Sunday, September 3, 2023

GOD Series Blogpost - Sunday School


I had been pondering on who to interview for the God Kiss blog series.  I gave the search to God, and he answered- go reconnect with your old friend, Karen. For you see, we had been neighbors and became good friends back in the mid-1970s & 80s. And life happened and we both moved and lost touch with each other.  And low and behold, I remembered her old land line number… which is amazing since I can hardly remember anyone’s phone number let alone an ancient land line number from over 30 years ago! I called and got ahold of her with my request to be able to share her story about how she became a Christian.  We quickly met for lunch to reconnect and then set a time for me to come out to do the interview. And it was like were never apart for all those years, the friendship was still strong.

Karen recalls growing up in a suburb of Los Angles and while her parents didn’t attend church, they were the ones who showed up for others in times of need.  Their moral compass was always set up for compassion, grace and love of their fellow man.  Karen recalls the story of her mom raising her two siblings after the death of her own mom.  Her grandfather remarried a woman who basically used church as a weapon against her mom and siblings.  So even though attending church wasn’t a high priority of her parents, Karen’s mom and dad were the kind of people you would want in your world.   At around age 7 or 8 Karen asked her mom if she could attend Sunday school with her friend.  The answer was yes, and Karen and her friend would put on a dress every Sunday morning and then Karen’s mom would drive them to church and drop them off.  There Karen embraced the stories told by an amazing teacher.  And then they attended the worship services and embraced the scripture. It was where she learned the scripture John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Fast forward to the teen years, and like many of us at that age, religion was set aside and put on the back burner.   Life revolved around friends, social life which included partying and falling under the influence of our current world.  During the summers, Karen visited Idaho where her older sister lived.  And after high school and a few semesters of junior college, Karen packed her bags and drove to Mud Lake, Idaho to live near her sister & brother-in-law.  Karen landed a job as a legal secretary.  One night she attended a rodeo dance, and her brother in-law introduced her to Rick, a cowboy who was on the rodeo circuit.  Karen recalls that was a rough lifestyle which included a lot of drinking.  They married and Rick decided to leave the rodeo circuit and finish his degree at the University of Idaho.  They bought a home just outside of Moscow which happened to be a house next door to yours truly.  Besides being neighbors, we became good friends.  One day Rick came home with some biblical brochures he had been given.  Rick felt the calling to return to his structured Christian upbringing and recommitted his life to God.  I recall Karen telling me that Rick had become a Christian and we pondered what life would look like since neither of us were walking the Christian pathway.  Karen said for about 6 months that Rick would daily share his concern about her soul going to hell.  Karen was angry and just wanted her old husband back.  Finally Rick gave the situation to God, who also had plans for Karen.  Karen eventually committed her life to Christ and there they began their new life as Christians.  They had two daughters and settled into life as parents along with joining a legalistic centered church as Rick was raised in a stricter traditional setting.  For Karen as a new Christian, she struggled and questioned the church’s mandates/lists of rules that she felt were being placed on her to obtain God’s love. Often it felt that the rules were oppressive and unattainable to appease God. Some of the church practices required women to wear tunics/dresses, have their hair in buns and bake whole wheat bread. That along with submissiveness made Karen question these practices. It often felt that members were simply going through the motions while not living the gospel.  Rick was a faithful, kind, loving husband and father and together he and Karen continued their search for a church that would be a good fit for their family.   Karen began reading a book by Charles Stanley and there she finally felt free, that she embraced and understood how God valued her with or without her hair in a bun, wearing a dress and other lists of rules to adhere to in order to be a good Christian.   She experienced and continues to experience His grace and mercy and feels His presence moving in her life.  When her mother was dying in the hospital, Karen and her dad were there 24/7 taking shifts until the end.  It was shortly after that Karen was approached by a nurse who had witnessed Karen’s behavior along with that of anther Christian nurse and commented “that she wanted whatever they had in their lives” as she saw God’s grace in action.

Today their children are adults, married and leading productive Christian lives.  Rick and Karen are enjoying their lives and love the current church they are attending. As the church’s focus is committed to “preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We want all to be fed by God’s wonderful Word, and be fruitful in Him.”


