This Friday, I’m breaking my mold!  I stumbled upon a challenged that Blu Chicken Ninja was doing with black and white photographs.  I decided to put my own twist on it and instead of doing 5 days, I’m doing 5 pictures that sum up my life outside of my faith, religion, etc.  If you’ve even read one of my blogs, you know where I stand on my faith.

However, my life is intense, fast paced, and never boring!  I had a hard time choosing only 5 pictures but these are the 5 that say the most.

When Shane and I first started dating, he used to pick me flowers and leave them places for me to find.  He would leave them at work on my time card, he would swing by the house that I was living in and put them on my car, or if I caught him in time, he would hand them right to me.  It was always the same type of flower and it quickly became a symbolic flower to us.  When we would be driving and see them in the ditches, it would bring a smile.  I dried a few and had them saved but in the move, they were destroyed.

This particular ‘bouquet’ was created at on my parents farm.  We took a walk late last fall and ended up out on a rock that I used to go to when I felt my world was caving in.  As we walked, we were discussing my ‘dream wedding’ and what I would like to see.  I was telling him and as we were walking, both of us were picking different flowers.  We got to the ‘dream flowers’ and I told him that I wanted something that looked like they were ‘freshly picked’ and I looked down and the bundle that was in my hands and it was perfect.  I took this picture and it’s been one that I go back and look at often.

However, we won’t be using fresh picked flowers in September because I found another idea that seemed more us and fit the wedding better.

This was after my husband (then, boyfriend) returned home from two and a half weeks away at training.  This is when I knew that being a military wife was something that I wanted to do.  I found a strength in me that I didn’t know I had.

I never thought I would partake in a homecoming where there would be butterflies in my stomach, sweat on my palms, and shaking in my joints.  But that first time we were away from that long with limited communication allowed me to have my first experience with that.

I snapped this because I couldn’t believe that he was gone (and working hard) for almost three weeks, he gets home and hands me flowers, a bear and gives me a huge hug, then proceeds to make me supper.  From the time he hit the door, we were living at 100 MPH.  We haven’t slowed down since.

As if you don’t think our lives were busy enough, add our two human children and three fur children and it gets even more chaotic.  M&M are Shane’s children from his first marriage.  However, I fell in love with them as soon as I met them and have been increasingly welcomed into their lives.

From the time we met, it’s been “Let’s do this!”  “We need to do this!”  “OH!  Definitely this!”  They are the most exhausting but most rewarding blessings to come into my life.  I love them as if they are my own and I claim them as my own; most days.

Then comes our fur babies.  Angel (not pictured) is a rambunctious kitten who acts more like a devil.  She is almost always scratching, jumping, pouncing, climbing, eating, or sleeping.  I firmly believe she is the instigator in most issues that we have and she frames the dogs.  Then we have Marley (on the left).  What a brute!  He is a mix between a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and a Golden Lab and weighs in at a light 120 pounds!  He is so happy all of the time and loves to please.  Despite his size, he thinks he is a lap dog.  He has been amazing with welcoming a new fur sister and brother over this past year.

And finally, we have Hugo (on the right).  He is a mix of St. Bernard, Border Collie, and Black Lab.  He is all that is puppy.  He plays (like a cat, mind you.  Laser pointers, balloons, ‘hiding’ and pouncing..)  He was only a couple of months old when I adopted him and he instantly found a place in my heard.  He has been my guard dog since day one.  Even though he is hyper (and antagonizing the cat or Marley) majority of them time, I love him to pieces.

No one is getting in the house with those two around.

Shane and I have a morning ritual.  He will get up and let the dogs out to do their business, start the coffee and then come wake me up.  We will sit and watch the Weather Channel or a local news station and just chatter.  It is our “get away” time when the kids are here and it allows us to have a few moments together before the hustle and the bustle of the day begins.  It’s something we both look forward to.

This was taken the day that we committed our lives to one another.  This picture does more than sum up my life.  Those shirts hanging on the wall are the shirts we wore during our first “date”.  The man standing behind me with so much love on his face came into my life and reminded me of what it felt like to be loved and respected.  The flowers in the background between Shane and I were a gift from him “just because you deserve to be spoiled now and then”.  This picture IS my life.


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