28 June 2016

Finding Forever - Putting Down Roots

Well. We're in the 3 year window officially. Big Sexy enlisted in June 1999 and here we are June 2016. We've got three years to get our heads on straight. Fortunately after a very very low point (for me) things are turning around. I'll go into the other stuff later so I don't end up babbling about how much the VA makes me crazy and you have to sift through grumbling to hunt the good stuff.

SO!!!! Here's the GOOD STUFF!!!! We found a builder and community we love. We found a floor plan that is PERFECT for our family, and we are truly enjoying the process. On top of that I've found overnight oats and AAAAHHH yum, but sorry that is for another day. Back to the house.

Big ole house with a decent yard for the kids to play/dogs to run/husband to grill (mow) and for me to have a SMALL (probably vertical) garden. We talked. We've dragged poor Sherri through hell and back with we want a neighborhood... no we don't... maybe we do... can we look at land.... ok maybe we'll look at the neighborhood. Oh and side note - she told me back in FEB which builder we should go with. ((We're building with Dream Finders, Jacksonville)). It is amazing what happens when you shut the hell up and LISTEN to the PROFESSIONAL who's lived here her entire life. Duh... seriously.

Ok so lessons learned so far:
1. Get on the SAME PAGE with your spouse BEFORE you go into the builder meeting - ANY of the builder meetings. Know what you and he/she are and are not willing to compromise on.

Example. Big Sexy at this point has included a third bay for the garage BUT he is willing to give it up so WE (ehhh heemmmm we all know that is really "I") can have a beautiful kitchen. We talked about what is more important - fireplace or master bath shower? WE chose the shower. 

2. VALUE at build vs DIY - spend the money on structural must haves compromise on changeable aesthetics.

Let's go back to that Bathroom again - we KNOW that WE WANT the rainfall shower head. We also know that this requires extra plumbing installed through the ceiling of the shower. Why does that matter? Ok - if you say "we can do that later" you'll now be paying to rip tile/drywall off the wall and ceiling, plumbing installation, fixture and the repair of everything you had to rip out. If you do it at construction you're just paying for the plumbing because there is no drywall/ceiling in the way (yet). 

3. Be REALISTIC about YOUR abilities: Let's talk about PINTEREST shall we?

Look at yourself and/or your partner and truly evaluate what you are PERSONALLY capable of. Now, determine if your HOUSE is where you want your trial and error lab to be. If you feel GREAT about serendipity and your skill level - ROCK IT - but if you are unskilled just let the pros wire the garbage disposal, mkay? Now I am blessed blessed blessed - Big Sexy is a handy guy. He can turn a wrench, construct stuff and do the stuff we need done, but he also knows when a job is too big or requires more technical skill AND experience than we have. Bottom line? We aren't going to pour our own concrete kiddos. 

So yep. Get ready for me to mix in some home decorating along with my fitness, food, family, crafting, snarky, crappy, sarcastic life posts. Here's where our forever will GROW!

The soup to nuts of it is - be honest with yourself - be honest with each other - and go with the flow.

XO XO & Stuff,


22 June 2016

Enjoy The Ride

This week has been a roller coaster to say the least.  It's been over 30 days since I completed my annual training and battle assembly with my USAR unit - yet I still have no payment. This is the result of a plethora of administrative SNAFUs. My integrity and judgement were questioned by an individual who had not been fully briefed on the situation and unfortunately took the word of a drunken narcissist as truth. I've had some low points in my career, but this was one for the record books. Needless to say, the situation is being resolved. The individual who was mislead has been brought up to speed on the entirety of the situation, and the waters are calming. 

While all of that was going on, we got some good news. The individuals with whom we have a contingent offer with on our home have found a buyer for their property and will be closing next month - which frees us to start looking for the right home for our family. Under the brilliant guidance of our Realtor, Sherri (she's amazing y'all) we've found a builder, a floor plan and a community we KNOW is right for our family. 

THEN THEN THEN - after 9 MONTHS of job searching and applying and interviewing a job offer FINALLY CAME THROUGH!!!! Don't get me wrong JB Serendipity is NOT going away, but for my family I need full time employment. This opportunity will enable us to tackle residual debt, get ahead of bills (car payment, mortgage...) and provide funds to get our kids back in sports/camps. ((Its the little things y'all)). 

