A birthday for the record books. My trip part 2

Services for Real Estate Pros with Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance

Hello everyone-As many of you know if you are a regular reader of my blogs that I had a fantastic vacation in May from the 7th-15th and I had the great honor and extreme pleasure of meeting my first 3 Active Rain friends. I posted the first part about a month ago.  My trip part 1  The first person I got to meet and spend a few days with was Peg Barcelo who I met in her home in Summerland B.C. It was my first trip to Canada. If you didn't read part 1 then by all means do so and find out what a great host Peg was and what a beautiful part of the world she lives in and what a memorable trip it was.

Now I can tell you she isn't the only person that lives in paradise. I have read about this magical place for a few years now and seen MANY pictures of this fabulous place. Every post that has been written by this exceptional author along with her magnificent pictures have captured the breathtaking beauty of this place and she has spun a tale about her slice of paradise that makes you want to hop on a plane and see it firsthand.

You just could feel the serenity of this magical place and the pictures were like being there but NOT quite as I found out this May. It is so MUCH better in person  not only because of the magic of the place itself but also because of the sincere kindness and true caring of this passionate beautiful woman who calls this place home.

It is a place few had heard about a few years ago but this special lady singlehandedly changed all that and it was a place I have dreamed about visiting since the beginning but never thought it would happen until much later.  Well I am blessed that it happened NOW because we aren't promised LATER. 

Thru the course of emails we set a date for my visit.  The truly incredible part was that date set started on my birthday. May 12th.  I can tell you that previous to this birthday my last memorable one was 8 yrs ago when I left NY.  I couldn't have asked for a more perfect birthday and the weather fully cooperated too.

So where did I go for my birthday this year. Fishhawk Lake Oregon.   Why was it so special? There is NOT enough time in the world to tell you ALL the reasons why but I can tell you the 2 MOST important reasons. It was 2 ladies that made this birthday one I will NEVER forget. They are Gayle Rich-Boxman and Debb Janes.  I have and do think the world of both of them and knew from reading their blogs and communicating e-mail and phone that they were truly wonderful people and friends that I would have for a lifetime.

Gayle lives in Fishhawk Lake and Debb lives in Camas Washington. Debb picked me up about 11:30 a,m. on May 12th and I talked her ear off the whole 1.5 hr drive to Gayle's, She would have NEVER guessed I am an introvert. Smiling

She had made a roast beef sandwich with a slice of tomato for me to eat on the way which was yummy but when I talk I don't eat as fast and I am a slow eater to begin with. The drive was scenic and it went by real fast. Poor Debb was listening to me yakking and in between that the phone would ring with RE. The visit with Debb was wonderful but MUCH too short as she was only able to stay the day.  I was happy that I was awake the next morning before she left to give her a hug before she left. That made me happy.

Once we arrived at Fishhawk we were greeted by a bubbly beautiful woman named Gayle with long flowing red hair, an infectious smile and a wonderful laugh. She wore blue jeans and was barefoot with painted toenails. She is even more beautiful in person than her profile pic.

The conversation just flowed easily and it was the start of a unforgettable day. I think the next thing we did was go meet the kids. Gayle's two Golden Retrievers. Kasa and Takoda.  Two beautiful babies who have two completely different personalities. Kasa prounced Kas(case)-a.  I think I finally was pronouncing it correctly by the end of the visit. Kasa is the young-un and full of energy and spirit and Takoda or Mr T is more laid back and loves the ladies.

Next I believe was the first of two pontoon boat rides. It was a glorious sunny day and the temps were in the 70's. Captain Gayle navigated the waters of Fishhawk like a pro. Pretty soon we were gliding across the lake with the greatest of ease. Now along with Captain Gayle and her first mate Debb and myself we had two four footed passengers.  Two sea worthy passengers who protected us from harm and behaved like furry angels.

While I did bring my camera with me. I actually spent more time drinking in the scenery and fully engaged in conversation and living in the MOMENT. Plus NOBODY could take any BETTER pictures of Fishhawk than Gayle so I just relaxed and enjoyed and savored every second.

All too soon the ride came to an end and we had to come back to land.  The captain and the first mate Gayle and Debb brought the boat in and anchored it like the two experts they are.  The two furry angels jumped off and headed to the nearest bush. Taking care of 3 ladies takes a lot out of a furbaby.

