Spring is here, and that means beautiful flowers, new life, gardens, barbecues, and thunderstorms. We have endured a lot of storms here lately, both in our weather and in our lives. Isn’t it comforting to know that storms don’t last forever?
Watch a thunderstorm in nature for example. Each storm is a unique creation that has never been created before and will never be exactly replicated ever again. And storms end. They have a birth, a duration, and an end. No storm lasts forever. The same goes for the storms in our lives. They have an end too. And sometimes things are more beautiful after a storm than they were before. It’s comforting to me to remember this truth when faced with a storm that is tough. It won’t last forever.
Be encouraged today if you are facing storms too.
All the best,
While this title may sound like an attempt at a Star Wars movie sequel, I really wanted to express my excitement that it is 2019 and that means a NEW YEAR and a NEW HOPE for NEW THINGS to come!!
The end of 2018 was full of highs and lows for me emotionally and physically. After being sent for testing to determine whether or not I have MS (I don’t!) and dealing with weak legs and frustrating physical limitations, I can trace all of these issues to muscle fatigue and overtraining … and the knowledge has given me a new lease on life and physical fitness. When I found out I didn’t have MS I wanted to dive into my Prancercise happy dance.
(You might think I’m kidding, but ask my husband - I’m not. Was I the only one of my generation who was in love with that “fad”?) Anyway, knowing how to take care of my body, not overtax it, but not be afraid to be active has empowered me tremendously in this new year to take on this challenge of being healthy and strong again, MAYBE even strong enough to run another 5K one of these days. BUT not anytime soon … I’m working my way up slowly. I can run almost a half mile now with knee braces and I am so content with that because I don’t hurt and my knees stay strong. While I SO want to be a runner again I am NOT going to push it. I will gladly cheer those other runners from the sidelines and continue doing my 4 minutes HIIT workouts (thanks to Lucy Wyndham-Read on YouTube) and maybe a little Prancercise (but only in my living room!).
So I am thankful beyond words for a new start. How about you? Sometimes I need a new start right after I get up in the morning, or a new start at 3:00 p.m. because I’ve just made my 538th mistake of the day. Sometimes I beat myself up for being a certain way or being stuck in old patterns. Sometimes I get dragged down with life in general, when it’s not the way I think it should be or it seems too unfair.
It's kind of like the trees and seasons. First, we have this.
And then before we know it, spring is here and things are new again!
Personally, I am grateful for new beginnings whenever they come. New Year’s is one of my favorite holidays because we physically get to say good-bye to the old and hello to the new, with all of its preciousness, possibilities, and purity. With the coming of a new year, I tend to believe I can be a new me, a better me, better maybe in some ways than the previous version of the prior year (Paige Samson version 34.0). I have that hope thanks to the One who offers me that hope. “Behold, I make all things new!” (Revelation 21:5), and “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Be encouraged in this new year, friends! We’ve been given a new start and new hope. Let’s embrace it! And maybe do a little Prancercise....
Do you remember when we were kids and the elementary teacher assigned us to write an acrostic poem? (Was I the only one who liked doing those for fun?) We were assigned a word, such as "SUMMER," and asked to write one word for every letter that held some sort of meaning. I remember doing one about my name and some various holidays. There are so many categories I can think of things to be thankful for, as we all probably can – family, home, provision, comfort, freedom, among the many others. Just for fun, I wanted to write an acrostic for “Thanksgiving” using hobby themed words. Here it goes!
It might sound funny, but I’m very really very thankful for trains. I’m thankful for the railroads throughout our history and present that employ so many hard working people, and I’m thankful for those people who go to work every day and work to make the railroads run successfully. That is not an easy job, so thank you!
H – Hobbies
I am thankful that hobbies provide fun ways to pass the time with ourselves and/or other people along with us. There are hobbies to suit every interest, and it’s fun to find one to pursue. I loved dollhouses and knitting when I was growing up, and today I enjoy decorating and photographing.
A – Airplanes
I am thankful for the people who fly, control, and manage airplanes and the hard work they do. I am also thankful for the dreamers who love to fly mini airplanes in the sky – such as my husband. It is so fun to watch.
N – Nice People
This may come as a shock to some (maybe), but people are not always nice! My dad always told me that some people make us appreciate others more, such as when someone decides to be ugly or hateful it makes us appreciate all the many others (many, MANY others!) who are nice and kind. So I choose to be thankful for nice people, and the others I say a quiet little prayer for and then move on.