When the greater galaxy speaks of "good" and "bad" stress I get it now. This move has pushed pulled and jostled me to the very core of who I am. People said "give it time" and I pushed back since I had no control. Recently I gave it over to God, asking Him to let it happen as it should. Here we are. On the roller coaster of life, GOD isn't the track - He's the safety bar. He knows where you're going, how you'll get there AND keeps you in one piece by holding you close. 

Have a great day everyone. 

XO XO & Stuff, 


18 June 2016

New Ventures and Value

Because of the Brave Paintinghttps://img0.etsystatic.com/139/0/30874678/icm_fullxfull.85612796_dvdya6qeuc08wwokwg00.jpgSo, as most have picked up from my Etsy post I've opened a shop, JB Serendipity, and it is gaining traction. This is great. I love it. Honestly, working with people to get ideas out of their (or my) head and into their hands is VERY rewarding work.

I've learned over the years to value my time - my friend Danielle from TurtleBay Jewelry taught me that OVER and OVER and OVER - now her voice will pop into my head when someone asks for a "favor" which involves me spending hours with pen in hand creating their artwork... VALUE your TIME and EFFORT, Jinger.

There is something risky about making (drawing, painting, writing) an item and posting it publicly for the world to judge. For a very long time I would track trends now I want to set them. I know where my wheel house is, and for the most part when I go with my gut and draw what I enjoy it gains more traction than when I follow others.

What does all this translate to?

I'm going to respect the gifts I was given. I'm going to value my time. No freebies. No giveaways. No favors. Will I work with your budget, ABSOLUTELY! Will I giveaway product to anyone who asks? No. This is a business venture through which I will learn to respect my abilities and value my time.

It will be a constant learning process.

I hope you'll grow with me.

15 June 2016

Three Questions

There is a great deal of violence in this world.

This post is going to be short and sweet.

Well probably not sweet.

Not really that short either.

We live in a utopia. I know you don't  believe me, but as you sit comfortably reading this on whichever device you chose to use. Know this if you are hash-tagging, going to movies, making or buying whatever you like for dinner - YOU are living in heaven on earth. If you've never witnessed violence first person. I mean VIOLENCE not a car  accident. Not a broken bone. I mean one person committing harm on others out of vengeance, hate or anger... if you've never witnessed violence thank GOD for your peaceful existence.

Now,  we (Americans) are all  a bit fired up right now because a terrorist walked into a club and slaughtered innocent people. He did this because he felt he was a warrior for his god. He did this because he felt it was a righteous and cleansing act. He did this because he felt it was RIGHT.

Here is what  I know about terrorists, and believe it or not I've met a few, contrary to what a former CIA agent says... we cannot solve the issue we have by "listening" to our enemy. Why? Because they will not reciprocate. They will not turn the other cheek. They view us (oh  and by us I don't mean Americans I mean all NON BELIEVERS) they view us as filth that must be eradicated from the earth. You, female with your head uncovered - you are a sinner. You, couple on a first date holding  hands - you are sinners. You, preacher leading the congregation in prayer - you are a sinner. Your sins seal  your fate and according to those who share the opinion of our homegrown ISIS inspired and claimed terrorist, your fate is to die.

Wake up. When these assholes attacked Paris - France responded with force. When they blew up a Russian jet - Russia responded with force. When AMERICANS are SLAUGHTERED - we DO nothing!!! Are the lives of these men and women worth LESS than those we lost on 9/11? Why should it matter how many? If a terrorist takes one person and beheads them in the street shouldn't we respond? Perhaps if we'd been less tolerant after the beheading of James Wright FoleySteven Joel Sotloff or Peter Edward Kassig... we would be viewed as less of a soft target. Was Boston not enough of  a catalyst to validate this threat?

I am not asking you to run out and buy a gun. I am not asking you to go out and enlist.

I'm going  to ask  you three questions.

What has changed so much in this country that a nation who once had 16.1 MILLION people serving in an effort to crush tyranny (WWII) is now unwilling to stand up?

