Author: Addie Parker
•9:37 PM
Hey, remember that time when I blogged like all the time? It seems ages ago. My life has completely changed in the past couple of months. I used to have free time. Pretty much every weeknight, besides my small group twice a month. I had free time coming out of my ears. My house was clean. I went to bed early. I watched plenty of tv. I did art projects. I blogged. And I read others' blogs.
Not so much anymore.
So we got this puppy. This sweet, adorable, hilarious, rambunctious, mischievous, costly, time-consuming, mess-making (yes that kind of mess), chewing, energetic, loving, curious, happy, cute-as-a-button puppy. His name is Käse, and I love him to pieces. He's almost nine months old, and he came from a bad home. We're still having some issues with house-breaking. I'm sure we'll continue to have issues with chewing. And I can't wait until the puppy class where we learn how to "Stay" and "Come." Goodness. That should be taught in the first class. Regular words in our house right now are "Drop it," Leave it," and "ah-ah!"  But there is also an enormous dose of "good boy!" thrown in there. He really is a good boy. I am so thankful for this little addition to our family.
So we volunteered for this thing. This complicated, time-consuming, exciting, God-lead, servant-hearted thing. My husband and I are now co-treasurers of our church. We pay bills, do payroll, balance accounts, send reports, pay taxes, transfer monies.... and all of this from the church office thirty five minutes from our house. After work. And after I drive 35 minutes home to let the dog out and drive 35 minutes back. It is VERY VERY hard, but VERY, VERY, VERY, EXTREMELY awesome. I love doing it. I tried so many different ways of serving in our church, but nothing felt like it fit. This does. Plus, doing it with my husband means that we get to serve together and spend more time together. And being in the middle of church finances reinforces our home finances, and we're more easily able to stay on track and remember what's important. I am so thankful for this opportunity.
So we opened up our home. A situation arose with my little sister, and I cleared out a bedroom in our house and helped her carry in boxes. And while it's been a little strange to have a third person in the house, it hasn't been as weird as I thought it would be. She spends a lot of nights with her friends, does random nice things like scraping frost off of my car in the morning, and is sometimes able to be home after work so I don't have to race home and let Käse out before going to the church office. Of course there are other things that aren't so good, but they are not important enough to mention. It's just part of having a roommate. And yesterday, we helped her move lots of her things into her new apartment. I thought it would take her six months or so to get on her feet, but it's only been about six weeks. I think she's planning on moving the rest of her things next weekend. I'm kind of sad to see her go, actually. I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with her, getting to know her as an adult.
So we are blessed with large, ever-expanding families and a close-knit group of friends. Not that this has changed in the past few months, but I'm not kidding about the ever-expanding thing. Marriages and babies mean more reasons to celebrate, showers, birthday parties, weekends up North... with both Hubby and I having divorced and remarried parents, there are more than enough sides of families with their birthday parties and planned get-togethers to fill our weekends. Sometimes we have to say no, and I hate that. But there just aren't enough days. And this is only our parents, brothers, and sisters. And, of course, they are scattered throughout the state. My friends are also all having babies now. Adorable bundles to hold in our arms and celebrate life with. At more parties and showers and get-togethers. I am SO thankful for all of the wonderful people in my life.
So we're also, you know, normal people who go grocery shopping, need to buy clothes and rainboots sometimes, have to make repairs to our house, try to make improvements to our house, go to the doctor, eat dinner, sleep (what? just kidding, we don't sleep anymore), brush our teeth (when we remember) and try to do the dishes at least, oh, once every two weeks. : )  Oh, and mow the lawn and pay the bills and work full time and go to church and fold laundry and.........
So the blogging hasn't found a place in my newly busy life, yet. I'm not sure if it will. I really enjoy blogging. I'd like to have a little something to look back on and read about down the road when I wonder where the years went. But there are other priorities. Other FANTASTIC priorities.
Oh my gosh. When I have a baby, oh geez. I can't think about how busy I'll be then, k? But that will hopefully be soon. If I disappear, you'll know where to find me. I'll be the one in the pretty garden with my arms tied back, singing a song I made up, while the nice, young men in their clean, white coats whisper, "Such a shame she lost her mind."
Now you know where I've been. I miss you, my dear blog. And I miss you, my dear bloggy friends. But sometimes when I blog, I miss out on my life. Please be patient with me while I take my sweet time to adjust and figure out how blogging might ever fit into this life of mine again.

I love you all!

Author: Addie Parker
•12:04 PM

Good morning (is it still morning? hmm, I guess I don't really care either way). Good day, bloggy friends. Long time, no see.  Welcome to Thankful Thursday, the Couch Edition. Brought to you by Dr. Kim's orders.

