Sunday, September 24, 2017

I have no clue what I'm doing.

I have nothing figured out.

I don't know what I want to be "when I grow up." I'm not sure how long I'll be in my current job, or if it will take me anywhere. I enjoy it, but somewhere in the back of my mind all I hear is, "what's the next big move?"

My husband and I say that we want to live in our current house for a long time, but a lot of that depends on whether or not we have kids -- and right now, we don't know if we are physically able, or even if that's our true desire. So I really don't know where that's going.

So much is up in the air, and so much is contingent on other things.

I'm spending a lot of time writing and researching for a project, and that brings me joy and a sense of accomplishment. But no, on the grand scheme of things, I'm not pointing myself down any certain path, and I'm not looking to make some major moves in my life. Is that OK? Or am I selling myself short? Am I not doing enough with my life right now?

It stresses me out at times, because I have a need to be in control of my life, my situation. But at the end of the day, I know that currently, I am happy. The things that I am doing right now are making me happy. But I can't help but wonder if what I'm doing right now is enough, and what the outcome of it all will be.

Being in my 20s has been tough. I consistently feel the looming pressure of my 30s sinking in. I feel like I'm supposed to have my shit figured out. And I have nothing figured out.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Working in the front yard


I love homeownership, even though it's expensive and can be a lot of work. 


In our front yard, we've removed rocks and bushes, planted a ridiculous amount of grass seed, and now we've installed some flower beds. Up next is planting flowers and installing a Little Free Library. These yard projects have been a lot of work and we don't always know what we're doing, but we're having a good time together.


BEFORE:

CURRENT:

Monday, July 17, 2017

'The Wall that Heals' comes to town

The Wall that Heals, the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial, visited my hometown July 13-16. 

The traveling memorial is a half-scale replica of the Vietnam memorial wall in Washington, D.C., and it serves as an educational tool as it makes stops across the country.

My husband and I visited the memorial wall at Saturday at Sycamore Park, and it was an incredibly moving experience. Below are some of my photos. Click the images to enlarge.
Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue

Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue

Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue
Have you had an opportunity to see The Wall That Heals?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Puppies Over Cubicles

Photo by Jessi LaRue
I recently changed jobs. I left a company that I had spent five years with -- to put it simply, I wasn't "moving up the ranks" in more ways than one, and I felt that I had exhausted my efforts. It was a "good" job, one that required a bachelor's degree; and although I do not have that degree, I acquired my position through my experience and hard work.

When I felt like my efforts there were no longer taking me anywhere, I decided that it was time to leave. I took a 180 degree turn in my life and decided to chase happiness over prestige. I took a receptionist job at a doggie daycare/groomery and I chose puppies over cubicles.

The "change" may seem drastic to some, but in the end it all balances out. The money is different, but with new benefits, the ability to walk to work every day, and ample overtime potential, I'm in the exact same financial position as before.

And, oh yeah, I'm happier.

A "higher-up" from my last job stopped by my current job recently to pick up her dogs. When she walked in, she was very surprised to see me behind the desk, and after she commented on how much I was missed, she said "so, are you on the grooming side or...?" Her eyes darted to the daycare side, where the sound of barking dogs continued to erupt.

"I do a little bit of everything here," I said. "I'm the receptionist."

"Oh...so this is just part-time, then?" She asked with a concerned, sympathetic look on her face.

"No," I quickly responded, with a puzzled look on my face. "This is a full-time job."

She politely smiled, and I quickly found myself explaining how much I loved working with dogs and that I now have the luxury of walking to work. But as she left, I wanted to kick myself. Who cares what she thinks? I don't have anything to prove to anyone. But I still felt like I was being looked down on.

Sure, to some, a receptionist position isn't the most "prestigious." But to me, it's a job that actually has a lot of responsibility and importance.  It pays the bills, it keeps me busy, and I feel accomplished at the end of each day.

And, oh yeah, I'm happy.

#puppiesovercubicles

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Finding inspiration in my life

Photo by Jessi LaRue
I've been thinking back to just a month ago in my life, about how frustrated and lackluster I felt. Since then, I've made so many changes, some bigger than others. I changed jobs. I listen to more music, and I write more often. 

There's also been some things that have brought that "inspired" feeling back into my life:
- Walking to and from work daily
- The Wonder Woman movie
- A late night drive while blasting '90s alternative rock hits
- Playing with 15 dogs (at once!) at my new job
- Interviewing a couple that is so in love and planning their wedding
- A friendly wave from a neighbor in the morning
- The dedication of a historical marker recognizing my 4th great uncle
- My cat falling asleep on my lap during my lunch hour
- Conversations with my friend and mentor
- Every minute of family time that I can get

Where have you found inspiration?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Songs I'm Lovin' - May 2017

Photo by Jessi LaRue
It's been a while since I've created a "Songs I'm Lovin'" post...so I decided to get one posted just before this month ends.

This playlist features a little bit of everything; as usual, it's heavy in country, but this also features some fun tunes from the Cyrus girls. I'll always be a fan of that family.

