Travel Plans…

So, here’s the deal people… WE KNOW. That’s right, dogs always know. My humans act so sneaky and stealth when they are getting ready to go on a trip. I will tell you the first tip off. My mom changes the sheets on the bed every Sunday, like clockwork. So, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when she does it on a Friday morning something is up. My mom likes to go into each week with clean sheets… don’t ask; I don’t get it either, give me good old grimy sheets any day. But I digress.

It starts with changing sheets on the wrong day. Then I see her rummaging deep into the closet behind the hang up clothes and out she comes with the overnight travel bags. This seals the deal. It is at this point in the process that I start to get cranky. Sheesh, why in the world do they have to go somewhere, don’t we have everything we need right here at home?

“Bax, it’s our anniversary weekend” she says. “Your Dad and I are getting away for a few days to celebrate!”

“Oh brother…this is more information than I care to know.” She proceeds to tell me that I am going to stay with Karen, which is a good deal for me. I love staying there. They really treat me like the king of the castle and I love that!

So, my mom scrambles around tidying the already clean house, because she doesn’t like coming home to chores… she remakes the bed, takes out all the trash, gathers her computer and packs the bags. I can tell she is really happy to be getting away. Apparently for humans, anniversaries are something special.

She loads me up in the car and off we go to Karen’s house. By this time, I’ve made the decision to be happy about it. After all, the way I choose to view each situation is up to me, right? I can focus on the negative, which would be a couple of nights out of my own king sized, pillow top Beauty Rest mattress, OR I can focus on spending a few days with Karen and her dogs, particularly Angel! I choose the latter and now that I’ve made that decision, I am starting to get enthusiastic about it all.

Happy anniversary humans! See you on Sunday.


One Step in the Right Direction…

The dream of my company; Life Imagined was birthed through the coaching process.  As many of you know, my husband and I were in the process of selling our Real Estate company in Bend, Oregon and relocating to Central Texas.  We were literally re-imagining what our lives could look like in the coming months, weeks and years.

To say that I was lost would have been a gross understatement.  I simply could not imagine myself in any other vocational role than the one I’d been playing for the past 2 decades.  The real estate industry had been good to me, and I would like to believe that I too had left a very positive fingerprint of my own upon it’s landscape.  That said; I didn’t see myself starting over in Texas as a Realtor or even opening my own firm again…you see; what I loved most about the Real Estate Industry was motivating, encouraging and coming alongside the agents who served it.  So; with the help of own my amazing coach; Wendy Duncan, I began to study, read, pray and dream about a career spent simply serving the needs of Realtors and others who were seeking change in their lives.  As my dreams along these lines took flight I realized that the notion of speaking into the lives of others about their businesses, their daily practices, their stress and self esteem was incredibly exciting to me!  I was feeling an exhilaration about my future I hadn’t felt in quite some time, and it felt wonderful!

Coaching changed the trajectory of my life!  Now that is a bold statement, isn’t it?  I stand by it.  My life is forever changed because I stepped out of my comfort zone, did the hard work of self-reflection, defined my purpose, vision and goals and ultimately changed my life!  The power of our conscious mind is unparalleled! YOU too can live the life of your dreams!  YOU too can release the extra weight you have been carrying!  YOU too can release toxic stress from your life!  One step in the right direction can change everything.  YOU can take your business to new levels of success.  YOU can find that oft elusive “life/work balance”.  YOU have everything inside of you to live your own “Life Imagined!”

Won’t you please reach out to me today?  Through the wonders of technology I am able to coach anyone, anywhere there is an internet connection! I have designed a Complimentary Coaching Session with you in mind.  It is personal.  It is insightful, and I guarantee you will leave that one hour session with a concept so valuable you can begin that very day to embark on a journey of lasting change!

I cannot wait to hear from you!

Tona Restine

Guard the House By Baxter Curtis Restine


…So, here’s something interesting; every time my mom leaves the house she says, “OK Bax, you guard the house, you’re in charge.”  Seriously, EVERY SINGLE TIME she leaves this is what she says!  Now I ask you, does she honestly think I don’t know that???  Does she REALLY think I need the reminder?