Bronchitis and I are living it up on the couch for a few days, thanks to my doctor telling me not to go back to work until Friday. That was Tuesday. Yesssss.  Not that I like being sick, but come on... mandatory time off? I'm in.

So today I'm thankful for...
*lazy days watching HGTV and blogging
*for the so far, so good healthy heart report for my friend Emily's new baby boy, Will. He was born Tuesday night at 10:30. I can't wait to meet him.
*for cozy blankets and the puppy asleep on my feet
*for the party/shower we had for Em and Bill and the time we all got to spend together
*for letting go of my own made-up standards for this blog and allowing myself to take a little break, not worrying for the past few weeks about whether I got the Thankful Thursday post up or not. It's just a blog. The world will survive, and so will I.
*for a whole lot more, but I need to take a nap now.

What are you thankful for this week?
Author: Addie Parker
•6:37 PM
"Drop it," is a phrase that's pretty common in my house right now.
Seriously, Pup? You want to chew on a rock? Drop it.

At work earlier today, I was wishing that I could gome home since I
had all my work work done, I had tons of stuff to do at home, and I
was (am) completely exhausted. But the work world doesn't work that
way. Ya gotta stay at work to get paid. Then it occurred to me to take
a few days off this week. I'm really at the end of my burn-out rope.
So I asked and got a big fat no. Too many other people out this week.
I went back to my desk and fought back tears.

While driving to Petsmart after work, I was thinking about how a
therapist or a tough-love, perky motivational speaker would tell me to
take a look at my week and drop half of the things I have to do. Just
drop it," she'd say.

So I thought about all of the things on my plate and realized that I
wasn't going to drop any of them.

Monday night: small group with my best friends. No way am I missing
this. Emily is about to have her baby, and I feel like these are that
last times we'll have before everything changes (for the better, I'm
sure, but still- it's going to be different). Plus, I LOVE these
girls, and I miss them and need them right now.

Tuesday night: having our friends Crystal and Brian over to meet the
puppy. I made these plans before I realized how crazy the week would

Wednesday night: begin training for my new position at church...
definitely can't miss that. I made a commitment, and I need to follow

Thursday night: go to my best friend's school play. She's a teacher
and volunteers to produce the play every year. I've never been able to
go before, and it's one night only. I really want to support my friend
and see her little fifth graders in action.

Friday night and Saturday day: clean like crazy and try to make the
house smell less like dog.

Saturday evening: Emily's baby shower at my house.

See? Nothing to drop. Nothing I can and/or want to drop.


I can drop reading blogs.

I can drop watching tv.

I can drop straightening my hair in the mornings.

I can drop trying to be Martha Stewart for this baby shower.

I could drop making the cake from scratch, but the jury is still out
on that one.

I can drop Facebook (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can).

What else can I drop? Help me think of things to lighten my load this week.

Anything you need to get off of you plate? Just drop it. :)

P.S. I wrote this whole post on my cell phone while waiting for my
small group to start. I kinda rock.

Author: Addie Parker
•10:33 PM
Let me just steal a few little moments while my puppy is dreaming with his ears draped over my keyboard to tell you about the past eight days....

Driving, driving, driving

Dirty little backwoods breeder

Rescue the pup

Hotel, scared pup, nervous us

Driving, driving, my first Sonic experience, driving

No sleep

Vet, sickness, lots of meds, extra large vet bill

Puking, worms, clean the carpet

Cuddling, cuddling, cuddling



Sick little pup

Breakdown and cry at work

Sweet, clingy little pup

Antibiotics working

The pup perks up


So much playtime

Pup begins to eat and drink

Pup begins to pee and poo





I hit the Googles

"How to Housebreak a Puppy"

"How to keep a puppy from biting"

"Crate Training"

Pup escapes from his pen while mama and dad are at work

Pup escapes from his modified pen while mama and dad are at work the next day

Pee, pee, pee

Clean, clean, clean

Walks and "Outside" and "Outside" and "Outside"

and "Outside" in the rain

and "Outside" in the wind

and play play play

and then....

He sleeps. Comfortably, apparently.

A proper introduction to the sweetest, cutest little puppy is in order as soon as I get a moment to put it together for you.
Author: Addie Parker
•9:46 PM

“You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach

Do you feel different after consciously being grateful these past few months? I do. I really do. It's easier to stay in a good mood throughout the day. It's easier to forgive. It's easier to be happy.  It's easier to give love. It's easier to be patient.

I'm liking it! What about you?

