A picture a day is a worthy, wonderful, awesome blog project.

But that's not what I'm going to do. :)

I already have a ton of pictures. I don't think I need to take more just to have them on a blog. So, I'm going to take a different approach. I'm going to post pictures I've already taken and tell the story behind them.

I love pictures. I love people. And I love writing. Hopefully, this will work out well for all of us.

My goal is to publish one post a day. Some of the posts will be long. (I am prone to verbosity, after-all.) Some of them will be short. My wish is that each picture-story will help me share the ongoing story that is my life.

That and you'll think I'm cool. :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 351 - Dr. Mims

This is Dr. Weston Mims when he was doing his senior rotation with us at CVC.

He starts next week!  Woo!

He is posing with a very tame Holstein steer named Bruster.  Big boy. 

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 350 - Our New House

I feel there are enough obstacles removed that I can freely announce that this IS our new house!  It will be officially ours on January 23rd!!!  

 I want to blog about this entire process so I don't forget it.  It has been an amazing sequence of events that makes me daily pause and think 'wow!' 

I've sort of petered-out on my 365 day project - and so close to the end, too!  Boo! I hope I can finish it out before month's end.

The only way I can accurately explain how amazing this whole thing has been is to lay it out from the beginning.  

We have been dreaming for years about buying some land and building a house on it.  But we were open to buying an existing house if it was 'just right.'  Matt has been regularly searching the area 'homes for sale' listings online getting a feel for what was available and prices.  Over the past 2 years we have gone and looked at several with them not turning out to be what we were looking for.  We have also looked at several plots of land. 

This past summer he saw a listing and we contacted the realtor (whose name is Lesley) who showed it to us.  It was not at all what we thought it would be.  Lesley asked us what we WERE looking for and we explained:  a modern rancher with a full basement, enough land to have a garden and zoned agricultural so we can have cattle, chickens, and goats.  A water-source on the land would be a huge plus.  It needed to be close-ish to my work and our church.  We would prefer open land - not a lot of trees (we are pretty sick of the constant leaf and acorn raking at this house in the woods.)  The house needed to be handicap-accessible - built according to universal design.

*Back Story - I must digress for a few moments.*

In September we took 3 weeks of vacation.  Just prior to my leaving for vacation, I had a discussion with my boss, Dr. Nice about reducing my hours to part-time in order to allow my body to rest more.  My illness still had me under it's thumb and I was getting worse again with the long hours.  Since Dr. Bowman's departure in May, I had been working more hours per week than I ever had before.  It was wearing on me.  

Dr. Nice told me to let the 3 weeks off decide for me.  If I felt better with more rest, then it was time to cut my hours.  It was something we had been discussing for over a year.  

The clinic was managing ok with just 3 doctors - but we were busy.  My largest concern was how the clinic would fare if I dropped my hours.  We were once a 4 doctor practice and if I did go part time, we would be a 2 1/2 doctor practice.  It would not work.  

Vacation confirmed to Matt and I that it was time for me to make the change.  

I approached Dr. Nice the first morning back to work and informed him.  We were in his office and he was sitting down.  His eyes filled with tears (something I have rarely seen in knowing him for 8 years) when I told him.  I saw the tears and said 'I'm not leaving!'  He turned away from me and pulled a folder from his shelf.  I surprisedly asked if he already had a proposal drawn up for me?  He said 'God works in mysterious ways.'  

Inside was the resume of one Dr. Weston Mims.  My jaw dropped open.  

While I was away on vacation making the decision to go part-time, Weston came into the clinic looking for a full-time position.   That may not be earth-shattering to you folks, but it seriously rocked our world. 

Weston is an Augusta County native and had spent time at our clinic for a couple of weeks each summer while he was in vet school.  He spent 3 weeks with us doing a rotation during his senior year, just before he graduated in 2009.  Our clinic hosts a LOT of students.  Weston was/is the MOST competent, ready, awesome senior student I have ever seen.  We would have loved to have hired him then.  But we were not in a position to be a 5 doctor practice and he had a job waiting on him in Blacksburg.  

His wife is graduating from pharmacy school this spring and they are looking to move back to the area.  The timing could not be more perfect.  I mean, really.  The clinic gets to be a 3 1/2 doctor practice, we don't have to hire a brand-new graduate (this is HUGE) and we all get to feel God's complete control and blessing on the practice.  

There were several times as I was thinking about the transition how PERFECT it would be if we could hire Weston.  But I thought it was impossible.  He was happy where he was.  Dr. Nice later told me that he had considered calling Weston a few times 'just to see how he was.'  But he didn't want to be a subverter.  If Weston was meant to be at our practice, it would happen.   It was meant to be.  :)

It was scheduled for me to start part-time employment November 1st, which was a Tuesday.  :)

We were hosting a vet student during that time and I had arranged to have Dr. Bowman and his wife, Nancy over for dinner to meet our student.  Dr. B is always a fountain of wisdom for vet students and it's because of his influence that our clinic plays host to so many.  

