Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Yesterday I retired. I began cleaning houses 19 years ago with a service as a means to make some extra money for our oldest daughter's wedding but then it quickly turned into my own small business. Cleaning houses wasn't something I aspired to, I wanted to be a Ballerina when I was young. As clumsy as I am I can see why that didn't work out but I digress. Some people go on to college and pursue an education and settle into a career but I always wanted to be a wife and mother. Having a cleaning business was a good fit for our family because it gave me a lot of flexibility but it didn't offer many avenues for creative expression. One of the things I did to combat that, was to pray for the families that I was cleaning for and turn my profession into a ministry.

So what do I do now? Anything I want to!!

Dave and I at Jennifer's wedding, June 5, 1998

Over the months Dave and I have talked about serving God and how that will look once we make the move to the Mountainview Hideaway. Besides serving in church, we want to offer the home up as a retreat and Dave would like to exercise his passion for photography but other than that, we are going to play it by ear. This summer during the month of July, our Pastor did a series titled, "GOOD READS" where he interviewed authors whose books he had read and they had made an impact on him. He was interviewing Jennie Allen who wrote, "ANYTHING" and how as Believers sometimes we're a little scared to surrender ourselves and tell God that anything He wants us to do, we will do. How many times have we heard the saying,

"God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called."

As I sat in church that morning, I let my thoughts wander a bit about serving God once we move and God spoke to my spirit in the way that He does that I recognize immediately. He reminded me that once we relocate to Montana we have nothing hindering us from praying ANYTHING. All of the mistakes we've made or blown opportunities are in the past, we are starting with a clean slate. No longer having to "punch a clock" or having the responsibilities of a job, frees up our time. Our children are raised and have flown from the nest so there isn't the busyness that comes from raising a family. As clear as day I heard Him say,

"You are poised in a unique situation to serve me!"

For the record, when God speaks to you, it is a big deal! How will that pan out? I haven't got a clue. What I do know is that God never calls us to a task where He hasn't already made a way. My title, "So now what?" rings with renewed purpose and I am excited to see how He will use us in the next season of our lives!

Monday, August 29, 2016


This was our last weekend to wrap up some of the prep work before we pick up the truck Thursday morning. I helped Dave take apart the computer desk on Saturday which took a lot longer than we thought it would. This is the very reason for doing the prep work so that we aren't slowed down loading the truck! We've had the computer desk for maybe ten years now and with all of it's pigeon holes, I've been able to cram a lot of junk in there!

I have used the top to display family photos and at Christmas, it's a great place to set up my Nativity pieces.

A few weeks ago, I sorted and purged through everything, getting rid of pens that didn't work, outdated paperwork, etc. To my surprise, Dave started going through the desk pitching stuff (some of it mine!) His plan was for the drawers to be virtually empty but I didn't know that; yes, I was fishing through the trash and squirreling stuff away!! I guess we had a "failure to communicate" but knowing that he's feeling stressed, it was just easier to rescue my supplies and save my warrior attitude for more important things! For the record, as much as we are anticipating retirement and living in Montana, this whole down-sizing your cr*p and moving across the country is very stressful!

As you can see, we have spared no expense in our computer set up, we like the card table and crate look. This will have to make do until November and then once we get my creative studio over the garage finished, I will use this computer for my Genealogy project and we will upgrade our family computer

I am looking forward to actually having a home office rather than using our "former dining room" like we've been doing all these years. We plan to use the small room off the master bedroom (where the stained glass moose hangs in the window) and keep everything all contained and set up the tall filing cabinets.

This time next week Lord willing, we should be unloading the truck!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Anyone who knows me well, knows that Beth Moore is hands down, my favorite Bible Teacher ever. One of the things I heard her say that has stuck with me goes like this...

"Lord, can we just be whelmed, do we have to be OVERwhelmed?"

I love that! I have to keep reminding myself that He has got this upcoming move firmly in His hands and I just need to do my part and let Him take care of the rest. Sometimes that is easier said than done though!

One week from today, we pick up the U Haul truck and begin loading the remainder of our household, minus those bare bones items we will need in the last few weeks after we get back from Montana. This past weekend Dave took apart our log bed and prepped it for the move. We are still able to sleep on the mattress, we just have it sitting on top of the underbed drawer units.

It's hard to believe that we have had this four years now. We've never regretted getting this bed and I am excited to see how it looks up in the Master bedroom!

Our room seems much larger without the headboard, footboard and side rails!

I have been doing a final sweep through the house and boxing up those essential things that I thought I'd leave out for our last few weeks but have now changed my mind about. Today I am picking up some new king sized down pillows to take up there and we will be packing up the comforter. This weekend we will take apart the computer desk and set up the computer on a card table. Wow, this time next week we will be loading the truck! Just be whelmed...just be whelmed...just be whelmed.

