Blessed, Hopeful & A Little Bit Redneck . . .

Now that it has been a week since “Pickin’ Post Falls” Vintage & Artisan Show took place, I thought I should finally get around to updating our blog.  The show was a great success.  Not only was our attendance up 1300 people since our “Pickin’ Christmas”, it was also the first show I can remember that we had absolutely no conflict.  

A small sampling of some of the amazing things our vendors brought to this show . . .

Sure, we still had the occasional post from people who don’t like to pay admission (not sure how to make them understand the thousands and thousands spent on putting on a show,  renting a venue, doing tons of advertising, buying insurance and do all the incidentals from traffic cones, to signs, to decor, etc.) but we have always had and will always have those that want everything for free.  We spend countless hours finding and jurying our vendors, communicating with vendors, designing our ads, posters, postcards, getting it all printed, distributing it all, designing, repairing and maintaining our website and facebook page and event pages, meeting with TV account executives and their creative team, figuring out all the details of the venue and working with their crew, hiring and preparing our own crew and so many more things I am sure I am forgetting.  These shows don’t just “happen.”  

But that complaint has always been the case and always be the case.  Of course we all want something for nothing.  But that is not reality.  Probably the only thing about those complaints that annoys me is the fact that ALL of our advertising lists the price.  So they know before coming that they will be needing to pay admission, yet still they complain.  I always wonder, if this is an issue for them, why they chose to come.  But anyway . . . that is just life and always will be.  I have accepted that no matter how fair we think our prices are, (and that if we didn’t charge admission we would LOSE money) someone will always take issue with it.  So I choose to not let it have power and instead to look at the positive. And my goodness, is there a lot of positive!!

As I mentioned earlier, our vendors were fantastic.  They all got along and many became quick friends with their neighboring booths.  They smiled and laughed.  They showered us with compliments.  My fear of man lessoned a bit.  I began once again to believe in the goodness of people.

Our crew too, was amazing.  We had gals handling the admission area, another covering our booth, three people in loadout and holding, another handing out postcards as people left, and a runner who did everything from decorating to filling in for lunch breaks, to just being our “right hand woman.”  And at take down, these busy bees made our job a breeze.  All these amazing people did a fabulous job and it ran like clockwork.  And they did it all with a smile.  

So thankful for our worker bees . . . What an amazing crew!

And to our shoppers . . . 99.9% of you were wonderful.  You were not the complainers I mentioned earlier . . . you came with a spirit of fun and excitement and enjoyed just living in the moment with friends and family as you went from fabulous booth to booth.  You smiled at us, you complimented us,  you encouraged us.  You praised our vendors, you thanked our staff.  You are the heart and soul of our business and we are grateful beyond words.  We truly love you and thank you for allowing us into your world.

This week, as we dealt with all the aftermath of the show, which involves everything from banking and paying for our promotions and other expenses, to unloading our car and van and resetting up our shop in the barn, I reflected on the life I live.  By many standards it is a weird life. Never the same.  Never 9 to 5.  There is a lot of time spent on the computer, but also a lot of time spent being creative.  I rarely have a day where my fingernails don’t have paint under them and I usually lose about 3 pounds every show, just because of all the running around we do.  But I also thought of how blessed I am.  How I get to choose my life.  My husband also gets to choose.  He chose to leave the high pressure corporate world of EMS management this year.  His stress and health are ten times better for it.  I get to choose to work 18 hours some days and 3 hours others.  I average more than full time hours, but I love what I do.  I meet the most amazing creative people and have made some incredible friends.  Just yesterday, I needed to exchange a shirt I had bought from a vendor that ended up being too big for me.  We met at the local McDonald’s parking lot to do an exchange.  We chatted and acted just like any old friends do.  I marvel at the personalness of it all.  I have vendors tell me they are praying for me.  I have vendors give me gifts and send me cards.  I get lots of hugs.  When I am struggling, there is always someone who prods me on and believes in me.

I have realized this life I live . . . while a bit more complicated than I had expected, is beautiful.  It is filled with people from all walks of life . . . we stay clear of political conversations, but openly talk of love and respect for one another.  We find joy in each other’s creativity.

