” No one has ever become poor by giving.”
One day we all decided to just hop in our truck and head up north for a surprise visit to our neighbors and friends up north. This was the week before Christmas and it also happen to be the shortest day of the year. We thought it would put us all in the Christmas spirit to head up north and visit some of those little cowboy towns in the woods. Those towns always feel like Christmas to me.
I made sure to pack extra blankets, sweaters and coats. I tried to think of what we would need for just a short over night trip. I packed the first aide kit…check. Then I packed enough food and water for two days… check. We have food up there. Dry food that is and canned goods but even with that, I still always pack enough food and water for at least two or more days when ever we go on a road trip here in Arizona.
I packed all the Christmas gifts we had wrapped for neighbors and baskets of cookies. I also had several tiny gingerbread houses to give out that I had made the night before. I kept going over and over in my head trying to think of what else I might need on this trip.
Moms are always the ones it seems running around trying to make sure everything is organized and packed. Reminding everyone what to take and asking of they packed this or that. It can be a little nerve racking.
Then once we are on the road and usually on one of the Indian reservations in the middle of no where I always turn to my husband and say “I don’t know why, but for some reason I feel like I have forgotten something”.
“You always say that when we’re on the reservation” he says back to me.
Looking out our truck windows all around at all the emptiness and vast land with pockets of trailers and a few nice homes off in the distance in some spots I realize he was right. I do always say that as soon as we are half way to our place and that place happens to always be on the reservation.
I laugh and tell him he is right, I do always say that. Then I always tell myself, that I haven’t forgotten anything yet so far, just always second guessing myself. That is when I looked down at my feet and Said “UH OH!” and my husband turns to me “What?”
After many years of never forgetting anything this might be the first time I actually forgot something. I was almost too embarrassed to tell him because when I looked down at my toasty warm feet in the heated truck I saw that I was still wearing my house slippers. They are pretty sturdy though, so maybe they could pass as fabric shoes but they were not ice, snow and mountain area shoes. Which was exactly the area we were driving into.
“I forgot to put on my boots” I said then started laughing. Oh well I shrugged my shoulders. “Guess we will have to hit one of the junk stores and hopefully there will be a pair of snow and mountain boots there for me that happen to fit my feet”.
When we got to town there were several second hand shops to check out. I still had some last minute shopping to do with my green gifts (any gift bought second hand or anything used that we re-purpose).
The first stores we stopped at were several little cabins that were turned into little second hand boutiques. All their Christmas was .25 cents, even big items, all of it was a quarter each. I picked up some little vintage felt handmade stockings to use as package tags. Also a bunch of wooden ornaments to use later for a surprise I was planning for my family.
I was having so much fun shopping that I forgot about those boots I needed to buy and the stores were starting to get packed with customers also doing last minute Christmas shopping. It was nice to see that I am not the only one who buys second hand gifts.
So I headed over to the next cabin to look for Winter boots and that is where I would run into my daughter, she was in the cabin that was filled with clothes, shoes, purses and boots. She bought two really nice wool plaid skirts, two turtle neck sweaters and some boots, for a total cost of $17. The school she teaches at is in a little church and they have a dress code for their employees.
I never had a problem buying used, even when I was a little girl. Our families would pass around clothes to other children when we outgrew our things. Of course they made clothes a lot better then so they lasted after you washed them. If we all really want to stop Global warming , then we all need to start making changes in how we shop and the things we buy. Way too much plastic in our world, way too much wastefulness. Why we always blaming those cows.
Anytime I have bought used anything I always clean and disinfect them. They are still okay if they are not too worn on the bottoms that is. If my daughter would have bought her clothes new she would probably ended up spending over $200 dollars because she also picked up a really nice oversize bag.
Sure enough there were some snow boots in that store, right under the shelf. They were just the right size to fit my big feet too. Best of all was that these boots were only $6. Until I could clean them I would just wear double socks. May make things a bit bulky but they were lace ups so that was doable. They were so soft and warm. I needed something to protect my feet.