This week, I'm thankful... I'm thankful for the drawing that hangs in my dining room. It's a weird drawing of the bottom of a foot (it was actually an assignment in an art class I took), and you wouldn't think it has any place in a dining room. But it just works. There's something about the color, or the scale, or something. It really makes the space feel complete. So, yeah, it might be crazy to point that out as something to be thankful for, but I'm just thankful that it works so well and feels so cozy over there.

I'm thankful for the time I got to spend on Saturday with my family, celebrating birthdays. My little nephew, Garrett, turned three. Three! In some ways, I can't believe he's a three-year-old. But on the other hand, I feel like he's been around forever. Life is so much richer with him in it.

I'm thankful for the time I got to spend on Sunday with my best friends. We all went out to lunch, then we let the pregnant lady go home, and the rest of us went shopping for baby shower gifts!  I treasure every moment I get to spend with these girls.

I'm thankful for how much the sun has shown itself this past week. The light has not matched the ground! And by that, I mean that the sunlight feels like late spring/early summer, but the mounds of snow beg to differ. You know what else comes with this spectacular sunlight? Spectacular sunrises and sunsets. This is the best time of year for them.

I'm thankful for my GPS, and knowin' where I'll be goin' on Saturday when I drive 502 miles to pick up my new puppy! I'm already singing- I'm gonna walk five hundred miles, and I'm gonna walk five hundred more...

What are you thankful for this week? Any blessings in the midst of the mundane?

Author: Addie Parker
•9:54 PM
So remember how I told y'all in my very first Life with a Lady post ever how I still have my childhood blankie? Well, I don't anymore.

On New Year's Day this year, I did a very brave thing. I cut up my blankie.

It was a long process. I thought about how to do it for months beforehand. I bought supplies. I drew diagrams. I cried. A LOT.

And then I got to work (then I cried a little more), then I kept on working and kept on crying.

Then I came up with this.

{I recognize that 'wrinkled' doesn't even begin to describe this, but I will never get this post done if I have to iron before I take the pictures. It is what it is.}

I started by searching out fabric that felt a lot like my blankie does (did, aww). My husband had the genius idea of using soft pillowcases. We took a little trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond (right before Christmas- bad idea) and found some pillowcases that felt okay. It was all about the feel of it.

On assembly day (doom's day), I cut out the biggest piece of the top layer of the original blankie that could reasonably be salvaged. I ironed it out and backed it with lightweight interfacing.  I made sure to use actual fusible webbing, not just iron-on adhesive, because the adhesive would have bled through the fabric, being that the fabric was so thin it was see-through.


Then, I quilted. Details are unnecessary. It involved pins, lots of pins. It involved delicately pulling out long lines of stitches after making several mistakes. It involved a giving up my perfectionist ways just a bit. It involved pins. Lots and lots of pins.  It involved two very late nights. I don't think I ever want to quilt again.



I used a pretty little flowered flannel for the inside layer because I knew it would show through a little. The original fabric had some little flowers on it (faded with time except for in the seams), so this was a little ode to that.

Pin, pin, sew, sew, rip, rip, pin, pin, sew, sew, done. The new blanket (B-2, as my husband called it) doesn't feel the same. It's stiff. The corners are bulky. It has no fluff. It just isn't right.

And yet, I think I did the best I could to extend the life of my blankie for another 26 years. 



Author: Addie Parker
•5:27 PM
I used to participate in the Creative Cats party at Poppies at Play almost every Friday. I loved the quiet little bloggy link-up on the Poppies' quiet little unassuming blog.  I haven't linked up (or even visited their site) in almost two months.  First, I haven't done any projects worth blogging about, and second, I haven't been blogging much at all. Just winter doldrums, I guess. I come home and shovel the driveway. When I get inside, I keep the curtains closed because it'll just get dark in fifteen minutes anyway.  I do the minimum of what needs to be done as far as housework, laundry, paying the bills, etc. Then I park my bottom on the couch and mindlessly absorb whatever is on tv that night. 
Such has been my winter.

Winter isn't moving out of Michigan soon, but it is moving out of a lot of other states. Which means bloggers in other states are gettin' out their spring gear and posting all about it! I hopped over to Poppies at Play today and found- the Creative Cats party has exploded!  70 people are linked up to last Friday's party, as opposed to the 20 - 30 I was used to. Shew!

I started clicking through, and found a treasure chest of springy inspiration (and other inspiration that isn't necessarily springy but is inspiring nonetheless).  Here are just some of the fantasmic posts that have set my little fix-it-up mind in motion:

 I love the little tag on this cloche from Relatively Unique. Going to add some tags to my pretty jars now. I mean like right now.

