Sunday, December 28, 2014

These Hands

We just spent 3 glorious days at Island View Farms.
It is the place that Papa Moo spent his childhood and 3 generations of Inmans have raised or are currently raising their families.
 It is our very favorite place to go.

There is just something about the way it feels as you turn in, rumble over the cattle guard and head down the long driveway.
We are always welcomed with a smile and a warm embrace.

The property includes 3 homes
The Farmers cousin, Melissa, and her family, 
his Aunt Shelah and Uncle Fritz and his 
Grandma and Grandpa Inman's.
A place so rich in history.

Grandpa Inman, whom I didn't get to meet, was known as Big Phil.
Grandma Inman is known as Viv, Gram or as our kids call her Grandma Viv.
She is one of my very favorites.
She was a farmers wife and a hairdresser.
This year was her 94th Christmas!

One thing that I have always loved about Gram is her hands.
They tell such a story.
They are gnarled and worn, but soft and tender.
They feel like delicate crepe paper.
One simple ring wrapped around her finger since the day she became Mrs. Phillip Inman.
Fingernails filed so neat perfectly polished.

These hands have
cradled babies just minutes old
they have rolled out miles and miles of the best cinnamon rolls that have ever crossed your lips
they have washed mountains of dishes and been dried on her apron
 they have folded endless baskets of laundry, pulled weeds and planted flowers
 they have made dinner for big burly farm hands trying to get hay in
they have held a broom used for sweeping out the kitchen and chasing kids
they have drawn fresh milk from the tank for breakfast
they have mixed up thousands of batches of Swedish pancakes
they have grasped onto Big Phil's hand so they each would know that whatever they faced they would face it together
they have given an encouraging pat on her kids' backs as they stepped out into a new adventure
they have clapped together in celebration
they have cupped tender faces as she pulls you in for a loving giggle and a hug goodbye
they have even been known to throw a mattress out of a second story window when she had enough of her kids fighting over it.
They have held her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
They have comforted, disciplined 
and loved
I sat next to her at midnight mass one Christmas Eve hands clasped in prayer
They have held my hand so warm and tender exuding love through her grasp
Hands so small and meek yet so strong.

Today Gram spends her days confined to a wheelchair, but there is no doubt that when you greet her she will reach out her hand welcoming yours into hers with a gentle pat and a tender rub.
She doesn't see so good anymore and her memory isn't always the best.
She thinks I am one of the kids and always comments about how The Farmer has "gotten so big"
Everytime we leave The Skagit Valley we wonder if it will be the last time Gram takes our hand in hers.
Everytime I hope it isn't.

Blessed is me...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Presence

It's only the 24th of December and we have logged 4 Christmas celebrations.
What a busy couple days.
Too many cookies.
More food than we could ever eat.
Mounds of wrapping paper and empty boxes.
Hearts wrapped in love.

We celebrated with our kids this morning before The Farmer headed off for the tractor store where he had to work a few hours.
I burned miles of wrapping paper and cleaned up the house while the kids played with their new treasures, sat at their new desks snuggled up in their new jammies.
All things new.

This life.
It isn't wrapped in shiny paper or topped with a pretty bow
For most-all if you're honest- it can be, at, times messy.
We can pretend it isn't.
We can tell people about every perfect little detail and all the shiny things.
We can cover our broken bits
For awhile anyways.

At the heart of things Jesus sees us and loves us for who we are.
Broken bits and all.
He doesn't care if we are chasing him or running from Him.
The moment we turn to Him He embraces us
Clothing us in 
Love, grace and forgiveness.
All things new.

Today while burning I realized our only REAL problem is that we have 
too many people that
love us.
No seriously that is our biggest problem.
By days end tomorrow we will have logged 5 Christmas celebrations.
5 different families want to spend a few hours a day loving us.
I complain about this.
Not about the love, but about the running from here to there so people can

There are people today cloaked in sadness, alone, far from families. 
Their are mommies and daddies laying their heads onto a cot in the middle of the desert defending our country far far from the tender little hearts praying for their safe return.Their are people hoping, praying and wishing to love and be loved and I complain about too many people that want to spend time with us.
The nerve.

So as I sit here with my entire family safe and warm, rain pounding on our roof I am humbled and in awe of the one who tapped my shoulder this morning and whispered a simple reminder 
that even in my own mire, bad attitude, broken bit filled self that
I am blessed by the one who
makes all things new
and it isn't by 
presents, but by presence.

Blessed is me...

Monday, December 22, 2014

I Am So Excited For Christmas

I'm beyond excited for Christmas this year.
Not for the tree stuffed with presents.
Not for the tables overflowing with food.
Not for the lights.
Oh those are all good, fun and exciting things, but
I'm excited because I feel like it is a time of rebirth.
A new start.
To let old things go.
A chance to do better and to be better.

