A Life Extraordinary

We get one life, so lets live!

That Moment Everything Starts Feeling Very Real

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I’ve never been the homesick type.  Not to say leaving home is always easy for me but the separation just isn’t that hard.  I mean I do have my moments where I rather be home than anywhere else, birthdays, holidays….

Like the first Christmas I ever spent away from home.  I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  With the time difference between there and the west coast the time when my family was all getting together to celebrate fell at about 6am Thailand time (the day after Christmas). Despite the early hour I resolved the get up and Skype with them, I’d never missed Christmas and this was huge for me.

I remember bawling when the internet at our guesthouse failed, tears continuing to run down my cheeks as I wandered the streets of Chiang Mai in my pajamas trying the find an internet cafe that was open, and I did, thankfully, and only got one funny look.

That was the first time I really truly felt homesick, a horrible ache that fortunately didn’t last long.

So why do I tell you this?

Because I am having a severe case of separation anxiety right now.  Homesickness without having even left home.

Did you know that this is the longest period I’ve spent at home, in Seattle, since graduating college 11 years ago? One year, 7.5 months.  And if I’ve learned nothing else from my time at home it’s that the longer you stay in one place the harder it is to leave it.

And what’s funny is I’ve probably said “I can’t wait to get out of here” (“here” being more specifically my parents house) at least 2 dozen times over the past 6 months alone, but now that I’m faced with the reality of departure in only 3 short days, I’m beginning to mourn what I leave behind.

Possibly it’s because the future is so full of uncertainty.  The present, while not preferable on most accounts is definitely comfortable.  I have a family I can rely on, friends to hang out with, a church family I can serve with….

But in a few short days those all melt away.  As I stand on the deck of the MV Columbia and wave goodbye to Washington I’ll be waving goodbye to all I know and love for an uncertain amount of time.  While there will definitely be visits seeing as how I’ve spent 2 Christmases away from home now and that’s more than enough to last a lifetime, my life will no longer be in Washington, at least for this season.

I know that once I reach Soldotna, start settling in and creating a new life this sadness will fade away, it always has before and God always provides for me, but for now, it aches.

There is a bright side though.  It’s kinda like when you’re physically injured and people try to tell you that the pain is good because at least it means you’re not dead. This pain is good too, because it means I have something really good to come back to one day.

And on a final note can I just say Praise the Lord for things like FaceTime, Skype and even cell phones.  I can’t imagine what this separation would have been like 20 years ago.  Technology is making the world smaller and smaller everyday.


Ok now that I’ve gotten all those emotions out I wanted to just share some pictures from this summer, highlighting some of those things that are so hard to leave behind (get ready, this is about to get photo heavy!).

We’ll kick things off here with the 4th of July.  July 4th has always been a big deal for my family.  I grew up on a dead end street so all the neighbors would get together, BBQ and light off fireworks for hours, it was awesome!  Now, while personal fireworks are illegal most place around us, we live in a little unincorporated sliver, meaning there are no rules governing fireworks, and EVERYONE knows this so they come to our neighborhood and have a good ‘ole time.  This means our fireworks with friends/neighbors tradition gets to continue and we get to enjoy a pretty stinken big fireworks spectacular without ever having to leave our driveway.

Here’s my sweet niece Ellie rocking her Seahawks shirt and a huge sparkler, followed by my little sis Emily, her guy Richard and my soon-to-be nephew Ezekial 🙂

4th of JulyYay for fireworks!

4th of July

4th of July

Then one day in July my Moms family all gathered together at my grandparents house to eat dinner and watch old films from when my grandparents were younger…

But first let me just say that my Grandparents have some of the prettiest hydrangeas in town


My sweet grandma


The whole watching films thing turned into a bit of a debacle, mostly because no one could figure out how to set it up


Eventually we got it rolling, but we had to hand crank the bottom roll and after 5 minutes it started melting!… So we switched to slides instead and that seemed to work better


Next up came the birthday parties.  A lot of times in my family it can take us awhile to get together so we end up rolling multiple b-days into one.  This one included 4 in total: Both my aunts, mine and my cousins daughter Sammy.

Here’s Ellie and Sammy playing in the river


And when they got done playing in the water they decided to pick Huckleberry’s instead, yum!


I played a little next to the river too, with my camera that is.  Selfie time!


And then there’s always cake of course.  My aunt and I shared a cake this year because honestly no one needs 4 cakes… well maybe sometimes you do 🙂


I of course couldn’t leave Washington without getting up to my mountain (aka Mt. Rainier) one last time, so I took a couple of the girls from my youth group up hiking at Sunrise.

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier

And then came my last day at work.  My co-workers were incredible and blessed my socks off as I left.  I’ve only been gone for a week so far, but I’ll admit, I’m a little sad not getting to work with them everyday.  There are some really cool ladies right here.

Last day

This is Tracey, our lone Chinese agent.  I called her my Chinese mom.  This sweet lady has done some awesome things in her life!

Last day

Yep, I’m definitely going to miss them

Last day

And finally I leave off this post not with something I’m sad about leaving behind, but with something that makes me excited about my future.

At the beginning of July I got a chance to volunteer for Seatac Airports Tri-Annual Drill (TRIACE) and it was incredible!  I played one of 300 victims of a plane crash (they even had a whole backstory).  This was the largest drill of its kind ever done on the west coast and involved close to 200 emergency personal and even helicopters!

I made sure that I got there early enough in the morning to get one of the good (aka worst) injuries.  See, triage essentially has 4 stages, Black= dead or will die, Red= Needs to get to a hospital ASAP, Yellow= Needs to go to a hospital but can wait and Green= Not hurt or minor injuries.  My injury was in the red level and I had burns on my face, arm, neck and chest.  When we got there they gave us costumes and makeup to wear.  Mine involved this prosthetic burned chest piece that was definitely made for a guy as well as a t-shirt with the whole front burned away.  It’s a good thing I wore a tank top that day or I would have been showing a lot more than I cared to!

Here’s a glimpse of what it looked like.  My cellphone is lame and only has a rear facing camera so this is the best I could do.

Seatac DrillOnce the drill started they shuttled us all to the north end of the third runway and we all spread out on the tarmac around a training plane that the port has.  Thankfully it was the morning an not to hot yet otherwise I would have gotten a decent and patchy sunburn!

Once the drill began I felt like everything went really quickly.  Firefighters first got everyone that could walk away then came around  and tagged everyone with their triage level.  According to the description on a little card I got I could only sob in pain and say “I don’t know” to any questions asked (and not walk).  I’m not the best actress but I think I was pretty convincing.

This was my first experience on a backboard and my first experience in an ambulance, and it got me super stoked to become a paramedic.  Seriously guys, it’s going to be an awesome job.  It was also my first experience being interviewed for the news, although I didn’t make it on because of all the wildfire coverage going on at the time.  Oh well.

Here are a couple pictures I snagged from the write up the Seattle PI did about the event.  If you want to see more you can find it here.

I picked out this first one because I’m in it… barely haha.  If you look at the firefighters arm pointing and then work your way up to the first person laying down sideways, ya, that’s me.  I’m pretty famous now 😉


*Photo from the Seattle PI


*From the Seattle PI

You can also find more pictures from a different perspective on the Btown Blog here.  Every airport is required by the FAA to do a drill every three years, so if you get a chance to do one at your local airport I totally recommend it, and let me just say our emergency team were rockstars.  God willing they will never need to come together for an emergency like this, but if they do everyone will be in good hands.


Author: Manda

Hello! I'm a lover of adventure, budgets, creativity, and living life to the fullest!

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