Sometime in the course of the evening we were sitting outside on the couch and the dogs were in the doggie den. They like to play and wrestle and Takoda has this game he likes to play and that is fetch except he isn't the one doing the fetching YOU are.  He has a tennis ball that he conveniently drops the ball outside the doggie den and then gives you that LOOK that says PLEASE go get my ball. He is a REAL PRO with the game and the LOOK. Such a guy that one is.

Next up was more conversation while Gayle prepared a scrumptious fresh salmon salad with a dressing of her own making. It was delectable. In the midst of the dinner preparation I got birthday cards from both ladies and a gift from Debb.  Gayle's was one she wanted me to choose later in the week which we did.

We talked until I think 9 or 10 that evening and we were all exhausted from the day.  Debb and I slept off and on and thankfully I heard her get up and did get to say goodbye to her. After she left I went back to bed but couldn't sleep but it was early only 6 or 6:30 I think and I thought I would go sit outside and soak in the peaceful and quietness of the morning.

Well OOPS, that only lasted a few seconds because what I didn't realize is that the MBA was right there next to the back door and the doggie den. Kasa started barking and it only took me a minute to see the sleeping form in the bed and know that it was Gayle. I made a hasty retreat and was totally embarrassed I woke her up.  So there started my first full day. 

It was a chilly morning but I covered up with a blanket not wanting to miss a minute of it.  Since I had woke Gayle and the kids up they got up and they all went for their morning exercise. When Gayle returned we got ready and went to this wonderful place for breakfast.  More conversation and more fun

Now for a number of reasons my memory is jumbled on the exact thing we did first or what day so I will have to explain it best I can. Between jetlag, brain overload. the surreal nature of being there, the excitement. the list goes on.  This is what Gayle and I did together on Tuesday thru Thursday along with Kasa and Takoda.

Lots of conversation. We took a trip to Fishhawk Falls with Takoda and Kasa. Such a serene beautiful place that I thoroughly enjoyed and so did Kasa and Takoda.  There is a stream and waterfalls.

We were planning on going to Cannon Beach but it was hot and crowded and with 2 furbabies it wasn't a good fit so we ended up going to a couple of shops and was told if I found something I liked it would be my birthday present. I did find something I liked.

We had lunch at this cool restaurant and we both had a tasty Mediterrian salad and a refreshing tea.  We visited Gayle's office which was close to the restaurant. It was fun seeing where her outside her home office is.

We went out on the pontoon boat I believe again on Weds night with Gayle's friend Cheryl. A fellow bird lover and delightful woman.  I took a few pictures but there again just reveling in the experience of Fishhawk. 

We went to an antique store and I found a few books I liked which Gayle insisted be a part of my birthday present.  I had fun browsing and picking out a few items for Gayle as well. Gayle was having fun trying on lots of different earrings and found some great deals.

I got to watch a movie in the gorgeous home theater. A movie called the ZOO which was based on a true story. The sound effect in the theater were amazing. The recliner was comfy and I enjoyed the most mouth watering caramel and cheese popcorn I have ever eaten. I savored every morsel. Good thing we don't have that around here.

I also got to play a game or two of pool with Gayle and I love to play pool but haven't played in a LONG time. Needless to say I was a bit rusty.  I think Gayle won both but can't remember about the second one.  It was fun and I would enjoy playing again. One thing different from years ago was bending down to take a shot caused neck pain. BUMMER!!! It was fun nonetheless

The morning of my trip back home was a cool morning and we were both up early. Before we got ready to go to the airport we sat on the couch outside and had a great chat. Just one of many on that couch.  We talked about anything and everything and just marveled in what makes Fishhawk so special.

Pictures are wonderful and can capture so much but the saying YOU JUST HAD TO BE THERE comes to mind because pictures don't do it justice and Fishhawk is a PLACE but Gayle the woman MAKES Fishhawk the truly MAGICAL place it is. She does it thru her blogs, her pictures, her passion for her home, the bubbly effervescent woman who loves life and loves what she does and life itself.  You can feel it online and even more offline. 

One of the most special spots at Fishhawk is the couch outside facing the lake. You can watch the Fishhawk world from that couch. It was also a therapy couch. A girlfriend sharing couch. The list goes on. The song TO SIR WITH LOVE comes to mind when I think of those times on the couch. My life is forever changed because of this trip.