So, here’s how it usually goes.  As soon as she leaves I do a little walk about.  I start in the dining room.  From there I can see the front yard.  I check out the annoying deer.  If there are just a few in the yard I give a couple of semi-innocuous woofs just to let them know that I’m keeping an eye on them.  If there are more than a few, as is often the case, I bark like a fiend because they bug me…I let them know who’s boss.

After that I walk into the family room to see what’s on TV.  Yes; she leaves it on for me…usually on the cooking channel but occasionally on QVC, as if I’m really going to shop!  From the family room, I can see the pool and you know how I hate that pool!  It’s big and it’s wet… YUCK!

It’s about this time that I make my way upstairs to what the humans call the ‘billiard room’.  Why they call it a billiard room I don’t know…they haven’t had a pool table in over 7 years!  From the billiard room, I have a perfect perch from which to survey my empire.  I can see the pesky deer, the neighbors to the north and most importantly from my favorite spot in the sun on the back of the couch I can see the WHOLE length of the driveway so I know the precise moment the humans get home!

First, depending on which human it is, I see either the car or the truck pull in at the bottom of the driveway… I watch from the window until the instant they park and step out of the vehicle, then I race downstairs as fast as these short legs will go to meet them at the laundry room door, where my mom says, EVERY SINGLE TIME, “hey Bax, did you guard the house?”  Now really, sheesh… what does she think I was doing the entire time she was gone?


Seasons of Friendships – By Tona Restine







I love pondering the seasons.  I love that the seasons bring a gentle rhythm and cadence to our days.

Similarly, I am learning to value the seasonal changes in friendships…the way they serve us in their ebb and flow, the way we can be energized by some and quietly rest in the cozy comfort of others.

I find myself at both ends of that spectrum right now.  I have a few NEW friends in Georgetown that I am just getting to know!  We are learning about one another’s likes and dislikes, are enjoying hearing each other’s stories for the first time and are truly having a wonderful time just discovering our commonalities and our differences!  So much fun!

The other side of that coin are the precious, enduring friendships with girlfriends I’ve had for many, many years!  There is such comfort with those friends.  They know me, love me, accept me and always hope the best for me as I do for them!  They know ALL my faults and lovingly overlook them.  With these friends, there is no sense of urgency.  We can go months and even years without seeing one another, then pick right up where we left off as though no time had passed.  WHAT A GIFT!!!

We need BOTH types of these friendships… I treasure them both and am privileged to bookend this sweet season of life with girlfriends old and new!



Sanctuary and Sacred Spaces by Tona Restine

According to the dictionary, sanctuary means “a sacred or holy place.” I love the idea that there are sacred places of holiness in this chaotic world, don’t you? We are so busy and life often (despite our best intentions) simply presses in and we forget about the peaceful loveliness of sanctity.

I am not speaking of sanctity in the religious sense necessarily, although that is likely where one’s mind will take them when pondering this concept. We tend to view the word as a noun. A place that is holy. Indulge me for a moment and consider it as an adjective – a word used to describe a noun… “the beauty and sanctuary of our home nourishes us…” interesting, right? That is the way I have chosen to look at this word. My friend Debbie Tallman offered me the term, ‘sacred space’ and I REALLY love that!

I would go so far as to say our souls long for sanctuary and sacred spaces where we can disconnect in order to re-connect. How can we indulge this longing in the midst of busy days; days that are already too jam packed with obligations, commitments and time constraints?

I believe it isn’t enough to disconnect only when we are on an annual vacation or for an hour each week at church. I do not make that statement lightly. I have always been a highly-driven person and relaxation doesn’t come easily to me… in fact if I may be brutally honest here, I confess to you that I am guilty of needing to move heaven and earth at times to simply schedule in the idea of relaxing! So, in pursuit of this imperative, grand ideal I have implemented a few things in my own life that I urge you to consider implementing into your own daily practice.