Friday, August 19, 2016


Today is a big day...we are exactly 90 days out from Dave's retirement and this morning I am going down to Head Quarters where we will begin the paperwork process.

Dave joined the Burlington Northern back in March of 1982 as a Patrolman for their Police department. He had graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice and joined St Louis County Police after graduating from the Police Academy. While he was at "County" he made a life long friendship with Jerry and the dispatcher Diane, who would later marry Jerry; Dave was their Best Man. Jerry joined the Burlington Northern and told Dave about the job opportunities and the rest they say is history... (On a side note Jerry is retiring right after Dave!)

Dave began his work career with the Railroad in Chicago and then took a lateral move to St Louis which is where we met in 1985. A week after we were married, he was promoted and began working as a Special Agent in Lincoln, Nebraska. We lived in Lincoln for four years and Laura and Charlie were born there.

Life in Lincoln...1986-1990

Our son Charlie was born right before we moved to Colorado...

When Charlie was two weeks old, Dave had once again been promoted, this time to an "On Line Special Agent" position in Trinidad, Colorado. In one sense, the town of Trinidad was a very difficult place for me to live, it wasn't an ideal setting for raising a family, we did however get to do a lot of camping as a family and since we love the mountains, it was a great fit in that regard.

In the April of 1993 we traded in our little single wide mobile home for a much larger double wide home. Just four months later we once again moved, this time to the Dallas/Ft Worth area and Dave became a Manager in the Resource Protection Department. We knew when we made the decision to purchase a double wide that moving was always a possibility but then there were definite benefits of moving our home with us.We found a nice Mobile Home Park in Denton and have made a life here for the past 23 years.

Over the many years of Dave's work career we've seen a lot of changes in our family...marriages, grandchildren have been born, loss of parents and siblings, my auto-immune disease, Dave's 2x battle with prostate cancer...happy times and sad times. We survived a merger with the Santa Fe Railroad and Dave is retiring as the Field Director for LARS (Load and Ride Solutions). In these many years of his long work career some of his additional responsibilities has included conducting grade crossing investigation courses, Operation LifeSaver, has been a Firearms Instructor and just last year was the Chairman of the Association of American Railroads, to name a few...When Dave and I married I was a divorced Mom with two little girls and then we added two more children into our family. Until recently, now that all the children have left the nest, for the first time, it's just us...

We made sacrifices along the way to achieve the prize that is nearly here. Living more frugally, making the choice to have a mobile home rather than being bogged down with house payments and high taxes has left us in the position to not only have our dream but to have it completely debt free. So yes, I am eager to see how the next chapter in our story unfolds...

Monday, August 15, 2016


I have to admit I am in sort of a holding pattern right now, a standstill as it were. As of this weekend, all of my stuff has been purged and packed for the U Haul move coming up in 2+ weeks. I will go through the items I've left out until the final move in November and I will probably throw together a "last minute" box of stuff that I will take now versus later. I am grateful that we've been able to do all of this at a leisurely pace but I find myself eager to start unpacking all of this stuff and getting it put up into the cabinets, closets, etc. I know the days are clicking off at a fast and furious pace and the next thing I know, we will be loading the truck.

My current project is researching and then setting up the appointments for internet, satelitte dish and land line for the house. We need to talk to the Post Office and get the information we need for setting up mail delivery once we make the final move. We debated whether to get a PO box or have regular delivery and I think we will start out with regular delivery.

I have started some shopping lists, mainly grocery items as well as my project lists to accomplish in the three weeks I am at the house. Once I return to Texas I will be scrubbing down the house for the new owners and I am planning a visit back to St Louis to spend some time with family. I am retiring August 30th so I will be hanging up my toilet brush for good.

Most of the movies have been packed up and once we get to the house, we will watch "Lonesome Dove" our annual Fall ritual. "Lonesome Dove" is in my opinion one of the greatest western stories ever written. Of course, Robert Duvall has been my favorite actor for as long as I can remember and the relationship he and Woodrow Call (played by Tommy Lee Jones) have, has the perfect chemistry that translates so well to the screen! Larry McMurtry wrote "Lonesome Dove" first and then went back and wrote "Dead Man's Walk" and "Comanche Moon" the prequels to "Lonesome Dove"; he then wrote "Streets Of Laredo", the sequel. If you've only ever watched "Lonesome Dove" you're missing out on the depth of the friendship that exists between Gus and Woodrow and why Gus' death is so devastating to Captain Call! Robert Duvall himself said, “I always say the English play Shakespeare, the French Molière, the Russians Chekhov, the Western is ours. It’s our Shakespeare.” I couldn't agree more!

