2013 – A Year in Review

The postings on this site are my own and do not represent My employer’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

Ah, I remember when I was 8.  Back then my biggest goal was to be 12, because for some reason that was the number I was aiming for.  I clearly recall thinking it would be FOREVER until I was 12 and I was overwhelmed by impatience.  Then, when I turned 12, 16 was the big number to hit, and THAT was so far, far away.  I think on that, realizing how very far away it remains today, but will leave that one alone!  🙂

But this post is not about yesteryear, but about 2013 and all it encompassed.  Of course, I cannot talk about EVERYTHING, but there have been many “big rocks” that certainly were highlights in the year.  Enjoy my walk down memory lane for 2013 and feel free to point out anything you felt I missed in the comments!

January

January, and 2013, started out with a bang.  I came into work on 1/2 and found out the contract my employer held with The company I have been working for had ended.  No worries, they hired us!  It has been a wonderful change and I appreciate the job I have.  I do miss the few that did not make the transition and send the best thoughts to them.

February

I was honored and blessed to have Pastor Robert Barker ask me to fill in for him and provide the main sermon for his congregation (and my former church home) at Crossroads Community Church while he was out of town.  If you want to use up 35 minutes of your time, check the message out here.

April

Deana and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary!  Even writing that it feels…..interesting.  On one hand, it seems she and I have been together forever and 10 seems so small in comparison to the fullness I’ve felt with her.  At the same time, there are days when our love is so overwhelming it feels like we are still in the honeymoon stage of our relationship and I question how it has been so long.  Good thing we met each other so young.  ;P

We also purchased our Hyundai Elantra in April and got a smoking hot deal with the help of their employee and our brother, Michael!  Thanks bro!

Zack turned 11 this month despite my demands for him to remain little.

I believe this is the month that my mom, after being hospitalized A LOT for over 2 years, received surgery that changed so many things in her life!  She is much more aware (her dementia is not as bad), her overall health has been stabilized, and I am very happy.

May

Deana and I were blessed to be able to attend a conference in Las Vegas for my work, allowing us to drive to California for a few days to see friends and family.  I was able to see my parents, my besties Sonya Bishop and Julie Kang, and family such as Julia and Drew.  We even got to spend a few hours at Disneyland thanks to the free entry provided by our friend Cassie!  It was a short trip but a huge blessing.

Kenny turned 18 in May – GASP!  I am very proud of all that he’s accomplishing too.

Also in May, we lost a good friend and a mentor of mine; Sandy Schuster.  It was hard as we were in California when she passed and then I was traveling for work during her memorial.  Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of something she said or did, and I am thankful that Maddy remains a big part of our life.

June

I was beyond blessed to fulfill (with the support of Deana) a huge dream; I purchased my 2013 Spyder ST-S!  I have wanted one since they first came out and I have not regretted it for a minute.  I LOVE THIS ROADSTER!!!!  And yes, I named it JT after Justin Timberlake and I will often be accused of saying things such as “I rode JT GOOD!”

I also got a tattoo this month, the addition to my existing hearts with the names and birthdays of Kirstie, Kenny, and Josh.  The addition was Zack and Sophia and it rocks.

Kenny also got his first Texas job, working as a certified lifeguard at Hawaiian Falls.  It also allowed him to upgrade his Geo Metro to a Dodge truck – I am proud of the hard work and savings he accomplished to meet this goal.

This month also offered historical decisions in that DOMA and California’s Prop 8 were overturned.  These decisions have huge impact on a large section of our society, including myself and Deana.  To think that our legal marriage is now recognized at the Federal level is humbling.  And to see our California brethren being able to join us in marriage is wonderful!  Since then I am so happy that several other states have expanded equality!  I must once again thank my family and friends who reached out the day DOMA was overturned and shared their congratulations – it still blesses me to think of that!

July

First off, July was huge in that I paid off ALL of my medical bills!  These included my hospitalizations from my ulcer as well as my surgery in May 2012.  I am VERY excited about this, even now!

Also in July our family got to vacation in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho!  This is a beautiful resort town and is GORGEOUS!  We got to hang with good friends and also see the sites in Montana and Washington as well.  Best memory for me is being hurled out of the raft during white water rafting and Kenny yelling “ROCKS!”  ha.

