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The Glitter Mystery

Posted on January 16, 2017 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (2)

One of the first steps to getting things going on construction of the craft retreat was framing in egress windows. This step was important for several reasons, including safely being able to exit the building from any of the rooms, improving the efficiency of the utilities, and increasing privacy while providing a more “cozy” feel for the space. The original construction of those rooms included wall-to-wall windows. While those provided amazing light, it just wasn’t going to work to keep it that way. Operating on a really tight budget, we didn’t have the funds to completely reconstruct those spaces. We had to get creative to find a way that would make the exterior of the building still look okay once we framed up the interior of all those windows (so you wouldn’t see the back-side of 2x4’s and sheet-rock). We decided the best option would be to paint them.

Originally, my husband recommended painting them from the exterior, but I was afraid that would all chip away from the weather. I opted to hurry up and paint them from the inside before they were all framed up and sheet-rocked. That way, they would still look like windows from the outside. You just wouldn’t be able to see through them, kind of like if there were heavy drapes hung.  Fortunately, the mis-tint 5-gallon bucket of paint I bought for super cheap from the store was a convenient beige color that would look just fine.

Thankfully, I didn’t exactly have to be very careful with my painting because it was all going to covered up from the inside. So, there I was just slopping and rolling that paint away, right over the windows and their metal frames when out of nowhere I started to see that my paint was looking really sparkly. I painted a little more, and it just kept getting…sparkly?! I looked down in my paint pan and it was normal paint, but there was GLITTER in the paint on the windows. My roller was starting to look pretty glittery as well, and I just kept thinking WHERE is all this glitter coming from??!!!

I was starting wonder if I was going crazy, looking all around me trying to find out where this glitter was coming from. I mean, seriously…was someone playing a trick on me? I already felt like a total goof ball painting the inside of windows – especially since there was a meeting with a bunch of farmers in one of the rooms at our building that day. Several of them walked by outside the windows I was painting and I’m sure they thought “what is that crazy lady doing in there?”. I even called down to the Chamber office to let them know ‘what and why’ in case there were any crazy rumors that started spreading about the local Get in the Cloud grant recipient ruining an old school.

As I resumed my painting, new-found glitter and all, and thought about the history of that elementary school – it finally hit me! Now, I have not actually confirmed this with former teachers, but I am 99.9% positive that I know where all that glitter came from. I started picturing all of the beautiful, sparkly projects proudly made by elementary students hanging in all of those windows. As they were hung up or taken down, little bits of glitter would fall into the seams of those old metal window frames. Rolling my sticky paint right up and over those frames must have been pulling all that glitter up and out of there! I snapped a quick picture, almost in disbelief of my discovery, and just kept on rolling that paint and glitter with a smile on my face. What a cool memory to have in the transformation of an old school.

*P.S. - I tried to post the picture of the glittery painted window, but it doesn't seem to be working on this blog page.  I was able to share it on our Facebook page - so please check it out there!


If I Build it...Will They Come?

Posted on December 6, 2016 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Have you ever seen the movie “Field of Dreams”? It’s a good one, and that is where this quote (the title) is from. It is also the thought that kept running through my mind, day and night, before I started “building” the craft retreat. I had already done some of the hard stuff. Writing that business plan, preparing the grant proposal, and putting my dream out there for others to see, judge, and potentially shatter was hard. But I was awarded the grant. People actually wanted me to build the craft retreat. So, why was I having so many doubts?


Even with the grant money, building the craft retreat was still going to be a big project. The grant covered a lot of the actual building expenses, but I would still need to do a lot of the labor (basically all the painting) and we would have to purchase the furniture, beds, linens, towels, appliances, dishes, décor, etc… We had already invested quite a bit into this old elementary school, and to be honest the whole thing just seemed very big and real and a little scary! I mean – what if I build this thing…and no one comes and actually USES it?!!


I had to push my fears aside and just get started. I worked, and worked and worked. Painted, and painted and painted. Attended auctions and garage sales and thrift stores to find additional items needed on our tight budget. Repainted and recovered used furniture to make it look cute and new. It was a lot of extra hours, evenings, weekends, time away from my husband and kids….and it was hard. I just had to keep going, keep hoping, keep praying – that it would all work out and somehow be worth it.


