Choosing to see the extraordinary of "ordinary"

Author Archives: Tammy

Today is the last day at a job I’ve had for eleven years.  Yes, I’ve anticipated this for months.  Yes, I’m excited.  Yes, today I’m getting all sentimental and sad.  It’s been a great job with a great boss and co-workers. *sheesh* Eleven years is a LONG TIME!  I got to thinking what the past eleven years have held (since I’m all sentimental and stuff today), and I decided to pick one picture of a highlight for each of those years.  Now, picking just ONE highlight and just ONE picture for an entire year is somewhat difficult and makes you skip some pretty important things that have happened.  Friends and family have gotten married; babies have been born;  grandparents have died.  God took me through the greatest times and the most horrible, gut wrenching trials.  But through the highs and through the lows, God is good, and life is great.

2004:  I had worked over the summer as a waitress at a Christian camp in Colorado.  I came home with the decision of transferring to Wichita State University after having gone to college in South Carolina a couple years before.  Aaaand, I needed a job.  A friend from church called and said, “Hey, how would you like to learn to do what I do?”  And I said, “What do you do?”  Thus, the great learning of the great financial world began.  It changed my life.


2005:  One of my sisters had promised me that if she didn’t get married before she turned 30, then we would go to Europe together.  She missed it by four months, and being the stinker that I am, I held her to it even when it meant she took the trip a couple months before her wedding.  I’m glad we did it though (and I think she’s glad too).


2006:  I was in the throes of taking 18 hours a semester and going through the summer to finish my degree and working 30 hours a week.  This photo is from a fun summer photography class I took – it was actually with 35mm film that we developed ourselves.



2007:  God blessed greatly and provided a chance for me to go to Washington, DC for a semester to do an internship with Mrs. Bush.  Work let me take a leave of absence for that time.


2008:  Graduation!!!!!  What.A.Relief.


2009:  I had always loved to travel, but since school was over with and I had an awesome job that let me take off quite a bit, traveling was kicked into high gear – this year was San Francisco, Kentucky, Baltimore, Estes Park and South Carolina.


2010:  THIS MAN asked me out.  ‘Nuff said.


2011:  Vacation to Yellowstone with my whole family.  What a trip!  We had talked about doing it for years, and it was amazing.


2012:  Ok, I deviated from the rule this year because I couldn’t choose just one highlight.  Caleb and I bought our little bungalow for us to move in after getting married.  And my book, Blinded by His Shadow, was published!  Both were lifelong dreams.


2012 - 2

2013:  THE best year of my life.


2014:  Another trip!  Grace, Matthew and I decided last minute to go to France and Germany.  So glad we did because life changes, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it any other time.


2015:  Saying goodbye to seeing these crazy, fun and great people everyday!  OH.MY.GOODNESS.  There have been crrrraaaaaaazy times.


2015 -2


I love spring, and I love flowers.  Growing up, our yard was choc’ full of roses, flowering bushes, flowering trees, flowers, flowers, flowers.  The lady who had built the house with her husband in the 1930’s became a good friend of ours, and she would show us around the yard naming variety after variety that she had carefully planted and tended for decades.


I always loved taking a big ol’ basket and some scissors and going around the yard picking and then arranging vases full of the beauties and setting them around the house.  Unfortunately, I don’t do a whole lot of that these days.  For one thing, our little bungalow doesn’t have many flowers.  I’m working on it, but it takes a while to grow a yard full of flowers.  And second, I just don’t really take the time.

Well, until a couple weeks ago.  On Easter, mom asked me to go around the yard to pick some flowers for the table.  ‘Twas glorious.  Glorious to pick handfuls of flowers and still have plenty left.


A couple days later, I visited Lowes and loaded my cart with flowers and plants for the porch.  Because, while I love and plant perennials, they just take too long to get established sometimes.  A bungalow porch needs some annuals and geraniums and ferns, even though they won’t last until next year.



And then I visited Lowes again because I needed some of the hyacinths that filled the room with their smell.  And fill the room they did.  I did everything with those hyacinths while they lasted.  I took them to work, I took them back home.  I put them in the library, then the dining room.  I included them in most of my Etsy shop photos that week.  *sigh* They just smell so doggone good.  Christy came over at that time and just held the pot of hyacinths and declared she wasn’t going to put them down.


But the hyacinths died, and I wasn’t at my parents’ to pick their great bounty of flowers.  So, one night as The Man and I were out walking, I sneaked through the alley behind our neighbor’s house and grabbed a couple branches of lilacs.


She’s a nice lady, I’m sure she didn’t mind.


They smell just as good as the hyacinths.


And a girl’s gotta have her flowers, after all.



Yesterday, I was on my way home from work.  It had been cloudy earlier, but the sun was shining then, and the sky was SO BLUE, and the clouds were SO FLUFFY!  It was beautimous.  I had to stop and traipse through a field in high heels just to capture the moment.