Check out my current favorite tunes below, and let me know in the comments: what are you listening to right now?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Making changes

Photo by Jessi LaRue
Recently I had some sort of "breakthrough" in my life. 

I was frustrated, I was sad, and I felt unfulfilled.

Unfortunately, I never realize these things as they start to creep up on me. Instead, everything has to come crashing down on me for me to see it. And it's the worst feeling, yet it always pushes me to produce some big results.

So last Sunday night, as I sat on my bedroom floor crying, wondering how I was going to fix these frustrated feelings surrounding my life, it hit me. It's time to make myself happy. It was so simple, and so obvious, but I had to actually stop and take time to evaluate myself.

Once I did, I knew exactly what I needed.
 
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and tried to find that happiness. I got a new job, which I'll start next week. My sister and I recently had a long, healthy talk about anything and everything in our lives. My husband and I sat down and evaluated our priorities, our plans and our dreams.

And when the dust settled from all these changes (I tend to work quickly,) I took a deep breath and realized that the rush of chaos I just put myself through worked. I felt better already.

So I'm making some changes in my life, and I can only hope that it's all for the better.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lackluster

I've been unhappy for a while.

Eh, maybe that's misleading.

As a whole, I'm happy. I love my family, my husband, the projects I've taken on in my life. But when I think about the nitty-gritty of my life, the "who I am" at the end of the day, I feel truly unsatisfied.

I feel off. I don't feel like myself. I don't feel as proud, excited, or intuitive as I've felt previously. This is typically a feeling that pops up during the winter, but now it's May and today hit 85 degrees...and I still feel unhappy.

I can't pinpoint it exactly. I just feel like something in my life is lacking, and I'm not exactly sure what to do about it right now.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A mother's love


Every year I try to put my love for my mother into words, and every year I come up short.

The recent "big moves" in my life, which include getting married and buying a house, have made me realize how important my mom is to me. When I think about all the times she has been there in the last few years alone, it astonishes me. She's always there to offer advice or a helping hand. It makes me regret some of those "growing pains" teenage years I had, where sometimes it felt like she was my sworn enemy.

But the older I get, the more I realize that I am so beyond lucky to have her. And the older I get, the more I realize that I am becoming so much like her. I can only hope that I will be half as caring, devoted, and loving as her. 

My mother's love is what keeps me sane, it's what keeps me driven, and it's what makes me want to be the best person I can. Because I want to be like her, and I want to make her proud.

So once again, I tried to put into words how much my mom means to me, and I'm coming up short. I can't put a number on just how many times she's been there for me and my husband. I can't even imagine listing off all the titles she's held, and all the roles she's played, in developing my life into something amazing. I simply can't explain how much I appreciate having her in my life.

Happy Mother's Day, Momma. I can't thank you enough.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Home Decor: Thrifting finds

Another week, another couple of days spent finding cute, quirky items for the home.

These items came from a few fun places!

This cute shelf (roosters not included)
I occasionally get to travel to shoot some photography for my job, so if I ever have downtime while I'm on the road, I tend to do some shopping and browsing. 

I found this cute shelf in an antique mall in Fort Wayne, Indiana last week. I had to buy it (and for only $10!) because I knew it would be the perfect home for my rooster collection. I love roosters, but this collection is very special to me because it has been handed down in my family through many generations. They now have a sturdy and cute home in my dining room.


CORN TEAPOT
After browsing the antique mall in Indiana, I came home and still had the itch to do some more browsing. My husband and I went to Roadhouse Antiques in Creston, Illinois to continue the adventure. While there, I picked up a couple of items, including this corn teapot.

It's a really strange item. Most people would find it tacky. But living in the heart of the Midwest makes me appreciate these things. For just $3.50, it fits my down home Midwest kitchen/dining room area very well.

Fun fact: The owner of the shop reminded me that the teapot did not have its lid, which honestly hadn't occurred to me until she had pointed it out. She said that at most vintage shops, it's rare to find a teapot with its lid. She explained that when items are up for auction, typically lids and teapots are put in separate boxes to entice people to buy both boxes. However, she said, sometimes people just don't want all the items in both. She said I may stumble upon the lid somewhere, someday. It was kind of a neat thought.



"ROWDY COUNTRY" VINYL ALBUM
I also dig in boxes of vinyl albums whenever I come across them. I've loved vinyl ever since my dad handed down his old record player from his high school days. I now have one of those funky (and practical) players that can host Bluetooth, vinyl, CD and cassette. When I spotted this album, "Rowdy Country," the artwork was what really caught my eye. After all, when you think "rowdy" country, don't you picture a flannel-sleeve arm punching through a wall? I know I do!

The track list is pretty incredible, too. It includes songs from Hank Jr., Waylon, Willie and more. At $2, this album was a steal. I picked up this album in Creston, as well.



LITTLE BIRDIE
I picked up this cute, wooden bird while hitting up garage sales Saturday. I thought he would work perfectly in one of the many trees in our backyard. Plus, I figured when the wind picks up and his wings spin, it would give my cats just another thing to gaze at during the day.

The person selling these homemade birds said they were by far the most popular item at his sale, and that he had sold more than 70 of them the day before! At only $1, it was a fun purchase.