willowbrook farm

historic yellow springs

Spring Renewal

This has been a crazy roller coaster ride that we have been on… both weather wise and in life. Sometimes I think that one replicates the other… or am I reading too deeply into things? I am a die hard seasons kind of girl. I love the cycles of the seasons and the change of activities that the varying seasons bring. When it is winter and I live in a zone where it is supposed to feel like winter, I like a good snowstorm. When it is February, I typically like it to feel like February, so one can turn inwards and enjoy the rotation of activities that fall in line with the cold of winter.  Roaring fires, cooking and eating comfort food, outdoor snow fun, roasting marshmallows in the fireplace, you can catch the drift and lack there of with this past months weather. Typically I would certainly be disappointed in the no-show of this winter season but due to the fact that when I last checked in with you on a personal level with this blog, it was the night before I was heading into a pretty aggressive brain surgery, the weather has not been forefront in my mind. 


Here I am one month out and things are starting to stabilize and I am finally able to wrap my head around my words aside from making lists. Given that the surgery involved removing the top vertebrae of my spine, taking some bones out of the back of my skull and then the brain piece, the recovery has been multidimensional and there has been a heck of a lot of patina layered onto my countenance. You know how we love patina around here. Funny how both the patina of an object and a person usually is acquired by undesirable circumstances like being left out in the elements and experiencing a lot of wear and tear. I kind of feel like that… BUT just as I named this little business, Life’s Patina, for the beauty in the depth and richness that those patina inducing experiences bring to both an object and to our lives, I am enriched and enlightened for going through these patina acquiring life events. 



The words that I posted in my recent blog post, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, were so agonized over as to how much I should share and divulge. My words are but small in a sea of so many available outlets to read from, yet you still read the blog post and the well wishes, stories, positive energy and prayers that you sent through the comments brought me tears of joy when I was able to read them days after the surgery. I am still trying to respond to each and every one of them and will do so in time. Those comments gave me the confirmation to keep sharing, the support to keep going, and the affirmation that we need to continue to lift each other up. I have had a lot of time to think this past month, pure unadulterated thinking… in the middle of the night, in the middle of the day, in the middle of a sentence that contained a totally different topic. I have probably written five to six posts in my head overnight only to have lost them into the air by morning. One thing I am sure of is for every tough challenge in life that we get past, we rise up stronger more sure of who we are in this world, what is important to us and what we want to do about it. These real life, hard core truth moments, as I like to call them, are what motivates me these days. After a bought of aseptic meningitis laid me very low a few days after coming home from the hospital, I slowly got back onto social media so as to catch up with friends and family. There I found out about the losses of family members of  two dear friends and the birth of a baby boy to my husband’s cousin. The father was not to witness in the joy for he had passed away from a sudden heart attack a few months prior. My thoughts turned to how I could support these loved ones who were going through something excruciatingly beautiful yet agonizingly painful. How can we support each other racked my muddled brain day and night. We have experienced so much support throughout the past couple of weeks though cards, texts, flowers, and meals.


My friend Veronica Fitzgerald just started an amazing handmade empanada business called V’s Empanadas and she dropped some off one evening and they were phenomenal! She brought a bottle of Trader Joe’s Cilantro salad dressing which is one of our family’s favorites. You need to try both!

That support has been a godsend. How many people go through experiences like this who have no support systems? How many people face these challenges alone or with very little to get them through? What can we do about it? Of course in our own small little circles of friends we can be there, but what about people who are strangers, people who live alone or with little to no family?  This experience has brought this issue to the forefront of my mind and we are brewing up some ideas here at Life’s Patina that we will be implementing as part of our mission statement to help support people in our local communities, to bring them cheer and love in times of need. Keep posted for more on how you can get involved!


Circling back to the weather and the feelings of an early Spring that have been abounding around here, it truly is amazing how some warm days and sunshine can uplift the spirit. True, all of this early budding and growth of plants is not a good thing for when winter does send us a deep freeze, those early shoots are in danger. Hopefully, the deep freeze will be short lived and we can return to the progression of Spring and the feelings of renewal that this brings at this point and time.  These warm days certainly have us flashing forward to our Spring Barn Sale days and I was in all of my glory this past Friday on my first foray out to the barn where we unpacked merchandise outside in seventy degree weather. It felt like a total day of renewal and a gift. Typically at the end of February when our Spring shipments are coming in, we are unpacking inside the barn, wrapped up in layer after layer, fingers numb. This is not too shabby!


Up until now, my activity level has been restricted to desk work so I have been deep in design work for the Spring sale, lining up our Spring and Summer charitable organizations that we will be working with, staging and styling some of our blog posts, writing, writing, writing and more writing and thinking…that is dangerous for a doer who cannot do as much as one would like to be doing right now. Maggie has been holding down the fort with communications, accepting shipments, shooting the blog posts, creating the mailchimps and brainstorming with me on our events and sales in 2017. It is an exciting time and we feel renewed and energized by both the warm weather, my progress towards the return of the “old” me, albeit it with a little more patina… and what we have in store for this year. I have been in contact with both my European picking sources and architectural salvage sources and we will be making some road trips in March to pick up some beautiful and refreshing new finds.