Chats with close friends, and reading the “Opening the Door to Your God-Sized Dream” devotional helped…a lot. We also had a great contractor, who may not have understood why I was doing the crazy things I was doing (painting the insides of windows so he could board them up and add new egress windows, building a ginormous island in the kitchen, my choice of paint colors…) – but he was willing to do what I asked and did an excellent job!


I’ll have more posts in the future about some fun little stories & projects within the space, the struggle to finish, our first craft retreat weekend, what else it can be used for, and how it’s going now. Today I just want to thank all my friends and family who helped me through the tough part of “starting” when I was so worried about “If I build it…will they come”.


Let's Drink Wine...and Paint!

Posted on November 15, 2016 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

The story of Moscato Monet:

The idea of starting up these "wine and painting" parties was actually first brought to my attention by a friend/distant cousin of mine a few months after we bought the building.  I was in the middle of renovations and Pinterest Parties and just an overall crazy busy life (that part sure hasn't changed much).  We met for coffee and brainstormed ideas, and were even able to come up with a few name options.  Unfortunately, neither of us really had the time/resources/energy to put into getting it going at that time.  

 Then more people asked me about it.  I received private messages on facebook and texts from friends...all with this "great idea" that we could do at VRC.  After a few months of that, it was time to look into it more seriously.  I didn't know Sarah Chavey very well at the time, but I thought - "here goes nothin'!" and sent her a private message on facebook.  It wasn't great timing for her.  It was the Fall of 2014, and she was coaching volleyball and busy with work and kids, much like myself.  A couple more months of random requests and gentle tugs at my heart, and I decided to reach out again - only this time it was to a local art instructor.  The crazy thing is...the day after I did that - Sarah contacted me!!  She had apparently had similar tugs at her heart, and wanted to get together to discuss this "wine and paint" idea.  After hearing back from the art instructor that she would not have time to take on that project, Sarah and I met at the local coffee shop...and the rest is history!  Haha...just kidding, I'll tell you a little more...

A lot of planning went into creating the Moscato Monet parties.  Sarah and I are both creative people - so coming up with ideas of how this would work was a lot of fun.  However, having run a business for several years, I knew that we had to think about the financial costs and time involved with providing this fun event.  So, we brainstormed ideas, crunched numbers, assigned responsibilities, and set a date!  

Here are some fun facts about Moscato Monet:

1.  Our first party was held on March 7, 2015 and there were 16 people - which was a very full house for us!

2.  We held a total of 25 parties in our 18 month run.

3.  The largest parties were 20 people (couples parties), the smallest was 9, and we averaged 16.

4.  The fastest our parties ever booked up was a short 20 minutes!  Sarah and I were so excited to be a part of something so awesome that people enjoyed coming to!!

Shortly before collaborating on these Moscato Monet parties, Sarah had started her own God-sized dream of doing what she loved as her full-time job. She started out of her home, and in July 2015 we were Blessed to have her expand her business into one of our rooms (the former Lincoln school library) at Valley Rental Center. From the very beginning Sarah had talked about her dream of one day having a downtown store-front for her business. With lots of hard work and creativity she was moving in to her dream come true just 15 months later!

I'm sure you are wondering (based on little birdies that have told me some rumors) if I was upset that Sarah had "gotten her start at VRC and then left to go downtown."  Well, let me ask you a question:  If someone had shared their dream with you, and then you were able to work together with that person on that dream and a piece of your own dream as well, and then you were able to witness that dream become a reality and know that you had a small piece in helping it come true - would you be upset??!!!  I am truthfully elated.  I am filled with joy for Sarah, for her dreams coming true, for her family, and for her absolutely stunning new studio.  I am Blessed to have been a part of it, and grateful that God allowed me to witness this God-sized dream along-side my own.