I know this is usually something saved for New Years resolutions, but I'm not much into that.
I fail at resolutions every. single. time!
The day the tender little baby Jesus was laid into the straw bed was the day everything changed.
I want to be changed
For me this year it is my prayer and hope
for new life
for healed hearts
  to release burdens
   to pray more and talk less cause Lord knows I can talk
   to mend what is broken
to listen and hear not listen to respond
to make all the small tender memories etched on my heart.
I am so ready for all of it.
So much so that it brings that lump up into my throat and my eyes fill with tears.
I've learned some big lessons this year and lessons aren't always easy nor are they very fun.
My heart is tender even when I appear to be made from tough stuff.
I need to slow down because I have realized I am missing out on some really good stuff.
Letting go of someone you love relentlessly is really hard.
Crying really does make you feel better. You know the ugly cry where your eyes and nose double in size and you fear you may never breath from your nose again because its clogged. That cry; do that.

I'm sure I am not the only one ready for some changes; ready to lay down all the burdens that I think I need to carry on my own and to realize
 that even in the trials of life we can stand on the promise that The Lord is faithful to hear our prayers.

The lessons of life are the building blocks of our story.
Every single story has a purpose and a reason.
It's makes us who we are.
However you choose to celebrate your Christmas I wish you the Merriest of days filled with love, hugs and overflowing hearts.

Blessed is me...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What I Have Learned After 20 Years Being A Hairdresser

I can't believe it has already been 20 years!
I am one of the lucky few who knew at a young age what I wanted to be when I grew up.
It didn't turn out to be what I expected.
I thought I would just be cutting and coloring hair.
That's it and nothing more.
I was wrong.
It's better.

~ Being good at cutting and coloring hair doesn't make you a good hairdresser.
It makes you good at cutting and coloring hair.
You also need good communication skills, a listening ear, a drive to exceed the standard and the ability to sometimes perform miracles.
You have to want to be and do better than the license you receive.
There are zero hours required to renew a hairdressing license. 
This, my friends, is not good.
Our industry is always changing and improving.
If we never attend a class how will we know what is up and coming?
Education is key and is available in so many forms from out of town classes, in salon education and webinars, some of which comes at no cost.
Just because it's online doesn't mean it cant teach us something.
Not every class is going to give you a certification either and that's ok too.
What is important is that we keep learning.

~ It's harder than it looks.
Formulating, working haircuts out in your head,
removing box black haircolor that a client tells you they've only done "once" and it "washed out",
lies.. don't lie to your hairdresser and black haircolor NEVER NOT EVER washes out
Oh, and I can really rock varicose veins at just 38 from standing all day long,
Who knew standing would be so hard?!

~It's emotional
If you're lucky enough to have clients come back to your chair year after year you become attached.
You become friends.
A bond of love is formed.
You walk through different seasons of life from graduation, marriage, life, death and everything in between.
You become part of each others dash.
Moments have taken my breath away as I've watch what once was just a little girl become a wife.
Tears have streamed down my face when learning of a dear clients death.
I've shaved women's heads bald, tears pouring out of them, as they prepare for the battle for their life.
I had no idea this would be part of it.

 ~It's rewarding
We have a gift and it can be used to help people be their best selves.
We have the ability to make cloudy days shine bright.

~It isn't flexible
I know everyone thinks it is.
It isn't
It's true I make my own schedule, but it is still a job and in order to make money I must work real hours.
I am serious about this work thing even though it is a really super fun job.
This has in turn made me a scheduling freak.
I need to have a plan because I need to know 6 weeks in advance if I need to take a day off because 90% of my clients book that far out AT LEAST.

~Working for yourself in someone elses salon isn't the same as owning your own salon.
I've always worked in lease salons which means I worked for myself.
This is a much easier way of doing things because you just worry about your own business.
Now that I am an owner of a salon I have taken on the task of worrying about my own behind the chair business as well as the business of the 7 other very talented women.
These are women whom I love and cherish.
I am never not working.
I am constantly thinking of how we can do better and be more efficient.
How I can help the other girls be successful too.
I research what is up and coming, trending, marketing, new methods, old methods.
You name it I am trying to learn about it.
By the way.. just because it is an "old" method doesn't mean it's not good!
Running business doesn't come easy to me and I don't love that part of it.

There are some things I don't love about our industry.

Like why some hairdressers feel they need to bash other salons or salon professionals.
Not only is this highly unprofessional it isn't a reflection of the person you are bashing it is a reflection of yourself.
I personally don't want to look at that reflection.
How can we claim to be building our clients up and making them feel like a million bucks when we are tearing someone else down in the process.
Not one of us is better than another.
Oh we might be better skilled at our craft, but we aren't better people.
I personally would rather get my hair done by a sub par hairdresser that has respect for others than a hairdresser who may be amazing at cutting and coloring hair, but trashes on people.

Imagine if we all worked together!
What if we shared what we knew instead of being a braggart?
What if we were brave enough to ask other hairdressers for advice and not just the ones we know that live out of town?
What if salon owners could get together and share ideas of what works and what isn't working?
What if we could do all that without fear of being looked down upon?!
The possibilities are endless
Because here is the deal we are all still different and bring different things to our clients.
Even in our small town there IS enough business for everyone.

we could rid the world of black box dye and over processed blond hair!