              “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”  Psalm 34:8”


And as always, it is an honor for me to get to hear and share the life stories of others.  May God’s will be your guiding light in all you do.  Gayle

Sunday, August 6, 2023

God Kiss Blog Series - The Handprint

When I sat down to write this story, I could still feel the positive energy radiating in my heart and soul after the interview.  The quote by Bob Marley that kept circling in my mind were, “ You never realize how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have”.  And sometimes when others learn what you have endured, they will say to you, I don’t know if I could have survived that.  And while no one chooses to experience brutal life lessons, they happen. I think it’s fair to say we have all had our own hard times and how we survive and move on is the key.  For the story that I am about to share, her Texas roots show how she is living life in a “hell ya” kind of gusto & grit manner as well as her reverence for life. With that, I’m honored to share Sharon Fuller’s story. 

Before the interview began, Sharon outlined 4 life truths in this order:

·       First and foremost, being a Christian, noting that she has a very personal and private relationship with God.

·       Family - her sister Lezah, her children & special people who are like family.

·       Her love for America. For the freedom we get to live by and for our 2nd amendment rights.

·       Her support system from friends & community members.

Sharon spent her early life in Texas before her family of 6 moved to Genesee, Idaho.  Sharon said school and the encouragement of her teachers were her refuge from a troubled home life. Being in a small rural town, true friendships form not only with your friends, but often with their entire family. This was the case for Sharon.  Her best friend from high school is still her best friend today.  Together she and her friend helped campaign for her friends’ father who became a State representative and went on to later be the Speaker of the House.  This foray into politics gave Sharon a deep appreciation for understanding how government works as well as the rights of people.

After graduating from high school. Life was looming in a big and beautiful way with so many possibilities stretching out. One evening Sharon and her friend were talking about life and then they pondered what would the worst thing each could imagine that could impact their lives?  The friend said rape and Sharon said living life in a wheelchair.  The two moved to Lewiston, got a 2 bedroom apartment and both got jobs in a local nursing home before they started their career paths, which was flight attendant training for Sharon and college for her friend.

Sharon & her horse

Sharon recalls waking up and hearing a man’s voice in the early morning hours of July 4, 1977. The man had broken into their apartment and sexually assaulted both young women. He was later arrested and sentenced to a lengthy prison term. 

On June 30, 1978, Sharon was a newlywed and had been married for 12 days.  She and her new husband, Rick were scheduled to go to Walla Walla for business.  But Sharon had a premonition that she shouldn’t go. Feeling uneasy, she called her sister who said the same thing, that there was this gut feeling that she shouldn’t go on this trip.  However, Sharon needed to sign some paperwork, so she put her feelings aside, climbed into their truck and was sitting on the bench seat in the middle, with no seatbelts.   Just outside of Pomeroy a drunk driver hit them, the pickup rolled several times landing upside down.  Upon impact, Sharon was thrown through the windshield and landed several feet from the truck.  Sharon was transported to the hospital wherein it confirmed, she was now a paraplegic as her spine was broken in 3 places.  This required her to have a special brace inserted.  In the hospital her best friend came to visit her and during one of their talks, she looked at Sharon and quietly said, “you know,  the worst things we could ever imagine have now come to pass”.  

Sharon was sent to a Seattle trauma hospital for rehab and how to learn to live life in a wheelchair.   The first of many acts of kindness were about to unfold. The Sheriff’s office flew her in their plane to Seattle as she couldn’t sit up.  When the hospital learned of her newlywed status and that her husband was staying with her, they replaced the hospital bed with a new queen size mattress for the couple. After 8 weeks, the couple came home and started their new life.  A few months later, Sharon became pregnant. Many doctors were unwilling to take a pregnant paralyzed patient, until one brand new doctor fresh out of med school agreed.  And Sharon and Rick became parents of a beautiful son, named Brandon.  Marriage, new parenthood coupled with the stress of being a paraplegic were too much for the couple to navigate and they divorced when Brandon was 2 years old.  Looking back Sharon recalls being grateful to Rick for standing by her  and acknowledges she was mourning the loss of her legs and that she let her insecurities and fear end the marriage.  All along she had thought she would wake up one day and walk and didn’t take her paralysis seriously.  Nor her health.  Pressure sores developed and she was hospitalized. There, she sought help from a psychiatrist who guided her to the realization that she could live a full life, plus she now had a 2 ½ year old son to take care of.  It was a new beginning on so many levels.

