Thursday, July 28, 2016

Endings and Beginnings

I have been writing the last few pages of a chapter in my life the last couple of weeks.  This has been a long chapter, lasting almost 18 years.  That's pretty much a lifetime - birth to graduating from high school type lifetime years.

As of about 3pm tomorrow, I will no longer be an employee of VJ.  I will be short of 18 years by 12 days when I walk out of the exit interview tomorrow. 

That has felt so surreal since I made the decision last Monday.

I have accepted a new position with a company I will heretofore call MP in Chesterfield to help them with their SAP implementation.  They are going live in January with the latest version of SAP, so this is a wonderful learning opportunity. 

It is also a scary opportunity.  It is a chance for me to spread my wings and take what I've learned at VJ and apply it someplace else. 

I may fly. 

I may flop.

But I won't know if I don't try.  And I don't want to get to the end of my career and look back and wonder if I could have done it.  So I'm trying to move past the fear - with God's help and the help of wonderful encouraging words from so many - and starting at a new company on Monday. 

This is good news!  I know it is good news! 

Yet at the same time... tears.  I was crying big time when I wrote out my letter of resignation.  I could not have spoken what I wanted to say to the two men who saw something in me that I didn't see in myself.  These two men changed my life, and the opportunity I have before me now would not be possible without the two of them.  Thinking of that now brings the tears again.  How do you thank people for changing your life for the good?  Somehow the coconut cream pie and pumpkin swirl cheesecake that I brought them as peace offerings just didn't seem to suffice.

And then I was fine with the tears. 

Until today.

When wonderful people surprised me with a "This Is Your VJ Life" party.

When I heard voices I hadn't heard in years.

When I heard stories of dead fish and emails and crashing the system and work associates who have become friends.

When I listened to words of appreciation from folks I've worked closely enough with that they know where the bodies are buried and could have told those stories but chose not to. 

When I hugged the receptionist that holds the building and all of us together and who may never decide to retire.

Yep, endings.  Closing a chapter.  Turning the page and starting to write a new one. 

I simply want to acknowledge this moment.  So many people have taught me so much as I wrote this last chapter.  More than I could ever thank, but to whom I will always be grateful. 

And who I will always treasure.

You know who you are.  Thank you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Happy! Happy! Birthday Girl Aunt FB!

This beautiful lady is celebrating her birthday today!

If you read this post from June when my Aunt R had a birthday, you may recall two things:
  • We do not reveal a lady's age
  • I did the math to at least say that Aunt R was turning "something north of 70"
Now since Aunt FB is two years older than Aunt R, we can therefore say that Aunt FB is turning something north of 70 + 2.  And that's all I'm going to say about that.
Aunt FB is one of The Original Eight.  She is the lady standing third from the left, between my mother and Aunt R.  I miss the faces in this photo....
We had a GREAT visit with these two aunts and many of their kiddos and grand kiddos last month!  It was so good to see everyone and capture some of their stories. 
So today, I get to share with you 5 things that I have learned from Aunt FB.  I'm not sure that she will even know that I posted it to be able to read it, but hopefully someone will read it to her somewhere, someway, someday...
So here they are - 5 things that I have learned Aunt FB.
5) Embrace the nickname!  No shame!  Even if the nickname ceased to truly apply past toddlerhood. 

