Winter’s portrait.

At last, here we are at year’s end. Like a critter who’s readied a nest, I’ve prepared for this season when our world goes white and the fever of long, busy days is hushed. I’ve picked up the yard and mended what needed mending before the ground turns solid cold. I’ve even coaxed my senses … Continued

Letters of gratitude.

Blessed, for me, is the feeling of gratitude. Being grateful for something doesn’t have to mean that that something is perfect or ready, especially when it comes to loving ourselves or others. Gratitude is the white-knuckle work of being, despite everything.  This year I’m particularly grateful for stories. I’ve always been an avid reader, sometimes … Continued

Out to lunch.

I’ve always known how to lunch. That’s right, lunch being a verb. I love the empty table waiting for my arrival, the just-right temperature of a gorgeous plate of food, the perfect marriage of seasoning, and the conversation of good company. Perhaps my love affair with dining out is partially derived from my not-so-stellar duties in the kitchen at home (why … Continued

The brim of style.

So, there’s this hat—tan, wide-brimmed, complete with a neat bow on its band. In its own way, it rescued me from being inadvertently devoid of style. It’s not lost on me that practical is my closest form of fashion—old leather boots, blue jeans, a top that won’t show the dog hair that is surely embedded … Continued

The fur in family.

I was finally, technically, able to refer to having ‘kids’ the evening that my goat had twin boys, even though I’d been calling each of my animals baby for years.  They were still damp from their welcome into the world when I scooped both of them into my arms and breathed in their warmth. Their … Continued

All her glory.

One of my favorite summertime memories is of my late father and I, back in the countryside of New York State, skirting through traffic on our way to a firework show. We’d do the same thing year after year on this particular day—July Fourth.  His police officer badge and his sparse gray hair helped us … Continued

Blessed to be a father.

For me, being a man is pretty equatable to being a father. So many of life’s lessons that teach you how to be a good man have come to me through caring for, worrying about, and being there for my children.   Everything about being a father scares me. I’m scared every day—for their health … Continued

Leave her wild.

In pulling this issue together I kept coming back to this idea of filling up. I was sitting in Wendy Lofthouse’s kitchen when she shared some hard truths with me that were sewn into her reasons for becoming a body builder. The first truth was about her sibling who had drown when she was a … Continued

A Pristine Paradise.

A few months ago, I attended the International Fly Fishing Film Festival. It was a vivid dream of clear rivers and vibrantly colored fish set to modern, rhythmic tunes, and it had me all sorts of emotional over the thought of spring and the mere beauty it ushers back into our lives. 

Cheers, to the joy of homemaking.

 Home: the epicenter of the perpetual to-do list.   I was warned of this list immediately following my enthusiastic calls to family and friends, but with great energy I took the plunge into home-owning and have yet to come up for air.   I was in the parking lot of Bed Bath & Beyond when my husband and I got the call…

A Sweet Thought.

 I have a sweet tooth—thirty-two to be exact.
   I inherited them from my parents, both owners of In Good Taste, a long-ago chocolate and gift shop back in New York State that smelled so rich my mouth would start salivating upon entrance. There were wooden baskets on turnstiles that housed dozens of flavors of old-fashioned lollipops, rows on top of…

The Magic of Christmas.

I can still remember hearing a thump on Christmas Eve and bolting out the front door, down the steps, and nearly running backward to catch a glimpse at the roof of my childhood home when I was small. I had missed him, Santa of course. 

My 30 days of thanks.

Beginning in November, I begin to see a flurry of Facebook posts about the things my friends and family are thankful for. By the second week, it’s less a flurry and more a sprinkling. By the month’s end, I see about three friends who’ve publicly pushed through the “30 Days of Thanks,” or Gratitude or Thankfulness, challenge. I know they…

The one.

I knew my husband was the one this past winter when I’d come home a raging mess of snot in snow-caked coveralls—evidence of a long day’s work in subzero temps. I knew he was the one several times throughout our nine years of dating, through silly things like assembling a full-size bed in the oversize closet that was our second…

Polka dots galore.

In my closet, I have no fewer than five shirts, six dresses, and a dozen socks featuring polka dots. I love them—polka dots—mostly in black and white, but I’ll take them in every color combination, except orange and navy blue. Broncos colors, you see.

A kid at heart.

My bedtime is early—as in, the same time as my toddler-age nephews, 8 p.m.—and it always has been, even as a teenager and young(er) adult. I suspect this is the reason why I’ve always felt uncool. But when I am listening to the latest albums by the Whizpops and the Salamanders, I feel very cool. These two bands were an…

Summertime in the garden.

I wrote this letter from my office at Higgins and Broadway. My view? Snow-capped mountains. The date was May 17. That morning, our community—which had welcomed a few 80-degree days just a week earlier—woke up to find the hills and mountains surrounding us blanketed white. They, too, thought they had said goodbye to a winter that lingered a bit too…

Another day in paradise.

