Friday, January 20, 2017

welcome to the new age

Jan 20, 2017
Today President Donald Trump took over the White House. 
Tomorrow there will be numerous Women's Marches in various cities around the country.  I can't speak for organizers in other cities, but the Oklahoma City march is an opportunity for people to come together and show support for each other.  It is not a protest as some of the national media is portraying the marches, but an opportunity for people with differing views to come together and show that they CARE about the issues facing our great nation.  To those who like to sit around and complain, this is an opportunity to do something positive.  A group of ladies from Blaine County will be heading to OKC in the morning.  Not to protest, but to stand united for human rights.
(Thank you, Aretha Franklin, for this sentiment)

The next step is to email and send letters to your representatives in Congress telling them that you want them to step up and work together for the best interests of America.  They need to get over the "we just to prevent the 'other party' from having any success" attitude and work together to come up with solutions.  It does no good to call the  President's office; it is the legislature that proposes and passes laws.  We the people of America need to stay persistent in holding our government responsible.  Remember that they were voted into office by us and are public servants.  They should not be working toward their own private agendas. 

I am hopeful for our future -- for all Americans.  
/Linda Barrett [Ed.]  

Friday, January 6, 2017

Goodbye 2016 - welcome 2017

Jan. 2, 2017
It's going to take me some time to get used to writing 2017.

We had a busy year in 2016 and many blessings.  We also had some hard times but we all got through them.  As the saying goes, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, and we've learned a lot from our experiences this past year. 

Blake and her boyfriend Adrian came home for Christmas from Portland and we had a very nice, laid back week.  Blake got to see friends here, Adrian got to rest after a tough semester at college. For New Year's Eve we stayed in and played board games. 
I've been pretty steady about posting to facebook throughout the year but don't know who sees what.  We've had some really nice people come stay at the B&B, made new friends, and had visits from old friends.  We've stayed busy between guests with the Oklahoma House Concerts and pizza dinner events.  We don't do pizza nights when it is cold outside but this coming year we plan to restructure and host some dinners other than pizza, try to make a steady schedule of once a month featuring a specific style of food - a Tapas night, an Italian night, a taco bar night, etc.  Drew and Jenna are excellent helpers and add a lot to the service and the experience.  Both the house concerts and the pizza/dinner events are fundraisers for Phoenix Circle Foundation. 

I worked half of the year as church secretary at the Methodist church, the part-time job I've had since 2013.  During my time as church secretary, I worked with the pastor and developed a partnership between the church, Phoenix Circle Foundation, and other local organizations to provide art classes for children, a couple of Sidewalk Chalk Art days, a "Let Me Read a Story to You" program, expanded the school supply give-away, and started a community garden on an empty lot the church owns.  Mid-year Pastor Steve moved and our church was assigned a newly ordained pastor. Unfortunately, she had a different vision for the church that did not include the mission work we had been doing in the community by partnering with other organizations. I came to realize that she was not willing to work with me or with Phoenix Circle Foundation on those projects.  It was a difficult time for me, and for our family, and the stress was affecting my health.  After much prayer, tears, and counseling, I submitted my resignation as church secretary.  Phoenix Circle Foundation will continue the programs we had started and I hope to continue to have the support of our church family members.  Everything happens for a reason and I have faith that in the long run this change in our lives will be for the better.  I've already noticed that I have more time to devote to the service projects that are important to me. I am thankful every day for the support of our friends and followers in the community. 

We didn't take a long vacation this year, but it was nice to be able to get away for three or four days while Drew and Jenna held down the fort.  They continue to make progress on their house project. Andy and Drew have both worked on the arts center building and we hope to have it open in mid-2017.  Drew is eager to start giving art lessons to local children.  He and Jenna both helped throughout the year on projects at our church, pizza dinners, and yard work around our property. They are thinking about getting some sheep this year. 

Our 2005 Sonata finally gave out mechanically so we were forced to get another car.  We had that car for 11 years and it had over 200,000 miles on it. Still, it was hard to give it up.  Skeeter is an "old man" but still loves to go up the hill when the kids go up there to work and still does his duty as the "estate hound", walking around the property to make sure there are no intruders, though the squirrels aren't very intimidated by him these days.

I am still on the board of directors of the Red Carpet Country state tourism organization and get to travel to different towns in northwest Oklahoma for board meetings and visits to historical sites.  As a "Texan", I never knew that Oklahoma and its history were so interesting.  One of my favorite things we did this year was to go to the Great Salt Plains and dig for crystals. We were like little children playing in the mud. I especially enjoy sharing my discoveries with our guests and visitors.  I continue to journal and write my blogs and facebook posts. 
So, in spite of some ups and downs, we've all gotten through 2016 with our health and friendships intact, and we even made new friends.  We look forward to new adventures in the coming year and hope we get to develop new relationships, new friends.  We wish all the best to everyone we know, and those we don't yet know, in 2017.
/Linda and Andy Barrett