Happy New Year’s Eve

Each year around this time amost everyone looks back to the previous year (close to being in the record books) to see what memories both good and bad can be both savored or conveniently forgotton. Every year has its share of laughter, tears, struggle, and triumph, that logistically balances into a strange configuration we call life.

Our lives weave into a pattern of comfort as we see the end is closer than the beginning. Some find solace in repetition and the classic repeat of time honored work or family tradition.

I however find that variety is the spice of life. This leads to new discoveries that expand our horizons and helps us find fullfillment. Packages that haven’t been opened, places yet to be seen, and interactions with people yet to be met helps define the exploration of our journey.

With each new trip our focus becomes the time frame we live in. Few live in the moment which unveils the smallest discoveries that sometimes turn into the largest miracles.  One such miracle are the Wallaces.

We have somehow found a magical place near a small little town called Orofino, Idaho. Located in the panhandle of northern Idaho not too far from a major city, Lewiston… we have found peace and friendship.

Tie Creek is the official name of our sub-division with approximately 17 owners we live 13 miles from Orofino. Across and down the valley we view our neighbors, the Wallaces. Ryan, Amy, and their children Claire and Lucy have become our very special friends.

It’s funny how life is. I retired this year and looked forward to completing the build of our home and starting our new life in “the middle of nowhere”. Well, as fate would have it we are blessed to have met some very special people, the Wallaces. Through-out my life I have never met such kind and generous people that exude the mantra of “what this country used to be.”

Their word is their contract and their love for each other spills over to envelope all those that are blessed to know them. Almost every weekend they come to their sanctuary and light the outside lights to let us know they are there, only a hop skip and a jump from our home.

Nancy and I so look forward to seeing them. We try to make a point to get together attempting to (in some small way) return their constant generosity and kindness. Of all the different challanges over the course of this last year our friendship with the Wallaces stands by far as one of the best parts of 2022.

Ending my some 40 year relationship this year in the restaurant business was another major development. I’ve worked at some of the finest dining establishments in the world.

I’ve owned, managed, bartended,  and served in high end restaurants my whole life. I took a break in the late nineties to own two inns in the gold country of California, the All Seasons Groveland Inn and the All Seasons Sugar Pine Resort. Each experience brought extreme challanges usually followed by reward. To get to the reward took perserverance and a single-mindness   always trying to focus on the destination and not the obstacle.

Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I failed. I suppose in truth I learned more from defeat than I did victory. One of the greatest aspects of retirement is taking the abundance of time to reflect on my life, where its been and where its going. Usually when you have time, you have no money, and when you have money you have no time. This is certainly a unique place to be untethered by a job with the resources to not worry about that which you can’t control.

Now there is no one to hold back the reigns of possibility other than the greatest distance you’ll every travel… the six-inches between your ears. I want to acknowledge another very important aspect to where I live now. The people in this area are only about who you are and not what you have. This leads me to my final observation I have come to realize about this year, a year of transition.

My daughter, Nancy, and extended family are the blessings I think of everyday. To listen to my daughter speak of her discoveries both good and bad brings to the forefront my most important responsibility, and that is being a dad. Then their is Nancy whom without her love and support, none of what I’ve accomplished would have been possible.

Friends and family are the most important aspects of life. Even though I relish being in the middle of nowhere I look to my friendships as the true measuring stick of success. Those I’ve known since childhood, those I met in college, and those I’ve met through work and others by complete blind circumstance are truly gifts.

Each friend holds a valuable piece of my heart and helps me look at myself through different eyes under different circumstances. In conclussion I would say that having the time to think of these simple thoughts is a graceful departure from the hustle and bustle usually defined by others. The peace and solitude that is now my life honors the sacrifices my parents and others have made to help capture this very special moment in time.

 

 

 

 

Holiday Magic

It seems the holidays bring with them a sense of magic. This magic can translate to many different components that are interwoven into a spirit of connection. We connect with our families, friends, and even casual acquaintances but even more than that we connect with that which is truly important…giving.

I think of the holiday season as a platform for the charming and glorious relationships we have with our own childhood, family, and the spirituality of Christmas. As a child we take the story of Santa and a magical kingdom at face value. It is a story told by many that gives it creedance. It’s also the Santa we see, the Raindeer, Elfs, festivities, and of course the presents.

What could be better than to live in a place like the North Pole surrounded by Elfs making toys, Santa, and a journey to bring toys to every little girl and boy in the world? This background puts everything else in our lives that may be negative or distracting into a box we can discard during the holidays.

An advent calander, the presents themselves filled with mystery and expressions of love and caring for those we shop for. But most of all it is a time to experience the smiles and laughter that comes with giving a little bit more of ourselves than the rest of the year.

Everytime I see Christmas lights, hear the Christmas music, and witness the joy of giving… I think back. I think of the many Christmas days that have been etched in my memory. I think of how much time and effort my parents spent to create a wonderful two day period (the 24th and 25th of December) that elevated my happiness to a level that is rarely experienced in life.

I see their faces when I look outside to the beautiful vista of snow, evergreens, and the lake below. Oh, how I miss them! It is in that moment that I remember the past and think how I can be better in the future. I think these thoughts to (in some small way) honor their memories and attempt to live as they taught me. Special recognition should be given within our minds and souls to those that shaped our lives and helped create the person we are today.

I guess that is what I see this season as. This Christmas season should be a tribute to our families and friends that have ment so much to us over the course of our lives. As we unwrap the packages and look into the faces that surround us, we should give thanks for our circumstance and the love we share during this very special time of year.

I love this time of year because I can feel a change that embraces most of us. It is a gift, which is why we call today the present. Through-out time the most special gifts are the ones we took the most time and effort to acquire or make. Maybe it was that BB gun for my fifth birthday, the 49er Jacket, the heartfelt card, or the embrace from family and friends. Whatever it is/was, it stays in a very warm and exeptional place close to my heart.

Christmas magic is silent. You don’t hear it, you feel it, you believe it. As I embark on my latest/newest Christmas I see the world with the beauty God intended. It is as if I see it for the first time with fresh eyes. These eyes that have seen so much are wiped clean with a new perspective.

This vision is for the hope of a place everyone can go to be at peace. Peace within themselves while enjoying the gift of giving to others, and the hope that will come with a belief in the magic of Christmas. This magic will be displayed as random acts of kindness and Paying it Forward so others can know the true spirit of the holidays that makes this season so very special.