It is the little things things that mean the most to me and one of those happened on that couch which touched my heart in a BIG way.  It was the morning I had to leave and I was wrapped up in the blanket and I remember Gayle twice tucking the blanket in around my shoulders like a protective Mom or sister might do. It was very nice. Thoughtful and caring.

Another was having me try on different style glasses and taking pics to see what looked best.  Wanting me to pick out something I liked for my birthday.  Just a host of little things that adds up to a BIG impact on my heart.

Well I know there is more I could share but it would take me a lifetime and I am sure I would still miss something. So enough with the words next up some pictures to showcase this exceptional birthday trip.


My beautiful pink ceramic rose candleholder from Debb for my birthday


Takoda(left)Kasa(right) in their doggie den. Takoda's LOOK that he gave you when he wanted YOU to go fetch his ball. He is NO dummy.

Momma Gayle and her babies aboard the pontoon boat










Words and even pics can't begin to describe this trip. It was wonderful from beginning to end. Whether it be this part 1 or part 2.  I can honestly say this trip was the BEST I ever had. I had two birthday celebrations. One with Peg in Summerland and the second one with Gayle and Debb. It was a much needed respite from my caretaker world back home.  Thank you is so indequate to cover all that was and is still in my heart from the fun, laughter and love of 3 special ladies. Peg, Gayle and Debb. 

God bless each of you for the specialness of YOU that you ALL brought to my life on this trip and beyond. 

This was a pic Gayle took of Debb and I on the boat with Takoda and Kasa on my birthday.  It demonstrated how much fun we had with the furbabies as well as each other.

The visit with Debb was MUCH too short but definitely SWEET. Debb is such an amazing woman. So kind, gentle, sweet, so giving and loving. There is just not enough words to describe how much she means to me. I will DEFINITELY see all 3 women again and next visit with Debb will be a bit longer and I would like to get to meet her furry sidekick Mac. When Debb isn't busy with real estate or blogging she loves to spend her spare time with her two best friends. Bernie(her hubby) on the left and Mac on the right.

If you don't know Debb Janes then click on her name and check her blogs out. You will be very glad you did. She is a compassionate, caring, beautiful, loving and giving woman. An expert realtor and an ECO BROKER and knows her stuff. Like Gayle and Fishhawk, Debb is the ONLY realtor in Camas Washington. She also is an expert in doing video and has the best speaking voice. Her videos are just awesome.  She does a weekly series. YOU TUBE THURSDAYS which are extremely educational and gives you great tips for making videos that POP.


Thank you everyone for reading all this and taking the trip with me to Fishhawk Lake .




Posted by

Sharon Lee

Comments (23)

Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Thank you Anna for your kind words. I appreciate them a lot. It was a VERY special birthday

Thank you Geri-I feel VERY blessed to have had that memorable time with Peg, Gayle and Debb. I appreciate you checking out part 1. 

Gayle-Thank you for your kindness. That was the ONLY bad thing for us was Debb had such a short time but it was packed with memories of her goodness and sweetness and her quiet and natural beauty. 

I look forward to getting to visit again in the not to distant future. I am a detail oriented person but the memory is hazy and it took awhile to organize my thoughts and write this. I knew it would which is the biggest part to why it took so long to write. It took me about 4 hrs to write this. LOL. I tired myself out.

I write from the heart and it is ALL the little things that mean so much. Yes you could easily charge for mentoring sessions on that couch and those glasses I have not taken the time to look for but I will.

You are right I do need to take those respites more often and I am definitely looking forward to my trip to Colorado and exploring it and seeing my friends. You would love Mary. I know you recently have read some of her blogs and she yours. She is like you in the fact that she loves where she lives and makes you want to come visit.

I can imagine that pontoon boat with Cheryl. She is such a nice lady and hope I get to meet her next visit.  I need to spend more time with my photo taking. It is pretty hit and miss and mostly luck. Not much skill involved. Love you too my friend.

Jul 09, 2014 10:10 PM
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

What cool photos Sharon. Galye is a great blogger to and I am so glad you got to meet her in person.

Jul 09, 2014 11:52 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Sharon - I agree with Gayle -- you are a terrific travel writer!  Great details.