 A laundry room remodel at Remodelaholic. Can she come do this to my kitchen, pretty please?

Hmm, I think some branches need to be spray painted at my house. Fun. 

It's time to get myself out of the winter blues and spruce things up for spring. Ready, set, go.
No, really. 1, 2, 3, Go. Get up off the couch, Addie. I mean it. Come on. Let's go. 
Do. It. Now.

Author: Addie Parker
•9:53 PM

I am a married woman of almost five years. Five years seems like a long time at the beginning of a marriage (though I've noticed a gradual speeding up of time as the years go by).

I don't wake up in the mornings and think, "this is the beginning of my life! hooray!"  I don't think anything with the word "hooray" in it at 5:00 in the morning. But I especially don't think about how this time in my life is just the start of my story. 

But it is. {well, let's just operate on the premise that I won't be dying any time soon, and go from there, mm-kay?}

Yes, this is just the beginning of my life story. It's just my husband and me. No real responsibilities except to pay the bills on time. We pretty much live how we want to live.

I've been thinking about how close I am to the end of that time. We'll be picking up our new dog in nine days.  We might be taking on a huge responsibility for our church in the next month or so. And sometime in the relatively near future (hopefully), we'll be adding an actual child (me? a parent?!) to our family.

As hard as it's been to wait over a month to be able to bring our puppy home, I'm glad I've had this time to think and adjust mentally. The process has been slow. It mostly consisted of me being discontent with the end of what IS. The end of choosing exactly what my evenings and weekends will look like. The end of getting out of bed with just enough time to get myself ready and get out the door. The end of going out to dinner on a whim after work. The end of spontaneity. 

The end of being selfish.

I think I'm done being selfish. I think. I think maybe I'm excited to be done being selfish. A dog is going to require my presence and my time. I'm going to have to build in take-the-puppy-out-to-pee time, as well as clean-up-where-puppy-made-a-little-puppy-mess time every single morning. I have to count on that, just like I count on slippery roads and trains. I'll have to pad my getting ready time, just like I pad my commute time.  I'll have to come home at the end of the work day to let the puppy out before I do anything else (and when you don't live in town, that's tricky).

But I'll also have to take the puppy for walks, think about him, plan for him, play with him, give him attention. And that'll be good. It will all be good.

So this end is really just a page turned, a chapter passed. There is SO MUCH MORE to come. A puppy, a  baby, a way of serving my church. And, eventually, a dog, a child, and who knows what else?

The rest of my life - the whole rest of my life - is about to begin. I couldn't be happier.
Author: Addie Parker
•7:06 PM

Hi y'all!

So it's Thursday... evening. This is the first time I've opened my computer since yesterday morning. Yesterday was all travel time, and today... well, today I was doing this:

Watching Olympians from the top of the long ski jump. Yeah. CURRENT Olympians. It's raining in Vancouver, and they needed more time to train, so they flew in to Park City for a couple of days. I happened to be touring the '02 Winter Olympic Park at EXACTLY the right time. EXACTLY. An hour earlier, or an hour later, and I would not have seen what I did.

We watched from the bottom for a few minutes, then we went to the top. SOOOO much cooler from the top.
And then, THEN we got to talk to them. Holy cow. 

One of them was Johnny Spillane, and the other- I'll have to look it up. No time right now, so I'll write more later. I have to go to dinner at Robert Redford's restaurant, Zoom.  This is such a cool day.

And the weekly Thankful List?  Okay, Okay. Here you go. :)

I'm thankful that my husband carried my bag all over the airport yesterday. Man, it was heavy. What did I pack?

I'm thankful for the opportunity to be on vacation in Park City, Utah with my husband and his family (my family, too).

I'm thankful for the opportunity to see the Olympics as up close and personal as I will ever get.

I'm thankful for the set-up of this condo, allowing me peace and quiet when I need it.

I'm thankful for Airborne and Sudafed and bottled water (in a major way).

I'm thankful for being too short to "Kiss the Moose!" as is the tradition here. :)

What are you thankful for this week?
Author: Addie Parker
•8:00 AM

Do you ever try to do it all? Like on January 1st every year? All of your New Year's resolutions come together with everything you wish would change and fuels a list-making, adrenaline-fueled frenzy of motivation. No? Well it happens to me. And not just on January 1st. More like once every two months or so.