July also began my CRAZY traveling schedule for work as we kicked off the new software training phase at all of the US plants we serve, which lasted through September.  It was great to meet many of my co-workers for the first time, some more than others!  If only they didn’t complain so much about the software…..right Taryn?  🙂  I am also glad that I was able to see my brother, David, on two of those trips to Bakersfield.  It is great that he lives right next to LAX!

August

My baby, Deana, had her birthday of course.  I am sad to say I was traveling for work.  Thank you D for working within those crazy parameters and always being so understanding.

This was also the month that Josh, not yet 13, grew taller than me.  For pete sake, really?  Tis true.

September

TONS of birthdays this month!  Kirstie turned 23, Josh turned 13, and Sophia hit double digits at 10!  Whoa there mister!

I got my first “super short” haircut that I actually LIKED.  Oh, I have had others in the past, there are plenty of pics to prove that, but this time IT WORKED.  I just got it again and even though I had thought about growing my hair out, I am glad I don’t have to deal with curly craziness as of right now!

Deana, Zack, Sophia and I also were able to go to Paris, Arkansas with Jerry, Julie, Kaylie, and Mom for her ancestry “homecoming”.  This is when people gather at the private cemetery where her mother, grandmother, and other relatives are buried and basically have a BBQ.  Seriously.  It is a little weird, I am not going to lie, but it is also awesome.  We have done this before and usually clean the headstones, area, and love hearing stories from Mom.  We also ordered mom’s headstone – yeah, a bit weird – and stayed at the Lodge in Mount Magazine which is BEAUTIFUL.  I wouldn’t trade it or the memories.  Next time I am bringing JT and riding there; this year there was too much rain.

October

Well, first this was the “Go Live” for my software rollout at work for the 9 US locations.  This project, of which I am its manager, was HUGE and had been going on for over a year.  I was a bit anxious and nervous, but it went overall very well and I am very blessed.  This was a BIG DEAL of my life and much of the year, and I am thankful for the support I received from so many people.  Deana, many of my friends especially at Ennis (you know who you are), and my kids who managed when I was traveling so much.  Thank you all!  The support has been ongoing and I give a special shout out to Cary at work who has really stepped up on that front so I can focus on the Canadian rollout.

Also in this month Deana started her 4th Open Enrollment for the City of Dallas.  The amazement I feel is tremendous as she absorbed so much on the home front due to my rollout, yet she is only one of 4 benefits employees handling over 13,000 employees and she rocked it.  Her professionalism and ability to multitask in every aspect of her life is amazing.

Zack and Sophia also rocked the world of soccer as they both won first place in their divisions and I believe are continuing on the state level.  Sophia’s team, in fact, is 100% undefeated!

November

This month celebrated the marriage of Stephanie and Chris!  Wow, what a momentous occasion and one of the most fun receptions I’ve been to in a LONG time!  To see some footage of said wedding, check it out here and here.  The month also included, prior to the wedding, a great bachelorette party and a very fun drag show!  No, I didn’t dress as a woman though was called out as Rachel Maddow.

Another important event was Kirstie being baptized!  She made this decision and I was very blessed to be able to attend this heartwarming event!  To see a quick clip, click here.  So proud of you Teet!

December

Ah, December!  My birthday month!  Christmas and family!  But I have to say that I enjoyed attending Josh’s recital in this year’s Regional Honors Band!  He is very musically inclined and I am glad he is able to play the trombone and be recognized for his hard work and effort.  To hear one of the songs he and his fellow honor students played, click here.

Deana and I also got to hang out with some cool friends at yet another drag show and it was FUN!  Thanks Tracy for the invite and looking forward to more in 2014!

I was also blessed to be able to meet my second cousin (I think) when I traveled to Atlanta for work!  Nancy’s paternal grandmother was the sister of my maternal grandmother!  We found out about each other through Nancy’s sister Ellie; I had “grabbed” something off of Ellie’s ancestry.com family tree and we realized we were relatives.  How cool is it to find family members that way???  Cool!  And sitting with Nancy, who really was a “stranger” in many ways, just felt……right!  She enthralled me and made me laugh and well……I loved it!  I am looking forward to what 2014 hold on this front!  Especially you, Ellie!

Misc

I actually started saying “twenty-thirteen” this year, instead of “two thousand thirteen”.  I feel almost cool.

