Sunday, February 19, 2012

One Epic Thrifting Adventure.

Unfortunately, the older we get, the less it seems we go on adventures. Well, let me scratch that. The less it seems we go on simple adventures. Once everyone starts having kids and 401 K's and retirement plans etc, it seems the adventures are much more along the lines of a planned vacation. Which are great, don't get me wrong! But this weekend I had the privilege of going on one of those aforementioned more simple adventures. And while the theme of the day may have been "thrifty-ing", I think all of us who went would agree that we all took home much more than a few good deals. I'll get to that part later, but first (courtesy of Laura's i-phone photos) here is a play by play of just some of the unique stops we took along the way.

Now you can't start off on any truly good adventure without some bacon, eggs, and coffee. And at Annie's Soda Shop we found that and a whole lot more. In addition to "fluffy pancakes", "veggie eggies", and a few staring townsfolk, we were treated with such hospitality. Annie herself even heard what we were up to that day and called one of the local "pickers" in the area to see if we might be able to stop by and browse his collection. We couldn't leave without a quick photo-op to remember a great start to our day, filled with lots of laughs and Jenny's surprisingly quiet attack on a breakfast platter. Clean plate club members would be put to shame! But I can say this without fear of sounding inconsiderate. Jenny is having twin boys in a few months so we all applauded her in admiration. ;)

After that, we were all on our way over to Jim's. There was a few jokes passed around about how that last photo may be the one on the paper stating, "7 girls last seen at Annie's in giant silver van", but when we got to Jim's farm house, we knew that this guy was a serious picker and a most kindly gentleman. He greeted us warmly and told us that anything we saw in his yard or his garage was up for sale...except for the cats.

While we very delicately walked through his museum of stacked history, some rusting, some just dusty, we were able to talk to Jim a little more about why he does what he does. He said that most of his treasures he gets by going to auctions. He also said that 80% of the time he really isn't that successful when going to an auction, but he goes there because there are so many different people who know so much about history. He said that the stories he comes back with far more outweigh something like an old rail road sign (which he did have by the way, and was offering to sell in the thousand dollar range). Sorry Jim, try calling American Picker guys, they may be willing to bargain.

As we were getting ready to leave (Heather found a great base for a table top she had been looking for) we rallied Jim over for a picture and were able to find out a little bit more about how he felt about this hobby. He said he was really tickled we were here because he kind of thought that young folks weren't really interested in this kind of stuff. He's worried that it will be a dying art and that no one will really try to hunt this stuff out and preserve it. We assured him that there are actually a lot more "young folk" out there who are really intrigued by it all and to take heart! He helped us pack up our gear, called Cherice "Blondie", and sent us on our way with a hand shake. After that he said he was going to run upstairs and tell his 24 year old son who was still sleeping in, that he wouldn't believe what he missed this morning! Hahah! I guess the seven of us are kind of a funny site walking throughout those grounds:) But we loved every minute of it.

Our next stop was to see the Tiffany bridge. This photo shows us walking eagerly to marvel at the world’s only remaining five-arch stone railway bridge (which is still in use!) It was built in 1869 was truly beautiful. It was crazy trying to fathom that something this old and intricate is located just outside our backyards.

We couldn't get a group shot since there was no one else around, so we took turns documenting the occasion.

As we were walking to stand under the arches, Estera saw a swan, blissfully floating down the river. There is no picture to capture this because we were all just looking at it! Everything was so quiet and peaceful there and we really just stood for a moment taking it all in as the sun streamed down on us all.

After learning a bit about the bridge, we hopped back in our Silver Bullet. Here is a shot of our pilot and co-pilot. Did I mention that Heather had the genius to have us all rent a 15 passenger van so that if we found bigger ticket items we would have the room to fit in? Oh yeah. We are hard core. And it's a good thing too, between a red leather arm chair, a filing cabinet, and a table base, things got snug! :)

The leather arm chair and filing cabinet were found at the nearest Goodwill in Madison. It was a successful spot for everyone. Laura found some great ice cream dishes for her mom...

...and I found those pair of tap shoes that I have been looking for ;)
One lady in Goodwill told us that we were having too much fun. Which pretty much sums up the entire trip. But we did have fun in this particular store giggling together as we did things like try on shoes that were wayyyy too small for us, and stand behind a woman in line with the widest, wildest, bell bottom yoga pants we have ever seen. (No picture to view-too blinding). (But Estera did have the soundness of mind to dubb her Lady Happy Pants.) ;

The next stop was 3 Orange Doors and what a cute little shop this was. Lots of homemade things that you would see floating around on Pinterest, some really delicate glass ware, and an assortment of cookies, which we weren't sure if they were for eating or for show...we opted for the former and indulged ourselves secretly. Then we got a really nice lady to take our picture and jumped in the van again to head towards downtown Madison.

