Ever since I was a young child I have had one dream that no matter what else happens in
life, it always leads me back... just waiting, waiting, waiting, so patiently for it's time and
opportunity. When I was little, I loved playing with my dolls, the toy tractors in the sand
pile were more of a favorite, but the number one thing I loved to do was to play "store", I
would pretend on providing just the thing my pretend customers wanted.
But my store play had a special twist to it... I had to make everything that I had in my little
shop, that was the most fun. I didn't play "garage sale" just slapping price tags on all my
toys, I played real STORE. I remember one cousin said I was crazy... that wasn't playing,
that was WORK! Well, I loved to create things and my mind would go ten thousand miles a
minute with ideas. Remember bleach bottle piggy banks? And it's amazing what you can
make out of paper towel rolls...Scrap cardboard, markers and old game pieces got life
reborn into them when I made new board games. I always loved to sew, so there were
things out of fabric as well. I used scrap wood blocks to make the dolls furniture... and yes,
how I do so remember the days of hand saws! It was always fun and I would say someday
this will all be for real, being a business owner where I am creating the goods that sit upon
REAL store shelves and those precious items being cherished by their new owners upon
their shelves, mantles, and walls of their homes!
After I was married and I had only one child, I thought the time was then. I had gone to
school for starting my own business in 1984. I had done all the research and found the
shop and was ready to take the plunge. I had decided on a rather questionable business at
that time, questionable by other people that is... but not me! I could see the vision of what
was on the horizon! A sewing and craft supply store with craft classes! Hmmmm... I was
indeed a few years ahead of my time! I dealt with people who rebuked the idea saying the
entire industry was dead! Hmmmm... my little crystal ball said otherwise and so did the test
of time. We all have seen the transformation of that industry in the past 30 years! But I kept
a dream of someday having my store alive.
For years I did craft shows, starting when I was just married with my trusty sewing
machine with bibs and doll clothes, then heading towards other odd crafts, then to my
scrollsaws and fretwork... continuing on even while having five children. The older two
girls grew up taking turns on mommy's lap while I sewed sweatshirts and learned to sew
themselves when they were only four years old. The next kids were raised in the scrollsaw
era where I could hear every move those busy toddlers made after naptime while I was
sawing in the basement beneath their busy little feet. And there were times when they
really helped out with a handy screwdriver to the just finished wallhangings... and YES, I
saved those for them to have, all the scratches and all.
I traveled to shows with kids in tow and/or big belly when pregnant. Awakening at 3 am, if I
even went to sleep that night, to travel sometimes two hours or more to shows in Brainerd,
Rochester, St. Paul in all kinds of weather, set up for three hours, and work non-stop all
day long. My girls learned to count change the CORRECT way and to set up our movable
store under the pressure of sleep deprivation and the clock ticking before the mobs hit the
craft show floor. I now hear the stories of their little pranks with velcro sticky side up on my
carpet as the little devils were hiding under my upside down cart that transformed itself
into a table with a sleek tablecloth. All got their turns to go to a show alone with Mom, be in
charge of the booth alone as mom checked out the show (in the days before cell phones).
Those days were so fun! It is one of the things I so miss about my daughters now living in
other states and so far from home.
In 1995, I thought the time was right when we bought another farmstead and I moved my
workspace to the old house there to have more room. I had grand plans for the great shed
there. Visions of the cutest country store with all those creations longing to be born
bouncing around in my head. It was one of the last things my dad told me to do! Get that
store, live that dream! He was so proud to watch us reroofing that shed, that he had cut the
lumber for the farmer then to build some fifty years before. We also added on an entry
porch a couple years later that he got to see on one of his last times out driving his pick-up
truck. Life wasn't to work out that way though. It was not yet time and I was not yet ready.
I had realized the night before a craft show that fall of 1995 that something was just totally
not right with me... I had found a lump in my neck a couple weeks earlier, actually my
oldest daughter did.... and I was just exhausted. That night before that huge craft show
and with so much yet to do, I simply said it was time for bed... at 7:00! Now, I rarely, if
EVER, slept the night before shows and here I was heading to bed hours before normal. It
would take time and five doctors to discover that I indeed had a very rare form of
lymphoma, and another four doctors to totally disagree on treatment, but none disputed
the outcome. The last doctor in Mayo put it bluntly, if I did not find something that could
help me I had an outside chance at five years!
