Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10 Years Later And The One Who Took A Chance On Me.

10 years
3 different locations
13 different people
and a business name people struggle to say.

 Last month marked 10 years that I have owned Salon Boheme with The Farmer.
He is my mostly silent partner.
It's perfectly imperfect just like me!

10 years ago I was in a tiny 2 chair salon with barely enough room to turn around without knocking into someone.
It was a great place to start.
When I decided I wanted to move into a bigger location with many more stations I sought the advice of one of my dearest client/mother/friends.
Debi is just one of those people you are drawn to.
She always has a wise logical word and gives the best advice.
We were chatting about loans, banks and borrowing a big chunk of money one morning when she said
"I'll loan you the money"
I kind of laughed it off and thought why would she loan me such a large amount of money.
When I came home and talked to The Farmer about it he suggested that she was serious and that I should talk to her.
I did.
She offered the funds, repayment terms and less interest than the bank would charge.
I couldn't believe it.

She took a chance on me.
And a big one at that.
She not only supported me financially, but also was a huge cheerleader.
She still is.
We have grown a great friendship from this business deal.
Our kids love to go see "Miss Debi" at her office even though they act shy.
She lets them use as many staples and rolls of tape as they want.
I get to enjoy her as a client, confidant and a dinner date companion.
I love her BIG BIG BIG and she loves us right back.
Salon Boheme wouldn't be what it is without her and Tim's support.

Since I was 11 years old I've wanted this.
It isn't always easy and I fail at a lot of things, but I am a work in progress always striving for more.
I am learning to trust my gut and that it's ok to try things that don't work.
I'm also learning that The Farmer is really the only one I need to make decisions with.
 He has been and always will be my biggest support.

I love our salon and everything we stand for.
I love the girls past and present who have built their own businesses inside the walls of the salon.
I love the love that spills out our front door.
I love the warm inviting glow early in the morning and winter evenings.
I love that when we rearrange people ask if the chandelier I bought before Salon Boheme even came to be is new.
I love the clients who let us try crazy things on them, let us serve them, trust us with their struggles and triumphs.
I love that I love going to work.
I love that work is actually some work and all play.
I love days when all we do is laugh until our bellies hurt. 
I love when we get to have quiet intimate appointments early in the morning and I equally love the hustle and bustle as the day goes on.
I love saving the world daily with client/friends breaking all the rules about no religion or politics. It just comes down to respect.
I love that I get to enjoy tender moments with the girls who work with me like marriage, love and babies.
I love that they also took a chance on me and do everytime they renew their lease.
I love the trust we have between each other that we can share our weaknesses and celebrate our strengths.
I love that they love me; all of me.
I love at the end of the day when I turn off the lights, lock the door and walk away gazing inside that I fulfilled a dream I had 27 years ago.

I still love Salon Boheme 10 years later.

Blessed is me...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Celebrating The Life of Jean Kraft

Yesterday was a special day at JK Heritage Farms.
We got to celebrate the life of Jean Kraft.
This morning as I sit at the kitchen table in the very spot her table sat I feel overwhelmingly 

Yesterday was an afternoon filled with food, shared stories, laughter and love.


 We decorated the room with her treasures and things she loved.

We gazed a pictures of her life from birth to 95

We heard stories of how and why Kraft Dairy had to change its name to Johnny and Jeans Dairy.
It's because there is a little known company called Kraft
that sent a cease and desist letter to a farmer who milked 57 cows and sold the milk right off the farm.

 When we bought the farm we bought it not only filled with love, but with treasures.
We have lots and lots of goodies from steamer trunks and milk cans to every single Del's OK Tire bill they've ever paid and all their farm records.
It's fascinating to see how much they paid for stock trucks and how much they bought and sold calves for.
Some of my favorite things about Johnny and Jean we learned yesterday was:
Mrs. Kraft graduated from Astoria High School at 16 and headed off to New York.
She rode the train stopping along the way knocking on doors in prominent neighborhoods asking if they needed a cook.
She met Johnny, and immigrant of Norway, at a park in New York.
They married in 1942 eventually heading back to Clatsop County.
They lived near what is Fort Clatsop.
When the government decided they wanted to build a park where their house sat they sold the land, picked up the house and moved it to Youngs River Rd.
This is the house we live in.

 They milked 57 cows.
55 Guernseys
1 Jersey
1 Holstein
Johnny named every cow and knew which one was which.
He talked to every cow as he hand milked them.

They ran the cows from the pasture across the road to the barn for milking.
Mrs. Kraft could be seen carrying hay out to the cows in the pasture from the barn a hay bale in each hand.
Those bales weigh 60lbs each!
Mrs. Kraft was a crossfitter before crossfit was cool.

Mrs. Kraft loved to cook and often hosted their family for Thanksgiving in this tiny house.
She would clear out the living room and move in a dining table so they could all sit together.
Before knowing this I drew out a house plan a few years ago adding on to our tiny house and in that plan our current living room would become our dining room with a long farm table big enough to host our families for meals.
I got to keep all of Mrs. Krafts cookbooks and her handwritten recipes and after hearing how she loved to cook and spend time in the kitchen it makes it that much more special.
To think her hands touched the very recipe I am following
brings a smile to my face.