Or maybe you're wondering, "why aren't you doing Moscato Monet parties anymore - just because she moved her studio?!!".  Logistically, it just was not going to be feasible for either of us to load up all our stuff and haul it to the other person's location for these events.  It was super convenient when we were right down the hall from each other, and that is part of what made it "worth it" to collaborate on this event for as long as we did.  But the GREAT news is - you can still enjoy painting and drinking wine at her new studio!!  I just won't be preparing the yummy treats anymore, and you'll have to bring your own wine.  Before our final Moscato Monet party, I opened up my bible and it landed on just what my heart needed:

Now I will tell you that I MISS HER.  I miss seeing and chatting with her on at least a weekly basis as we planned and prepared for the parties.  I miss our chats when we set-up and our chats when we cleaned up.  We started out barely knowing each other in this whole process, and ended up becoming good friends who are both still really busy because #life.  We try to have coffee dates when we can, and she totally let me have a couple sneak peaks of the new place before it opened #allthehearteyes!!  

While I'm still being honest (not that I'm ever NOT), I will admit that there are things that I don't miss.  I'm really busy with the businesses my husband and I own, and with our two awesome kiddos - which meant the parties were an extra stress for me.  There was the planning, hoping that the parties would fill up, did we schedule it on too busy of a weekend, collecting the payments, prepping the food and drinks, setting up, cleaning up, the evenings away from my husband and kids.  I'm not the kind of person that does things "for the money."  I do things for the reward of seeing the joy in others.  It was fun to watch people enjoy themselves and discover they had talents they didn't even know about.  It was relaxing and enjoyable for me, kind of as a reward for my hard work, to be able to sit down, paint and not think about all the craziness that is sometimes my life.  That is what I will miss... but in a very real way - I don't have to miss that.  Sarah has an amazing studio, and I can go paint on my own or at one of her parties pretty much any time I want (within her open studio hours of course)!!

SPEAKING of Sarah's amazing new studio - her open house is TODAY (Tuesday, 11/15/16 from 5-7)!!!  And by the's no coincidence that I haven't had time to write a blog post in weeks, but today I am writing the very post that was next on my long blog list on the very same day of Sarah's open house.  I don't really believe in coincidences...I prefer to call these types of things "God-winks."  And to further emphasis this point, please see the picture below of my daily devotional calendar from Holley Gerth:

SEE??!!!  It's dated TODAY!  You can't make this stuff up people!  I'll see YOU at the Open House!!!  

The Book That Saved My Sanity

Posted on October 12, 2016 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm not a big reader.  Well, I never really have been anyway.  At least, not until the last couple of years.  Actually, I'm still not a "big" reader, but I do have lots of books now - that I read pieces of several evenings a week.  Would that make me an average reader?  I don't know, maybe I'm a sporadic reader?  Kind of like this sporadic paragraph?!  

Anyway, you didn't honestly think that I could take on and survive through this craziness of purchasing and renovating a 20,000 square foot former elementary school while still working full-time (and part time and raising children, etc...) without going at least a little bit crazy, did you?  Well, you would be wrong - I was a hot mess (still am sometimes!), and likely on my way to a nervous breakdown.  So, having not been much of a reader, and really not an impulse buyer (what?  did you think buying the school was impulsive?  Nope, we thought long and hard about that - not impulsive, just crazy!) I was surprised when after reading a passage from one of my favorite bloggers on Instagram, I immediately went to Amazon and bought a book.  Not just any book.  Here is the passage I read:

"Here's the thing: there is no perfect time for a God-sized dream.  God-sized dreams knock on the door of our hearts.  We have to choose to let our God-sized dreams into our lives.  In the middle of the busy.  In the middle of the insecurity.  In the middle of the fear.  When you open the door of your heart to a God-sized dream, you also open it wider to the Giver of them.  That's what matters most of all."

Whoa.  Excuse me?  Are you talking to me?  Is that what this is?  A God-sized dream??  I'd never thought of it that way before, but I was certainly in the middle of busy, insecurity and fear.  The book I ordered, that was the beginning of an absolute saving grace for me, is called "Opening the Door to Your God-Sized Dream" by Holley Gerth.  

