Christmas in West Virginia

What an incredibly awesome start to my Christmas photo shoots! I have 5 homes to do between now and Jan. 2nd. Kicking it off today was the home of Dave and Dianne McWhorter in WV. I spent two glorious days with these truly special and gifted people. It was a time filled with fun, fellowship, love and Christmas blessings. You are going to fall in love with this home and family just like I did!!!! Coming to A Simple Life magazine in 2018!!!

Now I’m headed to Jimmie Cramer’s for our “family” Christmas party and it’s snowing like crazy!!!

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 ….

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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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