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

Greetings!

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.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Oh Happy Barn Construction Day!


Feb 9 the power pole is set
Day 1 February 10 

  
Oh happy day!  Excitement abounds in this girl's world, let me tell ya!   Last Tuesday, Clearwater Power set the pole and on Wednesday Cleveland Construction arrived.  This was construction on Day 1.

I've had Cleveland Construction do some work for me before, but never to this extent.  I have to tell you, when the owner, Brandon says he and his crew will be there, they are.  These guys show up, they are fast, efficient and the amount of work they get done in a day is mind boggling.

Monday 2/15/21 - progress!

Here is what the barn looked like this Monday.  The guys showed up in the midst of a snow globe

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Gathering Treasures

 Greetings from the farm

As I countdown the days to retirement, my excitement grows.  Both Rod and I are beyond excited as we plan for upcoming  barn events. 

In preparation for either a late summer or early Fall  Barn Vintage Treasure sale, I have begun repurposing my finds and increasing my inventory.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Faith and Retirement

 

A PLAN FOR MY LIFE....inspiration and guidance that came to me one day

Reading my daily devotionals, these were excerpts from 3 different books, all on the same day  -  they all spoke about “FAITH”.   In them contained these phrases that jumped out to me…. “faith is nothing without action”, “what fills you up so you can share your gifts with the world?”,  “leaning to live with faith is to take the next step  and faith is a conscious decision that our Creator has a plan in mind”

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sweet Stuff



The day was sort of a cloudy dreary day, but the mood inside this gal's farmhouse was just the opposite.  The grand-angels, their momma and her honey spent the afternoon in a cookie making marathon.