Later in the afternoon we got lunch (which was music to my ears when Laura said) "yes, I think I would benefit from eating. So while our lovely driver parked the car we walked at a determined pace to a near by Chipotle and spent the first 5 minutes of our meal in silence, just completely dominating our food.

The rest of the afternoon was spent browsing different shops along State street and just enjoying the beautiful weather and each others' company.
Some of the girls on the trip I have known for a while since I've been here, others I just met, but I really enjoyed the time we got to spend that afternoon just being together as married gals.

There truly is something to be said for community. Having the same passion for the Lord, and being able to call one another sisters is huge, even if you aren't necessarily into the same styles or have the same job or are the same age.
The biggest find for me that day was just the realization that through friendships, old and new, He shows us more of Himself through one another.

So Heather, thank you for organizing this trip, and a big thank you for all of you who made it so enjoyable :).

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Today I am leaving to go to my youngest sister's baby shower.
My youngest sister
My baby sister
is having a baby.

I cannot even express the feelings of sheer joy that well up inside me when I think on God's kindness and how it is displayed in so many different ways in peoples lives. And I think of how sweet it is to for Him to give this sweet couple this particular gift at this particular time in their life.

Sarah is my Buggers, my Bug-a-boo, my Buggy.

I was trying to remember the origin of these nicknames. I am sure it has something to do with the fact that she is and has always been just as cute as a bug...although I think that phrase is supposed to be button...whoops. My bad. Too late to change it now! ;) But anyways, it got me thinking a little bit about my past years with Sarah as a sister.

I know when it comes to our childhood that we have a tendency to block unpleasant memories out until everything is covered in a golden glow of nostalgia. But when I look back at Sarah and her personality in the Jensen girl tri-fecta, I can honestly say that for the majority Sarah's days were spent in quiet love and quiet servitude.

She always had a way of calming me down just by listening to a bad day. And she always knew how to make Bethany feel lest restless on any given afternoon just by riding passenger seat on a trip into town.

(To this day I still hold that she makes the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Although I will admit that the discovery of this fact came from sheer laziness and cashing in on her willing ability to always do that of which she was asked.)

Now just because I have made mention of Sarah's quiet-natured spirit when it comes to serving others, does not by default mean that she is a generally quiet person. This is quite the misconception. Anyone that has been able to have the pleasure of really knowing Sarah, knows that she is anything far from quiet.

Memories of jumping off piers pretending to be ducks, her affinity for playing dress up whenever her grade-school friends came over, dancing in living rooms, talent shows, her obsession with knocking me over with her hips, and the way she throws her head back when she laughs, these are just some of the images that flash across the fore front of my mind. Recently I saw a picture of Sarah completely sealed into a comforter storage bag, with only her head popping out. I couldn't stop laughing to myself and thinking, "Yes, this is so something she would do."

The other aspect of Sarah's personality that anyone would be quick to agree with who knows her, would be how she is our family "healer". A lot of times one might assume that someone as meek as she is, might not have really been all that thrilled growing up at the sight of blood or any type of squeamish ailment. But Sarah was our nurse. Scrapes, bruises, sprains, colds, you name it, if Sarah could be in the room helping with a cool rag or a band aid to place, she would be there. And unlike some who are intrigued solely by the gore itself, there was something deeper with Sarah. She just wanted the person to feel better. That was her main pull. And whatever she could do to help in that, she would do with gentleness and precise care.

Sarah's name means princess. And I suppose this is entirely accurate...if it is the kind of princess that cares more for her "country" then herself. While it is true that Sarah enjoys things to be a certain way, an enjoy-er of order and all things pretty, she much more enjoys seeing others content and at peace. She used to have domain over 50 different stuffed animals and would rotate each one to sleep with her at night so that the others wouldn't feel bad. This is a true fact.

Her Kingdom may have lessened when she got married. Going from 50 to just Ryan...but now we look forward to February's end, where they will have one more in their home.

There is not a doubt in my mind, that this quiet servant/princess, who knows how to laugh and how to heal and how to care, is going to be one amazing mom.

I know this to be true, because she is one amazing sister.