Beautiful Ride

The somewhat self-indulgent rantings about the beautiful ride that is my life!

We’re All Stories in the End… April 29, 2014

Filed under: beautiful ride,Family,Home,Married Life — beautifulride @ 3:00 pm
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Once-Upon-a-Time-photoDo you have favorite story, one that you would read over and over and over again?  One with characters and a plot and a message that speak to your very soul. I know I do. My favorite story, like so many stories, begins with “once upon a time.” It’s an adventure tale, for sure…full of drama, laced with comedy. It’s set in a few exotic locations, it has quite the cast of supporting characters, and even has a few chapters that I would have liked to skip over…sometimes boring, sometimes sad. But at it’s core, it’s a love story…about a boy and girl…who met and fell in love and got married and built a life. A crazy, wonderful, beautiful, amazing life. And even though it’s not finished yet,  I can tell you how it ends. It ends like so many of my favorite love stories. How do I know? I know because it’s our story, mine and Rick’s. It’s the story of us. And today is a special milestone in our story…a milestone that shines like silver in the sunlight…a milestone 25 years in the making.

It’s hard to believe that it was 25 years ago today…almost to this very minute…that we stood there in that church, in the presence of everyone who loved us the most, and promised to do just that. Love each other the most. For 25 years, he has been my rock. My best friend. My heart and my soul. For 25 years he has given me the greatest gifts I’ll ever receive. And I don’t mean diamonds and pearls and vacations to faraway places. Yes, I’ve been given a diamond or two. Yes, I’ve been given a strand of pearls. Yes, I’ve been whisked away on an adventure now and again. But I would take those pages out of my book in a heartbeat, because while they are fun and shiny and very much appreciated, they aren’t really the things that make a great love story great.

What makes a great love story great are the quiet moments between the big events. The way he laughs when you can’t tie your shoes because your pregnant belly is in the way…and then he gets down and ties them for you. The way he reaches for your hand during the Christmas Eve service because he knows that every year you are weepy with the ghosts of Christmas past. The way he brushes the hair from your face and brings you a cold beer when you’ve been working in the garden all day. The way he wipes the tears from your eyes when your babies leave home, and quietly reminds you that you’ve done a good job, but it’s time to let them go. The way he’s willing to work with you, and for you…and the way he smiles at you and says, “all I need to be happy is to know that you are happy….”

Twenty-five years is a long time. And yes, there have been dark days and raised voices. Moments when I shake my head in disbelief that he still hasn’t mastered the laundry and can’t quite remember the kid’s schedules. And I’m sure days when he winces at the passive-aggressive way I handle anger and disappointment, and days when he wishes I loved cooking breakfast or maybe even wonders if I’m ever really going to cook anything again. It would be crazy to believe that in 25 years there hasn’t been hurt and anger and frustration. Every good novel has conflict and resolution…but what makes our story a great story is that somehow, through all the crazy ups and downs and challenges that we’ve encountered, we’re still here. Still filling in the pages. Still writing new chapters. Standing together, hand in hand, just like we were in that church 25 years ago. A little older. A little wiser. Still crazy in love with each other. Still promising to love each other the most. I knew after 25 seconds that I wanted to be a part of his story, and I’m beyond blessed to know that after 25 years, he still wants me to be the leading lady in his story. And if I could live 25 lifetimes…or 50…or a million…I would still want this story to be our story. Good times and bad, challenges and successes. Laughter and tears. And love. So much love.

This is our story. And even though it’s still being written, I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you skip ahead to the ending, it goes something like this….”and they lived happily ever after. The end.”



Pistol Annies ~  I Hope You’re the End of  My Story

I hope you’re the end of my story

I hope you’re as far as it goes

I hope you’re the last word I ever utter

It’s never your time to go

Sometimes this road that we travel

Feels like it’s leading us on

Spinning our wheels just stirs up the gravel

Before you know it, it’s gone.

