I’m a fire lookout and violin maker. My workbench in the mountains of Montana

I’m a fire lookout and violin maker. My workbench in the mountains of Montana

I’m a fire lookout and violin maker. My workbench in the mountains of Montana

I learned strong family values and a work ethic growing up on a farm in Montana’s Yellowstone River valley. These traits are frequently associated with small towns and large families. Even if I had faced numerous difficulties, I would not have chosen a different childhood. 

My sister and I were able to spend an unusually large amount of time with my grandparents over the years due to the way we lived. My grandparents’ influence on my life continues. My beloved (paternal) grandfather passed away shortly before my 45th birthday, and my maternal grandfather passed away two years later at the age of 89. We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to live with my two grandmothers. While my parents worked hard to make our lives as comfortable as possible, it was our grandparents who took us on vacations, picked us up from school when we were sick, and gave us part-time jobs throughout high school. My grandmother Leatha taught me to appreciate the finer things in life, such as how women enjoy looking good in heels and a new dress, how china and crystal make family meals more special, and, of course, the joy of feeding the people you care about delicious meals at a table full of smiles.

Shirley, my father’s mother, demonstrated how she dedicated her day to cooking and gardening for her farming family, which included her husband, five children, and an unknown number of grandchildren. Both women are fantastic cooks and bakers who have spent their entire lives preparing endless dinners and throwing extravagant parties for their families. My mother is also an accomplished cook. Actually, it was because of her that I began cooking. Her roots are as a home economist and teacher, despite having held a variety of jobs throughout her life. She is a true domestic goddess of the 1950s, capable of sewing, cooking, and baking. My mother taught me to cook by experimenting, putting new dishes in front of large groups of people, and never making the same dish twice. Cookbooks line our kitchen shelves, and holidays such as Christmas and Easter feature elaborate dinners. We are creative cooks with diverse tastes who rarely back down from a challenge in the kitchen. The cabinets are stocked, and if necessary, we can make a quick “no recipe” supper using what we have in our own kitchens. 

After 25 years of active service in the Air Force, my spouse and I married while we were both students at Montana State University. We had the good fortune of raising our two children while moving across six states and three countries. After spending eight years in Europe and Asia, travelling took on a whole new meaning. Brett is a retired Colonel who worked as an air battle manager, and I am a teacher.I used to work with elementary school students, but now I teach K–12 teacher education at a college. We have the chance to give back by going back to the place that started our crazy 28-year journey. I like to entertain people in my free time. 


Sophia Amelia is the New York Times Bestselling Author. Writing stories to inspire young minds. Celebrating the power of words & imagination through my books. Join me on my journey to creating stories that will capture your imagination and captivate your heart.

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