Spring Preview Party Garden Luncheon: April 6th, 11:30am ~ 2:30pm

We are heralding in the start of Spring with our Preview Party Garden Luncheon. Join us in the barn to be the first to shop all of our new and vintage home furnishing finds, garden accents, and gifts for the upcoming Spring season. Peruse our artfully displayed vignettes where inspiration abounds while you sip on seasonal beverages and nibble on a garden inspired luncheon. What a way to spend a Spring afternoon and get something accomplished at the same time! We are excited to announce that a portion of all proceeds will be donated to Greener Partners, a local non-profit dedicated to building healthier communities through food, farms, and education. $25 ticket includes early entrance, lunch, beverages, and donation to Greener Partners. Click here for more info.

Spring Barn Sale: April 7th ~ April 9th

Shop our latest vintage finds and repurposed antiques, European furniture, home decor accessories, and gift items in their artfully arranged vignettes in our two story renovated stone bank barn and courtyard.  Inspiration abounds as you partake in the sights and sounds of the barn in springtime and much of the merchandise will reflect the season and our love of the past.  Our non-profit organization for the sale, Greener Partners, will be doing demonstrations in the garden on Friday and we will be hosting other fun events throughout the sale over the weekend. Architectural salvage and vintage will be part of the pickings! Barn will be open Friday, April 7th: 10am ~ 5pm, Saturday, April 8th: 9am ~ 5pm, and Sunday, April 9th: 10am ~ 4pm. Admission is free! Click here to learn more…

Soul Restoration Retreat at Willowbrook Farm: April 26th ~ April 29th

An all-inclusive art + soul + life journey created by Melody Ross, co-founder of Brave Girls Club, and facilitated by Kristen Hansen, a certified instructor, the Soul Restoration retreat will create a safe and sacred place for women to gather, connect, love, share, heal, and create at Willowbrook Farm. We will be leaving the stresses, burdens and demands of our daily lives behind while learning to reconnect with each of our own beautiful truths through creative activities, sisterhood connections and restorative practices . Click here to learn more and register… 

Wayne Art Cente Plein Air Welcome Dinner and Plein Air Festival

We are thrilled to be kicking off the Wayne Art Center Plein Air Festival with the Artist Reception dinner here at Willowbrook Farm on Sunday May 7th as well as being a stop on the Plain Air Festival painting sites for the talented artists who will be participating in the week long event. The Plein Air Exhibit will run from May 15th through June 30th at the Wayne Art Center. To see the paintings on exhibit, click here… 

Summer Barn Sale: June 2nd ~ June 4th

More details coming soon… 

As I close this post, I again want to express from the bottom of my heart and soul, my family’s gratitude in all the heartfelt wishes that you sent our way. They were truly uplifting and filled me with hope that this surgery would be successful. The roads that we travel are not to be traveled alone and I felt like I had a band of warriors helping me to face this challenge. We all need that band… to get through life and its daily occurrences.  When in doubt to reach out to someone who might need your positive words, be that you might not really “know” them or think that you might not be close enough to express those heartfelt wishes… reach out. Your words might be just what they need to hear.






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  1. Meg:
    I am so glad you are feeling better. You have been through so much yet your beautiful spirit stays strong and you are able to share it all with your friends and followers. You have been in my thoughts and prayers and will remain there.

    I am with you on this lousy excuse of a winter. I so look forward to snowdrifts and at least a day or two stuck in the house. Not to be this year. Not yet anyway!

    I look forward to seeing your smiling face soon. Until then follow the doc’s orders!
    XO Melissa

  2. Marci says:

    I, too, am a seasons girl. So happy that you came through your surgery and are on the mend.

    I SO WISH I were closer to you and could come to your barn sales, they look heavenly. I’m also so excited for you and Kristen. It will be an amazing retreat!

  3. Sandy Martin says:

    You are an inspiration to all of us.
    Prayers for continued healing and also strength for your beautiful family. See you in April.
    Sandy Martin

  4. Debbie says:

    So glad you are on the mends, just in time for Spring! I can not wait for the Spring Barn Sale!
    Your message about helping others who may live alone and not have very much support, spoke loud and clear to me. Unfortunately, I lost my job in January and am still struggling to find a job. I live alone with my 2 rescue dogs, just a few miles from your barn, and have been dealing with many issues. It’s been very tough to say the least. What keeps me positive is that I have my health and dogs, knowing this too shall pass.
    Stay strong! You got this!

  5. Joann Haly says:

    So glad you are doing well. I’ve been thinking of you. Your words are beautifully written as always. Just don’t push yourself too soon. Much love♡
    Joann Haly

  6. cindy e roach says:

    I love reading your blogs Meg and am so glad that you are on the mend, new patina and all!

    Much love!