When, we had a sudden personal emergency in January, dealing with Ron’s aging parents, we were able to stop and deal with them and our vendors gave us the grace to take a break.   I felt a sense of panic as we didn’t get as many postcards and posters placed as we wanted, but our attendance numbers still increased.  At one point, as panic threatened to overtake me, I simply prayed for God to bless our efforts, even if all we could do was less than we had planned.  He did just that . . . by 1300 more in attendance than our last show!

So today I sit here filled with gratefulness and planning for our next big show, which will be in Boise in April (“Pickin’ Boise” Vintage & Artisan Show) and our barn sale in a couple of weeks here at the farm (Spring Has Sprung Barn Sale).  I realize this path we have chosen will always be full of ups and downs, but I will praise God in the good times and the not so good.  One of the most exciting “good” thing that has happened recently, is that the fabulous little French decorating maven, Fifi O’Neill has graciously accepted our invitation to come do a book signing and “meet & greet” on Sunday, April 23rd during our “Pickin’ Boise” show.  She will also be doing photo shoots of homes in the area, so that is a fun element to bring to the fine people of The Treasure Valley.  

I just got news regarding a one of our shows at a much later date, that may mean a big change there.  At first panic threatened to overtake, but my husband (he is the greatest blessing God has ever given to me) and God gave me the peace to know I could make a choice to trust the future and know that even if the picture changes, it can still be beautiful. I am beyond grateful for this life I have been given. 

My amazing husband, Ron . . . my greatest blessing!

So now, to change my post from a post of gratitude and instead throw in a dash of “redneck”, here is the redneck beauty secret I promised to share.   It is actually a bit embarrassing, but as those of you who know me and have followed my blog have come to know, I am almost always transparent.

Love this shirt by www.lookhuman.com

So here goes (cringing a little, as I admit this) . . . I have many people compliment me on looking young for my age (I will be 54 in a month!), of not having a lot of wrinkles and not being all “puffy faced.” . . . While I know I am no beauty queen and certainly don’t profess to be, one thing that has helped tremendously with this is . . . drumroll on a redneck kettle please . . . Preparation H!  

Stay with me here, before you write me off as insane.  The purpose of Preparation H is to remove inflammation of tissue . . . in this case for hemorrhoids . . . but it is made to be extra gentle, because of the nature of where it is used, and it DOES remove inflammation.  There are two types of Preparation H . . . cream or ointment.  I use the cream, because I typically put this on a few minutes before my foundation.  The ointment would leave my skin too oily to apply foundation.  If you were spending the day at home, to let your face soak in the ointment, would also be great. 

So there you go.  Not sure if you have now declared me insane, but the truth needed to be spoken. Typically I put it on, especially around my eyes and mouth and where ever my wrinkles seem to want attention, and I then brush my teeth and then do my hair, letting it just sit and soak in.  After that I can easily put on my makeup . . . the cream has been fully absorbed and my skin feels wonderfully soft.  I have more redneck beauty treatments too . . . but I will save that for another day . . . before you all decide I am completely insane and stop following my blog.

So I leave you feeling blessed, hopeful and a little bit redneck and wishing you the same . . . after all, a little redneck is good for all of us!

 

So Sorry for the Repeat

Blog Notification!

Oh dear!  So sorry for the repeat!  I realize that those of you who have subscribed to my blog, got last week’s post again tonight.  We were having issues with our hosting and that blog had disappeared, so through the “help” from a nice young man working with my hosting provider we got it up and going again, but unfortunately, not without resending it to each of you.   So please accept my sincere apologies.  I will post a new post soon on our successful show, new things coming up and my simple redneck beauty treatment.  But for now, I simply apologize for resending the same blog.  Sometimes technology .  . . or perhaps my lack of tech skills is very frustrating!  Please stick with me . . . I hope to improve as time goes on.

Pickin’ Grace & Pickin’ Post Falls

What a long winter it has been. .. and most of us are bored and ready for spring.  So we have the perfect cure for your winter blahs!!  Come to Pickin’ Post Falls Vintage & Artisan Show!!

We are so excited!! Our Pickin’ Post Falls show is almost here! It is at the Greyhound Park & Event Center in Post Falls, Idaho, right off the Freeway. The event is Feb. 18th and 19th (Saturday, 9 to 6 and Sunday, 10 to 4).  We completely sold out all spaces to vendors that were all hand selected through a jury process.  So our vendors, who come from throughout the Northwest, are truly the best of the best.

