Saturday, July 13, 2013 started off with a LOW. Why? Because we had to get up at 3:45 in order to get Cassady to the airport by 4:45. I’m pretty sure God wasn’t even up yet. It was the day she left for her missions trip to Honduras, which was a HIGH for us all. She had worked very hard all summer to raise the funds for her trip (with help from some very dear friends and family members). Her bags were packed, her passport was in hand, pictures had been taken and her goodbyes were said…which brought me back to a LOW. We hugged and kissed multiple times with lots of “I love you’s” in between. She gave me strict instructions to tell her brothers and sister “good bye” and “I love you”, along with another message to special someone whom I think she will miss the most ;-), but what really topped the LOW point was the fact that her sister didn’t drag her body out of the bed at 3:30 in the morning to come see her off at the airport! I know right? Anyway, all the way to the security check point, she grumbled and mumbled under her breath and over her breath, about how Kelsey didn’t come see her and how she didn’t care at all…you know…the usual sister stuff. Devin and I said our final good-byes and I blew kisses to her past the gate, then we turned to leave. As we were exiting the airport, Kelsey called, “I made it!”, she exclaimed, trying to hold her composure. “I surprised Cassady and showed up at the very last second, just before she went past point of no return!” (This is where the HIGH comes back) She continued, “when I saw her she was getting ready to pass the baggage check, so I yelled for her and called her over to the glass.” With a smile of satisfaction on my face I said, “was she surprised?” “Oh yes!”, she said, “we hugged and kissed and of course Cassady cried, it was great!”.

Way to go big sis, you rock….for now 😉

Devin and I got back home about 5:30. I drug my poor exhausted body in the house and back in my bed beside Mr. wonderful and fell fast asleep. This was a definite HIGH to my morning.

What seemed like ten seconds later, at 7:30 a.m., the house phone woke me up. I didn’t answer it. Three seconds after that, it rang again. I threw the covers back, and hunted down the phone, angry that I was being bothered so early, with so little sleep. After finding the phone and answering it, I was promptly chewed out by the neighbor lady for stealing her paper. This bring me back to a LOW folks! For the record, I did not steal her paper. I don’t want her paper. I don’t even read the paper. In a drunkin’ stupor I tried to explain to her that I was not stealing her beloved paper. Finally, after three failed attempts, I just told her Devin did it 😉 JK.

After that crazy episode was over I got up, made me some hot tea, and enjoyed a quiet morning with no kids while Devin worked in the garden and the guinea fowl pooped on my porch. I was once again on the HIGH side.

Soon thereafter, Devin and I decided to go out for a day of flea market and antique shopping. Nothing makes he happier than digging through a bunch of junk looking for a treasure I can’t live without…except maybe a new Michael Kohrs bag, but that’s another post. We hopped in the car, got us a Mc Donald’s sausage biscuit and headed out on ol’ Route 66.

About thirty minutes down the road we found it, the junk yard of awesomeness. It was an old patchwork house completely surrounded with junk, surrounded by houses full of more junk. I was in heaven. We immediately got out and began milling around. An old white-haired woman who probably didn’t weigh more that ninety pounds came out of the little shack to open up the shop. She was a small framed, tight-lipped woman who looked like she couldn’t care less if we were there or not. With a stern smokers voice she hesitantly greeted us with a nod and a brief, “mornin'”. There were probably 10 million pieces of junk on that one Acre lot and she knew where every piece was and what it was worth. After looking at all off the stuff outside we eventually made our way inside. It was wall to wall organized chaos. Glass wear, old luggage, books, iron skillets, tools and toys were strategically wedged into that shop. It was like shopping in a life-sized Jenga game. I held my breath each time I took something off the shelf, fearful there would be an avalanche. We literally had to turn our body sideways to make it down some of the isles. As we made it to about the half way point, I found Devin and walked down the aisle to stand by him…then I saw it! Not the long-lost treasure I had been looking for….nope…it was a large black bug that I thought was a roach. For those of you who do not know, I am deathly afraid of cockroaches. Deathly! When I saw the black six-legged demon I immediately freaked out. I grabbed Devin’s arm firmly and pointed to the ground, “oh dear lord!” I began to try to back out of the tight quarters, but was pretty much trapped. “What’s wrong?” He said, as he began to look around. “Right there!, “I said, “Kill it!!” About that time it ran out and stopped right between Devin’s feet. I promptly freaked out. Devin quickly stepped on the bug and said, “that wasn’t a roach, that was just a beetle”. “No it wasn’t!” I said firmly, “that was a roach! I’m gonna have to leave now.” He turned his back trying to hide the smirk on his face. He smiled, slowly shook his head and said, “it was just a beetle.

In my world, if it looks like a roach, runs like a roach and scares me to death like a roach….then it’s a roach! You can call it whatever you want. It’s a roach!

I tried really hard to be brave, and to believe Devin’s, “it’s a beetle” story and not leave the shop. That lasted all of ten seconds, until I felt something touch my leg. I screamed like a school girl and began jumping and slapping my legs like a crazy woman. Devin got a real kick out of my Jedi like reflexes and busted out in laughter. I through my hands in the air and said, “that’s it! I’m outta here”. This was a LOW point in case you were wondering. I went outside and stayed there until Devin was done looking.

