Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lucky Number Thirteen Brings Big Opportunity

Thirteen years as a stay at home mom. Lucky 13! It has always been my favorite number, long before Taylor Swift made it so popular (I think she copied me), and once again, it has turned out to be a significant reference in my life. Being able to be a Helicopter Mom for the past thirteen years has been a dream come true - if I had it to do over again, I certainly would! I actually worked from home for most of those thirteen years, but I didn't have a job that made me a "legit" working mom.

And now, thirteen years after Britt was born, who we always say "saved our family from daycare," I am so grateful to have the opportunity to represent a company I dearly love, Montana Silversmiths. For me? It is a dream come true! It was quite unexpected and you just never know when God will open a door or a window for you. Believe it or not, I was actually starting to get a bit bored the past few months. Before school got out, I was thinking I should look for something. But it had to be something I would truly love and feel passionate about. I didn't feel panicked about it - just calm. I had faith the right job would come along. And so I prayed. I asked God to send the next plan He had for me my way. I asked him to reveal my career to me, my true passion in life, what I was meant to do. And boy did He ever!

A few weeks ago, Brady was asked to become a company employee for Nocona and Tony Lama Boots, two lines he has always loved. It was an offer he couldn't refuse. Although it has been fun being an independent rep, the opportunity to work for Justin Brands was too good of a deal for him to refuse. We're talking real benefits, which are important at this stage in our lives. To say I am proud of Brady is literally the biggest understatement I will ever make. I am so happy he was recognized for all his hard work and dedication in this industry. He truly is a rock star and he was born to be a salesmen. Brady is talented beyond measure when it comes to salemanship. He is my hero!

But the idea of giving up Montana Silversmiths, a territory Brady has grown and developed into something truly special, was devastating. It was difficult for him and I couldn't even bear the thought! So I put my name into the mix and applied. It was worth a try, no matter what happened. And here I am, living proof that dreams really do come true, because they chose me out of some amazing candidates, and I couldn't be more happy or excited about it. I know it is an answer to my prayers.

And that brings us to a week ago. I had lunch with my B's and flew out to Montana for the week. I will admit it was hard to say good bye and I did have a few tears at the airport. But my B's were supportive and sweet and I knew they were in good hands, and before I knew it, I was feeling excited and ready to embrace the winds of change.
This week was actually a very big deal for me. I was a bit nervous about the traveling, because, number one, I absolutely loathe flying. I just do not like to fly. And number two, I had to get a rental car, find my hotel and then drive to the factory from Billings to Columbus, travel with another Montana rep and then get the rental back and make all my flights to get home. Guess what? I did it all without a hitch and even managed to pump my own gas! (We don't have to do that in Oregon.) I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle it, considering I am a country girl from the sticks, but I surprised myself and managed it all. I'm finally growing up! I guess I am just a late bloomer, right?
The picture above is the view from my room, and the next morning I arrived at the factory and was so charmed by this adorable sign. 
I met one of Brady's friends, the amazing Justin Deacon, who is the most talented engraver you will ever meet. In fact, he is so talented, it is beyond description. And his son Travis is just as gifted - he is an engraver, as well, and he told me he learned from the best, his dad. How cool is that? All the engravers are amazing. The amount of love and work they put into each buckle is mind boggling.
The next morning, bright an early at 6:30 (5:30 my time), I was picked up by the Montana and Wyoming Rep, Ed Alves. We spent, ironically, the next thirteen hours on the road! We drove all the way to Wolf Point MT, stopping at Glascow and then Malta on the way home. I saw some amazing country, and I learned why Montana is called Big Sky Country - there aren't many trees. I learned a great deal from Ed and I am so grateful to him for sharing his knowledge with me and entertaining me all day long. The day, believe it or not, flew by! Brady was really happy when he heard I would be traveling with Ed, and now I know why. He is a total rock star in his territory, and in fact, even reminded me a little of Brady in his selling style. Montana Silversmiths is very lucky to have Ed on their team, and I am thrilled I was able to pick his brain on our travels.
The next day I spent back at the factory, and I am so sad I didn't get pictures of everyone. I missed some opportunities, which I am kicking myself for. But I did get a few shots with some of the Customer Service team members, and it was fun to finally meet people I have been hearing about for years. Brady and I are very much a team in our work, and so I was familiar with many things, but it was only the tip of the iceberg, and it was nice to gain more knowledge and to get the "big picture." Frankly, it gave me even more respect for Brady learning all the stuff he knows and has done. Did I mention he is my hero?
Below is my friend David, who is the artist behind all the jewelry. I met him in Denver at Market three years ago, and we have been friends ever since. He is such an amazing designer! And he gave me the darling necklace I have on, which is my new favorite and I hope I sell a zillion of these! It is the bees knees, and I was so honored that he would give it to me. It is a new piece that is coming soon! 
 One last morning view of the Montana morning from my room.
 And then a quick selfie with one of  the horses on the baggage claim belt. How fun is that?!
While I was away, exciting things happened with Brady was holding the fort down. For one thing, Brailey got her Driver's Permit! She had been putting it off all summer, and her dad said, "No more! Let's get you on your way to driving." And so here she is, driving from the DMV. I am sad I missed this special milestone, but glad Brady got to experience it. Thank goodness for pictures!
She also got to have an afternoon and evening of fun with her bestie. Aren't they so cute?! Her mom sent me this picture of them in the Coburg park. They had dinner together and shopped the stores in Coburg and then finished the night with a bonfire at Camp Harlow where Nikki is a counselor. Summer fun at it's best!
Meanwhile, after they dropped Brailey off with Nikki, Brady and Britt hit the golf course. Britt golfed better than he ever has, according to his proud dad. What a great way for them to have some quality father son time!
And Brailey did more driving. The second time went better than the first time. I am really, really glad Brady has taken on the duties of Driving Instructor. 
And wouldn't you know, when I got home, these darling cupcakes were waiting for me. She made the cactus forms freehand with candy melts. She is so talented! This has become a tradition of hers - every time I am gone, I come home to something beautiful she has made. 
So that is the big news around our place this summer. Lots and lots of changes! New jobs, new schools, new schedules. But it was time for my kiddos to learn how to be more independent and responsible. I've helicoptered them long enough. I still plan to do quite a bit of it, but oddly enough, I am actually excited to have something else to focus on. I will always have my focus on them, but it feels right and healthy at this point to have a little something else to think about. The time was right, and I am going to trust the magic of change. Because after all, the best time for new beginnings is now. 

April - Here and Gone in the Blink of an Eye

It seems crazy to think Easter Sunday was on April Fool's Day this year, but it totally was. We started our Easter at mass with our fa...