Introducing US

And so there I sat last night, in a beautiful side chair, surveying the scene and just plain feeling grateful. I was in Norma's living room, which was washed in the light of both perfectly clear white Christmas lights, and the flickering of at least 15 lit candles. It's true. I counted the ones I could see from where I sat. Soothing Christmas music was playing on the TV, and we were all engaged in such lively and happy conversation that we burst out in carefree laughter repeatedly. Norma was there, or course, perched like the elegant queen she is, in her own side chair. Stacia and Jill sat on the couch between the two side chairs, and the four of us sat together, sipping wine and sampling cheesecake, talking about anything that entered our minds. The conversation often steered back to real estate, which is not unusual, given the love we each have for it. And we talked about our families, and our lives, and music, and friends, and yes, boys!

We had just spent a couple of hours at Stacia's house, where our fearless leader sported a fancy apron and made us the most delectable dinner I can remember. Still at her house, we sat together, the four of us in the lovely dining room (along with the occasional feigned pitiful canine glance in our general direction, desperately hoping we'd miss our mouths, causing the porcine ambrosia to bounce off of the floor), and enjoyed the fruits of Stacia's culinary labors. It was easy and comfortable, and it was the perfect example of our chemistry and our team. Four distinctly different people, with different lives and personalities and backgrounds and experiences, brought seamlessly together like puzzle pieces, sharing a common love of people and homes and the magic that happens when we can see the look on someone's face when they just "know".

Yes, I following that, I sat in Norma's living room that night, reflecting on our team, feeling happy and warm, and LOVING the things that make us stand out both as individuals, and as a team. We were, and ARE, so genuinely OURSELVES, that there was such an ease and joy that it was almost impossible to end the night.

Let's start with our spectacular Norma. After the four of us left Stacia's welcoming and beautiful home, we headed to Norma's. And as we approached her front door, we knew immediately which was her's….. Her entrance was decked out with framed art and holiday décor, which we saw before even knocking on her front door, and it begged us to come in. And then inside, oh my! Pristine, of course, but that was just the beginning. Her brick mantle was draped in gorgeous holiday greenery, intertwined with those glorious white Christmas lights. And so were her window sills. The top of her book case featured the most peaceful lit up holiday village. There were candles, and elegant decorations, and holiday cheer, sprinkled over every surface throughout her home…. Heck, even in the bathroom, there were three perfectly folded holiday hand towels lined up in a pretty basket. I mean, she didn't miss a beat. It was nothing like I had ever seen, and yet it somehow didn't surprise me…. That is our Norma. Warm, loving, welcoming, and ever so detail oriented! She insisted she give us a tour of her home, so let me tell you what the tour consisted of. It consisted of what was the most important to her. She led us into her hallway, where she has a large collection of framed pictures of her ancestors, all in different clothing from different epochs and lands, and she pointed to each picture proudly and told us who was in it, where they were from, and the history of each of them. It was all so purely Norma. My heart couldn't help but smile.

And then there's our Stacia! The mastermind behind our team. The innately skilled eye that saw something special in each of us, had faith in us, and brought us all together that night, and as a team. How she knew how to so perfectly put us puzzle pieces together to form this group is beyond me. She just knows! Both clinical and natural, the perfect mix of ambition and humor and persistence. That's our leader! Dinner at her house earlier was just that mix… Delicious food, perfectly prepared with a gleam in her eye, everything in order and fun at the same time. I think she was even wearing her signature Chuck Taylor's, with her beautiful and fancy maroon sweater and swank apron. The table was set to perfection, with a backdrop of a sparkly table cloth. The perfect mix of sparkle and shine, good food, order, and dogs (What?! I have a weakness for our canine counterparts, what can I say!). I believe I was four years old when I first met Stacia, at our babysitter's house. Our paths crossed occasionally throughout school (born and raised in the PNW!), before cosmically realigning in the way we did. Some might say right place at the right time… I'm inclined to think it's bigger than that.

Sitting next to Stacia on the couch in Norma's winter wonderland laughing and looking peaceful was Jill. I actually met Jill before we joined Stacia's team too! Our paths crossed several times at our respective jobs, her as a Washington State Patrol trooper, and me as a firefighter out on the Key Peninsula. It was natural for our paths to cross in that capacity as our job duties led us. During those times it was always in a professional capacity, and I recall often being struck by her demeanor. Always present, always observing and processing information, always doing what needed to be done, and always flashing a reassuring smile to whoever was having the type of night that caused the State Patrol and the Fire Department to be in the same place at the same time. That's our Jill! A smile that lights up a room, while being so incredibly observant and solid.

Then there's me. Sitting in the side chair at Norma's in the flickering light, relaxing and feeling so grateful for the time I had just spent with this team of Renegades, and reflecting. How does one speak of themselves without sounding biased, or fluffed up, or even reticent? Let me try. I like to think I'm a little of everything, and I hope my comrades will set me straight if I have it wrong. Definitely observant, and definitely what I would call "zany" (I have always loved that word!). I'm a hard-charger when the situation dictates, and I assure you, I love, love, LOVE a good joke and a shared smile. I've loved homes and their potential for as long as I can remember, and that inexplicable fascination that has led me here. To this living room, in this flickering luminescence, with a full belly and a grateful and bright smile, with this team of individuals who ended up being brought together so perfectly and at just the right time, to become Renegades.

Our friends, I look forward to sharing so much more of this team and our story with all of you. Our experiences, our purpose, our drive, our successes, and even our failures. Please do stay tuned, and thank you for being a part of our journey. We are Renegades, and we are here to get it done for you. To you and yours, the happiest of holidays!