We (the kids and I) have recorded several “cover” songs for our annual CD again.  It is a bit behind schedule and so it will be release hopefully in Q1 of 2014.

Again, if there are items you think of, post them in the comments!  I hope that 2014 offers many blessings to you and yours and I look forward to being part of them!

2014 is another year that will be full of work and travel for me!  Canada (Toronto and Quebec), Australia, and the United Kingdom are filling up my card!  🙂  What is in store for YOU in 2014?

A Blatant Plug

So this is my daughter.  I love her.  And I love her voice.  Now, while that may not surprise you, since I AM her mother and all, but this is actually very good!  She is singing into her COMPUTER; no mic, no effect, and in fact she’s practicing.  But she rocks.

Update and Upgrade and Yeah…….

Well, if this blog is any indication, I have been BUSY lately!  I know many of you have been busy too so you understand how it is. But the EXCITING part that the busy-ness was not all bad, but many tasks or events were AWESOME in nature and that is great.

One big even this week was Zack’s nasal surgery.  There were LOTS of items done because the poor kid’s nose was 99% blocked.  Makes me feel bad for all the times I told him not to chew with his mouth open!  Doh!  His surgery was on Wednesday and a bit rough at times, but he is making progress each day and made it through the painful recovery days.  We are praying and believing he will have a FULL reovery and the procedure took care of the blockage!

Great things are happening at our church as well.  Deana and I are blessed over and over again spiritually, emotionally, and physically by this body of believers that have become more like family.  It is comforting to know they have our backs, aren’t afraid to correct us or guide us, and love us and our kids.  We have grown in the Lord SO MUCH and we are so thankful!

On that note, check out a recent special worship song at the church here:

More big news is that Kirstie is moving to Texas!  Just days away and we are very excited!  We are praying that things fall into place for her here; that she finds a job, finds her own place, etc.  I will update you on this for sure!

So that’s what I have right now!

 

 

 

 

Sophia Stories

So, let me start by saying – Sophia cracks me up!  She gets me rolling!  Some of these stories may seem “off color”, but I HAVE to post them in raw form so that you can see how often I laugh!  And most of the time it’s my own darn fault for her comments as I egg her on.

Conversation this week with Zack, Deana, and Soph.  Zack was scratching Deana’s back:

Deana:  Wow Zack, that is very good!  You’re going to be an awesome husband to your wife.

Zack:  Thanks.  I like to be nice.

Deana:  I wish Maddy (that’s what they call me) would do this for me!

Sophia:  (in disgust, either because of the dig at me, or the fact that Zack was getting the attention, or whatever) Mom, you KNOW those hands touch his penis!  And now you have penis on your back!

Gina/Deana:  [cracking up and trying to hide it]

Zack:  Sophia, I WASH MY HANDS!

Sophia:  Whatever Zack, you still touch it.

On the cruise I put my bathing suit on, which shows my entire back.  I was brushing my teeth as Sophia came into the bathroom.

Sophia (pointing to my tat of Jesus and the thieves on the cross):  What is that, the 10 Commandments?  Or that woman in the Bible?

(Note to self – need to do better at sharing the Bible Stories with Soph)

I was teasing Sophia about something like me taking her new jacket because it was cool or something.  Or maybe that I would go on a ride instead of her.  I can’t remember.  But this was Soph’s response:

Sophia:  Hello!  You and Mom are way too big to do that!

Gina:  Excuse me?!?!

Sophia:  Not saying you’re chunky or anything…….

When we were waiting in line to get through customs after the cruise, Zack and Soph started bickering.  Deana broke it up and started lecturing them, especially Sophia as she had gotten very aggressive.  Note that I often point out when Deana interrupts me…..

Deana:  Do you two understand?

Sophia:  Well, before you interrupted me, I was going to apologize to Zack…….

More later!

 

 

More Quotes to Live By

So I realized that many of the quotes I’ve heard recently needed to be shared.

I was in the process of making peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches.  Sophia and Zack happen to HATE peanutbutter, so when they asked what I was doing I emphasized this point and offered them one.  Here is the response/interchange with Sophia:

S:  I think I will have a jelly sandwich instead

G: Jelly sandwich?  That’s illegal!

S:  Illegal is my middle name!

Of course I can’t remember the other ones right now, so I will try to update later.  Sorry.