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Today

Today I turned 27.

Normally – I hate my birthday.  Not so much the fact that I am having another birthday -but the whole spotlight on me -sort of makes me uncomfortable.  Getting older, being old -the whole package.  But today?  Today was pretty epic.

It was one of those all-around amazing days that left my heart feeling full and happy.  An almost guilty type happy -because the day has been that great.  The kind of day that fills you up with all the happy, bubbly feelings that leave you smiling.  A kind of day I wish I could bottle up so tightly and pull it out on grey days.

Mom went all out -as she does, to make me feel special.  With cake, balloons, presents and flowers.  We had lunch together -and rounded the afternoon out with a free coffee from Starbucks.  Nothing beats free!

There was a special package in the mail from my friend, a number of special messages and of course -a few Starbucks gift cards from mom and Amanda and co.

The evening was finished up with a free (yes, free!) steak dinner at a restaurant with a small group of good friends, mom and dad.  I can’t remember the last time I was out for my birthday with friends.  It’s always nice to spend time with family -but adding some really good friends to the mix made my heart happy.

It was a…wonderful day.

I didn’t win a million dollars -but cashed out in the friends and family department.

A big thank you to everyone who made my day special.  I really, really enjoyed it.

I’d say 27 is off to a good start.

England - 2017

England Highlights

So, about a month ago, I caught wind of some cheap tickets to go to England.  I was wanting to take a trip but really hadn’t considered it.  Having other commitments already on the burner I didn’t think I would be going anywhere until the fall or winter.  But the cheap tickets (under $600) were more than I could handle….and so I bought the tickets.

Unlike my normal travel stunts where I go for extended periods of time -this trip was just going to be a short one of two weeks, as opposed to a few months.  It was a trip that I could just squeeze in between dog sitting and other odd jobs…which is how I found myself in England a week and ½ ago.

Here are a few of the highlights.

Igtham mote:

Bodiam Castle:

My tour guide.  Since they had just been there a few weeks prior, he had great fun showing me around.

And then of course, the sun came out and spring officially came to England.

 

Animals

Round Two!

It’s official.  I might be just a little bit crazy.  Back in October I found myself watching a total of six dogs at once.  It wasn’t until after the fact did I realize just HOW crazy I might have been.  But somehow -I have found myself in the same position once again, only this time -the dogs are all big dogs.

It seems a little less chaotic this time, however.  Perhaps because they all live in the same general area, or perhaps because mom is back in town and can lend a hand.  Either way -we are back to having six dogs.

Round Two!

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Introducing:

Kilo:

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Kilo is a purebred lab.  She is one of the best dogs I have ever watched, and am terrified I will break her!  She listens SO well!  Her puppy dog eyes are because she is trying to tell me she doesn’t like plain dog food and needs more treats.

Winston:

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Mr. Winston is an good old boy.  We used to watch him -many, many years ago.  Probably 10 years ago.  He is old, but still good.  He got himself stuck in the bushes this afternoon, took me about ten minutes to coax him out!

Bob:

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This is Bob.  Bob has been here before.  He is surrounded by female dogs -and enjoying every minute of it.  Don’t let his sad look fool you!  Every time I see him, I see Scrat:

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He is a good boy too.  He is easy going and gets along with every dog.

Harper:

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Miss Harper has been featured here before.  She is still hanging with us.  These sad eyes are brought to you by the word “sit.”  She loves to run, jump, play and do anything BUT sit.  Don’t worry -she was back to smiles and kisses after the picture.

Belle:

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Belle is a husky.  She has one brown, one blue eye.  She is a beauty.  A nut.  A wild girl who loves to play in the snow…I guess being a husky it runs in her blood.  She was more than happy to smile for the camera -perhaps because I was holding a treat?

and back by popular demand, Yoshi!:

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The ringleader of it all.  Her look says it all.  I have been super happy -she has done VERY well with all these dogs in her house.  The only casualty has actually been to her -I let Yoshi into Harper’s area and Yoshi came in with a bit too much gusto.  Harper bit her ear.  But she is healing nicely.  She is going to be one lonely nut when all these pups leave!

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Intentional

When I was growing up, people had all the questions for me. Questions that, I suppose -gave them a gauge as to where I was in life. How grown up I was, how much growing up I had left to do. Questions that grew with me: What grade are you in? When do you graduate? Where are you going to college? Are you married? When are you getting married? Do you have kids? And the all to famous “Is that your husband?”

These questions used to annoy me -I couldn’t understand why people would ask such silly things. Why not ask me what I was interested in? What my hobbies were? What I liked to do in my spare time? It isn’t that I could answer these questions any better -just that they seemed more universal.

I then started to gauge myself by these questions…I never had an official graduation -I was home schooled, I finished school -there was no grand hooray -it simply was over. Time to move on. What’s next. I didn’t have a college lined up -I didn’t see the need to go as I didn’t know what I wanted to do and spending money on school to do something I didn’t even want to do seemed silly. I’m not married. I don’t know when I am getting married or if I am getting married!

Over the years I started to hate hanging out with people, their questions that I couldn’t answer would turn even the best social events into horrible times that I couldn’t enjoy. I began to make excuses. Hold myself back. Play the old “If only” games. I started to think that when I “get older” I would have all the answers to all the questions and suddenly I might just ‘fit in’ with ‘them’.

But the older I get, the more these questions make sense. They simply are questions. People asking something to try and get to know me. The only thing holding me back was myself. And so I have started to try and change my mindset. My answers. My perspective.

The other day a customer / friend was at the shop talking about how God is in control -of everything. While I know this, and knew this and believe this -it still was nice to hear her talk and be reminded that yes -He is. That as long as I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, and seeking His will -then whatever happens will be ok. I might not understand it -but He does, and that is all that matters.

My days don’t always go as I have planned them -and this often, ok usually always -upsets me. I am so focused on MY plans that I fail to realize (or remember) that my plans are not His plans and when things go off course -they are actually directly ON COURSE. If I could stop and remember this.

Intentional.

It is the word I have had in my mind to try and spur me on this year. It may or may not stick -I never know. But it seems to be a fitting word.

I sometimes look at other people and think that their lives are so much easier because they have A, B and C -and I seemed to have skipped ½ the alphabet and only have X Y and Z. That because I am ‘missing’ these key points in my life -that somehow I am doing it all wrong and in order to BE someone, I must accomplish the same things as everyone else. I must climb the ranks, I must do the things. I must have the answers to the questions and if my answers are different than everyone else’s then I am somehow less.

That because I haven’t gone to college and still have no earthly idea what I want to be when I grow up -that I am somehow held back. When really -I am not. I am here for a reason. I am here for a purpose. What that reason is and what that purpose is sometimes confuses me beyond belief. I sometimes cannot fathom why I should be here, doing this. But I am here…and I am doing this…and God knows…and as long as I seek Him -it will be ok.

I will be ok.

I want to live more intentionally. To be more present. To achieve great things, yes, but to remember that I am here -for a reason…and that is ok. I might not know the reason, I might not see the reason -but that is ok. If I can remember to seek God in all areas of my life, and follow His plans -I know things will be so much better.

Now…if only I could remember that.