For 12 years it was just Sharon and Brandon.  During this time, Sharon had a laptop and was tinkering around on it. This was access to the world.  There she discovered social media in their very early stages.  She learned about “My Space” followed by “Facebook”.  Sharon had also started working for a local business whose focus was to assist anyone with a disability.  Sharon realized the power of social media and thus the beginning of a social media coordinator career began.

It was there at work, that she met Ted, who ran the accessible public transit for the disabled patients.  The romance turned serious, and they moved in together.  With Ted, they had one daughter, Brittany and a year later Sharon became pregnant with fraternal twins, giving birth to a daughter and son, named  Cheyanne & Teddy.

The pregnancy with the twins caused many physical difficulties and Sharon was sent to Seattle to have the hardware in her spine removed, which took 19 hours of surgery.  After the surgery, Sharon also ended up with staph infection.  She says quit counting the number of surgeries after 100.  Her health deteriorated; she weighed 87 pounds.  During this time her sister, Lezah, Ted’s parents, and the Genesee community rallied around Ted and the kids. However, all the surgeries and pain were fertile ground for depression and hopelessness set in. 

As Sharon lay in the hospital bed, she heard her doctor ask her pastor who had come for a visit to please pray for her.   Later, alone in her room, Sharon looked at the crucifix on the wall and prayed to God to help her. She knew she could throw in the towel and let life slip away from her.  As Sharon is recounting the story, tears well up and she continues, noting that in her hospital room, there was a large window, and not long after her prayer, the cleaning lady came in.  As Sharon watched her begin wiping down the windowsill, the lady went to spray the window and just then Sharon noticed that a small handprint appeared. This was from a recent visit from one of her young kiddos who had been standing on the windowsill.  At that moment Sharon yelled to the cleaning lady to stop and leave that small handprint visible.  She felt that tiny handprint was a message from God telling her that he wasn’t going to let her die and that she had children to take care of.   Plus, He had a plan for her life.

Fast forward, Sharon came home and was able to resume her position at work. With a renewed passion for God and life and helping others, Sharon began attending several national conferences about centers for independent living.  In her professional work environment, Sharon and her colleagues were involved with helping to see the passage of Idaho laws pertaining to people with disabilities as well as the most fulfilling achievement, the “American with Disabilities Act”.  

Today, Sharon holds the position as a Social Media Coordinator, a job that she loves and has been a part of for the last 30 years in the community.

Sharon with her kids

Sharon participating in a race

Sharon living life large!

In conclusion Sharon is beyond grateful for all the acts of kindness and help she’s received throughout the years.  And each June 30, the day of the accident, Sharon celebrates it as a “I am here day!”  And looking back over her life, she says she doesn’t think she would change the outcome of what happened the day of the accident.  Those events gave her a strong Christian faith and the eyes to see all the goodness bestowed by her family, friends, and community. In Sharon’s own words, “it inspired me to live my life the best that I can!~ 

Her personal motto is: “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting holy cow what a ride!”

P.S. Next God Kiss post with be the first Sunday in September.   Feel free to share the blog with others. Leave a comment if this inspired you. xoxo  Gayle


Sunday, July 2, 2023

God Kiss - A New Journey


Road site crosses along a highway in Montana

In the quiet stillness of the predawn hours, I awoke with a clear message.  I call it a God Kiss.  For a while now, I’ve been feeling the gentle but insistent prodding from God to do more since I’ve been committed to deepening my relationship with Our Lord.

But I didn’t know what it was until I read Isaiah 6:8 “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” I  felt like it was a calling, I must answer.  And I knew that God wanted me to use my words and passion for writing and telling stories.

After interviewing and writing stories about others for the magazine Home & Harvest for a few years now, I gained a true love of interviewing people.   I felt privileged that they allowed me into their life and hear their story and then have the honor of putting it in words.  I loved it so much that as I await my next writing assignment for a different segment for the magazine, that I knew that I wanted to continue to write about people.  That I would seek out people to share their stories about how God works in their lives. There are so many blogs out there on how to do this or that and I can only hope that this finds its way to those who need to hear it. All I know is that I’ll do my part and Jesus will do the rest. It’s that simple.