The sales lady saw them and even commented that she wish she would have seen them first because she would have grabbed them up as well. Not sure if they are or not but these boots reminded me of Caribou moccasin boots. My husband always says “It’s like what ever you need is always somewhere waiting for you as soon as you need it” and it did feel like that when I saw those boots peeking out from under the bottom shelf. It was like those boots were waiting for me there the whole time knowing that I would get so busy with thinking about whether everyone else was okay that I forgot about me. Some of us moms are famous for that.
Us people pleasers and empaths have to be so so careful about that. All you scapegoats out there know what I am talking about, it is what we were trained to be…people pleasers. When you come from a dysfunctional family environment and you are the scapegoat, you are train to please everyone. You are also taught that even doing that is never enough.
Lately I have been feeling the need to reach out to all the other scapegoats out there in the world, especially after getting through the holidays, which is a season of giving to each other, we all have to be careful. We are so vulnerable to being taken advantage of if not careful.
Never overdo things when helping others that you forget YOU. I always warn my grown children to beware of anyone you meet for the first time that starts telling you really personal things about their lives that are tragic and full of sadness.
Sharing things like that face to face is very difficult for the ones that have actually been through traumatic events and anytime someone just out the blue tells you a horrible story to get you to feel sorry for them, well they could be a dangerous person and are testing you, to see if they can manipulate you. Us people pleasers are in high demand right now with the epidemic of narcissism in this world.
So be careful, remember that childhood Fairy tale where Little Red Riding Hood thinks she is helping someone she loves that is sick, but it turned out to be a mean old wolf. There are lots of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there and being a people pleaser is like running around the world with a big red cape on telling all those wolves…here I am, come get me.
Listen to your gut and remember it is okay to take care of you and love yourself as well. Never stop being someone that helps others though, we need that too, just be careful with who you help.
When we got to the road to turn off on to our place we stopped to enjoy a little pocket of snow and ice by the Aspen trees that I love so much.
Aspen tree branches are what I make my little gnomes out of.
I did not have my boots on at first and wanted to see if my shoe slippers would have been okay in the snow. They held up pretty good except for the parts that were exposed and just my socks were there. That got wet and cold and then the fabric also got wet and cold from the snow and ice I stepped through. Guess they didn’t hold up that great after all.
It was fun walking around the snow making crunching noises. We were the only ones there again. Had the whole wilderness area to ourselves it seem. So very quiet that I heard an owl hooting above me somewhere but I couldn’t find it in all the trees and I kept slipping in the ice when I went searching. Sure it was laughing from where ever it was.
I know, owls don’t laugh, at least out loud, but I bet there are a few out there that at least smile at themselves inside their little owl brains when watching us clumsy humans.
We only stayed out exploring a tiny bit. We didn’t have a lot of time to see our friends up north and with it being the shortest day of the year we jumped back into our truck and continued driving down the road to Our Little Red House. The sun was disappearing fast.
As soon as we got there and opened the door to our place that cold air inside hit us hard. So different up north and so much colder. We started a fire in our old stove.
That stove heats up the whole place so nice. Our Little Red House at one time used to the town’s post office. It was built in the early 1940’s, it isn’t that big. We put a kitchen in and made it a home where at least 7 people can sleep comfortably. It’s a nice escape from the city and peaceful break from city stress.That stove was one of our favorite features when we first stepped inside before we bought it. Everything was a mess,it needed a kitchen and so much work but that stove was sitting in the middle of that mess encouraging is on by just the idea of spending warm evenings around it.
After I got the beds ready and the place warmed up I went out and took some pine tree clippings from the tree next to the house.I had a plan for the clippings to surprise my family with later.
I made a mini Christmas tree with the clippings and branches. I added the only lights we had available there, which happen to be red.
Then I took my little bag of ornaments that my son and I had fun picking out in town and decorated my little tree. My husband and kids loved it. Our Little red House had some Christmas spirit in it that night.
After that, we all headed across the street to start delivering gifts to our friends at the old country store.It was dark outside when we walked up the hill to the old store but off in the distance we could see through it’s antique glass windows that there was a Christmas tree with beautiful lights all over it. They had two Christmas trees up.The other one was in one of the outside quest houses. I just never got a chance to walk up the hill to get a shot of it for you all.
The store has had some recent improvements. Looked so nice, all that they got done. So much fun seeing the process of fixing something up, turning it from a house into a home.