My dad is full of one-liners. Half of them cannot and should not be repeated. A fourth of them make me cringe, and the last fourth are surprisingly insightful. “Just another lousy day in paradise,” I’ve often heard him say when he’s asked how he is. Most of us would agree: Montana, and especially our little corner of it, is…

Of imperishable seed.

Like many little girls, I was a tomboy and thought that was better than the alternative, whatever that was. In fact, one of my favorite things about listening to my dad’s stories about me as a kid is that all the neighborhood boys were scared to play street hockey with his little girl. I bet he’d say they still are.…

Food for thought.

I couldn’t smell very well, the result of a lingering head cold. But I knew the aroma from the fresh-from-the-oven pasties were going to be delicious. So too did Oscar Emilio, my fiancé’s double dapple dachshund. At one point during dinner, I looked over to see him—the pup, not the husband-to-be—standing on his hind legs in a ridiculously cute effort…

My house’s must-haves.

My childhood friend Shannon had the entire Barbie set-up: the dream house, the pink Corvette, at least a dozen Barbie dolls. And she used to play with them. I had Barbies, too, but they sat in my toy box. I remember wishing so hard that I'd want to play "House" with my Barbies as much as she did. Instead, I've…

Collect moments, not things.

The editorial deadline of this issue fell on Christmas Day, midnight. As usual I was compiling my thoughts and organizing them at the last minute. Writing doesn’t come as naturally to me as it does to others (i.e., the writers who contribute to this magazine). For me, not a single word makes it onto the page until I’ve “seen” it…

Happy New Year!

The water shot out from a pipe in the wall. I stood out of its way, staring at the downward arc it made over the porcelain tub. I reached my hand out. Yep, the water was cold. Not cool. Cold, icy, frigid, freezing. It was chilly outside, too, probably in the mid-40s. Simply put, taking a cold shower in a…

The 12 days of Christmas.

The holiday carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has been on repeat in my head since I started watching yuletide movies in August. Should I say I’m sorry in advance for its now being in yours? Please accept my apologies. I did a fairly lengthy (that’s an exaggeration) Google search trying to discern its origins. The first story I came…

No passport required.

My passport expired two years ago. Once, in my little world, a passport represented the only way to adventure. How silly of me! Some of my best adventuring over the last two years has been right here, at home, under the Big Sky.

Happy Outdoor October!

Hiking poles are ridiculous, I thought. Then I became a pet parent, and watching my four-legged beast so easily traverse Montana’s terrain led to a case of paw envy. The solution lay in hiking poles, but then my new toy proceeded to sit—lean against a wall, actually—in my closet as hiking became a smaller part of my life after I…

Restored in double.

The bodies in front of me stepped off the dock into the waters of the Willamette River. One by one until it was my turn. A video shows me 11 miles later emerging from the water, stumbling as my legs remember they were made for walking, not swimming.

The souvenir of love.

My black appaloosa mare turned 17 this year in the broad daylight of a cloudless spring day—the first she's had in her own pasture on her own farm, my backyard.

Star-Spangled Summer.

During the summer, as the sun begins its ascent over Big Sky Country, his rays gently pierce the openings in my window’s blinds, nudging me to wake up with him. I do. At first, with just my eyes. Those first moments of the day—in bed, readying my brain and body and anticipating what awaits me—remind me of those I experienced…

Cradled in His arms.

In my childhood home, the stairs to our second floor featured a landing without a railing (gasp!). My dad would convince me to stand on that landing with my back to him. He'd say, "Now fall back. I'll catch you. Just fall." I remember the first few times: I was scared silly, laughing and trembling, doubting his ability to catch…

An ode to 
Mother Nature.

My first Montana hike was up Blodgett Canyon in Hamilton last May with my boyfriend. The sun was warm against our backs and the air was still cool. We were transplants, new to the sweeping views and big, see-into-forever skies. If a bear came trudging down the path we wouldn’t have known it. Our noses were pointed to the bluest…

Lead by Example.

This letter began—before I scrapped it and derided myself for not first doing my due-diligence—as a meditation on a quote attributed to Gandhi that I saw on a bumper sticker: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." As with most quotes on bumper stickers and coffee mugs, this one turned out to be misrepresented. Brian Morton writing…

A magazine to call our own.

Let me begin with thanks. This issue is our 12th. It's hard to believe a year has already passed, but we couldn't have done it without your support and encouragement. Thank you, Missoula! Early last year I was traveling around the country quite a bit for business, and during many of these trips I noticed several ways in which these…

The perfect 
travel companion.

Six months shy of my 18th birthday I went on my first international trip—Australia, where my younger brother would box a kangaroo. I kid you not. Well, I’d been to Canada and Mexico, but according to my teenage self those places didn’t count…yet. I didn’t have the bag. As a child I imagined—but never thought it’d happen—traveling the world with…

Resolved to be positive.

This time of year, the days seem so long; they are. The sun barely has a chance to rub the sleep from his eyes before he must ready for bed, yet we never hear a complaint. Efforts to fight off the blues—taking vitamin D and getting outside—sometimes don’t feel like enough. I haven’t seen the sun rise during my sunrise…