The last week of October, Lesley (the realtor - see I knew we would get back to this part of the story eventually) contacted us about seeing a house.  We could not see it online because it was not listed!!!  It was what she called a 'pocket listing.'  The owners did not want to put it on the market until spring but were allowing this one real estate company to show it to interested parties on a limited basis.  

 We talked about it on November 1st with the Bowmans. We were skeptical and not that excited because we didn't know what to expect. We went to see the house on Wednesday, November 2nd.  

It was sort of surreal as we walked through it.  The realtor showed us through the house and we didn't say that much.  We walked off just the two of us to explore the actual property (it's 8 acres.)  At some point one of us said "I love it."  The other responded "Me, too!"  I asked Matt if he wanted to raise children there and he said 'yes!'  So, we went up to Lesley and told her that we loved it but we needed to sell our house first.  It was not ready to be put on the market just yet but we asked if she wanted to come over and see it - right then.  She had time in her schedule and followed us to our existing house.

Her first words were 'it's sweet and I think we can sell it!'  Music to our ears.

She did warn us that the holiday season was approaching.  Houses usually don't move that time of year.  She told us she would be happy if we got one showing in November and one in December.

So we made an offer on the new house with a pending kick-out clause.  The real estate company would continue to show it on a limited basis and if another offer came in, we would have 72 hours to secure financing for it (which required us selling our home.)  This made us a bit nervous. 

What that meant: work to be done!  

We made a list and went right to work getting our house ready.  Thankfully, we had just in recent months gotten a lot of projects taken care of.  We had expectations that we would be selling the house eventually but had no idea it would be THIS soon.

We spent several days doing paperwork for both houses.  I thought to myself over and over and over 'HOW on earth would we be doing this if I was working full time?'  

God's timing is so amazing.

I spent 8 hours working on cleaning up the back yard on Wednesday, November 9th.  We continued working on it the rest of that weekend - thankful for good weather!  Our listing went live November 11th and we were open for showings on Monday the 14th.  We had one scheduled for that first day!  Wow!  However, he did not show up.  His loss.

In the meantime - the owners of the new house had accepted our offer and a home inspection was scheduled for November 17th.   Just a few days after that, we signed a ratified contract with them agreeing to our terms in what needed to be fixed with the house (very few/very minor things.)

  We also were pre-approved for a loan for the new house. WOO!

Once we had a ratified contract on the new house, they stopped showing it.  It was ours.  We just needed to sell this house.  Since the new house was not listed for the public to see and there was no 'for sale' sign out front - no one else knew about it.  

Our realtor held an open house on Sunday the 20th and 7 groups came through! (Remember how the expectation was ONE showing?)  We got an offer from one of them!  Our house had been on the market ONE WEEK and we had an offer!  It was a very low offer and the buyer could not go higher, so we had to turn it down.  

We had several other showings (our house is super cute) and we received another offer on December 1st!  We countered and they accepted and it was done!  

Really?!?  We sold our house in the middle of the holidays in 3 weeks????  


The only thing now standing in the way was the home inspection on our house - which was done December 14th and we signed a ratified contract on it December 16th.  There were 4 tiny things that needed to be done to this house and Matt took care of all of them in one afternoon.  I felt like our inspection would go well because all of the major things in this house have been replaced since I bought it.  Heh.  But we were still so nervous.  And we were so grateful that no major things had to be repaired.  

Since then it has been just a matter of details and paperwork and loan processing.
And shock and awe.

And giggling.  Lots of giddy giggling.
Our new house is a modern rancher built in 1996.  It has 3 bedrooms and a dedicated office on the main floor as well as a living room, kitchen, and dining room.  There is a laundry closet on the main floor and one bathroom at one end of the house and then the master bathroom.  There is an attached 2-car garage with built-in cabinetry already there!  Downstairs there is a full finished basement with 2 bedrooms and a full bathroom.  There is another laundry closet downstairs.  (They are leaving their washer/dryer and we are taking ours - so we can have two loads of laundry going at once!!!) There are 3 large storage closets in the basement and a lot of open space.  (Matt's future man-cave.)  There is also a walk-up attic with a ton of storage space (though I hope we'll never need it!)

Outside there are 8 acres of pasture that are already being used for cattle.  There is a spring head on the property that feeds a small creek.  There are only 4 small trees.  (This makes us happy!)