WOW! Life has a way of smacking us in the face sometimes doesn't it? There I was, then
just turning 34, with five kids ranging in age from merely twelve down to two years old, and
no where near ready to say this was curtains! I needed to be here for my kids!!! To see
them grow and graduate and marry and have kids of their own and live happy lives! And
another of those driving forces behind me was my DREAM! My Children and that Dream
have kept me alive! THEY are the best medicine anyone could hope for. Yes, I rejected
traditional treatment that could offer me no real hope and tried every kind of conceivable
alternative I could afford, or not afford, and something worked! I have held my own for now
over 20 years! The fear and questions linger on... will it return? But I decided long ago,
cancer does not control my life, I do and I chose to focus on health and life! I got that
realization just before my father's death in 1998. He was dying from cancer and said he
would be there waiting for me as I was coming soon. I snapped back to him without any
hesitation that I have way too much to do yet and I would not be coming THAT soon! I lived
with the philosophy of living 50 more years of LIFE, not just struggling to survive five
years! I want to THRIVE not just survive! I now view cancer as the greatest blessing I have
As my health was beginning to improve I thought perhaps the time would be right for my
dream... unfortunately the universe had other plans. In June of 1998, a lightning bolt
transformed our family's life in that flash! Within minutes we were without a home and
within hours my children were attempting to sleep somewhere else, with which relatives I
did not know! Life felt so empty that night sitting in the van with my husband waiting
impatiently for the sun to rise so we could see what was left after the fire, smoke and
tremendous amounts of water! But the greatest pain was not being able to hold my
children tight that night! We had never been split up like that before and it traumatized
everyone. Soon we had a camper that slept three, and a four room tent. But you would be
amazed how cozy people can get in a small camper in a thunderstorm! We bought a 37
foot travel trailer soon after that we called home for five months and the kids all bonded
like velcro. The best days of our lives. Cramped, on each other's nerves, but all the
children were together!
We all learned a valuable lesson of what is important in life... it's not the things, it's the
people! In that crisis we learned that we could always count on each other! Eventually we
moved into our "temporary" housing, aka trailer houses, and that is where we still live
today with just the youngest two boys left at home.
Life is full of challenges, but how we react is what is important. My oldest daughter has the
most wonderful saying at the bottom of all her emails...
The Power of Attitude
"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us,
but by how we react to what happens;
not by what life brings to us,
but by the attitude we bring to life.
A positive attitude causes a chain reaction
of positive thoughts, events,and outcomes.
It is a catalyst...a spark that creates extraordinary results."
Life lessons continued... In 2001, I was given a great opportunity once again in the form of
a stroke. Obviously I had not learned enough with cancer...hmmm! When I had to use a
cane to get around, couldn't find words easily, and my right hand would not work right I
was so afraid I would lose my ability to create and express myself. Some medication I was
given about sent me over the edge. It was a very "opportunity" laden time for me... but I
vowed to regain what I had lost and be as stubborn as I could be about it.... I had way too
much to do yet! I now can hide the effects until I let myself get way too exhausted... then
it's tipsy time when I lose my balance and I can get real chummy with the hubby, or one of
my children to have them hold me up in public! OHHHH, ain't that sweet!
But that challenge has made me even more determined to achieve my dream. I have
watched my daughters grow and become wonderful young women and mothers, and my
sons become such committed, hard working young men! To me, THEY are all my heroes. I
am so proud of what they have accomplished and realize that my most important job all
these years was to be their Mom! And now as my job as Mom is being transformed... ( I joke
and say I am being downsized right out of a job!)... it is NOW the time for my dream!
That house we are building is designed for, you guessed it, my business! The front entry
opens into my showroom for my laser engraving and now additional ventures of printing
shirts and other items. Much of the lower level will be production area and storage. But
although the house is not yet done, call me finally impatient... IT IS TIME! It can wait no
longer. This business, this dream, is like a child that is finally ready to be born and there is
no holding it back! With or without a roof on that new house, it is TIME! I will work from my
cramped quarters here in the middle of the living room, or wherever I have to, creating
those precious items that now sit upon people's shelves, mantles, and on their walls.
I love to create treasures that make people think, inspire, and make them feel so special.
But remember it is not about things, it is about people... and through my creations I want to
create that constant reminder. One of the latest frames I created is about the generations....
how I had wished we had thought about getting pictures like that taken years ago when
there was still time. I hope my frames inspire people to do just that, create that special
memory that will be cherished for generations!
One day I stood and watched as an engraved item of mine was placed upon a wonderful
little gift shop shelf and I had to fight to hold back the tears. My items were being
professionally photographed that same day for a new website that had commissioned
from me a line of personally engraved items. And I realized... my lifelong dream of having
that one little store of my own was too small! The universe had so much more in mind for
me! I have to expand my vision and IT IS TIME!
I hope to always honor my mission of inspiring and encouraging people about what is
important in their lives and to find their true passion. But little did I know that all of my
health challenges would expand it further to us offering the CSA (Community Supported
Agriculture) veggie program from the crops we would grow as well. I had a huge desire for
people to have access to healthy organic food that they can afford... and an opportunity to
be part of a farm, especially for their children. We also have written a story of why we farm
the way we do and how the CSA came to be....
As the fulfillment of my dream comes to fruition and expands, after all these years and all
these opportunities that have better prepared me to get here, may I serve as inspiration for
others.... NEVER EVER EVER give up!
Thank you for sharing in my story and may you be blessed and be a blessing today!
Love always, Peg
Treasured Haven Farm