K – Kites
Awhile back, I watched the movie “Saving Mr. Banks” about the life of Walt Disney. In the movie there was special singing of the famous song “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” and to me it is just a reminder that simple joys and time spent with loved ones is more important than a job, career, or any other pressing matter. Sometimes it is better to just go fly a kite and love the moment.
S – Slot Car Tracks
Derick talks a lot about a slot car track that used to be in Marshall, and to be honest it sounds like a lot of fun. So I put that on the list.
G – Generosity
I am thankful for the opportunity to be generous as well as to be the recipient of someone else’s generosity. Someone told me once that it takes true humility to be able to accept someone else’s help with something, and I think that is true. It’s humbling but a blessing at the same time. Someone else gets to give and be generous on your behalf. But I truly believe also that ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35). If I am feeling down in the dumps, one of the best doses of medicine for me is if I can bless someone else. Then I feel like I have a purpose again, and those human connections are so special to me.
I – Ideas
I am grateful I married a man with BIG ideas and that he supports me in MY big ideas too! Life is too short not to dream big.
V – Value Trains USA
I wanted to put this on the list because our new business venture so far has been very exciting and opened a lot of fun new doors. I am really thankful that this season includes Value Trains USA.
I – Imagination
Recently I have had the pleasure of watching my son use his imagination as he plays with his toys and we play in the backyard. He has such a wonderful imagination and I delight in playing “make believe” with him.
N – Nitro cars and airplanes
I was having a hard time finding something that started with “n,” so this seemed like a decent hobby-related thing to be thankful for because these are kind of going out of style. Electric and battery powered hobbies are more popular now than nitro, so these speak to me of an era that might be disappearing. I am thankful for that era.
G – Go
I am thankful we live in a society where we can just get up and go. If we feel like going somewhere, we generally don’t have to ask permission. We have a certain freedom that many people around the world do not have. I don’t take that freedom for granted. I am deeply thankful for those who made the freedom to get up and go possible – and I’m thankful that physically I am able to get up and go right now as well. I don’t take that for granted either.
So there it is – my Thanksgiving hobby-themed acrostic (poem? Is it a poem if it doesn’t rhyme?). What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? From Derick, Rafe, and myself, we wish you the happiest Thanksgiving yet, from our family to yours!
When Derick and I moved the hobby shop to the Marshall square in 2015, one of most fun things for Derick was stocking our model train section. He filled it with HO and N scale train cars, locomotives, track and accessories. What began as a small and modest one-room collection...
...grew over time into three rooms filled with model trains.
For Halloween 2015, we both wore engineer hats to hand out candy on the square. We began going to several train shows that year and had so much fun looking at the different layouts, merchandise, and meeting so many interesting people who shared a love for trains. Derick would get SO EXCITED to go to train shows. We came to love the train show atmosphere, and that was part of what sparked the dream in Derick that became Value Trains USA.
In December 2015, the Kansas City Southern Christmas train came to nearby Slater, so we excitedly went to see it. Covered in lights, it was a very merry and fun sight. We left right before the event closed that evening, and we decided to park along the street around the corner to watch the train leave town. We imagined seeing it go by, lights blazing in the darkness, on its way to the next scheduled stop. We waited in our dark vehicle by the side of the road for nearly 3 hours before we decided to check the train’s progress, so we drove back to the Slater depot and found the train in the train shed, tucked in for the night. We still laugh about that memory a lot.
Derick even stopped in Wyoming last year on his way to a car show to see the Big Boy Locomotive in Cheyenne.
Even I have come to enjoy seeing a steam engine or a diesel chugging down tracks, and I probably don’t even need to mention how much Rafe loves Thomas the Train characters and anything train related! Trains connect us to a past era, one where travel was suddenly made faster and hauling large quantities of items from one end of the country to another was made possible.
So Derick began to pursue a dream of developing a made-in-the-USA train car, completely crafted, painted, assembled, and packaged right here in the United States. The process was expected to take less than six months, but due to several bumps in the road, the progress was delayed. But Derick never gave up on his dream. He decided to call his venture “Value Trains USA,” and to unveil the new products at Train Fest 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We launched www.ValueTrainsUSA.com earlier this year, along with the Value Trains Facebook page so we can keep everyone up to date on the progress with updates and photos.
Train Fest 2018 is next week! After 20 months, Value Trains USA has products ready to be shown and unveiled one week from today. We hope to share our love of trains and to be able to spark that same love in the hearts of many generations. Derick has so enjoyed creating these train cars.