I've never experienced how life-changing a book with encouraging words could be.  I've also never felt so loved and understood by pages in a book.  Does that sound weird?  Maybe you've never experienced it either, but with this book - you will!  There were a lot of tough days, especially the first 6-8 months of this journey.  There were days when I had regrets and didn't know how I was going to go on.  I would be at my wits end, and then I would remember this book sitting on my nightstand and I would open it up to the next chapter and it would be EXACTLY what I needed to see/read.  It was sometimes a little how does He know?  "Dork-stamp" as my kids would say.  Of course He knows...He is God, and He always knows exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.  It really did freak me out the first few times though.  I even texted pictures of the some of the paragraphs to a friend and said "OMG - this is exactly what I was telling you about today!".

Holley Gerth's definition of a God-sized dream is:  a desire in your heart for more of what God has for you.  Everyone's God-sized dreams look different.  You can have more than one in your lifetime.  They can be little or large.  They can be staying home to raise your children, scratching your way up a corporate ladder, or serving others as a missionary.  Anything.  God-sized dreams can be anything and they are completely unique to each person He created.

Part of the reason Holley's book worked so well for me was because it was more of a devotional.  Not a super "churchy" kind of devotional (whatever that is), but a "sit down and have coffee and a conversation with me" kind of devotional.  As it says on the front, it was "40 Days of Encouragement for Your Heart."  I didn't have to read it all at once, or even one paragraph a day.  Sometimes I didn't read any, and sometimes I read several (those were probably rough days!).  And when I was all done, I still wanted more - so I ordered a couple more of her books.  And then a couple more.  And now I have nearly every book she's written, plus a few other books that she has recommended by other authors.  I've been blessed to be part of the launch team for her two most recent books, and it has helped me feel like the things I do have a purpose beyond this earth.

I'm really not sure why I wrote such a long post about this, other than the fact that I want to express that I definitely couldn't have made it through all that I type about in these blogs about this great adventure without the Love, Grace, and Strength from our Creator.  I never even used to talk about God much, but this experience has changed me, and these books by this author have been a huge part of that change.  I don't get paid to talk about them or anything, and you can certainly purchase your own if you'd like - or borrow mine.  I truly feel from the bottom of my heart that they can help you through whatever your God-sized dream might be (even if you don't know what that is yet!).  

From Old Gym -to- Crossfit?

Posted on October 11, 2016 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

The old gymnasium at the former Lincoln elementary school holds a lot of memories for a lot of people.  School lunches were consumed there every day for years, PE, youth league basketball games, and even school programs performed up on that little stage.  It probably didn't seem little when we were kids.  In fact, that's the comment I hear a lot when people visit the old gymnasium as an adult "It is so much smaller than I remember!".  

When we purchased this old school, one of the visions we had for the old gymnasium was for class reunions to be held there.  Wouldn't that be so fun to have your class reunion in the old gymnasium where you went to grade school?  Or a family reunion?  Well, we were able to squeeze one of those class reunions in that first Fall, and then God had other plans.  Plans that were beyond what we could have come up with or done on our own.  Plans for the space to be used nearly daily instead of just occasionally.  Plans that would help us pay for the very high utilitiy costs that at the time were eating away quickly at our personal savings.  Plans to not only introduce us to an amazing family, but to create a whole other family outside of our own.

See...that's why I say "GOD" had other plans...humans tend to get in our own way with all our own ideas.  God sees the bigger picture and brings you who and what you need, when you need it.  It's really important to be open and receptive, even when it sounds crazy and you have to use Google to find out what this weird thing they want to do to your gym is....Crossfit?  Make it into a box?  What??!!!

James and I googled "Crossfit" and found their definition:  CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.  That sounded okay, but still looked kind of scary?!  It wasn't until speaking with Clint Horinek and other members of the 12:11 Crossfit affiliation in Beloit that we began to understand more of what this was and why it would be a great fit for our gymnasium.  Clint and his wife Sarah own 12:11 Crossfit in Beloit, and were gracious enough to spend time and money to expand this program into Concordia. 