And as I begin this journey of writing about being blessed by Our Savior,  it’s only fair to first start out with a little about me as I dip my toes in the holy water of writing about how God works in people’s lives. 

On a recent trip to the 406 (Montana) it’s common to see little white crosses along the highways.  I’ve seen them all my life and it was just part of the landscape, and I never gave them a second thought.  However, this time the significance of the marker registered that this was not just a cross, but it represented an actual person whose last day on earth was documented at the exact spot that their life ended on that fatal day.  And as we came upon each one, I wondered what that person was like, what were their hopes/dreams and did they have a good life? And if they knew that this was their final day here on earth, would they have wished they had lived a better life? Would they know that their pathway after death would be to go to the eternal kingdom?  

As for me, growing up we weren’t a religious family.  My dad was raised as a Seventh Day Adventist and seemed to have little regard for that religion as an adult. My mom didn’t have a strong religious life either. But they were good hard-working people trying to raise us right the best they could.  They baptized all of us kids as infants, but that was the extent of our religious guidance.  However, I had a longing even as a child to be a “Child of God”. One of my first memories as a young child was riding in a car with a woman who was taking me to Sunday School.  I must have loved it and talked about it a lot. However, my parents didn’t want the Mormon influence of this woman to impact their daughter, so they didn’t allow her to take me to church anymore.  I was envious of my Montana cousins as they regularly went to Sunday School and church with their parents. However, that was not the case in our household, our life was chaotic as we moved around so much, and we never had a permanence in anything.  By the time I had reached 7th grade I had been in 9 different schools in different towns as moved all over Montana and the Dakotas.

Fast forward to my teen and early adult years ….by then the world had gotten ahold of me and I didn’t pursue becoming a Christian.  I felt I was spiritual, but God definitely took a back burner.  I made good decisions most of the time, but I did make mistakes, truth be told….  lots of them.  I used God as a 911 call and then I’d let him step into my life while I was in a crisis. And slowly when life was better, I’d put him back on the shelf and go it alone until the next major crisis. For this I’m ashamed. Would my life have been better? Different choices made?  Most definitely. I can remember at least 2 separate times that I was bound and determined to take a wrong path… and God quite definitely steered me away and down the pathway he wanted. Whew!! Praise be to God!   However, I was and still am not perfect and I still will make less than stellar choices. Those  tough life lessons learned have helped give me insight and strength to help others. When you weather a storm, you understand and hopefully can help someone else get through a difficult time. Silver linings by the grace of God.

In my mid-20 and being a divorced mom of a 2 yoa, my mom had remarried and she and my beloved step-dad had invited me to attend a church they had started going to.  It was the most beautiful little country white church located in Genesee..  My daughter and I lived in Moscow but drove every Sunday to this picturesque church with its charming congregation that consisted of members mostly my parents or grandparents’ age. About a year later, a young man suddenly started coming and he sat behind me. He had come home to farm with his dad. Long story short, we married about 1 ½ later. A couple years later we had a daughter.  We raised the girls in this close-knit farming community, farmed, attended church and life busy & full. It was a beautiful part of our lives & I will forever treasure it.  While I loved the church community, it wasn’t fulfilling my spiritual needs.  I felt closest to God on my walks.  In 2012, after 28 years of marriage, tragedy struck with deaths of 2 close family members and my marriage ended all within a couple weeks of each other.  It was a brutally hard time for all of us.  I stopped attending our church. However, I continued my talks and felt God in my long walks.  He urged me to blog about healing, forgiveness and moving forward, which I did. I look back during those dark days and know Our Savior was walking along side me and giving me the strength to heal. Once again I have seen, felt and know I’ve been blessed. Looking back, I can see how God put certain people in my life for a reason, some to help,  some to learn lessons from which would serve to help me in the future.  He has a plan for me.  Plus by his grace he put the perfect man for me in my life.  Rod is truly is my earthly rock and haven and soul-mate. We each have a deep faith and absolutely love the Venture Church that we have started attending.

Each morning I read my life application study bible ( it is the best – as it explains what I am actually reading) and it’s so helpful.  And somewhere in my journey, I noticed a shift in myself.  It’s hard to explain, and the best way to describe it is that  I feel blessed beyond measure and have a contentment knowing that God is with me every step of the way.  Seriously, it’s the best feeling ever!

