About Me

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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm A Bad Blogger

Well, I've just not been so good at this blogging thing for the past two months. I guess I really haven't felt like I had too much too say. Sometimes I feel like I have too much to say & maybe the things I want to say should really be kept to myself - so maybe it's a combination of the two. I've had things to say, but those things are probably best kept to myself, so that left me with little to write about.

The last time I wrote, I wasn't yet on my own - my Mom was still with me & we were just rolling along waiting to see when she might leave. My Mom moved to Virginia the first weekend in November & I've been trucking along all by myself ever since. I can't say quite yet how much I like or don't like it. There are definitely nights when I enjoy knowing that if I want to watch 5 episodes of "Chuck" in a row, then I can do that & no one will complain because the only other living thing in the house is Watson & a couple plants. Watson could care less about "Chuck" or anything else on the TV as long as I let him sit in my lap some & I'm pretty sure the plants should just be grateful they're still alive. I'm not exactly a green thumb. I'm always thankful for weekend plans - I've discovered very quickly that sitting at my house on Friday night & all day Saturday with nothing but a dog to talk to makes me a little stir crazy. I don't suppose Watson minds though.
Deep Conversation or just begging for food? You decide
Watson seems to be getting even more adept at begging; with my Mom one look did it. I'm not as easy to bribe & so he is getting pretty good at making pitiful faces all in the name of getting a scrap of cheese or a bite of bread. And with all that begging, he still somehow managed to lose 3 pounds in the past few months! The vet said it could have been caused from a change in food or a change in his living situation - which made me think "oh geez, I am literally stressing my dog out to the point that he's losing weight!" I guess maybe I should give in to those pitiful faces more often. I can't have him wasting away - without him it would be just me & the plants & while some people talk to their plants, I don't really think I need to become that person.

I'm settling into my own little routine. I have the day that I do laundry, the day I do cleaning, still trying to figure out when my grocery day will be. It's interesting settling into a completely new & different lifestyle - especially one where I get to make all the rules.

Thanksgiving Feast!
I got to play hostess at Thanksgiving - my parents came down from Virginia & Lindsey flew in from Colorado & my kitchen was filled with wonderful smells & the warmth of my family. I thoroughly enjoyed the few days we had together & especially enjoyed having a roommate for those few days. Lindsey is a good roomie - she doesn't hog the covers & she's good for conversation - although we didn't actually talk to late into the night since her pneumonia medicine knocked her out pretty fast, ha-ha. I'm looking forward to playing hostess again at Christmas. Which brings me to...

My Christmas Tree!

My first Christmas in my house! I decorated like a crazy person - I have 5 trees in my house. You read that right, 5. I really like Christmas. I'm currently wondering (courtesy of a post on Facebook made by my friend Nickolee) why I can't just leave my tree up year round & decorate it for each season. That's probably craziness though. I don't want to be one of those people that still have their Christmas decorations up in June. I think they probably get some funny looks & I don't need any of those. I get to play hostess to my family again in about two weeks & I can't wait to have my tree overflowing with present - which I know it will be doing once my family arrives. Mostly I can't wait for my house to be overflowing with my family. It gets kind of quiet with just Watson & I.

I'm trying my best to adjust to life on my own. So far, if I'm being honest...it's just been okay. I don't think I mind being on my own so much, it's just knowing that while I'm here by myself I'm missing out on things that my family might be doing in VA or CO without me. I guess that's just a part of growing up & I'm sure I'll adjust to it over time. That being said - if you're reading my blog you can certainly pray not only for me but for my whole family as we make this adjustment to being spread all over the place. It's a new experience for all of us.

I guess that's all for now. Just a small update - I'll try to be better about blogging, especially as the new year starts. I can't believe we are about to say goodbye to 2011 & move into a whole new year. A year that is sure to be filled with adventure I'm sure. If I'm not back on here before the end of 2011 - hope those of you who read have a wonderful Christmas & a great start to 2012.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My 26th Year

Holy Cow - has a year really gone by that fast? I guess so. There are times when I feel like there is no way a whole year has passed that fast & other times that I can't believe all the things that have happened in such a short time. When I was little it seemed like it took eternity for a year to pass but now it flies by in a rush of leaves, snowflakes (because it's actually snowed in MS the past couple years) flowers & ridiculously hot temperatures. I was thinking this morning on the way to work about all that has happened in the last year & I thought I'd write it down to reflect on all of it...

October - turned 26. There was a teeny cake & the joy at celebrating another year of life. I'm pretty sure being thankful to be alive was about the only thing on my list of celebratory topics. Well, that & cake. I'd been graduated for almost 6 months, put in resumes all over the place (from Jackson, MS to Knoxville, TN & even Colorado Springs, CO) with no luck. The reality that it might be a long time before I got a job was becoming more evident with each passing day. So, I ate cake & slept late...because those were the pluses then.

November - Thanksgiving - always such an awesome time of the year. I was closing in on seven months of job searching with no avail when on the Monday before Thanksgiving I recieved a call from a former church member offering me a job at a clinic. I didn't even have to come in for an interview, I just had to be at the clinic the next morning to start the job. Obviously I had no idea what the job had in store for me - but I don't think we ever really have any idea what life has in store for us. I was surprised to discover that I only got Thanksgiving off - but as my Mom told me, that was part of being a grown-up & having a "real" job. Thanksgiving was, as always, wonderful. I am so blessed with wonderful families on both sides - my Mom & my Dad's sides - so getting to spend time with all of them & eat wonderful food that they'd all cooked (me included) was great. I love holidays primarily for that reason. I know some people think it is corny or crazy this day in age to love & enjoy spending time with your family, but all in all I'm pretty sure as far as families go I'm blessed with great grandparents, loving Aunts & Uncles & some pretty cool cousins. So, I'm gonna go ahead & enjoy that blessing to it's fullest. Also - I had an insanely good time decorating our house for Christmas with my little sister. And insane is probably the most apt way to describe it since by the night's end we had draped ourselves in garland & lights with wreaths as hats. There are pictures of this -

I'm quite certain our parents think we're insane.
December - Christmas season! I totally & completely love Christmas season. I wasn't totally & completely in love with my job in December but I did really like (most) of the people I was working with. I also knew that my little sister was going to be home for close to 3 weeks so that was awesomeness. We had our annual Christmas Eve get together as usual & had a great time - that little get together almost always involves several, if not all people involved laughing until they are crying. Love that. I also love being surronded by close family & friends like that - great times. We had no clue that it was going to be our last Christmas in our house - but I've got to say, I don't think we could have enjoyed it anymore had we known that. There wasn't really anything we could have (or would have done) to make it better. I'm pretty sure that is one of the joys of my family - we enjoy ourselves when we're together, regardless.
Christmas Eve
When did we all grow up so much?

