Choosing to see the extraordinary of "ordinary"

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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


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.

Our family has always gotten into the big finale of sports competitions.  We may not keep up with the whole season of something, but come the World Series, the Olympics and March Madness, we are all about it.  Well, of course, the Superbowl is no exception.

Throughout the years, I’ve had Superbowl parties and gone to Superbowl parties.  I’ve watched it sometimes by myself, many times with my parents and sometimes with friends and other family.  I’ve watched it in an airport and in a bus barn.  But this year was a new one.  This year I watched the Superbowl at My Man’s fire station.  ‘Twas a memory.


Seeing that The Man had to work, his captain, said that I was welcome to join them for the evening.  The fire department is ALL about family.  And Caleb is especially close to this group of guys, so I know them pretty well.

You hear about firehouse food.  Yeah, it was pretty much that good.  I didn’t know the smells of freshly made buffalo wings and freshly baked brownies could mingle so well, but, ooooohhhh, do they EVERY mingle well.  And My Man’s guacamole and my Starbucks drink topped it all off.  Strange combination, but goooooood.

They only got one call during the game, which was nice because I get to go along with them.  And seeing The Man in his fire fightin’ gear being all sexy and stuff (yes, mom, I said that word; but, boy, is it ever appropriate!).  Anyway, it was a short medical call, so no biggie.

We sat around and ate and watched the most awesome finish to a Superbowl game I’ve ever seen!  Yes, the game at the firehouse was one to remember, for sure.


I do happy dances when a three day weekend is approaching.  Literally.  I go up to the front of our office to my co-worker friend and do a happy dance.  Three day weekends are the life…


HA!  Three day weekends in my life are remodel boot camp.  So I says to My Man Friday night, “I think I’ll tear down the lath and plaster wall tomorrow when you’re at work.”  Never say those words to your man.  Never.  You will regret it.


But, I am mostly glad that I did it, for that meant less work to get through on Monday (our third day of the weekend).  Thankfully, The Man was there on Monday too.


We were tired.  Dead beat, doggone, bone tired.  But our kitchen demolition is coming!  We now…

~Have holes in the wall that you can see to the outside.


~Are re-heating food in the microwave located in the family room

~Getting food from the frig in the dining room.


~Cooking on and in an electric skillet, electric burner and toaster oven wherever we can find a spot cleared – sometimes in the “kitchen,” sometimes in the laundry room, sometimes in the dining room


~Getting dishes and food from the laundry room

~Doing our dishes and anything that requires water in the bathroom


And guess what!  We love it all.


When Caleb first moved into our little abode, his parents replaced their refrigerator and kindly gave him (us) their old one.  It was so nice to not to have to shop for appliances back then (the refrigerator was the only kitchen appliance that didn’t come with the house).  With planning a wedding in 3 1/2 months, self-publishing a book, cleaning and painting a house that had more than its share of nastiness, I was NOT in the appliance shopping mood.

Grace and Glorie helping me clean, and the old frig

Grace and Glorie helping me clean, and the old frig

The frig worked faaaaantastically.  It was big and could store loads of food.  Oh, did I mention that they GAVE it to us?

Well, now that we are wrapping up the family room and porch projects, our question of “Which room do you want to do next?” has been under careful consideration.  And, well, if you’ve seen our kitchen, the decision wasn’t that hard.  Well…if you’ve seen our bathroom, maybe the decision was a little hard…


…choices, choices, what to chose?

Anyway, the kitchen is next on the remodel list.  And while our used frig has been a blessing, ummm, well, it doesn’t exactly go with the design plan.  So I started scouring Craigslist.

Hmmm, stainless steel or white.  Oh, the choice; oh, the questions!  I was going back and forth, looking through my Pinterest kitchen file and magazine pictures.  And then, I stumbled upon this beauty, quite by accident.  And my refrigerator world was never the same.


I was NOT planning on buying a new refrigerator, especially when I saw the price.  But it just wouldn’t leave my head.  So, me thinks, “I shall do a Google search ‘discount GE Artistry refrigerator.'”  ‘Cause you know, where there’s a will, there is sometimes a way.

*sigh* And I found one…FOR HALF PRICE at a Sears Outlet.  (*Emotional high*)  I thought and talked with Caleb about it over the weekend.  His response, “Whatever you want, babe.”  Gotta love that guy.

There’s that moment – you’ve found THE perfect thing.  Then you think, “Well, wait.  Maybe I shouldn’t jump into this.”  Then you slap yourself and say, “What in the WORLD am I thinking?!  It is PERFECT!”  Then you immediately go online to buy it. Then you realize it’s gone.  (*Emotional low*)

Will I ever learn?

Not to be deterred, I called the store just to make sure.  The sales person’s answer, “Yes, it’s still on our floor.”  (*Emotional high*)

So I made about seven phone calls over the course of the weekend.  “You can’t purchase it over the phone; you have to go to the website.”  Well, it wasn’t showing up on the website.  “Well, wait a couple days, and the inventory should be up to date.” (*Emotional low*)

Finally, FINALLY, I was able to purchase it online, and the sweet little beauty was delivered to our little abode.  (*Emotional high*)

And one night, My Man and I decided to switch out the frig and install our new friend.  Aaaaaand, we soon saw that there was a manufacturer’s defect, and our new little friend was unusable.  Stupid outlet stores.  (*Emotional low*)

So, I called the store the next day to return it.  And they told me it was under warranty.  And a repair man came out and fixed it.  And *sigh* it is now sitting in our ugly kitchen.  (*Emotional high*)  Oh, but it’s so purdy, I can almost ignore the mustard colored walls.  Almost.


I’m thinking refrigerators shouldn’t send one on a emotional roller coaster.  My Man is thinking that too, I’m sure.