For the first time in my adult life, I look forward to going to church, it feeds my soul and I make it a priority.  I wake up thinking about Jesus and try to see all the beautiful little miracles each day.  And best of all, I know he will still love me when I make mistakes.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

I will say of the LORD,  he is my refuge and fortress: my God. In him I will trust. Psalms 91:2

As always, thank you for stopping by. I urge you to share this blog in hopes that it will brighten someone’s day knowing that we all live an imperfect sinful life and that life can be so much better if we give ourselves to Jesus.  And come on back as I share stories about others and I’ll title them “God Kiss Series ” as I get to share their story about their lives and how they have have been touched by God.   

Wishing God’s best for you,


Sunday, April 9, 2023

Easter and Beauty in Faith


It's been a minute since I last wrote. The words have quietly been stirring. And on Easter Sunday that quiet little voice says it's time to write.  

Sometime last year I noticed a shift on what appealed to me, from everything that I watched to what I wanted to read or listen to was geared to kindness, hope and the gospel.  And I would get a small quiet nudge here and there about the need to deepen my relationship with Christ. I ordered myself a study application bible and started reading it from the beginning. I'm ashamed to say I have never read the entire bible. This particular one explains what was written and it's so helpful.  I knew I needed and wanted to strengthen my Christian faith and relationship with our Lord.  Truth be told, I've been a lukewarm Christian most of my life.   

Rod and I were going to church shop when he moved down, then Covid happened and life as we all knew it stopped.  And as we emerged back into life, we started church shopping last December and attended several different ones.  None really felt like we synced until the morning we attended the Venture Church.  I had looked them up and liked what they had written about welcoming new members.  For the first time, I was excited, really excited to attend.  And true to their word, it was and is a welcoming place.  Pastor Scott's sermons are amazing.  He talks about life today, the bible and delivers a message that resonates in ways to be a better Christian.  Rod is equally impressed and we both have found our new church family. It was time.  

As I read the bible, and as we attend the services, I can sense there is a purpose and plan that will unfold. I'm not exactly sure what is in store, but it will be beautiful.  Maybe it's just going to be my stories and that my writing that will touch someone somewhere.  All I know is I am a child of God who has received his mercy and grace when I certainly didn't deserve it.  Let me share a personal encounter.  Remember the movie "Ghost"?  One afternoon, I was driving, alone in my car when the song Unchained Melodies came on the radio. And I remember thinking back to the movie and wondering if the  evil black shapes that took bad souls to hell were real and was there really a beautiful white light to go to heaven? And then the most peaceful beautiful feeling overcame me and I knew... I KNEW I was in the presence of our Creator.  I can't describe the feeling, but it was the most awe inspiring feeling I have ever known. And I kept that amazing moment to myself, cherished it and rarely shared it.  It was so beautiful that I wanted to keep it to myself.  Weird.  So today, I am sharing. Our Creator is real. God wants a personal relationship with you and me.  I've felt his guiding hand helping me along this road we call life.  And as my faith deepens, it colors my world in ways that resonate in this girl's heart and soul.  

If you are reading this and need a church home, please consider the Venture Church or begin searching for the Church that makes you feel like you are home.  Order a study application bible, trust me it's the best and begin  your journey towards a closer relationship with our Lord.

Wishing you a blessed Easter. 

1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Friday, March 11, 2022

A Journey to the Good Part of Life


Driving to the airport on Tuesday at 3:45am to take my sweet girl, Kaitlyn to the airport, I couldn’t help but remember the last time we had flown out together for an early morning flight.  It was December 24, 2012, it was a white-knuckle drive through a blizzard to get to the airport where we were headed to Hawaii to avoid Christmas. Just a few short weeks before, both of us had suddenly found ourselves single, Kaitlyn as a widow and me with an unexpected divorce. Those dark days are now way behind us and we both have stepped into the light.   For Kaitlyn, she found love again, got married 2 ½ years ago and is a happy mom-to-be just finishing her second trimester.  For me, I moved to Moscow, after buying the most perfect place five years ago (today) and then found love too.    From where we came from to where we are now, we both know we have been blessed beyond measure.  Sometimes it’s good to look back and see where you came from to know how far you have come.  Simply put, life is beyond good and we know it.