We have such an amazing eclectic variety of vendors . . . lots of vintage mixed with amazing artisan handcrafts.  From handmade furniture and handmade soaps to vintage kitchenware and custom signs.  It is an incredible variety.  Whether your decorating taste is cottage, French country, industrial, mid-century, primitive or an eclectic blend of all, there will be something here for everyone.  Plus fabulous food and bluegrass and country gospel playing quietly in the background as you shop.

As I think about this coming week, while filled with excitement, it is also a week of not only our “Pickin’ Show” but also a week of “pickin’ grace” for me . . . during the preparation, set up, the show itself and take down, there are always “opportunities” to choose to respond with grace.  Inevitably someone will have an issue, a complaint, a problem, something won’t be right, etc.  As I talked about a couple of posts back, I have had to deal with my “fear of man” . . . my fear of being attacked verbally and then wanting to be an osterich and hide my head in the sand.  I hate conflict and I hate confrontation.  So while of course every show I pray for there not to be any issues, I am coming to realize these shows . . . and anytime you work with the public, for that matter . . . are a chance to exercise a simple little word called “grace.”

But what exactly is grace and why is it so important?  My favorite definition of grace is “unmerited favor” . . . meaning, while we did not deserve kindness, forgiveness or “favor”,  we were given it anyway.  It is what we as Christians are offered again and again when God chooses to forgive and love us, even though in many ways we are still so wretched.   How can I expect to be given God’s grace, if I don’t show it to others?  

So this week, I will make every effort to respond with grace.  It will be something I know I will need to keep giving to God again and again, as issues arise.  So while I don’t look forward to the conflict, I hope it will be a week in growing in grace.  I may bite my tongue a few times or need to take a little walk alone in the parking lot, but that’ okay.  My grace is a work in progress.  So when you see me at the show, expect me to be responding and reacting in love and kindness.  And if you don’t see me, I may be in the bathroom nursing my bitten tongue or taking a short jaunt through the parking lot . . . 

So please join us at the show.  It will be a great event!  Admission is only $7.00 and is good for both days with a hand stamp!  15 hours of shopping one-of-a-kind booths for less than 3/4’s the cost of a movie ticket!

We recently had a fun little surprise to find out that Mark Peterson, of KXLY TV, will be live at the Greyhound from 3 pm until 5 pm Friday during our vendor set up.  Be sure to watch KXLY during this time . . . and find out about the surprise giveaway he will be telling you about!  So excited!!

Get your shoppin’ shoes on . . . this is the event you’ve been waiting for!!  And don’t forget to bring a little grace along with you as well.

Losing Yourself or Maybe Finding Who You Really Are . . .

I don’t often write about some of the more personal aspects of my life, but a lot has happened this week that I want to share . . . not just to drone on about family matters, but to share how it affects all involved and how blessings can be found even in the most difficult of times.  My father-in-law has Alzheimer’s.  Having lost my Daddy, less than 1 1/2 years ago, I am familiar with dealing with dementia.  In regards to my father-in-law, it has been very simple.  His wife, my husbands step-mom, has been a wonderful caretaker.  So we simply see things such as forgetting and constantly repeating over and over.  Or asking the same question again and again.  Our “inconvenience” has been small at best . . . a ride here or there.  His disposition has always been sweet and we just took the dementia in stride . . . not liking the changes we were seeing, but seeing that he was still happy and content.

This photo was taken on our property with our John Deere hay rake by my sister-in-law Marcie on Thanksgiving of 2015


This week, my in-laws went to my niece’s wedding in Oregon.  While there, my mother-in-law took a bad fall and broke her shoulder.  She is nearly 83.  While breaking a shoulder in itself is a bad thing, especially at her age, being the single caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s and being put out of commission is devastating.  She is dealing with some other complications as well that make it obvious it is time for a change.  So while she stays in Oregon for a bit longer with Ron’s brother and sister-in-law to “recoop”, and his sister Marcie focus’s on finding the right “home” for them, Ron’s Dad is now home with us. Our dear friends Jeff and Dianne brought him home from Oregon for us.