James and I were NOT in very good shape (one of the biggest misconceptions of Crossfit is that you have to be in shape to start) when this whole thing started December 1, 2014.  I had never been very consistent with working out, and James would go in spurts of running and eating healthy, and then back to old habits.  We were NERVOUS to start on this new adventure of "training" with Clint, but we jumped in with both feet and signed up & paid for a whole year!  We felt like that would help us to be accountable to attend, and would show Clint that we were committed to helping make this work in our community.  We had several close friends take that leap and sign up as well.  It is something I will never regret.

Here we are, almost two years later.  The business has new owners, Michael & Leah Loring, and has a new name, Crossfit NorthCloud.  A lot of us nervous-nellies from that very first day are still here and going strong.  The program has grown tremendously.  Oh, and that whole other "family" that I mentioned above...that has been the best part.  Of course Crossfit has made me physically stronger, more lean/toned, and more confident and accepting of my appearance.  But what it has done on the inside of me has been worth so much more.  It has shown me, time and time again, that I am stronger than I sometimes feel.  I can do more than I think.  I can be consistent, and have friends check on me if I'm not.  We all have set-backs, whether they are health-related, or injuries, or even family struggles - but we are HERE for each other.  We build each other up and cheer each other on - not just during the sweaty exhausting workouts, but in LIFE.  

Even on my hardest days, even with my auto-immune disease, migraines, and sometimes even depression - I have not once regretted attending a crossfit workout.  I have regretted NOT going a time or two.  When I let my fear or my illness convince me that I wasn't strong enough.  But all it took was my friends and coaches reminding me that even when I'm battling things on the inside, I can still adjust the workout to meet my needs and to feel successful.  

Wow, this was really long - but if you've made it this far - here are a few tid-bits about Crossfit in general:  

Is it hard?  Yes, that's why it works (no sugar coating here!)

Do I have to already be in shape, know how to do push-ups, lift weights, etc.?  Absolutely NOT.  I still can't do pull-ups without band assistance, but I'm getting close!

Will I be sore?  Yes, that means it's working.  I've been going almost two years and there are still certain workouts or lifts that make specific muscles sore.

Will it make me "bulky":  I doubt it - do any of us that attend Crossfit, that you actually know (not counting professional athletes on TV) look bulky to you?  I will go ahead and pat myself on the back (side) for the nice butt that weighted squats have given me - Oh, and toned arms...LOVE them!

My favorite thing:  The weight lifting - crazy, right?  I had never lifted weights in my life.   It was not a requirement for high school tennis or dance squad and I just never had an interest.  I love it now, and am confident in my ability due to being trained how to do it right!!

My 2nd favorite thing:  It's different every day, and I don't even have to think about it - I just do it.  I also like that it tracks my progress.  It's fun to see how much more I can lift now than when I started.

If you'd like to learn more about the only program that I have ever been successful or consistent with, with people that I consider my family and would have their backs anytime, anyplace (and I know they'd have mine) - feel free to check out the local" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Facebook page, or call/text/message Michael Loring or his sister Shalynn.

 Oh, and #sorrynotsorry about the gym not being available for class reunions.  If you want to come hang out in the old gymnasium, you're welcome to stop by - you just might have to do some burpees!  ;)

The Many Faces of...The Cove

Posted on September 30, 2016 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I mentioned in a previous post that we found out very early on how important it was going to be that we were flexible with the use of the rooms at our building.  Flexibility was needed for several reasons.  People had different reasons they were needing space, for different businesses or events, and with different budgets.  

I don't remember now who I heard it from or how I found out - but the local Weight Watchers group was looking for a new meeting space, and they had heard about our building.  They would need a fairly large room, but for only one evening a week.  We couldn't justify taking up a room for them exclusively, and that is also not something that would fit into their budget.  So, I began to think of how we could use a room for multiple purposes.  We already had the big reception room for that, but this would be different.  This would allow not only use for small parties on the weekends, but also small businesses to use the space on a regular basis - though still not exclusively.  This would keep it open for additional rental income, while still fitting into their budgets and space needs.

