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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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.

Fall!
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