If you have dealt with people with dementia, you know that familiarity and routine are very important to them.  So we knew we needed to bring him back to his apartment.  So after dinner at our house, Ron and I packed up our little suitcase and headed with his Dad to their Senior Apartment. 

My husband Ron is a part time physical trainer at Physique, a fitness center here in Spokane.  He does the early morning shift just two or three mornings a week.  By early morning, I mean 4 am.  So he leaves at 3:30.  So last night we got a small introduction to his step Mom’s world and my admiration of her has skyrocketed.  He is sweet . . . . exceptionally so, but very child like.  We knew we needed to get some shut eye, which meant he needed to go to his bedroom, so the living room could become our “bedroom.”  We politely nudged, Ron escorted him back . . . again and again he would bounce back, asking “Where is Nadine?” (his wife).  We would gently tell him and try to get him back to bed.  This morning, shortly after Ron had left, but before 4 am, he came out to the living room asking once again, “Where is Nadine?”

This photo was taken on New Years Eve just a few days ago, while he waited in the E.R. while Nadine was being treated.

It isn’t that he isn’t sweet.  He is the essence of a total gentleman.  He is just confused.  Leaving him alone is not an option, as he has been known to wander.  During the short time at our house, before taking him to his apartment, he wandered into our bedroom, opened the front door (the thought of him wandering off terrifies me!) and removed and looked at countless things on my shelves.  One thing he kept picking up was an antique metal toy, called “Range Rider” of a cowboy with a lasso.  This was his toy when he was a child and he passed it on to us several years ago.  I have no idea if he remembered it was his toy or not, but it obviously struck a chord with him. Each time he picked it up and gently turned and fingered it, a broad smile filled his face.

As I watched this and even now, as he sits in his recliner, reading a retirement brochure with pictures of Betty White all over it, I am touched by the simpleness, shortness and poignancy of life.  He smiles a lot, hums sweet hymns.  He is filled with joy.

When my own Daddy was deep in the throws of the evil demon of dementia, still he was sweet.  He would pat my face, he would make goofy faces at me.  He would sing silly songs he made up.  He was a favorite of the helpers that would come to care for him.  My Dad was always a gentleman, whistling nonstop.  In fact, I know of no better whistler than my Dad.  He would whistle hymns all day long.  If Dad wasn’t whistling you knew something was wrong.  But it wasn’t often that he wasn’t whistling.  He was a happy, kind and gentle soul.  My Mom cared for my Dad until the end and it was very hard.  Emotionally and physically, it took everything she had to care for him.  Once again, we helped where we could and spent quite a bit of time over there, but it in no way replaces the primary caregiver.

But I look back at those last days, when Dad would smile and tease me, when he would light up because his little dog jumped up on his lap, when he would kiss my Mama.  That is life.  That is what matters.  My life growing up wasn’t perfect.  Ron’s life growing up wasn’t perfect.  Our parents didn’t get everything right.  We didn’t do everything right.  Sometimes things got messy.  Really, I have discovered, most, if not all, families are a bit dysfunctional.  

But today I choose to celebrate the simplicity of humankind.  Of someone who chooses to smile when life falls apart, of someone who might make us laugh at their forgetfulness, but chooses to laugh along with us and not be angry with the hand they were dealt.

Yesterday, my father-in-law asked me, in all seriousness, “Have you flown to the moon and back?”  I laughed and then happily told him, “No, but I love you to the moon and back.”  It was a sweet moment I will remember for always.  He smiled big and once again reached for his beloved Range Rider. My eyes filled with tears that were a confusing mix of joy and sadness.

Life is hard right now.  We have to make choices and decisions.  We know it will get worse.  We know eventually there will be loss and grief.  I am heartbroken for the loss my husband will endure.  But for now we celebrate.  We celebrate smiles, we celebrate joy found in simple things and we realize sometimes in the hardest of times, is when the blessings show through the clearest.

May you choose to find and celebrate life’s simple blessings today!

Thank you . . . Love & Support Wins Again

My last post, I hate to admit, was a bit whiny.  I don’t go that direction very often, but on that particular nighgod-is-goodt, I had let fear get the best of me.  Looking back now, I see that God was always in control and always will be.  Our show, “Pickin’ Christmas” was a great success and it sounds like the many events throughout the area also enjoyed a great turn out.  I am thankful for this . . . I love cross promoting one another and wishing success for everyone.  Which, I suppose is why I had taken such hurt at the comments of one.  I realize there are many in the community who support our business and am thankful for that.  I am thankful for the growing support of our neighbors and the love of my friends.