There isn't anything I've learned that I wouldn't be willing to share with another hairdresser because for me I just want to see everyone succeed.
Believe me I have tried things that haven't worked out well.
We all do.
I want everyone to live their dream and be successful at it!

I think we have the power to change the image of how hairdressers are thought to be 
 catty gossips'
The power lies within us.

Blessed is me....

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Disneyland 2014

It has been almost a week since we returned home from

It was wonderful, magical, over the top, exciting and exhausting.
Early mornings and late nights in a small hotel room for 5 days.

It was the kids' first plane ride and The Farm Manager asked no less than 5 trillion questions about the airport, security and flying before we even got to the airport.
He likes to have his bases covered.
We flew with JetBlue both ways and it was great.
There was TV in the headrest and WiFi at 30,000+ feet.
It was clean and comfortable with very friendly staff.

We were traveling with some of our friends who are seasoned Disney vacationers so my friend, Amy, took care of many of the details and let us know what were the best options.
She also arranged for all of us to have a shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel that was big enough for all the people in our group to have plenty of room plus space for our luggage.
Well, to her and our surprise it wasn't a shuttle bus it was a 
stripper bus!
Complete with pole, lights, loud music, sticky floor and scuff marks on the mirrored ceiling.
The kids thought it was pretty neat to have all the lights and to be able to see yourself in the ceiling.
They also really liked having something to hold onto e.i the pole
Thank God for hand sanitizer.
Calls were made to ensure we would have a SHUTTLE bus for the ride back, but nope another stripper bus.
It's all about memories and this gives us something hilarious to chat about.
 We are still laughing about the bus and also about how irritated Amy was.

Once we got to the hotel we dumped our bags and headed to the park for dinner and rides.
Amy really was a superior helper for us Disney newbies.
She gave us great tips for where to eat, how to get the best out of your time and where to sit for the magical Fantasmic show.
The kids loved the show and Disney magic really is amazing.
I'm so glad we got to share our Disney trip with them.
When the park closed we headed back to the hotel to get a good nights rest.

Kids in jammies, us in jammies.
Snuggled into bed.
Fancy Farm Girl "Mama my tummy feels weird"
Now, she gets car sick and did so on the way to the airport, but was fine as soon as we moved her to the front seat.
Well, kids fell asleep I get up to go to the bathroom and I come back and The Fancy Farm Girl is throwing up in her bed!
The Farmer ensures me that she is fine.
I assure him that this is 
My. Worst. Nightmare.
I just knew it we were going to have the stomach flu in a tiny hotel room on our first family vacation other than camping.
I called for more blankets and trash bags.
I tossed and turned all night and woke to every single sound I heard.
There was no rest.
Not for me anyways.
She was fine and there was no more throwing up.

Onto Disney!
After coffee...
Our hotel had a cute little coffee shop/mini mart.
The coffee?
So we walked to Ihop every morning at 530 am to pay $9.00 for two DRIP coffees.
530 because even on vacation The Farm Manager is up early even when he is up late.

Rides rides and more rides.
So fun to see the kids with giant smiles and to hear the laughter coming from the pits of their bellies.
It's also fun to see The Farmer like that.
Our favorite rides were
Soaring Over California
California Screamin and,
Big Thunder Railroad.

This is my favorite picture of The Farm Manager EVER.
He is a pretty subdued kid and we don't often hear the kind of laughter we heard this five days
It was amazing.

I loved the street performers that would pop up and seeing the characters walking around.
Here is The Farmer holding up his girl so she could see over the crowd.

We also ate really expensive junk food from Churros and giant turkey legs to delicious worth every gluteness bite funnel cakes.
Why is fried batter drenched in whipped cream and strawberries so good?
By the end of the trip we just wanted real food on real plates with vegetables.

The initial reason for this vacation was because The Fancy Farm Girl dances at Encore Dance Studio and they would be dancing at Disney.
She really really wanted to join the fun.
I'm so glad we did.
She shined on stage.
The smile on her face was worth every penny we saved and I would do it again in a second to see her so happy.
It is one feeling to be proud of your kids, but that feeling goes to a whole new level when you see your kids proud of themselves.
All those girls did such a great job!
Three cheers for Miss Denele and Miss Tia for pouring their hearts and souls into the kids who walk into Encore.
They truly truly love these kids.

My favorite picture of The Fancy Farm Girl all dressed up.
She is a shining star and claims to be heading back to California someday.

(YouTube is making me mad and wont load my video's so I just have to give the link)
Opening routine!
Fancy Farm Girl's routine!
Closing routine! 

We also took time to relax and enjoy some time by the pool.
The kids love love love the water and it was nice to just sit with zero pressure to get any chores done.
 I think they loved the pool as much as Disneyland.
Every night they laid their heads down exhausted.

Every night I laid my head down exhausted and happy.
Happy that we got to share in their amazement.
Getting to see life through child eyes is a treasure.
One we don't take for granted.

The days we long and the lines were longer.
The smiles were big and the laughter was loud.
Happiness filled the air.
Disneyland really is the Happiest Place On Earth.

Blessed is me...