I'm told she could be seen sitting in the kitchen window reading her bible.
We got to keep that too.
I wonder if she sat praying for Her Farmer, for the visiting kids that ran from pasture to pasture, climbing high up into the hay mound, for the health of their animals and the farm they loved so much.

While they didn't have kids of their own they loved to have kids here.
These kids learned what a hard days work was and how delicious Mrs. Krafts fried chicken was.
Kids would dip fresh milk from the tank and buck bales up high onto the stock truck event though their chins barely reached the bed of the truck.
Lots of kids kept horses here.
One horse, Sarah, could tap her hoof to tell you how old she was and add 2+2.
Some of her family came into the house to see what we have done to bring it back to life.
Each one of them said the same things.
"Jean would love everything and would be smiling"
They loved how we have incorporated Johnny and Jean into our family including their family photos in with ours.
How our fireplace mantle right down to the nails holding it together comes from things found in the barn.
They said she would be "happy"
That makes me happy too.

I have never met Mrs. Kraft, but I feel so connected to her.
I have a deep respect for the things she has done in her life and a love for her I can't explain.
Mrs. Kraft was a no nonsense gal who liked T's crossed and I's dotted.
She was strong and independent, tender and loving.
She loved Johnny, her home and her farm.
Much like I think I am or hope to be.
I love this place we get to call home.
Sometimes overwhelmingly so.
Our home is small, but our love is BIG
When you walk into our barn you can feel a consuming love that covers you like a warm blanket.
If you quiet yourself and close your eyes you can hear the sounds of the past and kids giggling as they climb higher and higher up the bales of hay.
I hope as Johnny and Jean watch over the farm together from the heavens that they are proud of what we have done and what we still plan to do.
I hope they know we love this place like they did.
I hope they know that love continues to live here.
I hope they are smiling and happy.

They forever will be a part of our story.
A story of dedication, trial, hard work, prayer and love.

Blessed is me...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Broken Bits

The last couple years have been full of broken bits for The Farmer and me.
Sometimes things are way up
other times
way down.
Life just happens that way.
It builds us where we need to grow.
It stretches our faith.
It burns away the yuck.
It teaches us how limber we really are when the wind tries to blow us over.
It reiterates that we are stronger together; even on the most broken days.
It also shows us who will be with us picking up our broken bits without a second thought and sadly who will walk away.
I pretty much hate it, but I know that it is part of our story.

If you're like me you try with all your might to hold the bits together always quick to pick one up if it falls ensuring that no one notices.
However, soon more and more bits fall and I have struggled to pick them up before someones eye catches a broken bit.

Offers of help are usually given with me declining assistance.
Because I am tough.
I am a helper not the helped.

Why do I feel like I need to be tough all the time?
Why do I always have my game face on?
Why am I quick to offer a tight hug, but will rarely take one when I need it the most?
Why will I carry other peoples broken bits, but not let them carry mine?

In the last few months I have learned that it's ok not to be tough all the time and when I drop my broken bits it's ok to accept help.
I've been very luck to have people that have picked up my broken bits even when I ask them not to.
They have been quick to put them back together for me.
They have carried them for me when I just can't.
They have let me know it's ok to not be tough all the time.

I am learning that it is ok to let my guard down and let people see me cry.
You know the ugly "I can't carry these stinking bits anymore" cry.
Cause when you hold it in for too long and then the flood gates open it isn't real pretty. 
Trust me.

In the last year I have had my eyes opened to a different kind of love.
One with no strings attached, no competition, no expected pay back, no constant reminding what had been done.
Just love
free for the taking broken bit picking up

And, honestly, it hasn't been by who I thought it would be.
I think we all have those friends who we just know will always be and when we need them most they just can't give what we need.
And that is okay.
Life is about growing and changing and sometimes we outgrow friends.

It has been by people I barely know.
People who have texted me and said 
"your family has been on my mind and if you need anything please let me know"
Random messages on Facebook
"I prayed for you today"
Phone calls just checking in.
And it's been by people I have known most of my life.
Old friends and new.

Now, before you get all freaky and texting me a thousand messages.
We are fine.
We are healthy.
We are united.
We are human and just are going through the same crap that everyone goes through.
The reason I feel compelled to share is that I want you to know
It's ok
to ugly cry
to accept a hug
to not be tough all the time
and it's ok
to drop your broken bits.
Someone will pick them up.
Someone will carry you through
Someone will hug you tight
and someone will wipe your tears.
It might be by someone you have known your whole life.
Maybe someone you've only met 3 weeks prior.
Maybe it will be me.

Lessons learned:
We are never alone in our struggle.
Someone will always be there to help.
Ugly crying really does feel good after it is all out.
Broken bits don't define who we are, but make up our story.
Maybe it is a story intended to help someone else.

ALL things work together for good.. Romans 8:28
Broken bits and all.

Blessed is me...