, and came home more relaxed and de-stressed than I ever remember feeling. Oh, and the bonus? After 5 weeks in the same cramped space with my husband, we didn't kill each other! :)
Next came the season of hosting. We had "Christmas" at our house this year, with most of the Tucker clan, plus guests. Then my parents came during the week between Christmas and New Years.
I had some time to relax after that, and began to visit with local friends, but it didn't take long for things to pick up again. The last week of January, I went to visit my folks for a week in Elmira, getting to enjoy a leisurely visit with them all. During that week, though, I also spent the weekend in Bremerton, visiting my brother, Seth, and his fiance. It was SOOOOOO much fun! We spent a day in Seattle doing the touristy thing. Note: no offense to any Seattle-lovers, but I really
Then I scrambled home in time for Mom Tucker's hip surgery. She recovered really really fast. Within 48 hours of her hip-replacement, she was back home, and getting around the house (when her pain meds weren't putting her to sleep!). In no time, she's scooting around the house, fixing small meals, and watching over the cats and dog!
Last week, I was able to escort Melanie to a training for her work that "just happened" to be in Springfield (near my folks'), and "just happened" to be across the street from KORE, the Christian Radio station. Since we knew the manager and staff around there pretty well from all our frequent winning of prizes as kids, I decided to stop in. I was amazed that they all recognized me before I even got in the door, and we caught up with each other for quite a while.
So NOW.... I get to mostly stay home, focus more on studying, participate in a ladies Bible Study, do stuff around the house, and tackle more projects. Of course we also have a couple weddings to attend - Seth's getting married in March, and Paul's getting married in April. After those are over, I look forward to getting out on the road with Duane again.
In the middle of all this, I'm grateful for my friends who keep me accountable, pray for me, and challenge me to a closer walk with Him. God is gracious in not cramming a bunch of lessons in at once but He is definitely persistent in hitting me up-side the head with different things I've needed to hear. Please pray for me to be a good student, and for Duane to have continued patience as I deal with these things. I am so very grateful for his listening ear, no matter the topic or my stage of development on a topic. Being part of a team going through this is SO different than going through so many things on my own in my past "single" years, and I'm thankful that God saw fit to provide us with each other.
So there you have it.... the seasons so far in this sabbatical. Thanks to everyone who keeps checking in despite the lack of posts in past months. Don't worry - we're still here! :)