Why the lives of these men and women are not worthy of our response?

I want you to ask yourself... Am I ready for the wolf at the door?

Pray for Orlando. Pray for peace... be prepared to defend yourself and those around you.


09 June 2016

Take One Step - Ruck to Remember

This is start number 3 to this post. Mainly because while I am usually pretty good with words, I'm not quite sure there are words to capture the experience that is Ruck to Remember.

I want to share with you the stories of our team leader Luke, our team mates some in retirement others fighting cancer... I want to tell you about blisters and bad ideas (all mine by the way). I want to tell you how we each had moments, but none of those anecdotal tails will truly capture what 60 to 60 is all about. Mainly because It's Not About You.

When I came home... tired and walking funny... people asked me "what happened to you" I simply responded with the truth. I ruck marched to Arlington National Cemetery this weekend. Other than my immediate family the response was some sort of "Why the hell would you do that?". I have to say it was hard not to be annoyed. I'm a vocal and confrontational person (I know you're shocked)... I wanted to say "because what would be better? floating around on a boat getting drunk? why the hell WOULDN'T you be at Arlington?" I wanted to say "Oh I'm sorry, didn't realize I was such a fool for wanting to DO SOMETHING to Honor the Fallen, sorry my plans don't make sense to you". My INSTINCT was blocked though. Here's why....

All weekend you heard:
"Suffer in Silence"
"It's not about you..."
"This is for THEM"

We heard about "Schnoz" we learned about Ian Helms and Andrew Maitner. We talked about Joe and Christian. We honored Justus and Christopher... So while the question of "why the hell would you do that" popped out of other people I knew exactly why and a smart ass response would dishonor the mission so carefully crafted to Honor, Empower and Remember. My response was simple - It was the right thing to do.

I'm not quite sure there is a phrase that can sum up what Ruck to Remember is. What I can tell you is if you ever want to have a truly meaningful experience over Memorial Day Weekend. If you are the type of person who wants to DO something to Honor our Fallen. When the "holiday" comes each year if you feel you are falling short I encourage you to join us. You spend your days and evenings surrounded by like minded patriots and athletes from Operation Enduring Warrior. The "down time" is filled with Stories of Valor... "A Warrior dies twice, once on the battlefield and again the last time his name is spoken aloud". Their names are spoken, their memory lives on, their families are lifted up.

Keith Jolly, the founder of the event, will tell you over and over it doesn't matter how many steps you take as long as you take them. He doesn't keep time on a race clock (pace, well pace is a different story), he doesn't hand out medals for who came in first. In fact... we all come in together. From Alpha team who takes off through the trail at a crushing pace to fresh feet that join us for the final miles. It doesn't matter. What matters is that Gold Star Families SEE our commitment. They know the name of their loved one is on our lips and their story in our hearts. They can see, feel, touch that WE haven't forgotten.

So again. I wish I had something brilliant to say. What I will say is you will never make better friends faster. You will find brothers and sisters you never knew you'd needed so much. You will do something greater than yourself - just by taking one step.

Who I Rucked For:
LCDR Joseph Clunie

CTTC Christian Pike

Thank you Crystal and Diana for allowing me this opportunity to represent the men you loved so very much. I'll be back next year with Joe and Christian with me each step of the way.

Thank you to everyone who donated, sent packing list supplies, met us along the way to give encouragement, Mom, Paulie and Julie for watching the kids, NWCA Eleanore Roosevelt for cookies and fruit. All of our hosts for rest specifically the amazing FDs throughout the journey. The Red Shirts for every smile and high five. Belt for taking my Ruck and keeping me going. Rhonda for donuts and Bridget for a ride. Charlie and Luke for keeping us together til the end. So many moving pieces to this puzzle of life - and all of you played a big part. I cannot begin to capture my gratitude in text. Please don't think I've forgotten anyone. Kristina and Josh - what an amazing 7 miles we did visiting friends at Arlington. Thank you for letting me share that time with you. Sully for the pep talk and finally, my loving husband Byron, who sent texts, called and kept telling me to keep going. 

Love -