During Kaitlyn’s visit, we held a baby shower, gathered family and close friends to celebrate this beautiful time in her life.  All the pregnant mom wanted was a balloon arch, crème puffs and chocolate drizzled bacon on a stick… lol.   I have to say, her cousin, Sarah planned out a splendid theme, I added a few more food items and my barn was created into a very magical place by her sister, Jen and cousins – Sarah & Bridgette. Thought I’d share some precious pictures . 

After getting Kaitlyn safely checked in, and seeing her off, I once again felt like I was leaving a piece of my heart watching her walk into airport security headed to the other side of the country.  All day I felt lost & blue…. I think the combination of that remembrance glance at the past along with putting your daughter on a plane was a gentle reminder that yes there will be dark days, but there will also be good days too.  After the darkness there is light.  That you should be gentle with yourself as with others who are or were on a rocky pathway. The journey to light is hard, but so worth the effort and that our Creator walks with you every step of the way.  It's character building 101 and sometimes we just need a little reminder of just how far we have come and to appreciate it.  One of my favorite quotes, " Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” – Madeline L’Engle" .   And both of our lives are filled with light. We were given a second chance. There was hope for us and I know there is hope for anyone else going through a difficult time, you just have to give your burdens to God and ask him to help you.

As always, thanks for stopping.  I wish all the best for you and that peace, love and comfort are yours.  All my best, Gayle

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Saying Yes to Living Life Large

And he says yes. to adventures, to projects, to my whims, to the requests made by the inherited grandkids to do things and mostly to living life large. That’s my sweet man, Rod who I usually refer to as “Mr. Right”.  Who knew five years ago when I accepted a date with this guy that we would end up enjoying life together, embracing each other’s kids, family members and friends?    This is the guy who doesn’t complain when the garbage disposal switch went out on Christmas Eve morning. He just went to town to get the part and fix it.  This is the same guy who has never told me no to any project that I think up… nope, he just figures out how to do it. With that thought in mind, what does he ask for Christmas? More power tools for projects, so that is what I gave him. 

Yesterday on Christmas morning as Rod’s kids weren’t here with us, we invaded Jen & her girls to watch them open gifts and have breakfast.  And the girls made seating placements for everyone, and where do they put Rod (a/k/a “Pops”)?..... well he was the only one invited to sit at the kid’s table.  And when they asked Pops to take them skiing today, he said yes, so off to the slopes is where he, Jen and the girls will enjoy the snow. That makes my heart so happy.

I have to admit, I’m not really a very smart person and often get tunnel vision on life.  The good thing is that I am a committed life learner and I absorb so much from others on how they enjoy life. Plus, for an added benefit, I truly feel God knew he had to give me some earthly human help and placed Mr. Right in my life.  For that I know I am blessed beyond measure.  Funny thing is - that Rod says he is the one who is lucky.  Either way, life is good, we are grateful for all that we have.  And yes, we both know we are far from perfect and when we drive each other crazy… well we take a step back and yep…. You guessed it – we look at what is “right in our lives” and that rebalances us.

And what did I get for Christmas from Mr. Right?  It’s a “mystery history tour adventure” scheduled for next month.  All I have to do is pack for cold weather, bring books and be prepared to enjoy the fun he has planned. Seriously, is that not the best thing ever?  The recipe for living life large brought to me by this very special man of mine.    

And as 2022 will be ushered in within the next few days, once again I’ll try my best to saying yes more often to the unexpected opportunities for fun and playing.  We’ve both worked so much of our lives, that now is the time to seize the moments of joy and see life just like a 5 year old does.  It's about seeing more good and what is "right" in life, in people and in our everyday surroundings. How about you? What are your goals and hopes?  Hugs, blessings and love to all, Gayle


Wednesday, December 15, 2021


A fun trip to Longwood Gardens in PA

Christmas 2021


As I am writing this letter in the evening hours of December 13, it is with a thankful heart.  I’m warm & cozy sitting by the fire sipping a glass of wine and alternating writing and watching the snow fall outside the window. Rod and all three spoiled pooches are (snoozing) and close by.  This is my kind of bliss. After 2020 and now days away from the end of 2021, the small everyday events that were once taken for granted and given little thought have now been elevated to an awareness of sincere appreciation.  Who knew little things like going to get coffee at a local shop, having the ability to travel, interacting with people in person and so many more everyday actions would be celebrations of the return to normal?   Normal is a good thing and at the end of the day I marvel at the ordinary pace of life. 

