Our Pandemic Year in Review:

Despite a World Wide Pandemic, it was one of the busiest and most productive years of my life — revealing to me that protecting your mindset from toxins is the key to personal progress and HAPPINESS!

2020!  Whew!  A year of growth for us!  Instead of looking at fear, I looked at reality and lived the way I wanted to.  In January, we went to P.V. Mexico!  This was a big deal because this was Mike’s first overseas trip (he went to Canada on a skiing trip in middle school – but that’s not overseas!) and we had the BEST time!  The highlights of our trip were when they handed us each an ice-cold beer as we stepped out of the airport and into our cab.  Other highlights consisted of walking in 80+ degree weather for hours and hours each day as we explored the ‘old’ town center portion.  We stayed in a condo that was owned by a friend of a friend and it was perfect.  Freshly made lava cake on the beach, daily seafood and ocean swims were rejuvenating too!

In February, I dragged Mike to my annual company conference lovingly dubbed ‘Family Reunion’ – he was a bit overwhelmed by the 20,000 realtors that rushed the stage when they opened the doors at the convention center in Dallas TX.  He made it through 4 days of mixing and mingling with non-engineer types!  LOL!  However, before the stressful portion of the trip, we flew into Austin and stayed with his cousin Heather and although it was unseasonably cold, we managed to have a FANTASTIC time taking rented ‘lime’ scooters ALL over downtown.  We cris-crossed the city for hours stopping at landmarks and local famous eateries.  After Austin, we rented an orange jeep and drove to Waco, which is the home of Magnolia Farms, a compound of gifts and ideas created and built by HGTV celebs, Chip & Joanna Gaines. Another great stop before we left was to the museum and X where JFK was shot, remarkably interesting.

In March, our kids announced that they found a job in the U.P. and were going to follow their dreams of living there.  We had just realized the gravity of the pandemic and tried to discourage the move.  In true fashion of how they were raised, they decided to not listen to us and follow their hearts.  I made 2 trips in April and one in May by myself to help them get set up and to deliver the remainder of the ‘stuff’ they left behind.  I noticed that these trips were adding up (financially) and so I decided to buy either a condo or a cabin near them – their small home does not have room for visitors!  After finding a condo in Charlevoix and visiting it with Sig, it just didn’t feel right.  One thing is it was a ‘no pets’ allowed building and crossing the bridge to visit seemed like it would make it a bigger hassle – even though it was only 90 min away.  I started researching the area and stumbled upon a small place on Lake Superior – I was in the process of making an offer when the family changed their mind and abruptly decided to NOT sell.  The agent (Leah) said she would keep a look out for another similar cabin.  It wasn’t long before she located a small place on Highbank’s Lake in the Hiawatha Forest U.P. Michigan.  I made an offer, and we negotiated, and I closed on the property on July 16th, just 2 weeks after we moved to Lakeshore Drive. 

In June, we packed (again) and moved (again) within a 10-month period.  We sold our 152 civil war-era home in Hastings and moved an hour south of the Twin Cities to Lake City.  Why Lake City?  It’s the first place we decided we wanted to live when we met.  However, due to where we worked, it was too far away with regards to commuting.  Mike works in Lowertown St. Paul and at the time, I was working in multiple locations in the Twin Cities as a coach and trainer.  Due to the pandemic, Mike was offered the chance to go completely remote and I was also in the process of growing my own company with a partner in California.  Now, we both work from home and its great.  We bought a 4 yr. old property that was built as an Airbnb vacation rental and we live in the upstairs and rent out the lower level in the summer to people who want a getaway.  We’ve had visitors from as far away as Chicago!  Our little place is on Google, and Airbnb, it called La La’s Landing – Mike named it (La KE City La KE Pepin) <3

We moved in on June 26th and hosted visitors from July 1st through November 1st!  It was hectic and fun! In September, Mike made the trip with me to visit our new cabin (in MI, they call them camps) in the U.P.  On the very first morning, a crew showed up (I hired them) to re-roof the main cabin and shed.  I bought this little custom cabin in the woods from the original family who built it; the roof was original from 1960 and hadn’t leaked, so the new tin roof was a big priority! It was a great start to put our stamp on it and we really enjoyed our time there.  It is 3 miles off a county road, through the 800,000 acre Hiawatha Forest on a 2-tire sand path through pines and ferns.  Highbank’s Cottage is on a tiny spring fed lake just 20 minutes from Lake Superior.  It’s got 2 springs and is a Trout managed lake – its only 18 acres big, but the deepest part is 80 feet deep.  Ryan caught about 14 trout in October and cooked them on the grill!  There are also golden button mushrooms and wild huckleberries on the one-acre lot.

In August, WE EXHALED!

We went back in October to close it up and make lists and plans for next spring.  We also celebrated our birthdays by visiting my Mom (Mikes parents came too) and for a lovely spaghetti dinner at Larry and Carols house (and my Mom attended!) – in November, I traveled to Hayward Wisconsin to conduct my 2nd annual Kind Journey Mastermind Retreat and it was in the 70’s!  A week later, I went to St. Cloud to hang out with my childhood besties, Cindy and Steph and visit my Mom again.  We also hosted Thanksgiving at our new home!  We had everyone take a Covid-19 test (Mike even bought a forehead thermometer) and we played it safe, kept the windows open and even though we were all negative, we worked at staying apart.  My Dad did contract Covid-19 from his caregivers at the nursing home he lives at.  He has been fighting a fever for more than two weeks now.  He is frail but his constitution is still strong.  We all call him often and send him cards and letters. Hopefully, we will see him again in 2021

In early December, I flew to Marquette Michigan and drove to see the kids in St. Ignace.  I had made a promise to Else Jean that we would have a pool party for her 4th birthday.  Covid-19 be damned, I refused to cancel a promise to a grandchild.  We stayed in a private home (Airbnb) I was there 4 nights and we bought one night at the local Super 8.  We cooked all our meals, had cake, and a shopping trip to the dollar store.  We watched her favorite movie (Trolls) more than once and read books and told bedtime stories together.  The weather was (again) fantastic! My flights there and back were smooth and there were less than 10 people on the planes!

Traveling right now is amazing and I plan to keep going.  I realize I made 11 trips in 2020 – 3 were via planes and 1 was overseas.  We’ve had an amazing 2020 despite civil unrest, political upheaval, a pandemic and (for me) the loss of (2) large client contracts.  I for one, refuse to change the way I live due to fear-based living.  I have lost an incredibly good friend to the disease, but I still refuse to live in fear and if 2021 holds the exact same things, I am A.O.K.   (We just returned from trip #8 to Northern MI – so far North, nearly zero covid cases) #9 & 10 on deck for Dec/Jan.

Our kids are all doing well.  Levi and Kelly live in Philly and have great jobs.  Siggy and Ryan are working on their plans for their future and Chanda is moving to live with Siggy and Ryan until she is stable enough to live on her own.  We have two more trips to Michigan planned.  We are bringing some items to the kids and to our cabin and to retrieve Chanda for the holidays.  We will spend Christmas Eve with Mikes Family in Blaine and Christmas Day (morning) with the Jones’ in Northeast Minneapolis.

Happy Holidays to YOU and YOURS – and here’s to an amazing 2021 😊

Hugs from,

Lisa & Mike

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