January - Ok, I'm going to cheat a little bit here. My Mom's side of the family went to Gatlinburg the week after Christmas. We were there for about 5 days & just getting there was exciting since the roads were covered in ice & snow - my Grandma & Aunt slid around on the road & it added a whole new element of thrill to the trip. We had such an awesome time on the trip - there were literally feet of snow & for kids from Mississippi that was a big deal. Granted, we'd all seen snow before but not ever that much. We were able to make snow angels & still not make that much of a dent in the layers of powder. It was awesome! We also discovered that we weren't so great at making snowmen. Oh well - the snowball fight was certainly good. January also brought a job change for me - on the 12th of the month, I lost my job. Given the reasoning (which was that the clinic wasn't busy enought to entail more than one receptionist) I'm not really sure why I was hired in the first place, but what are you going to do? I was sure that I'd spend the next several months searching for a job but I was wrong. I went on an interview on the 24th, went back on the 26th & started my new job at BMG on the 31st. January was certainly a whirlwind of changes for me. Also in January, one of my very best friends welcomed the most precious baby girl - I'm talking of course about Nickolee. I've known Nickolee since we were toddlers & to have formed such an amazing friendship with her & witness her taking this next step in life was amazing. And her daughter Ryleigh is pretty amazing too - I love that sweet little girl & her family so very much!

Love my cousins - and all this snow!
Family - gotta love 'em!

A little Riley in the snow!

Two of my favorite girls.
February - I got major news in February...really, my family as a whole did. My Dad got a job in Virginia & he decided that he'd take it...which meant a big move was in store. I can tell you that when I originally found out, I kind of had a freak out. I started crying because here I was with this huge decision - to move to Virginia when I'd been wishing to move for months & months to anywhere in the world or to stay in Collinsville where I had finally found a stable job. I wrestled with that one for a while, but once I turned to the ultimate decision maker, the Lord, I felt like I was really being called to stay in Collinsville. That would mean finding somewhere to live & making a go at life on my own. I knew that whatever happened from here on out was probably going to be a whole new adventure for me. I also got to be a DNow leader for my church in Febrauary. I was the leader for the 11th & 12th grade girls & had 4 of the sweetest & most wonderful girls ever. I've been leading at DNow for too many years to count at this point, but it is always a great experience & I usually end the weekend having learned things I would have never imagined - and while most of those things are Christ-centered, with the girls I lead, I usually learn all kinds of other things!

Best DNow group ever - 11th & 12th Grade Girls 2011
March - There isn't much about March that stands out to me. I was finally starting to find my niche at work & felt like I might be getting to know the people I worked with & figure things out. Lindsey came home for Spring Break & even though I was busy with work from 8-5 I was even more thrilled to come home in the afternoons & get to spend time with my whole family - not just the three of us as usual. I also realized the joys of having a real job...which means that Spring Break didn't really exist for me anymore. That's the sad truth.

Zoo View 2011! It was a windy day!

Brunch at the Broadmoor with the Beast
April - Something happened in April that was a big deal for me. I flew to Colorado by myself to spend Easter weekend with Lindsey. That may not be so special to some people, but as a nervous wreck spazz that requires meds to fly with a family member close at hand, this was a big deal. I managed to survive all my flights (although the flight from Houston to Jackson on the return was like being shaken violently in a tin can for 50 minutes) & had an awesome time with my little sister. We made some great memories & I encountered & managed a crisis all on my own. Because getting stranded in Colorado Springs was a little of a crisis to me - it involved booking new flights, another rental car & another hotel room - thank goodness for credits cards! Okay, maybe that isn't actually a crisis but it was slightly stressful at the time, especially given my fear of flying. I got my 2nd job in April - I became my churches' nursery coordinator - a job I'd had once before. It is one of those jobs that can be crazy stressful but somehow has it's own cure for that...because when you're stressed out & you can just take a minute to sit down & hold a precious baby, things all seem to be a little bit better.

This is what I imagine some of the babies in the nursery want to say to me...
May - May is yet another month that doesn't just jump out & grab me. I was learning that the people I thought I'd figured out at work in March I probably hadn't actually figured out quite as well as I thought. So I kept right on plugging along at work, trying to make friends or at the very least not make people mad. Which wasn't easy sometimes. Of course, that still isn't easy to this day. May marked the end of one of my favorite shows - Smallville. Some friends & I got all dressed up & had a little farewell party to a show that we'd watched for years...and years...and years. 10 to be exact. :) We had a good time - even though some people seemed to think we were silly for imitating our favorite characters, we just laughed & kept right on with the fun...because sometimes in life, you just have to do that. My Dad made the move the Virginia at the end of May & the realization that we were all about to be living spread out across the US was becoming tenous...something I could very much grasp. It was crazy.

Kristen & I...or should I say Chloe & Lois?
June - June brought me to seriously looking for options for my living situation once I was on my own. I considered apartments for a long while but came to realize that decent apartments are scarce in Meridian & if they're decent apartments then they are suddenly very proud of that fact & wanted close to half my salary (working two jobs, mind you) to live there. I just didn't think that was an option that was going to work for me. Through what can only be divine intervention, some land next door to my Grandma's house opened up & I decided that maybe buying a trailer would be the best option. I spent a lot of June looking at houses & exploring my options & by the end of the month, I was a homeowner. Absolutely crazy. Crazy because it was certainly not something I'd foreseen happening anytime this year...or in the close future. Again - life is full of suprises.

New Homeowner - yikes!
July - Moving was the theme of July, whether it meant moving my life from one place to another, moving on with things...moving was just the theme. My family spent July 4th weekend in Strasburg, the place that my parents will be calling home now. I have to say that I absolutely loved the place for so many reasons. The location is gorgeous, the town of Strasburg is so quaint, DC is literally only an hour away, (and don't get me started on how close some other big cities are) & some friends from my childhood live only 40 minutes from my parent's house. I felt a little like I was being reminded of what all I was going to miss - but I still felt (still do most of the time) like I had made the right decision. I moved into my house on July 21st & started settling my house the way I wanted it. It was so crazy & exciting to be able to fix things just the way I wanted them because it was my house. I guess the moving on aspect came from not only moving on with my life but watching those around me move on. I said good-bye (or at least see you in a couple years) to my precious friend Nickolee & her family. They left in July to go to Madagascar for what I'm sure is only the first of many years as missionaries to the Mahafaly people. They have certainly been missed, but they are being blessing to so many people & bringing the most important message anyone can hear to those people who have never heard it. And Ryleigh just gets cuter with every passing month.

My parent's new hometown

A little horsing around in Middletown, VA

Love these two - miss you guys!
August - August was really just another month of getting settled into my new life. I spent it trying to enjoy the time I was able to spend with my Mom since I'm not sure when she'll be leaving to move to Virginia. I've got to soak up that time with her before I don't have the oppotunity. I've also got to enjoy her cooking while I still have the chance - because I know how to cook for myself, but there is just something about a Momma's cooking.