Other blessings in my life are that I retired on my birthday and retirement is beyond wonderful. I could ramble on for paragraphs, but trust me on this, I relish this stage of life.  I started a custom baking business and days spent in the kitchen are simply fun.  The best part of this is that I don’t have to make a living and slave away, a post retirement career is where I get to simply enjoy the passion of the adventure and work when I want to.  (Rod says), I too retired and agree with Gayle, I have yet found that I or we have little time on our hands!  And that’s a good thing.  My first project of getting Dad's courting car completely redone and the old farm sleigh is the newest project. 

As for the rest of life, so far so good – healthy, happy and content. We usually don’t know what day it is, except I do make a point to know when it is garbage day…but other than that, life is basically 6 Saturdays and a Sunday.   Can it get any better?   The highlights are that Rod and I have traveled to Louisiana as a birthday/retirement celebration, always fun to go and even better to go home. We traveled to Seattle to visit Rod’s daughter, Chelsea over July 4th holiday and then were able to spend Thanksgiving with Kaitlyn and her family in Maryland. We also enjoy getting to see family who live around here and are hoping that Rod’s son, Zach, who is now a senior at the UI will stay in the area after graduation.  Oh!! and I beat my mom at Scrabble (once) so I’m gloating as most times, I get regularly beat by the feisty 85 yoa matriarch. (Rod says), and another great trip to the San Juans where I masterfully pulled 13 crabs in one set!  We love taking the boat to the Canadian Gulf Islands, but Canada was closed by boat at the time, so we stuck to the Juans. There just so many places to go in the islands.  Additionally, I can’t believe she left out our Montana trip!  Our first night in Phillipsburg was grand.  I booked a hotel in Phillipsburg months earlier…Phillipsburg Kansas that is and didn’t realize it until about 7 p.m.  While I was on the phone trying to get a room, Gayle was busy making friends in the bar which led to us getting a spectacular room in a beautiful old 1889 hotel!  It figures.  

We’re getting ready to host Christmas here on the farmette and look forward to seeing even more of the extended family who now bring with them these sweet new little babies to hug on. (Rod says), and I love my inherited grandkids too, they are special!

As for goals for 2022, well…. it will definitely be devoted to embracing more quality time with family and friends. That is hands down the spice of life.  It is gathering together and making memories to cherish.  I’ll continue to look for those small little everyday miracles that make you realize you just received a “God Kiss”.  (Rod says), My goals are to keep Gayle from working too hard, I think I’ll sprinkle some more trips in there.

In closing, may you enjoy your version of a normal and beautiful life in 2022.  And that you continue to enjoy the wonderment of life’s blessings.    And in the wise words of Albert Einstein – “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle” Ditto!

Love and hugs,  

Gayle and Rod

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Custom Baking

Peanut Butter Pound cake

Peanut Butter Pound Cake anyone?  If you know me well, you know that I love to bake. I bake when I'm happy, I stress bake when I'm  not-so-happy and if it's a rainy/snowy day.... then I really bake up a storm. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Harvesting Faith and Good

Soul restoring Montana style

The one thing that I learned from being on the farm for so many years, is that despite your best efforts, sometimes things don’t go as planned. And perseverance and faith are your best friend, along with a good dose of hope. That learned life skillset has served me well and as I continue to learn new lessons from less than desirable circumstances, there are blessings and silver linings to be found.

And the reason I am sharing this is because of a setback on a goal of mine.  Without getting into the weeds too much, my application to host other events at my barn was denied by the Planning & Zoning Committee.  All the events Rod & I had dreamed about hosting were now in ashes.  The application hearing & process as a whole was basically awful and I was unprepared for mudslinging at me by one distant neighbor. (I now have even greater empathy for politicians who endure name calling). Anyway, after the dust settled and a recent soul restoring trip to my beloved Montana, a new dream is in the making.