  • I’ve set aside a space in my home that is ONLY for prayer, mediation and positive thought. It is nothing elaborate, just a simple white chair in the corner of our bedroom. There is a small table and lamp next to it, a candle, journal, devotional book and pen. A sweet, cozy spot where my soul can rest.
  • In our yard, I’ve created a similar space…again, nothing elaborate whatsoever. A large flat rock on the far side of our property with a small concrete angel perched upon it. A reminder in stone to slow down, pause and with devoted intention count my blessings.

Anyone can create these sacred spaces…the physical space is inconsequential. The intention and attention given to the ‘concept’ of the space is what is transformational.

Many of you know I was diagnosed with Lymphoma last summer. Part of my healing journey has been to learn to process stressful situations differently. To change my thoughts in ANY given situation so that those thoughts do not impact my feelings negatively and lead me to personally destructive actions. Like you, I am a work in progress, but as my awareness increases so does my intention along these lines. Toward this end, I began a habit of consciously releasing whatever stress I may be carrying BEFORE driving into my driveway. There are about three turns within my neighborhood before I reach the sanctuary of 5010 (our code word for home). With each turn I intentionally breathe and release whatever negative or frenzied thoughts, anger or stress I am feeling. If I haven’t released it by the time I reach my driveway I circle around again and repeat the exercise.

I am wholly committed to ushering a spirit of sanctuary and rest into our home. It will not magically happen. I MUST be purposeful about it. I love pulling into my driveway now. The life we imagine is WELL within our reach. We simply must make it so and that begins with repeated doses of daily, purposeful intention.



The Ghost and Mr. Chicken by Kevin Restine

Ah that cinematic classic.  I have enjoyed that movie and the inimitable Don Knotts for decades.  If you have not seen this I encourage you to view it immediately. Now I will go on record as saying I do NOT believe in ghosts.  Never have, never will. I will also reluctantly reveal that in these past few months I have come close… not quite…but very, very close.  Imagine my chagrin in moving into my new Texas home… moving confidently in the direction of my dreams… only to find that it was appearing increasingly possible that someone or something may also be residing with me at “Rancho Tejas”

Indulge me for a moment. About a month after we moved in, I was up late reading while my wife blissfully slept in our lower level master bedroom when I was startled by a very loud thump upstairs. Being very much like James Bond by nature I was surprised but certainly not alarmed.  After calmly inspecting the upper level and finding nothing out of the ordinary I retired for the night and slept the sleep of the content… Happy in my new Texas life.  Ah those were sweet days.

Nightly thereafter we were visited upon by a single and identical loud thump upstairs.  Speculating that it was likely expansion and contraction brought on by the cooling night time temperatures, I thought little of it. But the nightly thump began to grind on me.  After multiple experiments with the HVAC system and now deep in our “bitter” Texas winter… I began to look for other causes.

Foundation settling, plumbing drain pipes, animals on the roof or in the attic were all possible contenders in this increasingly unsettling phenomenon.  As this happened at different times each night, the only common denominator seemed to be my nightly shower.  Exactly ten minutes after showering and taking to my bed, the loud and ominous thump would appear. I smugly assured my wife that science and reason had prevailed, and that a solution was soon to be at hand.  I happily departed out of town for a few days while my wife stayed behind safe in the comfort and security of my entirely logical scientific conclusion. With me not there to shower at night, she should certainly be free from the unsettling thump… A thump that she had begun to increasingly attribute to a good-natured ghost named “Hazel” who was simply saying goodnight.

Unfortunately, I received a phone call from my wife the next day stating that though no shower was taken… “Hazel” had performed on cue. I assured my wife that a logical cause would soon be determined… Though secretly I believed she had imagined this deviation from my ironclad explanation. I gave it all little further thought until returning home from my trip and jumping into bed for a good night’s sleep.


Well now I’m getting weirded out!  I feel increasingly unsafe and unsettled in my home, while “Hazel” continues her histrionics unabated.  I begin to research the prior owner’s family… Increasingly open to the possibility that someone had met an unfortunate demise in my happy home. I had our home inspector, a plumber, and our Realtor involved… Finally voicing for the first time to my Realtor that she had sold me a real haunted mansion and that we were living in great fear!    Now instead of comforting me and speaking reason into the situation as I once had… She pulls out her phone to show me a marketing photo from another of her sales with an apparition visible walking the grounds.