I hope you’re the end of my story

I hope you’re as far as it goes

I hope you’re the last word I ever utter

It’s never your time to go

I’ll keep on turning the pages

Oh what a story to tell

You’ll still be my sweetheart when everything ages,

We’ll be the last book on the shelf

I hope you’re the end of my story

I hope you’re as far as it goes

I hope you’re the last word I ever utter

It’s never your time to go

I hope you’re the last word I ever utter

It’s never your time to go




Lending a Hand September 30, 2012

It has been quite some time since I posted a blog…quite some time indeed. No reason other than time, or rather a lack of time. I’ve been busy…busy with the kids, busy with the business, busy with work, busy with life. It’s been a juggling act on a tightrope trying to balance schedules, meals, orders, laundry, etc., etc., etc. I will even admit that while I feel immensely and unbelievably blessed to be doing the things I’m doing (ok, maybe not the laundry), I also sometimes feel like I just cannot take on another thing. With a husband that travels weekly for business and the sons that can drive living in different states, the daily run of dance classes, voice lessons, theatre practice, groceries, doctor’s appointments, etc., etc., etc. has left me feeling a little out of breath!

Facing the daily tasks we have to do, or want to do, can be exhausting, but we generally find a way to tackle the beast and get it done. Until that one time, that one time when we are faced with that one thing that we didn’t plan for … that we don’t want to do … that we just might not have the energy to face …  certainly not alone.

And that’s when your friends step in. And that’s why I’m finding the time to post a blog today. Today, my friends, and my little community of little businesses are working together for one cause. Under the dierction of the dear, sweet Barbara of Shabby Cowgirl, we are lending a hand to a family that just doesn’t have the energy to think about the busy-ness of daily life. A few days ago, Barbara used the power of social media to reach out to a small number of businesses that have been extremely supportive to each other. Although most of us have never met face to face, we have developed real and lasting friendships through our facebook connections. We’ve discussed our businesses, our families, our hopes and dreams and frustrations. We may be forging our friendships over virtual cups of coffee, but it is no less real than if we were sitting together at the kitchen table or at the local cafe. And when one friend falls, we want to do all we can to help pick her back up.

So when Barbara reached out to let me know that our Amy over at  Junk Love and Co. was sitting by the hospital bed of her son who had been injured, along with her father-in-law, in a severe accident, miles and miles from home, I was more than happy to help her in any way. Not because we’ve met, not because my sons have played with her son, but because she was suffering. And afraid. And she needed our help, even if we could only do the smallest of things. We wanted her to know she could lean on us.

Miss Shabby Cowgirl had an idea, that maybe a few of us could donate an item to an online auction, and we could raise just a little money to help with the cost of gas and food while Amy’s son was being treated in the pediatric intensive care unit of a hospital far from their home. Maybe we could just lift the burden a little bit so that they could focus all of their time and love on getting their family well and home. One little idea…the thought of one friend reaching out to a few more friends…has grown into an amazing online auction with well over 30 businesses participating with donations.

So won’t you join us on the facebook page of Shabby Cowgirl today, September 30th. The auction will run from 12 noon until 7 pm, PST. You’ll find the bidding rules and payment instructions, along with the amazing auction items, all listed on her page. Everything from jewelry to baked goods to autographed books and so much more, including a few items from my very own Cowgirl in the Sand shop. If you aren’t able to participate in the auction, maybe you could lend a hand by sharing the Shabby Cowgirl link on your facebook or twitter page. We can all lend a hand, and together, we can do amazing things!


To Have and To Hold April 29, 2012

Filed under: beautiful ride,Family,Home — beautifulride @ 9:11 pm
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Once upon a time, a quarter of a century ago, I ran into a handsome young man in a local parking lot. Circumstances being what they were, we struck up a conversation that seemed oddly comfortable right from the start, like being near each other was something that had always been.

A year later, the handsome young man asked me to be his wife. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life, but oddly enough, it didn’t come as a surprise. Because just like being near him seemed like a comfort and a joy that I had always known, marrying him seemed like a given…a foregone conclusion…the only possible end to the story that started one year before.  Don’t get me wrong here. This is not to say that I took the handsome young man’s proposal for granted. I did not. Even at the tender age of 22, I knew that life was always waiting to throw you a curve ball, to keep you unbalanced in some way so that you might never get too comfortable, never get off your game. But way, way down, in the deepest recesses of my heart I knew. I knew that he was the one for me. The sun, the moon, the stars, and all of the beautiful fairy tales combined. I have always been a believer of “when you know, you know….when it’s right, it’s right.” Not once, not even for a moment, did I have to think about my answer. Not once, not even for a moment, did I have to stop and wonder if I was too young or too secure or financially ready to get married. Not once, not even for a moment, did I have to think about whether or not I was ready to spend the rest of my life with one man…with this man.