It will take me 8 minutes to get to work and about 12-15 to get to our church.  This is a huge improvement! It also shortens Matt's drive to Maryland by about 30 minutes. 

It is built according to universal design with wide doorways and hallways and a master bathroom that is handicap accessible. 

It is about as perfect as perfect could get for us.  *giddy giggle*

Did you catch all that happened in such a short amount of time?

I went part-time.
We found a house to purchase that was not listed for sale.
We put our house on the market very unexpectedly and quickly.
I had time to work on this house and do all the paperwork.
We sold our house in 3 weeks. At Thanksgiving.
Home inspections/ratified contracts/financing all done in what our realtor calls the smoothest transition she has ever seen.


So, that brings us at last to the pictures.  The top one is the view of the house from the road.  Cute, no?

This is the view from the kitchen window over the sink.  See that birdbath on the deck?  Apparently the blue birds line up on the deck railing and take turns taking baths!  I can't wait to see that!

This is the living room - the master bedroom/bath is off to the right, the dining room to the near left and the kitchen to the left through another doorway.  It's currently light purple.  As much as I love purple, we have agreed it's going to change.  :)

And this last picture is Matt's future office (and I'll have a desk in there, too.)  Check out that floor!  And that window!  And those french doors!!!!

We spent yesterday morning walking through the house with the current owners - who are kind, wonderful, generous people.  They were emotional with us several times - they love this house so much and are so thankful that people are buying it that are going to love it as much as they do.

The wife got all teary-eyed with a mixture of joy and delight and sadness to tell me about all of the lovely flowers that are going to burst forth in the spring.  She was in the garden club and has done extensive work on the place.  She told me "I can't wait for you to see it!"  She told me about the birds, the neighbors, the ins and outs of the house.  She is putting all of the appliance/upkeep manuals with what they go with (the water softener booklets are on top of the water softener, for example.)

They are having a packing/moving company come and take care of the house and then they are hiring a cleaning service to come and clean the house before we move in.  WHO DOES THAT?!?

Blessed.  We are blessed.

We want to name our little farm and dedicate it to the Lord.  It will be a haven - a refuge for weary travelers and orphans.  We want to use it well.  We see it as a gift and we intend to use it to bless others.

Happy New Year!  Indeed.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 349 - Meagan and Luke

In 2009, Matt and I went to Charleston, SC for a week to visit his dad.  We were joined by his sister, Courtney and his other sister, Meagan and her family.

Meagan is married to Aaron and they currently have 2 sons.  At the time, they just had little Luke.

This is Megs and Luke sharing a moment together in the surf.  I love their arms around each other. 

Family is good.  :)

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 348 - Menacing Look

"Gee Brain, what are we going to do tonight?" - Pinky

"The same thing we do every night, Pinky.  Try to take over the WORLD!!!!!" - Brain

I think this is what Corbin was thinking. 

That or he is plotting his parent's demise for making him endure this photo session.

Haa haaa haaa!  :)  He is so cute! 

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 347 - Sunflowers in the Sun

I hope I don't have another blog post by the same title, I did not check....

I'm a bit behind in blogging.  I should have finished my 365 day project yesterday.  Oh, well.  I WILL finish it - even if it is a few weeks late.  Who's going to judge me?  Certainly not myself - I understand what a year it's been.  :)

This is a lovely couple of sunflowers taken this past September behind my parent's house in East TN. 

I happen to adore this picture.  Glad I finally got around to editing it.  I may have to print and frame this one.  :) 

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 346 - Baby Shower Fun

One of my licensed veterinary technicians at work, Jess, is pregnant with identical twin boys.  We threw her a shower last week and had a jolly good time.  One of the other techs, Tara, came up with a really fun game that also made for some great pictures.

We were split into groups of two - one mommy, one non-mommy (in real life.)  The non-mommies were allowed to use their right hands and the mommies had to use their left.  Working together, we had to put a cloth diaper (pins and all!) on a doll and dress him.  We were timed.

Group 1 above was Dr. Barton and Debbie.  While they were likely the most entertaining (I hate I missed the photo-op of Dr. Barton holding the baby upside down by one leg) - they did have the slowest time. 

Group two was Kendra and Cindy - they were quiet, quick, and efficient.  They definitely had the time to beat! 

Mrs. Bowman and Karen were the only group with two mommies - they worked diligently and quickly, but came up a few seconds shy of taking the lead from Cindy and Kendra. 

Heather and I were the last to go.  We made a good team, but truth be known, Heather could have dressed that doll one handed all by herself!  But I did get to help a little and we won!  :) 

Fun baby shower game, indeed.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 345 - It's getting cold outside

This was taken in February of last year during the craziest icicle 'storm' I have ever seen!

No icicles yet.  But I know they are coming....

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