The room we thought would work best for this was near the South West corner of the building (not on the very end with the sunken reading nook, but the one just North of that).  I believe it is remembered by a lot of former students as "Ms. Loveland's Kindergarten room."  It is spacious, has high ceilings, countertops, and its own restrooms.  It was a little rough-looking after having been used by lots of kiddos making memories during an after-school program the last few years.  So....more painting!

I went for a bright, cheerful color scheme to make this room a happy place for things like baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties, and reunions.  I was up against another deadline, this time October 1st.  And wouldn't you know, September was HOT that year...  I couldn't afford to run the air conditioning in the building except for when people were actually paying to use the space.  So I proceeded to paint that 1228 square foot room full of block walls with 12 foot ceilings while absolutely dripping in sweat.  While it was a great workout, I wouldn't recommend being up on that high of a ladder while doing it!

Fast forward two years to October 1, 2016 and that room has truly been multi-purpose.  It held Weight-Watchers meetings for a year; many birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, and even a few family reunions and company meetings; yoga started out part-time in that room before moving into her own exclusive space; and last but certainly not least - a young lady with a dream of owning her own personal training business started out slowly to build up her clientele about six months ago.  She added additional time, and then starting October 1, 2016 that room that we had been calling "The Cove" turned into her exclusive space for "Fit and Healthy Personal Training."  

Christina will be having an Open House for her business on Saturday October 8, 2016 from 3pm to 5pm.  I encourage you all to come out, meet her, see how she can help you live a happy healthy life, and see what she has done with the space...especially if you haven't been there since Kindergarten!  And for more pictures, please visit our facebook page: 

To Shoot for the Stars...Get in the Cloud!

Posted on September 29, 2016 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

I have to admit, there are definitely perks to living in the small town that I grew up in.  While it was hard to see friends, classmates, and even their siblings move away after high has been so great to have some of them move back and make Concordia their home again.  One of the perks for me was when two younger, energetic, professional CHS alumni women took their experience from having gone off to bigger cities and brought it back to our hometown.  Their enthusiasm and optimism was contagious, and it was just the extra push I needed to keep forging ahead in this crazy adventure of developing Valley Rental Center into all that it could be.

They told me about a grant opportunity that was in the works, to help small businesses do some pretty big things.  It would require some work - part of which I had sworn I would never do again!  Seriously....another business plan?!!  I had to complete one when we purchased Budreau Muffler, Automotive & Tow in 2007.  It was hard work, and long, and time consuming, and just really not that much fun. was a requirement to apply for this new grant (and they really are a good practice for any business, especially start-ups), so I buckeled down and completed a business plan complete with financial projections with the help of our amazing local small businesss development center.  I even completed a power-point presentation with the help of my 6th grade niece (no joke...I needed help getting started - I hadn't even attempted a power point since college!).  

Did I mention this was all happening right in the middle of our renovations of the large reception room?  Craziness...physically demanding labor combined with mentally demanding research, writing, and calculating.  ALL with deadlines just 3 shorts weeks apart!  I'm honestly surprised I didn't go crazy (or maybe I already was?).

After completing the packet of information and turning it in by the deadline....I waited.  I hate waiting, that's the worst part of anything.  Then it was time for the presentation to the committee.  I was SO nervous!  I was also SO glad when I was done.  I thought it went pretty well, but then more waiting...  Would we be approved?  We had applied for the maximum amount to span about 3 different fairly major projects at the building, but I didn't know what, if anything, they would deem worthy of approval for the betterment of our community.  Then, we got the news!  We had been awarded a grant!!  It was about 60% of what we had applied for, but it was for the project that was the biggest, craziest dream.  The part of the presentation that I was most worried about explaining to others and getting approved.  But also the part that I was most passionate about and had dreamed would become a reality.  My crazy dream, something that I couldn't have afforded to do on my own, was going to come true with the help of this grant.  Oh my goodness, we're building a CRAFT RETREAT!

