Kevin and I got back from Manitoba last night. We were there longer than I've ever stayed since moving to Calgary. I will say that I had a really long sleep in my familiar and much-loved bed (although I didn't mind the bed at my parents') last night. There were a few big things going on this time around that required a longer stay.
To start, we hit the road running in order to get prepared for my parents' 50th Anniversary celebration! 50 years of marriage is definitely worth celebrating!!! The celebration was the day after the day we arrived in Manitoba. It went really well! I was so busy that I hardly took any pictures and the ones I took did not turn out well! The preparations on the celebration day included helping Kevin get the sound set up, setting the tables, helping with food prep (I was in charge of the punch - yeah, I now, not a huge task but still it took time), and getting the reception program ready. I was one of the MC's, so I had to connect with all the people on the list for singing / speaking. I also had to plan with my niece who co-MC'd with me. We did not get a chance to do any planning before the big day. There was lots of organizing and running around to do. I also helped getting a photo video together (mostly done by my husband!). It all went off, though, without any big problems besides some technical glitches. Even the piano duet my sister and I played with my niece singing along went well. We literally picked our song the night before, practiced it a couple times, then ran with it the next day. We called it improv piano playing which I think frustrated my niece who was trying to sing along. She did well, by the way! On a side note, I liked my descriptions of how we would do the various verses - "tinkly", "marching with authority", "slow and building". It made sense to us, anyway, despite my sister calling me "weird" (which is usual and not taken as an insult). Oh, the food was amazing too - pulled pork, beans, and coleslaw from Danny's Whole Hog! The cakes were very well done too!
Next up, my mom's surgery for her breast cancer. This diagnosis has certainly re-alerted me of the necessity to make sure I get checked for breast health - which I did in the meantime since finding out about the diagnosis. It runs in my mom's family so I know it's a good idea to be on top of it. The surgery went well, or so the doctor reported, and he is hopeful he got everything. That being said, it's still uncertain and the next while cancer will be at the back of our minds regardless of a clean bill of health. It is likely she will require radiation, either way. I worry about that because we won't be present to help. While staying with my parents, I helped her with cleaning her incisions / tape / bandages and we both (husband and I) helped a lot around the house and with things she needed. Kevin prepared a turkey as well as much of the other food! I helped with the smaller tasks such as measuring, stirring, preparing punch, making whip cream for pies, baking cookies, setting the table, chopping ingredients for the stuffing, etc. I worry about how things will go when we're not around - we stayed at their house and saw where the needs are. Nobody else besides my dad lives there. I do know she will be ok, and that my family back home loves her and will do what they can. Still, her energy is low, but she doesn't ask for help often, then gets so exhausted. Every night since the surgery, she has been wiped out. This will pass, I'm sure. She is still recovering and still has pain.
Kevin and I had the opportunity to connect with a couple friends. This trip, we did not get the chance to see many friends. Weather played a role, but our main focus was on family. It was a blessing to spend time with the two families (couple / families) we were able to see. Both are dear friends where I know we lift each other up in prayer, love, and fun times. Seeing them makes me want to live in Manitoba again.
For some time alone, Kevin and I went to spin Poke stops and sometimes went for a quick bite to eat or went to a store to run some errands. We watched some shows on the laptop. Otherwise, we were pretty much around others 24-7. This is exhausting, but it was still good. We joined my dad a couple times for aquacise. I hope we can get into that back in Calgary. I used to go weekly.
We experienced frustration too. We bought a new vehicle recently before we left, as it was time to replace the old vehicle. However, we have had significant delays in being able to install hand controls. I enjoy driving and Kevin does not as much. However, he had to do all the driving - to and from Manitoba as well as everywhere we needed to go. I am hopeful we will be able to get them installed next week, but it will still be another week until I can drive the new vehicle. That will make it a delay of about 6 weeks, maybe more. It will cost more than we initially planned for, as well. There is a chance some or all of this will be refunded to us. I look forward to the (hopefully) improved hand controls system that should require less force and should result in less neck / back pain on long drives and during stop-and-go traffic.
We are trying to sort out where God is leading. Do we stay here? Do we move to Manitoba? How can we know what to do or where to go? A factor that has us wondering is that Kevin has not gotten a job and has been working so hard at getting a job. However, some things are moving in a positive direction for this. He has gotten some contract work (e.g. painting) and he has an interview on Monday. The programs he is interested in studying seem to be in either Manitoba or in Ontario. I enjoy the work I do and the professional network I've developed here in Calgary. However, I worry more and more about accessibility and with increasing funding cuts, I wonder how that might impact my ability to do my job. I get so tired after sometimes even 3 days of work and certainly after 4. I just moved into full-time work, and due to circumstances, have yet to work a full 5-day work week where I am on-site every day. I worry that my body won't be able to handle it - and then what? I hope that if we would move elsewhere, I would find something meaningful again and that I'd be able to get connected to a good professional network. I know Kevin would find something meaningful elsewhere. Although his volunteer work and other aspects in life are meaningful to him, it would be so good if he could find something else meaningful to do outside of the house that would be a source of income. However, I guess we need to be patient with Calgary's economic situation right now. I am thankful we can make ends meet with my income. At times, we just need to watch our spending more.
In reading what I've written above, I see the word "worry" several times. I don't want to be in a space of worrying. That's never a good place to be. I know that I need to just rest - roll with the punches, rest in God and know that God is God. God's got a plan and has his own timing. He can give me strength. He can help us through our tough times. Things, overall, are quite good but it is important for me to remember to not let the struggles and tough things get too overwhelming. I need to believe whole-heartedly that God is far greater than I could ever imagine and he wants to bless us! God has provided and He will continue to provide!