When the store closed down it was a museum for awhile, then those owners sold it and it was closed up for over a decade or more. All the items from the museum were left in it. After years of it being closed it was so much fun being the first one to walk into it after our friends got the keys to the place to explore. It always amazes me how much they have accomplished in fixing this old store up.
Now it is coming back to life. I like sharing updates on the progress of this store’s newest adventures. This store is it’s own character and so much a part of our story at Our Little Red House. Our kids when little were home schooled and this store was one of their fun learning adventures. They had so much fun exploring the store and seeing products from the past. I wrote about this in our last update, looks like I really need to do a funnier and more detailed post on home schooling adventures. Our kids were there to see it come back to life just like Our Little Red House when we bought it and made it into a home.
So much fun researching and learning the history of these old buildings and places. This store is only a few miles away from one of the Indian reservations in the area. A long time ago it was the only store to buy goods and trade from way out in the middle of no where, but I guess on horse back it was a nice site to see a place to stop and gets some supplies.
Old country stores have so many stories to tell us. Looking through the old products on their shelves is really like going back in time when things were so different. I look at these stores and their sizes and products and just think of the stores we have now days with so many choices and just how huge they are. We have two super stores where we live and it is like walking a football field. How easy it must have been to shop back then.
There were lots of new improvements on this visit. They even finished their re-purposed stools.
We sat around the stoves ( they have two) keeping warm and shared stories about the creek down the road and the bears around there. How we always watch out for them when we are down there swimming, fishing or just exploring. It is such a secluded place and off the beaten path but one the prettiest places in my opinion here in Arizona. Karla told us a really funny story about exploring down around the creek one time with a friend of hers and telling her there was a bear in the area because she came across some bear poop but then her friend asked her why was their toilet paper next to it. We all laughed and thought it was so gross but then I said sometimes bears aren’t the only ones out there who may be dangerous. Who was out there that left that? I know gross, but we all thought it was so funny how she told the story.
We talked about what was going on in town and any news there. Caught up on my grown kids and their adventures in college life. Then gifts were opened. We gave them what I call fun gifts, gifts that I thought they would enjoy. It was so pretty inside the store with their Christmas tree all lit up. It was what we needed to get us in the spirit of Christmas. Plus it’s always fun watching people open gifts.
The gifts included a bull riding game, bowling dice game, magazine on country stores from the past, canvas and oil paints (Karla is a western artist) a collectors plate from the state of Iowa (where they are originally from ) to hang in one of their country kitchens, and a vintage clear glass cookie jar with a red handle on it to match their new kitchen they just built.
They also got one of my gingerbread houses which Karla at first did not want to eat because it was just too pretty she said. But I finally convinced her it was to eat not collect and anyway “Wait till you get to the center of the house, because I filled it with extra sweetness” I told her.
I filled the house up with chocolate dip for the cookie pieces.
She ate the whole tiny house. When she was finished I reminded her that if she wants more I love making them. They are so little, it is like eating a cookie, not like eating a whole Gingerbread house. Imagine the stomach ache we would all have if we did that.
Then we headed back to Our Little Red House and ate pizza, watched a Christmas story and drank hot cocoa.
The next morning we all woke up to a beautiful sunrise.
We got back to the city just in time because that night a storm came in and along with it came snow and ice. The roads get closed up there during Winter storms and like our real estate agent said one time “If you ain’t here, you ain’t getting here and if you are here, you ain’t getting out” every time I think about that I always laugh because that is so true. If you are a regular follower of mine you have read that statement many times, it is so funny to me so I always love sharing that.
Happy Winter adventures everyone and please stay warm and safe out there. God bless you all from all of us at Our Little Red House. Please send out well wishes and prayers for the whole world, we need peace more then ever before. Things we could not see were going on for years while we all just tried to live our lives, things we did not know about were being set in place for people to profit off of others suffering…remember Love is the most powerful gift God has given us all. You will not be able to convince everyone that but the ones you do will benefit the whole world.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
I am on and off offline for awhile so I may not get to comments or visits for awhile. Thank you so much for stopping by for a visit, thank you for your likes comments and follows as well.