The Clayton Store

Our Winter 2017 Issue Sneak Peek Continues with the CLAYTON STORE. Serving its community since 1825, Sue Connell restored it to its former glory in the 70’s – right down to the eggs (hand blown now of course!) Take a trip back in time with us, when every small town had a similar store for trading merchandise and stories.

I remember shopping as a child, quaint downtown stores on main street in the tiny town in Iowa near my grandma’s farm. Once a year in mid-summer all the merchants would get together and have “Crazy Days.”  I always looked forward to it while visiting. All the merchants would have sales and giveaways, food and fun. Everyone dressed up and met “up town” for gossip and treats.

My great-grandma “Chubby” was a rug hooker and she would sit up town and sell her rugs outside the general store on main street.  I’ve always had a fascination for those wonderful shops who served their community with everything from food, fashion, mail and entertainment. I can imagine the smell of the penny candy now …

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I love this article, and the memories it invokes! You don’t want to miss this issue –  shipping approx. Dec. 15th! Find it in your favorite store, get a subscription or renew!

A message of hope for the hurting

Some of you know my best friend, Joshua Durst. If you do, then you know what an amazing man he is. For those of you who don’t – let me share a little bit about his story. I will make this brief but Josh lost his 18 year old son, Michael, in a motorcycle accident. Since that time, I literally marvel at how Josh has chosen to handle this incredibly difficult time. I am so proud of him, and so proud to be in his life. This is his message of Thanksgiving that he shared with me first thing this morning. My wish for you this holiday is that you take five minutes to read it …

I am sitting here on this chilly Thanksgiving morning thinking about the idea of gratitude. The farmhouse is nice and warm despite the frost that blankets the ground outside the window. The speckled dog has had his breakfast and is now back to snoozing at my feet. My love continues his dreams, but will soon come down the stairs in anticipation of the pancakes he has been promised. There is so much right here at this moment to cover with my immense gratitude.

I am also thinking this morning of that day, that unbearable day. Amid the repeated moments of desperation, I had the thought cross my mind that I could not allow grief to rob me of gratitude, even when thankfulness was a foreign idea. I could not allow the darkness to cover the light even as we had to find a way to remember to breathe.

As the first days passed by, gratitude found a way to be the lighthouse in the fog. The kindness of both those close to our hearts, but also complete strangers gave us the imperative to say thank you. Finding a way to get out of the bed each morning evoked a prayer of thanks to the Creator who made the idea that joy could come again possible. And knowing that we had been given the chance to know and love such a beautiful being in his short eighteen years could not even be described in simple words.

So as this holiday season begins, I will allow grief and gratitude to be passengers on this journey. I will say thank you for what is and what is to become. If you are feeling broken by grief and don’t find gratitude possible, please know that you are understood and honored. Please know that gratitude will find you again even if only in a small whisper. Light will rise like the morning sun and gratefulness will be the garment that wraps your life with love.

Be well and know that I am grateful for you. Happy Thanksgiving…

Home of Chuck & Marion Atten

The De Witt, Illinois home of Chuck and Marion Atten will grace the pages of our upcoming Winter issue, and we are so grateful and thrilled to be sharing it! You’ll remember that their previous home was featured in the Settlement book a few years back but they have since moved closer to their children and into a log home. It’s really fun and interesting to see the same museum quality collection now shown with a different backdrop. You’re going to love seeing the changes!  Renew, or subscribe now!

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On this special eve of Thanksgiving, I want to sincerely THANK each of you for your loyal and wonderful support of A Simple Life Magazine. It means the world to me and I am forever grateful. Much love and overflowing blessings from my house to yours ….

Farm B 11-8


After all the shenanigans of my weekend in Ohio, it’s time to get back to business! Here is a sneak peek of the cover and Table of Contents of our Winter 2017 issue! It will be shipping approximately December 15th, and you can pick it up at your favorite shop, subscribe, renew or buy a single issue copy at    Or, give Kay a call at 806-748-0700 and she will fix  you up!  More sneak peeks from this fabulous issue coming soon!

Winter 17 cover


Two precious calves were born this week – one girl and one boy, both solid black. Its turned cold and windy this weekend! Loving the first fires of the year!


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Some of this, not much of that …

Hello! Remember me? It’s been so long since I’ve posted, I had to think of my own web address to get started! And actually, I don’t have anything of real interest to tell you but wanted to check in before you forgot me!

So, lets see, since we last talked I did the awesome Simple Goods show in Ohio – always a fun, fun time! One of my favorite events of the year. The show is in its 11th year I think and I’ve been along for the ride since the second one. The Sunday after the show I went to photograph the home of Janet and Jon Wright. I met Janet at the spring Simple Goods show earlier this year and literally after five minutes I felt I had known her my whole life. It’s the strangest and most wonderful thing, but we are just old friends. I feel more comfortable with her than with some folks I’ve know a lifetime. She is just fun, easy, smart, and amazing! She first caught my attention when I overheard her tell someone in my booth that she and her husband own a chrome plating business. I immediately interrupted and said, “Street Rods?!” and she said yes. Well you know where that lead! So on my trip to see her last week I got a grand tour of their shop, as well as a visit with all of Jon’s personal street rods. I told Janet I loved her house, but loved seeing Jon’s cars more! ha! That might have been a slight fib because it was actually a toss up! But what could be better – an incredible collection of antiques AND two 32 Ford Coupes ??? Here’s a couple peeks!


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I came home for a few days so I could get our Winter issue to print. It will be arriving in your mailboxes around December 15th. Sneak Peeks coming soon!

For my Ohio, West Virginia friends – Come out and see me tomorrow, Friday Nov. 17th at  Dad’s Primitive Workbench in Marietta, Ohio. Charlie Clay has invited me for a meet and great during his Christmas Open House. I’m so excited to see Charlie’s shop and his awesome customers!

Amazon is always sending me emails of links to books they think I might like. You know how that is. But sometimes, it works! So a couple months ago they told me about, “If the Creek Don’t Rise,” by Leah Weiss.  I thought to myself,  “Oh good, I like her style.” But as I read the description it said it was her debut novel. I was confused, because I was sure I had read her before. But I ordered the book and looked forward to reading it. That night I woke up remembering that Leah wrote a short story for A Simple Life several years ago, titled “The Tobacco Market.”  WOW! How exciting to see what she has accomplished since then! And let me tell you, for my reader fans – THIS IS A MUST READ! I loved it! I savored every word and I know that Leah thoughtfully and carefully CHOSE every word! Get it today!


Well, if you’re still with me, let me give you a few more dates of some events I’m doing this year – in hopes you will come see me! I love meeting our Simple Life subscribers! On Dec. 2nd I will be at Cabin in the Woods in Bellevue, Michigan,  just outside of Battle Creek. Cheryl and KC Jones are having their Christmas Open House and you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their cabin village, live music, excellent food AND wonderful antiques and folk art for sale! Can’t wait!  Then, the next weekend, Dec. 8th I will be in Alliance, Ohio for Bridgewater Primitives Christmas Open House! I’m super excited about that event because we will be having our first-ever TRUNK SHOW!  Yup, I’ll be bringing several items from our linen clothing line. The girls at Bridgewater, Lesa and Cindy, wear our clothing and make great models. So their customers have requested to see it in person and it will be a ton of fun! So I hope to see you at one of these events!

Stay tuned for a sneak peek of our Winter issue – VERY SOON!  Now I’m off to pack for Dad’s Primitive Workbench Christmas Open House!

See ya!