We hope you'll like them too.
Thank you to everyone who has so kindly reached out to us and prayed for me this week. I had 2 MRI’s done and they both came back clear which is both good and not so good. My brain MRI, which is a big test to determine the presence of MS, did come back clear – but it doesn’t rule out MS entirely because it can be present even with a clear brain scan. (I think it can show up either in the spinal cord or in the brain.) My other MRI was done on my knees and it also came back clear, showing pretty definitively that the problem – whatever it is – is not in my knees (like I had thought).
So now we wait. Both doctors have referred me to neurology and the first available appointment is in January, although the orthopedic doctor said they would do what they could to get me in sooner.
I’ve learned that there are other conditions that can mimic MS, and also things I can do to try to minimize symptoms of my leg weakness. So far nothing has really worked and I am still wearing my knee braces daily.
So in this time of not knowing, I am okay with not knowing. (If that makes sense.) We have had so much fun this week at the hobby shop doing Trick or Treat on the Square, and I have LOVED seeing all of the leaves change here in Marshall over the last few days. (I am planning a blog post about the fall very soon!). Derick has been the best and most uplifting husband I could ask for, and that little boy of ours makes me laugh and smile so many times a day that it's hard to stay sad for very long. I am grateful for the Lord and the comfort He has given me. In the absence of any answers, I still have comfort and His peace. I am also grateful for all of you who have prayed for me - extremely grateful.
My FAVORITE time of day is right before the sun sets. The air is heavy with the day’s activities. Everything is slowing down. A little bit of daylight hangs in the air as nightfall encroaches.
There is something fun and mysterious about that term. And no, I’m not talking about the movie or the series (although those were good too!).
Being outside in the evening air in many ways, I think, is just good for the soul.
One of my favorite fictional characters, Anne Shirley, describes twilight in these terms:
“It was a September evening and all the gaps and clearings in the woods were brimmed up with ruby sunset light. Here and there the lane was splashed with it, but for the most part it was already quite shadowy beneath the maples, and the spaces under the firs were filled with a clear violet dusk like airy wine. The winds were out in their tops, and there is no sweeter music on earth than that which the wind makes in the fir trees at evening.” -Anne of Green Gables
Though she was describing Canada, I see a bit of what she was talking about here in Saline County, Missouri.
Near Marshall we have BEAUTIFUL sunsets in the wide open skies above the cornfields. We hear the songs of tree frogs and cicadas and crickets pierce the thick evening air. We hear the wind play a song through the tree leaves.
A time of beauty and a time of rest. All your work for today is done. Now relax and enjoy the evening like it was meant just for you. In the words of Anne:
"Isn't this evening just like a purple dream, Diana? It makes me so glad to be alive. In the mornings I always think the mornings are best; but when evening comes I think it's lovelier still."
Today was an unexpectedly hard day. A couple of weeks ago I went to the doctor to get help for what I thought was my runner’s knee.
First of all, when I was in my 20s, running was all but everything to me. I jogged several evenings per week for health, fitness, and enjoyment. I loved it and competed in numerous 5Ks, 8Ks (never any marathons!), and overall I just loved running. I loved the feeling of my feet hitting the pavement and the rhythm of my breathing. I especially loved running in winter! No matter how cold it was, I didn’t notice once I started running.
About three years ago after a normal evening of running my usual 3 miles, my knees were suddenly so weak I could barely stand up. It took me two weeks to get over the weakness in my knees. During that time I could barely walk without my knees shaking. It was crazy, but I chalked it up to what I thought was runner’s knee, and that was the last time I ever ran a 5K.
Since then, every time I try to run (which is barely more than a mile these days), the same knee weakness happens. So I finally went to the doctor, fully expecting to hear a diagnosis of runner’s knee. Instead, through a series of questions, I heard (to my shock) a possibility that I might have MS.
Fast forward through the last couple of weeks, I have had one test and a visit to the orthopedic doctor – along with a lot of emotional roller coaster ups and downs. I was sure today’s visit to the orthopedic doctor would yield a diagnosis of something related to my knees, but instead, the doctor said my knees looked great and he thought something else was going on.
In just over 2 weeks I’ve had 2 different doctors mention the possibility of MS.
Needless to say, I am still processing all of this. I have two more tests next week and am scheduled to see the neurologist in January. It may be awhile before we find any answers.