I was thinking about that today. In my small group, we're currently reading Walking with God by John Eldredge. In the section titled "Summer", Eldredge talks about listening for God's voice and how most people only try to listen when they're desperate. And then we can't hear because we haven't learned how to hear. We need to take it one step at a time and listen for the small things. Ask about the small things. We laughed in our group about his example of asking God about which day would be a good day to take his family to cut down that year's Christmas tree. I might not go that far. ha. But I do want to start listening for the little things and taking life (and change) one step at a time.

This is where my organized, list-making self stepped in. I decided to break things down into months this year. Months of focus. I can't do it all at once. It's too overwhelming. I can't change all the things about myself that need improvement just by declaring that I will.

So this month- this month that starts in the middle of February and will end in the middle of March- will be for focusing on spiritual practices. Specifically, starting each day with my Bible (and not just falling asleep on the couch, using my Bible as a pillow), and sprinkling so much prayer into my days that I have nothing left to pray about- at which point, maybe I'll stop and listen.

Because whatever else I want to do, whatever else needs to change about me, that needs to come first. I've been okay at it, but it's not okay for me to get into a rut of hitting the snooze button eight times every morning and skipping out on time with God. I think one thing is going to have to change about how I do it, though. I'm going to have to brush my teeth and wash my face first. And maybe sit at the table. The whole comfy couch thing puts me right back to sleep.
Author: Addie Parker
•9:17 PM
"Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them, the rest of us could not succeed." -Mark Twain

Happy Thursday, y'all! Let me start this right off and say that I am thankful that I had a great day today! I can't remember the last time I had a good day at work, but I did today! Nothing particularly good happened, but there was an obvious lack of bad things happening. We got almost a foot of snow last night, so lots of people called in, including the one woman who just gets on my nerves with every word that comes out of her mouth. I also finally feel like I'm getting caught up (not that that will last, but it feels good right now), and I had a chance to rearrange my desk today. That makes everything feel fresh and welcoming. So I am THANKFUL for my good day at work!

When I got home today, there was a big box on my front step. My doggie bed arrived! And it's priiiiity. I admired it for a while, then moved on and printed invitations for my friend Emily's baby shower. They're all addressed, stamped, and ready to put in the mailbox tomorrow. Then I made brownies and read blogs. So I had a great evening, too!

Photo (and bed) from, and pssst. this is not my dog, but it is the bed I bought.

Have you had a great day lately?

And for the weekly rundown:

I am thankful for Monday nights with my friends. I have the best friends ever.

I am thankful for the opportunity to host a baby shower for one of those friends. I'm so excited.

I am thankful that my best friend is still with me on the not-being-pregnant-yet thing. The rest of our friends are, so it's good to have someone else still in the same boat as me!

I am thankful for the white, fuzzy blanket that my sister got me for Christmas. It makes mornings on the couch with my Bible quite cozy.

I am thankful that I had a true, two-day weekend this week. It was soooooo nice. I haven't had one of those in a long time.

I am thankful for the space heater in my studio downstairs. Without it, I would freeze my buns off and have paintings that look like they came from a kindergarten art class (well, who am I kidding, they still might look like that, but at least my fingers stay warm!).

What are you thankful for this week? Link up below!

Author: Addie Parker
•8:05 PM
He wants for nothing. He's satisfied with what he's got. He's so hard to shop for!!!

My husband is a content man. And that's a good thing, except for on his birthday or Christmas or any other time I want to give him a gift.

But there is one thing. One thing I never really considered because it certainly wasn't something I wanted. No way, Jose!

He wants a dog. A little puppy to love and play with (and clean up after).

I am not a dog person. I fear them. Especially the big ones. I don't like how dogs smell. I don't like how dogs shed. And bark. And chew things. And relieve themselves in the yard. And put their wet noses on your hands or your pants or you new white shirt. And stick their wet noses in... places they shouldn't. ha. I'm just not a dog person. Or an any-animal person. 

But you know what? My husband is.  He puts up with a lot from me. I'm very high-maintenance.  But a few weeks ago, I decided to put all of that aside and give my husband a gift he really wants.  For his 30th birthday, I'm getting him a puppy.

At first, I thought, "I'll get him a puppy, but it'll be the kind I want. A little Havanese pup that doesn't bark and doesn't shed and just sits on my lap being cute."  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I knew my husband didn't want that. He wanted a short-haired dog. One he could imagine playing fetch with. He just couldn't imagine playing fetch with this little puffball:

So instead of keeping the whole thing a surprise, I consulted him on it. And then I caved. I caved on everything. We found a dog online. He's a mix between a french bulldog and a mini dacshund. We're pretty sure he is a little "oops" puppy, as this is not a common mix. Even the vet said, "Well, that should be pretty interesting to see." He'll end up being about 12 - 15 pounds, which is twice the size I wanted. He's really not all that cute, in my opinion, anyway. He will shed a little. My only saving grace is that the breeder said that he has never barked.