Another year later, the handsome young man stood at the front of a beautiful church. He stood there waiting…waiting for me. Waiting for me to walk down the aisle and stand beside him. Waiting for me to join him…to be one with him….to have and to hold from that moment on, always walking together, moving forward together, living our future together.

Has it been hard sometimes? Of course it has. Has it been frustrating sometimes? Of course it has. What I have learned in the past 23 years is that marriage is work. But so is anything worth having, worth nurturing, worth holding on to. I’ve learned that it always requires a 100 percent effort…it’s just that sometimes one has to be willing to give 95 percent and only take 5, and then before you know it you are getting 95 percent when you only have a little to offer back. It is working together, loving together, facing the hard and the ugly and the mundane together. And if the commitment to moving forward together is there, then the rest falls into place and the rewards are so sweet.

Twenty-three years later, the handsome young man is still the sun, the moon, the stars and all of the beautiful fairy tales combined. He may not be as young as he was then, but then neither am I. But he is surely as handsome, maybe more. And he is smart and funny and kind and a great dad. And he has blessed me with four more handsome young men. And I see him in them.  And that makes me so, so happy. And when I look into his face,  I can see worry lines from the times that were tough and smile lines that are the sweet reminders of all the times that we laughed. I look into his eyes and I see my handsome young man, the one who has grown with me and learned with me and loved with me. I fall into his arms and I am home. All of these years later…with my handsome young man.


To Love, and to Be Loved February 15, 2012

Filed under: beautiful ride,Family,Home,Married Life — beautifulride @ 1:42 am
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Remember Valentine’s Day back when you were a young, school-aged child? Staying up the night before to make sure you had all of your cards filled out, ready to be delivered to the little hand-made “mail boxes” of your classmates. Remember the feeling of opening all of the cards, hoping maybe the special someone you had a little crush on would write “love” instead of “from” when they signed their name? How it made your stomach jump just a little, even in the 4th grade?

Remember Valentine’s Day when you were in junior high? Like so much of being a tween, you were never quite sure of how you were feeling, and moods and emotions could change on a dime during those years. On the one hand, you were grateful that you no longer had to pass out cards to everyone in your classroom, that kind of Valentine celebration ~ a party of cupcakes and “Be Mine’s” on 3 x 5 cards printed with super heros, princesses, and Winnie-the Pooh ~ well, to a 7th grader that was definitely beneath you. That was for little kids. But on the other hand, maybe secretly, you hoped that someone would slip a little note into your locker that said “I think you’re sweet, be my Valentine.”

Remember Valentine’s Day in high school? I remember in my high school, you could order flowers for your classmates. White meant “friend,” pink meant “I like you,” and of course, red meant “I love you.” I remember hating that day. It was so stressful, because it was all so public. Would you get a flower, would you get several, would you get none. When you’re in tenth grade, getting that flower means everything. At least in elementary school, you go down the list and you hand a Valentine to everyone in the room. By high school, Valentine’s Day, and the number of “flowers” you were given, could be a very defining event.  Were you the “lucky in love” girl that got many flowers, all reds and pinks; or were you nice girl that got some white ones from your friends; or were you the girl that went home flowerless, convinced that love and romance and that very special boy would never come your way.

For many, what happens on Valentine’s Day is a test. A test of whether or not we are liked…or loved. A test of how much we are liked…or loved. A test of whether or not our significant other loves us enough to remember the flowers, or the candy, or the card. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, and a lot of pressure on our loved ones, in the middle of every February. And why? I think it is because, deep down, we are all looking for the same thing. The reassurance that we are special. The promise that we are loved. And I think that we believe this outward expression of love from another to us will put to rest all of the self-doubt that we are worthy of that special love that we all wish for.