As I have thought about all of this I have prayed. I feel sad, but my prayers have been full of praise. That probably sounds odd, but my prayers are not filled with pleas for me not to have MS. I may have it or I may not. Right now while I do not know, I just praise my Father because He is helping me in this weakness I am experiencing and have been experiencing for three years. Mainly I am sad that I cannot just go outside and take off jogging anymore. My legs are too weak to let me do that.
I have felt fear along with the sadness. Fear of the unknown, fear of a possible diagnosis. I mourn whatever my physical limitation is, whatever its name until the day we find out what is going on. Maybe it is a different neurological disorder, or something easily treated. Maybe there are other physical issues going on that we may find out this week. Or, maybe I do have multiple sclerosis. We simply do not know right now. Through my sadness, I do feel peace. I think it must be the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
But for tonight, I will sit and enjoy this beautiful fall evening. I will treasure the time with my husband and son. I am letting myself feel sad. And grateful. And confused. And frustrated. And weak, helpless, and not in control. And as I feel all these things, I think about the beauty of these flowers. Matthew 6:28-31 – “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will be not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry…”
I look at these beautiful flowers. I took these pictures before any of these doctor visits, before I knew anything of the possibility of MS in my body or anything neurological going on. They haven’t changed. And my Father loves me - and you - just as much as He loves these beautiful flowers. I rest in His love and it is the most beautiful place to be.
During our first year of marriage, Derick and I adopted a little yellow cat from the local animal shelter and named her “Grace.” Grace was (and still is) a very timid little kitty who is always cautious and scared of her own shadow. For the first few months we had her, I could leave the front door completely open when bringing the groceries inside from the car and she would walk right to the threshold and stop. She never dared to step over the ledge or go anywhere unfamiliar.
A few months after we adopted Grace, we adopted “Lilly.” Having limited experience with cats, we expected her to be like Grace. However, Lilly was (and still is) a very different cat. Where Grace is timid, Lilly is gung-ho. Where Grace is skittish, Lilly is confident. Where Grace is constantly on high alert, Lilly is carefree.
From the very first week we brought her home, Lilly ran as fast as she could out the open front door and ran off. She still tries to do so to this day, and we must constantly try to keep her inside or chase after her if and when she escapes.
She climbed everything - absolutely EVERYTHING! We had to stack two baby gates and then tape cardboard to try to keep her in her room the first few days she lived with us because she climbed up and jumped out (upsetting Grace) - and then a mad race ensued (see photo above).
Where Grace never climbed stairs or jumped on the kitchen counters, Lilly did. Where Grace never ventured to the basement, Lilly did from the first moment she got the opportunity. Grace would chase Lilly, and Lilly would jump up on the counters where Grace couldn’t reach her.
Lilly was forever on the counters and up high above the cabinets, and Grace was always on the floor looking up.
One day after we had Lilly for several weeks, I walked into the kitchen and there was Grace, curled up on the kitchen counter above the dishwasher. I was really surprised to see her there because while she had tried to jump that high before, she never could. Then all of a sudden, one day, she did.
The point of this little story is:
1) Sometimes I think Grace is wiser than Lilly in many ways. Where Grace senses danger, Lilly senses excitement, and that may eventually backfire on her.
2) Sometimes it takes a friend (or a frenemy) to make us realize we can do something we never thought we could do.
Today, both cats regularly jump up on the kitchen counters and Grace even tries to escape out open doors (and I still can’t figure out why because all she does is hide when she gets outside). But in many ways, Lilly has kind of been Grace’s fearless leader and shown her how to be a more daring cat.
Are you a Grace or a Lilly today? We love both our cats so much for their own unique personalities and the joy and giggles that they bring our family. They’re so similar, but so different.
Sometimes I think I am more like Grace in that I am cautious and sensitive. I can relate to Grace a LOT! There is nothing wrong with being a Grace! She will probably live a very, very long kitty life. But I am also thankful for Lillies in my life who show me how to be a little more daring and take a chance every now and then, showing me I can do things I never thought I could do. Jumping up on the kitchen ledge so I can see a little further than I could before, tempered by wisdom, sense, and of course, a little grace.
And now, Grace and Lilly are the best of friends. Well, most of the time. :)
The concept of community today can have several meanings. A quick Google search gives two definitions of the word “community”:
1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
We hear this word a LOT. In many places there are community centers, community meetings, a community pantries, community agencies, community spaces, and community resources. These are all good things, but while we may have community structures, do we really experience TRUE community?
Hobbies and interests are one great way to find a community. What I love about our hobby shop is that we sell hobbies that in many ways are SOCIAL activities! Here are some examples.