Last week, I clicked the "Pay Now" button on Paypal and forked over the money for the little pup.  I then had quite a few hours of buyer's remorse.  What was I doing? I don't even like dogs! He's going to pee on my carpet! 

But then I remembered something. This isn't about me. It's about giving my husband something he really, really wants.  And it feels incredible to be doing that. Absolutely incredible.

So on March 6, we'll be driving about nine hours to southern Illinois to pick up our new puppy. We're naming him Kase (with two little dots over the 'a' that I can't figure out how to type).  It's pronounced KAY-zuh, and it's German for 'cheese'. That's just fun. Don't you think?


Now that I've accepted that this really is happening, I'm actually getting pretty excited. March 6 seems so far away, and I can't wait to go pick up our new little family member! 
What about you? Do you have pets? Have you always been a dog (or cat) person? What are the best and worst things about having pets?
Author: Addie Parker
•9:14 PM
We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. -Cynthia Ozick

I am still thankful for my job, even though it only gets harder every single day.

I am thankful for laughing with my husband about fetus lamps.

I am thankful that my husband is doing my laundry as I type this (yessssssss.)

I am thankful for.... oh, I don't know. I've been at work pretty much every waking moment this week. So, um. Haven't thought about much else.

I am thankful that my grandma turned 79 this week (as opposed to the alternative: not celebrating another birthday).

I am thankful for hot chocolate (which I am going to get up and make as soon as I get done writing this post).

Have you ever noticed how I am always thankful for some sort of food? hmm.

I am thankful for the internet (yes. Yes I am) because I was able to find and buy this little guy on it!!!! ....

Yeah, man. We're getting a puppy. And I think I'm thankful for that. I think. I'll share my opinions and all the other info about him in another post, but for now you can just savor in the excitement with me. :) We get him on March 6. Hip Hip Hooray!

What are you thankful for this week?

I'm linking my own party to the thankful party at Chatting at the Sky. Hey y'all. I do this every Thursday, so you can come back next week if you want!
Author: Addie Parker
•5:42 PM


Me: "I think for Emily's baby shower I'll put something baby-related in the lamp shade.
Husband: "Like a little fetus?"
Author: Addie Parker
•6:56 AM

I'm just so tired. I sit at work during the day and STRUGGLE to just function. Just focus. I try to pull motivation from the dark recesses of my mind. Why am I doing this? What am I here for? Why is client number A12345678 important? Am I going to be able to do the same process five more times in the next half hour without banging my head on my desk? 
My boss asked us today if we were feeling caught up. Caught up? Caught up is relative. We will NEVER be caught up. And when we tried to tell her how we were doing, she just didn't get it. She has no clue.
I break down, pull a dollar fifty out of my purse, and get a diet pepsi from the vending machine. Caffeine might help.  So would breakfast, but that didn't happen this morning. Ripping myself out of bed in the mornings has become increasingly difficult. I just want to stay where my covers are warm, my sheets are soft, and my dreams are like watching a funny movie. I don't want to get up only to go to a place where my opinion isn't valued, my years of experience no longer matter... where I'm just an expendable body filling a seat and processing 18 bajillion things at once.
But I do. I come. I sit. I work. I take years off of my life (I'm sure). And why?
Because I have a job. Because I am one of the lucky ones. I can count on a steady paycheck being deposited directly into my bank account every other Friday.  I have vacation days and sick days and personal days stored up for use when I need them.  I have health insurance. I get raises. Twice a year! Guaranteed!
I am one of the lucky ones. I spend the bulk of my week being abused by clients and unsupported by management. But I am one of the lucky ones. So many others just want a job. Any job at all. Anything to pay the bills. I've got that. So many others can't pay for medical bills. I don't have to worry about that.
So on days like today, I just have to take a few minutes and put my priorities in order. Count my blessings. Remember to be grateful.
I am thankful for my steady, secure job.
I am thankful for nights when I leave my job, have fantastic girl time with my amazing friends, and come home afterwards to find that my husband has power-cleaned the house for me.
I am thankful for scarves and sweaters and blankets and furnaces.
I am thankful (kind of) that I have weight to lose because it means I'm well-fed. 
I am thankful for the opportunity to help others- with a phone call, a connection, a donation, a listening ear.
I am thankful for Panera's macaroni and cheese. MMMMmmmmm.
I am thankful for the crazy, mathematically improbable, awesome miracle of pregnancy (in my close friends, not in me- it'll be a bigger announcement than that! geez, I can't even believe you thought that). : )
I am thankful for the snow plow and the salt truck drivers working tirelessly to make our roads safer.
Author: Addie Parker
•9:52 PM

I grew up on a lake in a small tourist town in northern Michigan. My lake was very small, and there were very few homes on it at the time. But even in our tiny community in the boonies, I remember the Keeping Up with the Joneses scenario playing out.