For those of you who took the effort to give me an extra hug or send me a note of encouragement, I thank you.  God is good.  I am loved.  You are loved.  Sometimes in this crazy world, we tend to forget that.  I intend to continue to do my best to live a life of peace and love.  I do not wish ill for anyone and I simply want peace and gentleness to be the focus of my life . . . as I focus on God for that example.   As we approach Christmas, I think of the sacrifices of Christ.  I want my life to be an example of Christ.  To put aside differences and instead embrace and love one another.  Today is a new day and I praise God for this life I get to live.

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All is Calm . . . All is Bright

Tonight I just got home after setting up for our latest show, “Pickin’ Christmas”, which will take place at the Greyhound Event Center in Post Falls Idaho this coming weekend, December 3 and 4.  We have the spots all marked off, the placement figured out for everything from decor to ticket booths . . . and my booth is done.  I am pleased with how simple it came together and how nice I think it will display.  But still tonight finds me anxious and stressed.

[EDITORS NOTE: At the advice of our lawyer, while believing no wrong doing was done, we have chosen to remove paragraph 2, in order to avoid unmerited legal action.]

Over the course of the last few years, our show has grown on our property as well.  We have wonderful neighbors that go above and beyond to support us . . . two of them offering their pastures for parking and others attending and building up our show with positive accolades.  But there are two, best friends, who disdain our once a year show and have stood on our driveway and told us off in very colorful language.   The last exchange, left me shaking so bad I physically could not stop my leg from shaking . . . it was kind of like a bad Danny Kay movie where his leg has a life of it’s own.  

Each show brings in at least a complaint or two.  I am sure, given the thousands in attendance, this is normal.  Someone will balk at the price of admission.  I had someone even tell me she is “outraged” that we charge at all.  I will save that issue for another post, but I will let you know renting venues, advertising, insurance and more, leaves us spending thousands and thousands of dollars each show.  I have been called greedy, self promoting, foolish, and more.  I was told off by a man in Southern Idaho for coming to their area for a show we did down there, stating that “we take jobs from the local people.”  I have no idea how he reasons that, as our show is a high percentage of vendors from that area . . . meaning we BRING money to their local economy, rather than hurt it.

I remember in 2003 when we did our first show at a small grange.  We charged $1.00 admission and still we had complaints.  So I say all this to say I know people will always complain.  If a vendor doesn’t do well, regardless of the vendors around her that did awesome, they will blame me rather than look at their product and see if it either didn’t make the mark or wasn’t priced correctly.

So before each show I get nervous . . . not just a little fluttering stomach nervous, but gut wrenching panic attacks.  I hate that I do this.  It has gotten worse and worse of the course of the last year.  It is nearly debilitating.  And this fear . . . a fear of man, really . . . has carried into all aspects of my life.  I am fearful of not being liked.  Fearful I am hated in the vintage community.  Fearful of rejection.  I find myself doubting if my friends really like me.  I am a bit of a mess.

But my husband, bless his dear heart, reminds me of who I am . . . not just someone he loves and cherishes, but someone God loves and cherishes.  I forget this often . . . and even find myself wondering if God loves me.  If I am up to His standard.

I know all of this is a lie of Satan from the pit of hell.  My head totally knows it.  But sometimes my heart believes it.  On this blog I try to be uplifting and encouraging.  And I am not without hope.  I DO know God loves me.  But sometimes, on nights such as tonight, all doesn’t seem calm. Things feel out of control.  I worry about my kids, I worry about our business.  I panic that no one will come to our shows.  I worry about what others think.  I hate admitting the pettiness of that, but it is the truth. 

So tonight, I challenge you to believe in what is good, even when your heart says otherwise.  I choose to believe God will bless our show and, if for some reason, a vendor or customer yells at me, I choose to look to the hundreds who affirm me and not believe the lies of the enemy.  Please join me in choosing to believe, even in this time of unbelief.  God is Greater!!

Here’s to a good show this weekend . . . with God’s Blessing!

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