Friday, August 12, 2016


I have a confession to make, I am a PINTEREST addict. A friend told me about the site a few years ago but when she warned me it was addictive, I poo poo'ed her. For the record, she was right and I was wrong, VERY wrong! Most everyone, unless you've been living in a cave somewhere knows what I'm talking about, it's electronic hoarding without the clutter! Now, the only thing I have to feel guilty about is the amount of TIME I spend on there searching for ideas rather than the amount of CRAP I have accumulated and have to store!

My latest obsession is outdoor living. Initially, I thought it would be a great idea to have a Pergola set up on the back patio where we could have summertime dinners in the late afternoon or enjoy a glass of wine under the stars. I imagined soft lighting, a Chiminea and maybe some music wafting through the night air, a little Romantic Sax or some Al Green perhaps...

After giving this some REAL thought, I realized that THIS is our reality, endless pine needles from this magnificent 100+ foot tall pine tree that I sweep off the patio every morning and an avalanche of snow coming down off the family room roof, in winter...

I am not one to be deterred once I have set my eyes on something I want, I will just roll it around in my head until I figure out a way to get it. This is where PINTEREST came in. I saw some creative ideas to design the outdoor living space I wanted but I can make it completely mobile.

The directions are pretty basic, sinking either posts, or in our case we have some leftover tree trunks from a remodeling job, into concrete. I can place each one on top of a plant caddy with caster wheels, so I can move them around the patio easily as well as for wintertime storage. Drill a couple of pilot holes near the top of each trunk so I can screw in some hooks and then string my globe lights between the poles. I picked up some red, white and blue globe lights on clearance after the 4th of July and yesterday I found this cute bistro table and chairs marked down to a ridiculous end-of-summer clearance price!

Since we upgraded to a 26 foot U Haul truck, it looks like we will be able to take the gas grill with us after all rather than buying one up there. I have already planned our first evening meal outside, some grilled Salmon in Raspberry Chipotle Glaze with fresh Rosemary garnish, a favorite of ours along with a nice Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Pralines and Feta Cheese and maybe some fresh steamed Broccoli; top it off with a scoop of Huckleberry Ice Cream for is sweet!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

100 DAYS

So here we are, we begin the countdown of the final 100 days before we embark on our retirement chapter. The days have been filled with purging and packing as of late but we did take a little time off to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday at the end of July. Peggy drove down and spent the week of her birthday with us, letting us love on her and allowing us to work some more on the grieving process. The three of us have come to the conclusion that while it is sad that Perry never made it to the Mountainview Hideaway, it's also a blessing that we won't look around and be filled with nostalgia over memories shared there. Peggy will be flying up to the house a week after we get there and she will spend two weeks helping us to unpack and settle things in. Dave only has two weeks there since he has to get back to work but I will be there a total of three weeks, enough time to knock out some of those boxes. We've been giving thought to activities while Peg is at the house, not wanting to get melancholy revisiting a favorite hike the four of us might have went on so we are considering going up to Polebridge and the Bowman Lake area of Glacier, unchartered territory for all of us! We need a little recreational time, all work and no play makes for a grumpy Dave!

Sun Rift Gorge in 2012, one of my favorite pictures of the four of us!

Iceberg Lake, another favorite memory...Constant reminders of special moments in time...

I also had a weeks down time last week battling Bronchitis. I felt pretty crappy so needless to say, I didn't pack a single thing! The medications are doing their jobs, slowly but surely and I resumed my methodical packing. Right now, I am stressing over some sentimental and precious items to transport. I have my mother's doll "Ursulla", her only toy she was able to bring out of the Czech Republic after World War 2 when they became refugees, fleeing to what would become West Germany.

My Mutti with Ursulla, Czech Republic 1943

I found a display case to protect it and set up the photo inside with the doll.

There is also my first doll, a German one I got back when I was a little girl as well as this 135 year old doll which was passed down to me from a Great Great Aunt in Germany. I have wrapped these in bubble wrap several times and the box will be the last thing we load into the truck the morning we leave.

We upgraded our truck to the 26 foot size just to be sure we would have enough room to accommodate everything. We didn't know that we would be able to take the gas grill but now that it appears we will have room for it, I have to get out there and scrub it down and remove any grease and nastiness. My next project to purge is the utility room which shouldn't take too long. My final packing job is all my genealogy research paperwork and photos, not much to purge in those files!

The brutal heat of Texas is in full swing but I'm not as affected by it as I thought I would be. If someone had told me that we would go the entire summer in Texas, not taking a break out west from it's temperatures and I would be okay with that, I never would have believed them! Yet, here I am plugging along, knowing that this is the last summer that I have to deal with this horrific heat and it makes the anticipation of Montana in 3+ weeks, that much sweeter!