· Grandparents can build plastic models with grandkids;
· Parents and children can race r/c cars together;
· Siblings can go outside and fly r/c airplanes together;
· Grandparents can build a train layout with kids and grandkids;
· Friends can fly quadcopters and talk about life;
· You can join an r/c flying club or railroading club and meet new friends who have the same interests you do.
There is something so rewarding about being around people who share the same interests we do.
I am very much an introvert, so I choose to spend a LITTLE alone time each day simply for my sanity. But I can’t spend too much time alone or I will go nuts! (Although I know other introverts who do better being alone for long periods of time than I do.) For my naturally shy self, sometimes stepping out of my comfort zone to meet new people is SUPER scary, but nearly every time it has been rewarding.
This past summer I decided to attend a spring women’s Bible study at our church. I didn’t really know anyone at the time, and I was REALLY nervous the first night I went. But the ladies welcomed me, and as a result I made several new friendships because of that six-week event. It was scary, but I took a first step and experienced true community.
I cherish the times that someone comes into our hobby shop looking for a NEW interest, and we are able to help them find community with other people who like the same hobbies they do. I encourage you if you come into our hobby shop and are looking for community, let us know how we can help you.
If you have an interest in flying r/c airplanes, there are several nearby flying clubs that would love to welcome you into their group! If you like trains, we have several local people who also love trains. If you like racing r/c cars and trucks, we have an indoor track where we race Mondays and Thursday nights during the months between October and June. They have great comeraderie and a great time, and we would love for you to join us. (If you don't live nearby, we hope you have a community or can go to your local hobby shop to find a new interest and maybe make some new friends!)
Let us help you find and celebrate your community!
The postcards are finally here! They arrived in all of their glory this week, and I had quite a fun time looking through them. There are several different styles of them, from nature to black-and-white to colorful. If you like vintage things, you might enjoy some of the black-and-white postcards of the hobby shop. If you like countrysides, you might enjoy the pastoral scenes of rolling farmland and Missouri wildflowers.
Strangely enough, I had thought I was going to like the black-and-white postcards the best. But when they got here, I really REALLY liked the colorful postcards of the airplanes hanging in the hobby shop instead! The black-and-whites didn’t capture my fancy like I thought they would. To be honest, I was disappointed.
By nature I am a perfectionist. It’s something I have had to combat my whole life. I recently heard a quote (though I can’t for the life of me remember where, so if anybody knows PLEASE help me out) that said perfectionism is just another word for fear. Can that be true? For me it is. I’ve realized my grip on perfectionism has been holding me back from trying new things out of fear of failure. What if I let go of the need for perfect and just embraced the imperfect reality of what is?
Have you ever had a time where you thought you had your preferences figured out, only to find that they suddenly changed one day out of the blue? For example, I used to REALLY love jalepenos. I ate them on my Subway sandwiches and on my nachos. Around the time that Derick and I met, I ate them on pretty much everything that had the option of including jalepenos. Then all of a sudden one day, I didn’t like them anymore. I’m not really sure of the exact reason, but I haven’t had a jalepeno on purpose in YEARS.
Do you get frustrated when something didn’t turn out the way you had hoped? Derick is great at helping me see the bigger pictures in things. When I realized the black-and-white postcards weren’t exactly like I had hoped they would be, I was pretty down about it for awhile, but he helped me see that just because they were different than I expected didn’t mean they were bad. Just because they didn’t quite meet my standard doesn’t necessarily mean someone else won’t enjoy them.
It’s okay for things to not quite be what we hoped. Can we find something good about them? Can we find a reason to celebrate them, even if they don’t QUITE meet our approval? Can we embrace the imperfect in our lives and in ourselves?
And by the way, I hope you’ll come see some of the postcards on display at the hobby shop! You just might find one you like, and maybe just maybe enjoy the imperfections in the process. -Paige
Thanks for stopping by! I'm a student turned teacher turned writer turned part-time tutor, postcard hobbyist, and landscape photograph enthusiast. I have zero formal training in photography, but I love the art of visual documentation. I lived the first 30 years of my life in Oklahoma until I made a major life change (long story and I'd love to tell it sometime!), met my husband, moved to Marshall, and became a bonafide Missourian. My husband Derick owns our hobby shop, and we have a 2-year old son Rafe who loves just about everything these days (except spinach). If you ever see me around town with a camera pointed at a sunset, please say hi. I'd love to be friends. :)