Let me share my story on the magic of when things don’t go quite as planned.  After the P&Z hearing, I was feeling a bit off balance and said to my “Mr. Right” that “this girl’s soul needs Montana”. His response was, let’s go!  As Rod described a leisurely trip up Lolo pass and on over to Philipsburg (P-burg), I could hardly wait.  Bless that sweet man of mine.  Anyway, we arrived in Montana late afternoon and hungry. We were beyond disappointed that our favorite brew pub diner was closed… on a Wednesday of all things.  So after a quick bite at another place that wasn’t all that great, we discover that our hotel reservations were for Philipsburg, Kansas…. Not Montana.  Ugh. No hotel room was available in this cute little tourist town.   I was trying to not be glum as this evening was turning out not as I envisioned… so we decided to console ourselves by getting a beer at our other fav brew pub.   There the magic began, as we were sipping our adult beverage and getting a game plan, we struck up a conversation with another couple who didn’t live in P-burg, but spent a fair amount of time there. This couple were nothing short of being fascinating (she was an appellate judge in Ohio & he was a contractor building a small cabin here in Montana) and we felt like instant friends.  We head over to a different bar so the other couple could grab a bite to eat and (only in small towns) is a hoola-hooping contest in progress.  Out of the blue, a woman walks up to me and hands me the hoola-hoop, so I give it a try and win the contest. I guess I impressed Rod with my new found skill and got high 5’s from all the patrons…. Lol.  Basking in my new fame, in walks the mayor & owner of the beautiful historic hotel to find us as our new friends had called him after learning of our hotel situation.  He has a drink with us and says he has one room available with a king bed. Glory be! We follow him and the hotel is spectacular, the great room has comfy chairs, a wood stove and books that made you want to stay all winter and read your way through the room.  All the rooms were themed and we had a rustic style room decorated with skis and sleds and a divine plaid Eddie Bauer down comforter that you melted into on the chilly rainy evening.  The universe was putting just the right people in our paths and let me tell you,  I felt blessed beyond measure.  The next day we headed over to see my cousin Ginny & Scott with plans to see their fav Western themed dinner show in Jackson Hole, WY.  Family, music, good food… heavenly! On our way home, Rod & I do a day trip through Yellowstone and opt to spend the night in Virginia City, again another historic hotel and good conversation with the manager.  Getting to soak up the magic of Montana, spend quality time with beloved family…. this girl’s soul was filled up and I was ready to move forward as I felt there was just something better out there for me to do.  

Picture perfect in Jackson, WY

Barn envy

Yellowstone and Old Faithful, be still my heart

Once home, I connected with a lovely woman named Sara who sought me out and asked if I wanted to partner with her and do an antique show as this was also a dream of hers.  We plotted, planned and found a venue at the fairgrounds and now have two dates, the first will be a Spring event, April 2, 2022 and the second will be a Holiday sale November 12, 2022.  We’re starting to attract other cool vendors and I’m beyond excited!!!!

In the matter of a 3 weeks, I got my soul restored and a new events partner by trusting in a higher power and that Our CREATOR had something better in store for me.  The power of good people put in the right spot in the right time and seeing the magic of silver linings in situations that you didn’t plan for.

Again, those lessons learned from my time in Agriculture, this is an industry unlike no other. Besides feeding the world, I got to see firsthand how hardworking farmers/ranches paychecks depend on circumstances beyond their control – weather and the market.  This creates in you the power of faith and hope in all situations.  So no matter what speed bumps come up, I’m grateful to have gotten through them, I’ve prevailed and come out strong.  As for the barn, well we are blessed to have a large family and it will be the central point for our family gatherings, and that is  always a good thing.

Wishing you a very blessed Sunday.  Here is a special blessing I came across and want to share.  “May you always have enough happiness to keep you sweet; enough trials to keep you strong; enough success keep you eager; enough faith to give you courage and enough determination to make each day a good day”.  All my best, Gayle 




Thursday, May 13, 2021

Life as a new Retiree

 Life in the slow lane....

It’s a gloriously beautiful Spring evening and I can’t remember what day this is, which isn’t Alzheimer… no it’s called retirement.    I’ve had roughly about a little over a month of it to know that I love it.  I’ve poured a second glass of wine, lit the mosquito candle (as I discovered 5 areas of attack on my body from yesterday… ugh), grabbed a shawl and  parked myself on my patio with the laptop.  I call it pure bliss.