My parents bought our house for a relatively small amount of money. It was outdated and unloved.  Before we moved in, we had to clear trash and debris from the rooms. It was that bad. But, together as a family, we renovated and made improvements.  And when we made an improvement, so did our neighbors. We built a deck, they built a deck. We built stairs down to the lake, they built stairs down to the lake. We built a two-story play structure, they built a raft with a diving board. Maybe it was just coincidence. It could have been. But 12-year old me remembers the neighbors doing each project soon after we did ours.

Last night, I was finishing up putting up some trim around my front door, and I was thinking about how I feel a little bit like a little girl playing house. It was an odd feeling. Like maybe what I was doing was a little pointless.  Maybe all the time and effort and money I've spent improving my house since I moved in has just ended up making me look shallow, materialistic, and unapproachable.

But that's not what this is about. That's not what I'm about.

It isn't about show. Looking good to look successful or well-off. If you look closely and pay attention, you'll see that most everything is second-hand, cheap, repainted, handmade, or improvised. It isn't about show.

This is about creating a haven for myself, my husband, our family, and our friends. This is about coming home and getting cozy. This is about an island of peace and order in a sea of uncontrollable chaos.  This is about creating a place where stress melts away and love flourishes. This is about welcoming friends. This is about long chats on the couch with friends about infertility, about fears, about successes and triumphs. This is about the sigh of relief that comes when I walk in the door after a long day at work and know that I am home.

Every little seemingly pointless thing I do adds to the cozy, familiar, peaceful environment of my home.

The Nester recently said, "Home should be the safest, most comforting, inviting, beautiful, invigorating, welcoming place here on earth.  I feel like anything I do that enhances our experience at home is well worth the trouble.  Time making our home beautiful and orderly is time well spent."

I couldn't agree more.

In a season of my life where we're about to add to our family life in numbers, I'm so glad I've spent time preparing a cozy home in which our life is taking place.

Author: Addie Parker
•3:02 PM
Thanksgiving Closet Project, say what?!

It's January 14. Is the closet done? No. Is it going to get done any time soon? Apparently not. It would if I could ever find the time to go to Ikea. But it seems that won't be soon.

But, take heart (all ye who are worried and distressed), my closet can hold its own in the cute department, even if it's not finished.

I caulked all of the cracks between the support pieces and the wall. I painted the wall blue and the trim and ceiling white. I know it sounds crazy to paint the ceiling of a closet, but it really can make all the difference in the finished product.  I painted the top of the shelves brown, and the bottom of the shelves white. It's not something you really notice, but it keeps things from getting too dark in there. The edge of the shelves, however, were a problem.

Until I added ribbon.

Then I was happy.

After all the painting and the ribboning, I added accessories.
This closet has very little actual purpose right now, besides holding my make up. I know that in the coming months and years, it will fill up with baby goods. But for now, it can just be cute. A nice little start to my day.  Most of the boxes are empty. I just have one for hair stuff like headbands, barrettes, and the ever-elusive bobby pin or two. You know, hair stuff. I labeled it "hair." Works for me.

Then I tried to think of any other little things in my house that might need a good home but didn't need to be accessed very often. I came up with one other thing- A (very) small collection of baby items. Two little stuffed animals I've been saving for years and the sweater and hat my grandma knitted for me when I was a baby.  Those items needed a good place to sit around and wait for a new owner.  So in the box they went.

I found a little drawer organizer at Meijer that works for my make up. Still using my Precious Moments Sister coffee mug for brushes and mascara and such.

And that's pretty much it. I have grand plans to putty the hole in the closet door, then paint the whole door white and switch out the knob from brassy gold to brushed nickel. The supplies have been bought, but the time hasn't. Which is why this post is coming to you now. If I wait until I get the door done (and the new trash basket found and bought and the basket for the pillows on the bottom found and bought), then I will never write this post.

You get the idea, though. Pretty closets make me smile. And a smile is a great way to start the day.

I'm linking up to Kimba's DIY day at A Soft Place to Land.
Author: Addie Parker
•9:04 PM
You know how sometimes you have nothing to say on Facebook, and other times, you have so much to say you could burst?