I returned home that night and began deconstructing the events again.  What could cause an identical sound ten minutes after I got into bed each night regardless of the time I actually went to bed?  What could cause this sound fifteen minutes after I showered and went to bed?  What could be responsible for this sound ten minutes after I turned off the television, took a shower, and went to bed? My dog, Baxter was even buying into it… Acting crazy and erratic… Running upstairs to bark wildly in the middle of the night… Staring intently down the hall towards the stairs continuously.   We needed to sell this home and get out while we still could!  Why this ghost felt the need to stomp her foot ten minutes after I turned off the television, took a shower, and got into bed I do not know, but I knew I must act quickly to save my family! This ghost had backed me into a corner and fight or flight mode was now fully engaged… Though I was leaning heavily towards flight.

My mind churned in search of a familiar and ghost-less viewpoint. Aha!  The last remaining non-paranormal possibility sprang to my mind… It was the television!  Additional highly scientific and complex experiments ensued and thankfully I soon felt confident that I had located the real “Hazel!”  15 minutes after turning off the television my sound system would perform an auto shut down… Thumping the subwoofer… Which in turn thumped my living room ceiling!

I immediately cancelled our local “Ghostbusters” service I had ordered and terminated the sales listing on my home! Reason and logic once again seemed to reside in our home.  What could make a lifelong NON-believer in ghosts change his entire belief system and behave in an entirely new way?

In this drama, I was reminded of a true-life lesson… That what we think influences what we feel or believe, and what we feel or believe influences what we do… And what we do determines what we are experiencing in life. I saw in real time how a daily input into my psyche could change how I thought, felt, and acted… And that this dynamic could be positive or negative depending upon the content being input! It was clear to me that a daily dose of doubt, fear, negativity, and confusion could create an outcome that was quite unpleasant. And thankfully a daily infusion of gratitude, positive affirmation, and disciplined thought could create that more positive outcome that I think we all desire.  My thoughts are the catalyst… The source of fuel for the machine of my life! I commit to becoming more intentional with my thoughts… And Hazel commits to watching a lot less television!



The Cardinal by Baxter Curtis Restine

Well it’s true…you are reading a blog from a dog…

Not just any dog I might add, but from a dog who lives a pretty enlightened life. You see I spend much of each day cozily tucked under my mom’s desk where she writes, prepares and practices for speaking presentations and does personal development coaching for clients. I hear it all; well most of it anyway, you might as well know that my hearing isn’t what it used to be.

So; we left Bend, Oregon last September for what my humans called “The Great Adventure!” It was an adventure alright. It started out fine. I was in the back seat of the pick up on a tall dog bed with a great view of the road, my mom gave me a “treat” to help me relax and off we went. This was fun for about 3 hours or so; then…BORING! I quickly realized they would stop and take me on a walk if I started barking, so that is what I did. As soon as I got bored with the drive I would bark. At first, Dad just turned the music up, but it turns out I have a stronger will than he does apparently because when I refused to stop barking no matter how loud the music he would eventually stop! Worked like a charm!

After a couple of days, we arrived in North Dakota to visit Riley…I love Riley and she loves me! She calls me “Mr. Gorgeous” … anyway; at the last minute, she decided to make the long trek to Texas with us, so I was no longer alone in the back seat! I was so content that I completely stopped barking! She was the perfect Nanny!

After a few more days on the road we made it to our new home in Georgetown, Texas. The humans were all very happy to be here. My brother and sister in law; Ryan and Brittany came and brought their dog, my nephew Augie (boy he’s a pain). Oh, it was a love fest, every one of them were babbling on and on! All I could think about was how hot it was in Texas! Our new house is cool I guess, but I can’t go in the front yard because of the deer. In the back yard is a swimming pool which is scary to me. Mom says I will get used to it but I’m not sure.