Watson had no trouble settling in...
September - I got to start my September with a visit to Colorado Springs for Parent's Weekend at the Air Force Academy. I love getting to spend time in Colorado Springs - it is such a gorgeous place & of course, my little sister is there. We stayed in a cabin in the middle of nowhere & we explored all the nature around us...even fed some deer by hand. It was a great time, but like I said...being with my family is pretty much always a great time.

My favorite Cadet

Bring on some Falcon football!
And of course, that bring us to October. So far, we're only 5 days into October...so I'm not really sure what this month holds. I know that tomorrow is my 27th birthday & I've been blessed by the 26 years I've had so far...hope the 27th year continues the theme. I never imagined on my 26th birthday that my life would have taken the twists & turns it has on the way to 27...but as I've mentioned before, life is pretty good at surprising you. So here's to saying farewell to 26 & looking forward to what 27 has in store.

Ok 27 - bring it on...I'm ready for you

Friday, September 30, 2011

Dogs, Daydreams & Drugs (the Over the Counter kind)

It's been almost exactly two weeks - like, literally. I blogged on Friday the 16th at around 1ish - and it's 12:11 today. So, yep...I'm punctual like that with the blogging.

What is up with me? Not a whole lot really - things have pretty much been life as usual. I'm a bit more sleep deprived than usual but that is really about all that has changed. I haven't had a legitimately good night's sleep in almost two weeks - which stinks. My legs have decided to mutiny the rest of my body & so whenever I lay down to go to sleep they start twitching, pinching, tingling & even...if they are really feeling like totally ruining my sleep...jerking. That's right, my whole leg just jerks on it's on. And that causes me to jerk awake. It's great really. My legs have started acting like the equivalent of a crack addict going through withdrawal. I mean - I guess. I don't actually know anyone who has detoxed off crack & I myself have never done crack, so I don't know firsthand. I'm just throwing that guess out there. It's not a good thing - I don't have to guess about that. The doctor wanted to put me on some serious meds - I'm not sure about it thought because I don't want to be taking all kinds of meds. Of course, I don't want to keep missing sleep either & the over the counter sleep druggies just aren't cutting it anymore, so I'm not sure what comes next. I'd love a full night's sleep to come next. I love to sleep...it is pretty much one of my favorite pastimes & I am missing out on it. Not cool.

I keep spending all this "quality time" with my Mom because we keep thinking "oh, this will be the last weekend we can spend time together - I'll be moved by xx/xx/2011"...and yet, she is still here. I'm definitely not complaining about that. I like having company because my dog tends to be pretty anti-social. He likes to come in at the end of the day, eat a little food & then go lay in the recliner in the study for the next 4 hours until I make him go to bed. He might wander through the living room every once in a while on his way to get a sip of water, but that is about it. Last night I was decorating my Halloween tree (because Halloween is awesome & I love it) & he did stop long enough to stare at me like I was crazy as I wrapped purple lights around some black branches. It was good. I love getting strange looks from my dog - it's nice to know that he obviously thinks I'm crazy. Of course, he could still be mad at me about Monday...not sure.

Watson has never been a "bad" dog & I like to brag about how he never has accidents. Well - I should just stop bragging. Monday at 6 AM when I opened the door to the study to walk on the treadmill, this horrible smell slapped me in the face. There was a lovely spot (not a small spot either) in the middle of the floor where my dog had decided he would get up & use the bathroom - all over my new carpet - my carpet that has only been my carpet for 3 short months. I was not happy. At all. The whole time I walked I was muttering things at him like "your butt is busted mister, I hope you're happy" & "you better hope it quits raining before tonight, because you'll be sleeping outside". I'm sure I was very menacing as I trudged along on the treadmill uttering threats while listening to my dance beat music. Terrifying, no doubt. I take so much joy in scrubbing up dog urine at 7:03 in the morning...but it got better.

It was pouring on Monday morning. Pouring. Cats, dogs & buckets...you know what I mean. Watson hates the rain. I hate the rain when I have to get out in it, so I felt his pain...but I was still ill at having to scrub up his mess & so I wasn't feeling as sympathetic to his plight as I might have been. It was time to go & so I went to the study & snapped my fingers at him to get up - clapping, snapping & rocking the recliner to get him to get up. He hopped out of the chair, walked to the front door, surveyed the rain & proceeded to go get back in the chair. Great. So I had to pick him up & sit him out the front door onto the porch - into the rain. Let me preface the rest of this story by saying that he has a dog house (a quite nice one) a mere 5 steps from the front door that he could get into & he also has my Grandmother's front porch (with a roof on it) a quick sprint across the yard, which he is always welcome on. I grabbed my stuff & opened the door to head out into the rain & he sped back in the crack of the door, flying toward the study & hiding behind the recliner. Great. My umbrella had flipped out of my hand, over the ottoman & into the floor. So I went to get him out from behind the chair - he squealed the entire time like I was subjecting him to some horrific brand of torture (and I wasn't, I swear it.) and place him soundly in the middle of the porch. Again. In the rain. By now, I was wet myself. I grabbed my stuff & plowed out the door & past him - no getting a sneak pass into the door this time. I was wet & cold & seriously angry at this point. Watson sat in the rain & tried to look pitiful - but I was having none of it anymore. Needless to say - he didn't welcome me home with quite the same joy as he usually does.

So - I'm kind of thinking he was giving me the stink eye last night. He usually would just love on my Mom & look over at me with a look that plainly says "see, I love her because she didn't stick me out in the rain & you did, so bite me" but since my Mom is out of town, he just has to give me looks of disdain as he passes me on his trek from the recliner to the water bowl & back. Whatever dog. I've got your number. You're playing a game you can't win. At least, you can't win it until your Nana gets back & then I'm in trouble because she'd take up for you over me any day. *sigh*

I'm ready for 6 o'clock. Why 6 & not 5? I have to go watch a golf shoot out today after work & I'd really rather not - but sometimes you have to do things you don't particularly want to do. So I'll go watch some guys smack some golf balls around, practice my golf clap & then head home. Praise the Lord. I'm gonna spend my weekend entertaining my friend Lisa & being all crafty/DIY with some projects at my house. If they turn out the way I want them to, then I might just post pics on here. I'm sure I'll post pics on Facebook for sure. If I don't get good sleep, then I'll probably be doing some daydreaming at some point on Saturday & Sunday - naps are a good pastime to have. I hope those of you who read this have a good weekend. This is my last weekend as a 26 year old. This time next week I'll already be 27 - and that is too scary a thought to write about as of yet, so I'll stop here. Yikes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fridays Are Supposed to be Fun....

Well, I know that technically there is no rule that says that because it is Friday it has to be a good day - but I just had to blog for a minute & rant. I'm not ranting about people who are in bad moods & try to drag other people down. That happened today but I'm not going to touch that one with a ten foot pole. I'm ranting about the Meridian Police.