Well, I'm the bursting one right now. But I don't want to write fifty billion facebook status updates because that's just annoying. So here they are, all in one random blog post that really means nothing. Enjoy.

What is the difference between bear mace and people mace?

I just got on the treadmill after, oh, a three and a half month hiatus.  My foot cried, my knee screamed (oddly enough), and my calves wondered what was up.  But my lungs were fine! I ran a mile straight up {for a "fluffy" girl like me, that's great}. I wasn't even tired. If it weren't for my foot and my knee, I could have gone a lot longer. Yay!

I got new glasses today. I've been wearing glasses since I was in third grade (contacts since age 16), but I always forget about the weird transition time when you get a new prescription. The floor always looks crooked, and you marvel at how clear things are. It's great loopy fun.

Today a lady was very very rude to me on the phone at work. She made me cry. That doesn't happen very often. And I deal with the issue she was calling about all the time. I'm not sure what made this different, but her rudeness was unnecessary.  I'm over it, though.

I have never been successful at gas station car washes. Today I was short on time, so I chose to fill up at a gas station that had a car wash. I paid the $5, got the little code, and drove around to the entrance of the car wash. I punched in the code and read the directions while waiting for the car in front of me to get done.  The big garage door opened, the lights blinked green, and I drove in. I stopped where the other car had been before me. And nothing happened. Actually, something did happen. The big stupid maching that goes back and forth around the car did nothing while something else made an annoying beep. I sat there for ten minutes thinking surely a gas station employee would come out and push a button or something. But no. It just kept beeping. Ugh. So I drove away. Yes, a waste of five dollars. But I did not want to be the dumb chick who walks inside because she can't figure out the darn automatic car wash.  Plus I needed to get home.  So my car is dirty, my wallet is lighter, and I feel stupid. Please tell me I'm not the only one.

You know how I put the three wise men and their camel in my lamp shade for Christmas? Well, the other night I cut out some hearts and stuck them in. It's cute.

My closet is done, and I have the post mostly written. Maybe someday you'll get to read it.

My blanket is done, and I have the post mostly written. Maybe someday you'll get to read it. : )

Yesterday I suggested to my husband that we should adopt a child from Haiti. I was kind of kidding but kind of not.

I was thinking of maybe not going to church on Sunday. My husband is going out of town for the weekend, and I have to work on Saturday. So Sunday could be my day to just be home and relax. But then I thought about how I would miss Pastor Tom's sermon.  And I'm going. I'm so glad he's our pastor now.

I stepped on a package of hot dog buns just now. Oops.

I put up two bookshelves in my dining room earlier this week. They are empty. But I will fill them. Don't you worry.

It's time for bed. Goodnight, y'all.
Author: Addie Parker
•8:42 PM

Hi people!

Did anyone notice something funny? Like maybe how there weren't any posts between last week's Thankful Thursday and this week's Thankful Thursday? : )

So, here's where I am.

I'm at the place where my husband is more important. I'm at the place where my family is more important. I'm at the place where my friends are more important.  I'm at the place where my church is more important. I'm at the place where my days are adrenaline-fueled whirlwinds of work, and my evenings are precious, precious hours. I barely got on my computer all week last week. 

And that's okay with me.

I'm enjoying living a very full and rich life, and it doesn't always include the blog. I'll still be posting, especially for Thankful Thursdays. But my priorities might just be in order for once, and it's a great feeling.

Who's grateful this week?! I am!!!!!

* I am thankful that my husband was validated in his job today by his boss offering him a raise.

* I am thankful for the woman who went out of her way to not waste my time. I applied for a job within my company, and she called to set up an interview, but she wanted to warn me first that the department is slated to be cut later this year.  So even though they do need someone for the position now, I would most likely be facing a layoff before 2011.  She didn't have to tell me this. And it's probably to her detriment that she did. I doubt that very many candidates still want to interview after hearing that news, so she's left with a position that can't be filled. I'm just so grateful that she was upfront about it. (I politely declined to interview)

* I am thankful for time spent with friends last night. They live within walking distance, we sit by them at church, but we barely ever SEE them. Last night was some really quality time, and it was just so sweet.

* I am thankful that the roads have been dry lately, making the drive to and from work less stressful. 

* I am thankful that an Ikea was built near enough to my home to make going there fairly easy. I heart the big, blue box.  And the curtains I got on Sunday.

* I am thankful that my parents and sisters are in relationships that make them happy. I like to see them all with their chosen partners making life work in their own special ways.

What are you thankful for this week?  Leave your comments or links in the comment section. I have very little time left before bed, and MckLinky isn't making the cut this week.