4) Oreos make the world go round.  Always have.  Always will.
(And if I recall correctly, I believe that Aunt FB has received at least one birthday "cake" made of Oreos similar to this pic.)
3) Create beauty.  My Aunt FB loves to create beauty wherever she can.  I’m not sure that she does this any longer, but when I was growing up, every family bride was given some painted china.  It might be a cup; it might be a plate or a saucer, but it was hand-painted by Aunt FB.  Each one individual.  Each one special.  Each one beautiful.  Each one fragile – not only because of the medium, but because of the time and creativity and love from the giver.  This cross was done by Aunt FB for my daughter, B.  One of a kind.
2) Write.  I think at least part of my love to write comes from my Aunt FB.  Tell stories.  Don’t worry about being “good enough.”  Just write.  The very, regular practice will make me better.  (And THAT’S the part I struggle with the most!  Sigh…)
1) Teach.  Share your knowledge and experience with others.  I’m not sure if she is still teaching every week or not, but I know she was teaching from the Bible every week (except vacations and illness) well into her “something north of 70 + 2”.  And teaching well.  Aunt FB has touched many lives through the years with her words of teaching, wisdom, love and compassion.  Her reward will be great in Heaven.
Happy!  Happy!  Aunt FB!!  We love you and hope you have had a wonderful birthday full of love and laughter and fun and Oreos!!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Happy! Happy! Birthday Girl C!

It's C's birthday today - of C&D fame!  Happy!  Happy!

While I haven't known C all that long, I've learned at least these 5 things from her...hope these bring a smile, Miss C!
5) Sponge Bob.  Cause Sponge Bob.  I couldn't find a pic of the SB cake I made last year for B's 2nd birthday to show you here...too many changes with laptops and files and whatnot...but I've learned a bit about SB just from making him on a cake.
4) Live in pajamas every chance you get.  (I don’t get many chances, but when I do – like working from home on snow days – I get it.)

3) PBJ’s and chili go together like grilled cheese and tomato soup or hot dogs and mac & cheese.  I haven’t tried the PBJ-Chili combo platter yet, but C&D swear by it.  And they are apparently not alone if this blog is any indication… 

2) Love unconditionally.  It won’t always be reciprocated.  Love unconditionally anyway.

1) Motherhood is the most honorable profession and privilege, regardless of the circumstances.  Certain situations make it harder than others, but choosing to give the gift of life is always worth it.
Happy!  Happy!  C!  We hope you've had a wonderful birthday and that we get to see everyone again soon!

We love you!


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Happy! Happy! Birthday Girl K!

It's K's birthday!!  Yep, the gorgeous lady in this pic is celebrating her birth today!!  Happy!  Happy!
So you know what that means!  Yep, I get to share 5 things that I have learned from K in hopes of bringing her a smile and reminding her how much we love her.  It didn't work out for us to hug her neck and have a good visit this year's birthday, but hopefully we will make that happen very soon.  We love you, K!
Alright, so here are 5 things I have learned from K...
5) Avocados make the world go round. 

E thinks that bacon makes the world go round.  So I suppose an avocado BLT is just about the perfect signature sandwich to represent their marriage.

If we could combine avocados, bacon and strawberry pie into one, that could be the signature food item to represent their family.  But that's another story for another blog post.

4) Sparkles are not good.  Wait?  What?  Sparkles are not good?  Yep, that's right.  They aren't good.  They are DA BEST!!!  Decorate with them every chance you get whether that is in your home or on your person!!  (Even if you're an "old" person like me!)
3) Compliment.  Tell people - especially older women - that they look nice that day. (Even if there are things that they could have improved that day.) A kind, complimentary word does so much for the hearer's heart and soul.  And K is generous with compliments for me every time I see her.  It makes me want to see her even more!  <insert heart emojis here...>

2) Listen to little ones.  That usually means slowing down, giving them your full attention, and giving them the time they need to find their words.  But the end result is always worth it.  (And if Dad can toss in a funny face along with it, then everybody smiles and feels the love!)

1) When life doesn't quite turn out as planned, make a new plan.  K has experienced this often in her life.  I could list a few of these, but I don't want this to turn into a DDD (Deb Dissertation Downer).  I want to celebrate that K continues to find a new plan and embrace it despite how hard that might be.  I have a great deal of respect for that sort of fortitude and positivity.  I was so excited to see that this "little" announcement was made yesterday, because this is just another example of how K seeks God and makes a new plan when life doesn't turn out quite as originally planned.  We can't wait to meet this grandchild and cheer this plan on every step of the way!!!

Happy!  Happy!  We love you and hope your birthday has been totally wonderful K!  We hope to see you all very soon!!!