Today, as I was driving down the road, minding my own business - a cop pulled me over. I was thoroughly confused because since I was in downtown Meridian I'd been going all of about 20-25 miles per hour, I had on my seat belt (remember that part, it's important) no lights were out, I wasn't on my phone. Nothing. So, I pulled over & sat there in confusion. The officer came up & the conversation went like this:
Officer: I pulled you over because you aren't wearing your seat belt.
Me: *said nothing & just looked at her because I am sitting there wearing my seat belt*
Officer: You put your seat belt on after I pulled you over, didn't you?"
Me: "No ma'am"
And then the woman disappeared back to her car with my driver's license. And she was back there for way too long. Of course, when she came back - she had a ticket for me.

I got a ticket for something I didn't even do! Of course, you can't flip out on a cop - that would have only resulted in worse things. I didn't really want to get arrested. I have things to do this weekend - like sleep late, watch McKenna cheer at the football game & convince my Mom to watch "Thor". The ticket is only for $25, so it isn't even so much the money aspect that makes me angry. I'm just ill that someone accused me of something I did not do. That's happened to me before - I have not so fond memories of it. Want to hear the tale? I'll share.

In kindergarten, I napped by a little girl named Shareka. One afternoon when we woke up from our naps, someone had colored all over the wall with a red crayon. It wasn't me that did it. For one thing - I like sleeping way too much to waste a chance at a nap to color. We colored all the time in Kindergarten - I wanted my sleep. Guess what Shareka told the teacher though? That Natalie had colored on the wall, not her. And for whatever insane reason, they believed her! Even though I told them again & again that I had not done it, they wouldn't listen to me. I guess they assumed I had done the art work & now I was lying to them - which constituted a double offense. So I got a spanking - at school. To make matters worse - I then got a spanking when I got home...because if you were bad enough to get one at school, you were definitely going to get one at home. The next day Shareka fessed up & told the teachers that she had done the coloring, not me. The teachers apologized & my parents were sorry too...but I'm pretty sure I was scarred for life. The memory of getting a spanking not once, but twice in one day was just too much for shy, quiet little 6 year old me to handle.

I'm all for taking the blame if you did something wrong. If you do the crime - you pay the time. But...In that situation & this one today, I didn't commit the crime. And yet I'm going to be doing time time - so to speak. Not cool.

I think my Friday is going to get better from here. Don't see why it shouldn't. It's going to be hard to part with that $25 when the time comes to pay that ticket though. Geez.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just Because....

I don't guess I really have a specific topic for today's blog - maybe just a "what I've been up to" kind of thing. I'm chilling (both literally & figuratively) at my desk at work. It could be a slow day today because at 9:30 more than half of the office is StarkVegas bound for the MSU vs. LSU game. Go Dawgs! :) I can't decide if I want it to be slow or if I want to be given a little job to do that might make the time pass faster. Right now I'm content to type away at my blog.

Why the picture of this kid? Because when you see this you automatically think of Home Alone. And I'm getting even closer to being home alone - which gives me mixed feelings. I'm excited about having my home, the place I can come home to at the end of the day & chill out with Watson (so, okay I won't be totally alone but try as I might to get him to talk, he just won't) but I'm not so excited about coming home to a house with JUST a dog. I feel this sense of apprehension that at some point it might get lonely. I don't do lonely so well. Of course, I also don't do storms very well either. The other night it started getting windy & the thunder was rolling in the distance & even at 26 (okay...almost 27) I wanted to make sure my Mom was going to be awake for a little while..ya know, just in case things got crazy. I'm gonna have to get over that one. I'm gonna have to learn to be tough - which is probably easier said than done for me. Only time will tell how me getting more tough will go, but I have a feeling that a certain verse from Psalms will become very important to me in the coming days. "In peace I will lie down and sleep,for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe." Psalms 4:8 See - that verse even has the word alone in it. So even when I think I'm alone...I know I won't really be. And that makes me think I might make it.

Speaking of my house - I am obsessed with decorating it! There are so many things I want & only so much money to spend. I still need that rug I've had my eye on for my living room & I really want to fix my guest bedroom differently & I want Adirondack chairs for my front porch...I mean, this list could go on & on. Of course, those three things are on the top of the list. The older I get, the more I understand how money works. And the way it works is simple - I get paid money & I turn around & give it to other people so that they will let me live in my house, have lights/air/heat in my house, have running water in my house, have health insurance, have car insurance, have a phone & of course, my favorite one - I pay for the time I spent in school. I essentially earn money to pay back money that was given to me to learn how to make money & support myself. Insane. I'm well aware that I am far better off than most people, but I sure wouldn't say no to finding a way to make some more money - because I always feel like I am just barely there - financially. Oh, and have I mentioned that I work two jobs? Life is crazy y'all. There is no denying that fact.

I went to Colorado recently - that was a blast! Of course, I'm not so sure getting up at 4:15 on Friday morning was a blast, but hey...I got to spend the day with Lindsey & that made it worthwhile to me. I experienced some new stuff this - of course, it seems like every time I go to Colorado I discover something (or somethings) new. Where shall I start the list?
-I'm not really into rustic. I'm more into fake rustic - as in, it might look rustic but it really costs lots of money & is fancy. We stayed in a lovely little cabin in the mountains & it was rustic. Not fancy but looked rustic. Just rustic. There were all these little "heads-up" things about locking the doors & not leaving out food because the bears & mountain lions would just barge right in if they wanted to. And then they put these doors on the place that look like in one whack a bear could just barge right in!! Sure - they had wrought iron screen doors, but there was a notice not to lock them! I mean, really?? Don't lock the one small defense against me & the wild??? Insanity I tell you. So I concluded - much as I've already known - I'm just not into rustic.
-I am pretty sure I've mentioned this before - but graceful is not something I claim to be. I used to be graceful. I took dance for 13 years - I had to have some semblance of grace to do that, right? We hiked, wandered, climbed all over the place exploring the land around our cabin. There were gorgeous rock outcrops, a lake, beautiful Aspen trees...it was all just gorgeous. It was also all on an incline. I managed to do it all in Rainbo flip flops & fare just fine. I mean, sure a plant stuck me in the toe, but life goes on. Lindsey had us climb to the bottom of the Incline, on steep rock strewn paths interspersed with rickety old wooden step. Managed it just fine in flimsy bejeweled sandal. Of course, then my Dad & I went to Florissant Fossil Beds State Park & decided to walk a mile long loop. That was totally flat. No hills. No incline. And it was on that trail that I decided to wipe out. Because obviously walking on flat ground is what gives me trouble. Scratched up my knee, ankle & even managed to tear a hole in my brand new (as in, maybe 14 hours old) athletic pants. The look on my Mom's face when I returned with dried blood on my knee & pants covered in dust...priceless. As was my Dad's horrified yelp of "NATALIE!!!" as I crashed to the ground. You can't make this stuff up people. You just can't.
-Epic sunburn. That's really all you can call a sunburn that I still have almost 2 weeks later. Saturday will be two weeks since the AF vs. SDSU game & I am still peeling from the sunburn I received cheering on the Falcons. My nose may never be the same & thankfully my right ear only stayed swollen to half it's size for a day or two.
-I also experienced a level of fatigue that I think only new parents feel. I slept restlessly on Thursday night & may have only gotten 3 hours of actual sleep before my alarm went off at 4:15 on Friday morning. I made it until almost 8 that night before the trouble really set in - but from then on...I felt like death. I'd been awake for going on 18 hours, with only 3 hours of sleep to support that much activity. I reached a point where just sitting still was too complicated. All I needed was a semi dark corner of a room that was semi warm & I would have probably completely collapsed. It was bad. So bad that I didn't even feel like eating my delightful pasta at McKenzie's Chop House. Thankfully, on Sunday afternoon when I came back from wiping out at the fossil park, I had a lovely snack of pasta waiting on me. Because time...and pasta, heal all wounds.
-Star Wars. Nothing really new here - except that I learned that I'm not the only nerdy one in my family because my sister loves watching it too! Nothing says Labor Day weekend like the power of the Force fighting it out against the Dark Side.