When I started this post, I thought I would write about my own Valentine. How special I feel, how loved I feel, how lucky I feel. And, as I started writing, I realized that instead of writing about how wonderful my Valentine’s Day was, I really started to remember how less-than-wonderful many of my past Valentine’s Days were….because a fourth grade boy didn’t sign my card “love”….because a seventh grade boy didn’t slip a note inside my locker…because a tenth grade  boy didn’t send me a pink or a red flower.

I wish I knew then what I know now. That not having a date on Valentine’s Day does not mean I’m not special. That not getting flowers or a card or candy does not constitute a broken promise of love.

I wish I knew then what I know now. That I should treat every day like it’s Valentine’s Day. That I shouldn’t wait for the middle of February to come around to tell my love how I feel about him. That I should be grateful for the smallest gestures ~ the look that says I understand, the steady hand that calms my fears, the warm embrace that brings me comfort, the gentle kiss that promises love.

I wish I knew then what I know now. That diamonds and romantic dinners are wonderful gifts, but the most amazing gifts are to love, and to be loved. To love and be loved by our friends. To love and be loved by our families. To love and to be loved by our children. To love and to be loved by our soul mate, our one true Valentine. In the every day, in the quiet, in the messy, in the funny,  in the real. That’s what I wish I knew then. And that is what I know now…what I have now. I love, and I am loved. And that’s what makes every day Valentine’s Day.


A Lifetime in a Look March 16, 2011

Filed under: beautiful ride,Faith,Family,Home — beautifulride @ 11:33 pm
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Just about now, my parents are saying goodnight to each other, just like they have done every night for the last 48 years. Today is their anniversary, and a very special one, as far as I’m concerned. This has been a tough year for them…not that they haven’t survived tough times before, but this one…well, it stopped them in their tracks.

My father suffered a life-threatening illness this year. Diagnosed with liver cancer 8 years after fighting his way through stage 4 esophogeal cancer, Dad made the decision to fight again and go ahead with the surgery to burn off as much of the mass as possible. The surgery happened the day before New Year’s Eve, and all seemed to go well. It looked like we would ring in the New Year with great news, and Dad was on his way to recovery. But 48 hours later, he was back in the ICU, unable to breathe on his own. He had developed aspiration pneumonia.

For what seemed like an eternity, we sat vigil by his bedside. My brother, my sisters, my mother.  We waited. We watched. And while we watched, they taught. In the midst of all of this illness and ugliness, my parents taught me a lesson…a beautiful lesson about love.

It happened every morning, when Mom would wake up in a strange bed in an unfamiliar town and go sit beside him. She never complained, she never dreamed of going home without him, she never let him see her cry–she wanted him to draw strength from her strength. It happened one day, after a very long morning, when she cried out that she wished she could trade places with him. It happened one night, after a very long day when Dad was just awake enough to be agitated, and scared. He was on a respirator, so he could not speak, but he did. He spoke to her, to my Mom, with his eyes and with his touch. They held hands and he looked into her eyes, searching for answers and comfort. And she looked directly back and said “I know what you are asking me, and I know we talked about this, but you are getting better and we aren’t giving up.” And it was enough for him. His eyes said, “I love you and I believe you,” and you could just see him relax and drift off to sleep. It was at that moment that I was reminded that these two people were not just my parents. These were two people that found each other and fell in love with each other long before I came into the picture. These were two people that stood beside each other through good and bad, in sickness and  in health–raising four children, losing their own parents, surviving everyday challenges of finances and jobs, praising God, celebrating  grandchildren. These were two people that had shared a lifetime…and I saw it in one look.

My father has recovered. And after 6 weeks away from home, they both returned…together. Mom promised that she wouldn’t go home until he went home. She kept her word. She stayed in a hotel, in the Hope House, at my sister’s place…but she would not travel the two hours to go home until he was ready to go with her. And he would have done the same.

And today, my parents said “Happy Anniversary” for the 48th time. Maybe they said it with a look, maybe with a touch, but they said it together. One more moment together.  48 years, 576 months, 2496 weeks, 17,520 days…25,228,800 moments. A lifetime. A beautiful, wonderful lifetime.