Jeff's final meeting with the Senior Chief is in three days. We're trying to plan for Thanksgiving. Our car failed smog - twice. Work is slowing down.

This last part I am especially grateful for, because it means more time with my hubby before he leaves. It also means more time for writing. As of now, I am less than 8K from my 50K word goal for "winning" NaNoWriMo (which really just means meeting the goal). I am hoping to complete a 90K manuscript, though, so the work won't necessarily stop there. That's my personal version of winning. Even after I complete the 50K, I plan to stay active on the website and in the forums until I meet my goal.

When I was young, my mother used to work three jobs to support us. It was a tough road, and it was my driving force behind going to college and picking a major that would lead to a good grad school and then a good career. I swore to myself I would never have to do that.

Well, now I am doing that. I know it was difficult for my mother, but in my career, multiple jobs is kind of the norm. As it turns out, it's not so bad.

Back in October, I had formed a very different vision of how the month of November was going to play out. I figured with all of my work obligations and responsibilities at home, I was never going to find the time to write. As it turns out, it's one of the best self-care activities I have ever engaged in, and I didn't know it because I had put creative writing away for so long - as far back as college.

It has rejuvenated me.

Let me rephrase that: It has rejuvented me!

Jeff has always told me that I am my best self when I can manage to find time to read for pleasure. I am finding that I feel even better when I am writing for pleasure. The best part of it is the pride I feel. Sure, I was proud of myself when I managed to get a third job. I have felt continuous pride in the knowledge that I have been able to keep it all going at the same time, too (without losing my sanity).

Adding writing a full-length manuscript is like adding another job, yet it is exhilarating! It actually seems to pump me up for everything else. Not to mention it has been helping me manage the stress of that ticking clock leading up to Jeff's departure date.

Even though there is a lot on our plates right now - from managing the daily grind to planning family time - I feel happier than I have in a while. I may have sworn up and down that I would never find myself in this place of financial hardship and life stress, but I am sort of glad I did.

I am seizing this opportunity to challenge myself and to grow, to move out of the land of crisis. It has meant the difference between me thriving and surviving. I am finding the former is a much better place to live. Let's just say the schools are better.

Challenge yourself; move into my neck of the woods. I'll have a steaming cup of dirty Chai ready and waiting for you.

Take care and toodloo for now!