That evening, The Man and I were going to go for a walk.  We set out and made it about 1/2 block, but the wind was, well, it was Kansas wind.  And it was a bit nippy, so I wimped out and said, “Let’s go for a drive in the country.”  So we did.


Now, one might think, “Ack!  Gas is so expensive!  You can’t just drive aimlessly around for an hour.  What a waste!”  Well, we did, and it wasn’t.  We drove and looked and talked and talked and talked.  We drove until it was too dark to see anything.  And, I figure that we spent about $5.00 in gas.  Tell me a cheaper date than that.


People (including My Man) knock Kansas.  Sure, it isn’t as impressive as other places, but when you have a chance to stop by the side of the road for beautiful sky pictures or to take a pointless drive in the country, you realize, “Eh, not such a bad place after all.”



Life is busy.  Most of the time I fight against this fact.  I hate not being able to sit and soak more; I am annoyed when I can’t just pop over to family and friends’ houses for an afternoon.  I remember days when mom had ladies over, days when we would go nowhere at all, days we would spend hanging out at an auction, days of relaxing…

…the problem is with remembering, I lump my whole life into one week’s worth of experiences.  I say, “I remember days of not going anywhere” or “I remember doing this and such.”  I forget that those memories came in seasons of life.  Seasons that have stretched over *ahem* 31 years of life.  There are days when I do still stay home all day, days where I get a ton of work done, days where I visit family and friends.  I can’t do everything all the time, but I can do many things over time.

“Busy” is good as long as I pair it with “flexible” and “caring” and “relaxing here and there.”

Anyway, those are my thoughts for the moment.  Now for some pictures of the last month…of the family gatherings and vacations, of the house renovation, of the adventures and relaxation.

Vacation with the Kings to Idaho and New Mexico to see Caleb’s grandma and Tom:




Our very first (but not the last) sushi!

Our very first (but not the last) sushi!




Work on the house (we upgraded from doing dishes in the bathtub to having a real sink!):


20150328_173217  20150314_125610

Building my Etsy shop:





We actually got a picture with everyone still and looking at the camera, but this photo is more true of the group of nieces and newphws!

We actually got a picture with everyone still and looking at the camera, but this photo is more true of the group of nieces and newphws!





Misc. family and church activities:




And, yes, relaxing:





Life is full, and that makes life good.

“Garage saling is like fishing.  Sometimes you have to wait a long time before you get a bite.” – My Mom

Scouring a Paris flea market with Grace

Scouring a Paris flea market with Grace

Growing up, Thursday mornings were reserved for garage saling.  Mom and Grandma loved a good sale, and they weren’t opposed to wading through the junk in order to get there.  Oh, and flea markets and thrift shops?  Yep, they combed through those too.  And, please, don’t get me started on the hours I spent in antique malls.  And when auction time rolled around, my dad jumped in on the fun and stood around all day for that perfectly priced box of junk. Sheesh, my parents bought their farmhouse at an auction and at least one car at a garage sale!

IMG_3159via OurVintageBungalow

I didn’t know just how much antiques were a part of our daily life until I left home and found out that most people spend hundreds of dollars on the stuff we used every day and took for granted.  Green enamel lights?  Why those have been on our barn, garage and a couple light poles out back for decades.  I hardly ever looked at them.  Old Ball canning jars that are now the rage?  Yep, they’ve been around our house holding odds and ends since I can remember.  Galvanized buckets and old baskets?  Handy things when you need to carry something.  Antique rockers, ice boxes, and rotary phones?  Check, check and check.  1930’s double oven and stove?  Well, that came with the farmhouse that was bought at the auction, and mom always was (and still is) willing to put up with its quirks just to use it.

Dad gathering his summer cucumbers in and old galvanized bucket

Dad gathering his summer cucumbers in and old galvanized bucket

Not only did mom and dad, grandma and grandpa teach me the unspoken beauty of living with vintage things, they taught me that you have to work hard in order to find those treasures.  I have had people ask how I find so many cool things at garage sales.  What they don’t know is the hours I spent finding nothing.  Garage saling is like fishing…

cottonvia OurVintageBungalow

Well, I have decided to turn that garage saling tradition and hobby of mine into a little side business, because isn’t it great to get paid to do what you love to do anyway?  So, a year and a half ago, I set up a vintage shop on Etsy called OurVintageBungalow (after the beautiful home I share with My Man who, by the way, lets me drag him on my antiquing treasure hunts).

IMG_2164via OurVintageBungalow

Little by little, the shop has grown and God has blessed.  It’s not like I can quit my day job or anything, but the hobby is more like a small part time job right now.  And today, I am celebrating the listing of my 100th item.  It would seem more fitting to celebrate a 100th sale, but getting 100 items actually up for sale at the same time was quite the undertaking, so I’m celebrating that for now.

IMG_1849via OurVintageBungalow

I am doing what I love, and loving what I do.  Thanks, mom and dad (and grandma and grandpa) for the vintage life you taught me.