Dear My Toy Garden Friends,
A year ago now I stood atop a cliff with my toes hanging over the edge. Behind me a journey of steps sure and straight at times and wandering and faint at other times. But each with a forward purpose guided by a higher power. As I lifted my head, I saw an endless horizon. Far below, a bottom I couldn’t see or know what was waiting there. A breeze that was faint months before was now whistling past me lifting my hair in ever changing arcs around my head. My heart, while racing a bit, was steady. It was time, I was sure, to take the next step. This one was to be a different from the ones behind me. This one was to be off the edge of the cliff.
And step off that cliff I did and fell, fell, fell. You, my dear My Toy Garden friends, were there with me through the crazy journey of last year. Thank you for all your kind words and support! Know that I miss you and think of you often. I've now landed at the bottom of that cliff and wanted to share the recent and next steps of my journey with you in this one last newsletter.
June, July, August brought wave after wave of there's a buyer! Oh, hmm, nope. There's a buyer! Oh, hmmm, nope. In early August, I was told by the landlord that he had a potential tenant who, if they signed the lease, would take over the space early September. That news triggered several weeks of clearing the space to the walls. Every shelf, every paper clip, every post it note, every curling ribbon I'd brought into the space had to be removed. With each piece, a piece of my heart to be sure. I followed the advice of a dear friend before disassembling everything and sat down in the dark of the space one night with a candle and a bottle of wine and said goodbye. I slowly walked through the store, touching each piece and let waves of memories wash over me. The wiggly faces at story time, the grandpa who loved science things, the mom whose child struggled academically and loved coming to chat, the amazing staff, the children with a few hard earned dollars in their hands ready to get what they'd eyed for so long, the birthday buckets filled, the events we held.... sooooo many great memories!!
That was an incredible difficult period but one of great healing as well. The new tenant didn't materialize. All the fixtures found new homes. Some at the Carmel Library, some in a new toy store in Chicago, some at Lily's school, some to a food shelter. The year has been an exercise in trust. Trust in God's greater plan for me. I have felt his steady hand guiding me through the year. Nudging me when I've wanted to dig my heels in, cradling me when I've needed the strength. I entered the journey of My Toy Garden as an unbeliever. I leave more sure than ever of God's presence and abundant blessings. This new year begins with incredible possibilities ahead and I can't wait to see what He has planned! If you have questions and would ever like to chat with me about faith, I invite you to reach out to me.
My work with Wildtree has continued to give me great opportunities to help others with taking steps toward healthier eating and/or making meal time more manageable giving them time and stress relief. Two things I love to help with! It has provided us income to pay the monthly rent that has continued to be due. (Praise God that a new tenant officially takes over the space as of today!! Painting with a Twist begins their build out in the space and expects to open soon.) If our paths have not yet crossed on the Wildtree side, I'd be honored to work with you. A hint of something magical has peeked into my world as well. I look forward to conversations about that in the next few weeks to see where that might lead.
So, my feet have landed safely on the ground at the bottom of the cliff. There have been caves to curl up in and take the long nap of a hibernating bear. There have been cool pools to float in looking up to the sky in wonder and awe. There have been cactuses with sharp prickles to contend with. There has been a path that led to my return home for the holidays for the first time in 20 years. My stepfather passed away in May and I'm so thankful for the time I now have to reconnect with my family. Below is a picture of my mom and I in her kitchen. Proof that miracles do happen!
Ahead, there are flat plains and mountains to traverse with dark woods to get through. There are people to meet and help along the way. I'm ready for the challenges and the journey ahead. More than ever. All we can do is trust and take the steps were are meant to take today knowing that they will lead us exactly where we need to be. No need to worry. Happy new year my friends! May our paths cross again.