If you want to shoot for the stars, and do something bigger than what you might be able to do on your own - I would highly recommend that you "Get in the Cloud."  You can find out more about the "Get in the Cloud" grant opportunity at the CloudCorp office in downtown Concordia, KS.

Who/Where/What is a Pinterest Party?!

Posted on September 27, 2016 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

When one purchases a large old school building, one has to do a bit of a hustle to figure out not only what to do with it, but how to spread the word and get people in the door to see what you're doing and actually USE the space.  While part of the way James "talked me into" purchasing the building was to potentially create a Craft Retreat, that was a large under-taking that wasn't going to happen quickly.  And, not very many people in the area currently attend those events (yet).  So...a smaller version of that to get people in the door = Pinterest Party! 

Wait...what is a Pinterest Party?  Well, you've heard of Pinterest, right?  It is the online "bulletin board" where you get to save images and links of all those cool projects, recipes, outfits, decor ideas, etc...  But then what?  Do you actually MAKE any of those crafts or projects that you Pin?  Do you take the time to buy the supplies?  Do you talk yourself out of it because you think you're not "crafty" enough?  Do you ever take time for yourself to do something that you love?

I decided start having Pinterest Parties to give myself and others a chance to actually DO some of those projects we've all been "pinning."  I wanted to make these parties as simple as possible for those attending.  Literally, all you have to do is pay the fee and show up.  You don't bring anything but yourself.  I buy all the supplies.   I provide all the tools (and there are some fun tools!).  I show you how to do the projects, and help as needed.  No crafting experience necessary.  I even provide refreshments. you want to know the best part of all...?!!  You don't have to clean up!!!  That's right - show up, make a mess, be creative, load your completed projects up in your arms and walk away with a happy heart! 

Sure, I started Pinterest Parties to "get people in the door," but what I've learned from doing them is what happens once they come through that door.  The nervous excitement of trying something new.  The initial struggle that they sometimes have when their project isn't quite turning out how they thought they wanted it.  The relaxation that comes with settling in and getting their creativity flowing.  And the pride that they show in their completed projects.  Sometimes these projects are something that they have done for themselves and are going to keep.  Sometimes they plan to give them to others as gifts.  

My absolute favorite thing about a Pinterest Party is how I have provided all of the same supplies and instruction, yet each person's creations turn out differently.  They are each using the gifts that God gave them - their heads, their hearts, and their hands - and it is truly a beautiful thing that I am blessed to be a part of.

If you are interested in attending a Pinterest Party, all you have to do is send me your email address.  I send out flyers once a month with party details.  Those on my email list get the first notification.  If there are any spots available after that, I post the flyer on the Valley Rental Center Facebook page.  Parties are held on Sunday afternoons, approximately once a month.

Change of Plans!

Posted on September 20, 2016 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Oh, you know that big school that we bought?  You know, the one we were going to let former students rent out the gym for - to have their class reunions, or family reunions, etc...?  Yeah, that one.  Well...someone else is interested in leasing the gym full-time to operate their business out of.  Really?!  I'm not sure how I feel about that...can we still rent out the gym for parties?  Uhm, no.

Well, now what?  That was one of our ideas for how this old school could be used!  The Moose Lodge closed (that was where James and I had our wedding reception).  There is no longer an Elks Club or a VFW.  The community had expressed a need for additional space to have these types of activities - and now our gym is no longer going to be available to do them??!  Seriously...what now?!!

It didn't take long at all for us to realize that it was going to be important to be flexible in what we thought our plans were for this little adventure.  So we began to brainstorm.  This building is over 20,000 square feet after all.  Surely there is another space we can use to accommodate a large group of people for events and gatherings.  That's when we started looking closer at the 4,000 square foot additional that was completed on the South East end of the building in the 1970's.  It had some partitions, but they were not structural.  It was kind of dark and unattractive, but James thought we could take it on and make it look a lot better.  