I guess that is really about it for Colorado. I'm sure I'll think of something else that was funny or memorable - like maybe my spazzing out mere moments before we were supposed to go into the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine. I'm not going to elaborate on that one right now. I'll leave you wondering.

Work is ever the same. Just keep plugging along, doing insurance related stuff & trying to learn how to do things the way the higher ups want them done & keep everyone happy.

I'm trying to lose weight again - because honestly, I need to. I started drinking Slim Fast this past Monday & so far it's going pretty good. I almost had a total breakdown last night & wanted to devour the last piece of my Grandma's birthday cake...but I didn't. It takes major self control & that is something I don't really have complete mastery of yet. I'm trying to get past the hunger of the first week - usually if you can make it through that first week of feeling like your stomach is going to cave in & eat itself, it gets better & over time you don't get hungry anymore. So, I'm living for that moment - since being hungry makes me cranky.

So there you go - my life at the moment. Basically I'm hungry, hanging on to what little money I have & getting ready to go at it alone. Oh, and I'm also clumsy & sunburned. I'm also blessed though - so very blessed. Because in all these things, I am saved by the grace of God & the same grace that saved me will get me through those little day to day struggles that can sometimes seem bigger than they really are. And that makes me think that I might be alright in the end - because it all gets better at the end, so if it isn't all better, it must not be the end.

But that is the end of this post. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rakes, Rats & Rednecks

Wow - I haven't blogged in forever. If you consider forever to be almost 2 months, because it has been that long. I'm a bad blogger but what can I say? I guess life just got busy, which is ironic since life is supposed to slow down during the summer. Maybe that is only true for kids & teachers? I don't know.I just know that once July started...things got really hectic, both at home & at work. Oh - and I should also mention that I was without Internet at my house for almost all of those two months - so I think I get a little break, right? Now then...what have I been up to?

I'm a homeowner now! Terrifying, I assure you. Delightful yet also terrifying because I have to worry about having to pay a mortgage every month now. I get this crazy thrill out of coming home & saying "oh, my house" but then sometimes I think "is it really mine? I haven't finished paying for it yet..." Of course, that certainly hasn't stopped me from making it my own! I'm actually loving every minute of it. I'm loving it maybe too much because I keep thinking of things that my house really NEEDS. These aren't things that I want, I promise - they are things that my house NEEDS. Like, I really need to re-do my guest bedroom because while it is all matchy & cutesy right now, it isn't the matchy & cutesy that I want it to be. And I need a rug. And I need bar stools. And I need Adirondack chairs for my porch. See. Things I NEED for my house. Of course, you need money to buy those things & all the money I have goes towards actually paying for the house, the electricity to keep it lit & cool & water to keep myself & my dishes, clothes, pet, etc...clean. See. The joys of being a homeowner. :) There are so many.

Last Saturday my Mom & I (thank goodness for that Momma, because I'd have been in trouble without her this past Saturday - and on many more occasions in my 26 years) had to put down pine straw around my house. The purpose of this was so that when it rains, since I have no grass to speak of, the mud doesn't splash up onto the siding & make it look horrible. This involved carrying a big ol blue bucket through the grove, raking up pine straw, toting the full bucket back to my house & spreading it out. Not hard or anything - just time consuming. And it makes me sweat. And I don't like to sweat. By the time we were finished, I was dusty, sticky, stinky, had a few new bug bites & a nice scratch from a stick that thought it needed to attack me. Nice. It hasn't rained yet so I don't really know how well this will work, but my Dad assures me it will. At least the next time the bottom falls out, I can comfort myself in knowing that my siding will only be wet, not wet & muddy.
Guest Bathroom
Master Bathroom
Living Room
My Bedroom


Now - if you're my friend on Facebook, you've probably already seen all these pictures. Oh well. I kind of love my house, so that's life. You get to look at them again. :)

You just think  you want that mirror...
Another plus of having a home is decorating it. I'm doing a pretty good job of that already, but I'm always finding something else that I need to have in my house. I really want a cute mirror for my guest bedroom & I thought I'd found one for free. And it could have been free....if one doesn't mind wrestling a rodent for it. I mind. I mind so very much. You see - out in my front yard is a set of storage sheds that my Great Uncle is supposed to be coming to haul off - of course, he was supposed to have done that months ago & it hasn't happened yet - so we'll see. I had seen a beautiful mirror with etching at the top & I thought maybe I could salvage it, clean it up & hang it above the dresser. I wasn't really wild about going into the shed, but my Mom assured me that there was nothing in the shed & I'd be fine. She said all this while standing half hidden behind the protection of her car. I'm sure you can already see where this story is going. I crept so very slowly into the shed that a snail might have passed me up, but I wasn't taking any chances. I was just beginning to feel secure in the shed & so I reached up & pulled on on the left side of the mirror. Right as I pulled, a huge rat dove from the right side of the mirror & off into a hole at the side of the shed...I mean, I'm assuming that is where it went. Because the minute I saw that flash of fur & long creepy tail, I let out a scream that I'm sure notified all the neighbors within a 5 mile radius that someone was being brutally murdered in my shed. I turned tail (no pun intended) & ran for my life...to where my Mom was trying (and failing) to act concerned while concealing her hysterical laughter. I'm almost rat meat & my Mom finds it amusing. She says it was no big deal, but funnily enough, she didn't volunteer to go back into the shed & finish retrieving the mirror. Hmmm.

Earlier in the day, we both got a good laugh though. My Mom & I were going to the Dollar General to see what we could find on Saturday when we came upon one of those situations that just lets you know that you live in Mississippi. As we drive up the highway, we see a pickup truck pulled across two lanes of traffic & kind of stalled. We wait just a bit & the truck picks up speed & starts to move again - the lovely lady driving it hanging out the open window with her cigarette hanging out of her mouth. I happen to notice a rope attached to the end of the woman's truck & so I holler for my Mom to stop, because something is obviously attached to that rope & I'd rather not be the cause of an accident. We both look to the right to see what she could be pulling out onto the highway...and see that the rope is attached to a riding lawn mower with a large man sitting on it, smoking his cigarette & waiting to be pulled onto the highway & into the traffic. She proceeds to pull him out into the traffic, leaning out the window & hollering at him as if it is no big deal to just pull a lawn mower through the middle of the traffic on the highway. There would be pictures if only the two of them weren't so very aware that my Mom & I were watching them intently. The last we saw of them, she was creeping up the highway with him weaving in & out of lanes of traffic on his mower behind her. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. It was insane. It made for a rakes, rats & rednecks kind of Saturday, that's for sure.

So...there is what I've been up to lately. Working...and when I'm not at work, I"m probably doing some kind of work fixing my house the way I want it. Which isn't really so much work to me because I love doing it. Maybe I won't let two months pass before I blog again. I'm leaving tomorrow for Colorado Springs for a week - being with Lindsey always generates some kind of action, so I'm sure once I get back I'll have plenty to tell. Till then, hope this post gave you a laugh & I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend! I know I will!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Decisions, Decisions....

I'm officially a homeowner - whoa. That is such a thrilling statement but also slightly terrifying because with a house comes house payments, appliances that could decide to give up, (and Lord knows the disaster that would be because I'd blow up the house trying to fix it) being responsible for keeping it clean & organized, (that shouldn't be too big a problem, I can be a little OCD... sometimes) & a whole lot of other stuff I'm sure. It has been a journey just getting to this point, so I'll back track a little bit & explain how we got here.

Flash back to February when my Dad announced that he'd gotten a job in Virgina. Yay! Wait...huh? What in the world was I supposed to do?? I had just started a job (a good one too) & with our economy just flourishing the way it is - that's sarcasm by the way, in case you were confused. Economincs was not my strong suit in school, but I do know enough to know our economy is insane right now - I thought that maybe I'd better hang on to it instead of jumping ship & shooting off to Virginia. I prayed lots...and lots...and lots...and then I decided I'd better start looking for a place to live. I had one little, furry friend to take into consideration.

Y'all, is he not the cutest thing you've ever seen? I mean, I guess the cutest thing with spotted fur & brown eyes? I love this little furball (and he is a furball, he sheds all the time) so much & I knew that wherever I went, he had to come too. I started looking at apartments & I thought I'd have heart failure right there in the middle of the office. Meridian thinks that it is a pretty special place to live & the price for most of the apartments in Meridian reflected that. $800 for a one bedroom?!? Do these people think I am made of money?? To answer that - I'm definitely not. Not. At. All. One of the joys of being a grown-up, as I am quickly learning is that when you get paid, none of that money is actually yours. You have to pay for housing, food, gas, credit cards bills, school loans, medical insurance...and God forbid you end up sick & have to buy meds or something happens to your car & it needs to be fixed. Then  you could really be in trouble because all of "your" money is already gone. I had no clue how I was going to pay for an apartment. And there was also the matter of my little furry friend.

 He likes to do things like this - lay out in the yard all crazy like & sleep in the sun. He also enjoys chasing squirrels & birds, digging in the dirt & running all over the yard. If we got an apartment, he would be cooped up inside all day long. That thought made me sad for him - I knew he would always be sitting inside all day while I was at work & he would get bored & depressed. I can't give my dog Prozac, so I wasn't sure how that would work. Not to mention, on top of the $800 or so bucks they were wanting for a place to live, they wanted me to pay extra a month for Watson. Essentially, Watson had to pay rent as well - and he doesn't even have a source of income. If killing moles or begging for table scraps could earn him some cash, he'd be rich...but alas, all that will get him are some dead moles & maybe a nice bite of broccoli. Yes, he eats broccoli. Green beans too. So, I looked into option two.

I was going to take up residence in my grandparent's house in Meridian. There was a yard there...actually, there is a whole lot of yard there...but there were complications. Issues arose & it just became evident that maybe option number two wasn't going to be the best option either. I thought it would be excellent to be able to re-do the house my Dad grew up in & make it new & fresh, but when that option passed I was glad to be able to take some treasures from my Grandparent's house. I have a wonderful cookbook that was my Mamaw's as well as pumpkin candy jar & an amazing marble rolling pin. It will probably flatten some dough pretty well, of course, it might also flatten an intruder's head if I needed it to. :) One of my favorite things is a wall hanging that was sent to my grandparent's from my Aunt Joyce. Aunt Joyce is my Grandpa's sister & was our closest family when we lived in California. I sat on her kitchen counter many an afternoon while she & my Mom worked on something in her kitchen. I'm not sure where I'm gonna hang it yet, but it's certainly going in my house.

Anyway - my Mom & I had been musing about how wonderful it would be if I just had some land to put a trailer on. Watson could have a yard to play in, it would be new & clean & would also be much less a month than an apartment that someone else had already lived in. That option just wasn't really looking like it was going to work out - but then, a miracle! The land next door to my Grandmother (and incidentally, a stone's throw from our house) opened up & became available for having something put on it - like say, a trailer for me to live in! Thus, the search began. I fell in deep like with a couple different places, but about two weeks ago I found THE ONE. Once I found it, there was nothing else that could compare. It wasn't what I expected to fall in love with, but I did. Sidenote - I bet that is how love is. You don't fall in love with the person you think you should/would & it's not the person you would have ever imagined yourself with, but once you fall for them, there is no going back. I'll have to get back to you on that theory.

Can I just tell you that the conversation about signing papers & all the stuff involved in owning a home flew right over my head. Escrow in taxes - like, huh? I had no clue what they were saying but thankfully I had those trusty parentals to keep me posted on what exactly it all meant. It must have been a good thing, because the deal was on! Yesterday, the deal was really on. I found myself in an office, signing papers (signing my life away according to my Dad - thanks for the optimism buddy) that made me the owner of a home. I mean, whoa. I cannot even wait to get it in place & start putting my own personal touches on it.

So - decisions were made. I think the decision I made was a pretty good one. Now then, since I'm going to be having my own place I'm going to need guests to entertain. Of course, you've got to let me get it all in order & then you can come visit & check it all out!

Oh yeah - I was gonna stick pictures on here, but I couldn't get them to link up. Of course, you are probably being directed to here from Facebook so you've probably already seen all of them. So there you go!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

World Apart...but Always in my Heart

Wow - I haven't written since June 2nd! I am really falling down on the job. Things have been kind of hectic lately, but that is for another post. I've got something more important for today's post. In just two days, really...less than 48 hours, one of my very best friends is moving around the world. Like - literally, around the world. She is going to spend 14 hours on a plane. 14. Hours. And that isn't counting the first flight that is just a couple hours. She is moving to Madagascar. What do you know about Madagascar, besides what you've seen in the movie Madagascar? I've been learning a lot about Madagascar recently because 3 people that I care for deeply are going to be living there.

Want to learn about Madagascar? Well, this isn't the site for that. But you can go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madagascar & learn some stuff. The main things I know about Madagascar are 1) it's the only place that lemurs live (besides the zoo) & apparently they do not dance in the trees to "I Like to Move It". So disappointing. 2) some of my best friends are about to be there.

Steve, Nickolee & Ryleigh are going to Madagascar to be missionaries. You guys - that is amazing. Because let me be the first to tell you that just witnessing to people here at home causes me to have to step outside my comfort zone, but they are giving up family, friends, the comforts of the United States & the luxuries that it has to offer to go to a country where before they can even begin to witness to people, they have to learn the language. They have to learn how to talk to them, not just in their language but in a way that these people will learn about our Savior & come to accept him as their Savior as well. They have to learn a new language, new customs, a totally new way of life before they can even step outside their comfort zone. All I have to do is open my mouth to tell the good news. I don't even have to learn a new language.

They are going to mission to the Mahafaly people. Nickolee has told me so much about these people - people that she doesn't even know yet but she & her husband Steve have a heart for these people & for bringing them the good news of salvation. Again - you can go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahafaly & learn just a little bit. I mean, it's really just a little bit because Wikipedia doesn't know very much. I know that these people have little contact with the world outside of Madagascar & the name of their people literally translates to "those who make taboos"...so there are going to obstacles to overcome. But with God, all things are possible. Steve & Nickolee will be living in Tulear - again, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulear & learn just a very little bit. Hey guys - did you know that Air Madagascar operates flights to Tulear? I did not. You'll have to check that our for me & tell me if the planes look safe. :) If so, maybe I'll come visit.

I have known Nickolee since we were...oh, two...three? She was one of the first friends that I made when my family moved from California to Mississippi & started going to Midway Baptist Church. We were in the same Sunday School classes & everything. I have pictures of us in our cool acid washed jeans with 80's perms at each other's 4th & 5th birthdays. It's good stuff, trust me. You'll have to trust me because I don't have those pictures in digital form. That's life. You know what? In those pictures, the kid that is sitting right beside me while I open my presents & cut my cake - it's Nickolee. My family moved our membership to First Baptist Collinsville when I was about 6 & I didn't have a lot of interaction with Nickolee for a good long time. Then high school started & somewhere along in the 9th grade, we discovered one another again. We also discovered that we were two of the very few kids that weren't concerned with drinking, smoking, partying & otherwise doing things that would dimisnish the memories of our high school years. Being labeled as the goody-goodys will make you bond pretty fast. But there was so much more to it than that & I know there is no way I would have made it through the 4 crazy years of high school without her. She wouldn't have made it without me either. And I don't say that being self-adsorbed, I say that because she has told me that on more than one occasion. Her friendship was a gift from God.

Once we graduated, we grew apart again because we were both in college at different places. It was okay though - God brought new people into my life & hers while we weren't as close. Around the time she got engaged, we connected again & we've been going full steam ahead ever since. I've seen her get married to a great guy who loves the Lord with the same passion that Nickolee does & also has a heart for missions. I've cried with her on the phone when she called to tell me she was going to have a baby - I placed my bets on it being a boy - obviously, I was wrong. Ryleigh is the cutest & sweetest baby girl & I love the time I've been able to spend with her. Nickolee & Steve are such great parents to their daughter & I know she is going to have an amazing life with these two leading the way. I mean - she gets to play with lemurs like most kids play with dogs.* I'm jealous already.

Steve, Nickolee & Ryleigh are in the process of saying their good-byes to the family & friends they love here in the States in preparation for leaving on Friday. They'll be flying to Johannesburg before going on to Madagascar. I'd ask you (the five of you who read my blog, ha-ha) to please keep them in your prayers, daily. Before they even get to Madagascar they have to make a 14 hour flight with a 6 month old. That would be trying enough for some people. Pray that the Lord would watch over them, keep them in the palm of his hand & provide protection, strength, peace, etc... Pray for easy transitions. Pray for new friends. Pray that they fall in love with the food. Pray that Nickolee is excellent at milking cows & sewing clothes from scratch - because yeah, she has to do all that too. Most importantly - just PRAY for them. If you read this blog, tell your friends to pray for them. And if you'd like to keep up with them, then just go right here: http://steveandnickoleeroberts.blogspot.com/ and you can learn all about who they are, what they are about & what they need prayer for specifically.

These are 3 awesome people who are very close to my heart. I've loved Nickolee since we were small & now I love all 3 of the Roberts. Keep this wonderful family in your prayers as they head out on a journey of a lifetime to make a difference in the hearts of the Mahafaly people so that they may come to know Jesus Christ. Because at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you know Jesus as your Lord & Savior & everyone deserves the right to know. Steve & Nickolee are the people who feel called to give of themselves to do just that. And I think that always merits a little extra whispered prayer, don't you?

Love you guys! You're in my prayers daily & even though we are about to be a world apart, you guys are in my heart every day. :)

*Steve tells me that lemurs are supposedly really fierce & that he can't send me one in the mail & Ryleigh can't be bringing them home as pets. I don't know if I believe that. I think he wants the lemurs all to himself. We'll see. I may have to pay a visit to Madagascar to discover how fierce they are for myself....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Graceful is Not my Middle Name

This is just a short random little post. I had a laughable evening Tuesday night & thought I'd share. If you live in Collinsville, Martin, that area of the country/neck of the woods then you know that around 7ish the power went out. Well...I hate having no power for the obvious reasons but I discovered on Tuesday night that I need lights. Badly. Because without them, I'm a hazard to myself.

I was just minding my own business, all curled up in my chair, intently focused on an episode of "The Vampire Diaries" & everything just cut off. Well nertz! I was pretty into what I was watching but I figured it would just flicker & pop back on. It did not do that. It stayed off. So I meandered up the stairs to get the two whole candles we have left in the house because everything else is either A) already in Virginia or B) trapped in a box. I read for a little bit & then it started to get dim - I realized that two candles just weren't going to cut it & I went for the big guns. The oil lanterns!

This was a real deal oil lantern - not a dorky knockoff with a fake wick like the ones on the left. I would have been much safer with the ones on the left. I had these delusions of reading a book curled up by the lantern, much like the pioneers of old. Let me assure you - had I been a pioneer, they would have booted me from the settlement because I cannot handle lighting an oil lantern without causing a disaster. I'm just that talented folks.

I sat that lantern on the desk & popped off the little glass globe. I turned the wick up, but not too high & lit the lantern. Ah! Fire. Soft, glowing light. I turned the wick down a bit & carefully settled the glass globe back on the top of the lantern - making sure it was secured in all 4 prong holder thingys. I picked it up & made my way across the living room to settle my lantern on the table & myself in the chair. I was so crafty & smooth - I lit this lantern & now I'm gonna sit & read in the chair. Go me! Ha ha! I amuse myself sometimes.

As I lean forward to deposit the lantern on the table, the fire alarm starts shrieking. In a state of total shock at this sudden loud noise in the growing dark of the room, I jerk upward with the oil lantern still in my hands. The glass globe on the top wobbles & then....in what was both slow motion & fast forward all at the same time, falls into the floor with a crash. It shattered into a million pieces, of course. And then - pop! The power cuts back on.

Thank heavens the power cut back on when it did, because obviously I am not capable of handling things in the dark. I set off alarms, I shatter glass...it is a miracle I didn't completely drop the lantern. And could you just imagine that? Oil & glass everywhere, possibly flames... I mean, it would have been the kind of fail that ranks at the top of the epic scale. I got the glass all cleaned up & the candles squared away, climbed back into the middle of the chair & turned my show back on. I figured at that point, I should just stay put. It seemed the safest option. Because my middle name isn't grace for a reason. :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Times...They Are A Changin....

"The future is scary but you can't run back to the past because it's familiar. It's tempting, but its a mistake." -Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother

So, I just quoted a fictional character in my blog. He's a smart fictional character though. The quote is from season finale of How I Met Your Mother, where Ted is contemplating how it would be so much easier to just fall back into a relationship with a girl that is so wrong for him. His reasoning? That it is familiar. He already knows so much about this girl & it would just be too hard to keep searching when he could easily go back to Zoey & just make it work. But he realizes (with the help of some friends, of course) that it would be a mistake.

The events of the past couple weeks have had me thinking about how much my life has changed in that past year. Where was I on June 1, 2010? Have things gotten better? Am I a different person? I know things have changed - the only constant thing in life is change.

June 1, 2010 - Career -
On June 1, 2010 I was a freshly minted graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. I was certain that I could easily enjoy one last summer before having to really be a "grown-up" & then with the greatest of ease, I'd just find an excellent job. Talk about delusions of granduer. I got to have my one last summer...and fall...and most of winter. I figured out pretty quickly that having a college degree didn't seem to matter too much. No one was hiring anyone. Anywhere. At all. It didn't matter how I fancied up my resume or how many places I sent it to. It just wasn't happening. But on June 1, 2010 I wasn't concerned. I just wrongly assumed that I would have a fun summer & then get a job. Life is funny like that - you can plan all you want & it doesn't mean a thing.

June 1, 2011 - Career -
I'm happily a member of the work force & I have been since January. I've been at my job for 4 months now & I really enjoy it. I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of most everything, even if I'm not quite sure I've got the hang of dealing with all the different personalities in the office. The job I have isn't in my field. It certainly has nothing to do with Anthropology or Forensic Science - although a man in the office calls me "forensic scientist" instead of by my name & is always telling me that I should be out catching bad guys & nailing them to the wall. I'm thankful for my job - there are still people all around me that can't find a job. I wouldn't have even guessed or imagined this is what I would have been doing a year ago. And yet, here I am.

June 1. 2010 - Love -
Well - I was single in June of last year. I had high hopes for finding the right person at some point but things just didn't look too promising. I think this is probably the area that tests me the most. I'm not overtly obvious about it, but I'm kind of a hopeless romantic. I have big dreams for love, a marriage & a family - in that order. I tell myself every December 31st that maybe this will be the year. And then I wait. And in June of last year, I was doing just that. Waiting. In case you were wondering - waiting really stinks. My Mom would probably crack up at this - I always spout off the line "patience is a virtue" & she just rolls her eyes at me. Well, like the line from The Mummy - "Patience is a virtue" - Well it's a virtue I don't have right now". *sigh*

June 1, 2011 - Love -
Guess what? I'm still waiting. And it hasn't gotten any easier. There are reminders of my very single status every day & I won't pretend that at times it doesn't get to me. I'm tearing up a little bit writing this. I know without a doubt that if I didn't have family & friends that pray for me daily, this issue - which may seem so small to some - could become far more overblown & upsetting than it is. Thankfully I do have those people in my life that remind me that all in time. I had a conversation on Sunday night with two wonderful ladies - one that I have known for quite a while now & one that I see having the potential to become a wonderful friend. They encouraged me, even if they weren't aware of it. Good things come to those who wait, right? Well - I feel like I've been waiting forever, so I'm pretty sure my Prince Charming is going to be amazing.

June 1, 2010 - Life -
This time last year I was living with my parents, looking for a job & feeling somewhat aimless. I didn't have a job yet, but I wasn't too concerned with that. My parents had talked about moving & to be honest I hoped deep down that we would just leave. I was ready to get some distance from the place I've spent most of my life. I wanted a change of pace, a change of scenery...some kind of dramatic change. What is it that people are always saying? Be careful what you wish for? Right.

June 1, 2011 - Life -
I feel like the life I've been leading for 26 years is about to have a major shake-up. Remember how I said you can plan things & it doesn't matter? Life doesn't cater to your plans - that isn't how things work. My parents are moving. I'm not. I'm going to get a dramatic change - for the first time in 26 years, my immediate family will be spread across three time zones. My parents will be in Virginia, I'll be in Mississippi & Lindsey will be in Colorado. My parents are going to be 800 miles in one direction & my little sister will be 999 miles in the other direction. Also - out of the three states - Mississippi just does not sound like any fun. And yet - here I shall stay. Why? Well, I'm a firm believer that when the Lord tells you to stay put, you stay put. I've learned from experience that deciding to forge your own path & do your own thing doesn't really work out so well.

I'm trying to find a place to live & trying even harder to learn how to hang on to my money because I'm about to have to make a go at this on my own. I realize that people who are far younger than me have already accomplished this task - good for them. I wanted a change of scenery - I'm going to get one. I'll be looking off of a front porch (hopefully I'll have a front porch) that belongs to me. I'll be on my own. And I've also discovered that while there are still some places (& faces) that I would have no problem putting behind me, there are some places (& faces) that will probably become far more important to me as I step out on this new path.

Well - there you have it. How my life has changed (or hasn't) in the past year. I think there are times when I feel a certain sort pf panic set in when I think about what my life will be like in a few months. I want to turn around & run back to the comfort of the past. But, as I'm reminded by Ted, (that lovely fictional character) that would be a mistake. You've got to keep moving forward in life. So, onward to new adventures I go. I feel like so much is different & yet so many things are the same. Then again, isn't that how it goes? The only thing that stays the same is that things are always changing.