Finding Rest Notes

My sincere apologies for being MIA for the last year. I never imagined when we left the Air Force for my husband's first post-Air Force Job we would be leaving in the middle of a pandemic. Talk about curve-ball!? Maybe you can relate? It's been quite the memorable year! Good thing the training years taught us the art of flexibility! Go training years; you equipped us for the trials of life, once again!

It's not uncommon for friends or family to ask how life is now that we HAVE "finally arrived." I think they are often caught off guard when our reply is, "We haven't arrived. We have so much work ahead of us." I too during the training years looked forward to what I referred to as the "end of the tunnel." But here's the thing: we worked really hard during the training years and during Joel's four years as an attending with the Air Force, and we work really hard NOW. Our pace of life has NOT slowed down. The work will NOT halt. However, we have found more places to enter rest notes in our rhythm of life. Admittedly we get more sleep! And I'm happy to report that we have loosened the financial belt around our waist. Our kids now attend a small private school we absolutely love and can afford (private school was always on our wishlist, but not a reality), and we head to the ski mountain near our town every weekend for family fun. These splurges along with a few others feel glorious - especially after counting change to the pay the bills for a decade.

What work do we have to do? Well, I'm so glad you asked ;). I am still spinning my wheels getting our four kids to all of their activities, doing "all the things" that is required to nurture a family of six, making our home a sanctuary for the neighborhood kids, and spending my extra time getting to know our community. I also carve out moments to read, exercise, and complete DIY projects on our recently purchased house that we are in the middle of flipping (thanks to the pandemic we bought a fixer upper - more on that at a later date). My plate continues to be full.

And Joel, he continues to grow as a surgeon. He recently became the second doctor in Montana, and the first doctor in Southern Montana to offer a very important obstructive sleep apnea surgery called "Inspire" (inspire=breathe in). I am over the moon for him, and feel as much apart of this success as he does thanks to being the woman behind the scenes supporting him. Teamwork makes the dream work! We are watching lives gain hope because of the good night's rest his patients are able to now get thanks to this new technology. IT FEELS INCREDIBLY GOOD to help our community and the surrounding areas in this way. Anyone who has struggled to get a good night's sleep can understand the significance of this. It's truly life-changing.

Apart from sharpening his surgical skills Joel is growing as a businessman. As much as every doctor would like to have nothing to do with the business side of medicine, that is not the reality doctors in the private sector face. Joel has embraced this role like he has embraced anything else in his life - full throttle. He's learning quickly, networking, and challenging himself to maximize his productivity in clinic. I look forward to watching him grow in this area and will be cheering him on as well as networking WITH him.

SO, WHY DID WE CHOOSE THIS JOB??? We have zero strings attached to Billings, MT, yet here we are. We have no family in town. We didn't attend college here. We hadn't even visited Billings until Joel's interview with the group here. Yet it's the group we said yes to. In fact, the other two serious offers we looked at paid exponentially more than this job. Are you scratching your head yet? Keep in mind Joel and I have worked ruthlessly hard to have zero debt, so this made his salary not the most important aspect of our job search - thank God! When we started the interviewing process, Joel and I made a wish list together. We kept it with us throughout the entire process. At the top of the wish list we made a very ambitious request: four days a week. This trumped living by family. In fact, in my husband's hometown there was literally a million dollar job offer, and we said, "NO." Why? Because they wanted to know what my husband's motor for work was. Can you smell burnout??? Four days a week was definitely not an option with this group. As much as my mother-in-law and father-in-law could have been there for our kids, Joel would have rarely been available for them until they reached adulthood. I am in love with Joel. I love his parents. But they should never replace daddy to our kids! Joel and I do NOT understand sacrificing your time with your kids at the alter of maximizing your earning potential. We have the here and now to mold our kids into the competent, wise, strong, and kind adults we hope for them to be. Much of the fruition of that requires the investment of our time. Once they are adults, that time of great influence diminishes. Four. Days. A. Week. Does that sound too good to be true? We scoured every ad, networked with everyone we knew, and ultimately found two spots that were completely okay with the culture of four days a week. We ruled the other spot out because of the wind in that area. Details! And therefore with excitement in our hearts, we gave a "YES" to a city that has stolen my heart: Billings, MT. We have finally found home, sweet home. And our family is thriving despite the pandemic. We continue to work diligently to serve our family and community. The work is good. And because of our hard-won journey to this destination, we are well equipped for the challenges that continually arise.

Is Joel working four days a week now? No! He's not! He has to put in his time - we call it a trial year. Some people may do two to three trial years before they join a private group. In my husband's case we agreed to a one year term. So as of July 2021 Joel will officially become apart of the group in Billings, MT, and will then be able to work his schedule to four days a week. He is counting down the days, as you can imagine! Having an extra day off during the week will let Joel breath as a person more. Between helping me raise our kids, leading a Bible study through Bible Study Fellowship, and work he doesn't have much wiggle room. He plans to use the extra day a week to take me on a lunch date (happy wife!), go ski an extra day a week from time to time, go ice fishing, and to fiddle with carpentry work and DIY projects. As much as he loves being a surgeon, getting to do these other things makes him that much better at what he does! The rest notes of life are so important to our mental health!

That's all for now. I will update you on what our transition to Montana looked like in the middle of a pandemic. It was crazy, but I promise to not make a big sob story out of it all! God proved himself faithful, once again. We are thriving and grateful for the trials we came through. God is good!

"4 days a week!"

How are the training years going??? I want to know! E-mail me at stacy.c.dunn@gmail.com