While Devin was paying for his items, I went back to wait in the car. While I was waiting I noticed Devin had five missed messages on his phone. The news I read in that text was the lowest part of my day. Sadly, after fighting three bouts of Leukemia, over a period of ten years, our dear friend Kara Jarnagin went home to be with The Lord. For more than half of her almost 17 years on this earth, she fought like a champion. With grace, strength, faith, an infectious smile and never-ending hope she showed the world what it meant to be a true woman of faith. We had watched the entire Jarnagin family fight this battle with Kara. What an inspiration they were to me. My heart broke into a thousand pieces as I sat there and read the messages from a fellow staff member. My grief was like a heavy blanket that couldn’t be thrown off, I could only imagine how her precious parents must have been feeling. Although my heart was breaking, I rejoiced in the fact she was now cancer free and resting in the arms of her savior.

I immediately went to find Devin to let him know. His heart, like mine, was heavy with grief. He made a few phone calls to confirm what I had read to be true, and it was. After years of praying for Kara, our prayers were different now. Now they were for all of us left here to deal with her loss. Her precious mom and dad, her sister, her friends from school and church. We now prayed for peace and comfort.

The car ride to the next Podunk town was quiet and somber. Devin messaged Kara’s dad to give him our condolences and to let them know we were praying. Devin drove to the next town with a heavy heart and tear-stained eyes.

Soon we realized we were getting hungry. Actually Devin was starving and I was ok either way, but when the idea of a Braums milk shake came into the picture I suddenly developed an appetite for a #12. What’s a #12? It’s a chicken strip dinner and milk shake 😉 suddenly my LOW began to creep back up to a medium HIGH. A peanut-butter cup milkshake with a side of chicken strips and french fries, it’s good for what ails ya.

As we ate our lunch and made small talk about our family and our future, I looked at him and thought, oh how I love that man. Oh sure, there are times when I want to pinch his head off and spit in the hole, but all that didn’t matter at the moment. All I knew was I loved him more than anything and that put me at an all time HIGH.

The rest of our saturday was spent doing what I love the most, Junkin’. Shack after shack, flea market after flea market we strolled and sauntered hoping to find a treasure. Even though we found very little to take home, I counted the day a huge success because we were together, just the two of us.

On our way back home Devin pulled over at a large truck stop to let me go potty. I walked in, found the restrooms, did my thing, and went back out to the car. When I walked out the door to find our car, nothing looked familiar. I didn’t see our car, or Devin, or even the gas pumps. It was like I stepped into a black hole, or the Bermuda Triangle, or the Twilight Zone. For about five seconds I just stood there like a cow lookin’ at a new gate. People whizzed by me, going in and out of the doors but I just stood there. I had no idea where Devin was or where our car was parked, I was stumped. After what seemed like thirty minutes of utter confusion, I decided to go back in so I wouldn’t look like a complete nut. As I turned around to go back into the truck stop I suddenly realized there were two entrances! Wow! What a relief that was! I felt like a kid that had lost her daddy, then suddenly saw him. I quickly exited the other door and headed to the car with a sheepish grin on my face. “What’s so funny?” Devin asked, “oh nothing, I just got lost for a minute.” “Lost? In the truck stop?” “Yeah”, I said, “lost. I didn’t know there were two entrances and I went out the wrong one…I was so confused!” He grinned and shook his head in disbelief. That was a LOW for me but a real HIGH for him 😉

We arrived back home around 5:30. I was so tired so I decided to take a little nap (Naps are one of my two top favorite things in all the world. Food is second.) It was one of those kind of naps where you felt like your body had sunk down to the bottom of the mattress. It was a good heavy nap indeed and a definite HIGH point of my Saturday. My high point ended though when I was suddenly awakened by Devin with a Guinea hen dilemma . “When you get up”, he said, “you need to go get your birds, they’re in the neighbor’s yard.”

With naps being my all time #1 favorite thing in the world….being awakened from a nap, for a stupid reason, is my all time least favorite thing!

After I drug my irritated self out of bed, I stomped over to the neighbor lady’s yard to try to retrieve my Guineas. She was not happy. And yes, this is the same neighbor who chewed me out for stealing her paper. After a brief chewing again, I managed to round them up and shoo them back home where they belonged. I have to say, being woke up from a good nap, to get chewed on, is not exactly a HIGH.

To end our saturday, Devin and I enjoyed a quiet evening together, reflecting on the day, our family and all that God has blessed us with. We also continued to mourn the loss of sweet Kara and pray for her family. You might be wondering why I would write such a bazaar post about HIGHS and LOWS, about funny stuff and sad stuff, about being thankful for life while mourning the loss of a dear friend. Well, I’ll tell you why.

Kara was a very special young lady who loved life dearly. She was fun, loving, passionate, artistic, creative, full of joy and love. She was a loving sister, a precious daughter and a loyal friend. She was also a reader of my stories. She appreciated the humor of everyday life and it made my day to know it brought a smile to her face. So I thought it only fitting for me to pay tribute to her with more stories. Stories about life, the ups and the downs, the highs and lows, the laughter and tears, the joy and the heart ache.

There are no guarantees in life. Today may be full of laughter and tomorrow tears. We just never know what tomorrow holds. But there is one thing I DO know. No matter how HIGH the highs, or how LOW the lows God is ALWAYS there! There to pick us up, dry our tears, mend our broken hearts, calm our fears, guide our steps and help us find a new normal. Kara knew this. She lived it. Now she is receiving her reward. We love you Kara and we will miss you dearly but we are all the better for knowing you and seeing God through you.