There are so many animals around here… again, something I am not used to. There are squirrels who play in my oak tree, big fat bunnies on the far back side of our property, too many deer to count and the latest creature to make his debut is a bright red cardinal who sings at the top of his lungs every single morning. My mom loves this cardinal. She looked him up on Google and said they symbolize strength, leadership and confidence…oh she REALLY loved that! She whistles and that bird whistles back…honestly; I see it with my own eyes every single morning! This makes my mom so happy! For those of you who may not know it, my mom has had a rough go of things lately. She was diagnosed with Lymphoma right before we moved and had tons of treatment and medical stuff all during the fall and winter. It was so scary for me…she was really, really sick, but thankfully she is better now. I suppose at some point I will need to tell you all about it, but not right now; all this blogging has worn me out. I think I should go downstairs and see if I can scrounge up a treat from someone…seriously, what’s a dog got to do to get a treat around here anyway…sing like a bird?

The Woven Thread by Tona Restine

I love things that are serendipitous. I even love the word serendipity!

Yesterday I had the blessing of spending the WHOLE day with my son Ryan and his sweet little wife, Brittany. Now for those of you who know our family you understand that this is a rare treat…Ryan and Brittany have been on many great adventures. They have lived in Santa Cruz, Chicago and New Orleans just to name a few, and now they live just 45 minutes south of us in Austin, Texas!!!

Because of everyone’s busy work schedules we only see each other every few weeks, but when we are all together, Mama is happy! Yesterday was no exception. It was a wonderful day! As the afternoon wore on I had the chance to talk to Brittany and learned that she is wrestling with some big career decisions. In her quiet words, I heard uncertainty and fearfulness and that took me by surprise.

I began to pray that she would see herself as I see her and more importantly as God sees her. For goodness sake, at just 22 years old this beautiful young girl sold all her belongings, got on a bus and moved to Chicago! In my mind, she is so fiercely brave that she can do anything!

After they went home I just couldn’t stop thinking about Brittany, so I texted her Jeremiah 29:11 (one of my all-time favorite verses) to remind her that she can rest because there is a plan in place for her life.

For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

This morning the scripture source for my daily devotional was none other than Jeremiah 29:11!!! I love that, don’t you? I promptly took a picture of it and sent it to Brittany…then much to my delight mere hours later I was in the hobby store and found at least three adorable plaques decorated with that amazing verse!

And…just now while waiting in the car for Kevin to finish an appointment I pulled out my journal to write a quick blog post and guess which scripture adorns the front of the journal I’d tucked into my bag??? You guessed it! Jeremiah 29:11

To use one of my favorite words; this all just seems so serendipitous, doesn’t it? But really, it is more.

It is the sweet, gentle thread God chose to weave throughout my day to boost my faith and remind me about listening to Him and sharing the things He is talking to me about about…but even more precious than that, this gently woven thread gave me the opportunity to remind my beloved Brittany Marie Jones Restine, ‘daughter of my heart’ about the richness of God’s love for HER and the amazingly creative ways He has to show her that she can count on her Heavenly Father to bring GOOD things to into her life!

There is a plan in place or ALL of us, and I just KNOW it is a good one! I am dedicating the rest of my life to trusting in God’s plan. To believing in Him and celebrating all the ways He loves me and wants to bless my life. Won’t you join me in this endeavor?

New to the World of Blogging by Tona Restine

I am a Newbie. I am new to the world of blogging. Though I have always been a writer, (by always I mean since the day I received my first little pink diary with a shiny silver lock and key) most of my writing has been limited to personal journaling or the creation of real estate ad content.

So, while I am passionate about the endeavor we are undertaking I am also feeling a bit like the proverbial ‘duck out of water’ when it comes to blogging. That said, I am very excited about Life Imagined! I am excited about the company, the website, the newsletters and yes; even the blog posts, but MOST of all I am excited to share with you the lessons, truths, habits and daily practices I learned while on the journey to living my own ‘life imagined.’

I hope these blog posts will do a few things. I hope they will give you moments of quiet in the midst of busy days. I hope they will make you smile wistfully because they evoke a memory from your own life or childhood and lastly, I ambitiously hope they will encourage you to live a bit more intentionally, with a bit more awareness than you lived yesterday and with the BOLD audacity that comes from knowing your life TRULY can be whatever you choose for it to be!