Jul 10, 2014 12:04 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Noah-Thank you and She is indeed,

Thank you Michael-Being detailed oriented is a blessing and a curse,

Jul 10, 2014 12:39 AM
Sondra Meyer:
Colorado Springs, CO
See It. Experience It. Live It.


I agree with Gayle, you could easily be a travel writer.  It sounds like you had an amazing time with both Deb and Gayle.  

In my opinnion, your post reflects my favorite part of Active Rain - the friends that we make.  



p.s.  I'm looking forward to your Colorado visit.  


Jul 10, 2014 08:43 AM
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Las Vegas, NV

Hello Sharon ... Love the post, your new profile pic at AR and the photo of Gayle. Your post has been featured to the group:



Jul 11, 2014 06:50 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Sondra-Thank you and I couldn't agree more. It is the friendships that make this place extra special

Thank you Bob for the feature and for your kindness. I kinda like my new pic too.

Jul 11, 2014 07:02 AM
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

I was looking forward to reading this Part 2 Debb / Gayle account Sharon. You did great with the text and I loved the photos (of course). Sweet people all, just like you.

Jul 12, 2014 12:25 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

What an adventure...you sure know how to pick a perfect vacation spot!  You did a wonderful job telling us about it, I feel like I was there!

Jul 12, 2014 10:37 PM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

thanks Gary

Thank you Sharon-It was a wonderful vacation and one I will never forget

Jul 13, 2014 06:19 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Oh my goodness - how sweet are you? Thanks so MUCH - I do hope you come stay with me. I'd love to have much more time getting to know you better and spoiling you - Camas style. You are one of the most loving and humble human beings - I'm lucky to count you as a friend. D

Jul 13, 2014 09:42 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Debb-I think I am the lucky one to have you as a friend. I look forward to the day I get to spend more time with you. That will be a wonderful day indeed.

Jul 13, 2014 10:47 AM
Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
Sun Lakes Realty - Banning, CA
(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

Hi Sharon,

What a wonderful adventure and so glad you could all get together for a meet up. I enjoyed your story and the pictures. Stay cool in this heat.

Jul 25, 2014 03:36 PM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Thank you Kristin-It was awesome.


Jul 25, 2014 07:56 PM
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Sharon, That was fun, Now I have to go read part 1.

Aug 09, 2014 02:34 PM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Donald-Thank you and glad you enjoyed it

Aug 09, 2014 03:22 PM
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Sharon Lee ~ OK...... Can I start with the amazing photos! WOW... Your post is amazing and your photos out do your post "if that's possible" I especially love the second to last photo... I love seeing your beautiful smile, it also brought a HUGE smile to my face too! I know for a fact from the moment Debb picked you up the fun never stopped... Thanks for sharing so many great moments; you made me feel like I was right there with you... 

Reading both posts about your unbelievable trip is confirmation of what I already know "AR" is the mother-ship for friendship, good times, and so much more... We are so lucky to be a part of such a one of a kind online community, and just like you are so lucky to have great friends like Gayle & Debb; I am so lucky to have met you and become friends with you...

Anyway, I don't want to go on forever! But I do want to say one more I loved reading and seeing the great memories, thanks for sharing 

Jan 21, 2015 06:57 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Jon Kolsky-Thank you so much for the kind words. You made me blush with your kindness. Yes my whole face I shared in this pic because it was one I actually liked, Now you know what my whole mug looks like.  You would absolutely love Debb and Gayle. As I told you on the phone AR opened up a whole new world for me that I woulkd have never experienced otherwise. It was such a amazing trip and it opened even more of  what makes AR so special. It is the people. I have met some incredible people here that I am proud and happy to call friend. Last year was just the beginning of people I want to meet and now I have added you to that list. It WILL happen unless something unforeseen happens, After your comment on my post this mornng I just wanted to share this with you as well so you could discover more friends here as well as learning about Fishhawk. Thank you for your wonderful friendship. I treasure it so much. It is PRICELESS

Jan 21, 2015 08:48 AM
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

What a great epic post for your epic trip. I can't wait until you travel out this way again...or perhaps I might make it your way, and we can meet up. You never know. I hope you have a great week ahead, Sharon. 

Oct 12, 2015 11:20 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Debbie Laity -It was an epic trip and I can't wait either. It will be a blast.  Have a great week too

Oct 12, 2015 11:23 AM