So, we dug right in!  Literally. James drove his skid-steer through the double doors for demolition of the concrete block partitions.  It was quite a sight.  Once that mess was all cleaned up, we had a big open space that needed some "lipstick."  That's where I got to step in!  James and his buddies sprayed some texture on the walls, and I chose a paint called "Modern Gray" to help brighten up the space and keep it neutral to coordinate well with any event decor.  We wrapped the structural columns in wood and painted them white.  We installed a suspended ceiling for easy access to hang lights, and replaced all of the lighting and vents.  We then had the floor resurfaced and added wide white trim.  We were in quite a rush to meet a deadline.  Our very first event, the Annual Chamber Dinner, was booked for June 7th!  After a quick coat of white paint to freshen up the small kitchen area, and some help from family to get everything all clean - we were ready for our first event!  

While it was an incredible relief to get the space ready for use, it had been quite a whirlwind.  The 30 days leading up to that first opening had a lot of behind-the-scenes craziness going on that only a few people were aware of.  We were, afterall, still running our full-time business at the shop - and had experienced some staff turnover in the office.  A few days before our big event, my grandfather, whom I was very close to, passed away.  His funeral was Saturday morning, and the Chamber dinner was Saturday evening.  I considered not attending the dinner.  I didn't know if I could handle it as I was completely physically and emotionally exhausted and drained.  I'm so glad I went though.  The music at the event was a live jazz band.  My grandpa LOVED jazz bands.  I almost couldn't hold back my tears, but was able to smile through it all knowing that he was there with me while also no longer in pain as he sat with Jesus in heaven.  It really is a day I'll never forget.

And so it Begins...

Posted on September 16, 2016 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I've been thinking for a long time about writing a blog to document the crazy transformation that has taken place at this former Lincoln elementary school.  However, I've been so busy doing all the transforming and events (not to mention still working full-time at our other business, and part-time real estate, and making a little jewelry & scarves, and of course keeping up with my two awesome kiddos...) that I never really had time to get started.  I've written hundreds of posts "in my head" (probably should've written some of those down) as I've spent countless hours working in each room.  I then kept hesitating to write this first post because I just wasn't sure where to start!  But I think I'm ready to start, because really...'s how it all began:

We had heard through small town chatter that the former Lincoln elementary school was going to be for sale.  First, an auction was attempted with a fairly high reserve bid.  Needless to say, it did not meet that reserve bid and therefore did not sell.  We didn't attend that auction, but we did start discussing the possibilities of what that building could be used for.  A different former school building in our town has been turned into someone's home, but it is a bit of an eyesore.  A former nursing home has been turned into apartments, but it looks quite sad and run-down as well.  Not to mention a few buildings that used to be businesses that now just sit empty.  We didn't want to see that happen to this property, and we saw potential in what it could be - so we started doing some research.  

We viewed the property, made calls regarding utiltities and maintenance, and discussed the maximum amount that we were willing to invest into the purchase.  We then submitted our sealed bid.  The bids were to be opened at the next board meeting.  James was busy, and I felt like one of us needed to be there - so that left me!  I was so nervous that I even tried calling a friend to go with me, but she was busy too.  So, off I went.  I sat in the back and waited for that topic on the agenda to be discussed.  They opened the bids (there were only two).  Ours was only $2500 more than the other one.  Both were considerably lower than the reserve that was set at the auction.  I honestly did not expect them to make a decision that night.  I thought they would have to discuss it further, or at least go into some sort of executive session.  Nope!  They asked each of us who had submitted a bid to say a few words about what we were planning to do with the building.  Then, after what seemed like only about 60 seconds, one of the board members motioned that our bid be accepted!  Then someone seconded the motion, and then - just like that - it passed!!  We had just won the bid to purchase a 20,000 square-foot former elementary school... WHAT THE #$%@ did we just do??!!!

I was a bit in shock.  There were a few "congratulations" said, and the newspaper editor asked if I wanted to make a statement.  Uhm, NO.  I was physically shaking with nerves and told him I'd let him know when I was ready to comment.  I knew we didn't "need" anything else to do.  We were busy people already.  But, we both still had dreams in our hearts.  That's part of the way James was able to convince me to go along with this craziness.  It was scary, but I guess somehow he knew: