Saturday, May 27, 2017

Soul 2 Soul World Tour with Tim & Faith

Spent last evening with my best friend watching two of our favorite people; Husband and wife, each other's best friend, power couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill for their Soul 2 Soul World Tour here in Portland, Ore. at the Moda Center.

Couldn't believe we even got to go, as tickets were originally way too pricey for our wallet but they just happened to fall RIGHT into my lap the night prior to the show. 

I grew up watching these two artists. I remember when they both started their careers in country music, releasing their first singles on the radio. I have always wanted to see them live and I'm so blessed that I got to do with my own best friend.
#Soul2SoulWorldTour2017
Opening the Show
Faith's "The Lucky One"


 
Tim's "I Like It, I Love It"
Me, "My Best Friend," and My Cousin B-Fray

Tim's "Shotgun Rider"
Duet "It's Your Love"



Their new song, "Break First"



Faith's "Stronger"







 

Duet "Angry All the Time"


Tim's "Real Good Man"




Faith's "Wild One"

 Thank you Tim and Faith for an excuse to have an intimate, fun date night out with my own best friend! Love you both and thank you for always making such great music to share with the world!
#TimAndFaithAreRelationshipGoals 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

All American Comeback Kid

Sargent Appling has been home for two years now and I am so glad that Baby Girl has had the time to spend with her Daddy.

Now for those of you who don't know, Sargent has been on two deployments throughout Baby Girl's short 8 years of life. His first was when he did his first tour in Iraq - when Baby Girl was only 6 months old. He was gone for about 3 years and when he came back, she was almost 3 and a half years old. His second tour, this time in Afghanistan, started when she was about 5 years old and he came home a year later, in May 2015.

Even though he and I are no longer together and hadn't been since his first tour, it was still one of the hardest times in my life. Watching Baby Girl miss her Daddy when he was away, especially during his second tour was heartbreaking. The first tour was a little easier, since she was so little and too young to realize anything that was happening.

This time, in his most recent deployment, she just couldn't understand it. She understood when I had talks with her about it, but being so little, she would forget and find herself misunderstanding again. I often, more often than not - found myself explaining how she has a Daddy who is different than other Daddies because he has a very special job. She knew his job was different, but she struggled at times, especially when she saw friends, cousins, etc with their daddies and only wanted hers with her as well. She would cry and even beg for me to call him, or tell him to come over so she could see him...

Again. Heartbreaking.

The struggles and sacrifice that military families go through is some of the hardest things to get through, especially when the soldier is on a deployment. You find yourself worrying a little more. Watching the news a little more. Reading the newspaper a little more. Crying, especially when that "Letters from Home" by John Michael Montgomery or "If You're Reading This" by Tim McGraw song comes on the radio. And every chance you get, whether its Memorial Day or Fourth of July or not, you find yourself honoring this great land of ours a hell of a lot more because you know the man or woman you and your family care for so much is risking their lives far away fighting for it.

That man or woman is someone's son or daughter. Someone's brother or sister. Someone's husband or wife. Someone's nephew or niece. A little someone's daddy or mommy.

This country is the land of the free because of the brave. The flag that stands for freedom and flies in the wind doesn't fly because the wind blows it. It flies because somewhere, far away and away from home, a military member took his last breath defending it. The risks that Sargent took and how he physically sacrificed his body and physical health for our freedoms.

No one wants their relative to leave, especially to fight a battle so dangerous. The feelings of denial knowing there's war going on and your son or daughter, brother or sister, husband or wife, nephew or niece, daddy or mommy - got the call. Telling them "You come back safe to me" when you know its a promise that cannot be kept. Its like time is a bargain that cannot be reasoned with. Offering up your most prized possession so they don't go is like giving the military your other most prized possession (your soldier).

Wondering where they're at, if they're being safe. If they're laughing. If they're waiting in line to call. All those things are so unbelievably nerve wrecking - especially when you have small children. "Where's Daddy?" and just telling them "Daddy's on a special mission right now, but he'll call us when he can and come home after some more time passes," when in the back of your mind, you can't guarantee it and you're wondering if they really will and you think back to when they were hugging you goodbye and saying "This is what I'm for - what I was trained to do."

Hearing "If You're Reading This" by Tim McGraw killed me. It was a song I just couldn't listen to. The reality and emotion in it just would send me over the edge. If and when something would happen to Sargent and had to see a medic for severe injuries, we would have to wait for DAYS to hear an update. I didn't want anything bad to happen to him. I didn't want to have to tell my little girl something serious happened to her Daddy. I didn't want the lyrics to this song to be our family's reality.

Through many prayers and our strong faith in God and His power, Sargent made it home. He received the Purple Heart for his services and was one of the four Oregon soldiers to earn it.

**The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name President to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April 05, 1917, with the United States military.**

"All American Comeback Kid" tributed the feelings and thoughts of anxiety of losing someone overseas in our family for me. America's Veterans will always have my full support and a special place in my heart. Anyone who knows me or our family knows how much this country means to me and how much I care about those who did, who are or who are planning on serving. I can't imagine the families grief and pain for their soldiers not returning home.

Here we are two years later and Baby Girl has built a great relationship with her Daddy and she is definitely Daddy's little girl.

I remember how heartbroken she was when she missed him and he wasn't here to see her all the time but when he got home, on American soil again, it was like the two of them just picked up where they left off. She saw him and they just ran to each other and she jumped into his arms. I remember how heartwarming it was to see her have her Daddy back. Her happiness and her little self was now complete.

Her hero was home and a little girl's first hero is ALWAYS... Her Daddy.

xoxoxo,
-S

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Almost Heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River

Well life is old here, older than the trees - Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze.

Country roads took me home, to the place that I belong. I've made a home for myself, my country boy and my little girl. We all survived our first month in our new place - physically, mentally, emotionally and financially! Whoop!

Our first month was full of unpacking and getting things in cupboards, decorations on the walls, etc. Country Boy and I pulled an all nighter our first night in the place and got the living room, dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and bathrooms all set up. Never again will that happen! No rest was gained and I had a migraine all weekend long from moving out of Mom and Dad's then into our own place and continuously unpacking.

We celebrated our first holiday 10 days later and got each other Valentine's. A few weeks later, Country Boy and I celebrated Christmas all over again as we finally got to go to the Blake Shelton Stickin It to Country Concert. I had bought him tickets for Christmas that costed me a bunch but we got the stage side experience.

A few weeks later I ventured into a purchase that changed my life. The beautiful, blonde wife of one of my managers at work has a business in a product called Lipsense. Well, months prior, she had added me into her Facebook group to follow her business and order products. Well I never tried the product or made an order until one day she had a color that I couldn't let get away. I said "What the hell, I'll order that!"

I ordered, received and tried. HOLY AMAZEBALLS! I couldn't not love this product more. I loved it so much that I hosted an online party with the beautiful blonde and I successfully sold a bunch of products. Most importantly, I had the best time doing it! It was so fun and so easy to share something so fun and great that I wanted to spread the love.

I spread the love so much that I can happily say that I am my own business owner of my own Lipsense business entitled Luscious Lips by Samantha Leigh. I've been at it for two months now and even had my first event last week! It was super fun!

Well, with extra funds coming in to pay bills, the Country Boy and I have gotten things we have had on our bucket lists. We have added wheels and tires, suspension and exhaust to our vehicles (because we are the biggest car mod kinda people we love projects). We have gotten the things we've wanted for our home, we have gone on fun little adventures with the little one to my hometown and done what we like when it so suits us.

I must say, its nice to not have to "beg, steal or borrow" lol. Its the greatest accomplishment to be able to have a gorgeous and healthy little girl that keeps me going to be the best woman and mommy to her in the world all tucked in her bed and dreaming away while I lay in mine with a damn good man by my side that I get to call mine everyday when I wake up that loves me more than words can say is the greatest joy. Love going to sleep every night with all my blessings counted and my heart so full.

I have the best family I could ever ask for and a nice house to go home to at the end of a busy day, and a good car that gets me from Point A to Point B.

My country roads that took me home to where I really belong and I thank God for that daily.  

xoxoxo,
-s

Friday, February 3, 2017

Take Me Home, Country Roads

John Denver once sang. "Country roads, take me home/ To the place I belong/ West Virginia, mountain mama/ Take me home, country roads."

I am excited to announce, that a country road is taking me home. A new home that I will call my own. That cute Country Boy I get to share my life with and I are merging our two homes into one. That's right. We have decided to move in together and get our lives with each other and as parents to Baby Girl started.

I am over the moon about this, as is my Baby Girl, because it has been a long time coming. We've lived with Nanna and Papa for the last four years and in a way, I'm proud to say, it was also the only time I've ever moved back home to Mom and Dad's. 

I  moved out of Mom and Dad's place literally four days after my high school graduation and had lived away from home ever since. That was from age 18 to age 25 that I was in my own place. I was on my own and had an unexpected layoff in my professional life that caused me to be unable to renew a lease and move back home to my folk's house.

After moving back home, the ultimate goal was to move back out again, with money in savings and all bills/debts paid off. Now that would require a j-o-b, right? Well, unfortunately, it took me about 8 months to find work and all the gigs I could land were temp jobs. Just when I thought I could make money to pay debts because I received job offers, I would accept - only to have them tell me 3 weeks after hiring me that they decided to make it a 90 temp job. It was like another job crashed and burned and was like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street.

I worked dead end jobs for 2 out of the 4 years I was living with my parents. I wasn't making enough money to pay off debt and most importantly, save money to get back to where I was prior to moving in.

All that changed when I started looking for more professionally. I was working another craptastic job that I was getting burnt out on and not making money to pay even monthly expenses with. I decided I was going to start looking for more because this ol' world had to have something better and worth having for not only myself, but for my daughter. 

I landed my current gig that I was over the moon about getting... Working for Acura. I've always been a car person and its always been something I love spending my time with. Mechanics, detail, selling, financing... Everything. The car business is something I always wanted to damper in and it just fell out of the sky and landed in my life one March day. (For more about my career and what it means to me, please read my entry from 2015: A Year In Review).

So since landing my job with Acura and since I was living with my parent's, I was able to pay off a lot more debt over time and start getting expenses broken down to just the necessities and no luxuries. I am so proud to say that I paid off 95% of my debt and only have monthly expenses - so now I was finally able to just see what options were. 

While waiting to see what those options were, time was flying by at the same time. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months dating my hunny and we decided that maybe since enough time as past that we've spent together, perhaps maybe it meant that we could merge our homes into one. Realistically, it made sense because I was now financially ready, and he was coming out to see Baby Girl and I almost every other to every day so, we were both just ready. 

Well, the big moving day is tomorrow! Like, holy hell, people! Its already here! We toured a few places to reside on Sunday, January 22, 2017 all including the opinions, thoughts and feelings of Baby Girl. She voiced her feelings on every place we looked at and if she really saw her and our little family living there or not.

When it came time to decide where we should apply to, her opinions, thoughts and feelings were graciously considered and we made our decision. We applied that January Sunday night around 8:30 PM after our Baby Girl went to bed and by the time I got to work the next morning at 9 AM, our leasing agent was calling to tell me the great news. 

Moving day is TOMORROW. As of tomorrow, February 04, 2017 - We will be moving out of Nanna and Papa's and into our own home. Its very bittersweet in Baby Girl and my life to be leaving but we are also excited to start new chapters with our special man in our lives.

This is officially Chapter 3 in our relationship. In case you need a refresher, Chapter One was dating. Chapter Two was officiating our relationship lol. Another chapter being written in our love story. 

To everyone who have love and supported us over the last 4 years, especially my parents, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts and we couldn't be any more blessed than we are right now.

xoxoxo,
-s 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

When "Taxes" Are High

"Grief is the tax you pay for losing someone. And today, taxes are high." - Randy Lewis, ODFW


"You can never say enough about a person who was so influential in your life. He was a hard worker and an avid outdoorsman. The State of Oregon will never know how much he did for this state. He was tough but fair, and loved us all unconditionally. Just like when you're pitching a little league game at Harmon Field in Bend, suddenly you see dad watching. the fastball got a little faster, and the bat started finding the ball. Our Disneyland and far away places were right here in Oregon. He took us camping every year at Cow Camp; We looked for morel mushrooms at the Metolius and Ochocos; Found many an arrowhead on Squaw Creek; Learning to catch brookies on Snow Creek and fly fishing at Sparks. Too many memories to capture in such a little space. Thank you Dad for all you did for me, my family and friends. You will truly be missed in so many ways. Give mom a big hug and kiss for us. Love you." - Jeff Montgomery, on his father's passing.

This man was truly the greatest hero, influence and idol of my life. On November 03, 2016, our lives were changed by the tremendous loss of my grandfather, my Papa Monty. I remember every moment form the day that I met him, up until the very end. Instead of all the attention, all he really would have wanted was a few words mentioned - a simple man, simply at rest. He always said some things just glitter and shine, but always taught us that love was the one thing money couldn't buy. His love and support always just meant so much.

He was the man who brought our family together countless times a year, and he instilled so many traditions and legacies within us - just saying thank you just wasn't ever enough. He was the greatest and most influential man that I, and countless others, ever had.

For everything he has ever done for us. For all the many memories that I have with him, I will cherish those forever. He will never know the gratitude I have for him, for all he has done for me and for everything he has ever given me.


I love him endlessly and I miss him terribly. This loss was just tremendous. 
I miss him a little too much, a little too often, a little more everyday.
xoxoxo,
-s



MONTY LEON MONTGOMERY (1927-2016)
Obituary

Montgomery, Monty Leon - 89 - May 03, 1927 to November 03, 2016
Monty, 89, a long time resident of Portland, passed away on November 03, 2016 peacefully at home, surrounded by his family. Monty was born in Talent, Ore. on May 03, 1927 to Donnie Allen and Vera Mae Withrow Montgomery (later Newland). As part of the "Greatest Generation", Monty graduated early for Talent High School and with his parent's permission, joined the Naval Service at 17 years of age, sailing on the USS Gurke (DD 783) into Tokyo Bay in August of 1945. After being discharged, he attended Oregon State University and graduated with a degree in aquatic biology and fishery management. Monty met Sally Marie Knight in Medford, Ore. and they were married there on September. 16, 1949. They made Medford, Bend, Corvallis and Portland, their home over their 60 years of marriage. Our favorite family memory is our yearly camping trip at "Cow Camp"outside of Bend. Monty began working for Oregon State Game Commission (now known as Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife) in 1950 as a biologist. As a manager at Fall River Hatchery, in his first position with the Commission, Monty's first success in conservation was was to convince the US Army Corps of Engineers not to put the Upper Deschutes into a culvert about the Deschutes Bridge during construction of the Cascade Lakes Highway; as was being mandated by the regulations created by the Tennessee Valley Authority construction project of the 1930's. He continued his working career and long after into retirement, Monty continued to do what he loved, volunteering for conservation projects. He received the highest award of the Izaac Walton League of America. "Monty dedicated a lifetime to conservation and protecting Oregon's natural resources," said Chuck Clayton, the League's nation president. "His work to benefit conservation as a local, state, and national leader in the Izaac Walton League represents a spirit of volunteerism many Americans cherish." Sally proceeded him in death in 2010. They are survived by their six children, Teresa Franzke of Bend,  Kimberly Waddle of Walla Walla, Wash., Molly Montgomery of Happy Valley, Lisa Joyce of Newberg, Heidi Elliott of Vancouver, Wash., and Jeff Montgomery of Aloha. They had 17 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. A celebration of Monty and Sally's life will be held at the family home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in honor of Montyto a project that he and his best friend, Corky Corthell were instrumental in initiating. The Coos County STEP Commission, Educational Account, PO Box 1611, North Bend, Ore. 97459. (Visit online at www.MorganCreekFishHatchery.org)

*Published in The Oregonian from November 11, 2016 to November 16, 2016.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"You should be here, standing with your arms around me here.
Cuttin' up crackin' a cold beer, saying 'Cheers! Hey, yall it's sure been a good year."
It's one of those moments, that's got your name written all over it.
And you know that if I had just one wish - It'd be that you didn't have to miss this.
Cause you should be here."
-Cole Swindell.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pushin' Time

After a couple months of writing hiatus, I am back to share more life with you readers. I apologize for the break but SO MUCH has happened in the time that has passed and I haven't had much time to keep you updated. Well, here we go!

Since last posting about the love triangle I always found myself in as a child, I am now here creating another triangle. A triangle that my daughter has now found herself in. But I am happy to say that this triangle is one full of love for her and she understands how much she is loved and cared for. 

Adding to the "crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic, awful beautiful life" we had, that "almost magic" shined some love on us. Baby Girl and I gained a special man into our lives as more than just Mommy's friend. 

Well, I never looked at this photo and what it captured closely enough, but looking at it now, I see what was truly photographed. Back when this photo was taken, this man and I were just friends. Just friends that turned into the best friends. I was told that you could see an unborn chemistry between us and that maybe time would tell what would happen between the two of us. Here we were, 6 years later, and this man was not just my best friend anymore.

Last July, I hadn't seen him in awhile but we had talked daily so I had just shot him a text and said, "Hey, what are you up to, you should meet Baby Girl and I for lunch." He accepted and met us for lunch. Now, mind you I always heard he had feelings for me but we never acknowledged them. Mainly because I was too busy flying by the seat of my pants to settle down and thought everyone was bluffing. I knew what I wanted but was too busy being young, wild spirited and well, an idiot to even just settle it down and make him talk to me about it. 

Well this handsome man shows up and we make eye contact walking towards each other, but just when he smiled at me, I lose my breath. Why? What was this feeling that had come over me? Why was I losing my mind and for the first time, I freeze and not know what to do? 

I'll tell you why.

Because in that very moment, I knew that I wanted him and no one else. 

He proceeds to say "hello" and we hug. Ok, now that hug sealed the deal. The way he approached me. The way he held me when he hugged me. The way I felt so complete in his arms. THAT'S the exact moment that I knew I not only wanted him, I needed him. 

We proceed to have a great lunch together and then after I got home, I felt it was completely necessary to make him talk to me about this chemistry. I needed to know if he still felt it. If he still had feelings for me more than friends like I was now mutually feeling. I needed to know if there was still and ever a chance we could explore the option of being together... I. JUST. HAD. TO. KNOW. I was not going to let this man get away from me again. 

And I say 'again' because a few months prior, this man had briefly dated someone. Well,even though I was not right in my mind and seeing someone else as well, it still infuriated me that he was with someone. Now I realize that it's not fair of me to be upset because he was with someone, while he has seen me in 2 relationships in our 6 years of friendship, but this one really got to me. Like it was a real thing that I could lose him. I was not about that life. 

Much to my surprise, he tells me that he was over the moon about spending time together and that he'd be honored to see where this goes. 

So after a month or so of being crazy busy with our careers, we fall off the radar with talking, texting or whatever. I wasn't having it. I was serious about not losing him this time. If I ever had a chance, the chance was now... So, I texted him. I demanded that if we were going to spend time together for this, then we're doing it. We were going to make time, damn it. Who knew if I was so assertive about it, it would persuade him to say "Ok, we are."

We spent some time together and went on numerous dates over the next month and after dealing with a stressful matter, we were sitting together one fall night and I told him that I was happy with how things were going. He was thrilled and that was the night we decided we were going to live this life together, side by side, hand in hand.

We have been through so many things in our friendship and we are both proud to say that we've never even gotten into a fight for any reason. This man has been my best friend over the years and has always had mine and my daughter's best interests at heart. No matter what life throws at us, we always take a second to cherish the little things. All the stress, worries and heartaches of the world go away when we are all together. 

I still can't wrap my head around what he sees in me, nor does he about me in him, but seeing each other smile makes us happier than the other will ever realize. We might get tired, stressed or sad... But knowing we have each other's back no matter what, we will always be able to pull through. I'm so blessed to have him as not only my best friend, but my partner. We have started a new chapter in our friendship and we are beyond excited to see what the pages of our story will tell.

"They say only time can tell, but you already know me well. If it has to end in tears, I hope it's in sixty years." -Miranda Lambert.

xoxoxo,
-s